Watch who you’re in that helicopter with (Update #22)

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 6, 2021, 10:46 am.

  2. February 6, 2021, 1:45 pm:

    • So I’d just pulled out of my garage and gotten out to close the garage door. I heard a crunch. A neighbor, pulling out of his parking space, had backed into my car (figure 1).


      Fig. 1. Photograph by author, February 6, 2021.

      I doubt this is a total loss. But I’m going to lose the car for at least a couple weeks. I’ll get a rental on Monday. But I obviously can’t use my car for Uber or Lyft until this is fixed.

  3. February 6, 2021, 10:53 pm:

  4. February 7, 2021, 5:44 pm:

    • Amy Davidson Sorkin reviews the case for Donald Trump’s impeachment.[1]

    • In a previous installment, I had begun reading Ezra Klein’s book, Why We’re Polarized,[2] and was perturbed both 1) by how he emphasized differences between the Democrats and Republicans at the expense of their similarities and 2) by how he lumped vast portions of the polity into two groups, overlooking the profound differences among each of those groups.[3]

      Because I’m now stuck at home, I’ve read a couple chapters further in now, probably more than half way through. Klein argues, probably more correctly than I’m really able to address, that our reasoning is governed more by our social circles than by rationality and further that whites generally feel threatened by demographic change in the country and therefore are shifting to the political right.[4]

      I have to grant that there’s truth to all of that. The paleoconservative claim is that “Blacks and browns” are out to get whites and social conservatism as we know it today develops from a perceived need to preserve white hegemony in response to a surge in immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries;[5] Klein seems to believe that most whites shift to that view as they become aware of demographic changes that are, in fact, occurring,[6] and certainly this helps to account for my inclination since writing my dissertation to view the distinctions between authoritarian populists, paleoconservatives, and social conservatives as even blurrier.[7]

      The trouble for me is that the picture doesn’t seem to me to be nearly so neat, nearly so clear-cut.

      Certainly, I’ve had trouble recognizing white privilege when I can’t get a real job,[8] but as far back as 2011, when I was already bitter about a job hunt that had then already been a decade-long failure, I was noticing graffiti that confirmed my once-favorite professor’s claim that many Blacks feel a greater threat from police than from gangs[9] and I’ve come to see my white privilege more sharply since arriving in southwestern Pennsylvania.[10] My dissertation was sympathetic to migrants across the southern border.[11] As to borders themselves, I understand them as denying human beings on the ‘wrong’ side of those arbitrary lines rights and privileges available on the ‘right’ side,[12] and as marking divisions between territories, and between the people and resources within those territories, controlled by competing elites whose disputes lie behind most if not all war.[13] I’ve never been a xenophobe in the way that Klein seems to think I should be and my thinking has rarely aligned with the Left in precisely the way that Klein seems to think it should; his work so far fails to explain why.[14] And when I see that this isn’t just me, but people I encounter on Twitter, and people I encounter as Uber/Lyft passengers in the back of my car, even in southwestern Pennsylvania, Klein’s idea, which is apparently that we’re polarized because we’re conformists,[15] becomes a real problem for me.

  5. February 8, 2021, 9:09 am:

    • I’ve been reading on in Ezra Klein’s book, Why We’re Polarized, In the latter half of the book, he turns to, so far, how journalism tends to focus on and amplify outrage and how moderates have all but disappeared, leaving parties and candidates to focus on energizing their bases, which they do with outrage.[16] Again, my perception is somewhat different. While yes, among a lot of people, my theory of the morality of polarization applies, in which whatever a person on your side does is good, strictly by virtue of the fact s/he is on your side, and whatever a person on the other side does is evil, strictly by virtue of the fact s/he is on the other side is evil,[17] between Democrats and Republicans, it is Republicans who reject Democratic presidents and who refuse to acknowledge the latter as legitimate, going back at least as far as Bill Clinton[18] and, I strongly suspect, Jimmy Carter, but I really don’t see the same antipathy from Democrats toward Republicans. Albert Gore conceded to George W. Bush even after a Supreme Court fight over the Florida recount. Michelle Obama hugs Bush; he gives her candy. As president, her husband, Barack Obama embraced and extended Bush’s policies. Both parties embrace neoconservatism and its moral imperative, neoliberalism.[19] Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald Trump. Too late for Klein’s book, Donald Trump fought his election defeat every step of the way.[20] Certainly there was Democratic demonization of the Republican incumbent in 2020, but it took Trump to provoke cries of “Vote Blue, No Matter Who,” and then at least as much to suppress the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.[21]

      Yes, there’s polarization, but it’s among party activists and Republican politicians, but not among Democratic politicians, who often continue to insist upon “bipartisanship.” Klein is still making the same mistake he makes throughout his book so far, of sweeping much too broadly with his generalizations, neglecting the nuances that I see everywhere I turn.

    • I have updated my spreadsheet on U.S. military history, a timeline showing how the U.S. has been involved in killing expeditions in all but sixteen calendar years of its existence, based on the History Guy’s “American Military History Timeline.”[22]

    • It’s official:

      It will be mildly interesting to see how he does. He’s progressive in everything I’ve seen him say. The trouble, of course, is that he’s a Democrat, which means that if he wins, he’ll be co-opted by the national party.

  6. February 8, 2021, 1:30 pm:

    • John Fetterman has not endorsed a Green New Deal, saying “We can’t just throw [out] all of these union jobs and all these workers’ jobs and say, ‘Well, just go learn to code and maybe you can get on at Google or someplace.’”[23] I haven’t seen enough of Green New Deal thinking to know clearly exactly what its proponents advocate here, but my impression that it includes jobs like solar cell installation, not the high tech arrogance that “everyone should learn how to code.” The latter is just a bad, awful, utterly dehumanizing idea,[24] and it’s likely unfair of Fetterman to characterize the Green New Deal in this way.

      The entire point of the Green New Deal, as I understand it, is to recognize that previous environmental activism has too often been arrogant with regard to people’s need to earn livings and to move toward a sustainable economy.

  7. February 8, 2021, 9:34 pm:

    • As promised, the Crack’d Egg has requested a stay[25] of the order requiring it comply with Allegheny County and Pennsylvania COVID-19 mitigation measures or shut down.[26] The county health department had sued when the restaurant flouted the rules,[27] the Crack’d Egg tried and failed to evade the suit with a bankruptcy filing,[28] and has now asked to withdraw the bankruptcy filing.[29] In asking for the stay, the restaurant cites a federal court ruling[30] that invoked first and fourteenth amendment rights[31] which itself has been stayed[32] and faces long odds on appeal.[33]

      Which is all to say these guys aren’t just stretching; they’re really stretching. But that’s the power of ideology, in this case, capitalist libertarian ideology.

    • I have spoken with the insurance adjuster. Talking to these people is sometimes refreshing. They’re basically bureaucrats. They have rules. It’s all pretty cut and dried with them. And it’s happened a couple times now that they’ll tell me back my own story in a way that makes the question of culpability all crystal clear.

      Anyway, she says there isn’t even anything to investigate here. It’s the other guy’s fault. I guess the operative principle here is if somebody hits a stationary object—my car was parked—it’s their damn fault. Well, yeah, I guess when you put it that way. . . .

    • I have my rental car and my own car is now at the body shop. This repair will cost me my $500 deductible, assuming they don’t declare it a total loss. Yes, I could have filed directly with the other driver’s insurance company, but he’s got a company I’ve never even heard of. My history includes dealing with another driver’s insurance company and that’s an experience that’s worth $500 to avoid repeating.

      I’ve been losing sleep about that possibility they might declare it a total loss. It’s a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid. These cars don’t hold their value like Priuses do. And that’s going to be at least a mighty expensive piece of plastic, plus any damage that I can’t see from the outside.

    • It looks like I’m not going to be able to drive with Uber with the rental car. They say I can, but the documentation I have from the rental car company doesn’t meet Uber’s requirements. I’m not even trying with Lyft.

      I tried going to what Uber used to call a Green Light center—I don’t know what they’re calling these places now—which is where you go when you have a problem you can’t resolve on line. But I found the space where the center had been vacant and available for lease.

      I’m not willing to fight this further. I want a real job[34] and the thought of fighting to be humiliated by these assholes is just more than I can bear. I’ll just hope my car gets fixed soon.

  8. February 9, 2021, 11:34 am:

    • There is yet another new blog post entitled, “On the ‘n-word.’ The idiocy of a single person and its ensuing human relations consequences is not an issue I generally take an interest in, but I gather from Twitter that there’s a controversy over a New York Times reporter using the ‘n-word.’ He shouldn’t have done it, even to discuss the word itself, and that he did do it demonstrates extremely poor judgment.

    • You and I might agree that, especially in light of the attempted coup on January 6, 2021, that various forms of right-wing extremism and white supremacy constitute a national security threat, that indeed, we could perceive such sympathies as giving aid and comfort to an enemy. If so, the military is not only having difficulty counting such subversives,[35] but even having difficulty identifying, even trying to understand what that enemy looks like within its own ranks, or what to do about these people when it finds them.[36]

  9. February 9, 2021, 12:32 pm:

    • I haven’t thought much about the Bundys since commenting on a discrepancy in the law enforcement response to a right-wing uprising on public land in Oregon in contrast to that to left-wing protests about five years ago.[37] Guess what? They’re back, trying to piggyback onto the anti-mask and COVID-19 denial movement.[38] Ick. Just ick. Ick. Ick. Ick.

  10. February 9, 2021, 5:42 pm:

    • Anytime anybody wants to explain why people do this (figure 2), well, that’d be just great.


      Fig. 2. Photograph by author, February 9, 2021.

      I had gone grocery shopping. Especially since the pandemic began, I’ve had to go grocery shopping at multiple stores, obviously increasing the risk of exposure. I was actually a bit more successful than usual at Whole Foods, though true to form,[39] I saw a lot of empty shelves, which, sorry, Jeff Bezos and John Mackey, doesn’t make me feel pampered even one little bit.

      Next was Giant Eagle’s Market District which was a lot less successful than I expected. But I managed to pick up a little bit of stuff and when I came out, I discovered somebody (license plate in figure 3 because I’m just not seeing why I should be nice about this shit) had gone to great care to touch his or her front bumper to my rental car’s rear bumper. No damage that I could see, but yeah, I took pictures just in case the rental car company finds something, because yeah, I’ve had that happen, too.


      Fig. 3. Photograph by author, February 9, 2021.

      My next stop was at a Home Depot for a snow shovel because while the management company at my apartment complex drives a snow plow down the middle of the driveways in the parking lots, they don’t do a damn thing about the snow drifts that accumulate at my garage door.

      As I found a parking space, I saw a cop with three store employees searching a Toyota Forerunner. They recovered a lot of merchandise and one of those devices for removing anti-shoplifting tags. It’s a sign of the times,[40] though it’s something I expect to see a bit less of around relatively prosperous Upper Saint Clair and Bethel Park.

      As I drove home, I saw a grocery give-away at a church adjacent to my apartment complex. The parking lot was full and I saw people walking with bags of groceries back into my complex, you know, the one that tried to evict a bunch of people.[41]

      But here’s Logan Mohtashami to tell us all how the economy is going to be just great![42]

    • Meanwhile, yet another reason I have for dissatisfaction with rideshare driving is that the same high technology arrogance that created Uber and Lyft[43] is actively seeking to put me out[44] of the only work I can find.[45] The truth is that self-driving technology is probably quite a long ways away,[46] as Uber’s spinoff of its self-driving technology unit to Aurora[47] suggests. But their optimism is richly funded. My pessimism, reinforced every time I see a self-driving car around Pittsburgh—there are a lot of them here—is not.

  11. February 9, 2021, 8:38 pm:

    • I’m just going to leave this here:

      I’m not sure how well this will work. You may need to go to the original tweet to see the video.

      Jamie Raskin is one of the House of Representatives’ impeachment managers[48] in the Senate trial of Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection on January 6, 2021.[49]

  12. February 10, 2021, 11:46 am:

    • I’m expecting to hear from the body shop today about my car. My insurance company has told me the damage is around $1,000; they’re thinking the work can be done this week.

    • Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility tool says I’m eligible, probably because I said I’m obese (not morbidly, but with a body mass index exceeding 30). There’s a huge difference between being eligible and actually securing the vaccine, especially in Allegheny County, which has a large number of health care workers. What I’m seeing so far is that while there is large number of vaccine providers in my area, none are offering appointments. I’m pondering what to do about that.

      The vaccine rollout has been a mess, it turns out, in part due to ethical concerns really not all that unlike those I have expressed. But it’s increasingly apparent the priority simply has to be to get shots in arms.

  13. February 10, 2021, 11:55 am:

    • I just heard from my claim adjuster. She said the other insurance company accepted 100 percent liability so my insurance company is waiving the $500 deductible. This is certainly unexpected good news.

  14. February 10, 2021, 1:15 pm:

    • There isn’t a lot of need for me to cover Donald Trump’s impeachment here, especially when the outcome seems preordained, despite his lawyers’ appalling performance yesterday.[50] But I archived Amy Davidson Sorkin’s article. Because yeah, I’m kinda keeping an eye on it. But what will really be interesting is if, improbably, Republicans start shifting towards conviction. We’re not seeing that yet.

  15. February 10, 2021, 8:44 pm:

    • The body shop says that contingent on getting the parts tomorrow, my car should be fixed on Friday. There’s a snowstorm coming in tonight, so we’re just not so sure about that.

    • Since my eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine seems to hinge on my obesity, I bought a bathroom scale, and checked it. Yup, 31.2, pretty normal for me over the last several years, which is to say, at least it hasn’t gotten worse.

  16. February 10, 2021, 9:53 pm:

  17. February 11, 2021, 5:15 am, updated 12:29 pm:

    • The body shop that’s repairing my car is in North Huntingdon (yes, with a “d,” not a “t,” and no, I don’t know why) Township, just across the line into Westmoreland County from North Versailles (nobody pronounces it correctly unless, like me, they’re not from here) Township and White Oak Borough in Allegheny County. The next town going east and a bit south, along U.S. Highway 30, is Irwin Borough, whose council has just decided it will meet in person, with no capacity limits, without a mask requirement, utterly disregarding state COVID-19 mitigation orders. Other than one council member labeling the state requirements “crap,” no coherent reason seems even to need be offered.[51]

      The body shop was the closest on my insurance company’s list and about a half hour away from my apartment. It’s not quite as close as some hardcore Trump places in Washington County, but Westmoreland County has struck me as more socially conservative (mostly evangelical Protestant). The anti-abortion movement is strong there and I guess they’re counting on their god to protect them from the coronavirus that they probably don’t even believe is real.

      The Irwin Borough Council’s denial of reality[52] merely mirrors that of Senate Republicans who still appear on course to acquit Donald Trump,[53] despite another visually spectacular performance by House of Representatives impeachment managers that revealed new information about how much danger lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence had been in.[54] I’m not really hearing from these people directly these days. But the signs of their presence are all around.

  18. February 10, 2021, 12:29 pm, updated 6:25 pm:

    • I have to note that the discrepancy between Democrats’ performance in this impeachment[55] and its predecessor, which I called “[t]he stupidest impeachment ever, historically notable first for all the offenses it failed to charge Donald Trump with,[56] second for its utterly predictable futility, and third for its transparent (and apparently failed) attempt to protect Joe Biden,[57][58] is striking. For me, it shines a harsh light on the “comity,” for which, read complicity, with which Democrats have treated Republicans, but which Republicans have not reciprocated.[59] It is as if Democrats have suddenly realized that maybe, after all, Republicans aren’t really right, aren’t really morally superior.

      It won’t last, of course. The neoconservative consensus that has been in place since the fall of the Berlin Wall[60] and that treats neoliberalism as a moral imperative,[61] with all its attendant and intentional cruelty to workers and the poor,[62] a cruelty before which the events of the attempted coup on January 6, 2021, pale,[63] will surely reassert itself. But for this very briefest of moments, we are seeing, at very long last, what the Democrats might look like if they actually opposed Republicans.

      Ezra Klein denies drawing an equivalence between the two parties. His sympathies, he says, lie clearly with Democrats.[64] But this disparity between business as usual and business as conducted in this impeachment for me eviscerates his premise of polarization in the way he understands it.

    • Wow. Just wow. In 2013, it seems that, as Braddock’s mayor, current Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman, having heard gunshots, grabbed a shotgun, got in his pickup truck, and chased down a Black jogger, who had absolutely nothing to do with the gunfire, and held him at gunpoint. He refuses to apologize, even now. Yes, Braddock has a problem with guns. Yes, Braddock has a problem with crime. And yes, also, Blacks are a majority of Braddock’s population.[65] Which is to say that Fetterman, like far too many other whites, sees all Blacks interchangeably as potential, even probable, criminals. No, Mr. Fetterman, having a formerly unauthorized migrant for a wife[66] does not shield you from the charge of racism, which is precisely what you are.

      Look, I can see how, in younger days, I might have made a similar mistake. I also know that having made such a mistake, no apology could ever suffice. But, Mr. Fetterman, you refuse even this, even now.[67] This is not okay. You are a part of Pennsylvania’s problem, Pittsburgh’s problem.

    • So I’m putting a hypothesis to as best a test as I can manage. Dressed as I expect to be when weighed at a doctor’s office this afternoon but with a little residual moisture in my hair from my shower, I come in at 220.4 pounds. (I’m 5’10.5″ tall for you body mass index freaks.) We shall see what the scale there says.

      It’s 26° F out, down to 17° with wind chill, but I’m putting on sandals because I do not want to be fussing with my winter boots while there.

  19. February 11, 2021, 6:25 pm:

    • I have failed to confirm my hypothesis (see update at 12:29 pm). After wandering through the snow in my sandals to dump some trash, after wandering through the snow in my sandals to get into my garage, after shoveling the snow in my sandals in front of my garage, after wandering through the snow in my sandals to pump up the tire on my rental car that has a slow leak (the rental car company doesn’t have any alternative vehicles to put me into), and arriving at the doctor’s office, I weighed in at 219.4 pounds, down a full pound from the measurement I took in my bathroom this morning. I was expecting a larger discrepancy in the opposite direction.

      Sorry folks, just don’t know what to tell you about that.

    • John Fetterman has a reputation for being in shorts regardless of the weather. It’s one of his kinks. I don’t know what he does for footwear but he doesn’t look like a sandals kind of guy. I wasn’t in shorts, but I think I might have had him beat with my flip flops. Wimp.

    • I have to notice a distinct difference with my contacts with medical people here in Pittsburgh from that in California. These people are actually nice, really nice. I also was able to schedule an appointment with them the very next day. When I screwed up the appointment time, they still fit me in nearly immediately. This has been a good experience.

      It turns out my height is a half inch higher than I thought, which will mean my previously reported body mass income will be slightly off. I’m still clinically obese: The doctor has me at 31.04 (and yes, that’s good enough to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine). Also I’ve corrected my height and enhanced the description of Fetterman in the previous update (12:29 pm).

    • It’s now well after business hours and I have not heard from the body shop that’s working on my car. They promised to call me if there was a delay in getting the parts due to the snowstorm. So I’m expecting to get my car back tomorrow, which is one less reason to worry about that slow leak in the right rear tire of the rental car.

    • A leader of the Oath Keepers was allegedly waiting for direction from Donald Trump before launching an attack on Joe Biden’s inauguration and believed that her group was responding to direction from Trump in the U.S. Capitol coup.[68]

      Five Proud Boys have also been charged with conspiracy in the attack.[69]

  20. February 12, 2021, 12:26 pm:

    • When it comes to fracking in southwestern Pennsylvania, mostly what I see are a bunch of signs offering to buy oil and gas rights and a few more signs regulating which roads trucks may use to access the wells. I haven’t actually seen a well. I certainly haven’t had any passengers going to fracking jobs. The only thing I’ve seen remotely related is the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex, an ethylene cracker plant under what my passengers have characterized as seemingly endless construction on the Ohio River in Beaver County that makes—or will make—microplastics.

      Ordinary folks in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have gained little economically, if any, from the fracking boom in these states.[70]

      But John Fetterman says, “We can’t just throw [out] all of these union jobs and all these workers’ jobs and say, ‘Well, just go learn to code and maybe you can get on at Google or someplace.’”[71] So, um, what union jobs? Where the fuck are they?

    • At the Washington Post, Dan Balz is marveling at Republican senators’ obstinacy about voting to convict Donald Trump.[72] But here’s the thing: The very states where these senators come from are the same states where the militia groups that stormed the Capitol are strongest. This isn’t merely the threat of being primaried that Balz alludes to.[73] It’s a physical threat to themselves, their properties, and their loved ones.

    • Another positive from my experience at the doctor’s office yesterday (February 11) was that University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) actually had a lab on site at the office. The nurse practitioner prescribed some tests and when she was done with me, I walked over and somebody drew some blood. This morning, I have the results. No surprises, by the way.

      This is in sharp contrast to having had to make a separate appointment with Quest Diagnostics in Sebastopol and then to wait days for the results.

      This entire experience has been seriously impressive. Based on what I’m seeing, I have to think the medical care is orders of magnitude better here than in California.

    • My car is done. I’m on my way to get it.

  21. February 12, 2021, 9:48 pm:

    • I have my car back but not without an adventure.

      I had decided to return the car in North Huntingdon, near, I hoped, the body shop. I figured I’d call an Uber or a Lyft to get me between places.

      Except there weren’t any Ubers or Lyfts available. And the body shop was 1.7 miles away. A half hour walk, I figured.

      As a kid in San Francisco, I wouldn’t have thought anything at all of such a distance. But this was a busy highway (U.S. 30) with no sidewalks with several inches of snow on the ground. Oh yeah, and I’m not a kid anymore. It probably took me an hour of dodging traffic, navigating snow-covered landscaping, and parking lots, only some of which had been cleared. Over hill and over dale.

      At least I had my winter boots on.

      And I have my car with it’s wonderful sound system and its bright LED lights back. (I’m not supposed to be, but yeah, I’m occasionally that obnoxious asshole with the too bright lights. You try doing what I’m reduced to doing[74] without them.)

  22. February 13, 2021, 4:57 am:

    • As if there was any question whose side Donald Trump was on, even as his own vice president was in danger during the attempted coup on January 6, 2021, details have come to light of a phone call between Trump and California Republican and House of Representatives minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who begged Trump to call off the rioters.[75]

      The Republican members of Congress said the exchange showed Trump had no intention of calling off the rioters even as lawmakers were pleading with him to intervene. Several said it amounted to a dereliction of his presidential duty.

      “He is not a blameless observer, he was rooting for them,” a Republican member of Congress said. “On January 13, Kevin McCarthy said on the floor of the House that the President bears responsibility and he does.”

      Speaking to the President from inside the besieged Capitol, McCarthy pressed Trump to call off his supporters and engaged in a heated disagreement about who comprised the crowd. Trump’s comment about the would-be insurrectionists caring more about the election results than McCarthy did was first mentioned by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican from Washington state, in a town hall earlier this week, and was confirmed to CNN by Herrera Beutler and other Republicans briefed on the conversation.[76]

      The conventional wisdom remains that Senate Republicans will vote to acquit Trump, although there is no whip count.[77]

      Even as I understand that this really isn’t just about being primaried (see update, February 12, 2021, 12:26 pm), that there is a physical risk to senators voting to convict, I really can’t help but share Dan Balz’ perplexity at their refusal to do so.[78] It’s perhaps worth noting at this point that there has never been a successful impeachment of a president of the United States. Its failure in this case has to raise doubts about how meaningful a procedure it is.


Right-wing militia groups

There is a new blog post entitled, “‘Free’ helicopter rides.”

Christopher Ketcham, “What the Far-Right Fascination With Pinochet’s Death Squads Should Tell Us,” Intercept, February 4, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/02/04/pinochet-far-right-hoppean-snake/

Ed Pilkington, “Seditionaries: FBI net closes on Maga mob that stormed the Capitol,” Guardian, February 6, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/06/us-capitol-insurrection-fbi-investigation

Richard Read, “Ammon Bundy, veteran of armed standoffs, builds militia network on COVID backlash,” Los Angeles Times, February 9, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-02-09/idaho-ammon-bundy

Missy Ryan, Paul Sonne, and Razzan Nakhlawi, “Seeking to combat extremists in ranks, the military struggles to answer a basic question: How many are there?” Washington Post, February 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/military-extremist-threat-lloyd-austin-/2021/02/09/198794c8-66f9-11eb-bf81-c618c88ed605_story.html

Katelyn Polantz, “Justice Department says an Oath Keepers leader waited for Trump’s direction before Capitol attack,” CNN, February 11, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/oath-keeper-justice-trump-capitol/index.html

David Shortell, “Five people associated with Proud Boys arrested for Capitol riot on conspiracy charges,” CNN, February 11, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/proud-boys-capitol-riot-arrest/index.html


San Francisco

Isaac Chotiner, “How San Francisco Renamed Its Schools,” New Yorker, February 6, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/how-san-francisco-renamed-its-schools


Donald Trump

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “What’s at Stake in Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial,” New Yorker, February 7, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/02/15/whats-at-stake-in-trumps-second-impeachment-trial

Amy Gardner et al., “House impeachment managers emphasize the danger to Pence and other top officials in harrowing retelling of Jan. 6 attack,” Washington Post, February 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-impeachment-trial-trump/2021/02/10/17863674-6bbe-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “Trump’s Impeachment-Trial Lawyers Refuse to Seriously Engage with the Constitutional Issues,” New Yorker, February 10, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/trumps-impeachment-trial-lawyers-refuse-to-seriously-engage-with-the-constitutional-issues

Andrew Desiderio, Burgess Everett, and Marianne Levine, “Trump on path to acquittal despite stunning evidence,” Politico, February 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/10/trump-acquittal-despite-stunning-evidence-468540

Dan Balz, “All eyes on Republican senators after strong presentation by House managers,” Washington Post, February 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/balztake-impeachment-gop-trump/2021/02/11/7b910ee8-6cc0-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html

Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine, “Senate GOP gripped by conviction vote intrigue,” Politico, February 12, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/12/republicans-weighting-conviction-trump-impeachment-468862

Jamie Gangel et al., “New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters,” CNN, February 12, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/12/politics/trump-mccarthy-shouting-match-details/index.html


Depression

Logan Mohtashami, “The last stand for forbearance housing market crash bros?” Housing Wire, February 8, 2021, https://www.housingwire.com/articles/is-this-the-last-stand-for-forbearance-home-price-crash-bros/


Self-driving cars

Levi Sumagaysay, “Aurora, Toyota team up to bring self-driving cars to ride-hailing and the masses,” MarketWatch, February 9, 2021, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/aurora-toyota-team-up-to-bring-self-driving-cars-to-ride-hailing-and-the-masses-11612893367


Pennsylvania

Joe Napsha, “Irwin Council: Masks are optional at future meetings,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 10, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/irwin-council-masks-are-optional-at-future-meetings/


John Fetterman

Stephen Caruso, “Fetterman justifies — but does not apologize for — chasing down and brandishing shotgun at Black jogger while Braddock mayor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, February 10, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/fetterman-justifies-but-does-not-apologize-for-chasing-down-and-brandishing-shotgun-at-black-jogger-while-braddock-mayor/


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  6. [6]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
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  15. [15]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
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  17. [17]David Benfell, “The morality of polarization,” Not Housebroken, September 21, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/09/21/the-morality-of-polarization/
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  22. [22]History Guy, “American Military History Timeline,” August 1, 2020, https://www.historyguy.com/american_military_history.html#.YCE9o4_Yqqk
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  24. [24]David Benfell, “No, not everyone should learn to code,” Not Housebroken, December 31, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/31/no-not-everyone-should-learn-to-code/
  25. [25]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg seeks stay to injunction while appeal is heard,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 8, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-seeks-stay-to-injunction-while-appeal-is-heard/
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  27. [27]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg flouts shutdown as deputies quarantined for dining, taking photos with owner,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-flouts-shutdown-as-deputies-quarantined-for-dining-taking-photos-with-owner/
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  29. [29]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg restaurant asks to withdraw bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 2, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-restaurant-asks-to-withdraw-bankruptcy-filing/
  30. [30]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg seeks stay to injunction while appeal is heard,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 8, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-seeks-stay-to-injunction-while-appeal-is-heard/
  31. [31]Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge rules Gov. Wolf’s shutdown orders were unconstitutional,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/federal-judge-rules-gov-wolfs-shutdown-orders-were-unconstitutional/
  32. [32]Paula Reed Ward, “Appeals court allows Gov. Tom Wolf, state to restore covid crowd restrictions,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 1, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/appeals-court-allows-pennsylvania-to-restrict-crowd-size/
  33. [33]Jamie Martines and Paula Reed Ward, “Why the ruling against Wolf’s covid-19 restrictions faces long odds on appeal, explained,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/why-the-ruling-against-wolfs-covid-19-restrictions-faces-long-odds-on-appeal-explained/
  34. [34]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
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  36. [36]Missy Ryan, Paul Sonne, and Razzan Nakhlawi, “Seeking to combat extremists in ranks, the military struggles to answer a basic question: How many are there?” Washington Post, February 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/military-extremist-threat-lloyd-austin-/2021/02/09/198794c8-66f9-11eb-bf81-c618c88ed605_story.html
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  56. [56]David Benfell, “The whiteness of impeachment,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/15/the-whiteness-of-impeachment/; see also Democracy Now, “Law Professor: Trump Could Also Have Been Impeached for War Crimes, Assassinations and Corruption,” January 24, 2020, https://www.democracynow.org/2020/1/24/donald_trump_senate_impeachment_trial
  57. [57]David Benfell, “It’s still a smoke-filled room,” Not Housebroken, December 6, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/06/its-still-a-smoke-filled-room/; David Benfell, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020,” Not Housebroken, December 7, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/07/how-the-neoliberal-usually-known-as-democratic-party-may-well-lose-in-2020/; David Benfell, “The whiteness of impeachment,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/15/the-whiteness-of-impeachment/; David Benfell, “The least violent solution,” Not Housebroken, December 16, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/16/the-least-violent-solution/; David Benfell, “The sham (pick your partisan flavor) is on,” Not Housebroken, December 19, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/19/the-sham-pick-your-partisan-flavor-is-on/; David Benfell, “The asterisk,” Not Housebroken, December 21, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/21/the-asterisk/
  58. [58]David Benfell, “One farce down, one to go,” Irregular Bullshit, February 5, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/02/05/one-farce-down-one-to-go/
  59. [59]David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, October 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/; David Benfell, “On ‘vote shaming,’” Not Housebroken, October 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/21/on-vote-shaming/
  60. [60]Melvyn P. Leffler, “The Free Market Did Not Bring Down the Berlin Wall,” Foreign Policy, November 7, 2014, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/11/07/berlin_wall_fall_25_anniversary_reagan_bush_germany_merkel_cold_war_free_market_capitalism
  61. [61]Gertrude Himmelfarb, “Irving Kristol’s Neoconservative Persuasion,” Commentary 132, no. 2 (February 2011), https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/gertrude-himmelfarb/irving-kristols-neoconservative-persuasion/
  62. [62]David Benfell, “A piper needs paying,” Not Housebroken, January 29, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/12/19/a-piper-needs-paying/
  63. [63]Ted Barrett, Manu Raju, and Peter Nickeas, “US Capitol secured, woman dead after rioters stormed the halls of Congress to block Biden’s win,” CNN, January 6, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/06/politics/us-capitol-lockdown/index.html; Fiona Hill, “Yes, It Was a Coup. Here’s Why,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/11/capitol-riot-self-coup-trump-fiona-hill-457549; Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Devlin Barrett, “Self-styled militia members planned on storming the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say,” Washington Post, January 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/conspiracy-oath-keeper-arrest-capitol-riot/2021/01/19/fb84877a-5a4f-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html; Talia Lavin, “The Violent Crescendo of the MAGA Conspiracies,” New Republic, January 6, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/160814/trump-protesters-attack-us-capital; Andrew G. McCabe and David C. Williams, “Trump’s New Criminal Problem,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/11/trumps-new-criminal-problem-457298; Nicolás Rivero, “Is America experiencing a coup?” Quartz, January 6, 2021, https://qz.com/1953602/is-america-experiencing-a-coup/; Jonathan Stevenson, “Trump’s Lingering Menace,” New York Review of Books, January 9, 2021, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2021/01/09/trumps-lingering-menace/; Rebecca Tan et al., “Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol, with one woman killed and tear gas fired,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trump-supporters-storm-capitol-dc/2021/01/06/58afc0b8-504b-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html; Craig Timberg, Drew Harwell, and Marissa J. Lang, “Capitol siege was planned online. Trump supporters now planning the next one,” Washington Post, January 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/09/trump-twitter-protests/; Aruna Viswanatha, “Conspiracy Charges Filed Over Capitol Riot,” Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/first-conspiracy-charges-filed-over-capitol-riot-11611080191
  64. [64]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
  65. [65]Stephen Caruso, “Fetterman justifies — but does not apologize for — chasing down and brandishing shotgun at Black jogger while Braddock mayor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, February 10, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/fetterman-justifies-but-does-not-apologize-for-chasing-down-and-brandishing-shotgun-at-black-jogger-while-braddock-mayor/
  66. [66]NEXTpittsburgh, “Why does Lt. Gov. John Fetterman want to run for Senate?” Public Source, January 15, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/why-does-lt-gov-john-fetterman-want-to-run-for-senate/
  67. [67]Stephen Caruso, “Fetterman justifies — but does not apologize for — chasing down and brandishing shotgun at Black jogger while Braddock mayor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, February 10, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/fetterman-justifies-but-does-not-apologize-for-chasing-down-and-brandishing-shotgun-at-black-jogger-while-braddock-mayor/
  68. [68]Katelyn Polantz, “Justice Department says an Oath Keepers leader waited for Trump’s direction before Capitol attack,” CNN, February 11, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/oath-keeper-justice-trump-capitol/index.html
  69. [69]David Shortell, “Five people associated with Proud Boys arrested for Capitol riot on conspiracy charges,” CNN, February 11, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/proud-boys-capitol-riot-arrest/index.html
  70. [70]James Bruggers, “A Decade Into the Fracking Boom, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia Haven’t Gained Much, a Study Says,” Inside Climate News, February 11, 2021, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/11022021/fracking-boom-natural-gas-report/
  71. [71]John Fetterman, quoted in Holly Otterbein, “John Fetterman launches Senate bid in Pennsylvania,” Politico, February 8, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/08/fetterman-senate-pennsylvania-466932
  72. [72]Dan Balz, “All eyes on Republican senators after strong presentation by House managers,” Washington Post, February 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/balztake-impeachment-gop-trump/2021/02/11/7b910ee8-6cc0-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html
  73. [73]Dan Balz, “All eyes on Republican senators after strong presentation by House managers,” Washington Post, February 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/balztake-impeachment-gop-trump/2021/02/11/7b910ee8-6cc0-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html
  74. [74]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  75. [75]Jamie Gangel et al., “New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters,” CNN, February 12, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/12/politics/trump-mccarthy-shouting-match-details/index.html
  76. [76]Jamie Gangel et al., “New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters,” CNN, February 12, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/12/politics/trump-mccarthy-shouting-match-details/index.html
  77. [77]Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine, “Senate GOP gripped by conviction vote intrigue,” Politico, February 12, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/12/republicans-weighting-conviction-trump-impeachment-468862
  78. [78]Dan Balz, “All eyes on Republican senators after strong presentation by House managers,” Washington Post, February 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/balztake-impeachment-gop-trump/2021/02/11/7b910ee8-6cc0-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html

I guess this is what lawyers are for (Update #5)

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 3, 2021, 1:15 pm.

  2. February 3, 2021, 10:40 pm:

    • The judge has ruled against the Crack’d Egg Restaurant in Brentwood, requiring it to comply with COVID-19 orders or close. The restaurant is asking for a stay while it appeals. The judge, however, cited a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision upholding Governor Wolf’s and Pennsylvania Health Department’s orders, in reaching his decision.[1] So I’m not seeing how this gets reversed. But then, this is Pennsylvania.

    • I managed to run afoul of Twitter’s bots in responding to a post on keys to the City of Pittsburgh. As I recall, such keys were traditionally hung from a lanyard about the bearer’s neck, and a newer design lacks the hole found in traditional wire skeleton keys that would make that possible. I sought to point this out and, after all, if we’re going to uphold antiquated traditions, we ought to uphold them properly.

      But it appears that Twitter’s appeals process relies on the same artificial idiocy as that which condemned me in the first place. So I’m mostly off Twitter until sometime tomorrow.

      I have previously taken up the problem of artificial idiocy in a blog post entitled, “Our new Satan: artificial idiocy and big data mining” and previously encountered a similar problem with Google’s last ill-fated attempt at a social network, Google Plus.

    • My car is off to another expensive start in maintenance in the new year. I’m getting new struts, new shock absorbers, and new tires put on. All this also means an alignment. It’s conceivable the bill will exceed $2,000. I really need a real job because with this rideshare driving, I am, and my passengers are, just destroying perfectly good automobiles, all while not accumulating a penny for retirement, not really being able to take any time off, and not having a life.

    • My mother got me a copy of Ezra Klein’s book Why We’re Polarized. I’ve read the introduction and the first two chapters. It’s an interesting perspective in that Klein perceives a difference between Democrats and Republicans as having increased since a time even as recently as the 1980s, when, he argues, the two major parties were not distinguished by ideological differences. And yes, I guess if your baseline includes southern Democrats who openly sought to preserve white supremacy, then yes, indeed, the Democrats have moved left.[2]

      Republicans have, to an increasing degree, relied on race-baiting to appeal to those former southern Democrats and this, of course, has plumbed despicable depths with Donald Trump.[3] But at least in the early going, Klein seems not to see white supremacy outside the south, such as I see in southwestern Pennsylvania.

      In this, Klein magnifies the differences between the parties at the expense of their similarities. Both parties are dominated by their donors; both embrace neoconservatism, for which neoliberalism is a moral imperative[4] and overseas wars are somehow self-defense; neither takes the climate crisis seriously enough; neither has taken the need for economic relief and universal health insurance coverage generally, let alone in the pandemic, seriously enough; neither is particularly troubled by widening social inequality; indeed, neither is really all that terribly troubled by the cozy relationship between police and white supremacists.[5] From a progressive perspective, these similarities unite the two major parties as an evil blob far to the right. But Klein, so far, at least, barely even acknowledges that there is a progressivism to the left of the Democrats.[6]

  3. February 4, 2021, 5:56 am:

    • I’ve read a bit further into Ezra Klein’s work, which I began discussing in the last update (February 3, 10:40 pm). Klein correctly identifies a problem as being with “us” versus “them” thinking, but then argues that this goes beyond political views into entire lifestyles. If you like Whole Foods, you’re probably a Democrat. If you like Cracker Barrel, you’re probably a Republican. He seems to be thinking that we conform to partisan archetypes in a seeming desperation to align with whichever “us” we identify with.[7]

      This is far too simplistic. Roughly, it aligns with George Lakoff’s “nurturant parent” (Democrat) and “critical father” (Republican) morality systems, but Lakoff was at pains to explain that there would be different emphases among adherents to each morality system.[8]

      My dissertation was all about not treating conservatives monolithically; I identified seven different tendencies, all authoritarian and ideological to be sure, but otherwise strikingly different.[9] Even if we were to merge the three tendencies that comprise Donald Trump’s base, these being authoritarian populism (which actually does embody the hierarchical invidiously monistic thinking that Klein attributes to most of us), paleoconservatism (including white supremacy and neo-Nazism), and social conservatism (mostly evangelical Protestantism), which is still a step beyond my current thinking,[10] we would still have five tendencies on the right.

      Though I have not been as systematic on the left on the left (here viewed broadly as including even mainstream, such as Barack Obama, and conservative, such as Joe Manchin, Democrats, most of whom are neoconservative, a conservative tendency), there are similar differences; but they divide differently, including among those who tend to identify all social inequality as that being the particular form that personally afflicts them. Hillary Clinton, for example, marks herself as a second wave (we’re probably now up to the fourth, albeit ill-defined, wave) feminist by tending to view all social inequality as sexism. My formerly favorite professor (now emeritus) at California State University, East Bay, often reduced social inequality to racism. I’ve seen something similar with sexual and gender minorities, and some progressives focus almost exclusively on class.

      Klein’s error, at least so far, seems to be the opposite extreme from failing to see the forest for the trees. He would not even see separate forests so much as he would notice hardwood forests that often predominate east of the Mississippi and softwood forests that predominate along the west coast. Both characterizations obscure much more than they reveal.

  4. February 4, 2021, 12:11 pm:

    • Please see an update regarding my social network presence on my contact page.

      This is, to say the least, an unfortunate situation. Applying for jobs has been a pathetic failure and I have no functional social network. I had hoped that I might eventually reach someone who might be interested in hiring me through these online networks, but I have no way to reliably avoid running afoul of the artificial idiots that police these networks.

    • I’m finally getting the car back. The total wasn’t as bad as I feared but it’s still bad, close to $1,900.

  5. February 5, 2021, 10:00 pm:

    • The Crack’d Egg is closing its doors while, the owner says, she pursues an appeal.[11]


Allegheny County

So, the Crack’d Egg Restaurant now says it only filed for bankruptcy[12] in what turned out to be, because the bankruptcy judge didn’t allow it, an unsuccessful attempt to evade the Allegheny County Health Department’s lawsuit[13] for flouting pandemic restrictions[14] and now wants to withdraw the filing.[15] This sounds like an abuse of the system to me but I guess that’s what lawyers are for.

Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg restaurant asks to withdraw bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 2, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-restaurant-asks-to-withdraw-bankruptcy-filing/

Paula Reed Ward, “Judge orders Crack’d Egg to follow covid rules or close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 3, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-orders-crackd-egg-to-follow-covid-rules-or-close/

Paul Martino, “After Defying Health Department, Crack’d Egg Follows Judge’s Ruling And Closes,” KDKA Television, February 4, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/02/04/crackd-egg-closes/


Evictions

Andrew Khouri, “Depleted savings, ruined credit: What happens when all the rent comes due?” Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-02-02/rent-debt-worries-grow-covid-strains-tenants


  1. [1]Paula Reed Ward, “Judge orders Crack’d Egg to follow covid rules or close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 3, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-orders-crackd-egg-to-follow-covid-rules-or-close/
  2. [2]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
  3. [3]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
  4. [4]Gertrude Himmelfarb, “Irving Kristol’s Neoconservative Persuasion,” Commentary, February 2011, 25-29.
  5. [5]Mark Berman et al., “Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people,” Washington Post, June 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/protests-spread-over-police-shootings-police-promised-reforms-every-year-they-still-shoot-nearly-1000-people/2020/06/08/5c204f0c-a67c-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html; Kyle Cheney, Sarah Ferris, and Laura Barrón-López, “‘Inside job’: House Dems ask if Capitol rioters had hidden help,” Politico, January 8, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/08/congress-democrats-capitol-riot-inside-job-456725; James Downie, “Time to toss the ‘bad apples’ excuse,” Washington Post, May 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/31/time-toss-bad-apples-excuse/; Kimberly Kindy, Mark Berman, and Kim Bellware, “After Capitol riot, police chiefs work to root out officers with ties to extremist groups,” Washington Post, January 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/police-capitol-riot-extremists/2021/01/24/16fdb2bc-5a7b-11eb-b8bd-ee36b1cd18bf_story.html; Maggie Koerth, “The Police’s Tepid Response To The Capitol Breach Wasn’t An Aberration,” FiveThirtyEight, January 7, 2021, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-polices-tepid-response-to-the-capitol-breach-wasnt-an-aberration/; Kurtis Lee, Jaweed Kaleem, and Laura King, “‘White supremacy was on full display.’ Double standard seen in police response to riot at Capitol,” Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-01-07/la-na-washington-capitol-police-attack-race; Wesley Lowery, “Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no,” Washington Post, July 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more-white-people-than-black-people-killed-by-police-yes-but-no/; Brentin Mock, “What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings,” CityLab, August 6, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/; Elie Mystal, “There’s Only One Possible Conclusion: White America Likes Its Killer Cops,” Nation, May 27, 2020, https://www.thenation.com/article/society/white-america-cops/; Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “How Do We Change America?” New Yorker, June 8, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-do-we-change-america
  6. [6]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
  7. [7]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
  8. [8]George Lakoff, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2002).
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  10. [10]David Benfell, “The seven tendencies of conservatism,” Irregular Bullshit, n.d., https://disunitedstates.com/the-seven-tendencies-of-conservatism/
  11. [11]Paul Martino, “After Defying Health Department, Crack’d Egg Follows Judge’s Ruling And Closes,” KDKA Television, February 4, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/02/04/crackd-egg-closes/
  12. [12]KDKA, “Brentwood Restaurant That Sued Allegheny County Over Coronavirus Restrictions Files For Bankruptcy,” October 9, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/10/09/the-crackd-egg-files-for-bankruptcy/; Paula Reed Ward, “Allegheny County argues Crack’d Egg can’t hide from covid restrictions under bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 5, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/allegheny-county-argues-crackd-egg-cant-hide-from-covid-restrictions-under-bankruptcy-filing/
  13. [13]Paula Reed Ward, “Judge rules against Crack’d Egg, health department case can proceed,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 7, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-rules-against-crackd-egg-health-department-case-can-proceed/; Paula Reed Ward, “Judge to rule on Crack’d Egg restaurant closure order next week,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-to-rule-on-crackd-egg-restaurant-closure-order-next-week/
  14. [14]Paula Reed Ward, “Brentwood restaurant defies order to close for covid-19 violations, faces court action,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 18, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/brentwood-restaurant-defies-order-to-close-for-covid-19-violations-faces-court-action/; Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg flouts shutdown as deputies quarantined for dining, taking photos with owner,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-flouts-shutdown-as-deputies-quarantined-for-dining-taking-photos-with-owner/
  15. [15]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg restaurant asks to withdraw bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 2, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-restaurant-asks-to-withdraw-bankruptcy-filing/

Gambling with money you can’t afford to lose (Update #6)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 28, 2021, 11:50 am.

  2. January 28, 2021, 9:48 pm:

    • Robinhood, a brokerage that supposedly “democratizes” trading in stocks is restricting trading[1] on stocks that were targeted by short-selling hedge funds and then in a countermove by retail investors to squeeze the hedge funds.[2] I saw plenty of shrieking about hypocrisy on my Twitter feed and it appears my tweeps actually have a point.[3]

  3. January 29, 2021, 3:41 am:

    • Short-sellers on targeted stocks in the GameStop squeeze lost an estimated nearly $71 billion.[4] Poor babies.

  4. January 29, 2021, 12:12 pm, revised 3:01 pm:

  5. January 29, 2021, 1:15 pm:

    • Robinhood has partly rescinded its freeze on GameStop squeeze transactions.[5]

  6. January 29, 2021, 3:01 pm:


Donald Trump

When paleoconservatives, the tendency of conservatism that includes neo-Nazis and white supremacists, say something like this, it’s “Blacks and browns” who pose the perceived threat:

Asked earlier by a recruit what to prepare for, [Jessica Marie] Watkins allegedly wrote in November that if [Joe] Biden became president, “our way of life as we know it is over. Our Republic would be over. Then it is our duty as Americans to fight, kill and die for our rights.”

“If Biden get the steal, none of us have a chance in my mind. We already have our neck in the noose. They just haven’t kicked the chair yet,” she said, according to the indictment.[6]

In this case, it’s Joe Biden or the government, which in my mind, brings it back to authoritarian populism. But it is a paleoconservative level of paranoia.

Spencer S. Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman, “Self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits, weapons ahead of Capitol breach, U.S. alleges,” Washington Post, January 27, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/self-styled-militia-members-in-three-states-began-planning-in-novembe-for-recruits-weapons-ahead-of-capitol-breach-us-alleges/2021/01/27/f13b0bfc-60b9-11eb-9061-07abcc1f9229_story.html


Hedge funds

The picture I was getting on Twitter is largely consistent with the New York Times account of small “investors” deciding to stick it to hedge funds by buying shares in stocks that the funds had decided to “short,” running the value of those stocks up, “squeezing” the funds.[7]

The underlying sentiment is generally a lot like this:

In short, revenge against billionaires who’ve gotten a lot richer even before the pandemic,[8] but especially during the pandemic,[9] while a lot of people have lost their jobs and face poverty and eviction.[10] Some are parroting back the lines that victim-blamers have aimed at them:

And that’s pretty much how the New York Times has it:

Ben Patte, 16, a high school student in Wisconsin who said he made $750 off GameStop stock, said the campaign felt like vindication for himself and fellow young traders. “It’s a good opportunity to make money and stick it to the hedge funds,” he said. “By buying GameStop, it’s kind of like beating them at their own game.”

No one knows how this ends. Some analysts say the intense activity could eventually prompt a wider sell-off in the market by forcing hedge funds on the losing side of these trades to sell parts of their portfolios to raise cash to cover their losses. . . .

Justin Speak, 27, an evangelical pastor in California, and his wife, who recently left her job to raise their children, have made $1,700 off GameStop in the past week. Mr. Speak said that so far they had mainly put the money toward a new bed. He described a sense of frustration at how well those in the financial sector have done since the financial crisis of 2008.

“There’s a catharsis to actually making money off their pain a little bit,” he said of his modest earnings from GameStop. His wife put it more bluntly: “Eat the rich.”[11]

The risk of that wider sell-off[12] is, of course, there, and that ultimately hurts the folks pushing this. The rich are gambling with money they can afford to lose; these folks aren’t. Which means capitalism wins again, at least in the interim.

It’s probably also worth noting that Elon Musk, who is very much among the winners[13] in this pandemic-associated widening of social inequality,[14] and notorious for despising short-selling, helped publicize this effort.[15]

Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html

Eric Levitz, “Robinhood Banning GameStop Proves the Free Market Is a Lie,” New York, January 28, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/01/robinhood-ban-gamestop-share-price-explained.html

Sujata Rao, “Losses on short positions in U.S. firms top $70 billion – Ortex data,” Reuters, January 28, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-retail-trading-shortbets-idUSKBN29X1SW

Kevin Stankiewicz, “Leon Cooperman on GameStop Reddit speculators: ‘I’m not damning them’ but it will ‘end in tears,’” CNBC, January 28, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/28/leon-cooperman-on-gamestop-reddit-speculators-im-not-damning-them-but-it-will-end-in-tears.html

Hamza Shaban, “GameStop stock roars back after Robinhood lifts trading freeze,” Washington Post, January 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/01/29/gamestop-stocks-robinhood-reddit/


  1. [1]Eric Levitz, “Robinhood Banning GameStop Proves the Free Market Is a Lie,” New York, January 28, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/01/robinhood-ban-gamestop-share-price-explained.html
  2. [2]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html
  3. [3]Eric Levitz, “Robinhood Banning GameStop Proves the Free Market Is a Lie,” New York, January 28, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/01/robinhood-ban-gamestop-share-price-explained.html
  4. [4]Sujata Rao, “Losses on short positions in U.S. firms top $70 billion – Ortex data,” Reuters, January 28, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-retail-trading-shortbets-idUSKBN29X1SW
  5. [5]Hamza Shaban, “GameStop stock roars back after Robinhood lifts trading freeze,” Washington Post, January 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/01/29/gamestop-stocks-robinhood-reddit/
  6. [6]Spencer S. Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman, “Self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits, weapons ahead of Capitol breach, U.S. alleges,” Washington Post, January 27, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/self-styled-militia-members-in-three-states-began-planning-in-novembe-for-recruits-weapons-ahead-of-capitol-breach-us-alleges/2021/01/27/f13b0bfc-60b9-11eb-9061-07abcc1f9229_story.html
  7. [7]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html
  8. [8]Nick Hanauer and David M. Rolf, “The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure,” Time, September 14, 2020, https://time.com/5888024/50-trillion-income-inequality-america/
  9. [9]Charles Lane, “The rich got richer during the pandemic. We need to claw back their gains,” Washington Post, January 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-rich-got-richer-during-the-pandemic-we-need-to-claw-back-their-gains/2021/01/25/d17c8a44-5f32-11eb-9430-e7c77b5b0297_story.html
  10. [10]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; Regina Garcia Cano and Michael Casey, “Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states,” Associated Press, August 4, 2020, copy in possession of author; 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/; Kriston Capps, “Landlords Challenge U.S. Eviction Ban and Continue to Oust Renters,” CityLab, October 22, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-22/landlords-launch-legal-attack-on-cdc-eviction-ban; Michelle Conlin and Christopher Walljasper, “Time’s up: After a reprieve, a wave of evictions expected across U.S.,” Reuters, October 19, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-housing-eviction-insight/times-up-after-a-reprieve-a-wave-of-evictions-expected-across-u-s-idUKKBN27415U; John Fritze and Nicholas Wu, “Trump administration announces nationwide eviction moratorium through end of the year,” USA Today, September 1, 2020, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/01/trump-imposes-eviction-moratorium-because-covid-19-pandemic/5686402002/; Sam Levin, “California landlords are locking out struggling tenants. A ‘tsunami of evictions’ may be next,” Guardian, July 30, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/30/california-covid-19-evictions-landlords-tenants; Eric Levitz, “This Recession Is a Bigger Housing Crisis Than 2008,” New York, July 13, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/coronavirus-recession-evictions-crisis-congress.html; Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/; Heather Long, “Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer,” Washington Post, December 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/16/poverty-rising/; 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/; Gretchen Morgenson, “Large corporate landlords have filed 10,000 eviction actions in five states since September,” NBC News, October 26, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/business/personal-finance/large-corporate-landlords-have-filed-10-000-eviction-actions-five-n1244711; Will Parker, “Struggling Rental Market Could Usher in Next American Housing Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/struggling-rental-market-could-usher-in-next-american-housing-crisis-11603791000; Jenny Schuetz, “America’s inequitable housing system is completely unprepared for coronavirus,” Brookings, March 12, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/03/12/americas-inequitable-housing-system-is-completely-unprepared-for-coronavirus/; Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/
  11. [11]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html
  12. [12]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html
  13. [13]Charles Lane, “The rich got richer during the pandemic. We need to claw back their gains,” Washington Post, January 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-rich-got-richer-during-the-pandemic-we-need-to-claw-back-their-gains/2021/01/25/d17c8a44-5f32-11eb-9430-e7c77b5b0297_story.html
  14. [14]Heather Long, “The recession is over for the rich, but the working class is far from recovered,” Washington Post, August 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/13/recession-is-over-rich-working-class-is-far-recovered/
  15. [15]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html

On the second day after Christmas (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 27, 2020, at 11:14 am.

  2. December 27, 2020, 11:12 pm:

    • Clearly, I am not the only one peeved about the snow plowing in Pittsburgh, as a council member, whose district includes Carrick, is raising Cain, in response, he says, to complaints.[1]

      That said, the roads were generally a whole lot better today, except in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Carrick and in the City of McKeesport. I was wondering if the fact that the temperature had risen to over forty degrees had something to do with it, but then saw the streets in Carrick, and figured I knew who was on the snow plowing shit list.

      I saw one snow plow today, parked with its lights going in the South Side, where there was no need for plowing (although I didn’t go through the South Side Slopes, a steep neighborhood with some excruciatingly narrow streets, one of which I got into trouble on yesterday). I am charitably presuming the operator was taking a break. And I am deeply suspicious that I might be being much too charitable.

      Then I got home and saw the snow, which had been several inches deep, had melted completely off in places with a southern exposure and not just in places where kids might be snowboarding downhill. So I don’t know.

      Whatever the explanation, the fact that you could cross the city limits in any direction and find roads in generally better shape even when the blizzard was in full force has to raise some questions.

    • Donald Trump reportedly signed the COVID-19 economic relief bill[2] he had earlier criticized,[3] but not before additional unemployment benefits had lapsed.[4] Whether Trump gets the $2,000 direct payment, rather than the $600, remains to be seen.[5]


Depression

The additional unemployment benefits that boosted payments and also helped the usually unassisted self-employed that were included with an earlier COVID-19 relief bill[6] have now expired,[7] and the finger pointing has begun:

But both parties dithered for months[8] because there are exactly two real goals here:

  1. Uphold neoliberal dogma so as to protect the rich (the “donor” class).[9]
  2. Blame the other party for upholding or for allegedly but not really failing to uphold neoliberal dogma.

Meanwhile, millions face homelessness.[10] Millions have been pushed into poverty.[11]

Natalie Andrews and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump Signs Covid-19 Aid Bill Averting Government Shutdown,” Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-signs-covid-19-aid-bill-averting-government-shutdown-11609117841

Tami Luhby, Sarah Westwood, and Nikki Carvajal, “Unemployment benefits lapse for jobless Americans as Trump holds out on signing relief bill,” CNN, December 27, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/26/politics/unemployment-benefits-stimulus-relief-bill/index.html


Pittsburgh

KDKA Television, “Pittsburgh Councilman Publicly Criticizes ‘Unacceptable’ State Of Roads After Snowfall,” December 27, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/12/27/pittsburgh-councilman-publicly-criticizes-unacceptable-state-of-roads-after-snowfall/


  1. [1]KDKA Television, “Pittsburgh Councilman Publicly Criticizes ‘Unacceptable’ State Of Roads After Snowfall,” December 27, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/12/27/pittsburgh-councilman-publicly-criticizes-unacceptable-state-of-roads-after-snowfall/
  2. [2]Natalie Andrews and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump Signs Covid-19 Aid Bill Averting Government Shutdown,” Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-signs-covid-19-aid-bill-averting-government-shutdown-11609117841
  3. [3]Rebecca Ballhaus, “Trump Asks Congress to Amend Covid-19 Package, Boost Direct Payments,” Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-asks-congress-to-amend-covid-19-package-boost-direct-payments-11608684702
  4. [4]Natalie Andrews and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump Signs Covid-19 Aid Bill Averting Government Shutdown,” Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-signs-covid-19-aid-bill-averting-government-shutdown-11609117841; Tami Luhby, Sarah Westwood, and Nikki Carvajal, “Unemployment benefits lapse for jobless Americans as Trump holds out on signing relief bill,” CNN, December 27, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/26/politics/unemployment-benefits-stimulus-relief-bill/index.html
  5. [5]Suzanne Malveaux, Phil Mattingly, and Clare Foran, “House fails to pass measure to increase stimulus checks to $2,000,” CNN, December 24, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/24/politics/house-vote-stimulus-checks-government/index.html
  6. [6]Sarah Ferris et al., “House passes sweeping coronavirus response package,” Politico, March 14, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/13/congress-coronavirus-stimulus-package-deal-friday-128140; Tami Luhby, Sarah Westwood, and Nikki Carvajal, “Unemployment benefits lapse for jobless Americans as Trump holds out on signing relief bill,” CNN, December 27, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/26/politics/unemployment-benefits-stimulus-relief-bill/index.html; Michael Hirsh, “Is $2 Trillion Too Little, Too Late?” Foreign Policy, March 25, 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/24/us-congress-2-trillion-rescue-package-too-little-too-late/; Manu Raju et al., “White House, Senate reach historic $2 trillion stimulus deal amid growing coronavirus fears,” CNN, March 25, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/25/politics/stimulus-senate-action-coronavirus/index.html; Jeff Stein et al., “Senate Republicans release massive economic stimulus bill for coronavirus response,” Washington Post, March 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/19/trump-coronavirus-economic-plan-stimulus/; Jim Tankersley and Ben Casselman, “Washington Weighs Big Bailouts to Help U.S. Economy Survive Coronavirus,” New York Times, March 18, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/business/bailout-economy-coronavirus.html; Erica Werner, Mike DeBonis, and Paul Kane, “Senate passes $2 trillion bill to blunt coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact, as households and businesses gasp for relief,” Washington Post, March 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/26/senate-trump-coronavirus-economic-stimulus-2-trillion/; Erica Werner, Paul Kane, and Mike DeBonis, “Trump signs $2 trillion coronavirus bill into law as companies and households brace for more economic pain,” Washington Post, March 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/03/27/congress-coronavirus-house-vote/
  7. [7]Tami Luhby, Sarah Westwood, and Nikki Carvajal, “Unemployment benefits lapse for jobless Americans as Trump holds out on signing relief bill,” CNN, December 27, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/26/politics/unemployment-benefits-stimulus-relief-bill/index.html; Suzanne Malveaux, Phil Mattingly, and Clare Foran, “House fails to pass measure to increase stimulus checks to $2,000,” CNN, December 24, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/24/politics/house-vote-stimulus-checks-government/index.html
  8. [8]Paul Kane, “Congress deeply unpopular again as gridlock on coronavirus relief has real-life consequences,” Washington Post, August 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/congress-deeply-unpopular-again-as-gridlock-on-coronavirus-relief-has-real-life-consequences/2020/07/31/6d2f10c4-d36a-11ea-8c55-61e7fa5e82ab_story.html
  9. [9]David Benfell, “A piper needs paying,” Not Housebroken, December 24, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/12/19/a-piper-needs-paying/
  10. [10]Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/
  11. [11]Heather Long, “Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer,” Washington Post, December 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/16/poverty-rising/

The curious logic of Mitch McConnell (update #7)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 16, 2020, 7:28 am.

  2. December 16, 10:15 am:


    • Fig. 1. “‘Are we there yet?’” Cartoon by David Sipress for the New Yorker, December 15, 2020, fair use.

  3. December 16, 2:50 pm:

    • I’m back home, safely.


      Fig. 2. Photograph by author, December 16, 2020, on Lebanon Road, West Mifflin.

      I tried going out to do the usual Uber thing but found I lacked sufficient traction for safe braking on parts of Streets Run Road even as I was on my way to my first order. I got the lady where she was going and went off line.

      People are driving conservatively, quite an adjustment for me after a year and a half of 25 miles per hour over the limit being the norm (it’s reckless and an automatic suspension where I come from), but even so, I was delayed getting home due to a collision on Lebanon Road (figure 2). Lebanon Road is a heavily traveled road and there wasn’t a snowplow in sight.

    • I don’t even have any idea what to say. It’s not like it should even remotely be a surprise that poverty in the U.S. is skyrocketing[1] along with shoplifting.[2] Because—yet another utter and complete non-surprise—the elites don’t give a fuck.[3] Social scientists have only been telling us about the link between so-called “common crime” and poverty for, like, forever.[4]

  4. December 16, 8:15 pm:

    • I wound up not going back out. I looked at the weather forecast and decided that if the snowplows weren’t already caught up, which they weren’t, they weren’t going to be before morning. My Twitter feed is full of reports of collisions in the area. I’m glad I wasn’t out.


      Fig. 3. Photography by author, December 16, 2020. My idea of Christmas trees. Alive, in the ground, and unadorned with useless crap. There was a third tree that unfortunately got toppled in a recent windstorm.

  5. December 17, 10:05 am:

    • This might be another day at home. From what I’m able to gather, the roads are still a mess, with more snow expected later this afternoon.

      This isn’t an easy call. It’s a slow time of year anyway. I need to make the money I can because even at the best of times, my margin is pretty thin.

  6. December 17, 2:44 pm:

  7. December 18, 8:46 am:


Mitch McConnell

I need to begin here by emphasizing that I am not in favor of Donald Trump serving another four years. I don’t support Joe Biden either, but that’s another issue.

At stake here is a final effort among Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to overturn the election results in which Biden won and Trump lost. It apparently requires 1) at least one representative and at least one senator to bring the matter to a vote, and 2) the assent of both the House and the Senate to reject some electoral college votes. This is not forthcoming in the Democrat-controlled House so, just as the Democrats in the House can pass bills that sound progressive but remain true to neoliberal dogma with the assurance that they are dead on arrival in the Senate, the Senate could pass such a rejection with absolutely no fear that it would pass the House.[5] Senate Republicans would have expressed their fealty to Trump and Georgia Trumpsters might be a little less convinced that Republicans have not done enough to “defend” Trump, thus improving the likelihood that Republicans would win the upcoming Senate runoffs in Georgia.[6]

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is worried that Republican senators would feel compelled to vote against the move and thus decline Trump his “defense,” leading to a catastrophe in 2022 and therefore urges senators against supporting it. I don’t understand that. Because this is in any case dead in the House. Republican senators could remain true to Trumpism by supporting the rejection with no fear that it would pass the House.[7] It would be a toothless move.

Marianne Levine and Melanie Zanona, “McConnell warns Senate Republicans against challenging election results,” Politico, December 15, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/15/mcconnell-gop-election-results-445524


Depression

Heather Long, “Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer,” Washington Post, December 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/16/poverty-rising/


  1. [1]Heather Long, “Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer,” Washington Post, December 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/16/poverty-rising/
  2. [2]Abha Bhattarai and Hannah Denham, “Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic,” Washington Post, December 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/10/pandemic-shoplifting-hunger/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “The mysterious expectation that elites give a damn,” Not Housebroken, December 9, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/01/the-mysterious-expectation-that-elites-give-a-damn/
  4. [4]Steven E. Barkan, Criminology: A Sociological Understanding, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006); Robert K. Merton, “Social Structure and Anomie,” in Social Theory, ed. Charles Lemert, 6th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2017), 181-190; Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  5. [5]Marianne Levine and Melanie Zanona, “McConnell warns Senate Republicans against challenging election results,” Politico, December 15, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/15/mcconnell-gop-election-results-445524
  6. [6]Greg Sargent, “Georgia Republicans beg Trump to release them from his prison of lies,” Washington Post, December 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/12/01/georgia-republicans-beg-trump-release-them-his-prison-lies/; Christina Zhao, “Pro-Trump Rally Chants ‘Destroy the GOP,’ Boos Georgia ‘RINOs,’” Loeffler and Perdue,” Newsweek, December 12, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/pro-trump-rally-chants-destroy-gop-boos-georgia-rinos-loeffler-perdue-1554354
  7. [7]Marianne Levine and Melanie Zanona, “McConnell warns Senate Republicans against challenging election results,” Politico, December 15, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/15/mcconnell-gop-election-results-445524

More than 1,500 lawyers call for Donald Trump’s lawyers to be investigated and disbarred (Update #6)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 9, 2020, 10:47 am.

  2. December 10, 10:00 am:

    • As Donald Trump seems increasingly to be exhausting his avenues to overturn the election results in the courts, he, of course, still refuses to concede defeat and is now pressuring Republicans in Congress to reject electoral college slates. It doesn’t sound like this effort will be any more fruitful.[1] But Congress, of course, is a political arena rather than a legal one, and it’s clear that Republicans remain cowed by Trump’s base.

      As this drags on, something the rest of us need to consider is that this is not really about fraud in any legal sense. Trump has been abusing the court system with frivolous and utterly unfounded challenges to the results.[2]

      What it is about, even as the campaign posters, flags, and banners start to come down, is that Trump is still able to raise huge amounts of money claiming fraud. Trump may indeed be a grifter,[3] exploiting the most aggrieved tendencies (authoritarian populism and social conservatism) that form his base. But as warped as the rest of us might believe it to be, some are even engaging in uncivil disobedience, verging on violence.[4] Even to the extent we may suspect that the louder their protests, the more desperate their plea for validation,[5] we need to understand that they are losing their hero, they believe they are losing “their” “democracy,”[6] and, to them, this result seems profoundly unjust, exacerbating their sense of grievance.

      The real story of Trump’s fraud allegations won’t be over even when it is.

  3. December 10, 1:27 pm:

    • The Arizona Republican Party denies it condones violence but asked its followers on Twitter if they were willing to die to overturn the election results.[7]

    • Gee, Robert Merton might’ve told you this’d happen. He argued that if you don’t give people socially approved means of achieving socially approved ends, they’ll resort to other means.[8] I think he was talking about climbing the ladder of social mobility, which in the U.S., has a few rungs missing anyway.[9] But now, with Congress failing to pass an economic relief package for the pandemic, guess what? Shoplifting of essentials like food, diapers, and feminine hygiene products is skyrocketing.[10]

  4. December 10, 9:44 pm:

  5. December 11, 12:00 noon:

    • I have updated an old blog post from August, entitled “The Donald Trump supporters’ campaign message: Fuck Your Feelings.” Reprising what has happened since the election, I note that “the sheer delight Trumpsters take in vicious cruelty toward others, even when they don’t take it so well themselves, a persistent bullying that raises doubt that the political divisions in the country can be resolved, for they derive not so much from politics as from psychological impairment.”[11]

      It is, of course, impolite to observe psychological impairment and in my dissertation I declined to address the psychology of conservatism as a distraction from the issues conservatives of various tendencies raise.[12] I am not a psychologist and so it is difficult for me to delve deeply into the psychology of conservatism, especially Trumpism, anyway. But it’s clear that the remove I chose for my dissertation is no longer appropriate.

  6. December 11, 11:00 pm:


    • Fig. 1. Photograph by author, December 11, 2020.

    • I had regarded the calls for and threats—both implicit and explicit—of violence[13] to overturn the election results, even as the court system resoundingly rejects legal efforts toward the same end,[14] principally as an authoritarian populist phenomenon, though I thought surely that some extremist paleoconservatives (including white supremacists) would surely join in.

      It seems I was wrong. At least one social conservative has echoed that call. I should emphasize here that the author of this article, Rod Dreher, is, I believe, a traditionalist conservative, normally sympathetic with social conservatives. I don’t agree with him on much. But he expresses horror at his friend’s call for bloodshed.[15]

      Dreher skillfully describes the hysteria that is at work here. He is alarmed[16] and I am alarmed: If enough people call for violence, some people will be violent, especially when they believe their god commands it.

      This seems to underscore my recent thinking that the distinctions I drew between authoritarian populists, paleoconservatives, and social conservatives in my dissertation, even given that such distinctions are fuzzy,[17] are really rather dubious.[18]

    • The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed Texas’ attempt to overturn the election results from four states.[19]

      Lawsuits continue around the country, and [Donald] Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani said on Newsmax, “We’re not finished, believe me.” But the Texas case was the one upon which the president and his allies had pinned their hopes, and time is almost up.

      The election results have been certified in each state, and the electoral college is to meet Monday. [Joe] Biden has 306 electoral votes, exactly the number Trump had when he was elected in 2016. But while Trump lost the popular vote then, Biden has an advantage of more than 7 million votes.[20]


Donald Trump

Following a series of bogus legal challenges,[21] the U.S. Supreme Court rejected without comment a bid to overturn the Pennsylvania election results[22] and more than 1,500 lawyers have signed a letter calling for Donald Trump’s lawyers to be investigated and disbarred.[23]

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html

Kim Bellware and John Wagner, “Letter from 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie,’” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/08/trump-lawyer-letter/

Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/

Sophie Lewis, “Arizona Republican Party asks followers if they’re willing to die to overturn election results,” CBS News, December 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/arizona-republican-party-twitter-election-results-death-overturn/

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html


Depression

An eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the year with high unemployment and many people thousands of dollars behind on the rent. There is still no meaningful relief in sight.[24]

Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/

Abha Bhattarai and Hannah Denham, “Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic,” Washington Post, December 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/10/pandemic-shoplifting-hunger/


  1. [1]Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey, and Tom Hamburger, “Trump pressures congressional Republicans to help in his fight to overturn the election,” Washington Post, December 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-republicans-biden-election/2020/12/09/abd596ea-3a4e-11eb-9276-ae0ca72729be_story.html
  2. [2]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html; Kim Bellware and John Wagner, “Letter from 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie,’” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/08/trump-lawyer-letter/; Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/11/trump-lawyers-suffer-embarrassing-rebukes-judges-over-voter-fraud-claims/; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Donald Trump’s brutal day in court,” Politico, December 4, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Stephanie Saul, “Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results,” New York Times, November 17, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/us/politics/lindsey-graham-georgia-trump-biden.html; Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge to consider whether to dismiss case filed by Trump campaign in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/federal-judge-to-consider-whether-to-dismiss-case-filed-by-trump-campaign-in-pa/; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html
  3. [3]John Cassidy, “Donald Trump’s Latest Grift May Be His Most Cynical Yet,” New Yorker, December 3, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/donald-trumps-latest-grift-may-be-his-most-cynical-yet; Simon Lewis, “Trump unveils $207 million fundraising haul after election in effort to overturn result,” Reuters, December 3, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-fundraising/trump-unveils-207-million-fundraising-haul-after-election-in-effort-to-overturn-result-idUSKBN28E012; Peter Slevin, “Trump’s Election-Fraud Bluster Finds an Audience,” New Yorker, December 5, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-political-scene/donald-trumps-election-fraud-bluster-finds-an-audience
  4. [4]Mark Bray, “Trump’s Baseless Fraud Accusations Are Already Sparking Far Right Violence,” Truthout, November 9, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-baseless-fraud-accusations-are-already-sparking-far-right-violence/; Marissa J. Lang et al., “After thousands of Trump supporters rally in D.C., violence erupts when night falls,” Washington Post, November 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/11/14/million-maga-march-dc-protests/; Ciara O’Rourke, “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government,” Politico, December 9, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right-group-infiltrate-local-government-texas-443773; Katie Shepherd, “Armed protesters alleging voter fraud surrounded the home of Michigan’s secretary of state,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/12/07/michigan-sos-benson-armed-protest/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Doubting the ‘Fox News bubble,’” Not Housebroken, October 11, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/07/doubting-the-fox-news-bubble/
  6. [6]Marc Fisher, “The end of democracy? To many Americans, the future looks dark if the other side wins,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/end-of-democracy-election/2020/10/25/3b8c0940-13d0-11eb-ba42-ec6a580836ed_story.html; Owen Jones, “Even if Biden wins, the world will pay the price for the Democrats’ failures,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/biden-democrats-democratic-trump; Nathan Robinson, “Trump should have lost in a landslide. The fact that he didn’t speaks volumes,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/trump-should-have-lost-in-a-landslide-the-fact-that-he-didnt-speaks-volumes; Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, “Election reveals deeper divides between red and blue America,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/america-divided-rural-urban/2020/11/04/8ddac854-1ebf-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html; Greg Sargent, “Georgia Republicans beg Trump to release them from his prison of lies,” Washington Post, December 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/12/01/georgia-republicans-beg-trump-release-them-his-prison-lies/; Peter Slevin, “Trump’s Election-Fraud Bluster Finds an Audience,” New Yorker, December 5, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-political-scene/donald-trumps-election-fraud-bluster-finds-an-audience; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trumpism is here to stay,” Washington Post, November 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/11/05/trumpism-here-to-stay/
  7. [7]Sophie Lewis, “Arizona Republican Party asks followers if they’re willing to die to overturn election results,” CBS News, December 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/arizona-republican-party-twitter-election-results-death-overturn/
  8. [8]Robert K. Merton, “Social Structure and Anomie,” in Social Theory, ed. Charles Lemert, 6th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2017), 181-190.
  9. [9]Claude S. Fischer et al., “Why Inequality?” In Great Divides, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), 9-15; Jay MacLeod, “Social Immobility in the Land of Opportunity, in Great Divides, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), 22-26.
  10. [10]Abha Bhattarai and Hannah Denham, “Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic,” Washington Post, December 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/10/pandemic-shoplifting-hunger/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “The Donald Trump supporters’ campaign message: Fuck Your Feelings,” Not Housebroken, December 11, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/26/the-donald-trump-supporters-campaign-message-fuck-your-feelings/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  13. [13]Mark Bray, “Trump’s Baseless Fraud Accusations Are Already Sparking Far Right Violence,” Truthout, November 9, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-baseless-fraud-accusations-are-already-sparking-far-right-violence/; Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/; Marissa J. Lang et al., “After thousands of Trump supporters rally in D.C., violence erupts when night falls,” Washington Post, November 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/11/14/million-maga-march-dc-protests/; Ciara O’Rourke, “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government,” Politico, December 9, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right-group-infiltrate-local-government-texas-443773; Katie Shepherd, “Armed protesters alleging voter fraud surrounded the home of Michigan’s secretary of state,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/12/07/michigan-sos-benson-armed-protest/
  14. [14]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html; Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html; Kim Bellware and John Wagner, “Letter from 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie,’” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/08/trump-lawyer-letter/; Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/11/trump-lawyers-suffer-embarrassing-rebukes-judges-over-voter-fraud-claims/; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Donald Trump’s brutal day in court,” Politico, December 4, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Stephanie Saul, “Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results,” New York Times, November 17, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/us/politics/lindsey-graham-georgia-trump-biden.html; Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge to consider whether to dismiss case filed by Trump campaign in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/federal-judge-to-consider-whether-to-dismiss-case-filed-by-trump-campaign-in-pa/; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html
  15. [15]Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/
  16. [16]Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/
  17. [17]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  18. [18]David Benfell, “The seven tendencies of conservatism,” Irregular Bullshit, n.d., https://disunitedstates.com/the-seven-tendencies-of-conservatism/
  19. [19]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html
  20. [20]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html
  21. [21]Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/11/trump-lawyers-suffer-embarrassing-rebukes-judges-over-voter-fraud-claims/; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Donald Trump’s brutal day in court,” Politico, December 4, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Stephanie Saul, “Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results,” New York Times, November 17, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/us/politics/lindsey-graham-georgia-trump-biden.html; Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge to consider whether to dismiss case filed by Trump campaign in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/federal-judge-to-consider-whether-to-dismiss-case-filed-by-trump-campaign-in-pa/; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html
  22. [22]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html
  23. [23]Kim Bellware and John Wagner, “Letter from 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie,’” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/08/trump-lawyer-letter/
  24. [24]Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/

Pollyanna and ‘horrible, racist, mean-spirited people’ (Update #4)

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 5, 8:54 am.

  2. November 5, 2020, 9:52 am:

  3. November 5, 10:10 am:

    • Regarding the tweet in the previous update,

  4. November 5, 11:09 pm:

    • Yesterday (November 4), I wrote,

      Win or lose, it speaks volumes that the Democratic Party has done so poorly both in political practice and in the election against an incumbent who mishandled the pandemic for all the wrong reasons, as I previously put it,

      politically, economically (also enabling capitalist greed to compound the problem),[1] and medically,[2] with devastating consequences. In addition to all that, Donald Trump recklessly recommended absurdly dangerous non-remedies like hydroxychloroquine[3][4]

      This is not credible opposition and the Democrats’ record of complicity[5] suggests they are something else entirely.[6]

      Donald Trump is, after all, a contender for the worst president in U.S. history,[7] but two days after the election, we still don’t know for sure who won because the race is so close:[8]

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 50 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 99 Donald Trump 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 84 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 90 Donald Trump 20

      Indeed, it’s taking so long for Pennsylvania to flip Biden’s way that I’m starting to wonder if it’s actually going to happen. And, really, Georgia is still too close to call at 99 percent counted?

      Today (November 5), Owen Jones begins,

      How could the electoral circumstances for the US Democrats have been more favourable? A quarter of a million Americans have died in a pandemic bungled by the incumbent president, and at least 6 million have consequently been driven into poverty. The coronavirus crisis is the devastating climax of a presidency defined by hundreds of scandals, many of which alone, in normal circumstances, could have destroyed the political career of whoever occupied the White House.

      Despite having the active support of almost the entire US press, Joe Biden’s victory looks to be far narrower than predicted. During the Democratic primaries, Biden’s cheerleaders argued that his socialist challenger Bernie Sanders would repel Florida’s voters, and yet Donald Trump has triumphed in the sunshine state. They argued that his “unelectable” rival would risk the Senate and down-ballot races, yet the Republicans may retain control of the Senate, and Democrats are haemorrhaging seats in the House of Representatives.[9]

      Nathan Robinson chimes in,

      But [Joe] Biden didn’t offer a clear and compelling alternative [to Donald Trump]. He was a weak candidate from the start, so much so that even some of his allies were worried what would happen if he won the primary. Biden, like Hillary Clinton before him, represented the corporate wing of the Democratic party; he loudly defended the private health insurance industry and the fracking industry from attacks by the left. He ran away from proposals favored by the Democratic base like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. He didn’t show much interest in courting core constituencies like Latino voters (reportedly, the Biden campaign did not consider them part of its “path to victory”, which helps explain the losses in Texas and Florida). Biden didn’t even put much energy into the campaign; at crucial moments when Trump’s team were knocking on a million doors a week, Biden’s was reportedly knocking on zero. His ground game in important swing states like Michigan was “invisible”.[10]

      Shortly before the election, my mom called (I suspect due to the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg[11] and the then-impending battle to replace her), desperate for me to vote Democratic as I live in a swing state, Pennsylvania. I told her I couldn’t do it (I voted a straight Green Party ticket, omitting contests where no Green Party candidate was available). Jones explains why, in voting for Democrats, I would be voting for my own continued impoverishment.[12] Robinson castigates the Democrats for “insanity,” as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,”[13] and really that’s what I would be doing in voting for Democrats. Sorry, Mom, but no. I’ve suffered way too many shit jobs and way more than enough unemployment, poverty, gig work, and inability to get a real job already, even in over 19 years, even with a Ph.D.,[14] all in large part due to a bipartisan neoconservative/neoliberal consensus.

      The Democrats will never ever again get my vote. Any more than the Republicans ever could.


Election

There were lots of updates to the last issue. At this point, I’m assuming Joe Biden won. That doesn’t solve much because Donald Trump has exposed just how prevalent white supremacism and a vicious attitude toward some subaltern groups are. Even if Trump goes away, the people he enabled aren’t.

The election makes obvious that Trump was not an aberration. That he has done as well as he has,[15] despite being one of the worst presidents in U.S. history,[16] speaks both to the patheticism of the Democratic Party and to a substantial portion of the U.S. population that wants more of the same.

Should the Democratic nominee prevail, [Jim] Doyle said, “Joe Biden has to rise to the occasion almost to FDR, as a Democrat might say, or to Reagan, as a Republican might say, proportions. Half the country are not horrible, racist, mean-spirited people who are different from everybody else. It can’t be. And roughly half the country voted for Trump.”[17]

Jim Doyle is flatly wrong. “Half the country,” more when you count neoliberals, are indeed “horrible, racist, mean-spirited people” (figure 1). Denying that doesn’t change the reality and it doesn’t change the reality of a political polarization that has prevailed at least since Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Fig. 1. Photograph by author, August 25, 2020.

We should also be clear that Republicans are likely retaining control of the Senate under the obstructionist Mitch McConnell, and that Democrats will have a reduced majority in the House of Representatives. There is absolutely no sign[18] that the Republicans will have the ‘epiphany’ that Biden predicted[19] and we are foolish to imagine that they will.

Now, as to the count, the only thing that has changed since last night is the percentages counted:[20]

State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
Alaska 50 Donald Trump 3
Georgia 98 Donald Trump 16
North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
Nevada 75 Joe Biden 6
Pennsylvania 89 Donald Trump 20

My presumption remains that the late counts are likely to break Biden’s way and that this will flip Pennsylvania.

Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, “Election reveals deeper divides between red and blue America,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/america-divided-rural-urban/2020/11/04/8ddac854-1ebf-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html

Owen Jones, “Even if Biden wins, the world will pay the price for the Democrats’ failures,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/biden-democrats-democratic-trump

Nathan Robinson, “Trump should have lost in a landslide. The fact that he didn’t speaks volumes,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/trump-should-have-lost-in-a-landslide-the-fact-that-he-didnt-speaks-volumes

Ishaan Tharoor, “Trumpism is here to stay,” Washington Post, November 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/11/05/trumpism-here-to-stay/


Polls

The polls got the election wrong, again,[21] and Mona Chalabi critiques the idea of a representative sample,[22] but there really should be no mystery as to why the polls were wrong. With survey methodology, the response rate should be ninety percent. It has dropped to six or seven percent,[23] which is to scream at the top of one’s lungs that people who respond to polls are a self-selecting group, little better than a convenience sample, who cannot speak for those who do not respond. That’s what Valerie Sue taught me when I took my first methods class back at California State University, East Bay, in the early 2000s, and I don’t care what games you play: She’s still right.

Chalabi has a point in that people are demographically complex[24]—indeed, this is what kyriarchy is all about—but the point of a representative sample is that you capture that complexity to get an accurate picture of the larger population. As with all quantitative research, we are dealing not so much with diversity as we are with aggregates. The problem here is that we are not getting representative samples, indeed, not anything even remotely close. Because the response rates are abysmal.[25]

David A. Graham, “The Polling Crisis Is a Catastrophe for American Democracy,” Atlantic, November 4, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/polling-catastrophe/616986/

Mona Chalabi, “The pollsters were wrong – again. Here’s what we know so far,” Guardian, November 4, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2020/nov/04/the-pollsters-were-wrong-again-heres-what-we-know-so-far


  1. [1]Jonathan Allen and Steve Holland, “Life upended for Americans as U.S. scrambles to contain coronavirus threat,” Reuters, March 12, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa/life-upended-for-americans-as-u-s-scrambles-to-contain-coronavirus-threat-idUSKBN20Z1OT; AnnaMaria Andriotis, “Americans Skip Millions of Loan Payments as Coronavirus Takes Economic Toll,” Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/americans-skip-millions-of-loan-payments-as-coronavirus-takes-economic-toll-11592472601; Anne Applebaum, “The Coronavirus Called America’s Bluff,” Atlantic, March 15, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-showed-america-wasnt-task/608023/; Kate Aronoff, “The Democrats Screwed Up,” New Republic, March 20, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/156994/democrats-screwed; Associated Press, “U.S. stocks climb 6% the day after biggest loss since 1987,” Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-03-17/us-stocks-coronavirus; Associated Press, “3.2 million more filed jobless claims last week; more than 30 million since coronavirus hit,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-05-07/coronavirus-weekly-jobless-unemployment-numbers; Associated Press, “2.4 million Americans sought jobless aid last week; 39 million since coronavirus struck,” Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-05-21/coronavirus-jobless-unemployment-benefits; Associated Press, “1.9 million seek jobless aid even as reopenings slow layoffs,” Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-06-04/jobless-unemployment-claims-coronavirus; 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; David Blanchflower, “Pandemic Economics: ‘Much Worse, Very Quickly,” New York Review of Books, March 26, 2020, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/03/26/pandemic-economics-much-worse-very-quickly/; Adam Cancryn and Nancy Cook, “Health officials want Trump to ‘double down, not lighten up’ restrictions,” Politico, March 23, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/23/coronavirus-economy-trump-restart-145222; John Cassidy, “What Would a Proper Coronavirus Stimulus Plan Look Like?” New Yorker, March 14, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/what-would-a-proper-coronavirus-stimulus-plan-look-like; 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/; John Cassidy, “Who’s Right About the Economy—Jared Kushner or the Chairman of the Federal Reserve?” New Yorker, April 30, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/whos-right-about-the-economy-jared-kushner-or-the-chairman-of-the-federal-reserve; John Cassidy, “The Most Alarming Thing About the Worst Jobs Report in History,” New Yorker, May 8, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-most-alarming-thing-about-the-worst-jobs-report-in-history; Jonathan Chait, “Trump Wants to Starve the States Into Opening Before It’s Safe,” New York, April 20, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/trump-coronavirus-open-state-governors-protests.html; Sarah Chaney and Kate King, “Over 3.8 Million Americans Filed for Jobless Benefits Last Week as States Struggle With Coronavirus Claims Surge,” Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/states-struggle-with-coronavirus-unemployment-claims-surge-11588239004; Sarah Chaney and Kate King, “Workers File 2.4 Million Unemployment Claims,” Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/self-employed-arent-counted-in-wave-of-unemployment-claims-11590053402; Zak Cheney-Rice, “Even Naked, America Cannot See Itself,” New York, April 27, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/coronavirus-inequality-america.html; Sara R. Collins and David Blumenthal, “Without universal healthcare, coronavirus puts us all at risk,” Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-03-05/op-ed-time-to-ramp-up-medicaid-to-pay-for-universal-coronavirus-care; Megan Rose Dickey, “Senator urges Uber, Lyft, Instacart and others to offer gig workers financial security in light of COVID-19 concerns,” TechCrunch, March 6, 2020, https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/06/senator-urges-uber-lyft-instacart-and-others-to-offer-gig-workers-financial-security-in-light-of-covid-19-concerns/; Hannah Dineen, “Uber driver denies unmasked riders, fired for complaints,” News Center Maine, July 1, 2020, https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/life/uber-driver-denies-unmasked-riders-fired-for-complaints/97-80794869-0c8b-4aa1-8ec8-e340d4e6fed5; Ben Eisen and David Benoit, “‘This Is Not a Normal Recession’: Banks Ready for Wave of Coronavirus Defaults,” Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-is-not-a-normal-recession-banks-ready-for-wave-of-coronavirus-defaults-11594746008; Kenya Evelyn, “‘We’re expendable’: black Americans pay the price as states lift lockdowns,” Guardian, May 25, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/25/covid-19-lockdowns-african-americans-essential-workers; 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; Benjamin Fearnow, “Biden, Sanders demand 3-month freeze on rent payments, eviction of tenants across U.S.,” Newsweek, March 28, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/biden-sanders-demand-3-month-freeze-rent-payments-eviction-tenants-across-us-1494839; Sarah Ferris et al., “House passes sweeping coronavirus response package,” Politico, March 14, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/13/congress-coronavirus-stimulus-package-deal-friday-128140; David Fickling, “The Gig Economy Compromised Our Immune System,” Yahoo!, July 25, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/gig-economy-compromised-immune-system-000048670.html; David Frum, “Why Mitch McConnell Wants States to Go Bankrupt,” Atlantic, April 25, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/why-mitch-mcconnell-wants-states-go-bankrupt/610714/; Mariel Garza, “Why aren’t we paying people with the coronavirus to stay home?” Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-03-06/opinion-why-arent-we-paying-people-with-the-coronavirus-to-stay-home; Susan B. Glasser, “A President Unequal to the Moment,” New Yorker, March 12, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/a-president-unequal-to-the-moment; Amy Goldstein, “Worries about medical bills and lost pay may hamper coronavirus efforts in the United States,” Washington Post, March 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/worries-about-medical-bills-and-lost-pay-may-hamper-coronavirus-efforts-in-the-united-states/2020/03/02/75825be0-5c9c-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html; Amy Goldstein, “First, the coronavirus pandemic took their jobs. Then, it wiped out their health insurance,” Washington Post, April 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/first-the-coronavirus-pandemic-took-their-jobs-then-it-wiped-out-their-health-insurance/2020/04/18/1c2cb5bc-7d7c-11ea-8013-1b6da0e4a2b7_story.html; William Gumede, “The impact of coronavirus could compare to the Great Depression,” Al Jazeera, May 3, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/impact-coronavirus-compare-great-depression-200420070542882.html; James Hamblin, “What Will You Do If You Start Coughing?” Atlantic, March 11, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/where-do-you-go-if-you-get-coronavirus/607759/; Paul Hannon, “Economic Recovery Is Under Way but Fighting Flare-Ups Is Key,” Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/economic-recovery-is-under-way-but-fighting-flare-ups-is-key-11595167200; David Harrison, “Lack of Savings Worsens the Pain of Coronavirus Downturn,” Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lack-ofsavingsworsens-the-pain-of-coronavirus-downturn-11586943001; Kim Hart, “The coronavirus economy will devastate those who can least afford it,” Axios, March 23, 2020, https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-economy-layoffs-children-families-bad-d588cc93-ff26-4031-8be8-5654cce05a15.html; Thomas Heath and Jacob Bogage, “Dow caps worst-ever first quarter with a more than 400-point slide,” Washington Post, March 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/31/stocks-markets-today-coronavirus/; Thomas Heath and Taylor Telford, “U.S. markets wrap up worst week since the 2008 financial crisis,” Washington Post, March 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/20/stocks-markets-today-coronavirus/; Thomas Heath, Taylor Telford, and Heather Long, “Dow plunges 10 percent despite Fed lifeline as coronavirus panic grips investors,” Washington Post, March 12, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/12/markets-live-updates-coronavirus-economy/; Eoin Higgins, “Refusal by Pelosi to Consider Universal Cash Payments in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic ‘Maddening,’ Say Progressives,” Common Dreams, March 18, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/03/18/refusal-pelosi-consider-universal-cash-payments-response-coronavirus-pandemic; 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Christina Maxouris, “Officials say states like Arizona and Texas reopened too quickly after soaring Covid-19 cases,” CNN, July 6, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html; Robert McCartney, “McConnell’s rejection of federal aid for states risks causing a depression, analysts say,” Washington Post, April 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/mcconnells-rejection-of-federal-aid-for-states-risks-causing-a-depression-analysts-say/2020/04/26/1fd4731c-8632-11ea-a3eb-e9fc93160703_story.html; Reuters, “U.S. has potential of becoming coronavirus epicentre, says WHO,” March 24, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-who-usa/u-s-has-potential-of-becoming-coronavirus-epicentre-says-who-idUSKBN21B1FT; 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/; Jennifer Rubin, “Mitch McConnell cries ‘Uncle!’” Washington Post, April 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/28/mcconnell-cries-uncle/; Adam Serwer, “The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying,” Atlantic, May 9, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/americas-racial-contract-showing/611389/; Teghan Simonton, “Pittsburgh professors see flaws in coronavirus modeling, predict more grim outlook,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 3, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/pittsburgh-professors-see-flaws-in-coronavirus-modeling-predict-more-grim-outlook/; Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Eileen Sullivan, “As Trump Pushes to Reopen, Government Sees Virus Toll Nearly Doubling,” New York Times, May 4, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/04/us/politics/trump-coronavirus-death-toll.html; David Wallace-Wells, “We Are Probably Only One-Tenth of the Way Through This Pandemic,” New York, April 17, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/we-are-probably-only-a-tenth-of-the-way-through-the-pandemic.html; David Wallace-Wells, “There Is Still No Plan,” New York, May 7, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/05/white-house-plan-for-ending-coronavirus-stay-at-home-orders.html; 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Kim Hart, “The coronavirus economy will devastate those who can least afford it,” Axios, March 23, 2020, https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-economy-layoffs-children-families-bad-d588cc93-ff26-4031-8be8-5654cce05a15.html; Thomas Heath and Jacob Bogage, “Dow caps worst-ever first quarter with a more than 400-point slide,” Washington Post, March 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/31/stocks-markets-today-coronavirus/; Thomas Heath and Taylor Telford, “U.S. markets wrap up worst week since the 2008 financial crisis,” Washington Post, March 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/20/stocks-markets-today-coronavirus/; Thomas Heath, Taylor Telford, and Heather Long, “Dow plunges 10 percent despite Fed lifeline as coronavirus panic grips investors,” Washington Post, March 12, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/12/markets-live-updates-coronavirus-economy/; Eoin Higgins, “Refusal by Pelosi to Consider Universal Cash Payments in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic ‘Maddening,’ Say Progressives,” Common Dreams, March 18, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/03/18/refusal-pelosi-consider-universal-cash-payments-response-coronavirus-pandemic; 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Justin Lahart, “Washington’s Trillions Alone Can’t Stop the Jobpocalypse,” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/washingtons-trillions-alone-cant-stop-the-jobpocalypse-11585235110; Justin Lahart, “Great Depression Unemployment Levels Are on Tap,” Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/great-depression-unemployment-levels-are-on-tap-11587053071; Justin Lahart, “Why the Economy Was Even Worse than the GDP Report,” Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-the-economy-was-even-worse-than-the-gdp-report-11588176851; Justin Lahart, “Jobs Warning Light Starts Flashing,” Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jobs-warning-light-starts-flashing-11595516312; Marianne Levine, “Schumer rips ’emaciated’ Republican coronavirus relief plan,” Politico, September 3, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/03/coronavirus-relief-plan-chuck-schumer-407974; Eric Levitz, “In the Age of the Coronavirus, Biden’s ‘Results’ Require Bernie’s ‘Revolution,’” New York, March 16, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/who-won-the-democratic-debate-between-biden-and-bernie-coronavirus.html; 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Sawhill, “The middle class faces its greatest threat since the 1930s,” Brookings, March 20, 2020,https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/the-middle-class-faces-its-greatest-threat-since-the-1930s/; Jenny Schuetz, “America’s inequitable housing system is completely unprepared for coronavirus,” Brookings, March 12, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/03/12/americas-inequitable-housing-system-is-completely-unprepared-for-coronavirus/; Hamza Shaban, “White House tells 18 million unemployed workers to ‘Find Something New’ in ad campaign,” Washington Post, July 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/14/ivanka-trump-jobs-find-something-new/; Rachel Siegel, Thomas Heath, and Jeff Stein, “Dow slides more than 1,800 points on fears of coronavirus resurgence, more economic pain,” Washington Post, June 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/11/markets-today-fed-coronavirus/; Rachel Siegel and Andrew Van Dam, “4.4 million Americans sought jobless benefits last week, as economic pain continued across the United States,” Washington Post, April 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/23/economy-coronavirus-unemployment/; Joshua Emerson Smith, “A COVID-19 death renews questions of Uber and Lyft’s responsibility to drivers,” San Diego Union-Tribune, July 24, 2020, https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/transportation/story/2020-07-24/uber-driver-dies-covid-19; Jeff Stein et al., “Senate Republicans release massive economic stimulus bill for coronavirus response,” Washington Post, March 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/19/trump-coronavirus-economic-plan-stimulus/; Jeff Stein, Erica Werner, and Renae Merle, “Trump attempts to wrest tax and spending powers from Congress with new executive actions,” Washington Post, August 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/08/trump-executive-order-coronavirus/; Andy Sullivan, “Americans too scared to go to work risk losing unemployment aid, experts say,” Reuters, April 23, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-georgia-worker/americans-too-scared-to-go-to-work-risk-losing-unemployment-aid-experts-say-idUSKCN2251RD; Andy Sullivan and Brad Brooks, “‘The government is failing us’: Laid-off Americans struggle in coronavirus crisis,” Reuters, May 7, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-05-07/coronavirus-weekly-jobless-unemployment-numbers; Kyle Swenson, “Ten bucks left, no place to go: How the pandemic and a broken unemployment system are upending people’s lives,” Washington Post, August 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/coronavirus-unemployment-delays-dc/2020/08/01/50016264-c522-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html; Jim Tankersley and Ben Casselman, “Washington Weighs Big Bailouts to Help U.S. Economy Survive Coronavirus,” New York Times, March 18, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/business/bailout-economy-coronavirus.html; Anneken Tappe, “30 million Americans have filed initial unemployment claims since mid-March,” CNN, April 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/30/economy/unemployment-benefits-coronavirus/index.html; Nitasha Tiku, “Gig workers face the spread of the new coronavirus with no safety net,” Washington Post, February 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/02/29/gig-workers-face-spread-new-coronavirus-with-no-safety-net/; Uber, “Supporting you during the Coronavirus,” March 15, 2020, https://www.uber.com/blog/supporting-you-during-coronavirus/; Funda Ustek-Spilda et al., “The untenable luxury of self-isolation,” New Internationalist, March 18, 2020, https://newint.org/features/2020/03/18/untenable-luxury-self-isolation; David Wallace-Wells, “America Is Broken,” New York, March 12, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/coronavirus-shows-us-america-is-broken.html; Erica Werner, Mike DeBonis, and Paul Kane, “Senate passes $2 trillion bill to blunt coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact, as households and businesses gasp for relief,” Washington Post, March 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/26/senate-trump-coronavirus-economic-stimulus-2-trillion/; Erica Werner, Paul Kane, and Mike DeBonis, “Trump signs $2 trillion coronavirus bill into law as companies and households brace for more economic pain,” Washington Post, March 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/03/27/congress-coronavirus-house-vote/; Ben White, “Great Depression 2? Worries about a coronavirus-induced calamity pile up,” Politico, March 23, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/23/great-depression-coronavirus-induced-calamity-145304; Holly Yan, “5 common arguments for reopening the economy — and why experts say they are flawed,” CNN, May 11, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/11/us/reopening-the-economy-flawed-arguments-trnd/index.html
  2. [2]Agence France-Presse, “Fauci warns U.S. is “knee-deep” in coronavirus first wave,” CBS News, July 7, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fauci-warns-us-knee-deep-coronavirus-first-wave/; 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; CBS News, “U.S. sees another record-breaking day with more than 63,000 coronavirus cases,” July 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-cases-usa-63000-daily-record/; 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/; 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/; Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html; 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; Tom McCarthy, “‘The virus doesn’t care about excuses’: US faces terrifying autumn as Covid-19 surges,” Guardian, July 18, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/18/us-coronavirus-fall-second-wave-autumn; 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; 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 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; Lisa Shumaker, “U.S. shatters coronavirus record with over 77,000 cases in a day,” Reuters, July 17, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-records/u-s-shatters-coronavirus-record-with-over-77000-cases-in-a-day-idUSKCN24I014; 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; Margaret Sullivan, “Trump wants America to ‘normalize’ coronavirus deaths. It’s the media’s job not to play along,” Washington Post, May 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/trump-wants-america-to-normalize-coronavirus-deaths-its-the-medias-job-not-to-play-along/2020/05/09/72de4c32-9090-11ea-a9c0-73b93422d691_story.html; Ben White, “Great Depression 2? Worries about a coronavirus-induced calamity pile up,” Politico, March 23, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/23/great-depression-coronavirus-induced-calamity-145304; Griff Witte and Ben Guarino, “It’s not only coronavirus cases that are rising. Now covid deaths are, too,” Washington Post, July 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/its-not-only-coronavirus-cases-that-are-rising-now-covid-deaths-are-too/2020/07/17/193006e8-c868-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html; Griff Witte and Rachel Weiner, “Sun Belt hospitals are feeling the strain from virus’ surge — and bracing for worse,” Washington Post, July 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coronavirus-hospitals-florida-texas-arizona-california/2020/07/16/dea0ed7a-c79b-11ea-8ffe-372be8d82298_story.html
  3. [3]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; Ariana Eunjung Cha and Laurie McGinley, “Antimalarial drug touted by President Trump is linked to increased risk of death in coronavirus patients, study says,” Washington Post, May 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/22/hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus-study/; Jared S. Hopkins and Russell Gold, “Authors Retract Study That Found Risks of Using Antimalaria Drugs Against Covid-19,” Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/authors-retract-study-that-found-risks-of-using-antimalaria-drug-against-covid-19-11591299329; Marilynn Marchione, “Heart woes spur partial stop of malaria drug study for virus,” Washington Post, April 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/heart-woes-spur-partial-stop-of-malaria-drug-study-for-virus/2020/04/13/c6460050-7db6-11ea-84c2-0792d8591911_story.html; Jamie Martines, “State: Brighton Rehab nursing home failed to get proper approval to use hydroxychloroquine on residents,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/state-brighton-rehab-nursing-home-failed-to-get-proper-approval-to-use-hydroxychloroquine-on-residents/; Laurie McGinley and Josh Dawsey, “Touting criticized study, White House presses FDA to authorize hydroxychloroquine — again,” Washington Post, July 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/07/10/peter-navarro-hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus/; Charles Piller and Kelly Servick, “Two elite medical journals retract coronavirus papers over data integrity questions,” Science, June 4, 2020, doi: 10.1126/science.abd1697; 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; 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; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trump wants to lift lockdowns. Other countries’ attempts show why the U.S. isn’t ready,” Washington Post, April 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/04/21/trump-wants-lift-lockdowns-other-countries-attempts-show-why-us-isnt-ready/; 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/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The pandemic as a harbinger,” Not Housebroken, October 9, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/09/the-pandemic-as-a-harbinger/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, October 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Who’s the biggest super-spreader of them all?” Irregular Bullshit, November 4, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/11/02/whos-the-biggest-super-spreader-of-them-all/
  7. [7]Nicholas Goldberg, “Is Trump the worst president ever? He’s got some competition,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-10-20/the-worst-president-in-american-history
  8. [8]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 5, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  9. [9]Owen Jones, “Even if Biden wins, the world will pay the price for the Democrats’ failures,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/biden-democrats-democratic-trump
  10. [10]Nathan Robinson, “Trump should have lost in a landslide. The fact that he didn’t speaks volumes,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/trump-should-have-lost-in-a-landslide-the-fact-that-he-didnt-speaks-volumes
  11. [11]Robert Barnes and Michael A. Fletcher, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice and legal pioneer for gender equality, dies at 87,” Washington Post, September 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/ruth-bader-ginsburg-dies/2020/09/18/3cedc314-fa08-11ea-a275-1a2c2d36e1f1_story.html
  12. [12]Owen Jones, “Even if Biden wins, the world will pay the price for the Democrats’ failures,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/biden-democrats-democratic-trump
  13. [13]Nathan Robinson, “Trump should have lost in a landslide. The fact that he didn’t speaks volumes,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/trump-should-have-lost-in-a-landslide-the-fact-that-he-didnt-speaks-volumes
  14. [14]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  15. [15]Ishaan Tharoor, “Trumpism is here to stay,” Washington Post, November 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/11/05/trumpism-here-to-stay/
  16. [16]Nicholas Goldberg, “Is Trump the worst president ever? He’s got some competition,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-10-20/the-worst-president-in-american-history
  17. [17]Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, “Election reveals deeper divides between red and blue America,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/america-divided-rural-urban/2020/11/04/8ddac854-1ebf-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html
  18. [18]Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, “Election reveals deeper divides between red and blue America,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/america-divided-rural-urban/2020/11/04/8ddac854-1ebf-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trumpism is here to stay,” Washington Post, November 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/11/05/trumpism-here-to-stay/
  19. [19]Eric Bradner and Gregory Krieg, “Joe Biden predicts a post-Trump ‘epiphany’ for Republicans,” CNN, May 14, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/politics/joe-biden-republicans-trump-epiphany/index.html; Moira Donegan, “What does Biden have in common with Trump? Delusional nostalgia,” Guardian, June 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/21/joe-biden-trump-sexism-delusional-nostalgia; Matt Ford, “Someone Please Tell Joe Biden That Bipartisanship Is Dead,” New Republic, June 12, 2019, https://newrepublic.com/article/154183/someone-please-tell-joe-biden-bipartisanship-dead; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trumpism is here to stay,” Washington Post, November 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/11/05/trumpism-here-to-stay/; Paul Waldman, “Joe Biden still hasn’t learned the lessons of the Obama presidency,” Washington Post, December 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/06/joe-biden-still-hasnt-learned-lessons-obama-presidency/
  20. [20]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 5, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  21. [21]David A. Graham, “The Polling Crisis Is a Catastrophe for American Democracy,” Atlantic, November 4, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/polling-catastrophe/616986/
  22. [22]Mona Chalabi, “The pollsters were wrong – again. Here’s what we know so far,” Guardian, November 4, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2020/nov/04/the-pollsters-were-wrong-again-heres-what-we-know-so-far
  23. [23]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/
  24. [24]Mona Chalabi, “The pollsters were wrong – again. Here’s what we know so far,” Guardian, November 4, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2020/nov/04/the-pollsters-were-wrong-again-heres-what-we-know-so-far
  25. [25]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/

Evictions to resume in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

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.[1] 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.[2] Even as urgent as this issue is, counting on the legislature to “come to its senses”[3] 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


  1. [1]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
  2. [2]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/; Associated Press, “Pennsylvania Republicans Mount New Challenge To Gov. Tom Wolf’s Pandemic Power,” KDKA, July 14, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/14/republicans-mount-new-challenge-to-governors-pandemic-power/; Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Lawmaker: It’s not government’s responsibility to ‘try to keep us safe,’” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, August 12, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-lawmaker-its-not-governments-responsibility-to-try-to-keep-us-safe/; Megan Guza, “Gov. Wolf, GOP critic spar over social media post parroting health secretary’s LGBQT comments,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 30, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/gov-wolf-gop-critic-spar-over-social-media-post-parroting-health-secretarys-lgbqt-comments/; 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/; 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; John L. Micek, “W. Pa. Rep. Metcalfe files impeachment articles to ‘remove dictator Wolf’ over pandemic response,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 16, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/w-pa-rep-metcalfe-files-impeachment-articles-to-remove-dictator-wolf-over-pandemic-response/
  3. [3]Moira Donegan, “What does Biden have in common with Trump? Delusional nostalgia,” Guardian, June 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/21/joe-biden-trump-sexism-delusional-nostalgia; Matt Ford, “Someone Please Tell Joe Biden That Bipartisanship Is Dead,” New Republic, June 12, 2019, https://newrepublic.com/article/154183/someone-please-tell-joe-biden-bipartisanship-dead; Paul Waldman, “Joe Biden still hasn’t learned the lessons of the Obama presidency,” Washington Post, December 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/06/joe-biden-still-hasnt-learned-lessons-obama-presidency/

‘Suspend’ does not mean ‘reverse’ at the U.S. Postal Service

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 21, 2020, 10:05 am.
  2. August 21, 12:07 pm:
    • In a series of tweets (see below), the Pennsylvania attorney general announced his coalition had filed suit to reverse changes at the U.S. Postal Service. This is one of two earlier reported suits.[1]
    • I have just received notice of an expansion of the mandatory evacuation zones in west Sonoma County to include Pocket Canyon. Evacuation warnings have been expanded along Green Valley Road, to both sides of the Russian River west of Laguna Road. And I have a map showing the grids (figure 4, see Walbridge Fire).

Recession

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.[2]

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


Postal Service

As at least 21 state attorneys general sued,[3] Postmaster General Louis DeJoy suspended the changes that might interfere with election mail.[4] 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.[5]

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


Tropical storms

car.gif
Fig. 1. Caribbean satellite imagery, compiled by author, as of August 21, 2020, 8:02 am.

For the first time since the Great Depression, it’s possible that two tropical systems could make landfall in the mainland United States at virtually the same time.[6]

This (figure 2) is what they’re showing:
2-cones-tropical-depression-13-tropical-depression-14-same-time-08212020
Fig. 2. Storm track projections from the Weather Channel for Tropical Storm Laura and Tropical Depression Fourteen, August 20, 2020, fair use.[7]
According to the Weather Channel, Laura seems projected to skim a bunch of islands, including Cuba.[8] From what I’ve seen, that won’t affect its strength much. Tropical Depression 13 passes over the Yucatan Peninsula;[9] 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):
eusgm.gif
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


Walbridge Fire

user68366-1598024396-media2
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):
FireShot Capture 280 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
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.


  1. [1]Amy Gardner and Erin Cox, “At least 21 states plan to sue the Postal Service over service delays, threat to election,” Washington Post, August 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/at-least-20-states-plan-to-sue-the-us-postal-service-over-service-delays-threat-to-election/2020/08/18/c6ca2dc6-e166-11ea-b69b-64f7b0477ed4_story.html
  2. [2]Christopher Rugaber, “Rise in jobless claims reflects still-struggling US economy,” Associated Press, August 20, 2020, copy in possession of author
  3. [3]Amy Gardner and Erin Cox, “At least 21 states plan to sue the Postal Service over service delays, threat to election,” Washington Post, August 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/at-least-20-states-plan-to-sue-the-us-postal-service-over-service-delays-threat-to-election/2020/08/18/c6ca2dc6-e166-11ea-b69b-64f7b0477ed4_story.html
  4. [4]Louis DeJoy, quoted in Paul Ziobro, Natalie Andrews, and Alexa Corse, “Postmaster to Suspend USPS Changes Until After Election,” Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/postmaster-general-dejoy-to-testify-before-senate-panel-friday-11597758378; Paul Ziobro, Natalie Andrews, and Alexa Corse, “Postmaster to Suspend USPS Changes Until After Election,” Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/postmaster-general-dejoy-to-testify-before-senate-panel-friday-11597758378
  5. [5]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
  6. [6]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
  7. [7]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
  8. [8]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
  9. [9]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