Wishful thinking for Uber and Lyft

Gig economy

It’s curious that Laura Forman ends her article, writing, “Ride-sharing’s heyday is still coming—it just might be a bit late.” Uber and Lyft had expected people to abandon buying cars, but not wanting drivers to share the novel coronavirus with them, people are buying cars again. Even if she is right about the heyday,[1] there is ample cause for doubt that Uber especially and Lyft probably can survive that long. That said, such doubts—and they are legion—have failed to stop the companies so far, in part because they have managed to get favorable coverage whenever they lose less money.[2] Hope, such as Forman expresses and such as I saw in the dot-com boom, propels the companies. Economic reality, such as I saw in the dot-com bust, probably dooms them. The question really is, how long does it take?

Laura Forman, “Uber, Lyft Face a No-Sharing Economy,” Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-face-a-no-sharing-economy-11603710180


Academia

At Bucknell University, where in-person classes are being shut down for a week,[3]

effective immediately any student who must travel more than 30 miles off-campus for any reason – including medical appointments, family events or to vote – will not be permitted to return or take in-person classes the rest of the semester.[4]

Such students may continue their coursework online. The regular semester ends November 20, with final examinations to follow.[5]

John Beauge, “Bucknell cancels in-person classes for a week due to uptick in COVID-19 cases,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 25, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/10/bucknell-cancels-in-person-classes-for-a-week-due-to-uptick-in-covid-19-cases.html


  1. [1]Laura Forman, “Uber, Lyft Face a No-Sharing Economy,” Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-face-a-no-sharing-economy-11603710180
  2. [2]Rich Alton, “Basic economics means Uber and Lyft can’t rely on driverless cars to become profitable,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2019, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/basic-economics-means-uber-and-lyft-cant-rely-on-driverless-cars-to-become-profitable-2019-08-12; Eliot Brown, “Uber Wants to Be the Uber of Everything—But Can It Make a Profit?” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-wants-to-be-the-uber-of-everything-11556909866; Eliot Brown, “Lyft Raises 2019 Revenue Outlook and Sees Smaller Annual Loss,” Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lyfts-raises-2019-revenue-outlook-and-sees-smaller-annual-loss-11565208387; Eliot Brown, “Uber Posts Its Largest Quarterly Loss,” Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-posts-its-largest-ever-quarterly-loss-11565295373; Richard Durant, “Uber’s Profitability Problem Is Structural,” Seeking Alpha, August 21, 2019, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4287055-ubers-profitability-problem-structural; Ryan Felton, “Uber Is Doomed,” Jalopnik, February 24, 2017, https://jalopnik.com/uber-is-doomed-1792634203; Laura Forman, “Uber, Lyft Face a No-Sharing Economy,” Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-face-a-no-sharing-economy-11603710180; Edward Helmore, “Will Uber ever make money? Day of reckoning looms for ride-sharing firm,” Guardian, August 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/aug/04/uber-ride-share-lyft-ipo-earnings; Sebastian Herrera and Heather Somerville, “Uber Shares Hit New Low as Post-IPO Lockup Expires,” Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shares-face-more-pressure-as-post-ipo-lockup-is-set-to-expire-11573041602″; Megan McArdle, “Uber can’t keep bleeding money, can it? It apparently thinks it can,” Washington Post, November 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/uber-cant-keep-bleeding-money-can-it-it-apparently-thinks-it-can/2019/11/05/4aa4fec0-000b-11ea-8501-2a7123a38c58_story.html; Tom McKay, “Surprising No One, Uber Continues to Hemorrhage Cash,” Gizmodo, November 4, 2019, https://gizmodo.com/surprising-no-one-uber-continues-to-hemorrhage-cash-1839625062; Christopher Mims, “In a Tight Labor Market, Gig Workers Get Harder to Please,” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-a-tight-labor-market-gig-workers-get-harder-to-please-11556942404; Patrick Howell O’Neill, “Just In Time For Its Big IPO, Uber Loses $1 Billion,” Gizmodo, April 26, 2019, https://gizmodo.com/just-in-time-for-its-big-ipo-uber-loses-1-billion-1834331980; Annie Palmer, “Uber falls to all-time low as investors grow more skeptical,” CNBC, August 12, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/12/uber-stock-falls-to-all-time-low-as-investors-grow-more-skeptical.html; Dan Primack, “Uber’s IPO got caught in a perfect storm,” Axios, May 11, 2019, https://www.axios.com/ubers-ipo-perfect-storm-2a75a55a-adec-496b-bc23-02d99d02920f.html; Preetika Rana, “Uber Ridership Fails to Recover as Pandemic Drives Another Big Loss,” Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-ridership-fails-to-recover-as-pandemic-drives-another-big-loss-11596744389; Erik Sherman, “Yesterday, Shareholders Bailed on Uber. Today, Insiders Got Their Chance,” Fortune, November 6, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/11/06/uber-stock-insiders-growth-profit-lockup-period/; Faiz Siddiqui and Greg Bensinger, “Uber’s first day of trading ended deep in the red over gig-economy fears,” Washington Post, May 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/10/uber-ipo/; Heather Somerville, “Uber Shedding About 350 Jobs to Shore Up Business,” Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shedding-about-350-jobs-to-shore-up-business-11571092680; Heather Somerville, “Uber Booked Another Quarterly Loss as Revenue Climbed,” Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-booked-another-quarterly-loss-as-revenue-climbed-11572901549; Heather Somerville and Mark Maurer, “Uber Cuts More Than 400 Technical Jobs,” Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-cuts-more-than-400-technical-jobs-11568144111; Georgia Wells, “Uber Cites Tight Competition After Posting $1 Billion Loss,” Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ubers-first-quarter-loss-tops-1-billion-11559246846; Stephen Wilmot, “Uber’s Long Road to Profits,” Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ubers-long-road-to-profits-11566471068; Julia Carrie Wong, “Disgruntled drivers and ‘cultural challenges’: Uber admits to its biggest risk factors,” Guardian, April 12, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/11/uber-ipo-risk-factors; Michael Wursthorn, “Lyft Shares Rally on Hopes Price Increases Will Drive Profit,” Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lyft-shares-rally-on-hopes-price-increases-will-drive-profits-11566845457
  3. [3]John Beauge, “Bucknell cancels in-person classes for a week due to uptick in COVID-19 cases,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 25, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/10/bucknell-cancels-in-person-classes-for-a-week-due-to-uptick-in-covid-19-cases.html
  4. [4]John Beauge, “Bucknell cancels in-person classes for a week due to uptick in COVID-19 cases,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 25, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/10/bucknell-cancels-in-person-classes-for-a-week-due-to-uptick-in-covid-19-cases.html
  5. [5]John Beauge, “Bucknell cancels in-person classes for a week due to uptick in COVID-19 cases,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 25, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/10/bucknell-cancels-in-person-classes-for-a-week-due-to-uptick-in-covid-19-cases.html

No silver bullets for this pandemic (Update #8)

Updates

  1. Originally published, October 21, 2020, at 10:57 pm.

  2. October 21, 2020, 11:44 pm:

    • So I was wondering about possible evictions, specifically about two vacant apartments in my building, at my apartment complex.[1] Guess what? The Alden South Hills is pursuing 44 evictions. A magistrate judge has already refused some of them, giving tenants additional time to pay.[2] I have always paid my rent here on time, but in my experience, with regard to rent payments, the management does adopt a rather threatening tone, carrying an undertone that if you live in this complex, you are a deadbeat, so it’s not at all unreasonable to suspect that some vacancies in the complex may be to avoid being evicted and thus to avoid the difficulties of finding a new apartment when evictions have been recorded.

  3. October 22, 2020, 8:55 am:

    • I am revising the language in update #2 to make it a bit more complete. The revised text appears there.

  4. October 22, 2020, 10:20 am:

    • It’s a stretch, and the author even says it’s a stretch, but it’s possible to interpret the Third Amendment, prohibiting the quartering of soldiers in people’s homes, as guaranteeing a right to protection from contagious disease. It seems that smallpox is an important part of the historical context for that amendment, where British soldiers had deliberately passed the disease to American Indians, and not so deliberately to colonists.[3]

  5. October 22, 2020, 10:04 pm:

    • Have I mentioned that Uber and Lyft are evil? Uber is forcing its California drivers to acknowledge repeated messages in support of Proposition 22, at least at one point, for every ride they got.[4] The proposition would exempt them from California’s Assembly Bill 5, which codified a state supreme court decision, and requires the companies to correctly classify their drivers as employees rather than misclassifying them as independent contractors and denying them important labor protections.[5] The companies have been spending record-breaking amounts of money, in a state notorious for plentiful and ludicrously expensive propositions, in support of Proposition 22.[6] Now, some drivers have filed a class action suit against Uber’s practice of bombarding them with the pro-Proposition 22 message, even as the company insists that a majority of its drivers already support the proposition and their own misclassification,[7] which obviously raises the question of, if the independent contractor scam is indeed so popular with its drivers, why must Uber resort to such tactics to support it?

  6. October 23, 2020, 3:33 am:

    • An appeals court upheld[8] a lower court ruling that Uber and Lyft must classify their California drivers as employees[9] (see previous update, October 22, 2020, 10:04 pm) after granting a stay of the lower court ruling[10] that that court had refused to grant.[11]

  7. October 23, 2020, 3:37 am:

    • I caught a wording error in the update for October 22, 2020, 10:04 pm. This error has now been corrected.

  8. October 23, 2020, 10:04 pm:

    • Landlords are finding ways around the eviction moratorium, which expires at the end of the year anyway, but nonetheless suing to overturn it. It’s not at all apparent how folks who are already failing to pay rent are going to be able to find new apartments, so evictions effectively render them homeless. In a pandemic. “When tenants are evicted, they often move in with other family members, increasing the size of households and the chance for viral transmission.”[12]

    • I’ve been saying for a while that we’ve been doing everything wrong with the pandemic. And we already knew we were headed into a third surge.[13] Here we are:

      And it’s not simply a matter of increased testing identifying more cases. Covid-19 hospitalizations increased in 38 states over the past week. The number of deaths nationally has crested above 1,000 in recent days.

      The last time the country hit a new daily record for coronavirus cases — 76,533 on July 17 — just four states accounted for more than 40,000 of those cases: Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, according to a Washington Post analysis.

      On Friday, 11 states accounted for that same lion’s share of cases. And in the past two weeks, 24 states have broken their records for single-day highs of cases. . . .

      “One key way we got through previous waves was by moving health-care workers around. That’s just not possible when the virus is surging everywhere,” said Eleanor J. Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University.[14]

      Don’t forget that even as there is a shortage of doctors and nurses to deal with the surge, they too fall ill, reducing the number available even further. And there are drug shortages. But politicians have just decided we’re going to have to live with it.[15] Or, as some have suggested, die with it.


Pandemic

There is a new blog post entitled, “About that promised COVID-19 vaccine: Sorry, we still aren’t getting out of this pandemic anytime soon.

David Salisbury, “If you’re pinning your hopes on a Covid vaccine, here’s a dose of realism,” Guardian, October 21, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/21/covid-vaccine-immunisation-protection

Melody Schreiber, “A Covid-19 Vaccine Doesn’t Need to Be Perfect,” New Republic, October 21, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/159868/covid-19-vaccine-efficacy-perfect

Alexander Zhang, “The Forgotten Third Amendment Could Give Pandemic-Struck America a Way Forward,” Atlantic, October 21, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/could-third-amendment-protect-against-infection/616791/

William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree, “America hits highest daily number of coronavirus cases since pandemic began,” Washington Post, October 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/23/covid-us-spike-cases/


Evictions

Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh-area apartment complex The Alden South Hills seeking large-scale evictions,” Pittsburgh City Paper, October 21, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburgh-area-apartment-complex-the-alden-south-hills-seeking-large-scale-evictions/Content?oid=18223682

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


Gig economy

Faiz Siddiqui and Reed Albergotti, “Uber drivers sue app over ‘constant barrage’ pushing California anti-employment initiative,” Washington Post, October 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/10/22/uber-prop22-suit/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Not even a euphemism: ‘Houseless,’” Not Housebroken, October 18, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/18/not-even-a-euphemism-houseless/
  2. [2]Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh-area apartment complex The Alden South Hills seeking large-scale evictions,” Pittsburgh City Paper, October 21, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburgh-area-apartment-complex-the-alden-south-hills-seeking-large-scale-evictions/Content?oid=18223682
  3. [3]Alexander Zhang, “The Forgotten Third Amendment Could Give Pandemic-Struck America a Way Forward,” Atlantic, October 21, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/could-third-amendment-protect-against-infection/616791/
  4. [4]Faiz Siddiqui and Reed Albergotti, “Uber drivers sue app over ‘constant barrage’ pushing California anti-employment initiative,” Washington Post, October 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/10/22/uber-prop22-suit/
  5. [5]Sophia Bollag, “California Uber, Lyft drivers to become employees under measure Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’ll sign,” Sacramento Bee, September 11, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article234973107.html; Alexia Fernández Campbell, “California is cracking down on the gig economy,” Vox, May 30, 2019, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/5/30/18642535/california-ab5-misclassify-employees-contractors; Aaron Gordon, “Uber And Lyft Don’t Have A Right To Exist,” Jalopnik, August 30, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-dont-have-a-right-to-exist-1837680434; Aaron Gordon, “Uber To California: Make Us,” Jalopnik, September 11, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-drivers-shouldnt-expect-to-be-employees-a-1838048966; Nathan Heller, “A New California Law Takes Aim at Uber and Lyft,” New Yorker, September 12, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-silicon-valley/a-new-california-law-takes-aim-at-uber-and-lyft; Michael Hiltzik, “How millions from Uber and Lyft are funding the harassment of a critic,” Los Angeles Times, September 2, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-09-02/uber-lyft-veena-dubal-twitter-bullying; Therese Poletti, “Uber and Lyft’s ‘day of reckoning’ is finally here,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2020, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-and-lyfts-day-of-reckoning-is-finally-here-2020-08-11
  6. [6]Michael Hiltzik, “Uber and Lyft just made their campaign to keep exploiting workers the costliest in history,” Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-09-08/uber-lyft-most-expensive-initiative
  7. [7]Faiz Siddiqui and Reed Albergotti, “Uber drivers sue app over ‘constant barrage’ pushing California anti-employment initiative,” Washington Post, October 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/10/22/uber-prop22-suit/
  8. [8]Kanishka Singh and Tina Bellon, “California appeals court rules Uber, Lyft must reclassify drivers as employees,” Reuters, October 22, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-california-drivers-idUSKBN27805F
  9. [9]Faiz Siddiqui, “Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/08/10/uber-lyft-ab5/
  10. [10]Lauren Feiner, “Appeals court grants Uber and Lyft a temporary reprieve following threats to shut down in California,” CNBC, August 20, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/20/appeals-court-grants-uber-and-lyft-a-temporary-reprieve-in-case-over-driver-classification.html
  11. [11]Jonathan Stempel, “Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction,” Yahoo!, August 13, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-lyft-lose-bid-delay-184959283.html
  12. [12]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
  13. [13]Antonia Noori Farzan et al. “U.S. surpasses 64,000 new coronavirus infections two days in a row for first time since late July,” Washington Post, October 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/16/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/; Elliot Hannon, “Trump Says “We’re Rounding the Turn” the Same Day the U.S. Approaches Record Number of New Coronavirus Cases,” Slate, October 23, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/u-s-record-coronavirus-single-day-cases-trump-debate-declares-country-rounding-the-turn.html
  14. [14]William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree, “America hits highest daily number of coronavirus cases since pandemic began,” Washington Post, October 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/23/covid-us-spike-cases/
  15. [15]William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree, “America hits highest daily number of coronavirus cases since pandemic began,” Washington Post, October 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/23/covid-us-spike-cases/; Elliot Hannon, “Trump Says “We’re Rounding the Turn” the Same Day the U.S. Approaches Record Number of New Coronavirus Cases,” Slate, October 23, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/u-s-record-coronavirus-single-day-cases-trump-debate-declares-country-rounding-the-turn.html

Organizations for people of color, betraying people of color

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 23, 2020, at 9:38 pm.
  2. August 24, 5:50 am:
    • But for the predicted lightning storms,[1] with matching development now appearing, the Walbridge Fire looks more and more like something in the rear view mirror. I have replaced the screenshot of the Sonoma County Fire Incident Map with one taken at 5:26 am and updated the satellite imagery.
    • Similarly, I have updated the satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico. Marco appears to be making landfall in the Florida panhandle. Laura is now south of Cuba and looks to me like it could be caught in the same pattern that shifted Marco east. That pattern is itself shifting east so Laura would likely hit further east than Marco.

Ridesharing

It’s a sadly familiar story: Historically, some unions have been co-opted by employers, helping in their own emasculation, while union officials feather their own beds. Only this time, it’s organizations that should advocate for people of color, advocating California’s Proposition 22, arguing that ridesharing provides access to transportation and work for people of color. What they mean is that that work pays an estimated $5.64 per hour in California.[2]

These organizations ought to be ashamed of themselves. But hey, their beds are feathered.

Kim Bojórquez, “Why are Black and Latino advocacy groups backing Uber, Lyft in California labor law fight?” Sacramento Bee, August 23, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article244812707.html


Walbridge Fire

FireShot Capture 301 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, taken by author, August 23, 2020, 9:23 pm.

wus
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of western U.S. satellite imagery.

The mandatory evacuation zones are beginning to recede a bit as the active fires look sparser (figure 1). Thanks to lightning forecasts, we’re not out of the woods.[3]


Tropical Storms

eusgm.gif
Fig. 3. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the Eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico.


  1. [1]Michael McGough, “More weekend thunder, lightning in Northern California forecasts stoke wildfire concerns,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article245139635.html
  2. [2]Kim Bojórquez, “Why are Black and Latino advocacy groups backing Uber, Lyft in California labor law fight?” Sacramento Bee, August 23, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article244812707.html
  3. [3]Michael McGough, “More weekend thunder, lightning in Northern California forecasts stoke wildfire concerns,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article245139635.html

Driver misclassification may continue until the cows come home. If they ever do.

Ridesharing

An appeals court has ruled that Uber and Lyft may continue to misclassify drivers for the time being. But the companies must have a plan to comply within 30 days if their appeal fails and California’s sham Proposition 22 fails to pass.[1] So the bawling, hissy-fit throwing, temper tantrum throwing crybabies got their way. And we know how that turns out.

Lauren Feiner, “Appeals court grants Uber and Lyft a temporary reprieve following threats to shut down in California,” CNBC, August 20, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/20/appeals-court-grants-uber-and-lyft-a-temporary-reprieve-in-case-over-driver-classification.html


  1. [1]Lauren Feiner, “Appeals court grants Uber and Lyft a temporary reprieve following threats to shut down in California,” CNBC, August 20, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/20/appeals-court-grants-uber-and-lyft-a-temporary-reprieve-in-case-over-driver-classification.html

The judge agrees: Uber and Lyft need to grow the fuck up

Ridesharing

It seems that ten days isn’t long enough for the poor babies, Uber and Lyft, to appeal[1] a judge’s preliminary injunction requiring them to comply with California state law and classify drivers as employees rather than as independent contractors[2] and the aforementioned babies, who’ve been throwing a temper tantrum, threatening to hold their breath until they turn blue stop service in California, because they aren’t getting their way,[3] wanted more time to come up with an appeal. The judge told them to grow the fuck up.[4] Okay, maybe not in quite those words:

“I am unconvinced that any extension of the 10-day stay is required,” [San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan] Schulman said. “Both applications are denied.” . . .

In [earlier] ordering an injunction, Schulman assailed what he called Uber’s and Lyft’s “prolonged and brazen refusal” to comply with state law.[5]

Damn right. We are, at this point, fully entitled to know just why these companies think they’re so fucking special.

[6]

Postal Service

Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey, and Paul Kane, “Trump opposes election aid for states and Postal Service bailout, threatening Nov. 3 vote,” Washington Post, August 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-mail-voting/2020/08/13/3eb9ac62-dd70-11ea-809e-b8be57ba616e_story.html


  1. [1]Jonathan Stempel, “Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction,” Yahoo!, August 13, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-lyft-lose-bid-delay-184959283.html
  2. [2]Therese Poletti, “Uber and Lyft’s ‘day of reckoning’ is finally here,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2020, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-and-lyfts-day-of-reckoning-is-finally-here-2020-08-11; Faiz Siddiqui, “Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/08/10/uber-lyft-ab5/
  3. [3]Jessica Bursztynsky and Lauren Feiner, “Lyft may suspend service in California if court requires it to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/lyft-president-says-it-may-have-to-suspend-service-in-california.html; Lauren Feiner, “Uber CEO says its service will probably shut down temporarily in California if it’s forced to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/uber-may-shut-down-temporarily-in-california.html
  4. [4]Jonathan Stempel, “Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction,” Yahoo!, August 13, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-lyft-lose-bid-delay-184959283.html
  5. [5]Jonathan Stempel, “Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction,” Yahoo!, August 13, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-lyft-lose-bid-delay-184959283.html
  6. [6]Jonathan Stempel, “Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction,” Yahoo!, August 13, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-lyft-lose-bid-delay-184959283.html

Time again for Uber and Lyft to grow up

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 12, 2020, at 12:15 pm.
  2. August 12, 8:45 pm:
    • Lyft has joined[1] in Uber’s hissy fit.[2] Y’all will have to forgive me if I am utterly unimpressed.

Ridesharing

I wrote last year that it was “Time for the gig economy to grow up.”[3] Now that a judge has told Uber and Lyft much the same thing, both companies plan to appeal,[4] Uber is throwing a hissy fit.[5] So I’ll say it again: Grow the fuck up.

Jessica Bursztynsky and Lauren Feiner, “Lyft may suspend service in California if court requires it to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/lyft-president-says-it-may-have-to-suspend-service-in-california.html

Lauren Feiner, “Uber CEO says its service will probably shut down temporarily in California if it’s forced to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/uber-may-shut-down-temporarily-in-california.html

Therese Poletti, “Uber and Lyft’s ‘day of reckoning’ is finally here,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2020, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-and-lyfts-day-of-reckoning-is-finally-here-2020-08-11


  1. [1]Jessica Bursztynsky and Lauren Feiner, “Lyft may suspend service in California if court requires it to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/lyft-president-says-it-may-have-to-suspend-service-in-california.html
  2. [2]Lauren Feiner, “Uber CEO says its service will probably shut down temporarily in California if it’s forced to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/uber-may-shut-down-temporarily-in-california.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Time for the gig economy to grow up,” Not Housebroken, August 30, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/30/time-for-the-gig-economy-to-grow-up/
  4. [4]Therese Poletti, “Uber and Lyft’s ‘day of reckoning’ is finally here,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2020, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-and-lyfts-day-of-reckoning-is-finally-here-2020-08-11; Faiz Siddiqui, “Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/08/10/uber-lyft-ab5/
  5. [5]Lauren Feiner, “Uber CEO says its service will probably shut down temporarily in California if it’s forced to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/uber-may-shut-down-temporarily-in-california.html

Aren’t you glad somebody’s keeping track of all the shit?

There is a new blog post entitled, “On police.”


Ridesharing

Faiz Siddiqui, “Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/08/10/uber-lyft-ab5/


Donald Trump

No one should even want to keep track of all the shit Donald Trump utters. But I guess it’s good someone does.[1] And hell, I might need to find some of this someday.

George T. Conway, III, “I (still) believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/10/i-still-believe-president-president/


Kamala Harris

Just a reminder.

Marjorie Cohn, “Kamala Harris Has a Distinguished Career of Serving Injustice,” Truthout, July 8, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/kamala-harris-has-a-distinguished-career-of-serving-injustice/

Emily Cadei and Bryan Anderson, “Fact check: Did Kamala Harris block evidence that would have freed death row inmates?” Sacramento Bee, July 31, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article233375207.html

Shikha Dalmia, “The real reason Kamala Harris is tanking,” Week, November 4, 2019, https://theweek.com/articles/875020/real-reason-kamala-harris-tanking


  1. [1]George T. Conway, III, “I believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, February 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/05/george-conway-trump-i-believe/; George T. Conway, III, “I (still) believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/10/i-still-believe-president-president/

New York Attorney General arranges a massive fundraising boost for the National Rifle Association

National Rifle Association

I predict a huge fundraising bonanza for the National Rifle Association. Because, yes, that’s exactly how this works.

As for the lawsuit[1] itself? We’ll see. There’s a gaming aspect to court proceedings that reduces to a contest to see who can get what rules applied that leads me not to trust that even well-founded cases (which it sounds like this is[2]) will prevail. And we haven’t seen the NRA’s defense yet.

Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, “New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA in suit accusing gun rights group of wide-ranging fraud and self-dealing,” Washington Post, August 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nra-lapierre-ny-attorney-general/2020/08/06/8e389794-d794-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html


Ridesharing

Preetika Rana, “Uber Ridership Fails to Recover as Pandemic Drives Another Big Loss,” Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-ridership-fails-to-recover-as-pandemic-drives-another-big-loss-11596744389


  1. [1]Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, “New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA in suit accusing gun rights group of wide-ranging fraud and self-dealing,” Washington Post, August 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nra-lapierre-ny-attorney-general/2020/08/06/8e389794-d794-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html
  2. [2]Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, “New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA in suit accusing gun rights group of wide-ranging fraud and self-dealing,” Washington Post, August 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nra-lapierre-ny-attorney-general/2020/08/06/8e389794-d794-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html

Enough with the warnings

Allegheny County

There is a new blog post entitled, “Regarding the planned ultimatum by southwestern Pennsylvania bar and restaurant owners.”

Tom Wolf has not responded directly, but shortly afterwards, posted,

We have to do everything we can to keep our communities safe and healthy, including wearing a mask and following mitigation orders so our businesses operate safely.

We continue to work closely with commonwealth agencies and local officials to enforce public safety orders.

The following groups are authorized to enforce business closure orders and safety orders to the full extent of the law:

⚖️ Local officials and law enforcement
🚨 @PAStatePolice
🚑 @PAHealthDept
🍽 @PAAgriculture
💼 @PALaborIndustry
🍺 Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

Here’s how Pennsylvanians can report #COVID19 health and safety violations:

📱 Contact your local health department or law enforcement agency.
💻 Fill out this form: on.pa.gov/2A8GlK8
⛑ If in violation of OSHA guidance, file a complaint at OSHA.gov.[1]

I hope that enforcement will be vigorous. Enough with the warnings: These assholes know damned well what they’re doing.


Ridesharing

IMG_20190414_135906
Fig. 1. Photograph by author, April 14, 2019.

For anyone curious, I do not expect to benefit from this lawsuit, which relies on AB 5.[2] Gavin Newsom signed the bill on September 18, 2019; it took effect on January 1, 2020.[3] I left the state on April 14, 2019 (figure 1).

Andrew J. Hawkins, “California labor commissioner sues Uber and Lyft for alleged wage theft,” Verge, August 5, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/5/21356096/uber-lyft-california-labor-commissioner-lawsuit-driver-classification


Century III Mall

It’s really quite remarkable: Not far from my apartment is a nearly entirely shuttered shopping mall[4] that apparently was once “the place to go.” There is a neglected roadway, named “Century III Mall,” that is pockmarked with potholes and in fact unfit for traffic: It should be repaired or closed, not simply left to deteriorate as it is.

But to drive down that road is to gaze, carefully, while slowly dodging potholes, to one side and to see relatively modern buildings, certainly more modern than much to be found in surrounding neighborhoods (where many houses are probably something like 80 or 90 years old), left to rot, mostly fenced off. It seems, for now at least, the epitome of abandonment.

I said “nearly entirely shuttered.” One store, even in bankruptcy, remained, JCPenney.[5] Now, it too is closing.[6] It really is bizarre that they clung to this location for so long; I don’t think I ever took anyone there and I doubt I’ve had more than two pickups there.

Jacob Tierney, “Century III Mall’s JCPenney to close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 5, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-malls-jcpenney-to-close/


  1. [1]Tom Wolf, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, August 6, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1291345691936198657.html
  2. [2]Andrew J. Hawkins, “California labor commissioner sues Uber and Lyft for alleged wage theft,” Verge, August 5, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/5/21356096/uber-lyft-california-labor-commissioner-lawsuit-driver-classification
  3. [3]John Myers, Johana Bhuiyan, and Margot Roosevelt, “Newsom signs bill rewriting California employment law, limiting use of independent contractors,” Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-18/gavin-newsom-signs-ab5-employees0independent-contractors-california
  4. [4]Sam Bojarski, “Century III Mall boarded up; only JCPenney remains,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-faces-uncertain-future-with-one-tenant-remaining/
  5. [5]Sam Bojarski, “Century III Mall boarded up; only JCPenney remains,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-faces-uncertain-future-with-one-tenant-remaining/
  6. [6]Jacob Tierney, “Century III Mall’s JCPenney to close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 5, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-malls-jcpenney-to-close/