The wages of fire

There is a new blog post entitled, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020.”


Pacific Gas and Electric

The Los Angeles Times story incorrectly states that “[t]he wine country fires in 2017 scorched more than 200,000 acres mostly in Napa County, destroyed or damaged more than 5,500 homes, displaced 100,000 people and killed at least 41.”[1] These fires were mostly in Sonoma County, rather than in Napa County. This settlement does not include this year’s Kincade Fire,[2] which also occurred mostly in Sonoma County.

Howard Blume, “PG&E reaches $13.5-billion settlement with victims of devastating California wildfires,” Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-06/pge-settlement-fire-northern-california

Dale Kasler, “PG&E makes deal to pay California wildfire victims. What it means for utility’s future,” Sacramento Bee, December 6, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238138009.html


Elon Musk

Tim Higgins, “Elon Musk Cleared by Jury in Defamation Case Over ‘Pedo’ Tweet,” Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-cleared-by-jury-in-defamation-case-over-pedo-tweet-11575678498


Palestine

Democrats Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress who have gained notoriety for their strong criticisms of Israel, both opposed the resolution [H.R. 326], as did the two other left-wing congresswomen dubbed “The Squad.” They objected that the resolution’s authors, in a bid to gain broad support, removed a call to end Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian land.[3]

As I have previously said, a country founded in response to genocide cannot allow even the appearance of ethnic cleansing. Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians, even refusing to acknowledge their identity and labeling them “Arabs” instead, and further, refusing them the right of return to lands they were expelled from, is in fact an erasure of the Palestinian people—genocide.

Thus, Israel erases its own legitimacy. As a state it can no longer have a right to exist.

Eric Cortellessa, “In rebuke to Trump and Netanyahu, US House passes resolution supporting 2 states,” Times of Israel, December 6, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-rebuke-to-trump-netanyahu-us-house-passes-resolution-supporting-two-states/


  1. [1]Howard Blume, “PG&E reaches $13.5-billion settlement with victims of devastating California wildfires,” Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-06/pge-settlement-fire-northern-california
  2. [2]Howard Blume, “PG&E reaches $13.5-billion settlement with victims of devastating California wildfires,” Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-06/pge-settlement-fire-northern-california; Dale Kasler, “PG&E makes deal to pay California wildfire victims. What it means for utility’s future,” Sacramento Bee, December 6, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238138009.html
  3. [3]Eric Cortellessa, “In rebuke to Trump and Netanyahu, US House passes resolution supporting 2 states,” Times of Israel, December 6, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-rebuke-to-trump-netanyahu-us-house-passes-resolution-supporting-two-states/

Good ol’ boys and smoke-filled rooms

Joe Biden

There is a new blog post entitled, “It’s still a smoke-filled room.”

Colby Itkowitz and Matt Viser, “Biden says his son’s foreign jobs ‘may have looked bad’ but weren’t wrong,” Washington Post, December 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-says-his-sons-foreign-jobs-may-have-looked-bad-but-werent-wrong/2019/12/05/01731a76-17c0-11ea-a659-7d69641c6ff7_story.html

Jason Linkins, “John Kerry Endorses Joe Biden’s Delusions,” New Republic, December 6, 2019, https://newrepublic.com/article/155900/john-kerry-endorses-joe-bidens-delusions

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/


Sorry is not enough

Pacific Gas and Electric

There is a new blog post entitled, “Sorry, PG&E, but sorry is not enough.”

Russell Gold and Katherine Blunt, “PG&E Had Systemic Problems With Power Line Maintenance, California Probe Finds,” Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pg-e-had-systemic-problems-with-power-line-maintenance-california-probe-finds-11575338873

Kanishka Singh, “PG&E failed to inspect transmission lines that caused deadly 2018 wilfdfire [sic]: state probe,” Reuters, December 3, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-wildfire-pg-e-us-idUSKBN1Y70N8


Donald Trump

Ann E. Marimow and Renae Merle, “Appeals court refuses to block House subpoena for Trump’s financial records,” Washington Post, December 3, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/12/03/appeals-court-refuses-block-house-subpoena-trumps-financial-records/


Revelation! I am not white. This explains everything!

aVK6jq25mnbRQsqHWxaJsswIS4Z69Inc
Fig. 1. Comic by Matt Pritchett of the Telegraph, via his newsletter, otherwise unpublished, December 1, 2019.


Appalachia

Sam Adler-Bell, “Appalachia vs. the Carceral State,” New Republic, November 25, 2019, https://newrepublic.com/article/155660/appalachia-coal-mining-mountaintop-removal-prison-fight


Racism

Never mind that I am ethnically British, German, and a little French, or that I have pale skin. Or that my heritage is, regrettably, Christian and, even more regrettably, Mormon. Or that I drive down the roads of the Pittsburgh area with very little fear of police even when I’m on my way to district courts where it seems I only pick up Black men in trouble with their drivers’ licenses. It seems none of that matters.

By the logic that I am denied access to certain resources, like a real fucking job,[1] it seems I’m at least as non-white as Ashkenazi Jews.[2] I’m pretty sure my mother will find this news astonishing.

Or maybe Ashkenazi Jews can stop reifying white supremacist bullshit. For fuck’s sake.

Masha Kisel, “How does it feel to be white?” Times of Israel, November 29, 2019, https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/how-does-it-feel-to-be-white/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  2. [2]Masha Kisel, “How does it feel to be white?” Times of Israel, November 29, 2019, https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/how-does-it-feel-to-be-white/

Good Ol’ Boy

Joe Biden

What’s harder to shake is the fact that Hunter Biden’s career is undeniably shady in the way that only the son of a longtime Washington insider could muster, failing upwards into positions of influence and power on the merits of his last name.[1]

Ordinarily, I’m not into dragging family members into political discourse. Even Jimmy Carter had a brother. But . . . .

David Von Drehle begins to put a finger on it.[2] What we’re seeing is that Joe Biden seemingly thinks it’s just fine for his son to take a job in Ukraine, a country which has plenty of problems already, that doesn’t require him to do anything and that pays lots of money. As if that wasn’t some sort of attempt to gain favor with a powerful U.S. politician.[3] It’s really the same arrogant assumption of privilege as the “touchy feely” misogyny.[4] It’s really the same arrogance that says we should overlook his racism.[5] And it’s really the same arrogance that says we should overlook when they’re even rolled up together.[6] It’s the notion that he’s a powerful white man entitled to hold over from an earlier era and that we should treat his faults as insignificant because he’s entitled. And he’s entitled even to enable his son’s corruption.

It’s just all supposed to be okay. Every last stinking slimy bit of it.

David Von Drehle, “The Hunter Biden story is a troubling tale of privilege,” Washington Post, October 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-hunter-biden-story-is-a-troubling-tale-of-privilege/2019/10/04/8ad20988-e46e-11e9-b403-f738899982d2_story.html

Kate Aronoff, “We need to talk about Hunter Biden,” Guardian, October 5, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/05/we-need-to-talk-about-hunter-biden


Recession

My list of reasons for worrying about a recession[7] gets an additional article. Some of it—I think only some of it[8]—rehashes earlier worries.

Tim Wallace, “Six bubbles that could cause chaos in the global economy,” Telegraph, October 7, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/10/07/six-bubbles-could-cause-chaos-global-economy/


  1. [1]Kate Aronoff, “We need to talk about Hunter Biden,” Guardian, October 5, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/05/we-need-to-talk-about-hunter-biden
  2. [2]David Von Drehle, “The Hunter Biden story is a troubling tale of privilege,” Washington Post, October 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-hunter-biden-story-is-a-troubling-tale-of-privilege/2019/10/04/8ad20988-e46e-11e9-b403-f738899982d2_story.html
  3. [3]Adam Entous, “Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father’s Campaign?” New Yorker, July 1, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/07/08/will-hunter-biden-jeopardize-his-fathers-campaign
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Joe Biden blows his #MeToo moment,” Not Housebroken, April 5, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/04/05/joe-biden-blows-his-metoo-moment/; Brett Samuels, “Biden: ‘I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done,’” Hill, April 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/437582-biden-im-not-sorry-for-anything-that-i-have-ever-done
  5. [5]Mark Z. Barabak, “Seven takeaways from Democratic debate Night 2: Sparks from Biden and Harris, honesty from Buttigieg,” Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-democratic-debate-miami-takeaways-20190627-story.html; Stephen Collinson, “Joe Biden gets in his own way on race,” CNN, June 20, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/20/politics/joe-biden-race-2020-election/index.html; Stephen Collinson, “Joe Biden throws own campaign into turmoil after Harris attacks his record on race,” CNN, June 28, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/28/politics/first-democratic-debate-night-2-analysis/index.html; Scott Detrow, “Democrats Blast Biden For Recalling ‘Civil’ Relationship With Segregationists,” CNN, June 19, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/06/19/734103488/democrats-blast-biden-for-recalling-civil-relationship-with-segregationists; Maeve Reston, “Harris’ attack on Joe Biden steals spotlight at Democratic primary debate,” CNN, June 28, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/27/politics/democratic-primary-debate-night-two-joe-biden-bernie-sanders-kamala-harris/index.html; Greg Sargent, “Joe Biden is badly undermining his ability to challenge Trump,” Washington Post, June 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/06/20/joe-biden-is-badly-undermining-his-case-against-trump/; Matt Viser and Sean Sullivan, “Biden faces backlash over comments about the ‘civility’ of his past work with racist senators,” Washington Post, June 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-faces-backlash-over-comments-about-the-civility-of-his-past-work-with-racist-senators/2019/06/19/c0375d2a-92a8-11e9-b58a-a6a9afaa0e3e_story.html
  6. [6]Elise Viebeck, “Joe Biden was in charge of the Anita Hill hearing. Even he says it wasn’t fair,” Washington Post, April 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/joe-biden-was-in-charge-of-the-anita-hill-hearing-even-he-says-it-wasnt-fair/2019/04/26/a9a6f384-6500-11e9-82ba-fcfeff232e8f_story.html
  7. [7]Aaron Back, “Another Recession Sign to Ignore at Your Peril,” Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/another-recession-sign-to-ignore-at-your-peril-11567530230; Jon Hilsenrath, “After Record-Long Expansion, Here’s What Could Knock the Economy Off Course,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-record-long-expansion-heres-what-could-knock-the-economy-off-course-11559591043; John Kemp, “Global economy is probably in recession,” Reuters, August 7, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-global-economy-kemp/column-global-economy-is-probably-in-recession-idUKKCN1UX1OF; Colin Kruger, “‘Insane levels’: Can a world where profitless companies are flying last?” Sydney Morning Herald, August 10, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/insane-levels-can-a-world-where-profitless-companies-are-flying-last-20190808-p52f3d.html; Damian Paletta, Thomas Heath, and Taylor Telford, “Stocks tank as another recession warning surfaces,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/14/stocks-tank-another-recession-warning-surfaces/; Ruth Simon, Megumi Fujikawa, and Paul Hannon, “U.S.-China Trade War’s Global Impact Grows,” Wall Street Journal, September 2, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-china-trade-wars-global-impact-grows-11567466809; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/; Tim Wallace, “World economy faces a risk that’s far bigger than Trump’s trade war,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 9, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/world-economy-faces-a-risk-that-s-far-bigger-than-trump-s-trade-war-20190809-p52ffs.html
  8. [8]Tim Wallace, “Six bubbles that could cause chaos in the global economy,” Telegraph, October 7, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/10/07/six-bubbles-could-cause-chaos-global-economy/

The spoiled child

Brexit

Edward Malnick and Christopher Hope, “Boris Johnson to sabotage EU if forced to delay Brexit,” Telegraph, October 6, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/05/boris-johnson-sabotage-eu-forced-delay-brexit/

Tim Shipman and Caroline Wheeler, “‘Sack me if you dare,’ Boris Johnson will tell the Queen,” Times, October 6, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/sack-me-if-you-dare-boris-johnson-will-tell-the-queen-fsbpsnjdc



Whistle blowing

At first blush, Norman Solomon’s article appears to pose a false equivalence between a whistle blower who broke the law (albeit in defense of the constitution) and and one who followed the law. Solomon gets to that.[1]

Norman Solomon, “Pelosi Wants to Prosecute Snowden But Protect Trump Whistleblower,” Truthout, October 4, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/pelosi-wants-to-prosecute-snowden-but-protect-trump-whistleblower/


Academia

Alia Wong, “College Students Just Want Normal Libraries,” Atlantic, October 4, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2019/10/college-students-dont-want-fancy-libraries/599455/


Elon Musk

Rafi Letzter, “Why NASA’s Annoyed About Elon Musk’s Giant Rocket,” Live Science, October 5, 2019, https://www.livescience.com/starship-crew-dragon-spacex-nasa-bridenstine.html


  1. [1]Norman Solomon, “Pelosi Wants to Prosecute Snowden But Protect Trump Whistleblower,” Truthout, October 4, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/pelosi-wants-to-prosecute-snowden-but-protect-trump-whistleblower/

A Pennsylvania high?

Pennsylvania

State legislator David Delloso has introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania[1] following the governor’s expression of support.[2]

If the drug were to be sold in Pennsylvania, it would be “well taxed and well regulated to protect the kids,” [David] Delloso said in a phone interview with Lancaster Online. “When I was a kid, you knew what bars would sell you a six-pack, but you knew that no matter how hard you tried, you weren’t getting out of a state store with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”[3]

This would be nothing like California. If passed, personal cultivation would remain illegal and marijuana sales would be legal only through Pennsylvania’s generic “state stores,”[4] presently branded “Fine Wines and Good Spirits,” the only places in the state where hard liquor may be obtained. I’m not seeing here who would cultivate the marijuana or under what conditions.

Hunter Moyler, “Pennsylvania proposes sale of recreational marijuana just days after governor says he supports legalization,” Newsweek, October 2, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-proposes-sale-recreational-marijuana-just-days-after-governor-says-he-supports-1462756


Brexit

Daniel Boffey and Heather Stewart, “Dismay in Brussels as Boris Johnson finally reveals Brexit plan,” Guardian, October 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/02/boris-johnson-unveils-brexit-plan-for-alternative-to-backstop


Elon Musk

Elon Musk appears to be treating Mars as terra nullius before we have ruled out the existence of some microbes somewhere on the planet and it appears unlikely that colonists can be adequately protected from radiation.[5]

Samantha Rolfe, “Elon Musk’s Starship may be more moral catastrophe than bold step in space exploration,” Science X, October 2, 2019, https://phys.org/news/2019-10-elon-musk-starship-moral-catastrophe.html


  1. [1]Hunter Moyler, “Pennsylvania proposes sale of recreational marijuana just days after governor says he supports legalization,” Newsweek, October 2, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-proposes-sale-recreational-marijuana-just-days-after-governor-says-he-supports-1462756
  2. [2]Kara Seymour, “PA Governor Calls For Legalizing Recreational Marijuana,” Patch, September 25, 2019, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/baldwin-whitehall/s/gutg4/pa-governor-calls-for-legalizing-recreational-marijuana
  3. [3]Hunter Moyler, “Pennsylvania proposes sale of recreational marijuana just days after governor says he supports legalization,” Newsweek, October 2, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-proposes-sale-recreational-marijuana-just-days-after-governor-says-he-supports-1462756
  4. [4]Hunter Moyler, “Pennsylvania proposes sale of recreational marijuana just days after governor says he supports legalization,” Newsweek, October 2, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-proposes-sale-recreational-marijuana-just-days-after-governor-says-he-supports-1462756
  5. [5]Samantha Rolfe, “Elon Musk’s Starship may be more moral catastrophe than bold step in space exploration,” Science X, October 2, 2019, https://phys.org/news/2019-10-elon-musk-starship-moral-catastrophe.html

Donald Trump just isn’t that into Faux News (not fake enough) anymore

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 30, 8:26 pm.
  2. Update August 30, 9:55 pm:
    • Dorian is now a category 4 storm as it approaches the Bahamas. Considerable uncertainty remains as to how it will affect Florida.[1] I have also updated the maps from the National Hurricane Center.

Faux News

So in the last installment,[2] Donald Trump slammed Faux News for daring to feature some neoliberals (Democrats).[3] Now we have the spurned Faux News firing back.[4] I’m waiting to see the supermarket tabloids on this one. ’Cause you know that’s where all the juicy stuff is.

Allyson Chiu,“‘We don’t work for you’: Fox News’s Neil Cavuto rebukes Trump for slamming network,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/08/30/neil-cavuto-fox-news-trump-work-you/


Gig economy

There is a new blog post entitled, “Time for the gig economy to grow up.”

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

Alejandro Lazo and Eliot Brown, “Uber, Lyft, DoorDash Threaten Ballot Fight Over California Gig-Worker Law,” Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-doordash-threaten-ballot-fight-over-california-gig-worker-law-11567126445


Elon Musk

There is another new blog post entitled, “The consciousness of Elon Musk.”

Edwin Chan, Lulu Yilun Chen, and Chunying Zhang, “The Time a Jet-Lagged Musk Made Alibaba’s Jack Ma Sound Grounded,” Bloomberg, August 29, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-29/the-time-a-jet-lagged-musk-made-alibaba-s-jack-ma-sound-grounded


Dorian

234529_5day_cone_no_line_and_win
This storm track takes Dorian almost directly over the northern Bahama Islands. National Hurricane Center map, August 30, 2019, fair use.

For those who are hoping, seriously or otherwise,[5] Mar a Lago is on south Florida’s Atlantic coast, roughly parallel with Grand Bahama.

I’ve been thinking this storm would surely turn north. Initially I figured it would hit the Carolinas. But as of the 8:00 pm images, the storm appeared to be following an earlier forecast track fairly closely. If the track shown above holds, Dorian should make landfall near Vero Beach, far enough north from Mar a Lago that winds should be strong but considerably reduced. We’re not talking eye wall stuff here by something like 80 miles.
234529
Note that the purple zone is for winds 39 miles per hour or higher. National Hurricane Center map, August 30, 2019, fair use.
car-2019-08-30-20
72-hour gif, images taken two hours apart, as of 8:00 pm.

Kayla Epstein, “‘I’m rooting for a direct hit on Mar a Lago!’ Former Canadian prime minister creates Twitter storm,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/08/30/im-rooting-direct-hit-mar-a-lago-former-canadian-pm-creates-twitter-storm/

Jason Samenow, Matthew Cappucci, and Andrew Freedman, “Potentially disastrous Hurricane Dorian strengthens to Category 4 as it targets Florida and Southeast U.S.,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/08/30/potentially-disastrous-hurricane-dorian-looms-closer-stronger-targeting-florida-southeast-us/


  1. [1]Jason Samenow, Matthew Cappucci, and Andrew Freedman, “Potentially disastrous Hurricane Dorian strengthens to Category 4 as it targets Florida and Southeast U.S.,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/08/30/potentially-disastrous-hurricane-dorian-looms-closer-stronger-targeting-florida-southeast-us/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Are we waiting for the make-up sex or does this count as another divorce?” Irregular Bullshit, August 29, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/08/29/are-we-waiting-for-the-make-up-sex-or-does-this-count-as-another-divorce/
  3. [3]Brett Samuels, “Trump criticizes Fox, which ‘isn’t working for us anymore,’” Hill, August 28, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/459105-trump-criticizes-fox-which-isnt-working-for-us-anymore
  4. [4]Allyson Chiu,“‘We don’t work for you’: Fox News’s Neil Cavuto rebukes Trump for slamming network,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/08/30/neil-cavuto-fox-news-trump-work-you/
  5. [5]Kayla Epstein, “‘I’m rooting for a direct hit on Mar a Lago!’ Former Canadian prime minister creates Twitter storm,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/08/30/im-rooting-direct-hit-mar-a-lago-former-canadian-pm-creates-twitter-storm/

Are we waiting for the make-up sex or does this count as another divorce?

Faux News

Donald Trump apparently did not utter the words, “I divorce thee,” three times. (Oh right, that’s a custom among some Muslims. Well, you know, lots of things are confusing these days.)

Brett Samuels, “Trump criticizes Fox, which ‘isn’t working for us anymore,’” Hill, August 28, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/459105-trump-criticizes-fox-which-isnt-working-for-us-anymore


Jeffrey Epstein

There is a new blog post entitled, “We’ll never know. We’ll never be able to conclusively rule out the conspiracy theories about Jeffrey Epstein’s death.” I’m sure the elite will manage to trudge on. It must be tough.

Mark Hosenball, “FBI studies two broken cameras outside cell where Epstein died: source,” Reuters, August 28, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-jeffrey-epstein-cameras-idUSKCN1VI2LC


Uber

There is another new blog post entitled, “Uber’s spiral down.”

Eliot Brown and Sarah Nassauer, “Uber Cuts Third of Marketing Staff; Lyft Chief Operating Officer Exits,” Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-cuts-third-of-marketing-staff-lyft-chief-operating-officer-exits-11564430556


Dorian

car-2019-08-29-20
Dorian’s brush with Puerto Rico and a string of Carribean islands can still be seen in this 72-hour gif, composed of images taken two hours apart, as of 8:00 pm EDT tonight.

Matthew Cappucci, Andrew Freedman, and Jason Samenow, “Hurricane Dorian: Florida on guard for potential major hurricane strike,” Washington Post, August 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/08/29/hurricane-dorian-florida-guard-potential-major-hurricane-strike/


Sexual orientation

Can sexual orientation be attributed to nature or nurture? The answer seems to be, it’s complicated, but there are a number of genetic components that appear to increase the probability of particular orientations.[1] What we’re not seeing here is linear causation, with one cause and one effect. But these findings would seem to indicate that sexual orientation cannot be attributed solely to any social cause. They will be a blow to social conservatives, especially those who think they can “reprogram” people to be heterosexual.

Andrea Ganna, et al., “Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior,” Science 365, no. 6456 (2019), doi: 10.1126/science.aat7693


Brexit

But one top Johnson lieutenant, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, was caught on camera acknowledging that Johnson was struggling to push through Brexit without a majority.

“Parliament has been very good at saying what it doesn’t want. It has been awful at saying what it wants. That’s the reality. So eventually any leader has to, you know, try,” Wallace explained to French Defense Minister Florence Parly, caught on camera ahead of an unrelated meeting in Helsinki.

A government spokesman said later that Wallace “misspoke.”[2]

But everyone knows that Ben Wallace “misspoke” the truth. It’s really rather silly, which I guess is another word for a legal artifice, to deny it.

Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Allies of British prime minister resign amid outrage over Parliament suspension,” Washington Post, August 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/british-leaders-backers-dismiss-outrage-over-parliament-suspension-as-candyfloss/2019/08/29/fa1e2c96-ca3c-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html


  1. [1]Andrea Ganna, et al., “Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior,” Science 365, no. 6456 (2019), doi: 10.1126/science.aat7693
  2. [2]Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Allies of British prime minister resign amid outrage over Parliament suspension,” Washington Post, August 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/british-leaders-backers-dismiss-outrage-over-parliament-suspension-as-candyfloss/2019/08/29/fa1e2c96-ca3c-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html

See what you want to see

Gig economy

There is a new blog post entitled, “Liking Lyft, not liking Uber.”

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


Brexit

You wouldn’t expect the shadow (official opposition) attorney general to approve of Boris Johnson’s idea to prorogue Parliament to allow a hard Brexit,[1] which remains the legal default[2] and which all but hard Brexiteers agree would be likely to result in a grave calamity.[3] But still.[4]

Heather Stewart and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: shutting down parliament ‘gravest abuse of power in living memory,’” Guardian, August 26, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/26/brexit-shutting-down-parliament-gravest-abuse-of-power-in-living-memory-legal-advice


Pittsburgh

Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel facing a 2nd federal lawsuit tied to December fire at Clairton Plant,” TribLive, August 26, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-facing-a-2nd-federal-lawsuit-tied-to-december-fire-at-clairton-plant/


Jeffrey Epstein

Sorry, this still stinks to high hell.[5]

Carol D. Leonnig and Matt Zapotosky, “Investigators scrutinizing video outside Epstein’s cell find some footage unusable, according to people familiar with the inquiry,” Washington Post, August 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/investigators-scrutinizing-video-outside-epsteins-cell-find-some-footage-unusable-according-to-people-familiar-with-the-inquiry/2019/08/26/df405636-c827-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html


Racism

There is another new blog entry entitled, “Hey cops! Do you know what year it is?


Economics

Add this[6] to the pile of evidence against the field of economics.[7] And give Binyamin Appelbaum some credit—this[8] is a hard thing for anyone who has made their profession within a field—yes, he’s a journalist but he has, through the time I’ve seen his writing, focused on economics—to admit about that field. But it’d help a lot if the New York Times would stop endorsing neoliberals. (And notice that Appelbaum never once uses the word.)

Binyamin Appelbaum, “Blame Economists for the Mess We’re In,” New York Times, August 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/opinion/sunday/economics-milton-friedman.html


  1. [1]Toby Helm and Heather Stewart, “Boris Johnson seeks legal advice on five-week parliament closure ahead of Brexit,” Guardian, August 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/24/johnson-seeks-legal-advice-parliament-closure
  2. [2]Jack Maidment, “Brexit latest news: Theresa May’s deal defeated again by 58 votes – PM hints at general election to break deadlock,” Telegraph, March 29, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/29/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-final-push-mps-prepare-vote-withdrawal/; Amy Davidson Sorkin, “The Double Dishonesty of Boris Johnson’s Brexit Proposals,” New Yorker, August 22, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-double-dishonesty-of-boris-johnsons-brexit-proposals; Peter Walker, “Could parliament’s latest amendment stop no-deal Brexit?” Guardian, July 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/18/could-parliaments-latest-amendment-stop-no-deal-brexit; Josh Wilson, “No-deal Brexit odds: Latest predictions on leaving the EU without a deal,” Telegraph, August 2, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/0/no-deal-brexit-odds-latest-predictions-leaving-eu-without-deal/
  3. [3]Bobby Allyn and Frank Langfitt, “Leaked Brexit Document Depicts Government Fears Of Gridlock, Food Shortages, Unrest,” National Public Radio, August 18, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/08/18/752173091/leaked-brexit-document-depicts-government-fears-of-gridlock-food-shortages-unres; David Benfell, “Boris Johnson might think he’s playing poker with the European Union, but he’s actually playing ‘chicken’—with a brick wall,” Not Housebroken, August 2, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/02/boris-johnson-might-think-hes-playing-poker-with-the-european-union-but-hes-actually-playing-chicken-with-a-brick-wall/; Lisa O’Carroll and Rowena Mason, “Johnson told no-deal Brexit will crush domestic policy plans,” Guardian, July 28, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/28/boris-johnson-ifg-no-deal-brexit-crush-domestic-policy-plans; Amy Davidson Sorkin, “The Double Dishonesty of Boris Johnson’s Brexit Proposals,” New Yorker, August 22, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-double-dishonesty-of-boris-johnsons-brexit-proposals; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/
  4. [4]Heather Stewart and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: shutting down parliament ‘gravest abuse of power in living memory,’” Guardian, August 26, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/26/brexit-shutting-down-parliament-gravest-abuse-of-power-in-living-memory-legal-advice
  5. [5]David Benfell, “What the hell is going on with the prison video from around the time of Jeffrey Epstein’s death?” Not Housebroken, August 16, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/16/what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-the-prison-video-from-around-the-time-of-jeffrey-epsteins-death/; Carol D. Leonnig and Matt Zapotosky, “Investigators scrutinizing video outside Epstein’s cell find some footage unusable, according to people familiar with the inquiry,” Washington Post, August 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/investigators-scrutinizing-video-outside-epsteins-cell-find-some-footage-unusable-according-to-people-familiar-with-the-inquiry/2019/08/26/df405636-c827-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html
  6. [6]Binyamin Appelbaum, “Blame Economists for the Mess We’re In,” New York Times, August 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/opinion/sunday/economics-milton-friedman.html
  7. [7]Hites Ahir and Prakash Loungani, “‘There will be growth in the spring’: How well do economists predict turning points?” Vox, April 14, 2014, https://voxeu.org/article/predicting-economic-turning-points; Richard Alford, “Why Economists Have No Shame – Undue Confidence, False Precision, Risk and Monetary Policy,” Naked Capitalism, July 19, 2012, https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/richard-alford-why-economists-have-no-shame-undue-confidence-false-precision-risk-and-monetary-policy.html; Ha-Joon Chang and Jonathan Aldred, “After the crash, we need a revolution in the way we teach economics,” Guardian, May 10, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/11/after-crash-need-revolution-in-economics-teaching-chang-aldred; Barry Eichengreen, “Economists, Remove Your Blinders,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 12, 2015, http://www.chronicle.com/article/Economists-Remove-Your/151057/; Paul Krugman, “How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?” New York Times, September 2, 2009, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html; Paul Krugman, “Triumph of the Wrong?” New York Times, October 11, 2012, https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/opinion/krugman-triumph-of-the-wrong.html; Andrew Simms, “Economics is a failing discipline doing great harm – so let’s rethink it,” Guardian, August 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/03/economics-global-economy-climate-crisis; Mark Thoma, “Restoring the Public’s Trust in Economists,” Fiscal Times, May 19, 2015, http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2015/05/19/Restoring-Public-s-Trust-Economists
  8. [8]Binyamin Appelbaum, “Blame Economists for the Mess We’re In,” New York Times, August 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/opinion/sunday/economics-milton-friedman.html