Donald Trump’s executive actions, issued in the wake of failed negotiations with Congress, do not amount to another relief package:
“The President cannot create new money with an executive order. These [executive orders] simply show the limitations of the President’s legal authority,” said Jack Smalligan, a former official at the Office of Management and Budget and now a senior policy fellow at the Urban Institute, a centrist think tank.
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Restaurant and Tavern Association has sort of—only sort of—backed off its threat to reopen bars and restaurants at full capacity. But man, they whine:
In an emotional speech directed to [Tom] Wolf during the rally, [Joe Tambellini] said he’s been in the restaurant business for 41 years.
“Forty-one years — that’s two life sentences, governor. What? You going to throw me in jail? We can’t do it. We can’t do this. So people are talking about opening up, governor, they’re talking about just opening up. You wanna have them open up on their own or you do want to tweak this mandate and let us do it responsibly?” he said.
So there it is. Joe Tambellini compares running a restaurant to a prison sentence. I’m just not even gonna start.
I predict a huge fundraising bonanza for the National Rifle Association. Because, yes, that’s exactly how this works.
As for the lawsuit 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) will prevail. And we haven’t seen the NRA’s defense yet.
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.
I hope that enforcement will be vigorous. Enough with the warnings: These assholes know damned well what they’re doing.
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. Gavin Newsom signed the bill on September 18, 2019; it took effect on January 1, 2020. I left the state on April 14, 2019 (figure 1).
It’s really quite remarkable: Not far from my apartment is a nearly entirely shuttered shopping mall 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. Now, it too is closing. 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.
Restaurant and bar owners just keep on offering evidence that capitalism is irredeemably evil and must be abolished. They get to pay their workers a mere $2.83 per hour (Pennsylvania tipped minimum wage). They’re capitalists. They exploit their workers. They took a RISK. That’s all part of capitalism. And that RISK means when they lose, they lose.
They deserve to lose especially when they get to pay their workers nearly nothing. Put anybody who defies health orders out of business permanently. Throw them in prison and throw away the key.
But in earlier thinking, first looking at county electoral results, and later from Sonoma County, California, over at California’s own “bible belt” in the Central Valley, I’ve noted that dividing territory between ‘red’ and ‘blue’ would not be simple, and this is a point Rod Dreher at The American Conservative makes, except he thinks the conflict would even be between neighborhoods. That’s a point I’ll readily concede.
In any event, I still can’t imagine the Democratic Party refusing to concede. It’s clear that Barack Obama, who refused to prosecute Bush administration war crimes and who refused to prosecute bankers for their acts of fraud leading to the financial crisis, is calling the shots in the Democratic Party. Even assuming that mantle passes to Biden, whose mental faculties should be in severe doubt for this even if no other reason, he imagines Republicans will be reasonable. These are not people who would ever even in their wildest dreams contest an election result.
So my mother sent me a New York Times article reporting that there was opposition to wearing masks in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic similar to what we’re seeing today. There’s still no real explanation for the phenomenon. Which means we’re left with Priya Elan’s claim that somehow masks seem to threaten masculinity: “It seems that in certain circles,” Elan writes, “wearing a mask has been conflated with the kind of archaic, knuckle-dragging rhetoric that casts wearing pink or having a cat on a dating app as effeminate.” Which is to say that being a man somehow means making everyone around you sick. Spare me.