As of now, I am wondering if an expected communication disruption will come off today as planned. In my experience, the Pixel 4 XL should be in Pittsburgh by now for it to arrive today. Instead, as of 1:21 am, it has left Grove City, Ohio, which is 187 miles away. If it has arrived in Pittsburgh, it didn’t get scanned, either on arrival or going out for delivery. Either that or there’s some other outage that’s inhibiting updates.
This has suddenly become interesting:
“It’s not a question of if [legislation preserving some domestic spying authority] passes but when,” Mr. [Mitch] McConnell said during a morning floor speech. “I hope none of our colleagues choose to force these important national security tools to temporarily lapse for the sake of making a political point, which will not change the outcome.”
That seems to be, however, just what happened as a motion to pass the legislation by unanimous consent failed.
Mr. Trump exerted last-minute influence on the process Thursday, saying he had been asked by senators to veto the House-passed bill. “Many Republican Senators want me to Veto the FISA Bill until we find out what led to, and happened with, the illegal attempted ’coup’ of the duly elected President of the United States, and others!” he wrote on Twitter.
I guess you gotta take the good with the bad, even the evil, even the black hole of the Trump presidency.
Dustin Volz and Siobhan Hughes, “Senate Fails to Approve Renewal of Domestic-Surveillance Powers,” Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/mcconnell-warns-some-spying-tools-could-temporarily-lapse-11584026307
The picture with coronavirus right now is huge, to my annoyance, well beyond the scope of a single article I’ve found, even the excellent one by David Wallace-Wells. Right now, what I’m finding is mostly about effects in the U.S. but, of course, this is global and the effects will be emergent.
Since the panic began, I’ve been seeing a bump in business driving for Lyft, which has kept me sufficiently busy that I haven’t even tried driving for Uber. I attribute this to three possible factors, none of which seem to be mutually exclusive. I am not able to determine the extent to which any of these may be, if at all, true:
- It is March. We might be coming to the end of winter, which has, as long as I’ve been driving cab (and for Uber and Lyft) been a horrible season.
- Some drivers may be staying offline, to avoid coronavirus exposure.
- Some passengers may be avoiding public transportation, to avoid coronavirus exposure.
It’s not been enough to save my finances, at least not yet, which have been hit hard, only in part by winter. My car is going through an expensive phase: I’ve already had an engine mount replaced, a tune-up is due, brakes are coming due, a Pennsylvania-mandated inspection is due between now and May, and I noticed an entry on the last mechanic’s inspection report that the “battery” (I do not know which one) is in the orange, indicating it will soon need service.
Battery service, of course, means replacement. If it’s the starter battery, I have replaced this once already for about $400 but due to the absence of independent hybrid mechanics in the Pittsburgh area, I’m now dealing with a dealer—it won’t be cheaper. If it’s the main battery, that will be an order of magnitude more expensive.
The latter possibility raises the question, is the car worth it? Apparently Toyota Camry Hybrids don’t hold their value like Priuses do. But I am unenthusiastic about buying a used car in Pennsylvania, with someone else’s rust, and have previously ruled out buying new. So I’m thinking the car is indeed worth it.
Meanwhile, as the panic increases, I am unsure that that bump in business will last. Will people indeed stay home, self-quarantining themselves? This might only be a temporary reprieve from an extended winter. On the other hand, how long until cabin fever drives people back out into the world?
I wouldn’t be getting that new cell phone if I didn’t think it absolutely necessary. But mobile data is critical: without it, there are no orders, no pick-ups, and no drop-offs. And as I discovered in California, more reliable mobile data means more of them.
In a business as marginal as this, that forces my hand.
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
David Wallace-Wells, “America Is Broken,” New York, March 12, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/coronavirus-shows-us-america-is-broken.html
This is how Donald Trump gets re-elected for another four years. The neoliberals want Joe Biden so badly and were apoplectic at the prospect of Bernie Sanders. Now there are a whole bunch of votes—no one knows how many—they won’t get. But, of course, you know who’ll take the blame.
This is why I won’t ever again support the Democratic Party.
Ankita Rao, “Bernie or Bust: the Sanders fans who will never vote for Biden,” Guardian, March 13, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/13/bernie-sanders-fans-joe-biden-democratic-candidate