The panic

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.


Domestic spying

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.”[1]

That seems to be, however, just what happened as a motion to pass the legislation by unanimous consent failed.[2]

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.[3]

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


Coronavirus

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.[4] Right now, what I’m finding is mostly about effects in the U.S.[5] 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Some drivers may be staying offline, to avoid coronavirus exposure.
  3. 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


Bernie Sanders

This is how Donald Trump gets re-elected for another four years. The neoliberals want Joe Biden so badly[6] and were apoplectic at the prospect of Bernie Sanders.[7] Now there are a whole bunch of votes—no one knows how many—they won’t get.[8] But, of course, you know who’ll take the blame.[9]

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


  1. [1]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
  2. [2]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
  3. [3]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
  4. [4]David Wallace-Wells, “America Is Broken,” New York, March 12, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/coronavirus-shows-us-america-is-broken.html
  5. [5]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
  6. [6]FiveThirtyEight, “The 2020 Endorsement Primary,” March 12, 2020, https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-endorsements/democratic-primary/
  7. [7]Eric Lutz, “Turns Out Lots of People ‘Like’ Bernie Sanders,” Vanity Fair, January 22, 2020, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/01/cnn-poll-bernie-sanders-joe-biden; Veronica Stracqualursi and Gregory Krieg, “Clinton says ‘nobody likes’ Sanders and won’t commit to backing him if he’s the Democratic nominee,” CNN>, January 21, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/21/politics/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-documentary/index.html
  8. [8]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
  9. [9]Blue Texan [pseud.], “Early Morning Swim: Ed Rendell tells Democratic base to ‘Get Over It’ on Rachel Maddow,” Shadowproof, September 23, 2010, https://shadowproof.com/2010/09/23/early-morning-swim-ed-rendell-tells-democratic-base-to-get-over-it-on-rachel-maddow/; Blue Texan [pseud.], “Stop Whining, Liberals!” Shadowproof, September 27, 2010, https://shadowproof.com/2010/09/27/late-night-stop-whining-liberals/; Michael Falcone, “Opposite Day On The Campaign Trail?” ABC News, September 21, 2010, copy in possession of author; Glenn Greenwald, “Obama’s view of liberal criticisms,” Salon, September 17, 2010, http://www.salon.com/2010/09/17/obama_139/; John F. Harris, “Rahm Roars Back,” Politico, February 28, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/02/28/rahm-emanuel-2020-race-biden-bernie-sanders-warren-election-politics-analysis-118208; David Neiwert, “President Obama lashes out at his liberal critics: Choice is to ‘get things done’ or feel ‘sanctimonious’,” Crooks and Liars, December 7, 2010, http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/president-obama-lashes-out-his-liber; Heather Digby Parton, “‘It’s always the hippies’ fault’: Why the left treats its idealists all wrong,” Salon, February 5, 2015, http://www.salon.com/2015/02/05/its_always_the_hippies_fault_why_the_left_treats_its_idealists_all_wrong/; Greg Sargent, “Liberal blogger directly confronts David Axelrod, accuses White House of ‘hippie punching’,” Washington Post, September 23, 2010, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/liberal_blogger_directly_confr.html; Stephen Stromberg, “Joe Biden scolds progressives — and he’s right,” Washington Post, September 16, 2010, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/09/joe_biden_scolds_progressives.html; Sam Youngman, “White House unloads anger over criticism from ‘professional left’,” Hill, August 10, 2010, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/113431-white-house-unloads-on-professional-left

Might the border yet cease to be a “Constitution-free” zone?

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 13, 6:24 pm.
  2. November 13, 10:32 pm:
    • The full District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals declined Donald Trump’s request to rehear a case in which a panel ruled that Congress may have access to Trump’s tax records.[1]

Domestic spying

Darryl Coote, “Judge rules against indiscriminate searches of smartphones, laptops,” United Press International, November 13, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/11/13/Judge-rules-against-indiscriminate-searches-of-smartphones-laptops/1711573628714/


A point of order: According to Wikipedia, Pittsburgh International did not exist in 1911. “The new airport construction began in 1946 and opened in 1952.”[2] Unless a weather station existed at that site in 1911, the comparison is likely flawed. Their response:

It turns out they do have a methodology for dealing with this situation, although the Threadex page is, for me, uncomfortably vague about how they do it, and I would prefer to see specific information about how they extrapolate historical temperatures for the area now occupied by the Pittsburgh airport.[3]

So today, the roads were white from all the salt they’d laid down. Even though the roads were dry, it splattered onto the sides of my car.

It turns out that my car wash does an underbody treatment as part of their “ultimate” car wash. I have this on a monthly plan and I’ve been getting my car washed almost daily. Hopefully between that and the underbody treatment I got a few months ago, there won’t be too much corrosion. But this part is really sickening: I now know how all the horrible corrosion damage I’ve seen on cars around here got there. Even benign neglect would be catastrophic.


Donald Trump

Ann E. Marimow, “Congress can seek 8 years of Trump’s tax records, court order indicates,” Washington Post, November 13, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/congress-can-seek-eight-years-of-trumps-tax-records-appeals-court-rules/2019/11/13/b4fc8002-fc07-11e9-8906-ab6b60de9124_story.html


  1. [1]Ann E. Marimow, “Congress can seek 8 years of Trump’s tax records, court order indicates,” Washington Post, November 13, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/congress-can-seek-eight-years-of-trumps-tax-records-appeals-court-rules/2019/11/13/b4fc8002-fc07-11e9-8906-ab6b60de9124_story.html
  2. [2]Wikipedia, s.v. “Pittsburgh International Airport,” last modified November 12, 2019, 09:04 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_International_Airport
  3. [3]“[Threadex] Project Background,” Applied Climate Information System, October 2, 2019, http://threadex.rcc-acis.org/help/about.html

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/

The toll of a failed Ph.D.

Updates

  1. Originally published, April 1, 9:08 am.
  2. April 2, 1:44 am:
    • It is no longer unclear that any Brexit option commands majority support in the British parliament. We now know that none of them do.[1]
  3. April 2, 9:12 am:
    • At least I haven’t cornered you in a room with a slide projector and screen. As my planned departure date, April 15, for western Massachusetts nears, I am trying to view my present surroundings as if I will never see them again. Most of these photographs are taken in Marin County, but not all. I am preserving the metadata, so you should be able to find the locations. I expect this effort to continue up to my departure so it makes sense to check back.
    • Theresa May may be attempting to use the threat of a snap general election to bully her party into submission.[2] It does not appear to be working as Michel Barnier warns that a hard Brexit “becomes day after day more likely.”[3]
  4. April 2, 11:07 am:
    • In an article from last year, Katy Hayward explains what maximum facilitation (“max fac”) and technology (hard Brexiteers’ wet dream “answer” to the Irish border problem) would look like. Surprise, surprise: It’s still a border. There would still need to be customs checks. There would still need to be intrusive border surveillance. And people would suffer all this along a border that weaves through their personal and commercial lives.[4]
  5. April 2, 5:57 pm:
    • Brexit is a train wreck in progress and I’m just not seeing it get any better. Theresa May is now negotiating with Labor to try to find a path to passage for her deal, the same deal that Parliament rejected three—yes, three times and the same deal that everyone but her has said is dead on arrival from the beginning. Labor wants a customs union. She doesn’t. Her fellow Tories will likely want her head[5] so maybe, just maybe, we’ll start to see light at the end of the tunnel here.
    • Michel Barnier laid out options for avoiding a hard Brexit to the U.K. parliament. They include Theresa May’s deal, a Norway-style relationship, or a customs union.[6] There’s really nothing new here and I don’t see how it advances anything.
    • Having it your way at Burger King might soon include the Impossible Burger. The chain is testing the vegan burger patties,[7] but I’m guessing that, like Carl’s Jr. with the Beyond Burger,[8] it won’t be certified vegan because the fast food chains prepare the burgers using the same facilities and equipment used for the usual flesh-based versions.
  6. April 3, 12:40 am:
  7. April 3, 12:53 pm:
    • I guess I can’t imagine this being a surprise to anyone: Tories are furious about Theresa May’s overtures to Labour on passing her Brexit deal.[9] Meanwhile, European leaders seem more likely to offer a long extension than a short one.[10]
  8. April 4, 12:30 pm:
    • Electricity can be used to make lead pipes less dangerous.[11]
    • Such a surprise: It seems there may have been more to Robert Mueller’s report than William Barr let on. Supposedly, it moves us farther from Donald Trump’s alleged ‘exoneration.’[12]
  9. April 5, 11:42 am:
    • The New York Times got the scoop[13] but the Washington Post got the story on Mueller team discontent with William Barr’s summary.[14]
    • There were “[t]rees growing near the South Pole, sea levels [were] 20 metres higher than now, and global temperatures [were] 3C-4C warmer” the last time the earth “had as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it does today.”[15]
    • It isn’t that cats don’t recognize their name—they do—but that they don’t recognize it as referring to them. Rather, they may have a pleasant association with the sound of their name.[16] I’m hoping the cats that have been lost to me, especially Admiral Janeway, over the years can hear their names a lot.
    • Ecuador may be moving to expel Julian Assange from its London embassy. Then again, it might not.[17]
    • I’ve been inclined toward skepticism about fast food outlets offering products such as the Beyond Burger or the Impossible Burger. Because they can’t be certified vegan, the appeal to vegans will be limited. But here’s where I was wrong: It turns out that sales, largely to omnivores, are rising.[18]
  10. April 5, 1:25 pm:
    • Theresa May has ceased to make any sense whatsoever on Brexit as she now requests an extension to June 30 but hopes to get out before May 23 when European Union elections are due. That said, her government will prepare to participate in those elections.[19]
  11. April 5, 5:54 pm:
    • “Reefer madness,” best understood as a social panic opposing marijuana legalization, lives on as some California cities have filed suit against a state regulation permitting delivery even in jurisdictions that oppose legal businesses, which is to say these local governments prefer forcing even medical marijuana patients to seek out the black market.[20]
    • “Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that he’s not sorry for his past actions that some women have said made them uncomfortable, but that he’s sorry he didn’t understand more at the time.”[21] To put it mildly, this is insufficient, as I explain in a new blog post, entitled, “Joe Biden blows his #MeToo moment.”
  12. April 6, 3:30 am:
    • Jeremy Corbyn’s talks with Theresa May on Brexit are going about as well as expected. Which is to say, not well at all.[22] We seem to be a point where it is impossible to be too pessimistic.
  13. April 6, 12:05 pm:
    • A third federal judge has struck down the Trump administration’s inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census.[23]

Lost Ph.D.’s

Somewhere in—I’m pretty sure—in a conservative publication, I saw the description of a “failed Ph.D.” as one who had failed to secure a tenure-track position within one year of the degree.

It’s been three years since I finished my Ph.D. The only interviews I have had (and a very paltry few at that) have been sham interviews—even intitutions I had been informed were “desperate” always managed to have (informally, of course) selected someone else over me; I was there so search committees could claim to have interviewed other candidates.

And understand that each application to a university I submit should be accompanied by individually written letters of reference from members of my dissertation committee: This isn’t just my hell; it is their’s as well and profoundly unfair to all concerned.

All this takes a toll and as Herb Childress notes, it is part of a larger pattern of commodified labor under neoliberalism. But the larger part of his article is psychological: Because adjuncts are often excluded from teaching graduate level courses, the process of earning a higher degree means that our reference group, the group of people we measure ourselves by, consists largely of successful professors (who indeed evaluate our work), the ones who made it, often before neoliberalism sunk its talons into higher education budgets. They are where we should be and where we are not; even as it happens to so many, an individual job search feels like personal failure. And even understanding the situation rationally barely if at all mitigates the shame and the stigma of low-level work following a high accomplishment that itself portends potential that not merely goes to waste but is positively rejected.[24]

Herb Childress, “This Is How You Kill a Profession,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/2019-03-27-childress

Chronicle of Higher Education, “‘This Was a Hell Not Unlike Anything Dante Conjured.’ Readers Share Their Stories of Fraught Academic Careers,” March 29, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/article/This-Was-a-Hell-Not-Unlike/246018


Brexit

Might we suspect, with Bob Moran’s cartoon, the Telegraph of feeling betrayed by Theresa May’s overtures to Labor?

Bob Moran, in the Telegraph, April 4, 2019, fair use.

Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018, http://theconversation.com/can-technology-and-max-fac-solve-the-irish-border-question-expert-explains-96735

Heather Stewart, Jessica Elgot, and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: May calls for cabinet showdown as MPs reject all options,” Guardian, April 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/01/brexit-deadlock-continues-as-mps-fail-to-find-compromise

Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “Theresa May to Seek Further Brexit Extension, Talks With Labour,” Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-s-may-to-seek-talks-with-labour-further-brexit-extension-11554226292

Gordon Rayner et al., “Theresa May ignores Cabinet support for no-deal Brexit as she turns to Jeremy Corbyn for help,” Telegraph, April 2, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/04/02/brexit-vote-latest-news-philip-hammond-propose-putting-theresa/

Bruno Waterfield et al., “No-deal Brexit ‘more likely by the day,’” Times, April 2, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/mps-reject-brexit-plans-again-in-boost-for-may-pbzpfbhqn

Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Brexit: Britain preps for E.U. elections, three years after voting to leave the E.U.,” Washington Post, April 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/britain-to-take-part-in-european-parliament-elections-signaling-a-brexit-delay/2019/04/05/e7042028-577f-11e9-a047-748657a0a9d1_story.html

Max Colchester and Laurence Norman, “Theresa May Seeks Brexit Extension to June 30,” Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/theresa-may-seeks-brexit-extension-to-june-30-11554452422

Heather Stewart and Daniel Boffey, “Hopes of Brexit progress fade as Labour says May has failed to compromise,” Guardian, April 5, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/05/labour-says-may-unable-to-compromise-as-brexit-talks-stall


Fast food

Tara Duggan, “Burger King strikes a deal to test out the plant-based Impossible Burger,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 1, 2019, https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/article/Impossible-Foods-to-test-out-its-plant-based-13731103.php

Dee-Ann Durbin, “Is that wheat protein in your Whopper? Plant-based meat sales rising,” Chicago Tribune, April 3, 2019, https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-meat-substitutes-popularity-20190403-story.html


James Comey

Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt, and Mark Mazzetti, “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed,” New York Times, April 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/03/us/politics/william-barr-mueller-report.html

Ellen Nakashima, Carol D. Leonnig, and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Limited information Barr has shared about Russia investigation frustrated some on Mueller’s team,” Washington Post, April 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/limited-information-barr-has-shared-about-russia-investigation-frustrated-some-on-muellers-team/2019/04/03/c98e8a02-567a-11e9-814f-e2f46684196e_story.html


Lead Pipes

Electricity can be used to make lead pipes less dangerous.[25]

Robert F. Service, “To seal off dangerous lead pipes, just add electricity,” Science, April 3, 2019, doi: 10.1126/science.aax5712


Climate Change

Damian Carrington, “Last time CO2 levels were this high, there were trees at the South Pole,” Guardian, April 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/apr/03/south-pole-tree-fossils-indicate-impact-of-climate-change


Cats

Malcolm Ritter, “Meow hear this: Study says cats react to sound of their name,” Phys.org, April 4, 2019, https://phys.org/news/2019-04-meow-cats-react.html


Julian Assange

Clive Hammond, “Julian Assange to be expelled from Ecuadorian embassy in London WITHIN HOURS say WikiLeaks,” Express, April 5, 2019, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1110035/Julian-Assange-news-WikiLeaks-Ecuador-embassy-london-expelled-INA-paper-edward-snowden


Marijuana

Patrick McGreevy, “California cities sue state over home deliveries of pot,” Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-sued-pot-deliveries-20190405-story.html


Joe Biden

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


Unauthorized migration

Hansi Lo Wang, “Trump Administration’s Census Citizenship Question Plans Halted By 3rd Judge,” National Public Radio, April 5, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/04/05/700982993/trump-administrations-census-citizenship-question-plans-halted-by-third-judge


  1. [1]Heather Stewart, Jessica Elgot, and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: May calls for cabinet showdown as MPs reject all options,” Guardian, April 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/01/brexit-deadlock-continues-as-mps-fail-to-find-compromise
  2. [2]Bruno Waterfield et al., “No-deal Brexit ‘more likely by the day,’” Times, April 2, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/mps-reject-brexit-plans-again-in-boost-for-may-pbzpfbhqn
  3. [3]Michel Barnier, quoted in Bruno Waterfield et al., “No-deal Brexit ‘more likely by the day,’” Times, April 2, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/mps-reject-brexit-plans-again-in-boost-for-may-pbzpfbhqn
  4. [4]Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018, http://theconversation.com/can-technology-and-max-fac-solve-the-irish-border-question-expert-explains-96735
  5. [5]Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “Theresa May to Seek Further Brexit Extension, Talks With Labour,” Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-s-may-to-seek-talks-with-labour-further-brexit-extension-11554226292
  6. [6]Deutschewelle, “EU’s Barnier: May deal is the only path to orderly Brexit,” April 2, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/eus-barnier-may-deal-is-the-only-path-to-orderly-brexit/a-48157813
  7. [7]Tara Duggan, “Burger King strikes a deal to test out the plant-based Impossible Burger,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 1, 2019, https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/article/Impossible-Foods-to-test-out-its-plant-based-13731103.php
  8. [8]Carls Jr., “Introducing the Beyond Famous Star with Cheese,” n.d., https://www.carlsjr.com/beyondburger
  9. [9]Gordon Rayner et al., “Theresa May ignores Cabinet support for no-deal Brexit as she turns to Jeremy Corbyn for help,” Telegraph, April 2, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/04/02/brexit-vote-latest-news-philip-hammond-propose-putting-theresa/
  10. [10]Bruno Waterfield and Adam Sage, “Brexit: EU leaders set to reject request for second short delay,” Times, April 3, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/brexit-eu-leaders-set-to-reject-request-for-second-short-delay-rxmpxxld2
  11. [11]Robert F. Service, “To seal off dangerous lead pipes, just add electricity,” Science, April 3, 2019, doi: 10.1126/science.aax5712
  12. [12]Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt, and Mark Mazzetti, “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed,” New York Times, April 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/03/us/politics/william-barr-mueller-report.html
  13. [13]Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt, and Mark Mazzetti, “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed,” New York Times, April 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/03/us/politics/william-barr-mueller-report.html
  14. [14]Ellen Nakashima, Carol D. Leonnig, and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Limited information Barr has shared about Russia investigation frustrated some on Mueller’s team,” Washington Post, April 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/limited-information-barr-has-shared-about-russia-investigation-frustrated-some-on-muellers-team/2019/04/03/c98e8a02-567a-11e9-814f-e2f46684196e_story.html
  15. [15]Damian Carrington, “Last time CO2 levels were this high, there were trees at the South Pole,” Guardian, April 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/apr/03/south-pole-tree-fossils-indicate-impact-of-climate-change
  16. [16]Malcolm Ritter, “Meow hear this: Study says cats react to sound of their name,” Phys.org, April 4, 2019, https://phys.org/news/2019-04-meow-cats-react.html
  17. [17]Clive Hammond, “Julian Assange to be expelled from Ecuadorian embassy in London WITHIN HOURS say WikiLeaks,” Express, April 5, 2019, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1110035/Julian-Assange-news-WikiLeaks-Ecuador-embassy-london-expelled-INA-paper-edward-snowden
  18. [18]Dee-Ann Durbin, “Is that wheat protein in your Whopper? Plant-based meat sales rising,” Chicago Tribune, April 3, 2019, https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-meat-substitutes-popularity-20190403-story.html
  19. [19]Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Brexit: Britain preps for E.U. elections, three years after voting to leave the E.U.,” Washington Post, April 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/britain-to-take-part-in-european-parliament-elections-signaling-a-brexit-delay/2019/04/05/e7042028-577f-11e9-a047-748657a0a9d1_story.html; Max Colchester and Laurence Norman, “Theresa May Seeks Brexit Extension to June 30,” Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/theresa-may-seeks-brexit-extension-to-june-30-11554452422
  20. [20]Patrick McGreevy, “California cities sue state over home deliveries of pot,” Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-sued-pot-deliveries-20190405-story.html
  21. [21]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
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  25. [25]Robert F. Service, “To seal off dangerous lead pipes, just add electricity,” Science, April 3, 2019, doi: 10.1126/science.aax5712

Cop-killings are all but inevitable: Daily Bullshit, July 13, 2016

Racist killings

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Near Certainty of Anti-Police Violence,” Atlantic, July 12, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/the-near-certainty-of-anti-police-violence/490541/


Brexit

It happened I was teaching on the day that Barack Obama was first inaugurated as president in the U.S. As I was lecturing, I hadn’t actually seen a report that the inauguration had happened. I wound up asking my class if anyone knew whether the inauguration had actually transpired. It had, of course, and two terms later, it’s easy to forget the fear that some on the left felt that George W. Bush might cling to power through some means even as his term expired and to dismiss that fear as paranoia.

In evaluating that fear, it’s important to place it in context. Bush had presided over war crimes; two invasions, at least one of which was illegal, and neither of which was accompanied by a declaration of war; passage of the Patriot Act; and what was then suspected to be and what Edward Snowden would later confirm to be mass surveillance of U.S. residents. He had advanced the neoconservative, neoliberal, and social conservative agendas; rationalized all of it with a smug self-righteousness; and governed under a doctrine of the “unitary presidency” that, in essence, alloted dictatorial or at least near-dictatorial powers to the president.[1] He ignored Supreme Court rulings regarding habeas corpus rights of detainees at Guantanamo.[2] He had dismissed the U.S. Constitution as nothing more than a “piece of paper.”[3] On top of all that, he had been awarded the presidency by a Supreme Court decision halting the recount in Florida in 2000, and reelected in 2004 in part by disenfranchising Blacks, notably with an insufficient number of balloting locations in urban precincts in Ohio which were expected to swing Democratic. He was not a person the left could trust to abide by the Constitution, especially when it came to relinquishing power.

As it turned out, Obama embraced and extended many of these policies, but it’s important to take note of transitions when they occur. They shouldn’t be taken for granted. Even when they occur in less suspicious circumstances.

Jenny Gross, “Theresa May Becomes U.K. Prime Minister,” Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/theresa-may-gets-set-for-u-k-leadership-with-brexit-top-of-agenda-1468390512


  1. [1]George W. Carey, “The Future of Conservatism,” Modern Age 47, no. 4 (2005): 291-300.
  2. [2]David Sarasohn, “At Guantanamo, no way out for prisoners — or us,” Oregonian, December 7, 2013, http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/david_sarasohn/index.ssf/2013/12/david_sarasohnat_guantanamo_no.html
  3. [3]Alan Nasser, “The Threat of U.S. Fascism: An Historical Precedent,” Common Dreams, August 2, 2007, http://www.commondreams.org/views/2007/08/02/threat-us-fascism-historical-precedent

FBI Director James Comey is a PITA for Hillary Clinton and the White House: What I’m reading, March 10, 2016 (updated)

Updated for stories on Cliven Bundy in federal court, refusing to enter a plea, and on Harbin Hot Springs, a local landmark, being slated to reopen later this year.


James Comey

These authors seem to think the FBI can be counted on in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

Cory Bennett and Julian Hattem, “Comey’s FBI makes waves,” Hill, March 9, 2016, http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/272290-comeys-fbi-makes-waves


The Horse Race

It isn’t just Republicans who are asking about Clinton’s email server.

John Cassidy, “Hillary Clinton’s Ordeal Continues at the Democratic Debate,” New Yorker, March 10, 2016, http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/hillary-clintons-ordeal-continues-at-the-democratic-debate


Hillary Clinton

Lisa Benson, Washington Post, January 21, 2016, via the Weekly Standard, fair use.
Lisa Benson, Washington Post, January 21, 2016, via the Weekly Standard, fair use.

She still doesn’t have a convincing answer on her email server. In last night’s debate,

[Jorge Ramos] fired off a multipronged question, asking Clinton about the 104 emails she wrote that the government now says contained classified information.

He added that Clinton’s email arrangement appears to contradict a memo she sent to her employees at the time directing them to use official email “precisely because of security concerns.”

“So it seems that you issued one set of rules for yourself and a different set of rules for the rest of the State Department,” Ramos said. “So who specifically gave you permission to operate your email system as you did. Was it President Obama?”

While saying the use of a private server “wasn’t the best choice,” Clinton replied that she didn’t need permission. Her predecessors had done the same thing, she said.[1]

The point of this is that Clinton had issued a directive intended to protect confidentiality which she herself did not follow in an administration that, even as of its third year, had prosecuted more whistle-blowers than all of its predecessors combined.[2]

“I think this administration, like every other administration, is driven to distraction by leaking,” [Steven Aftergood, head of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists] said. “And Congress wants a few scalps, too. On a bipartisan basis, they want these prosecutions to proceed.”[3]

So the question here, as any neoconservative will ask is, does this administration give a damn about protecting government secrets or not? And for the rest of us, what sort of hypocrisy lets Hillary Clinton skate free, possibly into the presidency, while potentially prosecuting Edward Snowden and Julian Assange?

Jonathan Swan, “Clinton on being indicted over emails: ‘It’s not going to happen,'” Hill, March 9, 2016, http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/dem-primaries/debate-hillary-clinton-indicted-email-drop-out-not-going-to-happen-jorge-ramos

Jonathan Turley, “Clinton Declares That She Will Never Be Indicted And Insists That Her “Predecessors Did The Same Thing” On Emails,” March 10, 2016, https://jonathanturley.org/2016/03/10/clinton-declares-that-she-will-never-be-indicted-and-insists-that-her-predecessors-did-the-same-thing-on-emails/


Daylight Savings Time

When I was a kid, Daylight Savings Time seemed hopelessly beyond challenge.

Matt O’Brien, “Some New England lawmakers propose leaving Eastern Time,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, March 10, 2016, http://www.startribune.com/new-england-lawmakers-propose-seceding-from-eastern-time/371698441/


Cliven Bundy

I think this could get tiresome except that I wouldn’t expect the judge to tolerate very much of it.

Ken Ritter, “Cliven Bundy Refuses In Court To Recognize Federal Authority In Nevada,” Talking Points Memo, March 10, 2016, http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/cliven-bundy-refuses-enter-plea-recognize-federal-authority


Harbin Hot Springs

Glenda Anderson, “Valley fire-ravaged Harbin Hot Springs in Lake County aims to reopen later this year,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, March 9, 2016, http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/5357559-181/vallley-fire-ravaged-harbin-hot-springs

  1. [1]Jonathan Swan, “Clinton on being indicted over emails: ‘It’s not going to happen,’” Hill, March 9, 2016, http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/dem-primaries/debate-hillary-clinton-indicted-email-drop-out-not-going-to-happen-jorge-ramos
  2. [2]Scott Shane, “U.S. Pressing Its Crackdown Against Leaks,” New York Times, June 17, 2011, https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/18/us/politics/18leak.html/
  3. [3]Scott Shane, “Obama Takes a Hard Line Against Leaks to Press,” New York Times, June 11, 2010, https://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/12/us/politics/12leak.html