Pennsyltexas? (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 26, 2020, at 11:23 am.
  2. December 26, 2020, 11:06 pm:
    • Pittsburgh apparently expects tire friction, engine and exhaust heat to clear its streets. They still aren’t clear, although I did see a snow plow dispensing salt along Pioneer Avenue in the Brookline neighborhood. That was a very rare exception. Also on the appalling list: McKeesport and, to a much lesser extent, Braddock.

Pennsylvania

So one of the things that absolutely amazed me upon arrival in Pennsylvania was the speeding. Driving about five miles per mile above the speed limit is normal and expected in most places. On many roads in southwest Pennsylvania, you’ll often be harassed by other drivers if you’re going anything less than ten, twenty, even twenty-five miles per hour over or more (where I come from, twenty-five over is reckless driving).

It turns out that part of the story is that local police in Pennsylvania don’t have RADAR. A bill was introduced to allow them to use it but, as far as I’ve seen, nothing came of it. So only the state troopers have it.[1] The troopers seem similarly tolerant of speeding, which of course means you’re a lot more likely to be pulled over if you’re Black.[2]

Here’s another oddity: Police need a warrant to search your vehicle, which apparently means that if they want to search your vehicle, they’ll tow it at your expense and deprive you of it for a day or two while they get the paperwork. I actually have driven past scenes where searches were clearly taking place, but this seems to have been during an interregnum when such searches were permitted, in a decision the state Supreme Court has now reversed.[3]

James Carville allegedly described Pennsylvania as “Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between.”[4] I’ve also been welcomed to “Pennsyltucky,” referring to:

Rural parts of Pennsylvania with large concentrations of country folk, noted for interest in Hunting, Country Music, NASCAR, trailer life, Wal-Mart and working at the plant. Often spotted wearing camouflage with full grown beards or unkept caveman appearance driving pickup trucks with gun racks. Note: PA has the largest Rural population of any state, not everyone who lives or is from these regions is a red neck, hick or country bumpkin and most who don’t dislike the reference “Pennsyltuckey” and find it insulting.[5]

(“Pennsyltuckey” refers to a different, but culturally similar definition in the Urban Dictionary.[6])

But you know what? This capitalist libertarian streak, also seen with a federal court decision (later overturned[7]) blocking Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 lockdown orders,[8] has me thinking Texas, as in Pennsyltexas.

The headline is wrong on Sarah Gisriel’s article: It wasn’t the state legislature that mandated the change, but rather the state Supreme Court reversing itself.[9]

Sarah Gisriel, “State lawmakers once again mandate vehicle warrants, raises questions for recent cases,” WHTM, December 25, 2020, https://www.abc27.com/news/pennsylvania/the-pa-police-are-dead-in-their-tracks-as-state-lawmakers-once-again-mandate-vehicle-warrants/


  1. [1]Anne Shannon, “Proposed legislation could make Pennsylvania last state to allow local police to use radar,” WGAL, February 14, 2020, https://www.wgal.com/article/proposed-legislation-could-make-pennsylvania-last-state-to-allow-local-police-to-use-radar/30799636
  2. [2]Actual evidence is not available for many Pennsylvania police departments, but in those for which statistics are available, some racial discrepancies do appear, including in Harrisburg where more out of town white drivers get pulled over for speeding. Usually, however, minority drivers are most at risk: Ivey DeJesus, “Does a driver’s race factor into traffic stops by Pa. police? It’s nearly impossible to tell,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, December 9, 2019, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/12/tracking-race-in-police-traffic-stops-across-central-pa.html
  3. [3]Sarah Gisriel, “State lawmakers once again mandate vehicle warrants, raises questions for recent cases,” WHTM, December 25, 2020, https://www.abc27.com/news/pennsylvania/the-pa-police-are-dead-in-their-tracks-as-state-lawmakers-once-again-mandate-vehicle-warrants/
  4. [4]Your Dictionary, “James Carville Quotes,” n.d., https://quotes.yourdictionary.com/author/james-carville/35910
  5. [5]Brian Lauskies, “Pennsyltucky,” Urban Dictionary, September 26, 2006, https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Pennsyltucky
  6. [6]Sherman, “Pennsyltuckey,” Urban Dictionary, February 9, 2005, https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Pennsyltuckey
  7. [7]Greg Stohr, “Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Pennsylvania Shutdown Order,” Bloomberg, October 5, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-05/supreme-court-rejects-challenge-to-pennsylvania-shutdown-order; Paula Reed Ward, “Appeals court allows Gov. Tom Wolf, state to restore covid crowd restrictions,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 1, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/appeals-court-allows-pennsylvania-to-restrict-crowd-size/
  8. [8]Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge rules Gov. Wolf’s shutdown orders were unconstitutional,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/federal-judge-rules-gov-wolfs-shutdown-orders-were-unconstitutional/
  9. [9]Sarah Gisriel, “State lawmakers once again mandate vehicle warrants, raises questions for recent cases,” WHTM, December 25, 2020, https://www.abc27.com/news/pennsylvania/the-pa-police-are-dead-in-their-tracks-as-state-lawmakers-once-again-mandate-vehicle-warrants/

The Christmas of living dangerously (Update #2)


Fig. 1. Glenbury Street, Pleasant Hills. Photograph by author, December 25, 2020.


Updates

  1. Originally published, December 25, 2020, 10:14 am.
  2. December 25, 7:33 pm:
    • So I went out into road conditions that were considerably less than ideal. But I was able to brake safely so kept working. And made a few observations:
      • The City of Pittsburgh’s snow plowing operation was nearly useless. I saw one plow that barely dented the slush. It didn’t seem to be dispensing salt.
      • A lot of people, even in sport utility vehicles and monster pickup trucks, you know, the kinds of vehicles that are supposed to be able to handle inclement weather, had a lot more trouble than I did. I think this might be because I have actual snow tires on my car. But also, I might be adjusting to driving in the snow. Even so, traction seemed to be getting worse in Carrick (a Pittsburgh neighborhood) at around 6:30 pm, so I decided to quit early. As soon as I crossed into Brentwood, the streets were a lot better. Once I was on Pennsylvania Route 51 traversing Whitehall, though, kinda bad again, and I’m not sure who’s responsible for that section of road.
      • On my way home, I went a little out of my way to get the photograph in figure 1. I had groused about all the Christmas decorations up around Pittsburgh without any snow.[1] The snow last night arrived just in time and was supplemented throughout the day.

Donald Trump

I look at this and I think to myself, it’s almost as if Donald Trump is trying[2] to provoke Mike Pence into invoking the 25th amendment.[3] But I also worry that this would further provoke the right-wing militia groups that have aligned with Trump.[4]

Paul Campos, “Pence Should Remove Trump From Office on Sunday,” New York, December 23, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/if-trump-uses-martial-law-pence-should-use-25th-amendment.html

Pamela Brown and Kevin Liptak, “Frustrated Trump met with Pence before holiday break,” CNN, December 24, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/24/politics/trump-pence-electoral-college/index.html


Pittsburgh

This is, I reckon, my fourth Christmas in Pittsburgh, including two from when my parents and I lived here when I was a child. I still go by my grandparents’ house on occasion and I remember celebrating Christmas there. These are fond memories that pull me toward Dormont—and that very specific part of Dormont—when I contemplate moving. I want to be near the sidewalks I walked so many times with my grandfather as we went to breakfast (he always ate breakfast and lunch out).

It’s been over a year and a half since I moved here and I see there is some truth to what one of my passengers told me, that “Pittsburgh grows on you like a fungus.” I wish I had more time to explore what it has to offer, but being still stuck driving for Uber and Lyft,[5] I have to work every day that I can.

And so it is that I’m about to head out on a white Christmas. The snow had melted, except where plows had piled it, from the last storm but supposedly several inches fell overnight. I’ll be working. Or at least trying to.

At least the navigation is a bit easier now. At least I have my music in my car.

It is a Christmas of feeling forsaken, of realizing that the number of real friends in my life has been vanishingly small. There are two I can count; one hosts my WordPress sites. Another just texted me a Christmas greeting; she lives in North Carolina. The rest have used me for their own purposes, abandoned me when I failed to serve those purposes, or I have had to abandon because their purposes were unethical.

If it’s been a little shy of two years since I moved back here, it is also a little shy of twenty since I had a real job. It is not a merry Christmas and it is even less so as I see people suffering or facing job losses from the pandemic, poverty, and homelessness.[6] It is completely the opposite from those Christmases at my grandparents’ house.


  1. [1]David Benfell, “We’ve let a horrible year go to waste,” Not Housebroken, December 10, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/12/10/weve-let-a-horrible-year-go-to-waste/
  2. [2]Pamela Brown and Kevin Liptak, “Frustrated Trump met with Pence before holiday break,” CNN, December 24, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/24/politics/trump-pence-electoral-college/index.html
  3. [3]Paul Campos, “Pence Should Remove Trump From Office on Sunday,” New York, December 23, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/if-trump-uses-martial-law-pence-should-use-25th-amendment.html
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Bloody November,” Not Housebroken, October 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/08/bloody-november/; David Benfell, “Donald Trump’s ‘brown shirts,’” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/30/donald-trumps-brown-shirts/; David Benfell, “The very scary way to four more years,” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/25/the-very-scary-way-to-four-more-years/; David Benfell, “When the legitimacy of the system itself is threatened,” Not Housebroken, October 31, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/31/when-the-legitimacy-of-the-system-itself-is-threatened/; David Benfell, “On the likely departure of Donald Trump,” Not Housebroken, December 11, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/08/on-the-likely-departure-of-donald-trump/; David Benfell, “Pure poison,” Not Housebroken, December 20, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/12/17/pure-poison/; David Benfell, “When it’s over but it isn’t,” Not Housebroken, December 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/27/when-its-over-but-it-isnt/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The modern Scrooge,” Not Housebroken, December 12, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/12/12/the-modern-scrooge/

More than 1,500 lawyers call for Donald Trump’s lawyers to be investigated and disbarred (Update #6)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 9, 2020, 10:47 am.

  2. December 10, 10:00 am:

    • As Donald Trump seems increasingly to be exhausting his avenues to overturn the election results in the courts, he, of course, still refuses to concede defeat and is now pressuring Republicans in Congress to reject electoral college slates. It doesn’t sound like this effort will be any more fruitful.[1] But Congress, of course, is a political arena rather than a legal one, and it’s clear that Republicans remain cowed by Trump’s base.

      As this drags on, something the rest of us need to consider is that this is not really about fraud in any legal sense. Trump has been abusing the court system with frivolous and utterly unfounded challenges to the results.[2]

      What it is about, even as the campaign posters, flags, and banners start to come down, is that Trump is still able to raise huge amounts of money claiming fraud. Trump may indeed be a grifter,[3] exploiting the most aggrieved tendencies (authoritarian populism and social conservatism) that form his base. But as warped as the rest of us might believe it to be, some are even engaging in uncivil disobedience, verging on violence.[4] Even to the extent we may suspect that the louder their protests, the more desperate their plea for validation,[5] we need to understand that they are losing their hero, they believe they are losing “their” “democracy,”[6] and, to them, this result seems profoundly unjust, exacerbating their sense of grievance.

      The real story of Trump’s fraud allegations won’t be over even when it is.

  3. December 10, 1:27 pm:

    • The Arizona Republican Party denies it condones violence but asked its followers on Twitter if they were willing to die to overturn the election results.[7]

    • Gee, Robert Merton might’ve told you this’d happen. He argued that if you don’t give people socially approved means of achieving socially approved ends, they’ll resort to other means.[8] I think he was talking about climbing the ladder of social mobility, which in the U.S., has a few rungs missing anyway.[9] But now, with Congress failing to pass an economic relief package for the pandemic, guess what? Shoplifting of essentials like food, diapers, and feminine hygiene products is skyrocketing.[10]

  4. December 10, 9:44 pm:

  5. December 11, 12:00 noon:

    • I have updated an old blog post from August, entitled “The Donald Trump supporters’ campaign message: Fuck Your Feelings.” Reprising what has happened since the election, I note that “the sheer delight Trumpsters take in vicious cruelty toward others, even when they don’t take it so well themselves, a persistent bullying that raises doubt that the political divisions in the country can be resolved, for they derive not so much from politics as from psychological impairment.”[11]

      It is, of course, impolite to observe psychological impairment and in my dissertation I declined to address the psychology of conservatism as a distraction from the issues conservatives of various tendencies raise.[12] I am not a psychologist and so it is difficult for me to delve deeply into the psychology of conservatism, especially Trumpism, anyway. But it’s clear that the remove I chose for my dissertation is no longer appropriate.

  6. December 11, 11:00 pm:


    • Fig. 1. Photograph by author, December 11, 2020.

    • I had regarded the calls for and threats—both implicit and explicit—of violence[13] to overturn the election results, even as the court system resoundingly rejects legal efforts toward the same end,[14] principally as an authoritarian populist phenomenon, though I thought surely that some extremist paleoconservatives (including white supremacists) would surely join in.

      It seems I was wrong. At least one social conservative has echoed that call. I should emphasize here that the author of this article, Rod Dreher, is, I believe, a traditionalist conservative, normally sympathetic with social conservatives. I don’t agree with him on much. But he expresses horror at his friend’s call for bloodshed.[15]

      Dreher skillfully describes the hysteria that is at work here. He is alarmed[16] and I am alarmed: If enough people call for violence, some people will be violent, especially when they believe their god commands it.

      This seems to underscore my recent thinking that the distinctions I drew between authoritarian populists, paleoconservatives, and social conservatives in my dissertation, even given that such distinctions are fuzzy,[17] are really rather dubious.[18]

    • The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed Texas’ attempt to overturn the election results from four states.[19]

      Lawsuits continue around the country, and [Donald] Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani said on Newsmax, “We’re not finished, believe me.” But the Texas case was the one upon which the president and his allies had pinned their hopes, and time is almost up.

      The election results have been certified in each state, and the electoral college is to meet Monday. [Joe] Biden has 306 electoral votes, exactly the number Trump had when he was elected in 2016. But while Trump lost the popular vote then, Biden has an advantage of more than 7 million votes.[20]


Donald Trump

Following a series of bogus legal challenges,[21] the U.S. Supreme Court rejected without comment a bid to overturn the Pennsylvania election results[22] and more than 1,500 lawyers have signed a letter calling for Donald Trump’s lawyers to be investigated and disbarred.[23]

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html

Kim Bellware and John Wagner, “Letter from 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie,’” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/08/trump-lawyer-letter/

Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/

Sophie Lewis, “Arizona Republican Party asks followers if they’re willing to die to overturn election results,” CBS News, December 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/arizona-republican-party-twitter-election-results-death-overturn/

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html


Depression

An eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the year with high unemployment and many people thousands of dollars behind on the rent. There is still no meaningful relief in sight.[24]

Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/

Abha Bhattarai and Hannah Denham, “Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic,” Washington Post, December 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/10/pandemic-shoplifting-hunger/


  1. [1]Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey, and Tom Hamburger, “Trump pressures congressional Republicans to help in his fight to overturn the election,” Washington Post, December 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-republicans-biden-election/2020/12/09/abd596ea-3a4e-11eb-9276-ae0ca72729be_story.html
  2. [2]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html; Kim Bellware and John Wagner, “Letter from 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie,’” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/08/trump-lawyer-letter/; Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/11/trump-lawyers-suffer-embarrassing-rebukes-judges-over-voter-fraud-claims/; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Donald Trump’s brutal day in court,” Politico, December 4, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Stephanie Saul, “Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results,” New York Times, November 17, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/us/politics/lindsey-graham-georgia-trump-biden.html; Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge to consider whether to dismiss case filed by Trump campaign in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/federal-judge-to-consider-whether-to-dismiss-case-filed-by-trump-campaign-in-pa/; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html
  3. [3]John Cassidy, “Donald Trump’s Latest Grift May Be His Most Cynical Yet,” New Yorker, December 3, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/donald-trumps-latest-grift-may-be-his-most-cynical-yet; Simon Lewis, “Trump unveils $207 million fundraising haul after election in effort to overturn result,” Reuters, December 3, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-fundraising/trump-unveils-207-million-fundraising-haul-after-election-in-effort-to-overturn-result-idUSKBN28E012; Peter Slevin, “Trump’s Election-Fraud Bluster Finds an Audience,” New Yorker, December 5, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-political-scene/donald-trumps-election-fraud-bluster-finds-an-audience
  4. [4]Mark Bray, “Trump’s Baseless Fraud Accusations Are Already Sparking Far Right Violence,” Truthout, November 9, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-baseless-fraud-accusations-are-already-sparking-far-right-violence/; Marissa J. Lang et al., “After thousands of Trump supporters rally in D.C., violence erupts when night falls,” Washington Post, November 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/11/14/million-maga-march-dc-protests/; Ciara O’Rourke, “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government,” Politico, December 9, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right-group-infiltrate-local-government-texas-443773; Katie Shepherd, “Armed protesters alleging voter fraud surrounded the home of Michigan’s secretary of state,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/12/07/michigan-sos-benson-armed-protest/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Doubting the ‘Fox News bubble,’” Not Housebroken, October 11, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/07/doubting-the-fox-news-bubble/
  6. [6]Marc Fisher, “The end of democracy? To many Americans, the future looks dark if the other side wins,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/end-of-democracy-election/2020/10/25/3b8c0940-13d0-11eb-ba42-ec6a580836ed_story.html; Owen Jones, “Even if Biden wins, the world will pay the price for the Democrats’ failures,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/biden-democrats-democratic-trump; Nathan Robinson, “Trump should have lost in a landslide. The fact that he didn’t speaks volumes,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/trump-should-have-lost-in-a-landslide-the-fact-that-he-didnt-speaks-volumes; Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, “Election reveals deeper divides between red and blue America,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/america-divided-rural-urban/2020/11/04/8ddac854-1ebf-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html; Greg Sargent, “Georgia Republicans beg Trump to release them from his prison of lies,” Washington Post, December 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/12/01/georgia-republicans-beg-trump-release-them-his-prison-lies/; Peter Slevin, “Trump’s Election-Fraud Bluster Finds an Audience,” New Yorker, December 5, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-political-scene/donald-trumps-election-fraud-bluster-finds-an-audience; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trumpism is here to stay,” Washington Post, November 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/11/05/trumpism-here-to-stay/
  7. [7]Sophie Lewis, “Arizona Republican Party asks followers if they’re willing to die to overturn election results,” CBS News, December 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/arizona-republican-party-twitter-election-results-death-overturn/
  8. [8]Robert K. Merton, “Social Structure and Anomie,” in Social Theory, ed. Charles Lemert, 6th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2017), 181-190.
  9. [9]Claude S. Fischer et al., “Why Inequality?” In Great Divides, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), 9-15; Jay MacLeod, “Social Immobility in the Land of Opportunity, in Great Divides, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), 22-26.
  10. [10]Abha Bhattarai and Hannah Denham, “Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic,” Washington Post, December 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/10/pandemic-shoplifting-hunger/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “The Donald Trump supporters’ campaign message: Fuck Your Feelings,” Not Housebroken, December 11, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/26/the-donald-trump-supporters-campaign-message-fuck-your-feelings/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  13. [13]Mark Bray, “Trump’s Baseless Fraud Accusations Are Already Sparking Far Right Violence,” Truthout, November 9, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-baseless-fraud-accusations-are-already-sparking-far-right-violence/; Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/; Marissa J. Lang et al., “After thousands of Trump supporters rally in D.C., violence erupts when night falls,” Washington Post, November 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/11/14/million-maga-march-dc-protests/; Ciara O’Rourke, “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government,” Politico, December 9, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right-group-infiltrate-local-government-texas-443773; Katie Shepherd, “Armed protesters alleging voter fraud surrounded the home of Michigan’s secretary of state,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/12/07/michigan-sos-benson-armed-protest/
  14. [14]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html; Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html; Kim Bellware and John Wagner, “Letter from 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie,’” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/08/trump-lawyer-letter/; Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/11/trump-lawyers-suffer-embarrassing-rebukes-judges-over-voter-fraud-claims/; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Donald Trump’s brutal day in court,” Politico, December 4, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Stephanie Saul, “Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results,” New York Times, November 17, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/us/politics/lindsey-graham-georgia-trump-biden.html; Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge to consider whether to dismiss case filed by Trump campaign in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/federal-judge-to-consider-whether-to-dismiss-case-filed-by-trump-campaign-in-pa/; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html
  15. [15]Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/
  16. [16]Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/
  17. [17]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  18. [18]David Benfell, “The seven tendencies of conservatism,” Irregular Bullshit, n.d., https://disunitedstates.com/the-seven-tendencies-of-conservatism/
  19. [19]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html
  20. [20]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html
  21. [21]Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/11/11/trump-lawyers-suffer-embarrassing-rebukes-judges-over-voter-fraud-claims/; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Donald Trump’s brutal day in court,” Politico, December 4, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010; Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-frivolous-lawsuits-are-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-his-refusal-to-concede/; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Stephanie Saul, “Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election Results,” New York Times, November 17, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/us/politics/lindsey-graham-georgia-trump-biden.html; Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge to consider whether to dismiss case filed by Trump campaign in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/federal-judge-to-consider-whether-to-dismiss-case-filed-by-trump-campaign-in-pa/; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html
  22. [22]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html
  23. [23]Kim Bellware and John Wagner, “Letter from 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie,’” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/08/trump-lawyer-letter/
  24. [24]Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/

Who’s the biggest super-spreader of them all? (Update #15)

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 2, 2020, at 10:00 pm.

  2. November 3, 2020, 8:10 am, revised at 8:30 am:

  3. November 3, 2020, 8:27 am, revised 11:50 am:

  4. November 3, 11:27 am:

    • Writing in the Atlantic, George Thomas diminishes the distinction between a republic and democracy, even as he amplifies[1] the evidence I cite[2] from Federalist no. 10.[3] He argues based on racial progress,[4] the end of slavery in the 13th amendment,[5] equal protection under law in the 14th,[6] and universal male suffrage in the 15th,[7] and civil and voting rights legislation of the 1960s.[8] The curious aspect to this argument is that it omits entirely the problem of class, which James Madison was unmistakably most concerned about in Federalist no. 10,[9] and which is the subject of my deconstruction.[10]

  5. November 3, 2020, 3:01 pm, revised 5:48 pm:

    • I guess I’d have to say that judges are really, really, really not trusting Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s changes at the U.S. Postal Service,[11] which appear to have harmed service,[12] and come all too conveniently for the election.[13] The latest is a judge ordering postal inspectors to sweep some facilities for ballots and ensure their delivery.[14]

  6. November 3, 2020, 4:43 pm, revised 5:48 pm:

    • So there was this idea—it even appeared in a pediatrics journal—that children don’t catch or transmit the novel coronavirus or the disease it causes, COVID-19, to nearly the degree that adults do.[15] Of course, this flew in the face of everything parents and teachers know about children and their propensity for contagion. Then it turned out that maybe older kids do catch and transmit the disease[16] and that children might carry and transmit the disease pretty much like anyone else.[17] Now it seems kids are getting the disease, although this article does not itself differentiate by age groups or offer much perspective to suggest how much crow the proponents of that earlier idea should be eating.[18] If I follow up on this, I’ll have to chase down some of those links.

  7. November 3, 2020, 5:48 pm:

    • I’ve revised the previous two updates for a bunch of reasons, some having to do with citations, some to improve the explanations.

  8. November 3, 2020, 7:50 pm:

    • I’ve previously observed that the patriarch—a brilliant chef and a not-so-brilliant Trumpster—in the Jewish family that runs the (plant-based) Fortuitea restaurant in North Strabane, a suburb of Pittsburgh in Washington County, Pennsylvania, seemed to be getting his information, particularly with regard to measures taken to try to stem the COVID-19 pandemic, from the same sources as white supremacists (paleoconservatives), including anti-Semitic white supremacists. It made me sufficiently uncomfortable that I’ve stopped going to that restaurant, though I very much miss the food.

      On Monday (November 2) morning, someone spray-painted “Trump” and “MAGA” on some Jewish headstones. From the description of this and another attack, I find it hard to imagine that anyone other than anti-Semitic white supremacists would commit these crimes, even if “David J.B. Krishef, the rabbi at Ahavas Israel, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it was unclear if the vandalism was an attack on the Jewish community.”[19] Meanwhile, settlers in the Occupied Territories are praying for Donald Trumps’s victory.[20]

      There are, of course, reasons for this. Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and promoted a so-called ‘peace’ plan that the settlers like very much.[21] This, of course, was the ‘peace’ of conquest, far from that of justice, meant to humiliate Palestinians.[22]

      But I’m thinking of that restaurant and its patriarch. And I can’t help but feel there is a very weird and really rather sickening alliance between Zionists, anti-Semites, Donald Trump, and the Trump administration.

  9. November 4, 2020, 2:10 am:
    • At this writing, 90 percent of the vote is counted in Wisconsin and 67 percent in Michigan. Donald Trump leads in both states. Assuming FiveThirtyEight is correct, I think the “‘easy’ paths” are closed.

      I understand that Pennsylvania hasn’t even begun counting mail-in ballots. There was a significant campaign here for voters to vote by mail and I expect, especially in the cities, that many voters did so. Trump has the lead, this might well be a mirage, and only 64 percent of the vote is counted.

      I should qualify what I’m about to say with an earlier tweet:

      My reading at the present time has to be that Donald Trump may very well have won re-election.

  10. November 4, 2020, 3:26 am:

    • At this point, the Associated Press has not called the following states:[23]
      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 32 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 94 Donald Trump 16
      Michigan 73 Donald Trump 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 57 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 64 Donald Trump 20
      Wisconsin 93 Donald Trump 10

      Of these states, the only one I think might still flip is Pennsylvania. That would combine with Nevada to add 26 votes to Joe Biden’s current total of 238, for a total of 264, falling short of 270. Donald Trump would add 60 votes to his current 213, for a total of 273, exceeding 270. It looks to me like Donald Trump has won re-election.

  11. November 4, 2020, 6:52 am:

    • Wisconsin, the land of Scott Walker, appears to have flipped in favor of Joe Biden:[24]

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 43 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 94 Donald Trump 16
      Michigan 87 Donald Trump 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 67 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 64 Donald Trump 20
      Wisconsin 95 Joe Biden 10

      This changes matters considerably. It also puts the FiveThirtyEight “‘easy’ paths” (see the tweet I quoted in the update at 2:10 am) back in play as I thought Wisconsin was less likely to flip than Michigan. Biden appears to have won Arizona.[25] Michigan has not flipped, however, and Donald Trump still leads there, as well as in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

      Returning to the scenario I outlined at 3:26 am, where Pennsylvania (but not Michigan) also flips, Biden would now net 274 electoral votes while Trump would win only 263.

  12. November 4, 7:51 am:

    • California’s Proposition 22 passed, enabling Uber and Lyft to continue to misclassify their drivers in California as “independent contractors.”[26]

  13. November 4, 9:49 am:

    • The Republicans seem likely to retain control of the Senate:[27]

      State Percent counted Leading Party
      Alaska 45 Republican
      Georgia 94 Republican
      Maine 85 Republican
      Michigan 93 Republican
      North Carolina 93 Republican

      I suppose Michigan might flip for the Senate like it might for the presidential race. But the rest of these are states I see as Republican and I really don’t see them flipping. As to the presidential race,[28]

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 45 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 94 Donald Trump 16
      Michigan 94 Donald Trump 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 67 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 64 Donald Trump 20
      Wisconsin 95 Joe Biden 10

      As more and more votes are counted, the margin for a flip diminishes considerably. By the time we get to the high 90-percentages—none of these states are quite there yet—that margin vanishes to near zero.

      Win or lose, it speaks volumes that the Democratic Party has done so poorly both in political practice and in the election against an incumbent who mishandled the pandemic for all the wrong reasons, as I previously put it,

      politically, economically (also enabling capitalist greed to compound the problem),[29] and medically,[30] with devastating consequences. In addition to all that, Donald Trump recklessly recommended absurdly dangerous non-remedies like hydroxychloroquine[31][32]

      This is not credible opposition and the Democrats’ record of complicity[33] suggests they are something else entirely.

  14. November 4, 2020, 10:17 am:

    • I had barely posted the last update when word came that the Associated Press now has Joe Biden in the lead in Michigan:[34]

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 45 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 94 Donald Trump 16
      Michigan 94 Joe Biden 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 67 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 64 Donald Trump 20
      Wisconsin 95 Joe Biden 10

      Michigan would complete one of FiveThirtyEight’s “‘easy’ paths” for a Biden victory putting him right at 270 electoral votes.[35] But Pennsylvania is still in play. Here’s the mayor of Pittsburgh:

      Basically, he’s saying that Allegheny County will likely turn out for Biden. My understanding is that in combination with Philadelphia and suburbs, that probably means Biden gets Pennsylvania, bringing his electoral college margin to 290.

      But this is where we move to the next phase, where Donald Trump starts playing his games for real, attempting to contest the result.[36] It could also be where we start to see militia activity[37] such as I (and others[38]) have warned about.[39]

  15. November 4, 8:46 pm:

    • So at one point (see above), I thought Joe Biden had managed to lose both to the coronavirus (see above) and one of the worst U.S. presidents ever.[40] But the Associated Press has now called Michigan and Wisconsin for him,[41] which I had thought would stay in Donald Trump’s column (see above). Now I think Biden has it in the bag.

      This table of states the Associated Press has not called[42] is now shorter:

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 50 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 98 Donald Trump 16
      North Carolina 94 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 75 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 88 Donald Trump 20

      I would be surprised if Alaska, Georgia, or North Carolina wind up in Biden’s column, though obviously they’re still too close for the A.P. to call. With 98 percent counted, Georgia should be very close to being called. Biden, on the other hand, has held a lead in Nevada for as long as I’ve been watching the map[43] and with urban areas both taking longer to count and being more likely to support the Democrat, I think that’s Biden’s remaining six needed electoral votes right there. But I also think, though Trump for now retains a lead in the state,[44] Pennsylvania will also end up in Biden’s column.

      At the very least, Trump has a seriously difficult uphill climb to win.

  16. November 4, 2020, 10:00 pm:

    • So when a judge ordered a sweep of postal facilities for undelivered ballots,[45] I just sort of assumed that that would happen:

      Earlier Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia had ordered the Postal Service to sweep 12 postal processing facilities that cover 15 states for ballots. But the agency rebuffed that order and said it would stick to its own inspection schedule, which voting rights advocates worried was too late in the day for found ballots to make it to vote counters.[46]

      Um, wow. Disregarding a court order is not on my list of recommended behaviors but I guess that’s just what the Postal Service did. And this should surprise no one: The judge is pissed. Really pissed. Hinting at finding Louis DeJoy in contempt of court pissed.[47] Bad move, DeJoy. Really bad move.

    • Jeez. The A.P. still hasn’t called Georgia.[48]


Election Day

It’s election day tomorrow (November 3). Here are my recent relevant blog entries:

So if you get really bored while waiting days or weeks for the election results, you can see how well my shit stands the test of time.

Oh, and I guess that asteroid, that had a snowball’s chance in hell, but a chance nonetheless, of striking earth today (November 2),[49] didn’t.

The suffering continues.


Donald Trump

It’s almost as if our delusional raging narcissist-in-chief gazes in a mirror and recites,

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who’s the biggest super-spreader of them all?

Melissa Healy, “Super-spreading Trump rallies led to more than 700 COVID-19 deaths, study estimates,” Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-10-31/super-spreading-trump-rallies-led-to-more-than-700-covid-19-deaths-study

Associated Press, “Leaders of settlers in Israel pray for a Trump victory in the US Election,” Al Arabiya, November 4, 2020, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/04/Leaders-of-settlers-in-Israel-pray-for-a-Trump-victory-in-the-US-Election


Postal Service

Alvin Chang, “Judge orders US Postal Service to take ‘extraordinary measures’ to deliver ballots on time,” Guardian, November 2, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/02/us-postal-service-election-mail-ballots-delays-judge-extraordinary-measures

Maya Lau and Laura J. Nelson, “Judge orders sweep of postal facilities for leftover ballots,” Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-11-03/judge-orders-sweep-of-postal-facilities-for-leftover-ballots

Jacob Bogage and Christopher Ingraham, “USPS data shows thousands of mailed ballots missed Election Day deadlines,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/11/03/election-ballot-delays-usps/


Pandemic

Erika Edwards, “More than 61,000 children got Covid-19 last week, a record,” NBC News, November 2, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/more-61-000-children-got-covid-19-last-week-record-n1245851


Anti-Semitism

Teo Armus, “‘Trump’ and ‘MAGA’ spray-painted on gravestones in Michigan Jewish cemetery,” Washington Post, November 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/11/03/michigan-jewish-cemetery-trump-maga/


Gig economy

Jeong Park, “Uber, Lyft win approval of California gig worker measure,” Sacramento Bee, November 3, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/election/article246814727.html


  1. [1]George Thomas, “‘America Is a Republic, Not a Democracy’ Is a Dangerous—And Wrong—Argument,” Atlantic, November 2, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/yes-constitution-democracy/616949/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “A constitutional oligarchy: Deconstructing Federalist No. 10,” Not Housebroken, June 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/22/a-constitutional-oligarchy-deconstructing-federalist-no-10/
  3. [3]James Madison, “Federalist No. 10,” in The Federalist Papers, ed. Garry Wills (New York: Bantam, 2003), 50-58.
  4. [4]George Thomas, “‘America Is a Republic, Not a Democracy’ Is a Dangerous—And Wrong—Argument,” Atlantic, November 2, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/yes-constitution-democracy/616949/
  5. [5]U.S. Const., amend. XIII, § 1.
  6. [6]U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1
  7. [7]U.S. Const., amend. XV, § 1
  8. [8]George Thomas, “‘America Is a Republic, Not a Democracy’ Is a Dangerous—And Wrong—Argument,” Atlantic, November 2, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/yes-constitution-democracy/616949/
  9. [9]James Madison, “Federalist No. 10,” in The Federalist Papers, ed. Garry Wills (New York: Bantam, 2003), 50-58.
  10. [10]David Benfell, “A constitutional oligarchy: Deconstructing Federalist No. 10,” Not Housebroken, June 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/22/a-constitutional-oligarchy-deconstructing-federalist-no-10/
  11. [11]Colby Bermel, “Judge orders USPS to reverse mail collection limits now,” Politico, October 27, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/27/postal-service-mail-collection-433112; Jacob Bogage, “DeJoy’s Postal Service policies delayed 7 percent of nation’s first-class mail, Senate Democrat’s report says,” Washington Post, September 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/09/16/dejoy-usps-delays-senate-report/; Alvin Chang, “Judge orders US Postal Service to take ‘extraordinary measures’ to deliver ballots on time,” Guardian, November 2, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/02/us-postal-service-election-mail-ballots-delays-judge-extraordinary-measures; Colleen Flynn and Evan Kruegel, “TRO against USPS granted in lawsuit filed by Colo. Sec. of State Jena Griswold,” KDVR, September 12, 2020, https://kdvr.com/news/tro-against-usps-granted-in-lawsuit-filed-by-colo-sec-of-state-jena-griswold/; Kristen Holmes and Paul P. Murphy, “USPS email tells managers not to reconnect sorting machines,” CNN, August 20, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/20/politics/usps-reconnect-sorting-machines/index.html; Maya Lau and Laura J. Nelson, “Judge orders sweep of postal facilities for leftover ballots,” Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-11-03/judge-orders-sweep-of-postal-facilities-for-leftover-ballots; Elise Viebeck and Jacob Bogage, “Federal judge temporarily blocks USPS operational changes amid concerns about mail slowdowns, election,” Washington Post, September 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-judge-issues-temporary-injunction-against-usps-operational-changes-amid-concerns-about-mail-slowdowns/2020/09/17/34fb85a0-f91e-11ea-a275-1a2c2d36e1f1_story.html
  12. [12]Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Jacob Bogage, “Postal Service backlog sparks worries that ballot delivery could be delayed in November,” Washington Post, July 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/postal-service-backlog-sparks-worries-that-ballot-delivery-could-be-delayed-in-november/2020/07/30/cb19f1f4-d1d0-11ea-8d32-1ebf4e9d8e0d_story.html; Veronica Stracqualursi and Jessica Dean, “New postal policies that are slowing service may affect 2020 mail-in voting, union leader says,” CNN, July 31, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/31/politics/usps-mail-in-voting-2020-election/index.html; Paul Ziobro, Natalie Andrews, and Alexa Corse, “Postmaster to Suspend USPS Changes Until After Election,” Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/postmaster-general-dejoy-to-testify-before-senate-panel-friday-11597758378
  13. [13]Erin Cox et al., “Postal Service warns 46 states their voters could be disenfranchised by delayed mail-in ballots,” Washington Post, August 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/usps-states-delayed-mail-in-ballots/2020/08/14/64bf3c3c-dcc7-11ea-8051-d5f887d73381_story.html; 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; Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, and Ashley Parker, “Tracing Trump’s Postal Service obsession — from ‘loser’ to ‘scam’ to ‘rigged election,’” Washington Post, August 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-post-office-mail-vote/2020/08/15/27a2ffd4-de5f-11ea-809e-b8be57ba616e_story.html
  14. [14]Maya Lau and Laura J. Nelson, “Judge orders sweep of postal facilities for leftover ballots,” Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-11-03/judge-orders-sweep-of-postal-facilities-for-leftover-ballots
  15. [15]Benjamin Lee and William V. Raszka, “COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child Is Not to Blame,” Pediatrics 146, no. 1 (2020), doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-004879
  16. [16]Peter Dockrill, “Older Kids May Transmit COVID-19 as Much as Adults Do, New Evidence Shows,” Science Alert, July 20, 2020, https://www.sciencealert.com/older-children-transmit-covid-19-as-much-as-adults-do-new-evidence-suggests
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  47. [47]Jacob Bogage and Christopher Ingraham, “USPS data shows thousands of mailed ballots missed Election Day deadlines,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/11/03/election-ballot-delays-usps/
  48. [48]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 4, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  49. [49]Jay Croft and Melissa Alonso, “Oh, great: NASA says an asteroid is headed our way right before Election Day,” CNN, August 22, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/22/us/asteroid-earth-november-2020-scn-trnd/index.html

A perfect storm of COVID-19 (Update #6)

Updates

  1. Originally published, October 26, 2020, 11:33 pm.
  2. October 27, 2020, 9:49 am:
    • Landlords are finding ways around the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction ban as renters are unlikely to be able to catch up on the rent. Meanwhile, it’s a real good time to be selling a home,[1] as fortunes diverge widely between the well-off and the poor in a “K-shaped recovery.”[2] That latter point strikes me as crucial: Sure, landlords can evict those they see as “deadbeats,” even get a gig economy company to help with those evictions,[3] but I don’t know where they hope to get replacement tenants from when millions are being evicted[4] because they already don’t have the money to pay rent and therefore can’t come up with move-in deposits.[5] All they’re accomplishing is an increase in suffering both from the evictions themselves and from the pandemic as the evicted move in with friends and family and live in closer quarters,[6] while the housing remains empty.
  3. October 27, 2020, 9:31 pm:
    • If you’re wondering how to bridge the gap between “liberals” and conservatives, there are a few points I should bring to your attention:
      • You’re far, very far, from alone. A lot of folks treat this as a doable thing.
      • You’re also likely with the Democratic Party and their neoliberal project which, being utterly discredited intellectually,[7] can reasonably exist only as an outreach to Republicans.
      • There’s a pretty good chance you’re up against neuroscience, which according to Scientific American, is suggesting that conservative and “liberal” brains really are different, though we really don’t know the causal relationship: Do political differences exist because of brain differences or do brain differences develop from political differences?[8] That last question touches on the question of nature versus nurture, where the social science bias is very strongly toward nurture as explaining most character or behavioral traits, which is probably one reason why I’m skeptical that brain differences are causative. Another is that I don’t actually see myself in the examples offered in this article, which I guess shouldn’t be too terribly surprising, but, not having actually dug into the research, leads me to suspect something else might be up.
  4. October 28, 2020, 6:59 am:
  5. October 28, 2020, 9:30 am:
    • “When you come to a scene where somebody is in a mental crisis, and the only tool you have to deal with it is a gun… where are the proper tools for the job?”[9] Police have shot and killed yet another Black man, this time in Philadelphia. Walter Wallace, Jr., apparently was armed with a knife, but was in the company of his mother, and was likely experiencing a mental health issue. Police didn’t bother with deescalation.[10] People there are furious, they are rioting and looting.[11] This isn’t getting much mainstream attention; I actually first caught wind that anything at all might be up via the National Review where the headline was all about the looting (their story itself is a little better).[12] The National Review is mostly neoconservative, but their headlines in the run-up to the election have sounded more authoritarian populist; they have been awful, sensational, and heavily slanted in favor of Donald Trump, which is not at all the way to get my eyes.
  6. October 28, 9:57 am:

Pandemic

It’s the very scenario the lockdown earlier this year was meant to avoid as hospitals face what is soon likely to be overwhelming numbers of patients:[13]

New reported infections nationwide surpassed 80,000 for the first time ever Friday and again Saturday, as hospitalizations push past 40,000 and daily death tolls begin to climb. This new wave of infections, expected to intensify as winter draws closer, is spread wider than the spring surge that devastated East Coast states and the summer wave that slammed the South and the Southwest. And it comes as some Republican leaders are leery of renewed shutdowns, as Americans grow wearier of restrictions and as the Thanksgiving travel season threatens to supercharge the virus’s spread.

“We are set up for just a perfect storm — a conflagration,” said Megan Ranney, an emergency medicine professor at Brown University. “Right now, you can talk about there being lots of little burning fires across the country. And then Thanksgiving will be the wind that will whip this fire up into an absolute human disaster for our country.”[14]

But you know, remember all those excuses for not wearing fucking masks.[15] Oh, and how the security of the whole free world depends on going to bars.[16] Remember! It’s your patriotic duty to spread the novel coronavirus and kill people.[17]

Hannah Knowles and Jacqueline Dupree, “Full hospitals, talk of rationing care: New wave of coronavirus cases strains resources,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/25/coronavirus-cases-hospitalizations-surge/


Donald Trump

George Conway[18] is back with more.[19] Because, god help us, somebody has to do it.

George T. Conway, III, “I believe in the president, now more than ever,” Washington Post, October 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/26/george-conway-i-believe-in-trump-more-than-ever/


Supreme Court

Just as the Democrats handed Donald Trump the presidency with their insistence on neoliberal dogma in 2016,[20] they have now handed a 6-3 Supreme Court majority to conservatives in 2020.[21] But by all means, blame the folks who want decent jobs, peace, and a better environment and who want to see actual progress towards these ends. Just like the Democrats always do.[22]

Seung Min Kim, “Senate confirms Barrett to Supreme Court, cementing its conservative majority,” Washington Post, October 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/senate-court-barrett-trump/2020/10/26/df76c07e-1789-11eb-befb-8864259bd2d8_story.html


Housing

Will Parker, “Struggling Rental Market Could Usher in Next American Housing Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/struggling-rental-market-could-usher-in-next-american-housing-crisis-11603791000

Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/


Neuroscience

Lydia Denworth, “Conservative and Liberal Brains Might Have Some Real Differences,” Scientific American, October 26, 2020, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/conservative-and-liberal-brains-might-have-some-real-differences/


Walter Wallace, Jr.

Ximena Conde, “Disbelief and unanswered questions after fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace,” WHYY, October 27, 2020, https://whyy.org/articles/disbelief-and-unanswered-questions-after-fatal-police-shooting-of-walter-wallace/

Darryl C. Murphy, “Grieving Walter Wallace Jr. and seeking justice, West Philly wonders what’s next,” WHYY, October 27, 2020, https://whyy.org/articles/grieving-walter-wallace-jr-and-seeking-justice-west-philly-wonders-whats-next/

Brittany Bernstein, “Hundreds of Looters Ransack Philadelphia Businesses in Second Night of Unrest,” National Review, October 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/hundreds-of-looters-ransack-philadelphia-businesses-in-second-night-of-unrest/


  1. [1]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; Will Parker, “Struggling Rental Market Could Usher in Next American Housing Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/struggling-rental-market-could-usher-in-next-american-housing-crisis-11603791000; Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/
  2. [2]Heather Long, “The recession is over for the rich, but the working class is far from recovered,” Washington Post, August 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/13/recession-is-over-rich-working-class-is-far-recovered/
  3. [3]Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people
  4. [4]Regina Garcia Cano and Michael Casey, “Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states,” Associated Press, August 4, 2020, copy in possession of author; Michelle Conlin and Christopher Walljasper, “Time’s up: After a reprieve, a wave of evictions expected across U.S.,” Reuters, October 19, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-housing-eviction-insight/times-up-after-a-reprieve-a-wave-of-evictions-expected-across-u-s-idUKKBN27415U; Sam Levin, “California landlords are locking out struggling tenants. A ‘tsunami of evictions’ may be next,” Guardian, July 30, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/30/california-covid-19-evictions-landlords-tenants; Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/
  5. [5]Kriston Capps, “What Happens When the Eviction Bans End?” CityLab, May 29, 2020, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2020/05/pay-rent-eviction-ban-coronavirus-housing-crisis-landlord/612277/; Sam Levin, “California landlords are locking out struggling tenants. A ‘tsunami of evictions’ may be next,” Guardian, July 30, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/30/california-covid-19-evictions-landlords-tenants; Will Parker, “Struggling Rental Market Could Usher in Next American Housing Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/struggling-rental-market-could-usher-in-next-american-housing-crisis-11603791000
  6. [6]Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/
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  8. [8]Lydia Denworth, “Conservative and Liberal Brains Might Have Some Real Differences,” Scientific American, October 26, 2020, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/conservative-and-liberal-brains-might-have-some-real-differences/
  9. [9]Shaka Johnson, quoted in Brittany Bernstein, “Hundreds of Looters Ransack Philadelphia Businesses in Second Night of Unrest,” National Review, October 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/hundreds-of-looters-ransack-philadelphia-businesses-in-second-night-of-unrest/
  10. [10]Ximena Conde, “Disbelief and unanswered questions after fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace,” WHYY, October 27, 2020, https://whyy.org/articles/disbelief-and-unanswered-questions-after-fatal-police-shooting-of-walter-wallace/
  11. [11]Darryl C. Murphy, “Grieving Walter Wallace Jr. and seeking justice, West Philly wonders what’s next,” WHYY, October 27, 2020, https://whyy.org/articles/grieving-walter-wallace-jr-and-seeking-justice-west-philly-wonders-whats-next/
  12. [12]Brittany Bernstein, “Hundreds of Looters Ransack Philadelphia Businesses in Second Night of Unrest,” National Review, October 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/hundreds-of-looters-ransack-philadelphia-businesses-in-second-night-of-unrest/
  13. [13]Hannah Knowles and Jacqueline Dupree, “Full hospitals, talk of rationing care: New wave of coronavirus cases strains resources,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/25/coronavirus-cases-hospitalizations-surge/
  14. [14]Hannah Knowles and Jacqueline Dupree, “Full hospitals, talk of rationing care: New wave of coronavirus cases strains resources,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/25/coronavirus-cases-hospitalizations-surge/
  15. [15]Priya Elan, “The data is in: men are too fragile to wear Covid-19 masks. Grow up, guys,” Guardian, July 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/03/covid-19-masks-men-masculinity; Marc Fisher, Clarence Williams, and Lori Rozsa, “Will Americans wear masks to prevent coronavirus spread? Politics, history, race and crime factor into tough decision,” Washington Post, April 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coronavirus-masks-america/2020/04/18/bdb16bf2-7a85-11ea-a130-df573469f094_story.html; Christine Hauser, “The Mask Slackers of 1918,” New York Times, August 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/us/mask-protests-1918.html; Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Likhitha Butchireddygari, “For Black Americans, Wearing A Mask Comes With Complicated Anxieties,” FiveThirtyEight, June 30, 2020, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/for-black-americans-wearing-a-mask-comes-with-complicated-anxieties/; Griff Witte, Ariana Eunjung Cha, and Josh Dawsey, “At the heart of dismal U.S. coronavirus response, a fraught relationship with masks,” Washington Post, July 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/at-the-heart-of-dismal-us-coronavirus-response-a-fraught-relationship-with-masks/2020/07/28/f47eccd0-cde4-11ea-bc6a-6841b28d9093_story.html
  16. [16]Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; Thomas Heath and Hannah Denham, “Dow tumbles 730 points as covid-19 flare-ups force states to push back reopening,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/26/stocks-markets-today-texas-coronavirus/; Claire Lampen, Hannah Gold, and Amanda Arnold, “Everything to Know About the Coronavirus in the United States,” Cut, June 24, 2020, https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/which-states-have-coronavirus-and-how-do-you-minimize-risk.html; Christina Maxouris, “Officials say states like Arizona and Texas reopened too quickly after soaring Covid-19 cases,” CNN, July 6, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html; Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, “With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-trump-leading-the-way-americas-coronavirus-failures-exposed-by-record-surge-in-new-infections/2020/06/27/bd15aea2-b7c4-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html; Meg Wagner et al., “Fauci, Redfield testify on Covid-19 reopening as cases rise,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/covid-19-school-work-reopening-testimony-06-30-20/h_cc7cf09eae87064e72f75af30984acd3
  17. [17]Moriah Balingit, “Armed militia helped a Michigan barbershop open, a coronavirus defiance that puts Republican lawmakers in a bind,” Washington Post, May 12, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coronavirus-michigan-republicans-whitmer/2020/05/12/54975e1a-9466-11ea-82b4-c8db161ff6e5_story.html;
    Eric Cortellessa, “US far-right extremists are now calling social distancing a Nazi policy,” Times of Israel, April 17, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-far-right-extremists-are-now-calling-social-distancing-a-nazi-policy/; Ryan Deto, “Photos: About 120 protest in Downtown Pittsburgh, calling for Pennsylvania to reopen during coronavirus pandemic,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 20, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/photos-about-120-protest-in-downtown-pittsburgh-calling-for-pennsylvania-to-reopen-during-coronavirus-pandemic/Content?oid=17167012; Bryan Armen Graham, “‘Swastikas and nooses’: governor slams ‘racism’ of Michigan lockdown protest,” Guardian, May 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/03/michigan-gretchen-whitmer-lockdown-protest-racism; Fred Kaplan, “Is America in the Early Stages of Armed Insurgency?” Slate, September 8, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/09/america-insurgency-chaos-trump-violence.html; Robert Mackey, “Neo-Fascist Proud Boys Exult Over Trump Telling Them to ‘Stand By,’ Not Stand Down,” Intercept, September 30, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/09/30/neo-fascist-proud-boys-exult-trump-telling-stand-not-stand/; Jamie Martines And Tom Davidson, “Protesters in Pittsburgh demand Gov. Wolf to reopen businesses amid coronavirus pandemic,” Tribune-Review, April 20, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/protesters-gather-in-pittsburgh-demanding-gov-wolf-reopen-businesses-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/; Luke Mogelson, “The Militias Against Masks,” New Yorker, August 17, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/24/the-militias-against-masks; Joshua Partlow, “Politics at the point of a gun,” Washington Post, July 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/28/conservative-armed-militias-protests-coronavirus/; Rashawn Ray and Rebecca Shankman, “How COVID-19 is changing the gun debate,” Brookings, June 17, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/06/17/how-covid-19-is-changing-the-gun-debate/; Tony Romm, “Fake cures and other coronavirus conspiracy theories are flooding WhatsApp, leaving governments and users with a ‘sense of panic,’” Washington Post, March 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/03/02/whatsapp-coronavirus-misinformation/; Isaac Stanley-Becker and Tony Romm, “Pro-gun activists using Facebook groups to push anti-quarantine protests,” Washington Post, April 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/04/19/pro-gun-activists-using-facebook-groups-push-anti-quarantine-protests/; Kelly Weill, “Sixteen ‘Boogaloo’ Followers Have Been Busted in 7 Days,” Daily Beast, October 9, 2020, https://www.thedailybeast.com/with-the-gov-gretchen-whitmer-busts-16-boogaloo-followers-have-been-busted-in-7-days/; Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Barrett, and Abigail Hauslohner, “FBI charges six who it says plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as seven more who wanted to ignite civil war face state charges,” Washington Post, October 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/michigan-governor-kidnap-plot/2020/10/08/0032e206-0980-11eb-9be6-cf25fb429f1a_story.html
  18. [18]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/
  19. [19]George T. Conway, III, “I believe in the president, now more than ever,” Washington Post, October 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/26/george-conway-i-believe-in-trump-more-than-ever/
  20. [20]David Benfell, “Democrats must own Donald Trump,” Not Housebroken, November 14, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/11/13/democrats-must-own-donald-trump/
  21. [21]Seung Min Kim, “Senate confirms Barrett to Supreme Court, cementing its conservative majority,” Washington Post, October 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/senate-court-barrett-trump/2020/10/26/df76c07e-1789-11eb-befb-8864259bd2d8_story.html
  22. [22]David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, October 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/

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

And here I’ve been, waiting for word on Trump’s alleged participation in ‘golden showers’ with Russian prostitutes

Donald Trump

Despite this, Donald Trump, whom authoritarian populists insist is such a great businessman,[1] is going broke again. He is personally responsible for some $421 million in debt, “most of it coming due within four years,” and faces the possibility of having to return a tax refund to the Internal Revenue Service, which could cost him $100 million. The report does not say to whom he owes the former,[2] but some will surely suspect the Russians.[3]

Ah, gee. And here I’ve been, waiting for word on Trump’s alleged participation in “golden showers” with Russian prostitutes.[4] Make of that what you will. I sure as hell don’t know, but I can’t even wrap my head around my own finances.

So I was wondering what the National Review would have to say about the New York Times story on Trump’s taxes. Well, um, it seems they’re all about the “golden showers,” too, or more precisely the “Russian investigation” into Trump, which Republicans insist was unjustified and possibly illegal.[5] Make of that what you will, too.

Brittany Bernstein, “Lindsey Graham Hints There is ‘More Damning’ Information about the Russia Investigation to be Released,” National Review, September 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/lindsey-graham-hints-there-is-more-damning-information-about-the-russia-investigation-to-be-released/

Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and Mike McIntire, “Trump’s Taxes Show Chronic Losses and Years of Income Tax Avoidance,” New York Times, September 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/27/us/donald-trump-taxes.html


Fire

Napa Valley in California is on fire and the fire spread west through mountainous terrain north of the Valley of the Moon, also wine country, in Sonoma County toward Santa Rosa, where evacuation orders are taking effect (figure 1) in areas that previously burned in 2017 with the Tubbs Fire. I keep saying it: In California, if it hasn’t burned, it will. And is.

Fig. 1. Screenshot taken by author of the Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, September 28, 2020, at 9:44 am EDT (6:44 am PDT).


  1. [1]Bess Levin, “G.O.P. Voters Think Losing $1 Billion Makes Someone (Trump) a Good Businessman,” Vanity Fair, May 15, 2019, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/05/republicans-still-think-trump-was-a-successful-businessman
  2. [2]Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and Mike McIntire, “Trump’s Taxes Show Chronic Losses and Years of Income Tax Avoidance,” New York Times, September 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/27/us/donald-trump-taxes.html
  3. [3]Craig Unger, “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” New Republic, July 13, 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/143586/trumps-russian-laundromat-trump-tower-luxury-high-rises-dirty-money-international-crime-syndicate
  4. [4]Jeff Stein, “Trump, Russian Spies and the Infamous ‘Golden Shower Memos,’” Newsweek, January 10, 2017, http://www.newsweek.com/trump-russian-spies-infamous-golden-shower-memos-541315
  5. [5]Brittany Bernstein, “Lindsey Graham Hints There is ‘More Damning’ Information about the Russia Investigation to be Released,” National Review, September 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/lindsey-graham-hints-there-is-more-damning-information-about-the-russia-investigation-to-be-released/

A ‘vote shaming’ argument rendered moot

Supreme Court

“Vote shamers” who argue for voting for their presumed “lesser of two evils,” that is, Joe Biden, based on the opening on the Supreme Court created by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death,[1] are having their argument rendered moot as the Republicans appear able and willing to ram through Donald Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, before election day.[2]

Anne Gearan, Seung Min Kim, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump announces Judge Amy Coney Barrett is his pick for the Supreme Court,” Washington Post, September 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-barrett-supreme-court/2020/09/26/4a417d60-000e-11eb-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html


Admiral Janeway

I’ve been thinking a lot about my dearest cat, Admiral Janeway (figure 1), who, as they put it, crossed over the rainbow bridge, on February 9, 2018.[3]

Fig. 1. Admiral Janeway, photograph by author, October 30, 2017.

I remember waking up that morning, seeing that she was watching me. We gazed into each other’s eyes for the longest time, which was unusual and should have tipped me off. It didn’t of course, and I also didn’t think anything of her seeming unusually spry as we got up. Again, this was a clue I missed entirely. I went about my usual routine, I think her tail might have brushed my calf as I sat at my desk catching up on email and the day’s events, and then I went off to work.

My mother called sometime that evening. She had found Admiral Janeway in the yard, seemingly asleep but somehow slightly awry (I assume rigor mortis). My cat had likely found a sunny spot and gone to sleep there. I have been told since that this is how kidney failure gets you.

I have her ashes. They are to be spread with my own, assuming I manage to finish paying for it, at a redwood tree near Point Arena, California.

But damn, I miss her.


  1. [1]David Benfell, “On ‘vote shaming,’” Not Housebroken, September 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/21/on-vote-shaming/
  2. [2]Anne Gearan, Seung Min Kim, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump announces Judge Amy Coney Barrett is his pick for the Supreme Court,” Washington Post, September 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-barrett-supreme-court/2020/09/26/4a417d60-000e-11eb-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html; Paul Kane and Rachael Bade, “Democrats largely powerless to stop GOP from confirming Trump’s court choice,” Washington Post, September 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-trump-court-democrats/2020/09/21/12295b82-fc1c-11ea-9ceb-061d646d9c67_story.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Admiral Janeway, rest in peace,” Not Housebroken, February 9, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/02/09/admiral-janeway-rest-in-peace/

Catching up

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 19, 2020, at 11:17 am.
  2. September 19, 3:27 pm:
    • I fixed those page links, I think. It seems the WordPress export/import function failed to replicate the setting for permalinks on Not Housebroken. All I probably really had to do was turn that back on. But I updated the pages, so hopefully those are right now.

So I’m catching up. The transition to new hosting was not without its scary moments but it seems my host has been to Hogwarts. His database magic is good. It does appear some page links have been broken, so I have a bit more work to do, which I’ll get to, hopefully tonight.


Pennsylvania

Jamie Martines and Paula Reed Ward, “Why the ruling against Wolf’s covid-19 restrictions faces long odds on appeal, explained,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/why-the-ruling-against-wolfs-covid-19-restrictions-faces-long-odds-on-appeal-explained/

Meghan Schiller, “Pitt Researcher: Wolf Administration’s Pandemic Restrictions Saved ‘Many, Many Thousands Of Lives,’” KDKA, September 17, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/09/17/pittsburgh-researcher-gov-tom-wolf-pandemic-restrictions-saved-lives/


Allegheny County

Paula Reed Ward, “Brentwood restaurant defies order to close for covid-19 violations, faces court action,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 18, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/brentwood-restaurant-defies-order-to-close-for-covid-19-violations-faces-court-action/


Migrants

Tina Vasquez, “Immigrants allege mistreatment by Georgia doctor and whistleblower,” Prism, September 17, 2020, https://www.prismreports.org/article/2020/9/17/immigrants-allege-mistreatment-by-georgia-doctor-and-whistleblower/


Higher Education

Francie Diep, “More Colleges Are Responding to Covid-19 Surges With 2-Week Quarantines. Do They Work?” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 17, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/more-colleges-are-responding-to-covid-19-surges-with-2-week-quarantines-do-they-work


Supreme Court

Robert Barnes and Michael A. Fletcher, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice and legal pioneer for gender equality, dies at 87,” Washington Post, September 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/ruth-bader-ginsburg-dies/2020/09/18/3cedc314-fa08-11ea-a275-1a2c2d36e1f1_story.html

Clare Foran, Manu Raju, and Ted Barrett, “McConnell vows Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg will get Senate vote, setting up historic fight,” CNN, September 19, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/18/politics/congress-fight-rgb-seat/index.html


A polarized Pennsylvania bummer

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf repeated his earlier call for legalization of recreational marijuana,[1] this time framing it as part of the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic.[2] At last report, a bill intended to do just that[3] was still bottled up in a hostile committee, even as the lieutenant governor echoed the governor’s call:[4]

State Sen. [Patrick] Stefano said his committee is doing research and looking into new studies. He tells KDKA’s Meghan Schiller the biggest hold up right now is that there’s no way to measure THC in a person’s body. He said until there’s a tool to measure intoxication, he’s hesitant to move forward.[5]

Wolf alluded to the state legislature’s failed attempts to curtail his efforts to manage the pandemic[6] and proposed that some revenue go to help small businesses:[7]

“House and Senate Democrats have been fighting for progress to protect families and businesses in these spaces since the beginning of the pandemic, but they have been stopped at every turn by the Republican majority focused on ignoring the public health crisis,” [Tom] Wolf said.

“That must stop now. The legislature must come back and take immediate steps to provide funding to frontline workers and businesses, put in place protections for families and our workforce, and make these commonsense reforms that can provide confidence in our government. Pennsylvanians need relief, they need reform, and they need it now.”[8]

I trust he isn’t holding his breath.

Sonia Moghe and Taylor Romine, “Pennsylvania governor calls for legalizing marijuana as part of Covid-19 economic recovery plan,” CNN, August 26, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/26/us/pennsylvania-legalize-recreational-marijuana-trnd/index.html


Laura

eusgm.gif
Fig. 1. 72-hour of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, as of August 26, 2020, 10:01 pm.

It looks to me like landfall will occur in extreme southwestern Louisiana, just across the border from Texas.


  1. [1]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
  2. [2]Sonia Moghe and Taylor Romine, “Pennsylvania governor calls for legalizing marijuana as part of Covid-19 economic recovery plan,” CNN, August 26, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/26/us/pennsylvania-legalize-recreational-marijuana-trnd/index.html
  3. [3]WTAE, “New bill to legalize recreational marijuana unveiled by state lawmaker from Pittsburgh,” February 20, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/recreational-marijuana-bill-pittsburgh-state-rep-jake-wheatley/31025380
  4. [4]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  5. [5]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  6. [6]Associated Press, “Pennsylvania GOP seeks to dismantle Wolf’s shutdown,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-gop-seeks-to-dismantle-wolfs-shutdown/; Associated Press, “Pennsylvania Republicans Mount New Challenge To Gov. Tom Wolf’s Pandemic Power,” KDKA, July 14, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/14/republicans-mount-new-challenge-to-governors-pandemic-power/; Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Lawmaker: It’s not government’s responsibility to ‘try to keep us safe,’” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, August 12, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-lawmaker-its-not-governments-responsibility-to-try-to-keep-us-safe/; Megan Guza, “Gov. Wolf, GOP critic spar over social media post parroting health secretary’s LGBQT comments,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 30, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/gov-wolf-gop-critic-spar-over-social-media-post-parroting-health-secretarys-lgbqt-comments/; Elizabeth Hardison and Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Supreme Court throws out GOP challenge to Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency order,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 1, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-supreme-court-throws-out-gop-challenge-to-wolfs-covid-19-emergency-order/; Nick Matoney, “‘We can’t do this for another 90 days’: Pa. General Assembly votes to end COVID-19 emergency declaration,” WTAE, June 10, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/we-cant-do-this-for-another-90-days-pa-general-assembly-votes-to-end-covid-19-emergency-declaration/32821325; John L. Micek, “W. Pa. Rep. Metcalfe files impeachment articles to ‘remove dictator Wolf’ over pandemic response,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 16, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/w-pa-rep-metcalfe-files-impeachment-articles-to-remove-dictator-wolf-over-pandemic-response/
  7. [7]Sonia Moghe and Taylor Romine, “Pennsylvania governor calls for legalizing marijuana as part of Covid-19 economic recovery plan,” CNN, August 26, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/26/us/pennsylvania-legalize-recreational-marijuana-trnd/index.html
  8. [8]Sonia Moghe and Taylor Romine, “Pennsylvania governor calls for legalizing marijuana as part of Covid-19 economic recovery plan,” CNN, August 26, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/26/us/pennsylvania-legalize-recreational-marijuana-trnd/index.html