The roller coaster

Brexit

The roller coaster continues to be a roller coaster.

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Brexit: ‘Many issues’ still unresolved, warns Leo Varadkar,” October 16, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-50063022


#MeToo

So, while refusing to excuse powerful older men for their assaults on young women, I’ve also been critical of such women for using their youth and sexual attractiveness to gain access. It seems Meghan Daum shares that perspective.[1]

But then we move on to the next question: What if, in a patriarchal society where social mobility has all but evaporated,[2] that youth and sexual attractiveness is the only or even only the most important leverage these women will ever have to advance their careers? Daum alludes to and even discusses her own experience in deploying that leverage, but does not really address this question.[3] As one who has never enjoyed that particular advantage, and who now finds himself systematically excluded from the job market,[4] I know how hard it is to get your foot in the door and how easy it is to fail. The question, really, is how is one even really supposed to find a job? I can’t escape that.

Meghan Daum, “Team older feminist: am I allowed nuanced feelings about #MeToo?” Guardian, October 16, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/oct/16/metoo-older-feminists-problem-with-everything-extract


  1. [1]Meghan Daum, “Team older feminist: am I allowed nuanced feelings about #MeToo?” Guardian, October 16, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/oct/16/metoo-older-feminists-problem-with-everything-extract
  2. [2]Claude S. Fisher et al., “Why Inequality?” in Great Divides, ed. Thomas M. Shapiro, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2003).
  3. [3]Meghan Daum, “Team older feminist: am I allowed nuanced feelings about #MeToo?” Guardian, October 16, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/oct/16/metoo-older-feminists-problem-with-everything-extract
  4. [4]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/

Weep for anyone but gig economy drivers

Gig economy

Heather Somerville, “Uber Shedding About 350 Jobs to Shore Up Business,” Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shedding-about-350-jobs-to-shore-up-business-11571092680

David Shepardson, “Uber and Lyft are refusing to appear at a Congressional hearing, angering lawmakers,” Business Insider, October 15, 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/us-house-panel-strongly-urges-uber-lyft-to-take-part-in-hearing-2019-10


Brexit

Boris Johnson appears—the text is not yet public—to be accepting a customs border through the Irish Sea. It remains unclear that he can get such a deal, which apparently relies on a distinction between Northern Ireland being de jure in the United Kingdom customs zone and de facto in the European Union customs zone, through the Commons.[1] And yeah, you’re entitled to ask just how that distinction could actually work.

Daniel Boffey et al., “Boris Johnson ‘on brink of Brexit deal’ after border concessions,” Guardian, October 15, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/15/boris-johnson-close-to-brexit-deal-after-border-concessions


  1. [1]Daniel Boffey et al., “Boris Johnson ‘on brink of Brexit deal’ after border concessions,” Guardian, October 15, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/15/boris-johnson-close-to-brexit-deal-after-border-concessions

Boris Johnson, the black marketeer

Brexit

We still don’t really know what Boris Johnson’s allegedly generous offer to the European Union was. But what we’re seeing now[1] certainly fits a pattern of seeking to blame the EU for any failure to reach a deal. But the Europeans have every reason to suspect that what Johnson seeks would create a pathway for a black market, which is precisely why the Irish backstop is so contentious.[2] And as we learned with Saddam Hussein, black markets can be incredibly lucrative for those who facilitate them, which leads to me to suspect that this is in fact Johnson’s plan.

Owen Bennett and James Crisp, “Fury as EU demands more Brexit concessions,” Telegraph, October 13, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/13/fury-eu-demands-brexit-concessions/


Catalonia

Pamela Rolfe and James McAuley, “Spanish Supreme Court sentences Catalan separatists to prison, sparking protests,” Washington Post, October 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/spanish-supreme-court-sentences-catalan-separatists-to-jail/2019/10/14/a0590366-ee59-11e9-89eb-ec56cd414732_story.html


Jeff Bezos

Charles Duhigg, “Is Amazon Unstoppable?” New Yorker, October 10, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/10/21/is-amazon-unstoppable

Franklin Foer, “Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan,” Atlantic, November 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/11/what-jeff-bezos-wants/598363/


Kurdistan

I guess Donald Trump did an oopsie.

Tobias Hoonhout, “U.S. Set to Impose New Sanctions on Turkey in Response to Syria Incursion: Report,” National Review, October 14, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/u-s-set-to-impose-new-sanctions-on-turkey-in-response-to-syria-incursion-report/

Saleha Mohsin, Jennifer Jacobs, and Ryan Beene, “U.S. Urges Immediate Cease-Fire in Syria as It Sanctions Turkey,” Bloomberg, October 14, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-14/u-s-sanctions-turkey-after-trump-opened-way-for-move-into-syria


  1. [1]Owen Bennett and James Crisp, “Fury as EU demands more Brexit concessions,” Telegraph, October 13, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/13/fury-eu-demands-brexit-concessions/
  2. [2]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?” Washington Post, July 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/could-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-crack-up-the-united-kingdom/2019/07/29/b871ebac-b1e6-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Daniel Boffey, “However you look at it, the logic of a Brexit backstop refuses to yield,” Guardian, June 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/24/however-look-logic-brexit-backstop-refuses-to-yield-irish; British Broadcasting Corporation, “Irish deputy PM Coveney: No deal Brexit would mean customs checks in Ireland,” July 21, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-49062367/irish-deputy-pm-coveney-no-deal-brexit-would-mean-customs-checks-in-ireland; Amanda Ferguson and William Booth, “Northern Ireland’s politicians don’t agree on much. Except that Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit would be a disaster,” Washington Post, July 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/northern-irelands-politicians-dont-agree-on-much-except-that-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-would-be-a-disaster/2019/07/31/c209affa-b2eb-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Peter Foster and Camilla Tominey, “Boris Johnson warned that ‘no deal’ Brexit will require return of ‘direct rule’ in Northern Ireland,” Telegraph, July 26, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/26/boris-johnson-warned-no-deal-brexit-will-require-return-direct/; Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018, http://theconversation.com/can-technology-and-max-fac-solve-the-irish-border-question-expert-explains-96735; Conor Humphries, “Irish PM says hard Brexit would raise issue of Irish unification,” Telegraph, July 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland-nireland-idUSKCN1UL280; Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/northern-ireland-hard-border-brexit-customs; Kate Proctor, “Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper,” Guardian, September 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/02/irish-border-after-brexit-all-ideas-beset-by-issues; Steven Swinford and Henry Zeffman, “Backstop protects stability in Ireland, Macron tells PM,” Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/find-an-alternative-to-irish-backstop-and-brexit-deal-is-possible-angela-merkel-tells-boris-johnson-dmtfzf9gz

Another three guns

Redlining

I found another gun today. Actually three (if you count two small ones in front of the plaque) of them at a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Munhall, above Homestead.


That makes ten of these damn sites in or near economically distressed and apparently predominantly Black areas out of twelve.

For some reason, Google’s server is rejecting the photograph I took, so I wasn’t able to add it to the pin. But it’s the most recent photograph in this album.


Brexit

The idea of effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the European Union’s customs zone while leaving the rest of the United Kingdom out makes a lot of sense until one considers that it is effectively “no deal” for England, Scotland, and Wales and would likely have all the expected catastrophic effects.[1] It is also anathema to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) whom the Tories have partnered with on Brexit and to even form a government in the first place. Indeed, for the DUP, as I understand its thinking, this would be treason.

There has been a lot of reporting suggesting that this is, nonetheless, what Boris Johnson has proposed to the E.U. And this is where I tend to shut up: I’ve learned over the years that I should see what a situation actually is rather than deal with what it might be. So I haven’t been archiving these stories and I haven’t been relaying them here.

But if this is indeed what Johnson has proposed, then he appears unlikely to garner the needed support for it even within his own party.[2]

Toby Helm and Michael Savage, “Support grows for a new Brexit poll amid fears over Johnson’s plan,” Guardian, October 12, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/12/support-grows-for-new-brexit-poll-amid-fears-pm-plan


Kurdistan

Bashar Assad wins.

Karen DeYoung, Dan Lamothe, and Liz Sly, “Trump orders withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria, days after Pentagon downplays possibility,” Washington Post, October 13, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-orders-withdrawal-of-us-forces-from-northern-syria-days-after-pentagon-downplays-possibility/2019/10/13/83087baa-edbb-11e9-b2da-606ba1ef30e3_story.html

Bethan McKernan, “At least 750 Isis affiliates escape Syria camp after Turkish shelling,” Guardian, October 13, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/13/kurds-say-785-isis-affiliates-have-escaped-camp-after-turkish-shelling


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Boris Johnson might think he’s playing poker with the European Union, but he’s actually playing ‘chicken’—with a brick wall,” Not Housebroken, August 2, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/02/boris-johnson-might-think-hes-playing-poker-with-the-european-union-but-hes-actually-playing-chicken-with-a-brick-wall/; Michael Savage and Daniel Boffey, “No-deal Brexit spells calamity for union, warns Gordon Brown,” Guardian, August 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/10/gordon-brown-says-no-deal-brexit-would-be-calamity-for-united-kingdom; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/
  2. [2]Toby Helm and Michael Savage, “Support grows for a new Brexit poll amid fears over Johnson’s plan,” Guardian, October 12, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/12/support-grows-for-new-brexit-poll-amid-fears-pm-plan

Oops! Forgot to publish last night.

Actually, it looks like I did publish last night, but there isn’t that much new anyway. Which on these two topics is kinda pathetic.


Brexit

David Fickling, “Queen Can Call Boris Johnson’s Latest Brexit Bluff,” Washington Post, October 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/queen-can-call-boris-johnsons-latest-brexit-bluff/2019/10/09/85158228-ea62-11e9-a329-7378fbfa1b63_story.html

Polly Toynbee, “Johnson’s desperate for a general election, but he faces an unpleasant surprise,” Guardian, October 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/10/boris-johnson-election-unpleasant-surprise-opposition


Kurdistan

Bethan McKernan, Julian Borger, and Dan Sabbagh, “Turkish troops advance into Syria as Trump washes his hands of the Kurds,” Guardian, October 9, 2019,
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/09/turkey-syria-attack-latest-news-kurds-trump

Robin Wright, “Defying the World, Turkey Launches a War Against a U.S. Ally in Syria,” New Yorker, October 9, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/defying-the-world-turkey-launches-a-war-against-a-united-states-ally-in-syria


Turkey invades Syria

Housekeeping

When I said yesterday that the mailboxes in my apartment building were falling out of the wall, I wasn’t kidding.IMG_0028
The carrier can’t even lock the boxes closed now.


Kurdistan

Kareem Fahim, Sarah Dadouch, and Asser Khattab, “Turkey launches offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria,” Washington Post, October 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/with-turkish-offensive-looming-syrian-kurds-mobilize-civilian-defense/2019/10/09/4efca794-ea02-11e9-a329-7378fbfa1b63_story.html


Pennsylvania

KDKA, “Governor Tom Wolf Wants To Raise Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage,” October 8, 2019, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/10/08/tom-wolf-wants-to-raise-the-minimum-wage/


Brexit

Kanishka Singh, “Johnson faces cabinet revolt over no-deal Brexit – media,” Reuters, October 8, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-resignation/johnson-faces-cabinet-revolt-over-no-deal-brexit-media-idUSKBN1WO046


No deal

Housekeeping

Just a hint to a U.S. Postal Service carrier and a United Parcel Service carrier out there: You have real jobs, you should be grateful for those jobs, and you should do those jobs.

I am not amused by your excuses.[1]

For everyone else, there is a new Pittsburgh mailing address that should be used for the foreseeable future unless I tell you otherwise; see my contact information page for details.


Brexit

Danielle Sheridan, Tony Diver, and Amy Jones, “Brexit latest news: Deal ‘essentially impossible’ after call between Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel, Number 10 says,” Telegraph, October 8, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/08/brexit-latest-news-boris-johnson-no-deal-parliament-prorogation/


Misogyny

Antonia Noori Farzan, “A teenager said there was a rapist at her school. She was suspended for bullying,” Washington Post, October 8, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/08/maine-teenager-suspended-rape-warning-high-school/


Kurdistan

Dion Nissenbaum and Gordon Lubold, “Trump’s Call to Leave Syria Draws Fire From GOP Allies,” Wall Street Journalhttps://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-begins-pullback-from-northern-syria-clearing-way-for-turkish-offensive-11570439862


 

  1. [1]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/

The spoiled child

Brexit

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

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



Whistle blowing

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

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


Academia

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


Elon Musk

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


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

A wise turtle knows better than to try to pull a fast one

Brexit

I guess I don’t understand the psychology of lying very well. At the very least, it seems to involve something more than the deception and its presumed gains.

Take the cases of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. Both are known, pathological liars. Even in the heights of their self-delusion, they have to know that they, themselves, are known to be pathological liars. Yet they carry on as if their lies carried even one iota of credibility.

I honestly don’t understand that.
1800
Fig. 1. Former Prime Minister Theresa May listens to current Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the Commons. Via the Guardian, photograph attributed only to “Uk Parliamentary Recording Unit Handout/EPA” and undated.[1]

Daniel Boffey and Jennifer Rankin, “EU calls on Boris Johnson to publish Brexit plan in full,” Guardian, October 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/03/eu-calls-on-boris-johnson-to-publish-brexit-plan-in-full

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Brexit: Boris Johnson will send extension letter – court document,” October 4, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49936352

John Crace, “Conservatives know Boris Johnson is a fraud. But he’s their fraud,” Guardian, October 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/03/conservatives-know-boris-johnson-is-a-but-hes-their

Bruno Waterfield, “You have one week to make a better offer, EU tells Boris Johnson,” Times, October 4, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/you-have-one-week-to-make-a-better-offer-eu-tells-boris-johnson-tn5nc6k5d


  1. [1]John Crace, “Conservatives know Boris Johnson is a fraud. But he’s their fraud,” Guardian, October 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/03/conservatives-know-boris-johnson-is-a-but-hes-their

A Pennsylvania high?

Pennsylvania

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

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

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

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


Brexit

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


Elon Musk

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

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


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