Welcome to Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

There is a new blog post entitled, “Start changing the border signs: ‘Welcome to Gilead.’

Greg Sargent, “Stunning Trump revelations raise fears of a dark, violent future,” Washington Post, June 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/06/17/trump-revelations-jan-6-hearings-violent-future/


Work

There is another new blog post entitled, “Human beings as disposable means to capitalists’ profitable ends.”

Jason Del Rey, “Leaked Amazon memo warns the company is running out of people to hire,” Vox, June 17, 2022, https://www.vox.com/recode/23170900/leaked-amazon-memo-warehouses-hiring-shortage


Pittsburgh

Infrastructure

There is yet another new blog post entitled, “Pittsburgh was likely negligent in Fern Hollow Bridge collapse.”

Sean D. Hamill, “Decades of Neglect,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 18, 2022, https://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/fern-hollow-bridge-pittsburgh-inspection-reports-repairs-collapse-engineer-neglect/

Paula Reed Ward, “Fern Hollow Bridge inspection troubling but did not suggest imminent danger, experts say,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 18, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/fern-hollow-bridge-inspection-had-troubling-findings-but-nothing-suggesting-collapse-was-imminent-experts-say/


History is private property?

Pittsburgh




Figs. 1-3. Apparently these are mammatus clouds. They’re what we got instead of thunderstorms around sunset last night.[1] Photographs by author, June 16, 2022.

All yesterday afternoon, I was looking at the clouds, looking at the trees swaying in the wind, and thinking there’s gotta be rain, there’s gotta be rain.

It never happened. I think I might have seen a single raindrop on my windshield. Instead, as I was pulling up to my usual gas station, I was yelling for the attendant (whom I see nearly daily) to come out and check out the sky (figures 1 through 3). He did, and groused that when he took pictures, they appeared mostly blue. I was more fortunate.

Racism, bigotry, and white supremacy

History should not be the property of individuals and so I disagree with the author of this piece on Pittsburgh designating a house with significant links to Black history as a historic landmark. Read it anyway. Given the racism in the process, that erases Black history,[2] I’m thinking it’s remarkable that the designation occurred.

David S. Rotenstein, “An insider’s take on the Tito-Mecca-Zizza House landmarking,” Pittsburgh City Paper, June 15, 2022, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/an-insiders-take-on-the-tito-mecca-zizza-house-landmarking/Content?oid=21857197


Right-wing dictatorship project

[Pippa] Norris was pointing to the visible “structural” flaws in the country’s politics that enable the Republicans to secure outsize power for their vote share, including the composition of the Senate, which skews disproportionately to rural America. At a time when the party’s base appears to be drifting toward what some scholars of comparative politics have dubbed a form of “authoritarian far-right” politics, it’s especially concerning.[3]

The Senate and Electoral College have been this way from the beginning. I’ve understood the intention as to ensure that rural areas were not effectively disenfranchised, like Republicans are in California. The trouble is that this system relies on balance: It’s one thing to ensure rural areas have a voice. It’s another when that voice comes to drown out urban areas.[4] And that’s what’s happening:

Though its overall score per the [governance] index remains quite high, the United States’ assessed decline over the past two decades was one of the largest, on par with countries like Haiti and Hungary in that period of time. The think tank measured significant drops in U.S. “state capacity” and “democratic accountability” — the first measure could be defined roughly as the country’s ability to implement collective reforms and the latter a measure of the health of checks and balances, from electoral integrity to the efficacy of civil society and the media.

“The U.S. drop in state capacity and democratic accountability is not unique, but it is rare among advanced economies,” researchers Markus Lang and Edward Knudsen wrote me in an email.[5]

It hasn’t happened yet, but it appears Republicans have pushed us[6] past a tipping point,[7] which culminates in a white Christian nationalist authoritarian regime, as I wrote yesterday,

in part because [Democrats are] incredibly unpopular about now,[8] and in part because of conservative efforts to effectively disenfranchise likely Democratic voters.[9]

It’s not like this is a shocking new development. It has been a work in progress and no politician has an excuse for not observing it, which is why I view a persistent Democratic Party complacency on the issue as treasonous[10] and as further evidence of their preference to be in the opposition, where they can complain about the Republicans, but no one can expect them to actually accomplish a damn thing.[11] Whatever their rhetoric, the Democrats effectively refuse to oppose the establishment of a white Christian nationalist regime in the U.S., which is why I think that’s what we’re going to get, in very short order.[12]

Ishaan Tharoor, “The troubled paradox of U.S. democracy,” Washington Post, June 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/06/17/democracy-american-global-decline-backsliding/


  1. [1]Jeff Himler, “Puffy ‘mammatus’ clouds provide eye-catching show in Western Pa. skies,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 16, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/regional/puffy-mammatus-clouds-provide-eye-catching-show-in-western-pa-skies/
  2. [2]David S. Rotenstein, “An insider’s take on the Tito-Mecca-Zizza House landmarking,” Pittsburgh City Paper, June 15, 2022, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/an-insiders-take-on-the-tito-mecca-zizza-house-landmarking/Content?oid=21857197
  3. [3]Ishaan Tharoor, “The troubled paradox of U.S. democracy,” Washington Post, June 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/06/17/democracy-american-global-decline-backsliding/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Mitigating the democratic deficit in the United States,” Not Housebroken, December 20, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/07/15/mitigating-the-democratic-deficit-in-the-united-states/
  5. [5]Ishaan Tharoor, “The troubled paradox of U.S. democracy,” Washington Post, June 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/06/17/democracy-american-global-decline-backsliding/
  6. [6]David Smith, “Republican party building an ‘army’ to overturn election results – report,” Guardian, June 1, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/01/republicans-plan-overturn-election-results-report; Ishaan Tharoor, “The Orbanization of America: How to capture a democracy,” Washington Post, May 18, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/18/orban-democracy-trump-united-states-elections-hungary/
  7. [7]Nathaniel Rakich, “The New National Congressional Map Is Biased Toward Republicans,” FiveThirtyEight, June 15, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-new-national-congressional-map-is-biased-toward-republicans/
  8. [8]Benjamin Hart, “The Democratic Party Is Extremely Unpopular Right Now,” New York, May 16, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/the-democratic-party-is-extremely-unpopular-right-now.html
  9. [9]Philip Bump, “Despite GOP rhetoric, there have been fewer than two dozen charged cases of voter fraud since the election,” Washington Post, May 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/05/04/despite-gop-rhetoric-there-have-been-fewer-than-two-dozen-charged-cases-voter-fraud-since-election/; Marjorie Cohn, “Supreme Court Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Voting Rights Act,” Truthout, July 2, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/supreme-court-drives-a-stake-through-the-heart-of-the-voting-rights-act/; David Gans, “Selective originalism and selective textualism: How the Roberts court decimated the Voting Rights Act,” SCOTUSblog, July 7, 2021, https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/07/selective-originalism-and-selective-textualism-how-the-roberts-court-decimated-the-voting-rights-act/; James Hohmann, “Gov. Scott Walker defends voter ID law in first debate,” Politico, October 11, 2014, http://www.politico.com/story/2014/10/scott-walker-wisconsin-voter-id-law-111804.html; Maya King, David Siders, and Daniel Lippman, “‘We’re f—ed’: Dems fear turnout catastrophe from GOP voting laws,” Politico, July 26, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/26/democrats-gop-voting-laws-crisis-500726; Scott Lemieux, “How the Supreme Court’s Arizona voting rights decision will affect challenges to Georgia’s law,” NBC News, July 1, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/how-supreme-court-s-arizona-voting-rights-decision-will-impact-ncna1272928; Eva Ruth Moravec, “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs law creating new voting restrictions as opponents sue,” Washington Post, September 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/07/abbott-texas-voting-restrictions-signs-bill/; Nicholas Stephanopoulos, “The Supreme Court showcased its ‘textualist’ double standard on voting rights,” Washington Post, July 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/01/supreme-court-alito-voting-rights-act/; Daniel Strauss, “Scott Walker On Voter ID: ‘Doesn’t Matter If There’s One, 100, or 1,000’,” Talking Points Memo, October 11, 2014, http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/scott-walker-voter-id-law-debate
  10. [10]David Benfell, “The Democrats as the danger within, enabling the Republicans,” Not Housebroken, June 14, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/06/14/the-democrats-as-the-danger-within-enabling-the-republicans/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “Democrats and contradiction,” Not Housebroken, January 20, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/11/18/democrats-and-contradiction/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, June 11, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/

Deals that aren’t deals

Gun nuttery

Oh, gee. Who could have seen this[1] coming? Oh, wait.[2]

Richard Cowan and David Morgan, “U.S. Senate gun bill talks hit snag over mental illness, abuse provisions,” Reuters, June 15, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-senate-gun-bill-talks-hit-snag-over-mental-illness-abuse-provisions-2022-06-15/


Ukraine

That united front against the Russian invasion of Ukraine? Not so united anymore.[3]

Jinjoo Lee, “Natural Gas Could Start to Melt United Front Against Russia,” Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/natural-gas-could-start-to-melt-united-front-against-russia-11655289000

Daniel Michaels, “Ukraine’s NATO Allies Strain to Keep Up Pressure on Russia,” Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraines-nato-allies-strain-to-keep-up-pressure-on-russia-11655279193


Right-wing dictatorship project

The following passage is not about what, by all accounts, will likely be a brutal—that is, if you think losing massively is brutal—midterm election for the Democrats, in part because the Democrats so plainly prefer being in the opposition,[4] in part because they’re incredibly unpopular about now,[5] and in part because of conservative efforts to effectively disenfranchise likely Democratic voters.[6] This is about redistricting and only about redistricting.[7]

[W]e see that more Democratic-held seats have been turned red this redistricting cycle than Republican-held seats have been turned blue. By my calculations, Republicans can expect a net gain of roughly three or four seats this November due to the effects of redistricting alone — not accounting for shifts in voter preference.[8][9]

Nathaniel Rakich, “The New National Congressional Map Is Biased Toward Republicans,” FiveThirtyEight, June 15, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-new-national-congressional-map-is-biased-toward-republicans/


  1. [1]Richard Cowan and David Morgan, “U.S. Senate gun bill talks hit snag over mental illness, abuse provisions,” Reuters, June 15, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-senate-gun-bill-talks-hit-snag-over-mental-illness-abuse-provisions-2022-06-15/
  2. [2]Mike DeBonis and Leigh Ann Caldwell, “Senators strike bipartisan gun deal, heralding potential breakthrough,” Washington Post, June 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/12/senate-gun-deal-framework/
  3. [3]Jinjoo Lee, “Natural Gas Could Start to Melt United Front Against Russia,” Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/natural-gas-could-start-to-melt-united-front-against-russia-11655289000; Daniel Michaels, “Ukraine’s NATO Allies Strain to Keep Up Pressure on Russia,” Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraines-nato-allies-strain-to-keep-up-pressure-on-russia-11655279193
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The Democrats as the danger within, enabling the Republicans,” Not Housebroken, June 14, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/06/14/the-democrats-as-the-danger-within-enabling-the-republicans/
  5. [5]Benjamin Hart, “The Democratic Party Is Extremely Unpopular Right Now,” New York, May 16, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/the-democratic-party-is-extremely-unpopular-right-now.html
  6. [6]Philip Bump, “Despite GOP rhetoric, there have been fewer than two dozen charged cases of voter fraud since the election,” Washington Post, May 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/05/04/despite-gop-rhetoric-there-have-been-fewer-than-two-dozen-charged-cases-voter-fraud-since-election/; Marjorie Cohn, “Supreme Court Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Voting Rights Act,” Truthout, July 2, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/supreme-court-drives-a-stake-through-the-heart-of-the-voting-rights-act/; David Gans, “Selective originalism and selective textualism: How the Roberts court decimated the Voting Rights Act,” SCOTUSblog, July 7, 2021, https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/07/selective-originalism-and-selective-textualism-how-the-roberts-court-decimated-the-voting-rights-act/; James Hohmann, “Gov. Scott Walker defends voter ID law in first debate,” Politico, October 11, 2014, http://www.politico.com/story/2014/10/scott-walker-wisconsin-voter-id-law-111804.html; Maya King, David Siders, and Daniel Lippman, “‘We’re f—ed’: Dems fear turnout catastrophe from GOP voting laws,” Politico, July 26, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/26/democrats-gop-voting-laws-crisis-500726; Scott Lemieux, “How the Supreme Court’s Arizona voting rights decision will affect challenges to Georgia’s law,” NBC News, July 1, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/how-supreme-court-s-arizona-voting-rights-decision-will-impact-ncna1272928; Eva Ruth Moravec, “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs law creating new voting restrictions as opponents sue,” Washington Post, September 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/07/abbott-texas-voting-restrictions-signs-bill/; Nicholas Stephanopoulos, “The Supreme Court showcased its ‘textualist’ double standard on voting rights,” Washington Post, July 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/01/supreme-court-alito-voting-rights-act/; Daniel Strauss, “Scott Walker On Voter ID: ‘Doesn’t Matter If There’s One, 100, or 1,000’,” Talking Points Memo, October 11, 2014, http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/scott-walker-voter-id-law-debate
  7. [7]Nathaniel Rakich, “The New National Congressional Map Is Biased Toward Republicans,” FiveThirtyEight, June 15, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-new-national-congressional-map-is-biased-toward-republicans/; Sarina Vij, “Why Minority Voters Have a Lower Voter Turnout: An Analysis of Current Restrictions,” American Bar Association, June 26, 2020, https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/voting-in-2020/why-minority-voters-have-a-lower-voter-turnout/
  8. [8][footnote in original] Here’s the gory math behind that calculation. Between nine and 12 Democratic-held districts have been redrawn to favor Republicans (two in Arizona, three in Florida, one in Georgia, one in Michigan, one in Ohio, one in Tennessee and potentially one each in Kansas, Maryland and New Jersey), while between four and seven Republican-held districts have been redrawn to favor Democrats (two in California, one in Illinois, one in Michigan and potentially one each in Louisiana, New Mexico and Ohio). That’s a net gain of five seats for Republicans, give or take. However, Republicans also lost one or two seats on net from reapportionment: Population trends added one red seat in Florida, one in Montana, one in Texas and potentially one in Colorado, but they also subtracted one from Illinois, one from Michigan, one from New York, one from Pennsylvania and one from West Virginia.
  9. [9]Nathaniel Rakich, “The New National Congressional Map Is Biased Toward Republicans,” FiveThirtyEight, June 15, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-new-national-congressional-map-is-biased-toward-republicans/

Massachusetts Supreme Court blocks company-sponsored rideshare driver measure

Ukraine

Ishaan Tharoor, “Putin makes his imperial pretensions clear,” Washington Post, June 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/06/13/putin-imperial-russia-empire-ukraine/


Gig economy (neoliberal wet dream)

‘Rideshare’ driving

Erin Mulvaney and Chris Marr, “Uber-Backed Vote on Gig Work Is Blocked by Massachusetts Court,” Bloomberg, June 14, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-14/massachusetts-justices-strike-down-gig-backed-ballot-initiative


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

There is a new blog post entitled, “The Democrats as the danger within, enabling the Republicans.”

Sarah D. Wire, “Stepien, Barr repeatedly told Trump that fraud claims were false,” Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-06-13/jan-6-hearings-day-2

Amy Gardner and Isaac Arnsdorf, “More than 100 GOP primary winners back Trump’s false fraud claims,” Washington Post, June 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/14/more-than-100-gop-primary-winners-back-trumps-false-fraud-claims/

Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick, “Jan. 6 panel hears: Trump ‘detached from reality’ in defeat,” Associated Press, June 14, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-capitol-siege-donald-trump-campaigns-presidential-070ced9a013c58cf001d6d4137e4abc0


Rwanda flight

So Boris Johnson’s government has this plan to deport refugees to Rwanda that it managed to secure court approval for. Reportedly, Prince Charles has privately called it “appalling.” Now all 25 bishops in the House of Lords have condemned it.[1]

Johnson’s government defends the plan as necessary to combat “human trafficking,” in which migrants attempt perilous journeys across the English Channel (sound familiar?), and criticizes the bishops for failing to supply an alternative plan. The bishops say safe means of passage should be provided.[2]

If Johnson’s government can explain how safe passage across the English Channel for asylum seekers is impossible or even difficult, I might be prepared to accept this explanation. But xenophobia, of the very same sort that prompted Brexit, seems a far more plausible explanation.

Charles Hymas, “Church of England condemns Rwanda deportation plan as national ‘shame,’” Telegraph, June 13, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2022/06/13/rwanda-deportation-plan-branded-national-shame-church-england/


Pittsburgh Prison

When I was in California, I drove by San Quentin Penitentiary often. Interstate 580 goes right by there, the eastern end of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard connects to it and in fact goes right by the west entrance (which is not the main entrance). It’s a deserted-looking place too, with only a little more activity visible if you drive through the village of San Quentin to the main gate.

I had at least driven by San Quentin at night; I could see the lights. The Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh is in the North Side, but a bit out of the way and you can drive right by it without noticing it at night. I didn’t even realize it was closed. And now the state can put it up for sale.[3]

Mark Belko, “Gov. Tom Wolf signs long-sought legislation to sell old state prison on the North Side,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 13, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2022/06/13/pennsylvania-gov-tom-wolf-state-correctional-institution-pittsburgh-western-penitentiary-marshall-shadeland-warden-s-house-wayne-fontana-north-side/stories/202206130088


  1. [1]Charles Hymas, “Church of England condemns Rwanda deportation plan as national ‘shame,’” Telegraph, June 13, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2022/06/13/rwanda-deportation-plan-branded-national-shame-church-england/
  2. [2]Charles Hymas, “Church of England condemns Rwanda deportation plan as national ‘shame,’” Telegraph, June 13, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2022/06/13/rwanda-deportation-plan-branded-national-shame-church-england/
  3. [3]Mark Belko, “Gov. Tom Wolf signs long-sought legislation to sell old state prison on the North Side,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 13, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2022/06/13/pennsylvania-gov-tom-wolf-state-correctional-institution-pittsburgh-western-penitentiary-marshall-shadeland-warden-s-house-wayne-fontana-north-side/stories/202206130088

The two-party system leaves me a choice between white Christian nationalist dictatorship and its enablers

Pittsburgh

Unauthorized violence

So the mayor, Ed Gainey, toured the South Side and he didn’t like what he saw.

“We saw open containers, we saw clear public intoxication, we saw fights, we saw people who were clearly underage,” said [City Councilman Bruce] Kraus, whose district includes East Carson Street. “([Mayor Ed] Gainey) kept saying, ‘This is not good, this is not sustainable.’”[1]

To tell you the truth, I don’t think there’s a lot about Pittsburgh generally that’s sustainable. The mayor started his tour at 1 am.[2] I cut off orders at 7:30 pm, and, after stopping for a car wash and gas and driving home, am generally off the road by 9:00 pm. I don’t even come close to seeing the half of it. But I’m old enough to know trouble when I see it and the South Side is trouble.[3]

Michael Pound, “City councilman: South Side walk was an ‘eye-opener’ for Mayor Gainey,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 11, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/06/11/gainey-city-officials-walk-south-side-east-carson-safety-gun-violence/stories/202206110037


Abortion

“Joe Biden is missing in action right now. This is a crisis, and he’s nowhere to be found, he’s not giving us a plan,” said Renee Bracey Sherman, founder and executive director of We Testify, an organization that represents those who have had abortions. “We showed up in November 2020 and handed you the White House, the House, and the Senate. Do your fucking job that you were elected to do.”[4]

It’s just been on one issue after another that the Democrats need to “[d]o your fucking job that you were elected to do.”

As I wrote previously,

The Democrats will see their reward in the 2022 and 2024 elections, and we will see it as their richly deserved defeat clears the way for a right-wing dictatorship,[5] and even more so than usual, I’m pissing into the wind here.[6]

As bad as a white Christian nationalist dictatorship will be, I understand all too well that it has been Democratic dithering and the party’s infatuation with neoliberalism that is the very reason that dictatorship arises; the two-party system leaves me a choice between dictatorship and its enablers, which is why I’m still voting Green.

Scott Bixby, “Activists Tell Biden to ‘Do Your F*cking Job’ and Protect Abortion Rights,” Daily Beast, June 12, 2022, https://www.thedailybeast.com/activists-tell-biden-to-do-your-fcking-job-and-protect-abortion-rights


COVID-19 Pandemic

The original discovery of [Drew] Weissman, a professor of vaccine research in the Perelman School of Medicine, and [Katalin] Karikó, an adjunct professor of neurosurgery at [University of Pennsylvania] and a senior vice president at BioNTech in Germany, was that chemically modifying the mRNA [messenger ribonucleic acid] enabled it to slip past the immune system so it could deliver its instructions.[7]

But remember: A vaccination card or scar is the mark of the devil, according to signs I see posted around Pittsburgh.

Harold Brubaker, “Research behind COVID-19 vaccines reaps close to $1 billion in royalties for Penn,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/business/penn-covid-vaccine-technology-mrna-royalties-revenue-20220612.html


Gun nuttery

When is a deal not a deal?

Under the tentative deal, a federal grant program would encourage states to implement red-flag laws that allow authorities to keep guns away from people found by a judge to represent a potential threat to themselves or others, while federal criminal background checks for gun buyers younger than 21 would include a mandatory search of juvenile justice and mental health records for the first time.

Other provisions would prevent gun sales to a broader group of domestic violence offenders, closing what is often called the “boyfriend loophole”; clarify which gun sellers are required to register as federal firearms dealers and, thus, run background checks on customers; and establish new federal offenses related to gun trafficking.

The agreement does not include a provision supported by President Biden, congressional Democrats and a handful of Republicans that would raise the minimum age for the purchase of at least some rifles from 18 to 21. Handguns are already subject to a federal 21-and-older rule. . . .

Other provisions would funnel billions of new federal dollars into mental health care and school security programs, funding behavioral intervention programs, new campus infrastructure and armed officers. One cornerstone of the deal is legislation sponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to establish a nationwide network of “community behavioral health clinics,” though the framework does not yet include an agreed funding level for that program or others.[8]

But don’t your breath: The bill hasn’t yet been written,[9] and

“The details will be critical for Republicans, particularly the firearms-related provisions [including red-flag laws, closing the boyfriend loophole, firearms licensee provisions],” said a GOP aide familiar with the talks. “One or more of these principles could be dropped if text is not agreed to.”[10]

The money might also be an issue.[11] In short, all this so far amounts to public relations. And not much more.

Mike DeBonis and Leigh Ann Caldwell, “Senators strike bipartisan gun deal, heralding potential breakthrough,” Washington Post, June 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/12/senate-gun-deal-framework/


  1. [1]Michael Pound, “City councilman: South Side walk was an ‘eye-opener’ for Mayor Gainey,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 11, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/06/11/gainey-city-officials-walk-south-side-east-carson-safety-gun-violence/stories/202206110037
  2. [2]Michael Pound, “City councilman: South Side walk was an ‘eye-opener’ for Mayor Gainey,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 11, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/06/11/gainey-city-officials-walk-south-side-east-carson-safety-gun-violence/stories/202206110037
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Night time is the right time to confuse your gun for your penis,” Not Housebroken, June 7, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/06/05/night-time-is-the-right-time-to-confuse-your-gun-for-your-penis/
  4. [4]Scott Bixby, “Activists Tell Biden to ‘Do Your F*cking Job’ and Protect Abortion Rights,” Daily Beast, June 12, 2022, https://www.thedailybeast.com/activists-tell-biden-to-do-your-fcking-job-and-protect-abortion-rights
  5. [5]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, March 10, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The illusory solidarity of the Left,” Not Housebroken, May 3, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/05/03/the-illusory-solidarity-of-the-left/
  7. [7]Harold Brubaker, “Research behind COVID-19 vaccines reaps close to $1 billion in royalties for Penn,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/business/penn-covid-vaccine-technology-mrna-royalties-revenue-20220612.html
  8. [8]Mike DeBonis and Leigh Ann Caldwell, “Senators strike bipartisan gun deal, heralding potential breakthrough,” Washington Post, June 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/12/senate-gun-deal-framework/
  9. [9]Mike DeBonis and Leigh Ann Caldwell, “Senators strike bipartisan gun deal, heralding potential breakthrough,” Washington Post, June 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/12/senate-gun-deal-framework/
  10. [10]Mike DeBonis and Leigh Ann Caldwell, “Senators strike bipartisan gun deal, heralding potential breakthrough,” Washington Post, June 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/12/senate-gun-deal-framework/
  11. [11]Mike DeBonis and Leigh Ann Caldwell, “Senators strike bipartisan gun deal, heralding potential breakthrough,” Washington Post, June 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/12/senate-gun-deal-framework/

Better hope Donald Trump dies

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Attorney General Merrick Garland really, really, really does not want to prosecute Donald Trump. Inevitably—he’s right about this—such a prosecution will be seen as partisan and political.[1] The trouble is that it is every bit as clear that if, as I expect, Donald Trump indeed regains the presidency in the 2024 election, we will have a white Christian nationalist regime that effectively cannot be voted out, as there will be nothing left to prevent the culmination of a longstanding Republican project to disenfranchise opposing minority and inner city voters.[2]

The most likely avenue to preventing this outcome is if Trump is physically unable to assume the presidency, perhaps because he is in prison. There are a couple ways this could happen. There was a criminal investigation of his finances that is now in doubt.[3] The other is as a consequence of investigations into his January 6 coup attempt. It looks like the January 6 committee has this evidence.[4]

But time is not on the side of a slow-moving court system that is susceptible to Trump’s sort of chronic abuse. What will happen if a Republican House of Representatives refuses any and all funding for the Department of Justice, perhaps refusing to pass any budget at all, until all investigations of Trump are ended? Do you really believe they will not be so loony as to threaten this?

Better hope Trump dies.

Jon Allsop, “The January 6 hearing and the value of spectacle,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 10, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/january_6_committee_hearing_media.php

Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker, “1/6 panel: Told repeatedly he lost, Trump refused to go,” Associated Press, June 10, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-capitol-riot-hearing-67ec5f32b1dd050a24c3312570fa6c67

Harold Meyerson, “All Roads Lead to Trump,” American Prospect, June 10, 2022, https://prospect.org/politics/all-roads-lead-to-trump-january-6th-hearing/


  1. [1]Farnoush Amiri and Michael Balsamo, “Jan. 6 panel puts Garland in ‘precarious’ spot, ups pressure,” Associated Press, April 1, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/capitol-siege-merrick-garland-donald-trump-f70143880cb9be8a0610edcad1ed18e8
  2. [2]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, May 31, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  3. [3]William D. Cohan, “The Billion-Dollar Trump-Wall Street Mystery,” Puck News, April 6, 2022, https://puck.news/the-billion-dollar-trump-wall-street-mystery/; Jane Mayer, “Why Does New York’s Criminal Investigation of Donald Trump Appear All But Over?” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-does-new-yorks-criminal-investigation-of-donald-trump-appear-all-but-over; Corinne Ramey, “Trump Criminal Probe Continues, While New York Attorney General Seeks Contempt in Civil Case,” Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-criminal-probe-is-ongoing-top-manhattan-prosecutor-says-11649356200; Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, “Two Prosecutors in New York Investigation of Donald Trump Resign,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/two-prosecutors-in-new-york-investigation-of-donald-trump-resign-11645650257; Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, “Ex-Manhattan Prosecutor Who Resigned Said He Believed Trump Committed Numerous Felonies,” Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ex-manhattan-prosecutor-who-resigned-said-he-believed-trump-committed-numerous-felonies-11648087035
  4. [4]Jon Allsop, “The January 6 hearing and the value of spectacle,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 10, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/january_6_committee_hearing_media.php; Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker, “1/6 panel: Told repeatedly he lost, Trump refused to go,” Associated Press, June 10, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-capitol-riot-hearing-67ec5f32b1dd050a24c3312570fa6c67; Harold Meyerson, “All Roads Lead to Trump,” American Prospect, June 10, 2022, https://prospect.org/politics/all-roads-lead-to-trump-january-6th-hearing/

Delusions of diplomacy

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

There is a new blog post entitled, “Keeping it real.”

Jon Allsop, “The January 6 hearing and the value of spectacle,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 10, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/january_6_committee_hearing_media.php

Harold Meyerson, “All Roads Lead to Trump,” American Prospect, June 10, 2022, https://prospect.org/politics/all-roads-lead-to-trump-january-6th-hearing/


Privacy

It looks like Chromium-based browsers, including Google Chrome, may soon stop supporting the Ghostery ad blocking extension. AdBlock Plus will continue to work. Firefox will continue to support Ghostery.[1]

Historically, I’ve relied on AdBlock Plus and Ghostery, but these days, I rely principally on AdGuard, which requires a paid subscription. It operates on two levels. One is a program that runs apart from your browser, protecting your system and you from ads and tracking. The other is with a browser extension. I use both levels of AdGuard and implement the VPN feature that, as I understand it, reroutes browser and browser-like traffic within your system to the system-wide program.

My experience with Firefox has that it fails with some Google tools, like Google Docs, which for me are now (not when I was a student, but now) sufficient for my word processing and spreadsheet needs, so I haven’t been able to eliminate Chrome entirely, but Firefox is now my default browser. (I’m not a Reddit fan, but this thread seems to match even my more recent experience.)

On Mac OS, I’m able to use Mimestream for Gmail, so most links I click in email still open in Firefox. I still have a tab open for Gmail in Chrome, but I use this principally with Google Tasks and to add filtering rules. Mimestream is now free in beta; it will eventually cost money.

I have no recent experience with Thunderbird but historically, it was possible to use this with Gmail on Windows and Linux systems.

Corin Faife, “Firefox and Chrome are squaring off over ad-blocker extensions,” Verge, June 10, 2022, https://www.theverge.com/2022/6/10/23131029/mozilla-ad-blocking-firefox-google-chrome-privacy-manifest-v3-web-request


Ukraine

The Polish president, Andrzej Duda, has harshly criticized France and Germany for continuing to attempt diplomacy with Vladimir Putin. From what I can see Duda is largely right, though perhaps overstating the matter a bit:

“Did anyone speak like this with Adolf Hitler during World War II?” [Andrzej] Duda said.

“Did anyone say that Adolf Hitler must save face? That we should proceed in such a way that it is not humiliating for Adolf Hitler? I have not heard such voices,” he continued.

Duda argued that such conversations achieve nothing and “only bring about a legitimization of a person who is responsible for the crimes the Russian army is committing in Ukraine.”[2]

Duda’s argument[3] appears broadly consistent with Julia Ioffe’s.[4]

French President Emmanuel Macron has insisted that the West must not “humiliate” Russia,[5] and:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized [Emmanuel] Macron’s remarks, reportedly saying earlier this week: “I do not really understand what is humiliating Russia. Are we talking about the fact that for eight years they have been killing Ukrainians?”[6]

I do not see that the French and German efforts can be productive. Putin lives in his own set of delusions and it is clear that this has not changed[7] since before the war.[8] To the extent that diplomacy, even if futile, is not in itself capitulation, I am not seeing that what is reported of the conversations[9] is harmful.

But Ioffe’s portrait of Putin’s childhood[10] leaves little doubt that Macron is wrong, that Putin must indeed be humiliated, as this is the only language the bully will understand.

Times of Israel, “Polish president compares Putin to Hitler, slams France, Germany for talking to him,” June 10, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/polish-president-compares-putin-to-hitler-slams-france-germany-for-talking-to-him/


Electric vehicles

Joe Biden’s order requiring public, as in really public, charging stations every fifty miles is good news but it apparently only applies to the Interstate Highway system,[11] and thus omits cities like Fresno, California, which, believe it or not, is not served by an Interstate Highway.

There remain two problems: First, it takes time to recharge a battery, much longer than filling a gas tank. And second, because of that time requirement, even with high availability of charging stations, an electric car’s daily range remains practically constrained to far less than that of a gasoline-powered car.

Biden’s order is important. But it’s still not a substitute for improvements, which I’m reasonably confident are forthcoming, in battery technology.

Michael Collins, “Biden to require electric vehicle charging stations every 50 miles on federal highways,” USA Today, June 9, 2022, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/06/09/electric-vehicles-biden-charging-stations-every-50-miles/7561566001/


White Christian nationalism (Trumpism)

Megan Guza, “Mt. Lebanon mothers sue school district, teacher over gender identity lessons,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, https://triblive.com/local/mt-lebanon-mothers-sue-school-district-teacher-over-gender-identity-lessons/


Pittsburgh

Unauthorized violence

Megan Guza, “Pittsburgh leaders brace for busy weekend amid ongoing violence,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 10, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-leaders-brace-for-busy-weekend-amid-ongoing-violence/

Megan Tomasic, “Police: Man shot to death in Pittsburgh’s Knoxville neighborhood during dispute,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 10, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/police-man-shot-to-death-in-pittsburghs-knoxville-neighborhood-during-a-dispute/


Inflation

I don’t know if we’re going into a recession or not. What I can say is that since worries about the economy kicked into overdrive, I’d say about three weeks ago, I’ve seen a marked change and decrease in my business as an Uber driver. I don’t know how much inflation is really hurting people but I think I am seeing decreased business especially, but not exclusively, in poor neighborhoods. In some ways, it’s feeling like it’s back to what it was like pre-pandemic: There are often intervals between the orders I receive; I may wait quite some time for my first order of the day.

I can’t say it’s killing me yet, but it is impacting the progress I’d hoped to make financially this year.


  1. [1]Corin Faife, “Firefox and Chrome are squaring off over ad-blocker extensions,” Verge, June 10, 2022, https://www.theverge.com/2022/6/10/23131029/mozilla-ad-blocking-firefox-google-chrome-privacy-manifest-v3-web-request
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “Polish president compares Putin to Hitler, slams France, Germany for talking to him,” June 10, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/polish-president-compares-putin-to-hitler-slams-france-germany-for-talking-to-him/
  3. [3]Times of Israel, “Polish president compares Putin to Hitler, slams France, Germany for talking to him,” June 10, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/polish-president-compares-putin-to-hitler-slams-france-germany-for-talking-to-him/
  4. [4]Julia Ioffe, “The Case Against Appeasement,” Puck News, June 7, 2022, https://puck.news/the-case-against-appeasement/
  5. [5]Julia Ioffe, “The Case Against Appeasement,” Puck News, June 7, 2022, https://puck.news/the-case-against-appeasement/
  6. [6]Times of Israel, “Polish president compares Putin to Hitler, slams France, Germany for talking to him,” June 10, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/polish-president-compares-putin-to-hitler-slams-france-germany-for-talking-to-him/
  7. [7]Julian O’Shaughnessy, “I’m reconquering just like Peter the Great, insists Vladimir Putin,” Times, June 10, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/president-putin-creates-police-department-to-impose-martial-law-xqhlt79fn; Reuters, “Hailing Peter the Great, Putin draws parallel with mission to ‘return’ Russian lands,” June 9, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/hailing-peter-great-putin-draws-parallel-with-mission-return-russian-lands-2022-06-09/
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin is a fool,” Not Housebroken, May 18, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/24/vladimir-putin-is-a-fool/
  9. [9]Times of Israel, “Polish president compares Putin to Hitler, slams France, Germany for talking to him,” June 10, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/polish-president-compares-putin-to-hitler-slams-france-germany-for-talking-to-him/
  10. [10]Julia Ioffe, “About a Boy: The Roots of Putin’s Evil,” Puck News, May 10, 2022, https://puck.news/about-a-boy-the-roots-of-putins-evil/
  11. [11]Michael Collins, “Biden to require electric vehicle charging stations every 50 miles on federal highways,” USA Today, June 9, 2022, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/06/09/electric-vehicles-biden-charging-stations-every-50-miles/7561566001/

Yes, really, World War III

I haven’t finished going through the news, but it’s already 12:33 pm as I write this. I gotta get to work.


Ukraine


Fig. 1. Historic Russian empire, from the New York Times, possibly March 6, 2014, fair use.[1]

There can no longer be any doubt that Vladimir Putin’s intentions will extend far beyond Ukraine as he “has compared the war in Ukraine to Peter the Great’s conquests in the Baltic, arguing that in both conflicts Russia was recovering its own territory.”[2] This historical analog Putin points to is a war Pyotr Alekséyevich waged against Sweden; this particular conquest includes Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg.[3] Though there are certainly other arguments, such as those Julia Ioffe correctly[4] offers,[5] the map (figure 1) alone[6] refutes those who are so desperate to appease Putin,[7] leaving little doubt that any intention to recover lost territory entails a vast claim.[8]

You may ridicule the Russian military’s underwhelming performance so far in Ukraine, as undermining any prospect of wider ambition, but Putin has nuclear weapons and a lot of them.[9]

Reuters, “Hailing Peter the Great, Putin draws parallel with mission to ‘return’ Russian lands,” June 9, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/hailing-peter-great-putin-draws-parallel-with-mission-return-russian-lands-2022-06-09/

Julian O’Shaughnessy, “I’m reconquering just like Peter the Great, insists Vladimir Putin,” Times, June 10, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/president-putin-creates-police-department-to-impose-martial-law-xqhlt79fn


Ideology as ‘science:’ economics

The man’s got a point:

John Fugelsang, “The media calls it #inflation. . . .” Twitter, June 10, 2022, https://twitter.com/JohnFugelsang/status/1535265258046214144


Pittsburgh

I have previously remarked on how Pittsburgh drivers are too often assholes.[10] It seems they are also idiots.[11]

As gas prices go up, waiting longer to fill your pump does not mean they will go down. My mechanics have always advised never running below a quarter tank. My understanding is that the ratio of sediment to fuel rises when you do so, potentially clogging your fuel filter. It appears you also put your fuel pump at risk—not a cheap repair—and, of course, when you run out of gas and your engine dies, power assisted things like brakes and steering may fail as well. But guess what folks in Pittsburgh are doing.[12] Assholes. Idiots.

Of course, it’s the drivers of testosterone trucks, you know, the ones who roll coal and think it’s patriotic to park their gas guzzlers in electric vehicle charging parking spaces, who are worst affected. I’d favor their elimination through natural selection, but when they’re being jackasses on the road, that puts me at risk as well.

Ethan Dodd, “High gas prices are leaving Pittsburghers on the side of the road,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 10, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2022/06/10/high-gas-fuel-cost-prices-roadside-assistance-aaa-inflation/stories/202206100065


  1. [1]New York Times, “Ukraine Crisis in Maps,” n.d., http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/02/27/world/europe/ukraine-divisions-crimea.html
  2. [2]Julian O’Shaughnessy, “I’m reconquering just like Peter the Great, insists Vladimir Putin,” Times, June 10, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/president-putin-creates-police-department-to-impose-martial-law-xqhlt79fn
  3. [3]Reuters, “Hailing Peter the Great, Putin draws parallel with mission to ‘return’ Russian lands,” June 9, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/hailing-peter-great-putin-draws-parallel-with-mission-return-russian-lands-2022-06-09/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Ukraine and the refutation of so-called ‘realism,’” Not Housebroken, June 7, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/06/07/ukraine-and-the-refutation-of-so-called-realism/
  5. [5]Julia Ioffe, “The Case Against Appeasement,” Puck News, June 7, 2022, https://puck.news/the-case-against-appeasement/
  6. [6]New York Times, “Ukraine Crisis in Maps,” n.d., http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/02/27/world/europe/ukraine-divisions-crimea.html
  7. [7]Joe Barnes, “Germany ‘deliberately watering down’ EU embargo on Russian oil,” Telegraph, May 27, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/27/germany-deliberately-watering-eu-plans-embargo-russian-oil-imports/; Arne Delfs, “Merkel Warns of Isolating Russia After Putin’s ‘Big Mistake,’” Bloomberg, June 7, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-07/merkel-calls-putin-s-invasion-big-mistake-in-public-return; Julia Ioffe, “The Case Against Appeasement,” Puck News, June 7, 2022, https://puck.news/the-case-against-appeasement/
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, May 18, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Nuclear survival,” Not Housebroken, May 18, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/13/nuclear-survival/
  10. [10]David Benfell, “The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) wants to improve safety? REALLY?!!???!!!!” Not Housebroken, May 24, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/05/24/the-pennsylvania-department-of-transportation-penndot-wants-to-improve-safety-really/
  11. [11]Ethan Dodd, “High gas prices are leaving Pittsburghers on the side of the road,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 10, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2022/06/10/high-gas-fuel-cost-prices-roadside-assistance-aaa-inflation/stories/202206100065
  12. [12]Ethan Dodd, “High gas prices are leaving Pittsburghers on the side of the road,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 10, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2022/06/10/high-gas-fuel-cost-prices-roadside-assistance-aaa-inflation/stories/202206100065

The Washington Post, who should know much, much better, has fired Felicia Sonmez

Democrats

Sarah Jones tells us what the Democrats will not do.[1] We can argue about whether they can or should do it—I would agree with Jones that they should—but I can promise you that they won’t.

Sarah Jones, “Democrats Need a Vision. Fast,” New York, June 9, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/06/democrats-need-more-than-january-6-hearings-to-save-them.html


Washington Post

I wasn’t paying much attention to the Dave Weigel affair, but Dylan Byers writes,

To be clear, everyone that I spoke with believed that [Dave] Weigel [who had retweeted a vulgar joke stating that all women were either bipolar or bisexual and was subsequently suspended for a month] had been foolish. And while sources didn’t question [Felicia] Sonmez’s passion for standing up to what she saw as misogyny, they were genuinely upset that she seemed hellbent on upending the [Washington] Post to make her point. One thing I’ve learned about the Post over the years is that its reporters really do like the place, despite its imperfections, and many people I spoke to explained how Sonmez’s tweets were a lot less productive than a hard, private conversation with management. Reporters including Dan Balz, Carol Leonnig, Josh Dawsey, Ashley Parker, Rosalind Helderman, Michael Scherer, and Amy Gardner, among others, have all issued tweets to that effect. (Sonmez declined to comment for this piece, though many of her tweets suggest she believes that management is unresponsive to her concerns.)[2]

It should not require a critical theorist to note that it is terribly, terribly problematic when institutional reputation takes precedence over grievances about discrimination or harassment. When this happens, the institution makes itself a discriminator, whatever the merits of the original claims, or a harasser. This is an incomprehensibly stupid thing for an organization to do.

And while Weigel, who arguably should have been fired for numerous offenses, was merely suspended, Felicia Sonmez has apparently now been fired.[3]

Sonmez was in the process of appealing the dismissal of her discrimination claim against the Washington Post.[4] I am not a lawyer, but whatever the merits of her original complaint, she’s surely got a case now.

Dylan Byers, “The Washington Post’s Twitter Fragility,” Puck News, June 8, 2022, https://puck.news/the-washington-posts-twitter-fragility/


  1. [1]Sarah Jones, “Democrats Need a Vision. Fast,” New York, June 9, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/06/democrats-need-more-than-january-6-hearings-to-save-them.html
  2. [2]Dylan Byers, “The Washington Post’s Twitter Fragility,” Puck News, June 8, 2022, https://puck.news/the-washington-posts-twitter-fragility/
  3. [3]Dylan Byers, “The Washington Post’s Twitter Fragility,” Puck News, June 8, 2022, https://puck.news/the-washington-posts-twitter-fragility/
  4. [4]Dylan Byers, “The Washington Post’s Twitter Fragility,” Puck News, June 8, 2022, https://puck.news/the-washington-posts-twitter-fragility/

Elites love their zombie

Ideology as ‘science:’ economics

There is a new blog post entitled, “A monster that does not bleed and cannot be killed.”

James Meadway, “The present crisis calls for a new economic paradigm,” New Statesman, June 8, 2022, https://www.newstatesman.com/economy/2022/06/cost-of-living-crisis-new-economic-paradigm


Social networks

There is another new blog post entitled, “Social networks and political polarization: We don’t fucking know.

Mathew Ingram, “Have the dangers of social media been overstated?” Columbia Journalism Review, June 9, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/have-the-dangers-of-social-media-been-overstated.php


Erie

Jim Martin, “Erie job market earns low marks in national study; how concerned should we be?” Erie Times-News, June 8, 2022, https://www.goerie.com/story/business/2022/06/09/erie-investments-have-topped-600-million-has-it-made-a-difference/65357595007/


Pittsburgh

Infrastructure

What inquiring minds really want to know is how Pittsburgh’s bus service, now to be called Pittsburgh Regional Transit,[1] got to be called the Port Authority in the first place; it does not exercise authority over ports, at least as near as I can tell. The closest it comes to this is rights of way that somehow traverse rivers and “T” (light rail) stations near those rivers. But I can just about guarantee that a lot of riders will wish they’d spend the money on improving service instead of new paint jobs.

Ed Blazina, “Goodbye Port Authority, hello Pittsburgh Regional Transit: Agency unveils new name, branding,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 9, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/06/09/port-authority-allegheny-county-new-name-pittsburgh-regional-transit-prt-pat-buses-t-light-rail/stories/202206090131


  1. [1]Ed Blazina, “Goodbye Port Authority, hello Pittsburgh Regional Transit: Agency unveils new name, branding,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 9, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/06/09/port-authority-allegheny-county-new-name-pittsburgh-regional-transit-prt-pat-buses-t-light-rail/stories/202206090131