My skepticism about the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s proposal to improve traffic flow on the Parkway East (Interstate 376, from downtown Pittsburgh to Monroeville) arises not from the substance of the proposal itself—in isolation, it seems eminently sensible—but rather the context to which it would be introduced. I disagree that drivers are complying with work zone speed limits—some are, but also, many are not—and this undermines the premise that drivers will comply with variable speed limits that are one part of the proposal. Read more
The uncomfortable truth for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is that two of its members, Turkey and Hungary, are not all on board with NATO’s support for Ukraine. Read more
See update for May 18, 2022, at end of post.
Every once in a while, a question has to crop up: What’s the end game here?
Julia Ioffe has argued against the possibility of a coup against Vladimir Putin on two grounds: First, she sees an entire Kremlin apparatus, a significant part of larger Russian society that shares Putin’s world view, and an even larger part willing to be complicit with him; replacing him would merely bring other people in who share his perspective and thus fail to solve the problem of the Ukraine invasion. Second, she observes that Russia has produced rulers such as Putin before; there is a pattern here that replacing Putin does not resolve. Mikhail Khodorkovsky offers a bit of insight into the second of these: Read more
I am remembering today the instructor of my social inequality class, who warned us against only being concerned with the inequality that personally afflicts us. We need to be concerned with all of it, not only as a matter of justice, I say, but because if we address only a single issue of injustice, we risk recreating the very system that now benefits wealthy white men but privileging a different group instead, much as the Russian Revolution simply reshuffled who was in power, who would oppress others. Justice is justice for everyone; partial steps won’t do. Read more
When I say Uber’s concern about safety and health is performative, here’s an example.
Uber occasionally pushes notifications out through the driver app. Often these are reminders to select a “quest” or suggestions that the airport may be busy at certain times or that drivers are allegedly making lots of money late at night. Read more
“[W]hen I have spoken of ‘freedom,’ I have warned people to ask, for whom, to do what, to whom?” Which today brings us to the case of Elon Musk, who calls himself a “free speech absolutist,” buying Twitter. Read more
India weaves a tangled web in response to Western pressure to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But then, its boundary disputes with Pakistan and China are also complex, encompassing significant amounts of territory (figure 1).
Fig. 1. “Composite map showing the borders of India, Pakistan & China as per official sources overlaid on areas of actual administrative control. Areas where official borders intersect are disputed areas administered by one country and claimed by another country. Each disputed region is indicated by a circle representative of its area with the color of the administering country and outlined by the color of the claimant country.” By Planemad [pseud.], August 23, 2011, on Wikimedia Commons. CC-by-sa Arun Ganesh, National Institute of Design Bangalore. Read more
I will be voting Green regardless, because the Democratic Party is where progressives go to be co-opted and because it is ever more apparent that the Democrats are most comfortable in opposition where they can take pot shots at Republicans without actually having to do anything themselves. But were the Democratic primary for U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania to be decided on the merits, there is little question in my mind that Malcolm Kenyatta is the superior candidate. Read more
There is a curious discrepancy between the concern expressed on my behalf by a few folks about the mask requirement being dropped for public transportation, which affects me as an Uber driver, and a complete absence of expressed concern about the recent spike in violence in neighborhoods I drive in to routinely that I actually find more alarming. It’s the kind of omission that a critical theorist is supposed to notice; it signifies what folks are actually concerned about, not so much about the violence in these neighborhoods or, really, even about my safety, but about COVID-19. Read more
Peter McIndoe didn’t finish college, but he’s brilliant. With his “Birds Aren’t Real” “movement,” meant to be absurdist, he is demonstrating an impressive insight into conspiracy theorizing. I don’t know what we do with this insight; he doesn’t seem to know either. But this has to be an important step. Here’s a piece I’ll be thinking about: Read more