On ‘vaccine passports’

See updates through June 20, 2021, at end of post.


Note: I am aware of concerns that ‘vaccine passports’ may be unfair to those who are unfairly disadvantaged in accessing vaccines. This post does not address those concerns, which are diminishing within the U.S.,[1] nor the problem of medical apartheid and vaccination resistance,[2] but rather the conservative objection to such ‘passports.’

According to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, “[i]t’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.”[3] Read more

  1. [1]Philip Bump, “Vaccine skepticism and disregard for containment efforts go hand in hand,” Washington Post, April 2, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/04/02/vaccine-skepticism-disregard-containment-efforts-go-hand-in-hand/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Medical apartheid and COVID-19 vaccinations,” Not Housebroken, March 30, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/03/26/medical-apartheid-and-covid-19-vaccinations/
  3. [3]Laurel Wamsley, “Florida Gov. DeSantis Rejects Vaccine Passports As ‘Completely Unacceptable,’” National Public Radio, March 30, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/03/30/982837517/florida-gov-desantis-rejects-vaccine-passports-as-completely-unacceptable

The thin logic of gun nuttery

Lindsey Graham says he “needs his own AR-15 . . . in case disaster strikes and he needs to defend his home against a roving ‘gang.’”[1] Let’s be clear about what this says. Read more

  1. [1]Tim Elfrink, “Lindsey Graham says he needs AR-15 for defense: ‘My house will be the last one that the gang will come to,’” Washington Post, March 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/03/29/lindsey-graham-ar15-defense-disaster/

Medical apartheid and COVID-19 vaccinations

See updates through May 3, 2021, at end of post.


I go in today for my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19. I had symptoms, all pretty much on the list of side effects, with the first shot, and I’ve heard that the second shot is worse,[1] so I’m taking this one seriously, expecting to take the day off sick.

I hadn’t really considered the vaccine a matter of white privilege. Read more

  1. [1]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine,” March 16, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html

San Francisco’s political establishment doth protest too much

“Are you kidding?” I exclaimed as I saw the headline on a San Francisco Chronicle story in which a San Francisco School Board member, Alison Collins, had been accused of racism and her resignation demanded by a significant chunk of The City’s political establishment.[1] This is, after all, the very same school board that attracted national derision for a decision to cover up a mural in my old high school, then for deciding to rename (a decision later suspended) schools that had been named after famous whites, including presidents.[2]

The reality is a bit more nuanced. And much of what I will write here is based on my own recollections. To call my account of the context here incomplete would likely woefully understate the matter. What I want to do, at the same time I think maybe The City’s establishment needs to catch its breath and step back a bit for a broader perspective, is to explain that there is more to the story that helps to understand what’s happening. Read more

  1. [1]Jill Tucker, “Mayor Breed calls for S.F. school board member to resign over racist tweets directed at Asian Americans,” San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2021, https://www.sfchronicle.com/education/article/Mayor-Breed-calls-for-S-F-school-board-member-to-16040970.php
  2. [2]David Benfell, “A non-conformist mural and a non-conformist kid: Why the mural still must be covered up,” Not Housebroken, August 14, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/14/a-non-conformist-mural-and-a-non-conformist-kid-why-the-mural-still-must-be-covered-up/; David Benfell, “It’s fine to highlight other people. But don’t cite historical falsehoods when you do,” Not Housebroken, February 21, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/02/06/its-fine-to-highlight-other-people-but-dont-cite-historical-falsehoods-when-you-do/; Isaac Chotiner, “How San Francisco Renamed Its Schools,” New Yorker, February 6, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/how-san-francisco-renamed-its-schools; Greg Keraghosian, “SF school board pauses renaming 44 schools, promises to consult historians in future,” SFGate, February 21, 2021, https://www.sfgate.com/local/article/SF-school-board-pauses-renaming-44-schools-15968504.php; Karin Klein, “At first, it looked like censorship. But covering up controversial mural makes sense,” Sacramento Bee, July 20, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article232846267.html; Fernando Martinez, “San Francisco school board considers renaming a school after the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia,” SFGate, January 29, 2021, https://www.sfgate.com/sf-culture/article/San-Francisco-School-Board-considers-renaming-a-15909103.php; Carol Pogash, “San Francisco School Board May Save Controversial George Washington Mural,” New York Times, August 10, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/10/arts/san-francisco-murals.html; Carol Pogash, “San Francisco School Board Votes to Hide, but Not Destroy, Disputed Murals,” New York Times, August 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/14/arts/san-francisco-murals-george-washington.html

Evictions in a pandemic

See updates through June 8, 2021, at end of post.


The Alden South Hills, managed by Aion Management, where I presently live, made the news for a batch of evictions last October despite a ban due to the pandemic.[1] But it became apparent to me that the Alden has been hard at work in an ongoing effort to evict people when I found materials on my doorstep offering resources to folks facing eviction[2] and this is now confirmed.[3] Read more

  1. [1]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
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Housing activism on my doorstep,” Irregular Bullshit, March 6, 2021, https://disunitedstates.com/2021/03/06/housing-activism-on-my-doorstep/
  3. [3]Kate Giammarise, Rich Lord, and Jay Manning, “Tenant Cities: One Day In Allegheny County’s Eviction Hotspot,” WESA, March 11, 2021, https://www.wesa.fm/post/tenant-cities-one-day-allegheny-countys-eviction-hotspot

An astonishing example of neoliberal hypocrisy

So, um, wow:

Read more

The necessary desperation

Perhaps it says more about my Twitter bubble than anything else, but I’m seeing a lot of desperation in my feed. People feel betrayed even by the looming $1,400 pandemic payments—they say it should be $2,000 and, pointing to promises made in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff,[1] they aren’t buying the $600+$1,400 argument (the Trump administration had sent out $600 payments because that’s what it could get out of Congress[2]). They say that pandemic aid really should have been $2,000 or even $3,000 per month, at least for the duration of the pandemic, and really as a permanent basic income. They are, of course, also incensed that a long overdue and also-promised move to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour failed.[3] Read more

  1. [1]Claudia Grisales, “Senate Control Likely Decided By Fate Of 2 Georgia Runoff Races,” National Public Radio, November 7, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/07/932068951/senate-control-likely-decided-by-fate-of-2-georgia-runoff-races; Jeff Stein and Erica Werner, “$2,000 stimulus checks could become a reality with Democratic control of the Senate,” Washington Post, January 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/01/06/georgia-election-2000-stimulus-checks/
  2. [2]Natalie Andrews and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump Signs Covid-19 Aid Bill Averting Government Shutdown,” Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-signs-covid-19-aid-bill-averting-government-shutdown-11609117841; Mike DeBonis, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, December 30, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1344103713741402112.html; Mike DeBonis and Tony Romm, “McConnell blocks Democrats’ attempt to quickly approve $2,000 stimulus checks amid pressure on GOP to act,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/stimulus-checks-senate/2020/12/29/344fa850-49d9-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html; Burgess Everett, “Trump leans on McConnell for $2,000 checks amid GOP resistance,” Politico, December 29, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/29/2-000-checks-sputter-mcconnell-blocks-dems-451918; Tony Romm and Karoun Demirjian, “McConnell says push by Democrats, Trump for $2,000 stimulus checks has ‘no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate,’” Washington Post, December 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/30/stimulus-checks-senate/
  3. [3]Burgess Everett, “8 Democrats defect on $15 minimum wage hike,” Politico, March 5, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/05/democrats-15-minimum-wage-hike-473875