Sometime in February—I’m not sure of the precise date—it will have been 21 years that I’ve been seeking work. And sometime similarly in April, because they gave us two months notice, it will have been 21 years since I’ve held a real job. I was 41 when this search began. I am 62 now.
In that time, I have returned to school, finished a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. But the only job I have been able to find is driving for Uber and Lyft. Read more
See updates through June 8, 2022, at end of post.
I continue to believe that anarchism has much to recommend it.
An authoritarian system of social organization, such as we now have, is unquestionably cruel. Political and economic leaders are not more moral than the rest of us, yet on a bogus claim of “merit,” we find ourselves with a caste system, with the rich isolating themselves from lower classes by multiple means and the poor stigmatized and incarcerated to keep workers conformant. The rich rely on, consciously or otherwise, the divisions by any means humans can find to separate ourselves into “us” and “them” to preserve their own power and privileges over the rest of us. The system of (in)justice has been reduced to incoherent bullying and murder. Read more
In Canonsburg, not very far at all from where I now live, there is a historical marker for a theater where, yes, this is the one, someone yelled fire, producing a panic. The New York Times account of the catastrophe lists over twenty dead and states there were about fifty injured. Sadly, it remains legal both to yell fire in a crowded theater and to insist upon a supposed “marketplace of ideas” to counter false information. Read more
See updates through June 11, 2022, at end of post.
Fiona Hill thinks Vladimir Putin’s goal is bigger, much bigger, than Ukraine. She thinks he wants the U.S. out of Europe. One might suspect he should have pushed for that when Donald Trump was president because Trump didn’t like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization either. And from what I can see in Hill’s analysis, Putin badly misjudges the U.S. situation and the country’s relationship with NATO. Read more
See updates through August 17, 2022, at end of post.
I do believe we are at an extraordinarily dangerous moment in U.S. history in which we may be turning, by one means or another, from a constitutional oligarchy, which is quite bad enough and which I deplore, into a full-on right-wing dictatorship foundationally imposing an ideology, which I label Trumpism, combining elements of authoritarian populism, paleoconservatism, and social conservatism—tendencies of conservatism I identified in my dissertation and which Donald Trump united for all intents and purposes. Read more
See update for January 25, 2022, at end of post.
Un-fucking-believable. One might suspect that a warming—it got into the 40s on Wednesday—is what Pittsburgh Public Works is really counting on to clear its roads. There was still plenty of snow and slush lining travel lanes and I was frequently driving through it to get out of traffic to pick passengers up yesterday (Thursday). This is from a storm that struck on Sunday. It is now Friday and they’re reportedly still trying to clear it. Read more
See updates through February 4, 2022, at end of post.
To say that U.S. intelligence agencies are not especially trustworthy understates the matter considerably. And the news on Ukraine that has lately managed to survive my bullshit filter all originates with those agencies. First, there was the possible false flag operation to justify an invasion reported about a week ago. Now the U.S. is claiming that Russia is recruiting former government officials to give Ukraine a Russian government with a Ukrainian face, to be backed by Russian occupying forces, and has imposed sanctions on those former officials. Both of these allegations seem entirely plausible to me. And I certainly am concerned for Ukraine. But I am deeply unhappy with the sourcing and there is the possibility of a personal vendetta: Read more
At last, somebody, Sarah Jones, points out that if students get sick from the COVID-19 pandemic, they can’t go to school, and if teachers get sick from the pandemic, they can’t teach. This isn’t the teachers’ fault, but they’re the ones being blamed for asking for some precautions. You know, like making masks available, installing HEPA filtering, like switching to virtual schooling temporarily when case counts rise. And they’re the ones whose own wellness seemingly doesn’t matter. This is all brain-dead shit but we just love bashing teachers. Read more
See update for January 14, 2022 at end of post.
Residents in Melbourne, Australia, endured a lot, being in some ways more sensible than most, with a 262-day long lockdown, but now here comes an anti-vaccination, indeed, anti-COVID-19 mitigation, unvaccinated Serbian tennis star who somehow—we don’t know how—gained a medical exemption to COVID-19 vaccination requirements, but apparently with, ahem, misstated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results, so he can play in a tournament. Initially he was granted a visa, which was revoked at the border upon his arrival, then reinstated by a court on procedural grounds. But it turns out the star wasn’t completely accurate in the paperwork, undermining his visa application and the visa can still be revoked at the ministerial level—subject again to judicial review. Read more
See update for February 7, 2022, at end of post.
It appears that Ed Gainey and Rich Fitzgerald are sticking to their guns with their invitation to the Republican National Committee to hold its convention in Pittsburgh in 2024. Here’s Gainey:
We understand the concerns that some have expressed. Should the city be selected, we are confident in our ability to ensure successful operations for an event of this size and will engage with the RNC and Visit Pittsburgh in relation to their engagement with the city.