SocraticGadfly

November 23, 2020

Suggested new names for the Washington Football Team

Recently, the logoless squad formerly known as the Washington Redskins announced it would not have its team get an official new name for a full year or more and might play 2021 as the WFT as well.

(That IS WFT and not WTF, which could also be used for many things surrounding this issue, but we move forward.)

With new ball coach Ron Rivera citing "gut feelings" in benching Dwayne Haskins and replacing him (for now) with Kyle Allen, it looks like WFT is in no game-day hurry, either.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions.

The Washington Hogs. Would honor not only Joe Jacoby and other linemen of the Joe Bugel as line coach era, but would also salute the gut feelings, and hog-sized guts, of the Skins' two most renowned old-time quarterbacks, Sonny Jurgensen and Billy Kilmer .

We could go Washington Gunslingers, in honor of Slingin Sammy Baugh. But that's problematic in another way, as the former Washington Bullets of the NBA know.

Washington Palefaces? Turnabout is fair play, one might say. On the other hand, claiming that American Indians called Europeans "palefaces" actually would perpetuate old stereotypes.

Washington Senators is a possibility, if you want to see if they'll leave town like two baseball teams.

Washington Generals? After all, per the above, the WFT looks to win no more often than the Globetrotters' hapless opponents for decades, right? On the other hand, politicians who support cheap patriotism stunts like airplane flyovers of NFL stadiums would surely take this one the wrong way. And, speaking of politicians, you'd surely have Donald Trump trying to raise some New Jersey Generals patent infringement claim. It would be bogus, but do you want to give him any more oxygen?

Speaking of, you could call them the Washington Trumps, reflecting mutual moral bankruptcy of The Donald and Dan Snyder.

A more serious twist would be the Washington Admirals, which would give a nod to nearby Annapolis. Would be even bigger if you get The Admiral, David Robinson, as a part owner.

November 20, 2020

Drew Springer gets free PR

State Rep. Drew Springer was just re-elected to Texas House District 68, and as is tradition in a banana republic state with a legislature that meets just every other year like here in Tex-ass, Drew, along with other Legiscritters, filed a bunch of bills on the first day of filing, a week after the election.

One paper in his district apparently was so impoverished to run this as its lead story. Not even bylined.

There's one additional problem.

This isn't a normal mid-November for Uncle Drew.

Springer is in a runoff special election for a state senate seat. And, just about every one of the bills he filed was a pander against claims by his opponent, Shelley Luther, that he's not a "real conservative."

In short, he just got himself a shitload of free advertising.

We may finally have the tool we need
for carbon tax plus carbon tariff on climate change

I have long touted that we need regulatory sticks, and not the carrots at best of carbon exchanges, or the toothless Jell-O of Paris Accord agreements.

Mainly, I've said that one of three countries/groups in the world needs to adopt a serious carbon tax PLUS carbon tariff on imports. The WTO allows this; Paul Krugman was saying this at the same time I did.

You have to have a country big enough for the tariff to affect a lot of other countries, of course. That leaves the U.S. and China, and maybe Japan, and the EU as a group, if its individual member states would agree to a bloc-wide policy. Individually, Germany just doesn't have the throw weight, I think, though it might from how interconnected EU trade is. On the other hand, for both better and worse, this might finish shattering the EU.

A bonus of a carbon tariff is that it makes a domestic carbon tax more palatable.

Of course, were the US to go this route, measuring carbon emissions elsewhere, especially with, say, a China that won't admit its own general air pollution problems, would be tough.

Not any more.

Enter Climate TRACE. Per Yale Climate Connections, it allows a much greater degree of tracking carbon emissions than before. I don't know if it's quite granular enough to meet my ideas. That's doubly true if it relies in part on voluntary participation, as the sensor installation part certainly does. But it's still a big leap forward.

November 19, 2020

Coronavirus, week 33: Salvific technologism fails

• Remember how, months ago, smartphone contact tracing apps were touted as having a big role in what was already then, a la the War on Drugs, War on Poverty, etc., being touted as the War on Coronavirus?

Don't hear about them much now, do you? Why not?

Per Time, they have have largely been a #fail, and it explains why.

First, per a graph from the story, they've obviously NOT been a(s much a) fail elsewhere. Ireland has 37 percent adoption, vs. Virginia as the top US state with just over 10 percent. So, why a fail in Merika?

First, blame The Donald.

Second, blame tech companies themselves for the degree to which modern smartphones CAN track people, and paranoia even beyond that. (Note that Ireland's 37 percent, as the top country on the chart, and Germany's 27 percent, means this one isn't just an American issue.)

Third, blame states for not touting the apps more, with or without Trump and a non-response at the federal level.

• The Observer talks about how the virus has hastened the exposure of crumbling holes in the superstructure of Texas health care and, just as much if not more, in the superstructure of what is allegedly public health in Texas. 

• Rice University students have gone low-tech with results. A student community court tries students accused of violating mask and social distance rules.

• The Cut offers a story of a person seeing their grandfather die, and calling out Dan Patrick and his "duty to die," who actually is nothing compared to the editor of First Things, who this spring dove DEEP into the empty pool of Religious Right wingnuttery, Catholic division, claiming that the degree some people were going to save lives was "demonic." No, really. I hadn't realized until reading this JUST how much Conservative Cafeteria Catholics had sold their souls.

• Skeptical Raptor says pump the brakes on Pfizer's potential vaccine. Beyond the "peer review by PR," he of course says lets get some real peer review. And, that -100F (-75C) storage requirement? Rural areas in the US likely out. Tropical areas around the world likely out. 

• That's as Moderna says: "Our PR staff says that our vaccine is just as good as Pfizer's PR staff says its vaccine is." The MSM is idiots about more than politics.

• For the second time in a month, I've called out NYT science writer Carl Zimmer for printing PR. And, again, suggested he needs to read Skeptical Raptor, Orac and the like before writing. It's a sad thing that it's happened twice now, not just once. 

• ProPublica says pump the brakes on rapid antigen tests, held out as the hope for all sorts of things, such as the NBA having fans at games in its new season. Currently, they're riddled with false positives and can be misleading if not used carefully and correctly.

• Costco has eliminated medical exemption claims loopholes. You wanna shop there? Wear a damn mask. Per my boycotts and semi-boycotts, all retailers that offer pickup or delivery service should do this. 

• Chiropractors were HUGE antivaxxers when the polio vaccine came out. Why? IMO, a mix of true belief in the pseudomedicine claims for chiropractic and, per we journos, follow the money.

• Silver lining news, sadly temporary? The city of San Antonio has temporarily let kayakers and canoers use the Riverwalk area of the San Antonio River.

• Gov. Noem continues to death-wish the people of South Dakota even as she and her press secretary flunky claim she's presented the "full scope of the science" to residents. Nope. She lies about masks even as deaths soar.

Mink coronavirus is a thing, but contra Counterpunch (not linking!) seemingly less of a thing than the mag claims.

• The US is now past 250,000 deaths. Will we hit 300,000 before the end of the year? Quite possibly. Zeynef Tufecki is the latest to sound the holidays alarm.

November 18, 2020

Ahh, Ken Paxton, flying the GOP freak flag


So, Kenny Boy Paxton is officially under FBI investigation. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

And, one angle behind the investigation? One related to the whistle-blowing?

Kenny Boy's alleged affair, with his mistress, a state Senate staffer, eventually hired by the very developer Neal Paul who's at the heart of the whistleblowers whom Paxton, most likely illegally, fired in some cases.

On modern Rethuglicans, going beyond "follow the money"? The other watchword is "follow the pants."

And, we're following, Ken.

We know just who you are, Tony La Russa

Tony La Russa was named manager of the White Sox because of ownership favoritism. Turns out, he tried to pull the "don't you know who I am" favoritism when Phoenix-area cops arrested him for DWI last fall. Yeah, Tony, we know just who you are. A drunken MAGA lout.

A lout even when not drunken and before Trump was president, as Ozzie Smith knows, a better player than Royce Clayton but rudely shoved aside instead of getting to go out a winner as a deserving full-time player.

A lout who uses favoritism both ways to get undeserving people elected to the Hall of Fame, as people with brains know about Harold Baines and Jack Morris.

No, we know all too well who you are. A person who treats dogs like people and too many people like dogs. Scott Rolen is another former player of his who can tell you that.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of less than full information out there, as told by the likes of Ben Gosar of Viva El Birdos. (Ben has responded that he didn't mean to relitigate 1996.)

Royce 1996 did NOT have a better year than Ozzie, or even an equal year. Same WAR? Yes. But it took Royce 2x as many at bats. Ozzie had a 0.8 WAA, while Royce was in the hole at -0.1.

Per one of the stories Ben linked:

"I'd play Ozzie until he proves he can't play," said Chuck Tanner, currently a scout with the Milwaukee Brewers who managed four major league clubs, including the White Sox. "He's a Hall of Fame shortstop. There is no indication he can't play--not yet. An if he needs a rest, and he sure isn't going to be able to play every day, then I'd play Clayton."

As for who's telling the truth about Ozzie being promised a shot at still being a starter? I know whose word I'll trust first. (The Trib piece actually has Red Tony using "sincere" and "sincerity.")

As for Tony always doing what was best for the team? Beyond running off Rolen, uhh, being drunk as a manager, which likely led to enabling of bad behavior by some players? NOT best for the team.

As for 1996 and the "end result"? Correlation doesn't mean causation. IF you compare that team to 1995, a lot stands out.

One? Tom Pagnozzi had a MUCH better year and was healthy a full season. Gary Gaetti was a HUGE improvement over Scott Cooper at 3B. Gary Gaetti and Todd Stottlemyre were major pitching upgrades.

I don't get some Cards blogs for their homerism over Yadi, or stuff like that. I really don't get blogs that are one-sided toward Red Tony on this issue.

Is it possible that telling Ozzie he'd have to compete for the job would shake things up? Yes, there Ben is right. But, per the umpiring rule of "tie goes to the runner," Ozzie was at least equal to Royce in spring training, to riff on Chuck Tanner, and ... La Russa lies.

What it really was, IMO, was a lawyer's mindset. Tony the Pony had a pre-established conclusion he was headed toward, and he was carefully framing his "facts in evidence."