SocraticGadfly

July 30, 2021

Contra bookies, I think Westbrook makes the Lakers worse not better

Savvy NBA fans see Russell Westbrook as a stats-full, results-empty kind of player.

Sure, the Thunder went to the NBA Finals early in his career, in his fourth season. But, that's before he became that full-on stats-full guy, chasing the triple doubles to the benefit of his personal bottom line but the detriment of the team's.

So, that's why I am not a fan (from the Lakers POV) of this trade, which sends Lil Russ west in exchange for Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma, plus the Lake Show's first-rounder from last night, with the Wiz sending back two second-rounders down the road.

If the deal goes through, that draft choice is Kentucky one-and-done forward Isaiah Jackson, who may have a decent upside but needs to put some weight on, among other things. (The Wiz then traded THAT to Indy for Aaron Holiday, an interesting move as he's had an up-and-down three years in the Association. Holiday is short at 6-0, but does have some defensive reputation.)

From the Wiz perspective? It gives them more salary flexibility to resign Bradley Beal, as many noted. (For the coming season, the Wiz are now about $9 million lighter on payroll, and Harrell comes off after this year — all other players have two years left.) And, that trio plus Rui Hachimura? That's to build around.

And, it's otherwise brilliant to have, in just over a year, to dumped John Wall's contract for Russ's, and now dumping his.

As for the Lakers?

Is Russ gonna steal boards from Anthony Davis and LeBron James?

Is he gonna shoot 3-balls he shouldn't? AD is arguably better, LeBron definitely. Russ had never been a good 3-baller. He does still bring good D to the floor, that said, and with AD and a still-OK Bron, they're pretty good there.
 
And? Is Russ going to holster his ego playing alongside those two? It's called "chemistry," and that too is now definitely changing with the Lakers. And, that too is probably NOT changing for the better.

One other quick observation: The Wiz are now definitely younger and the Lakers even older. And, they're going to be a better 3-ball team than before, the Wiz that is.

The Wiz surely aren't done. Hachimura and Moritz Wagner are kind of the same guy, only Hachimura's more athletic. I can see, with the new players, the Wiz trying to move him, or others.

As for the Lakers, are they done? Or is what Hoops Rumors says has also had a few legs, a sign-and-trade of Dennis Schroder for Kyle Lowry, still in the works? That, too, runs the risk of making the Lakers older more than anything else. And, I think this eliminates Buddy Hield talk.

July 29, 2021

Texas progressives talk Alamo and more

Not a heavy week on the Roundup, but it's summertime. Relax!

Texas

Chris Tomlinson discusses his co-authored book, "Forget the Alamo," and what he sees as a possible longer-term playout of preservation of Alamo grounds and adjacent areas.

Strangeabbott is lying about border wall donations. Shock me.

The Observer notes that oilfield lighting in the Permian is a growing problem for the folks at McDonald Observatory. It doesn't mention flaring, but the author notes that's because of time limitations on it originally being a radio piece.

Off the Kuff notes a possible Abbott-induced hitch in Republican plans to dominate redistricting.

Stace tells us about Greg Abbott's ploy to charge immigrants with state charges in order to house them in a state prison.

Charles Miller calls for bipartisan conversations about legislative staff salaries, given Austin’s rising cost of living. 

Grits for Breakfast wonders why we're not talking more about the sharp increase in overdose deaths, which has outstripped the increase in murders. 

Emily Eby presents "Marvel Heroes Who'd Lose The Right to Vote Under HB3". 

John Coby reviews the Republican AG candidates' July finance reports.

Pee Bush didn't pee hard enough for Trump, who has endorsed Kenny Boy Paxton.

THE University of Texas

UT paid a consultant to rehab the image around "The Eyes of Texas." Sorry, but with NIL money now on the table, just "rehabbing" probably won't work. Black athletes can tell UT booster to go fuck themselves. And, given what you'll read, they can tell the consultant and UT to fuck themselves, too.

Speaking of NIL money et al? Now GOP House legiscritters have filed a bill to block its move to the SEC. As noted, since there's no quorum AND it's not on Abbott's call, it's purely symbolic. Even if both of these issues were addressed, it's questionable how much power such a bill would have.

National

Swanson Tucker Carlson got his answer from the NSA. He was NOT targeted by them and any unmasking was by third parties. The wingnuts were trying to spin this one hot and heavy when it broke, and their lies by omission were countered.

National-global

SocraticGadfly talks about last week’s leaked Kremlin documents, noting that the leak was almost certainly deliberate and, if anything, further disproves Trump-Putin collusion claims.

July 28, 2021

Georgia Green Party disaccredited; I am more "not a Green"

I posted originally a "just the facts" of the vote followed by some analysis on Independent Political Report. It's got two comments as of yesterday, one from Jonah Thomas, and one anti-Andrea Merida Cuellar one.


Here's some final adieus to the Green Party from (so far) Hugh Esco, Jimmy Cooper and Denice Traina.
 
As I've previously noted, I've gradually grown more and more disenchanted with the GaGP and allies over the past few months. I still agree with parts of their message, mainly parts that I have held on my own since becoming involved with this situation. Other parts of their message, and their background, which were partially or incompletely visible to me in some cases at the start, and in others, not at all, I partially disagree with, or even reject totally. A biggie? If the Lavender Caucus et al conflate "transsexual" and "transgender," then many GaGP and allies erase "transsexual" as part of rejecting "transgender."
 
This is probably connected to gender critical radical feminism. As I said months back, I see things to like in both it and critical race theory, both of which I've actually done some reading in, though more the latter. But, I see things to dislike, too. 

Then, when many of these thought leaders saw the handwriting on the wall, they shifted to an explicitly GCRF angle and asked others to sign on. I said no way and explained why.

Finally, I offered my Solomonic angle: Expel both the Georgia Green Party AND the Lavender Caucus (and allies of both). Of course, that's never happening, and since I'm no longer a Green, it's little skin off my back.

The Green Party was crumbling already in 2016, per Mark Lause. Howie Hawkins' suck-up to Xi Jinping in 2020 was the last straw and I wouldn't vote for him. (I wish that, as a "marker" if nothing else, I had voted Mimi Soltysik of the SPUSA in 2016.)

The party has crumbled more now, tolerating threats of violence by the likes of Mike Gamms and allies against GCRFs. These people are despicable.

But, there's no way I would ally with an alt-Green party that contained the expellees. Besides the erasure of transsexuals, there's intellectual dishonesty, ignorance or both galore. Claiming the GP bylaws require this decision to have been made at a national convention is simply untrue. Hugh Esco's apparent claim of approval of the Women's Declaration of Sex-Based Rights shows lack of openness to his state party. (And, that's an issue he never tried to dispute with the Accreditation Committee or National Committee.) Per what Lause once said about Bob Fitrakis and Ohio Greens, I get the feeling that Georgia was also a paper party, or close to it. 

Also, per the farewell link, that's just a sampling of conspiracy thinking involved here. Much of the conspiracy thinking even goes beyond the issues at hand.

At the same time, while I think much of the "purge" talk is conspiracy thinking, Greens like William Nogueras are determined to prove me wrong.

So, what am I? I don't know. I've heard the SPUSA is struggling over this same issue. (David Keil is connected to it as well as is [was] to the GP.) Plus, Hawkins was its nominee, as well as Greens', in 2020. (I've called more than once for the SPUSA not to select its candidate a year in advance.)

Right now, I am what I say at the top of this blog: An independent leftist. Movement for a People's Party is amorphous, may be nothing further left than DSA roseys, and already has definite teething troubles. I'm not a Marxist or Communist, whether originalist-textualist Leninist, Trot, Tankie, or Maoist. That I know for sure. 

And, I'm definitely not an Adolph Reed Marxist who votes Dem. Blech.

At the national level, I'll view politics as, more and more, being entertainment, then heartbreak.

As for the core issue? I'll continue to maintain the actually science-informed point of view, versus the wrongs of both the GaGP and the LC et al, that I held before getting involved with this issue.

==

Update: While "TERF" is a technically accurate alternative description, it can be a pejorative. Besides, it's a #twosiderism framing issue, as I note on Twitter, as part of a thread written in response to David B. Collins' recent post:
Per Wittgenstein and people yet more modern, it's a linguistic "game" issue.  And, I am not playing on either of the two sides who aren't the only two.


Collins is also misinformed, or more, uninformed, otherwise. Not all supporters of the GaGP, even ones more willing to accept their alliances, are gender-critical radical feminists.

Collins also doesn't mention calls for/threats of violence by the likes of Mike Gamms, and the GPUS and LC's failure to disavow them.

July 27, 2021

Jeff Kloha, Hobby Lobby, #BlueAnon, Gilgamesh

Trust me. As normal with a post like this, I'll tie all threads together.

I blogged a little over a ago about the breaking of the Dead Sea Scrolls scandal at Hobby Lobby-owned The Museum of the Bible, and how the man dealing with the fallout is old seminary classmate Jeff Kloha, who now prefers the full Jeffrey. I then added to that an initial follow-up post a couple of months later about the first specifics of the Augean stables clean-up he faced.

The Department of Justice got a court ruling today that Hobby Lobby must forfeit the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, which means that it sounds like Jeff Kloha has more Cleanup on Aisle 6 to do. Right?

The details? The tablet was shipped to the US in 2003 by Jordanian Antiquities Association, without proper paperwork but with the claim it was found in miscellaneous rubble in 1981. In reality, like much other stuff the Green family got its mitts on, it was looted from Iraq. There is no honor among thieves, and we'll see how much remorse there is.

But, not so fast. There's also politics involved.

Some of this on the political side is a #BlueAnon dogpile on the Green family. Hobby Lobby surrendered the tablet a nearly a year ago, after federal authorities ruled to that end a full year ago. Let's ALSO note that Hobby Lobby supports its return to Iraq. That may not be "remorse," but it's an acceptance of reality. The actual court ruling is more icing on the cake than anything, though it gives the feds leverage if there's anything Hobby Lobby tries to keep its hands on.

In fact, it's arguable that Christie's (yes, THAT Christie's) is at least as big a villain as Hobby Lobby.
Christie's, the international auction house from which Hobby Lobby bought the item, previously told CNN that "any suggestion that Christie's had knowledge of the original fraud or illegal importation is unsubstantiated."
Christie's can use the weasel word "unsubstantiated" all it wants. And, yes, "weasel word" it is.
 
The second-biggest villain overall, not so much with Gilgamesh but with the Dead Sea Scrolls mentioned in my first link? As I said there and in the second link, the "specific effects"? It's pop biblical culture magazine Biblical Archaeology Review. Herschel Shanks has long turned a semi-blind eye to advertisers who might be peddling stuff like this behind more legit stuff. And, with stories accepting as factual the forged James ossuary, he's added fuel to the fire on more than one occasion.

Re Hobby Lobby, Christie's and looted Iraq, there may be plenty of people who aren't hard-right conservative Christians who willingly bought larger or smaller sums of ill-gotten booty pilfered from Iraq, and some of it may have sifted through Christie's hands.

Related to that? I want to hear NOTHING from American do-gooders claiming we should hold on to it because ISIS will just destroy it. First, that would be yet another form of thievery. Second, that's why much of the rest of the world hates American do-gooders. Third, destruction of antiquities has been happening since the rise of civilization. Fourth, Christians have done this in hte past. The Iconoclastic Controversy. Worshipers, led by ex-priest pastors such as Karlstadt, shattering stained glass in the early Reformation. Some "Mark of the Beast" types (generally ignorant) destroying things related to that alleged mark today.

So, the idea, from one apparent BlueAnon do-gooder on Twitter, that it would have been better had it been stolen on the QT, is laughable.

No, really! The "HL" in his Tweet, part of a thread from a now-muted person, goes exactly down that rabbit hole. 
Besides, quis custodiet ipsos custodes? That's true on everything from antiquities to importing exotic plants and animals to a new country or continent. I tweeted back to the guy exactly on that line:
There may eventually be a blank space there. Twitter, in its usual literalism, said that last sentence was encouraging suicide or self-harm and forced me to delete it. I of course screenshotted it first.



And yes, IMO, that's what it boils down to. I thought of Juvenal's maxim shortly after that. And, see what I said above about Christie's. They may have sold Iraq antiquities to other buyers who made exactly that argument. Or, Christie's senior staff, with their attempt at plausible deniability, may have internally made that argument themselves, that selling these items got them out of Iraq.

No, per the Wiki link, the phrase doesn't come from Plato's "Republic," though the idea behind it is raised indirectly. Plato's answer on how to guard them? The heart of the fascism behind the "Republic" — mind control through the Platonic Noble Lie. No thanks, as I've said about St. Anthony of Fauci, on masks and herd immunity. I don't even consider his "gain of function" a Platonic noble lie. More like a Jesuitical one, or just a plain old grubby one.

To put it another way, also in terms of philosophy, and again, basic Ethics 101? "Two wrongs don't make a right."

To put it yet one more way, in terms of geopolitical issues? Mr. Davis has a mindset of neoliberal colonialism. That's what "American do-gooderism" taken abroad is. "Ugly American" stuff, normally.

And, per other people thinking "why can't it just stay here," whether out of ignorance of the law or neoliberal colonialism? The law says it goes back to where it's stolen from. Oh, and on Twitter, if you don't know the law on something like this, per the old maxim, it's better not to Tweet and remain silent rather than Tweet and remove all doubt of your ignorance.

As for the value of Gilgamesh? It's at least partly behind the tales of Moses' birth and similar birth stories around the ancient Near East, as well as some documents from Qumran (which tie back to Hobby Lobby's larceniousness as well as to why Kloha was hired) and to the Iliad and Odyssey. Arguably, it's connected indirectly to just about any later epic tale in the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean.

Does NFL great Richard Sherman have the onset of CTE? Or was it the booze talking? (updated and expanded)

I could have sworn that the original linked to Sherman as well as anybody else. Sometimes, it seems, that when you've done the name links already, then you post a player photo, by URL, right next to the link, it deletes the player's link. 

So, not meaning to look like a troll, but, this is being reposted for that reason. And, with updates. (And, according to Pro Football Reference, the original DID have the link as well.) But, I still like the update.

Richard Sherman, former All-Pro corner for the Seahawks at peak Legion of Boom, then on to the 49ers and now looking to maybe come back to Seattle, was recently arrested for DWI and domestic abuse. He has pled not guilty.

At Ken Silverstein's Washington Babylon, Jon Jeter speculates his actions are signs of the onset of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, something affecting ever-more retired NFL players who suffered repeated concussions, and some just-retired players, even.

He notes Vincent Jackson and Phillip Adams, rough peers of Sherman's, committed suicide earlier this year. He also cites Aaron Hernandez, Junior Seau and Dave Duerson as other examples of relatively young players with CTE.

To me? It is "interesting and possible." I would certainly like to see a brain scan, if Sherman's had one.

On the other hand, whether as a one-time or short-term reaction to a  marriage going bad and child custody issues, or a longer-term problem, maybe it's just that Sherman was drunk off his ass. If it's a shorter-term issue, getting past the divorce may help. If not? Maybe he needs help in quitting alcohol. 

I mean, Ken Stabler and other players had booze problems (as well as drugs) while playing. Brett Favre probably washed down his Vicodin with a shot or four. And, let's not even start with Joe Namath. Though not violent, other symptoms of his drunkenness could certainly be seen as similar to CTE. And, looking into the NFL's long-ago past and minority players, from the pre-helmet era? Today, we might say Jim Thorpe had CTE. Or, we might say he was an alcoholic drinker. (Or, we might say he was both and the issue is somewhat chicken and egg.)

And, baseball? Maybe Mickey Mantle wasn't that kind of drunk, but Billy Martin was. Somebody in the days before batting helmets could have argued that one too many beanballs had their effect. Or, on the mound side, look at the antics of Rube Waddell. Or, even more modern, and wearing a batting helmet all the time, how much did booze add to the effect of speedballs on Ken Caminiti, who also eventually committed suicide? Lastly, with the old-timers, don't forget Jim Thorpe may have taken a beanball or two as well as a head-on tackle or two.

After all, pro athletes are as bad as society in general in still not wanting to admit how booze can be, in many ways, the world's most dangerous drug (with possible exception of nicotine). 

I've just scratched the surface, as an article like this shows. Combine booze with roids (I'm not saying Sherman does that, but I'm not saying he doesn't), and you have a potential for going full OC.

And, taint NOTHING new. Some historians theorize that Viking berzerker warriors used a mix of booze and magic mushrooms.

That said, whether Jeter is right or wrong, the whole piece is worth a read.

He comments on other sports issues, including noting Scottie Pippen was right in insinuating Phil Jackson a racist, complete with the goods on Phil, for example. (That still doesn't mean that Pippen wasn't generally full of crap last month, from being butt-hurt about  Michael Jordan to being wrong about Toni Kukoc taking that shot.)

On the larger issue of racism on pro sports? I have no doubt it's still there. At the same time, I also don't doubt that it's getting better.

And, on the larger issue of denialism of alcohol problems, both inside and outside of pro sports? I have no doubt it's still there. And, I don't know that it's necessarily getting better. And, I'm not just talking players. Boorish fan behavior in the past few months is surely fueled in large part by booze.

Does NFL great Richard Sherman have the onset of CTE?

Richard Sherman, former All-Pro corner for the Seahawks at peak Legion of Boom, then on to the 49ers and now looking to maybe come back to Seattle, was recently arrested for DWI and domestic abuse. He has pled not guilty.

At Ken Silverstein's Washington Babylon, Jon Jeter speculates his actions are signs of the onset of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, something affecting ever-more retired NFL players who suffered repeated concussions, and some just-retired players, even.

He notes Vincent Jackson and Phillip Adams, rough peers of Sherman's, committed suicide earlier this year. He also cites Aaron Hernandez, Junior Seau and Dave Duerson as other examples of relatively young players with CTE.

To me? It is "interesting and possible." I would certainly like to see a brain scan, if Sherman's had one.

On the other hand, whether as a one-time or short-term reaction to a  marriage going bad and child custody issues, or a longer-term problem, maybe it's just that Sherman was drunk off his ass. If it's a shorter-term issue, getting past the divorce may help. If not? Maybe he needs help in quitting alcohol. 

After all, pro athletes are as bad as society in general in still not wanting to admit how booze can be, in many ways, the world's most dangerous drug (with possible exception of nicotine).

I'll also confess that I'm not a fan of Marxian analysis in general, as my piece yesterday on Richard Wolff is the latest example of.

That said, whether Jeter is right or wrong, the whole piece is worth a read.

He comments on other sports issues, including noting Scottie Pippen was right in insinuating Phil Jackson a racist, complete with the goods on Phil, for example. (That still doesn't mean that Pippen wasn't generally full of crap last month, from being butt-hurt about  Michael Jordan to being wrong about Toni Kukoc taking that shot.)

On the larger issue of racism on pro sports? I have no doubt it's still there. At the same time, I also don't doubt that it's getting better.