June 09, 2023

Top blogging of May

Not the norm, but all of the most read of my blogging during May was in fact from May.

No. 1 was from last month, like all of it, and what Blue Anon warmongers and NAFO fellas still hate to here. Per world-renowned economist James K. Galbraith, sanctions not only haven't crushed Russia, its economy has gotten stronger in some ways.

No. 2? One of May's Texas Progressives Roundups, about Bryan Slaton, guns and other Texas Lege nuttery.

No. 3 and related? How Slaton is a symptom of an ongoing refusal by the Southern Baptist Convention to address a sex abuse scandal within the denomination.

No. 4? My thoughts on Canada's new social media law as a guide to Section 230 reforms here in the US.

No. 5? Gaslighting in the Southwest, or how the new temporary Colorado River deal is not all that.

No. 6 was non-political, but about racism and datedness in classic comedy. (Classic running up through the time of my beloved M*A*S*H. Mel Brooks is a prime offender.)

No. 7? I called out People's CDC types and fellow travelers like Pat the Berner for framing a non-factual image of current COVID issues to attack Biden.  (The curve has flattened even more since then, with less than 110 COVID deaths last week.)

No. 8? Given a semi-sneering comment on Twitter by a blue-check Blue Anon, and tied in with recent book reading, I couldn't help but blog on the political football of the all-volunteer army vs a return of the draft.

No. 9? Refuting the letter of one historian, and even more, refuting the spirit of two others engaged in PR, as to the origins of Memorial Day.

No. 10? Looking at the gun control inaction of the Texas Lege in a season of mass murder capped by the Allen Premium Outlets shooting.

June 08, 2023

Joe Biden's fighting antisemitism, but it is ONLY antisemitism?

As in, will anti-Zionism also be in his crosshairs?

Via this piece at The Conversation (put by Kuff in his weekend link dump), I found linked "The US National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism," straight from the White House.

Those of us who support BDS and know the lies (sic) that the most ardent Zionists can peddle (witness Roger Waters right now and Jeremy Corbin before him) that antisemitism can be weaponized against anti-Zionism. And, given that Warmonger Joe himself is anti-BDS, I don't doubt that, whether accidentally or deliberately, there's a good chance of such happening.

Let's start with this:

The U.S. Government, led by the Department of State,will continue to combat antisemitism abroad and in international fora—including efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel. As we confront antisemitism, we do so

Given that the government of Israel, and Zionist allies in the US, consider any mention of BDS to be "delegitimizing" Israel's right to exist, I think there's good reason to be concerned.

Fortunately, Joe Pa didn't dive totally in the deep end. Mondoweiss notes that (for now?) Biden resisted a push to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. On the other hand, the piece notes that the White House has expressed support for it before, and while other definitions of antisemitism were also references, the IHRA one was called "most prominent." That said, Mondoweiss said it will keep an eye on the White House on actual implementation. So will I, especially as an election nears.

And, I will give the doc a kudo, as it calls for many federal agencies to educate not only against antisemitism, but also "Islamophobia and related forms of discrimination."

June 07, 2023

The cautionary tale of Jacob deGrom

Yes, his need for a second arm surgery is also sad, but as I see it, just for him but even more, beyond him, it's cautionary more than sad, whether he needs a full second Tommy John or escapes with "just" a Brock Purdy type surgery.

Taking together several Reddit comments I've made, let's dive in.

First, how do we know the uptick in arm injuries is horrendous or whatever? Related, what's a person's time frame for horrendous uptick? It is last decade? Last 20 years? Last 30? 

Is part of the thinking the old "availability bias"? I mean, in pre-modern, as in, pre-integration times, whether live ball, semi live of the 1910s or fully dead, pitchers had serious arm injuries all the time. Some tried to pitch through it and failed. A few succeeded. More took a year or year-plus off for rest, then came back. A few succeeded halfway well or better, a few succeeded less well, and a few totally failed. A few, whether it worked or not, may have tried Pud Galvin's goat testimacles. A few just retired because, no matter how much they liked baseball, it just didn't pay that much.

And, in all of the above, because it didn't pay that much, contracts weren't guaranteed, and there were plenty of clamoring replacements, owners didn't shell out money trying to fix players. I'm not saying that this is all explained away by availability bias; I am saying that we should think more about things like that, though.

Second? I blame analytics as part of the problem. Pitchers have been taught, in response to the three true outcomes of batting, to increase spin on their pitches as a main tool back. This gets talked about all the time. Baseball beat writers and analysts, especially at the national level, compare different pitchers' spin rates. And, because today's baseball IS all about the Benjamins, pitchers spin, spin, spin. And, the only way you get more spin, assuming everybody's using the same grip for different types of fastballs, etc., is by snapping some part of your arm harder.

One Redditor talked about how today's pitchers can't do like Warren Spahn did, to mention an example. Well, whether a freak of nature, freak of training or bit of both, Nolan Ryan never had major arm problems. Nor did others of the same general era and same general velocity, like Tom Seaver and Bob Gibson. 

Given the plunging batting averages of the last decade or so, maybe it wasn't that pitchers were trying to be like Warren Spahn, or the above trio, but that they were trying to be better. A literal arms race, pun intended. And, kind of like the old USSR vs US on missiles, for many pitchers, it threatened to be MAD indeed — mutually assured destruction.

With this, all the precautionary habits adopted in recent years not only in Little League but at the high school level, like pitch counts, do no good if the pitching is more violent the higher up the ladder you go, as in minor leagues, college, both then majors. And, yes, violent, to keep with the military metaphor. For that matter, how much do pitch counts in high school, even without the "violence" at higher levels, preserve pitcher arms? (I know coaches hate them, and I recently saw a scoreless tie in a high school playoff game become untied after one of the two starters hit his pitch limit.)

Third? There's probably related factors. Another Redditor mentioned that this motion is not natural. Kind of sort of. Our Mesolithic, even Paleolithic, ancestors were throwing spears. They just weren't trying to "snap them off" like cut fastballs.

So, maybe more pitching coaches need to train more pitchers on more off-speed pitches. I don't know if a Jamie Moyer or Bartolo Colon would make it today, but maybe they would. If you have three different off-speed pitches with different movement, and 10mph different speed between the fastest and slowest, and add a decent fastball that's 5mph faster than the fastest offspeed and has some motion, you can probably get by. I mean, going beyond the above duo, Greg Maddux wasn't that fast. He wasn't slow, but he wasn't THAT fast. He also spotted his pitches well.

Third, part two? To the degree that throwing overhand may be less than fully natural, working on pitching mechanics may help. That can include dropping one's arm slot to three-quarters. Or five-eights. Or sidearm. Or submarine. Dan Quisenberry and Kent Tekulve made careers out of that in the bullpen. Eddie Feigner, the "King" of "The King and His Court," made a career out of it, too. And, back in its dark ages, everybody in MLB pitched underhand.

Larger mechanics? Walter Johnson never had major arm problems despite his speed.  Yes, a different era, but still. If you've seen the old clips of him, he pitched with his butt and his back as much as his arm. And sidearmed.

In short, to the degree the rise in pitchers' arm injuries is real, this issue has multiple causes, of which the above are part but not all, and the solution, or partial solution, will also have multiple angles.

Finally, because it is 2023 and not Walter Johnson's GOAT year of 1913?

There are $$$ to talk about.

If deGrom wants to keep pitching without changing his approach, that's on him.

If the stRangers want to sign him to a five-year contract without discussing that with him, and without working with him with their pitching coaching, that's on them.

If whoever insures the stRangers player contracts want to cut a check to do that without batting an eyelash, that's on them. (Update: Via The Ringer [no paywall], per Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic, the contract is NOT insured.)

If fans want to pay more for game tix, RSN subscription or whatever with all of that? That's on them.


Sidebar: Without this injury, would he be a probable HOFer? Despite that Ringer piece gushing over his FIP, etc. I think not. Looking at his stats on BRef, everything since 2018 is "small sample size" on number of innings pitched. Given his nagging injury history after the first TJ, even, it's doubtful he would have hit another 20 WAR for 60.

Texas Progressives on the debt deal and more

If you'r a BlueAnon Dem and you think Warmonger Joe "won" the debt standoff, per Jeff St. Clair of Counterpunch at last Friday's Roaming Charges, I reject your ethics even more than your analysis.

Dan Patrick, by his refusal to use a pen, is possibly deliberately blocking an upgrade to the Texas Public Information Act. Update: ProPublica/The Trib apparently shamed him into action. The reason Danny Goeb says at the second link that he originally held it up? Butt-hurt over Dade "Dade" Phelan.

More youth prisons! Another "gift" from the Lege, along with moving more juveniles into adult prison.

Foster care privatization — gee, what could go wrong with that?

Abbott can theoretically call all the special sessions he wants. Still doesn't mean something like school voucher expansion will be passed. Tricky Ricky Perry got stuffed a number of years ago when he did this. What's sadder is pro-vouchers Lege leaders holding a teacher pay raise hostage. At that link, anti-voucher House Republicans bluntly told Abbott to "come and take it."

TxDOT (by NO means unique on this among state highway and transportation departments) can't give up its addiction to widening freeways. I-10 in El Paso is now in its crosshairs.

Mike Morath and his team are already off to a rocky start within Houston ISD, the Observer reports.

Fighting climate change? Really? Gelato is part of the battle against climate change? Reuters reports there's a lot of grifting out there.

I knew most of the story of Snopes as reported in Fast Company before, via David Sterling Jones' linked piece. Missing? The politicization of Snopes IS real, and is not "leftist," but Blue Anon Democrat, a large part of why I deblogrolled it. And, given that its current owners also own Salon, I'm not holding by breath over it reversing David Mikkelson's sometimes ventures into politics, not fact-checking.

Off the Kuff games out the best political outcome of the Paxton impeachment saga. 

SocraticGadfly talks about the origins of Memorial Day

The Dallas Observer notes the five craziest moments involving North Texas legislators this session.  

Kimberly Vered Shashoua says that trans teens in Texas deserve so much better. 

The Current reports on a grassroots effort to amend San Antonio's strict ordinances that regulate exotic dancers. 

The Texas Living Waters Project names some winners and losers from the past legislative session. 

The Fort Worth Report profiles small business owner Carlie Alaniz after she was discriminated against by a local homophobic crafts fair.

June 06, 2023

Is PRO Gainesville in more trouble? Update: Probably not

The Gainesville, Texas based group was convicted of a Misdemeanor B offense a year ago for violating the legal limitations of their parade permit on their last protest against the Confederate statue on the Cooke County Courthouse lawn. Per that link, even though I agree with their cause, the arrest was good and the conviction (after their legal beagle, Allison Grinter, was dumb or stubborn enough to refuse a plea bargain, or her clients were), was legit.

Now, the Cooke County Sheriff's Office is looking for three subjects alleged to have vandalized that statue. Or, they were looking. As of late last night, an update at that link says all three have been identified. Names and charges have not been listed.

Update: Only one of the three (and that old FB link is dead, thanks Sheriff Ray Sappington) is alleged to be an actual vandal. Her name is Rebecca Kadlecik, from Pennsylvania, visiting local relatives. Sappington said the repair cost more than $500, but did NOT say it cost more than $750. So, a Class B misdemeanor. Just like PRO Gainesville faced! Will she come back on a warrant? Will the other two face any charges at all?

I've long said that I agree with their ideas but that they WERE lawbreakers. The ACLU's own guidance pamphlet for what one can and cannot do in terms of protest on a parade permit, linked in the first link and also here, ALSO says so, which is why the ACLU of Texas and ACLU national are hypocrites for engaging in fundraising for the group's appeal.

And, I don't know how serious the damage is, but if you're dumb enough to do this in broad daylight at 4:23 p.m., you're dumb enough to deserve being swiftly arrested. Per the update, if you were possibly egged on by others, and from out of town, you're dumber yet.

That said, I don't know if the people allegedly involved have any official connection, if you will, to PRO Gainesville or not.

That said, per the photo below from the Gainesville Independent School District, the guy in the center looks like faux PRO Gainesville dude Tucker Craft. He's pictured at left. Is it him? The center suspect is the right height. Similar glasses. Ears seem similar. (I couldn't get Blogger to properly embed the CCSO Facebook photo, so I'm enlarging on FB.) This person is a good dozen pounds heavier, though. If so, is he not "faux"? Or is this a false flag? This is opinion, and thus First Amendment protected.

Cornel West running as a third-party candidate? Yay, then not yay (and maybe yay again?)

I was at first pleasantly surprised when I saw the news that Cornel West had thrown his hat in the ring as a third-party presidential candidate. I knew he wouldn't be a Libertarian.

I assumed he was running as a Green.

And, assumed wrong.

He's running for the nomination of the People's Party.


Update, June 8: But, maybe both? Via Ballot Access News, toward the end of an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, he talks about his "love" for the GP and hopes for a "coming together." Not sure what that means. Jesse Ventura sort of wanted the GP nom in 2020 but didn't want to have to do anything for it. Let's look at the whole thing:

I mean, I have a great love for my Green Party brothers and sisters. I’ve worked twice with them, and so I have nothing against their third-party operations. It would be nice if we had even a coming together, but that’s something that is for a different show.

OK, from there, West talks about why the MPP (which ties in with what I have in the link below about the previous convention).

But in terms of the history of the People’s Party, you know, I was there at the founding. There’s no doubt about that. And I’ve been a kind of honorary member of the board, even though I haven’t participated.

And, from there, admits its problems ... problems mostly associated with Nick Brana.

I haven’t followed all of the insides and outsides of what has happened. It strikes me that there’s been some very bad and ugly moments. There’s no doubt about that. But I don’t want to adjudicate as to who actually is guilty or who’s actually innocent, because I just don’t know. But there has to be accountability, and especially when it comes to sexual harassment in terms of sisters of any color. Those are very, very important issues to wrestle with and very serious charges in that regard.

So, why? A mix of vanity and "ownership"?

And, this part, getting back to his "why MPP"?

And the People’s Party, in its inception and in its vision, is a populist one, so you’ve got a number of different voices.

Uhh, various socialist orgs say that's not so true, at least not in terms of a workers' populist party. Add in that Trump is presented as a populist, and the word doesn't mean so much.

From there, West, interestingly, goes back to People's Party problems, not the Brana problems, but notes that it's "heterogenous" and "loose."


As I said on Twitter, minus the link to the announcement story, and edited because I don't have character limits here?

Seriously. If half the Green Party is AccommoGreens, 90% of the People's Party is butthurt Berners led around by the nose by grifter Nick Brana.

Plus, the People's Party, as of this point, has almost zero ballot access. And, given its problems, or rather, Nick Brana's problems, I would not sign a petition for it to get on the ballot here in Tex-ass. And, as I blogged 16 months ago, speaking of said problems, it included the PP being overrun by antivaxxers (who have been supported in the GP by the noxious 2022 Texas gubernatorial candidate Delilah Barrios).

In addition, it appears to have a non-functional website. Below is a screengrab from its FAQ page from Tuesday, June 6. I was headed there to check on whether it had ballot access beyond the two or three states I knew of. (I actually saw two on Wiki; somebody on Twitter said three.) Anyway:

Helluva a way to run a railroad!

That said, remembering what I'd blogged before about a previous People's Party convention, I shouldn't be surprised West is choosing this route. And, per that link, Brana has been a political grifter for some time. Also per that link, I thought West's explanations about voting for Dear Leader were either disingenuous or else a display of true cluelessness.

Someone on Twitter expressed their sadness at West running with an anti-Black political movement. I'm not sure if Brana's touched that note or not, but if so, it wouldn't surprise me. And, that said? Given his history with the People's Party, and per the paragraph above, that he's really not that much of a leftist, this doesn't surprise me.

Interestingness? Benjamin Dixon pretty openly sheepdogging when he said he loved brother Cornel's vision but envisioned Ron DeSatan's first 100 days in office. Given that the People's Party will almost certainly get ballot-qualified in less than half the states in the nation, that's some pretty sad fear level.