November 30, 2013

Dear generic freelance columnists: Please go away

A lot of freelance in today's brave new post-Internet media world are complaining about other people asking them to write for free, promising them the magic coin of "exposure" at some website, publication arm, or whatever, allegedly more high-profile than what they do now. This even happened, infamously, when a Scientific American blogger (already a pretty high profile there) was asked to write for free by a staffer at a mid-level (I think, certainly no higher than that) science journal, then called her an "urban whore" when she said no, along with SciAm totally bungling its response to that, in part because of pulling down a previous blog post about sexual harassment claims, then, a week after this, its blogging editor resigning over harassment-related concerns.

There's plenty of other cases, and I agree with telling freelancers, "Don't sell your soul for 'exposure,' no matter how honey-dripping sweet the sales pitch is."

And, I know the Internet has exacerbated writer's pay problems.

But, there's a flip side to being asked to write for free.

It's asking to be paid for writing that ... just ain't worth it!

For example, per my header?

I got three emails in a week from a would-be freelance columnist, writing generic "lifestyle" columns, asking for $15 a week.

Let's say, out of the 350-plus small community daily plus community non-daily papers in Texas, this person gets 25 to sign up. Let's say in the neighboring states plus Kansas and Missouri, she gets 15 more.

Forty papers at $15 a week? That's $600 a week, or $30,000 a year, for spending 3 hours a week, if that (not counting time you spent on the initial bombardment of unsolicited emails), on a generic lifestyles column that you won't tailor to old, white readership at old, rural, small town papers, nor to suburbanites at suburban newspapers, nor to minorities at some minority-heavy small towns and suburbs.

So, go away, please go away, and stop emailing newspapers asking to run content that's not relevant and not needed.

If you want your name in print, or the online equivalent, it's called a "blog." Blogger and Wordpress will set you up for free. If you want to try to make money, sign yourself up for Google Ads at Blogger, or whatever equivalent Wordpress has. If you're in it for money, and you're that egotistical about what you think you're worth, set up a PayPal tip jar.

And have fun counting your pennies.

None of this is meant to be sarcastic or rude, though if it's blunt, I'm fine with that.

First, in case you haven't read the news, the modern newspaper is not some money-making machine. As more of us inside the business get laid off, face stagnant salaries or whatever, we're not in the mood to slit our own throats by handing out some of our money to a non-local person writing a generic column. Period. End of story.

Second, to the degree we have space in the paper, if we haven't had to tighten up page counts, and the degree we have time, we the editors and publishers sometimes like writing those lifestyles or feel-good columns ourselves, addressing our local readers as their local newspaper leaders.

Third, I suspect that many of you know exactly how much you stand to make if you can get just a relatively few sucker newspapers to buy. This isn't like the purely local columnist who might want a free subscription to the paper for a year in exchange for writing for us or something.

So, again, please go away. And, please learn a bit more about the modern community newspaper business.

November 29, 2013

Big newspapers: Why they continue to struggle

This is going to be an updated roundup of individual posts I've done about the industry. Kind of a tabulator, for those interested in this issue in general.

Let me note a few things at the start.

1. I've worked in newspapers a number of years. I have worked at one seven-day daily, albeit not a huge one, so I have some experience on that side of the coin as well as my primary experience at smaller "community" newspapers.

2. As part of that experience, I've worked at two major chains: MediaNews and Freedom.

3. I'm not a Gnu Media guru. In many ways, I agree with the stronger critics of Gnu Media gurus, critics like Nicholas Carr and Yevgeny Morozov, especially on the issue of paywalls. They and others rightly note that Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky have spent their entire careers in academia, at public, taxpayer-funded institutions. That doesn't automatically disqualify them from talking about this issue from an anti-paywall stance, but it is a background consideration. Jeff Jarvis and Mathew Ingram, two other people who have had an anti-paywall history of some sort, both have backgrounds in actual newspaper work, so that's different.

3A. I believe that most such gurus, as I've blogged more than once, have misinterpreted Stewart Brand's "Information wants to be free" quote, primarily by ignoring his "Information wants to be pricey statement" in the very next statement of the speech he originally gave about this.

4. In the case of major dailies, I believe the likes of Jeff Bezos are right. Within 20 years, they probably should be looking at being digital only.

That said, here's that roundup.

1. In this blog post, with multiple themes, I start with the analogy of hardcopy newspapers and SUVs. From there, I go to how, from misplaced nostalgia to hypocrisy, the National Newspaper Association illustrates several other problems with big newspapers, and smaller ones, too, perhaps.

2. For the anti-paywallers who cite the Dallas Morning News or San Francisco Chronicle as to why they're right, I show this shows how they're wrong. 

And, if my word isn't enough?

People should read this piece by Jack Shafer. Shafer gives a good smackdown to the NYT's "Premier" premium website in specific, and to the concept of "premium" newspaper websites in general. Folks in Dallas, Boston, and San Fran, who think they can "sell" a premium website while keeping a totally free, totally unpaywalled basic one, should take note. But almost surely won't.  

3. An anti-paywaller can, it seems, grudgingly support the idea, but dodge the actual word like the plague.

4. I do agree with Gnu Media folks on critiquing reporting problems of the mainstream media when they happen. Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air is the latest example

5. If Bezos is right on going digital-only, newspapers will have to ramp up their game on digital ad sales. 

6. They're also going to have to figure out how to better deal with the "star power" issue, as the recent moves of David Pogue and Nate Silver away from the New York Times illustrate. I suggest micropayments being integrated into paywalls as at least part of the answer, whether at old media, news aggregators finally considering paywalls, or new media. That said, legacy media should not get into bidding wars to keep "stars," especially not with new media sites that continue to piss away money.

7. Beyond that, they (and smaller newspapers, acting like bloodsucking remoras at times), suffer from other dying industry problems. Stagnant pay. Re-advertising job openings because they know they can. Blind-box advertising for job openings. (Other industries may do the second and third at times, but not to the same degree, I don't think; ditto on blind box ads.) Related things like REALLY stretching jobs to the breaking point. For example, in November, I saw an ad for a news editor position. ONE news editor to run the wire and pagination for BOTH a seven-day AND a six-day daily. Yet, right. (And, it's by a company that, in another of its subdivisions, has a kind of bad reputation anyway.)

November 27, 2013

Obamacare snafus have Senate Democrats worried (updated)

This is a no-surprise story, but, it's one that, unless Dear Leader gets off the pot on the federal exchange fixes, will only pick up traction in weeks ahead.

Here's the bottom line. The success of state insurance exchanges doesn't matter. Obama's naivete, or passiveness, or whatever, over how much extra lifting would have to be done on the federal exchange because of how many states that would refuse to set up state exchanges, doesn't matter.

The bottom line, put impolitely, is this. Senate Democrats want the damn thing fixed:
"There's only so much muddying up you can do on an issue as important as this," said Tom Bowen, former political adviser to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "People elected politicians who disagree with them as long as they know where they stand. You have to have some flexibility, but trying to sort of shade who you are—that doesn't inspire a lot of confidence."
That part of the quote after the "said" is also important. Beyond fixing the federal exchange website, too many workarounds, like telling people to go directly to private insurers, further muddies the waters. Reportedly, Obama is considering letting people do just that. I think that's idiotic.

Is the concern serious? Well, National Journal says it is:
Indeed, there's a growing sense of fatalism among Democrats. Even as strategists are advising their clients on how to best talk about health care, they badly want to change the subject and hope that the problems go away. On that point, the White House and congressional Democrats are on the same page.

"If the election were held today, Republicans would probably win back the majority," said one longtime Democratic operative tracking internal Senate polling. "But we know for sure the election would not be held today."
First, a sidebar. I've heard people claim National Journal is a right-wing website. Not even close. It's a bipartisan, inside-the-Beltway magazine, a long-form Politico with more brains. Go ahead and believe stuff like that if you want. Believe that the federal exchange website has been the target of politically driven DDoS attacks, while you're at it.

And, then, if Senate Dems' worst fears come true, blame nobody but yourself for a head-in-the-sand posture.

Meanwhile, as of Nov. 27, Senate Dems may have yet another reason to worry. Dear Leader is delaying by a year small businesses' opportunity to hunt for employee coverage directly on the federal marketplace system. I'll stand by to see how Obamiacs explain away this one.

Yes, small businesses can still shop offline, via an insurance broker or directly with insurers, but, this issue also goes to credibility about whether alleged fixes to the federal exchange will work as well as administration claims.

And, as far as the political chess match issue, National Journal explains just why Senate Democrats are worried.

On the House side, Nancy Pelosi can say whatever she wants about Obamacare and standing behind it in midterms. Democrats are already the minority party in the House.

Finally, Nov. 30 is not the only looming date of concern.

There's another deadline. Dec. 23 is the deadline to sign up for insurance for the new year. Maybe Obama doesn't fully hit that target on software fixes either, as Amy Davidson notes at the New Yorker. She, too adds (this is the New Yorker, not the New York Post, folks) that much of the problem is Dear Leader's:
After five years in the White House, Obama still believes that he can go into a corner, tinker with something until it’s better, and win on the merits. The long view can serve him well, but it can also leave him unprepared when the other side won’t give up on an all-out battle. Health-care reform is the President’s signature legislative achievement, and a historic one. To preserve it, he needs to fight for it politically, state by state. This time, the Obama brand alone isn’t enough.
Chances of him truly grasping that? C'mon, we've seen enough of him over five years. Chances are 50-50 at best.

My guesstimate? By Dec. 23, between improving but not totally fixing the federal exchange websites, and various workarounds, but only in federal exchange states, Obamacare there will get to about 75-80 percent of enrollment targets. Whether that becomes a glass half full/skin of his teeth, "win," or a glass half empty "loss," remains to be seen.

That, in turn, raises another issue. If the fix isn't perfect, will Senate Democrats up for election in 2014 want Obama campaigning with them or not? And, how much effort will he put into it?

And, for those of us who wanted single-payer national health care, the failure of Obamacare won't get us closer to that, sadly. Of course, neither will its success, at least not much closer.

#Cooperstown 2014 — what are the chances of various players?

Here's your official 2014 ballot, including the Veterans Committee, via Baseball-Reference.

I've already done one post on the "big five" among newcomers of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent.

I think all five should be in the Hall, but realism says only the first three make it. Moose doesn't have 300 wins, though he's arguably a better candidate overall than Glavine. Kent's a bit more borderline in general.

So, Maddux, Glavine and Thomas. Who else should get in? Who else will? I think there's a shot for four, as I get ready to walk through other major candidates.

On the other hand, as a CBS story notes, even if we throw out the shutout from last year, since 2005, in only half of the years, have voters put multiple players in the Hall, and 1999 was the last time three or more got in. So, who knows?

More from that piece:
The last time more than two players made the Hall of Fame in a given vote was 1999, when it was no-doubters Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount. Since 1955, the BBWAA has elected a three-man Hall of Fame class just four times. ...

•To compound on the above point, Jack Morris is going to be rallied for by the old-school voters like you wouldn't believe. It's his final attempt and last year his vote jumped from 52.2 percent to 67.7 percent. In his 15th and final go-round, the campaign from his supporters is going to be overzealous and it may work. If it does, that means only one or two of the much more deserving Biggio-Maddux-Glavine-Thomas group makes it -- again, unless the BBWAA voting body takes a massive turn in voting history. 

•Aside from the original class of inductees, the BBWAA has elected a four-man class twice. In 1955, Dazzy Vance, Ted Lyons, Gabby Hartnett and Joe DiMaggio made it while Carl Hubbell, Lefty Grove, Frankie Frisch and Mickey Cochrane were inducted in 1947. Those were in the first 20 years of voting and the voting body has completely changed, so that really has no bearing on this year's ballot. 
The current top candidates match up fine with that 1999 class, setting aside alleged roiders. That 1955 class was actually, outside of DiMag, kind of dog's breath. Lyons probably shouldn't be in. Vance and Hartnett aren't outstanding candidates. 

The 1947 foursome is better, but not fantastic. So, the caveats of CBS' Matt Snyder aside, BBWAA voters need to open up their mental wallets with some sort of psychological crowbar.
That said, here's my thoughts on all the major candidates.

The roiders like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens? I've written before about how I'd like some sort of "contrition," not just from them, but any managers that might have known (including two on the Veterans Committee ballot that should also draw strong scrutiny), Bud Selig, players union members and leaders, etc. After that, I'd judge on a case-by-case basis after making reasonable guesstimates about how much roiding helped. Here's my guesstimates on what to discount from the numbers of a few players. (The two above would then get in; Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa not, and probably not Rafael Palmeiro.)

Meanwhile, to writers, either actual BBWAA Hall of Fame voters, or wannabes? Don't be hypocrites on this issue. Don't be Jayson Stark.

Of course, if Eric Byrnes is right, there's already a roider in Cooperstown. Who is it?

Now, one other holdover first. I want to keep Jack Morris OUT for sound reasons. Here's the most recent post I've done on the man I call the anti-Bert Blyleven.

Next, a few other top holdovers. First, Edgar Martinez. Gar? Hall of Very Good but not quite HOF in my book. Injured too much for a career DH, and counting stats mean something. I've discussed his case in detail before.

Mike Piazza should have gotten in last year, as I said then. Other than the ridiculousness of Murray Chass, has anybody else seriously thought of him as a roider?

Craig Biggio, I also wrote about last year. He certainly has the counting stats, and I thought his "Mr. Clean" image would combine with that for the BBWAA to let him waltz in. Surprisingly, that wasn't the case.

Jeff Bagwell? He also should already be in, as I've said before. He's tainted more than Piazza by roiding, but more in the way of a black cloud than actual allegations. That said, he, like some others, may be hurt by counting stats, including missing both 450 HRs, let alone 500, and 2,500 hits. One could argue that the Edgar Martinez issue applies to him. But, Bagwell is well ahead on WAR, WAA, and several counting stats.

Curt Schilling is on the border, as I've said before. I also said there that I wonder if his PED protestations of innocence are narrowly legalistic.

Larry Walker? Great guy, and I'm a Cardinals fan. But a mix of Coors Field splits and injury issues lead me to say no.

Alan Trammell should have been in years ago. See my discussion here.

Tim Raines: Can he step out from Rickey Henderson's shadow?

Otherwise, if I didn't write about him, first year or returning, he probably shouldn't be on the HOF radar screen. In case you need to look up my thoughts on a borderline returning player, here's my 2013 ballot wrap.

In general, I favor a "small Hall." In fact, I have two blog posts about pitchers and batters currently in the Hall whom I think should be voted back out.

Anyway, I'll wrap things up.

Beyond the three I mentioned, I think one of the four from Mussina/Piazza/Biggio/Bagwell gets in, with one of the holdovers more likely than Moose. I think Bags and Pizza Man are both more deserving, if we're talking about relative entry order, than Biggio. I'll venture, based on last year's vote, that Piazza is the fourth player in. Biggio and Bagwell look at going in together next year.

And, on a bete noire? I predict Jack Morris gets pushed off to a future Veterans Committee that may be dumb enough to vote him in.

The #Cardinals should be done with Hot Stove League moves

I know some people are saying weird things, like suggesting they try Jhonny Peralta at third and move Kolten Wong to short, or that John Mozeliak will go looking for "something."

But, why?

Instead, I can offer a good "why not."

Or, rather, refer to Baseball Prospectus, which has already done the job for me.


It ranks the Cards as No. 1 in baseball for having "core" players protected for multiple years. It notes that, if you take these "core" players, and multip ly that by B-P's version of WAR, Wins Above Replacement Player, the Cards have a WARP core lock-up of 58, a full 11 points ahead of the second-place Braves' 47.

Just take a gander at that B-P graphic at left. Throw out Carlos Beltran, of course. Everybody else except Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso is still under control for four years, and they're not part of long-term plans.

Why tinker with that? The Cards did a modest overpay in giving Peralta a fourth year, but that got him as part of that core of control.

The Cards don't need to make any more moves. They don't need to do anything else, other than decide whether to go to arbitration or cut ties with John Axford. They just need to get to spring training and work to make sure Wong is big-league ready, see when Oscar Taveras might be big-league ready, and make sure Peter Bourjos is healthy. (Health is one thing; nit-picking about minute differences in lefty-righty splits, as a few blogs have done, is another.)

On the pitching side, all that's needed is to see if Carlos Martinez can join the starting rotation, and how healthy post-surgery and rehab Jaime Garcia is. Then, he and Mike Matheny get to brainstorm about how to "spot" Michael Wacha, and Martinez if he's a starter, and, possibly "spot" Adam Wainwright, too. (No, not joking there. Waino had 240 regular season innings and a full 300 overall last year. He may, indeed, have been running on a bit of fumes in the World Series.)

Other than that, Mo needs to look at probably a catcher and a third baseman with the coming draft's top draft picks, including that comp pick for Beltran.

Beyond that, Mo gets to start examining that rotation more critically, looking at longer-term salary issues.

Finally, I've ragged on Mo, and Matheny, a bit about how Miller was handled in the postseason.

That's nothing compared to the head-scratching he induced with the Ty Wigginton signing a year ago, which was a total flop. So, while Mo has looked like a near-genius this offseason, that's our reminder to never give him a total pass on any deal.

November 25, 2013

Why I vote Green when I have a chance

Richmond, Calif., Mayor Gayle McLaughlin/Via The Nation
The Nation's good interview with Richmond, Calif., Green Party Mayor Gayle McLaughlin explains why, specifically in her work to use eminent domain powers to prevent the banksters from foreclosing on subprime-loan houses.

It's an action about no Democratic big-city mayor would take, and certainly one that no Congresscritter or governor would even consider, due to the lure of campaign cash. But, it's right in line with the ethos of McLaughlin, the only Green mayor of a city of more than 100,000.

And, besides specific actions she's undertaken as Richmond mayor, here's the nut graf, down near the end:
LF: Is it good that you’re Green?
GM: It’s the independent thinking that makes the difference. One party is moving us into a brick wall at 100 mph. The other is moving us there at 50 mph. We’re still going in the wrong direction, in my view.
Bingo. It may be somewhat less the case at the state than at the national level, but it's still true there. And, it's not just in red states like Texas where national-level, or even state-level, Democrats, have pulled their horns in for decades.

Look at McLaughin's California. Sen. Betty Crocker, Dianne Feinstein, is a waste of good potentially liberal Senate vote. Jerry Brown was a neoliberal way back when he was Gov. Moonbeam and first challenging Jimmy Carter for the presidency.

That said, there's a bit of hypocrisy here.

The Nation has never, ever, entertained endorsing anybody but a Democrat for national-level office, i.e., the presidency. I know, because I didn't even get a reply to my email asking the mag to do so, in both 2008 and 2012. (In turn, that's why I don't subscribe, among other reasons.)

But this is why I vote Green when I have a chance. (If Texas had a Socialist or Social Democratic party, I might pull that lever.)

Cardinals, Peralta, PEDs and ethics

Everybody else is weighing in with his or her two cents about how the Cardinals and GM John Mozeliak got Jhonny Peralta from the Tigers to fill the Pete Kozma at shortstop hole is some massive violation of the Cardinal Way, or else is some massive overpay.

First, Bernie Milkasz wrote not once, but twice, about this issue. He first tackled Peralta's actual bust by baseball over Biogenesis, then took on what he implies is a bunch of sanctimoniousness.

In that second column, he tells players who are worried about Peralta's contract saying "it's OK to cheat," that they have several options. One, ask for much longer bans for players. Two have the union stop defending players under suspicion, like ... Alex Rodriguez? Oops, that will never happen.

Or, there's Option B, which I saw mentioned elsewhere. The owners could agree that they're forced to pay suspended players, or at least, if not pay them, still have their salaries count against the luxury tax line.

Beyond that, players who are complaining the most, like Max Scherzer or Brad Ziegler? Again, not to justify a Peralta, or the many other Caribbean Latinos who have gotten busted, but, there is the additional hunger incentive for those players.

Second, depending on how you slice your sabermetrics, Fangraphs notes that Jhonny not-so-rotten is actually, possibly, an above-average defender. We know he's above average at the bat. Put that all together? Elsewhere, Fangraphs argues that, for the first three years, at least, this is a Cardinals win, in today's contract dollars.

And, Miklasz' first article relates to that, too. Peralta's bust was for action in 2012, when he had a down year compared to 2013. He adds that, when one looks at today's market, Peralta's rumored asking price, the fact that unlike Stephen Drew he did not cost a draft pick (and hits lefties), and that the Cards didn't overpay by trade, like rumors of the White Sox asking for Carlos Martinez as part of any Alexei Ramirez trade, let alone the nutty ideas of the likes of Ken Rosenthal for Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies or even what the Angels might have been wanting for Erick Aybar.

So, the Cards didn't trade Martinez. Or Shelby Miller, or Trevor Rosenthal. So, definitely not an overpay.

Now, that "Cardinal Way." Mozeliak noted the team isn't a "morals police." And, it can't be. That's for the two leagues as a whole, plus the players' union, to be. That said, other Cardinals fans should be aware that a lot of the country does think that the Cardinal Way includes being white bread and morally upright, and address any poising or posturing by the majority of fans, or minority, that fosters other fans thinking that.

If there is a dispute about the "Cardinal Way" or whatever, it brings to the forefront, again, if managers should know more about their players, and in the case of Tony La Russa and Joe Torre, if the Veterans Committee shouldn't punish them just like the BBWAA has certain players. 

Anyway, since Peralta's the team's answer at short, I killed the old poll I had. Now, you can vote on how much you like, or dislike, the deal.

November 24, 2013

Peralta to Cardinals? I bet they overpaid; or maybe not?

After having just praised Cardinals GM John Mozeliak for his trade of David Freese and Fernando Salas to the Angels for Peter Bourjos and minor league prospect Randal Grichuk, this is his follow-up? Actually, as I think more, it's not bad.

The terms are official. To fill the Pete Kozma at shortstop hole, the Cards signed the Detroit TigersJhonny Peralta, who reportedly had been trying to price himself out of the market, at short, rather than Stephen Drew.

At 4 years and $52 million, if it is an overpay, it's not a big one.

That said, it appears Jon Heyman of CBS, below, either misunderstood Peralta's camp, or got "used" a bit. The Cards may have had a slight overpay, but nothing serious.

That said, per what I see at MLBTradeRumors, this IS an overpay:
7:26pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that one team who offered Peralta four years and $52MM was told they're "not even in [the] game."
But, as noted, Heyman was either wrong or confused.

That said, it may be a mild overpay, but not a horrific one. And, per the Cards' history with Michael Wacha for Albert Pujols, it might not be an overpay at all. The Red Sox tendered Drew, so the Cards would have had to give up a draft pick for him. Not so with Peralta.

In any case, if this is true, this means the Birds won't resign Rafael Furcal. For better or worse, it means they're out of the Troy Tulowitzki trade hunt with the Rockies . That, in turn, means none of the current starters are likely to be traded, so no sweat over losing Shelby MillerTrevor Rosenthal or Carlos Martinez,

Plus, with Freese gone, the Cards don't face any major free-agent decisions for a couple of years. And, with the comp pick for whomever signs Beltran, the Birds can look for another 2B, 3B and catcher, among other things.

Another good sign? Among likely landing points in his free agency, Peralta reportedly wanted to go to St. Louis.

And, let me give Mo one more bit of credit. Heyman says the contract is front-loaded, not back-loaded:
Peralta contract terms: $15.5M in '14, $15M in '15, $12.5M in '16, $10M in '17. rare frontloaded pact.
That means more money available in later years for arbitration, etc., for the young gun pitchers.

And Bernie Miklasz has a good wrap-up on what Peralta brings to the table, why the Cards were smart to act now, and various and sundry thoughts on the PEDs issue.

Speaking of, here's my take on whether or not there's any ethics issues that violate the mystical Cardinal Way, more thoughts on it probably NOT being an overpay, and related.

Meanwhile, in my poll, he finished third in popularity, behind Profar then Drew, and just a touch ahead of Tulo. I'll replace that with another.

Sample some fine Texas whine, #Kossack style, folks

I love the Kossacks at Daily Kos, or rather, "love" them about like I love, or rather, "love" the Gnu Atheist Pharyngulac followers of P.Z. Myers, aka Pharyngula. Both Myers and Markos Moulitsas are cult-like blog leaders, for starters, with lots of motivated reasoning that churns out strange ideas at times.

One of Kos' most hilarious, of course, was the claim that there's a bunch of secret liberals in the CIA. Only thing that would have made that claim even funnier, in hindsight, would have been if he had said NSA. Beyond that, he's pretty much a total run it up the flagpole and salute it Obamiac who's made clear that politics as game, and beating the other team, is more important than the ideology you're carrying in your backfield. And, the Kossacks generally follow right along.

That leads me to MargaretPOA, trying to carry good water for Obama AND defend Texas against fellow Kossack's charges that ... it's Texas or something. This effort does indeed produce some fine Texas whine:
This effort [to evangelize in Texas] has been made much more difficult than it has to be by a minority of users who seem to revel in bashing Texans and anything Texas. This is almost always done in a broad brush sort of way and usually without any real knowledge of the state. There is also almost always a suggestion included that the United States should "let" Texas secede, (or even force us from the Union!), and so forth. This makes my job orders of magnitude more difficult because I like to direct people to Daily Kos in order to read the truth of a given topic. But head for the hills and Mary bar the door if that topic concerns Texas or Texans because I can depend on a small but very rowdy group of people to come around and start hurling insults, epithets and opinions about how everybody would be better off without Texas. ...

Now, come on! I don't come to your job and piss in your antifreeze or shit on your report! I have yet to see anybody at Daily Kos, (or elsewhere, really), suggest that Maine, Wisconsin or Ohio should be forced into Canada or that sawing off Florida would make the average I.Q. of the country go up. I don't remember anybody saying that Alaska should go back to Russia or that without Arizona we could do so much better.
OK, let's stop there and critique a few things, especially in the second graf.

First, nobody in any of the other states mentioned, as far as a governor of a state, has talked about seceding. Only Rick Perry. Wisconsin and Ohio, in political terms, are "purplish," not hard-core red. Ditto for Maine. Even Florida is less red than Texas. Alaska may be red, but any nuttery in the state centers on Sarah Palin far more than nuttery in Texas being confined to Arizona.

The second problem is that many an alleged liberal in Texas also practices what every Texas conservative does, MargaretDOA [sic]. It's called "Texas exceptionalism," the state-level equivalent of American exceptionalism, jingoism and all.

I finally had the light bulb about that come on when Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, with her first post-announcement campaign speech in Waxahachie, during the middle of the federal government shutdown, claim that Texans would never have such government disfunction, even though Texas had had exactly that during the Legislature's second special session and Davis' treatment during that, during her filibuster. After the lightbulb came the floodwaters of connecting the dots and putting them on paper, as I did here. As someone who lives in Texas, and has for a number of years, though I'm not a native, Texas exceptionalism disgusts me as much as American exceptionalism does. And, it disgusts me more when it comes from the mouth of a liberal than a conservative.

Meanwhile, since I was banned from Kos for being too much of a Green and too much of a real liberal, Margaret's biographic tidbits open her up for more criticism:
Fifty something Texas socialist who is indescribably tired of DC politicians arguing around the edges of policy while the middle class vanishes and the poor slowly become enslaved.
Really, a socialist? And you voted for Obama twice, and willingly? We have a Green Party in Texas, though not a Socialist one, at least not one with state ballot access and the same range of support. You have a choice.

And, you opted not to follow it.

And, in doing so, as a Kos member since 2005, you helped perpetuate all the easy stereotypes about Kossacks.

Have fun stewing in your fine Texas whine. Texas exceptionalism, served in a Kossack sippy cup. Guaranteed hangover.