December 14, 2013

Mack Brown defenders have little to hang their hats on

And, Mack Brown himself ultimately recognized that, ESPN reports. AD Steve Patterson gave him the opportunity of coming back in 2014 and he declined. Sure, part of it was from all the hassle over the last year, I'll venture, but, part of it was really being ready to move on and recognize that he just wasn't where he had been five years ago.

As Texas Longhorns football coach Mack Brown, like long-ago interim FBI director L. Patrick Gray, has ben "twist(ing) slowly in the wind," his defenders have been coming out.

Since Alabama's Nick Saban appears to be off the table (but never say never in college football's coaching fraternity) the standard argument has been, "why not stay with the horse what brung you?"

But, now that Mack is gone, finally and officially, that will have to be updated. (And we'll get to see how concrete Saban's commitment to Bama actually is.)

Representative of that view was Mark Schlabach of ESPN, who says, if you can't get Saban, why not stay with Mack? He offers cautionary tales of ditching once top-notch coaches who started faltering, like Phil Fulmer at Tennessee and Larry Coker at Miami.

Problem is that Mack's recruiting problems have been multi-year; these concerns about him have been building since the losing season of 2010. And, nobody's ever considered him an X's and O's coach on the same level as a Saban, or possibly even as a Les Miles.

Related to both points A and B in the paragraph above is that Brown's had four straight years of eight or fewer regular-season wins. He hasn't fully bounced back

As for this year in particular? Mack got lucky against Oklahoma, even though the Sooners haven't been that great this year either. Got referee-lucky against Iowa State. And got thumped by the two top teams in the conference, Baylor and Ok State. Give him an L instead of a W in either the Red River Shootout or the Iowa State game, and his record this year is 7-5, the ’Horns are looking at a third-tier bowl, and the rumors aren't totally stopped.

Actually, it could have been worse. If Texas loses that Iowa State game, maybe the negative momentum carries over to Oklahoma. And, Brown's lucky to finish 6-6.
 
Nothing about his current recruiting indicates there will be a big difference next year. The Horns will again probably be 8-4.

And, Schlabach's other arguments are plain stupid.

First, on the "watch out"? The Sooners had to sort through multiple less-than-par replacements for Barry Switzer before they got Bob Stoops. For that matter, the Horns had a long gap between Royal and Brown.

Which leads to the second point. How many national titles did Brown have before coming to Austin?

Gee, Mark, guess he never should have been hired.

Let's look more in-depth over those past four seasons of Brown's career, and why people who want a change can argue that, at least, even if the Horns aren't going to be great, they should be posting nine-win regular seasons, and without too much of a sweat.

In a 10-team Big 12 with a nine-game play-all conference schedule, that leaves three non-conference games. I would see a team like Texas as scheduling one tough game — a game that they're more likely to win than lose if they're good, but a bit more likely to lose if they're not so good; one "meh" game which has a 50-50 chance of being won even in a down year, and one semi-patsy or even full-blown patsy.

So, the Horns should go 2-1 non-conference without breaking too much of a sweat.

In conference?  Call the Sooners, resurgent Baylor and Oklahoma State all 50-50 games. That's 1.5 losses. Add in a 10 percent chance of losing against all six other teams, or 0.6 losses.

In other words, 7-2 in conference is a reasonable expectation every year.

That adds up to 9-3, not 8-4. And, after that losing 5-7 mark in 2010, Mack's not done better than 8-4 in the regular season since.

So, to Schlabach and other Mack defenders? Sure, you can roll the dice and lose with a Mack replacement. Or, you can continue to wonder if Mack is no better than 8-4, and pleasant mediocrity in Texas terms, for the foreseeable future.

That said, it appears Mack accepted the inevitable, and decided to move on.

As for his replacement? I've already thrown out Les Miles as a stealth candidate. I seriously doubt Jimbo Fisher is coming. I'm sure Art Briles isn't. I'm doubtful of Jim Harbaugh. I think Vandy's James Franklin would be in over his head. Gary Pinkel, though he's repeated his commitment to Mizzou, would be very good. I don't see Mike Gundy as a good candidate. Bob Stoops would be interesting. I don't think Jim Mora Jr. is leaving UCLA. Mike Stoops is a bit green as a head coaching candidate, but could be interesting. Gus Malzahn at Auburn also seems unlikely. Arizona's Todd Graham and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio probably round out the list of likely candidates.

That said, I don't know why nobody but yours truly is talking about Miles.

Review: Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War


Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War
Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



American readers: Take this British book with a grain of salt.

Why? Because while Max Hastings is very good on military tactical issues, and solid on strategic ones in the first shifting of his pen from World War II to World War I, he's close to being all wet on geopolitical issues related to the start of the war.

First, the good.

Hastings gives more detailed coverage to the Eastern Front at the start of the war than do many WWI intros, which often talk about the battles of Tannenberg and Masurian Lakes, and nothing else.

Hastings also covers how the Russians rolled back the Austrians in Galicia.

And, even more exposing the dry rot of the Hapsburg Empire, how Serbia, the cause of the war, also rolled back the Hapsburgs' two different early fall and late fall 1914 invasions.

On the Western Front, he rightly faults Joffre's Plan 17 and has little good to say about Sir John French as the BEF commander. And, he notes how Moltke had weakened the original Schlieffen Plan even before the start of the war, how he weakened it further with Tannenberg worries, and how he had a nervous collapse before the two sides made their race to the Channel. He also notes that the French army, outside of things such as the rouge pantaloons, was not that much worse than the German, and how some German commanders, like Kluck and Bulow, as well as the royal commanders, were either too old (them) or not fully competent for general reasons (some of the royals).

On larger strategic issues, he raises the issue of whether the Schlieffen Plan could even succeed with a pre-mechanized army. I say, just possible. The Germans would have needed to have more fodder ready for horses, and definitely more replacement boots for troops. If this AND an unaltered Schlieffen plan had been in place, the Germans might just have pulled it off.

The one thing Hastings gets right on geopolitics is wondering why Germany didn't do a better PR job on the international law violations of Britain's blockade by extension later in the war.

===

Now the bad, and why this book gets just three stars.

Hastings subscribes to the traditional German war guilt idea on the cause of the war, and from that, seeks to build a legal-type case for British intervention.

First, on a "balance of powers" issue, you don't have to have German war guilt as a primary cause, or even No. 2 after simple balance of powers issues. Britain's early 1700s intervention in the War of the Spanish Succession, for example, didn't go looking for "war guilt."

Second, related to that, is that his attempt to "pin the collar" on Germany is just wrong.

Hastings engages with Christopher Clark's excellent new book, "The Sleepwalkers," but only to reject it, and Clark's labeling of Serbia as a "rogue state."

I'll go one better than Clark, myself. I rarely use the term "cultural DNA," but with Serbia, having read books about the original battle of Kosovo and its aftermath, and seen the 1990s ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, I make an exception. "Rogue state" might be a bit mild; "semi-failed state" might be even better.

Third, and related to that, Hastings talks about the would-be violations of international law that were in Austria's ultimatum to Serbia. True, but it had less such violations than NATO's 1990s ultimatum to Serbia. This issue got mention online at about the time Hastings' book was headed to press. Surely, he could have addressed it in the prologue, within modern book publishing time frames. And, he chose not to.

Fourth, near the end, Hastings adds in what I can only call a "British imperialism whopper." In the last chapter, an epilogue though not officially titled as such, he claims the US contributed "little militarily" to World War I.

True in 1917; not true in 1918, where the US had 1 million troops on the Western Front by early July and 2 million by the end of the war. Yes, the US was using Allied artillery and some other munitions and weapons; it was cheaper than shipping them, since an unoccupied France could make them onsite. At the same time, the US had been supplying warhorses for Britain and France from the start of the war.

The increasing American flood of men spurred the desperation behind Ludendorff's Kaiserschlact, and the expected continuation of that into 1919 led to Ludendorff's collapse in October 1918.

Beyond that, at St. Michel and elsewhere, American troops contributed significantly to the Hundred Days Offense that rolled back German gains from spring 1918.

Without American intervention, Germany still couldn't have won the war. It might have been able to keep Austria propped up, and keep from losing, though.

In addition to justifying British entry, despite his dismissal of American military contributions, I have the feeling that Hastings is trying to sell American readers on the worthiness of American intervention.

Well, there, he's plain wrong.

It's true that a German Mitteleuropa, while certainly nowhere near as bad as Nazism, wouldn't have been ideal. But, it would have been much less a problem for the US than for Britain. And, if achieved only at the price of Austro-Hungarian collapse, might not have been worth that much anyway.

In any case, I've always said that we should have protested the British blockade by extension, on international law grounds, just as much as German submarine zones, then followed George Washington's warning against entangling alliances and let the Entente and Central Powers beat each other senseless.

Hastings' "war guilt" and seeming British imperialism get this book knocked down from 4-plus stars to 3. His whopper about American intervention costs it another star to fall to 2.



View all my reviews

Obama's ATF - far more rogue than just Fast and Furious

It looks like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has far more blood on its hands, at least metaphorically and probably literally, than just the Fast and Furious gun-buying fiasco. And, it looks like it's zoomed past the FBI in its zeal to set up false, entrapment-like sting operations.

Using mentally handicapped people as gun-buyers.

Renting private property for its fake pawnshops and other front operations, damaging the property, then skipping out and stiffing landlords with repair bills.

Using felons to run some of these fake front operations.

Allowing some of these felons to walk off with guns.

And, much more.

It's all here in this long investigative piece by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

And, this is Obama's ATF, folks. To address the immediate Obamiac objection of, "But it didn't have a permanent head for years," wrong.

The top employee during that time serves as acting head. Period. If not civil service, they can still be fired politically. If civil service, they can still be fired for cause. And, the first two years of his administration, Democrats controlled the Senate.

And, it also means that even though the likes of Darrell Issa played politics over Fast and Furious issues, there was plenty of smoke there, too.

The ARC, a top advocacy group for people with mental handicaps, has already blasted ATF. Obamiacs may have heard of ARC. Obama gave his overhyped income inequality speech at D.C.-area ARC.

I already have George W. Bush penciled in as one of the worst five presidents in US history. Obama will likely wind up somewhere in the top half of the bottom third. Deal with it, Obamiacs.

December 13, 2013

Mack Brown still bagged, but Nick Saban still not in #Longhorns bag? Les Miles? Nobody?

That's the way it looks, per the latest rumors, anonymously sourced stories, or "stories," and more.

ESPN's latest is that Mack Brown is still "embattled."
Embattled Texas coach Mack Brown met Friday with university president Bill Powers and athletic director Steve Patterson.

Patterson declined to say what was discussed or if any conclusion had been reached, but a source said Brown is now fighting to keep his job.

Brown had previously confided in those close to him that he was resigning, the source said. However, Brown was "enraged" when the news leaked to the media, and he decided to change course, according to the source.
This leads to one set of follow-up thoughts.

Whoever talked to Jesus Shuttlesworth and then Chip Brown may just have shot himself in the foot. Mack may be pissed enough not to leave. Now, Mack's contract buyout is reportedly only $2.75 million, so, in one sense, if Patterson wants to pull the trigger, it doesn't matter how pissed off Mack is — he's gone.

UPDATE: The "shooting in the foot" is especially true if the latest rumor is true — that Mack is staying.

But, the backfire could come in the Horns not landing Nick Saban, or even option No. 2.

I mean, other than purely for the money, how many coaches even want to think about entering into such a circus, a circus so bad that Jim Harbaugh of the NFL's 49ers was on the rumor list earlier this week? I'm sure Saban, even, is at least a bit wary of that.

Speaking of?

Saban's got a contract extension on his desk, something even bigger than the extension he got this spring. it's been there — and not back in his AD's hands — since Friday, Dec 6.

However ...

Saban now seems to have given an oral commitment to that new contract, it seems.
 "I'm not really at the stage of my career where I'm looking for some other big sort of challenge," Saban said in late October, though his attempt to quash the rumors of his departure ultimately proved unsuccessful. "We've got enough challenges right here to try to work with the players we recruited and try to continue to have a successful program for their personal, academic and athletic success."
On the other hand, this is college football; how often do coaches tell the truth in situations like this?

Bottom line in this situation is, the Horns handled the leak badly. True, Patterson's the new AD, but he's been on the job a month. His predecessor, DeLoss Dodds, could have given him some backup. That is, if Dodds knew the leaking was hitting a new level after he stepped down.

Bottom line No. 2 is that, until Saban signs that new contract, the rumors about him will continue. He knows that.

Bottom line No. 3 is that the official denouement WAS supposed to happen sometime after this Friday night and a Longhorn banquet. But, Mack at least was pissed enough not to discuss anything with players Friday. And, his No. 1 supporter, UT President Bill Powers, dodging his own bullet with the UT System and staying in power, Mack's probably got his back up even more.

If there was, a week ago, the possibility of an amiable departure, that's likely shot all to hell.

At the same time,  did the rumors that Mack had talked to USC about its opening, speaking of Orgeron, have a hand in AD Pattterson's thinking? He decided that, if Mack was looking more, he was pushing more?

Let's say that Patterson goes ahead, lets Mack know that his finger is still on the trigger, and the combination of that stick and some carrots take care of business.

What then?

Besides the ongoing bouts of rumors about Nick Saban leaving Alabama, who else might be tapped? Gary Patterson kind of tarnished his image at TCU this year. Art Briles ain't leaving Baylor. Even if he wanted to, his buyout on his brand-new contract is probably a lot more pricey than Mack's.

Let's throw out some other fun coaching candidates for Longhorn faithful, while we're at it, both fun and serious:

1. Mike Leach. Guns blazing, he'd last about 3 years in Austin. DKR Stadium WOULD be entertaining, though.

2. Mike Gundy. A more buttoned-down Leach. Not leaving Stillwater. And, given that he has a bit of a reputation for not winning the big one, probably not wanted in Austin.

3. Gary Pinkel. Now that could be serious, even though he denies any intent to leave Mizzou.

4. Kevin Sumlin? Highly doubtful. If he leaves Aggieland in the near term, it's only for the NFL. Besides, he strikes me as a bit green still for a position like this.

5. Will Muschamp? The one-time Mack Jr. will only get into Darrell Royal Stadium if he's coaching an opponent.

6. Bob Stoops. Some folks in Norman have a bit of disquiet about him, and it would sure spice up the rivalry. Not very likely, though.

7. James Franklin of Vanderbilt? Too small of a program to leap to Texas; dunno why he is being touted so much.

8. Mark Stoops? Would set up a brothers coaching rivalry, like the Harbaughs of the NFL, only a guaranteed game a year.

Assuming Saban ain't the man, to me, Pinkel would be the next target.

With one possible exception. One other man who could handle the nutbar cauldron of Austin and could be an under-the-radar candidate.

Les Miles.

Remember, you heard it here first.

National title winner, previous Big 12 experience, and can recruit in SEC territory.

His national title is newer than Brown's. Both of his BCS title appearances are newer.

==

Mark Schlabach of ESPN says, if you can't get Saban, why not stay with Mack? He offers cautionary tales, like Phil Fulmer at Tennessee and Larry Coker at Miami.

Problem is that Mack's recruiting problems have been multiyear. And,  nobody's ever considered him an X's and O's coach on the same level as a Saban, or possibly even as a Miles.

Related to both points A and B in the paragraph above is that Brown's had four straight years of eight or fewer regular-season wins.

As for this year in particular? Mack got lucky against Oklahoma. Got referee-lucky against Iowa State. And got thumped by the two top teams in the conference, Baylor and Ok State. Nothing about his current recruiting indicates there will be a big difference next year.

And, Schlabach's other arguments are plain stupid.

First, on the "watch out"? The Sooners had to sort through multiple less-than-par replacements for Barry Switzer before they got Bob Stoops. For that matter, the Horns had a long gap between Royal and Brown.

Which leads to the second point. How many national titles did Brown have before coming to Austin?

Gee, Mark, guess he never should have been hired.

DNA not for genes only

Epigenetics has been in the news more and more recently, with new claims that a propensity to suffer from anxiety, even anxiety over exposure to a specific smell, can be passed on from generation to generation, at least in mice.

Then came David Dobbs' new article about gene plasticity and expression, which starts with this:
At the front of the room, a bug-obsessed neuroscientist named Steve Rogers was describing these two creatures — one elegant, modest, and well-mannered, the other a soccer hooligan.

The grasshopper, he noted, sports long legs and wings, walks low and slow, and dines discreetly in solitude. The locust scurries hurriedly and hoggishly on short, crooked legs and joins hungrily with others to form swarms that darken the sky and descend to chew the farmer’s fields bare.

Related, yes, just as grasshoppers and crickets are. But even someone as insect-ignorant as I could see that the hopper and the locust were radically different animals — different species, doubtless, possibly different genera. So I was quite amazed when Rogers told us that grasshopper and locust are in fact the same species, even the same animal, and that, as Jekyll is Hyde, one can morph into the other at alarmingly short notice.
Dobbs goes on to note that two animals with the same DNA can express it in radically different ways, and goes further, with these rhetorical questions:
This raises a question: if merely reading a genome differently can change organisms so wildly, why bother rewriting the genome to evolve? How vital, really, are actual changes in the genetic code? Do we always need DNA changes to adapt to new environments? Are there other ways to get the job done? Is the importance of the gene as the driver of evolution being overplayed?
He doesn't reject the importance of genes, but suggests, as I understand, their "centrality" should be reduced from 98 percent to, say, 78 percent, on average. But, I'm giving a brief summary of a long article.

Some old-line geneticists poo-pooh reading too much into epigenetics, or even Dobbs' article. That would be you, Jerry Coyne.

P.Z. Myers is a cautious one on epigenetics, though not as tight as Coyne. And, while admitting he's in the minority of a selective sampling of his peers, he sees nothing wrong with Dobbs' piece:
I am saying that understanding genes is fundamental, important, and productive, but it is not sufficient to explain evolution, development, or cell biology. ...

I will also rudely tell you that we don’t understand the process (of gene expression) yet. Knowing the genes is not enough.

It’s as if we’re looking at a single point on a hologram and describing it in detail, and making guesses about its contribution to the whole, but failing to signify the importance of the diffraction patterns at every point in the image to our perception of the whole. And further, we wave off any criticism that demands a more holistic perspective by saying that those other points? They’re just like the point I’m studying. Once I understand this one, we’ll know what’s going on with the others. ...

We forget that our theories are purely human constructs designed to help us simplify and make sense of a complex universe, and most seriously we fail to see how our theories shape our interpretation of the data…and they shape what data we look for! That’s my objection to the model of evolution in The Selfish Gene: it sure is useful, too useful, and there are looming barriers to our understanding of biology that are going to require another Dawkins to disseminate.

Let me try to explain with a metaphor — always a dangerous thing, but especially dangerous because I’m going to use a computer metaphor, and those things always grip people’s brains a little bit too hard.

In the early days of home computing, we had these boxes where the input to memory was direct: you’d manually step through the addresses, and then there was a set of switches on the front that you’d use to toggle the bits at that location on and off. When a program was running, you’d see the lights blinking on and off as the processor stepped through each instruction. ...

That’s where we’re at in biology right now, staring at the blinking lights of the genome. 
P.Z.'s Gnu Atheism? Totally disagree. But, he has some solid evolutionary biology insights. Also, vis-a-vis Coyne, he's not a hard-core determinist on free will, which I think is driving Coyne's thoughts on evolutionary genetics, too.

And now, the newest applecart upsetter of the "genetic dogma" of Francis Crick and James Watson is this — the idea that there may be two codes in our DNA, one for coding for proteins (i.e., genes) and another for epigenetic-like modulation:
“For over 40 years we have assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impact how proteins are made,” said Dr. James Stamatoyannopoulos, who led the UW team. “Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture. These new findings highlight that DNA is an incredibly powerful information storage device, which nature has fully exploited in unexpected ways.”

The researchers discovered that some codons, part of the 64-letter alphabet which makes up the genetic code, can have two meanings – one related to protein sequence and another related to gene control.

These duons apparently evolved together, researchers said, and the gene control instructions appear to stabilize beneficial features of proteins and how they’re made.
Maybe this will finally break the slavish devotion some people have to Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene. I know Myers feels at least a bit that way.

Of course, really, Stanley Prusiner's fingering of prions as causing mad cow disease long ago upset the central dogma of Crick and Watson. That's why so many biologists were so strident against Prusiner getting a Nobel. It's also why the one he got was in chemistry, and not physiology or medicine.

And, it's also why John Horgan is wrong with a book called "The End of Science." We're not even close to that.

Lie of the Year: Right call on Obama's "you can keep it"?

Overall, I'd say no.

Boy, in one sense I certainly disagree with Politifact for saying that President Obama's statement about old health plays onder Obamacare, the "you can keep your old play" comment is the Lie of the Year.

I mean, every time a Ted Cruz or a Gohmert Pyle opens his mouth, the lie of the year could pop out.

On the other hand, if you want to talk about politicians with some degree of credibility outside of wingnuts, and how one lie is a stand-in for a whole series of problems?

In that case, it's hard to argue with Politifact.

In a third sense, Politifact has had its own errors and misjudgments before, like claiming that GOP statements about essentially ending Medicare or Social Security weren't that. Related to that is the regular impression I have that Politifact is often bending over too far in some attempt to prove its "balance."

And, hence, an illustration of some of what's wrong with national mainstream media.

On the fourth hand, getting back in part to the second hand, the one comment serves as a stand-in for a whole 

On the fifth hand, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's blatant domestic spying lie to Congress should have been the Lie of the Year. 

I don't care that he's not an elected politician. It was blatant for other reasons.

There was a time, after the Watergate dust settled, that executive branch officials didn't tell bald-faced lies to Congress. They shaded things, perhaps, but they didn't tell outright lies.

Second, the fact that he did it on Obama's biggest black eye, spying on Americans, makes it worse.

Third, the fact that he did it with premeditation makes it worse.

Fourth, the fact that Congress has so far not referred him for charges of perjury or similar makes clear that Congress is a lapdog.

December 12, 2013

Good-bye, Mack Brown; cue the new #Saban rumors? (updated)

Mack Brown is stepping down at Texas Longhorns football coach, or so it seems. From the Chron's blog, it seems no pushing was applied by new AD Steve Patterson, and I'm assuming the decision to move on was amiable and mutual.

Besides the ongoing bouts of rumors about Nick Saban leaving Alabama, who else? Ed Orgeron is available, isn't he? Gary Patterson kind of tarnished his image at TCU this year. Art Briles ain't leaving Baylor. Even if he wanted to, his buyout is probably a lot more pricey than Mack's, reportedly only $2.75 million.

That said, the interestingly self-styled Jesus Shuttleworth already had bare bones of the news on Sunday. And is claiming the buyout is more than the minimum required.

Meanwhile, despite J. Esus on the one hand, and the Chron on the other, in the paper of Austin, Texas record, Mack's still denying everything.Given that AD Patterson's gone incommunicado, Mack's denial probably just mean that there's something in the details of the buyout, or details of Mack's post-coaching "ambassador" job that need to be cleared up.

And,  did the rumors that Mack had talked to USC about its opening, speaking of Orgeron, have a hand in Steve Pattterson's thinking? And, given that relatively small buyout, even though all is smiles for public consumption, maybe Steve Patterson did do a bit of pushing.

Let's throw out some other fun coaching candidates for Longhorn faithful, while we're at it:

1. Mike Leach. Guns blazing, he'd last about 3 years in Austin.

2. Bob Stoops. Some folks in Norman have a bit of disquiet about him, and it would sure spice up the rivalry.

3. Mike Gundy. A more buttoned-down Leach. Not leaving Stillwater.

4. Gary Pinkel. Now that could be serious, even though he denies any intent to leave Mizzou.

5. Kevin Sumlin? Highly doubtful. If he leaves Aggieland in the near term, it's only for the NFL.

6. Will Muschamp? The one-time Mack Jr. will only get into Darrell Royal Stadium if he's coaching an opponent.

And, as far as candidates, how much due diligence has Steve Patterson done for a replacement so far? Had he been wanting to pull the trigger for some time? If so, he earns a record for stealthiness in the face of possible rumor-mongering, even if the Saban rumors have continued to swirl since he started in DeLoss Dodds' seat.

That said?

Per Shuttleworth, and bits of other rumors and gossip, Saban's the guy.

Why, you may ask?

Why? How many coaches have won national titles with three different teams? Saban may not coach until he's 80 or 85, and pass Bobby Bowden, but if he wins a national title in Austin, he's got the biggest college coaching cojones ever.

At the same time, what if Patterson can't land Saban? If he doesn't have a very good Plan B, he won't be sticking too many years himself.

And the plot thickens.

Saban's got a contract extension on his desk; it's been there — and not back in his AD's hands — since Friday.

===

And, per a Texas Monthly story, with UT President Bill Powers' future still a bit dicey, and, as Burnt Orange Report notes, he faces a special meeting tomorrow himself. His unsettled situation, as well as a Longhorns banquet on Friday, are likely holdups.

And, Powers still has his job, at least for now. And Mack says nothing's changed. And, Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron says Saban's staying put. (Hey, A.J., whether you're graduating this year or not, when has a college coach EVER told a player he's jumping ship.)

Saban now seems to have given an oral commitment to that new contract, it seems.
 "I'm not really at the stage of my career where I'm looking for some other big sort of challenge," Saban said in late October, though his attempt to quash the rumors of his departure ultimately proved unsuccessful. "We've got enough challenges right here to try to work with the players we recruited and try to continue to have a successful program for their personal, academic and athletic success."
However, this is college football; how often do coaches tell the truth in situations like this?

Bottom line is, the Horns handled the leak badly. True, Patterson's the new AD, but he's been on the job a month. Dodds could have given him some backup.

Bottom line No. 2 is that, until Saban signs that new contract, the rumors about him will continue.

Bottom line No. 3 is that the official denouement is supposed to happen sometime after Friday night.

Steroid-connected managerial pair now in #Cooperstown

The expansion-era Veterans Committee has officially elected top managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox to the Baseball Hall of Fame. All three arguably were rightly named unanimously — with one small problem for the first two.

Should they be in Cooperstown, given that the Baseball Writers Association of America has punished recently retired players who have used performance-enhancing drugs, incluing players managed by Torre and La Russa?

You know, like Roger Clemens, and Mark McGwire?

This is especially a matter for debate and discussion since former Major Leaguer Eric Byrnes has now joined longtime sportswriter Thomas Boswell in claiming that the Baseball Hall of Fame already contains, in Byrnes' words, not just a member, but a "prominent" member who was a serious user of performance-enhancing drugs.

Here's the money quote:
Disturbingly, not long ago I was having dinner with a former long time Major League player that spoke about the steroid use of a prominent Hall of Famer that played the majority of his career in the 70′s and 80′s… Ha! Not like I was shocked but damn… So many members of the Hall of Fame, including this character, have recently spoken out and condemned guys who have had ties to performance enhancing drugs, saying there is no place for “cheaters” in the HOF.
OK, "prominent." From Byrnes' angle, I take that not necessarily as a first-ballot HOFer, though it certainly could be, as someone who is well-known, keeps in the public eye, etc.

When Boswell's statement came out in 2010, some sites, like Wezen-Ball, speculated on who it might be. That said, per a poll I put up at the time, in a follow-up piece, Wezen-Ball has a 1988 quote from Boswell that indicates TLR  had some idea what was up and therefore, from where I stand, should be kept out of the Hall just as much as Barry Bonds and the aforementioned duo. (Per a poll I had about Byrnes' piece, an outright majority fingered Reggie Jackson as the person he meant.)

But, in the case of both La Russa and Torre, but especially the former, the questions don't stop there.


And, in Oakland, TLR managed the two most notorious known, admitted users in Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Re Big Mac, TLR has claimed he didn't notice anything, didn't know anything. He's been more circumspect about Canseco. That's why I'd love a, say, Ken Rosenthal to put both of them, La Russa and Canseco, in the same interview room at the same time. Because, to be honest, I don't believe La Russa. And, given that he's got a law degree, he knows just how to parse and shade his language.

And, although La Russa seems "dirty," given his connection to Canseco and his "milkshake," let's not let Torre off the hook too lightly either.

What about Torre and his Yankee years? I said before that I thought Bonds' courtroom appearance twin, Roger Clemens, was juicing before that. Then there's Andy Pettitte who, yes, has apologized, and I said that Torre was probably not aware of Andy. But, I don't know. Whether he should have been aware of "Muchie Peachie" and others (Jason Giambi, pre- or post-apology) is a different question. 

And, FINALLY! Somebody in the mainstream media, Rick Reilly, has actually written about this, and largely agrees with me! Indeed, he goes after Cox as well as Torre and La Russa.

That said, here's my thoughts on likely roiders among players. It applies to La Russa and Torre, too. (To riff on Ricky Ricardo, you got some 'splaining to do, and some apologizing, along with the players union, management, and now, I would say, at least one field manager.)

We can make some sort of guesstimate as to how your managerial career might have panned out without the "help." And, making it to three straight World Series in Oakland, then having a juiced Mac welcome a trade to St. Louis, to break Roger Maris' record, might not have happened, either.

That said, Torre might not deserve a 100 percent pass, either. How much did Yankee roiding help his team win four World Series in five years, and make it to five in six years?

And now, we see how well the Veterans Committee has studied this issue and how much it concerns them. 

Apparently, it concerned the committee bupkis. And, it also apparently concerns top-level writers bupkis, too. The ESPN story I link to doesn't even mention the word "steroids." Hell, ESPN and other folks in the mainstream sports media world (MSSM?) didn't discuss this before the vote, either.

So, to every ESPN writer who calls the BBWAA hypocrites? "Eat me." Like Jerry Crasnick.

And, managing roiding players aside, how do we judge "borderline" managers? See here for my cry for a WAR for managers.

Otherwise, there's also two other overdue people. It's simply disgusting that labor leader Marvin Miller again didn't get voted in. Also, catching great Ted Simmons, who had the misfortune of playing in Johnny Bench's shadow, in the same league, for much of his career, should be in the Hall.

And, what good is a post like this without a poll?



Free polls from Pollhost.com
Should Veterans voters treat La Russa, Torre like BBWAA voters on alleged roiders?

Yes   No   Uncertain     
My answer? It's always been yes.

First, it's hypocritical and a double standard to do otherwise.

Second, to treat the managers in the same way would force the steroid issue even more into the open.

Third, given how pervasive roiding was, I really think La Russa, at least, knew something. And, I'm a Cards fan. But, I don't give free passes.

December 11, 2013

Lehmberg beats the rap

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is safe from a GOP partisan-driven attempt to remove her from office, which would have led to her replacement by some GOP hack nominated by Rick Perry.

Given the recent (first of several?) indictment in the widening CPRIT scandal, having a Travis County DA who is not the toady of Perry or Greg Abbott is important.

That said, none of this is an endorsement of anyone at Lehmberg's age, in a position of law enforcement or related, having a drinking problem develop to apparently alcoholic drinking level. Let's hope that, per the testimony in her removal suit, if she needs to stay abstinent in the future she does so.

And, politically, let's hope she steps aside for another Democrat in the 2016 election cycle or, if she won't, that she gets primaried.

No matter which party has the governor's mansion, and the Lege, in hand, we need a Travis DA who is above reproach to pursue government integrity issues. That includes again raising that as a budgetary issue.

December 10, 2013

New low from #SJW #Kossack #Obamiacs — thinking Ted Rall is racist

Oy vey.

So, Ted Rall, who has never claimed, or tried to be, Monet or van Gogh as an editorial cartoonist, but who has drawn President Barack Obama the same way for four years, is now being accused of being a racist for that drawing. (I wouldn't link to something this stupid from Kos, even with a "no follow" in the HTML; the link is from media analyst Jim Romanesko, though the original Kos link is available via him.)

And, a writer at the Atlantic is dumb enough, or politically correct enough, to jump on the Kossack bandwagon.

And, here's Rall's own comment.

First, it's interesting that he wasn't in an original list of cartoonist invitees. I suspect somebody in the Kos hierarchy already knew enough about him to be skittish.

Other than him misusing the word "censorship," which only governments can do, here's his take specific to the takedown:
This act of censorship is notable for several reasons, however:

1. This “liberal” blog has slammed me with the most severe act of censorship of my career. Since I began syndication in 1991, I have had individual cartoons killed. I have been fired, sometimes unjustly. ...

But this tops them all.

They weren’t paying for my work. To the contrary, I drove traffic to them. My cartoons were routinely among their list of High Impact Posts that elicit a lot of discussion. If you read them, you’ll see that a cadre of militant Obama defenders was determined to drive me away, and they succeeded.
This is what the Democratic Party has come to: so unable to face criticism, whether from left or right, that they stifle opposing voices. ...

3. The grounds for censoring my cartoons from the site — my drawing style — are beneath contempt. Anyone familiar with me and my work knows I’m not racist. My criticisms of the president are unrelated to his race, and to say otherwise in the absence of evidence is disgusting. Here’s the cartoon in question. It should be noted that my editors at a variety of American newspapers, magazines and websites, almost all of whom are left of center politically, some of whom are black and many of whom voted for Obama, have never expressed the slightest concern about the way I draw the president.
As someone who was blocked from Kos myself for being too Green, none of this surprises me. And, technically, like Rall  (I believe), my account wasn't deleted. It was simply "frozen," so that in some Orwellian way, Kos could say that people like me hadn't been banned.

And, contra claims by generic Kossacks that this was all a "community" thing, Markos himself at least signed off on the ban, then, in his typically Orwellian way, claimed Rall hadn't been banned, per The Progressive.

That said, what the hell do you expect from someone who claimed the CIA was full of secret liberals? Well, you get lying, dissembling, stupidity and cultic behavior all in one package.

Also part of that lying? Contra the official warning to him, I doubt Markos and other insiders think he's racist. Rather, they know he's kryptonite to Obamiacs and Obamism (got a better word) and saw this as an easy ginned-up way to dump him.

I've disagreed with Rall a few times; I even deleted him from my (fairly brief) blogroll a couple of years back, after he had been there a few years. (I can't remember why.) But in general, I think many of his cartoons and his op-ed columns are both generally good stuff. Beyond that, you know where he stands on issues.

And, to all the individual Kossacks who supported the decision?

If this is really your mindset, "eat me." Especially if you're snooty enough to call your cultish mind-hive a "more honorable community."

Especially you social justice warriors, either Kossacks or others spreading the story by Twitter, accusing Rall of ... I kid you not ... "whitesplaining."

Thank doorknob I got banned there long ago, in light of the current crop of #stupidsplaining. Or #Kossplaining. I'm just disappointed I deleted my old blog about Markos der Fu¨hrer, or I'd have cross-posted this over there.

At the same time, Rall can, as well as write or draw things I disagree with, get on his high horse of moral dudgeon his own self. Whether he was really driving that much traffic to Kos, I don't know. I especially don't know if it was that versus Kos driving more traffic to him.

So, while I agree that this is an example, and a good one, of liberal puritanism, it's also a good job of Ted Rall taking an incident, and running with it, to shove himself in the limelight.

But, to be fair, here's a short video clip of Rall talking about the cartoon.



And, I'll still take Ted Rall shoving himself in the limelight over Markos Moulitsas' fake concern trolling, or some Kossacks' real concern trolling.

Sadly, on the Progressive's piece, Rall said he's, in essence, giving in. He's going to draw Obama differently. I hope it's a sarcastic "differently." I Tweeted him that he should draw Obama to look just like Markos.

Or, given that she's a neoliberal pea in a pod, drawing him to look halfway between Obama and Hillary Clinton would be fun, too. That said, then, somebody would accuse him of mansplaining as well as whitesplaining.

===

In a separate post, Rall notes how Adbusters seems to be profiteering (more?) off Occupy Wall Street, even selling them out, he says. If you thought he was pissed at Kossacks, read this.

I did, including noticing the Adbusters email link. And, I emailed, as regular readers know I do.

Kalle Lasn of Adbusters tried some blame-dumping:
please don't confuse Adbusters with the occupywallst.org group . . .
this morning we sent this email to them:

Priscilla, Justine, Micah,
Are you all seriously doing this? Selling the Adbusters OWS poster?
Really? Do you understand how much this undermines the entire message
of the movement? Think about all the people who put their asses on
the line, risked jail and police brutality, gave their time, energy
and reputations … and you're selling the poster? You're turning the
movement into a parody of itself and proving all of the critics right.

Please stop selling this poster!

Kalle, Darren and all of us here at Adbusters
Ahh, sure, Kalle. Whatever you say.
You're the frustrated graphic artists who didn't get jobs on Madison Avenue.
Just like the OWS folks with MBAs and JDs, mad that Wall St. didn't hire them.


Texas Greens file for statewide races

The biggie was last week, when food product safety whistle-blower Kenneth Kendrick announced he was running for state agriculture commissioner.

He has since been joined by Emily Marie Sanchez, running for John Cornyn's U.S. Senate seat, Martina Salinas, running for the Railroad Commission, Brandon Parmer for governor;  Chandrakantha Courtney for lieut. governor; Jamar Osborne for attorney general;  Deb Shafto for c omptroller; and Ulises Cabrera for general land commissioner.

The state party will have more details later today.

Per P. Diddie, let's hope there's a couple of judicial candidates amongst them.

That said, in the third-party world in Texas, Greens still have room to catch up to Libertarians. That party reports it his filed a candidate for every U.S. House, statewide state office and Texas Senate race in the state. Greens also have some PR learning to do from Libertarians, who have already email mass-blasted that news to media outlets around the state.

Hey, Greens? You only get publicity in today's world by creating it.

Oh, in my day job, I do list third-party candidates for top races. I don't just do Democrats and Republicans.

December 09, 2013

Doc and Carp — two great pitchers, linked again in retirement

Baseball fans who love great pitching, whether St. Louis Cardinal fans, Philadelphia Phillies fanatics, or just real baseball fans, will continue to remember Game 5 of one half of the National League Division Series for years to come.

That, of course, was the duel between the Cards' Chris Carpenter and Philly's Roy Halliday.

The Cards gutted out one run against Halliday, getting 6 hits in 8 innings. Carpenter made it stick in what is surely his best performance ever, yielding just three hits and, in the Phillies' bandbox ballpark, letting nobody past second. Halliday was almost equal. After giving up a triple to Rafael Furcal, then a double to Skip Schumaker, to open the game, he dodged a potentially big first inning and shut the Birds down after that.

Late last month, Carp announced his retirement, and today, Doc Halliday hung up his pitching spurs, too.

It should be Cooperstown for Halliday's next stop, but one can never tell with today's Baseball Writers of America Association. Biggest argument in my book is Halliday's 40.7 Wins Above Average. To me, WAA is an even better "eyeball" than WAR. Anything above 30 is legit strong Hall of Fame talk. Anything above 35 is legit Hall of Famer.

A good point of contrast on that is Carpenter. A fine career he had, even while battling a whole series of injuries over many years. His WAR of 35.5 is below Halliday's WAA.

Another is the waaWL percentage. Anything above .550 is solid. And, Halliday is at almost .600.

That said, even with allowance for injuries, he's not a slam-dunk first-year HOFer, even setting aside the idiosyncracy of today's BBWAA. But, he deserves serious first-ballot consideration.

#Sarin: Did Obama cherry-pick #Syria chemical weapons info?

In what is indeed explosive, without hyperbole, that's exactly what Seymour Hersch is claiming. He says, in a story released Sunday, that after Team Obama found out about the Aug. 21 sarin attack, but not having advanced warning from systems that specifically monitor the Assad government, that the National Security Agency went through its accumulation of other, more "chattery" radio communications around Syria at the time of the attack, and found what it wanted to, to claim this was an attack by the Assad government.

Here's a couple of specific tidbits. First, this:
The White House needed nine days to assemble its case against the Syrian government. On 30 August it invited a select group of Washington journalists (at least one often critical reporter, Jonathan Landay, the national security correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, was not invited), and handed them a document carefully labelled as a ‘government assessment’, rather than as an assessment by the intelligence community. 

That's interesting enough, and a bit of an eyebrow-raiser.

As I've blogged here before, when it came to Bush's run-up to the Iraq War, McClatchy was far and away the most aggressively skeptical national newspaper chain bureau or wire service organization. And, it's continued that same skepticism against the Obama Administration, specificially on Syria, in fact. It's also questioned the logic of Obama's Libyan intervention.Also, calling it a "government assessment" does appear to be narrowly legalistic.

Next, this:
An unforseen reaction came in the form of complaints from the Free Syrian Army’s leadership and others about the lack of warning. ‘It’s unbelievable they did nothing to warn people or try to stop the regime before the crime,’ Razan Zaitouneh, an opposition member who lived in one of the towns struck by sarin, told Foreign Policy. The Daily Mail was more blunt: ‘Intelligence report says US officials knew about nerve-gas attack in Syria three days before it killed over 1400 people – including more than 400 children.’ 
Yes, also an eyebrow-raiser. If we want to be blunt, if Team Obama really knew about this in advance and did nothing, not even warming the Free Syrian Army, then it's arguably complicit in murder.

There's more there than this, in a long article. Hersh indicates that it seems Islamist group al-Nusra is a likely candidate for having done this. In turn, as I said in my first articles about the sarin attacks, written when the fruit of Obama's Libyan intervention was already looking a bit bittersweet, this was even more reason not to get involved in Syria.

Of course, the push-back from Team Obama is fast and furious. And, shock me that Tiger Beat on the Potomac is running flak for that push-back.

And, on this issue, while I'm not totally surprised the WaPost rejected it, the New Yorker does raise an additional eyebrow. HuffPost has more on Hersh's publication attempts before it ultimately going in the London Review of Books. On first glance, that's weird. But, that's somewhat pre-Internet thinking.

However, Sy Hersh is far from infallible. His claim that Obama is lying about Osama bin Laden's death needs to be taken with a big grain of salt, for example.

My bottom line on this particular issue? It's possible.

But, without follow-up reporting, especially by someone other than Hersh, I'm still somewhat skeptical.

There's also the "narrative" issue. Obama was ready to go to war over this, than backed off. Was he really ready to go that far down the road of George W. Bush and "Curveball"?

Yasha Levine and Pando take down Glenn Greenwald — it's delicious

First, came Pando Daily's questioning piece about Glen Greenwald's new partnership with libertarian billionaire Pierre Omidyar.

Then, Greenwald, as usual when his ox is gored, goes somewhat ape-shit over the top, with an interesting blunderbuss of a reply.

Pando then counters with a follow-up, thanking Greenwald for joining the conversation, but firing back. The piece also notes that Greenwald's more fanatic followers rank in the same cult-like level as do the Pharyngulac groupies of Gnu Atheist cult leader P.Z. Myers.

Tying in to this, Yasha Levine does a takedown of Glen Greenwald's new partnership.. I think, in this and the related back-and-forth between Pando and Greenwald, GG has modest, maybe moderate, room, to complain. 

Let's take this one by one.

In the first Pando piece, Mark Ames notes that Greenwald and collaborator Laura Poitras are the only two reporters with access to all the material leaked by Edward Snowden. He wonders about the propriety of them carting that off to a proprietary, perhaps even boutique news site funded by a billionaire, as well as the two of them possibly profiting in other ways.

Here's the nut graf of those worries:
News about Greenwald-Poitras’ decision to privatize the NSA cache came just days after the New York Times reported on Greenwald’s negotiations with major movie studios to sell a Snowden film. This past summer, Greenwald sold a book to Metropolitan Books for a reportedly hefty sum, promising that some of the most sensational revelations from Snowden’s leaks would be saved for the book.
Tres interessant. (And interesting that Poitras is apparently taking a free ride on this issue behind Greenwald's snapping jowls.)

In case you're wondering, Greenwald's former employer, the Guardian, doesn't have full access. And Snowden didn't just hand over copies. He says he handed over what he had. (Another reason he's continually struck me as, if not naive, then something very close to that. You NEVER, in today's world, hand over originals, certainly not without making back-up copies for yourself. NEVER.)

From there, Ames notes that Omidyar, as chairman of the board of eBay, which owns PayPal, surely knew something about PayPay blocking donations via it to Wikileaks; that's after other accusations about the business ethics, or "business ethics," of Omidyar. He adds that Omidyar was at that time eBay's single biggest shareholder, too. From here, the deliciousness factor increases.

Greenwald fires back on multiple fronts.

First, he claims Omidyar knew nothing about that. Really, Glenn? And someone so ignorant of a major news issue wants to own a newspaper?

Second, he attacks Pando for being funded by PayPal founder Peter Thiel, a known libertarian himself. Ames fesses up, but says Pando has never been sparing of Thiel. He adds that Thiel's venture capital is different than an ongoing ownership stake, let along a management oversight stake. For such a business-friendly libertarian, Glenn, ought you not know more about business management? Actually, maybe you're hard at work on your business ethics, for all I know.

I actually suspect any "newspaper" that  Greenwald/Poitras/Omidyar runs will be narrowly focused on civil liberties issues. Exploitation of workers, whether in the developing world or here in the US, will be ignored.

Actually, isn't Greenwald himself one of the elite types who's more a global citizen than an American? His boyfriend is from Brazil, though both of them seem to carefully avoid any attention to Rio's favelas.

More below the fold, starting with Greenwald firing back.

Here's Glenn's main response, so far.

His opening paragraph sets up straw men, to be charitable, or lying, to not be charitable, which I doubt I shall be.
The other day I referred to those who "evince zero interest in the substance of the revelations about NSA and GCHQ spying which we're reporting on around the world", but "are instead obsessed with spending their time personally attacking the journalists, whistleblowers and other messengers who enable the world to know about what is being done." 
The reality? As I Tweeted both him and Yasha Levine (more on and from him in a couple of minutes) Pando, over the last 30 days, not counting its original article and response to this, had a dozen or more Snowden-related articles. That's far from "zero interest."

Greenwald then accuses Ames of an error in an article in The Nation about the Transportation Security Administration, co-written with Levine. Ames/Levine/The Nation corrected the error. Actually, they over-corrected it, as it turned out. And, didn't retract it.

The error, as documented in a Pando response to Greenwald, accused someone at the heart of early complaints about TSA agents groping too many people too often of being a libertarian tool. Here's the details of what went down:
 What’s certainly true is that Greenwald pressured the Nation to apologize to one of the people mentioned in the story: a man called John Tyner who was presenting himself as a concerned citizen standing up to TSA oppression (Pando readers might remember him as the “don’t touch my junk” guy). Following pressure by Greenwald, the Nation did indeed post an apology to Tyner, who it was later revealed works for a private defense contractor, clarifying there was no evidence he was acting as anything other than a regular Joe Libertarian when he took his hidden video camera to the TSA checkpoint. As for the “grassroots” anti-TSA movement which Tyner helped promote — well, you can read Yasha Levine’s follow-up to see how that turned out.
Yasha Levine (time for his appearance) showed last month just how much in the libertarian tank this movement was. He notes the shooter at LAX last month as possibly being led to his conspiratorial thoughts by a movement like this.

I'm going to do a long pull quote, because I think it's needed:
Progressives like to smugly ridicule dumb red-state voters who go against their own interests by joining political movements and by voting in politicians who end up screwing them.  But as smug as they are, progressives have shown themselves no better. By joining the anti-TSA hysteria, they became unwitting tools in a campaign that promoted everything progressives are supposed to be against: demonizing workers, busting unions, privatizing government services, replacing unionized government employees with exploited minimum-wage-slaves and enriching corporate security contractors.

How did this happen? How did the left get duped into joining an anti-labor and pro-privatization campaign? To understand that, you have to go back to 2010.



That year, on November 12, the Federal Labor Relations Board issued a surprise ruling granting TSA's 50,000 employees the right to unionize. The decision was a major victory — the culmination of a brutal decade-long struggle for collective bargaining — and paved the way for the largest unionization in decades. 

But rank-and-file TSA employees didn't get much of a chance to celebrate. The very next day, an anti-TSA campaign exploded on a national level and proceeded to monopolize the news cycle for weeks on end.

In its opening stages, the PR campaign was driven by a grand alliance of right-wing media outlets, Koch-funded advocacy groups, libertarian operatives, warmongering neocons, neo-Confederates and Christian homophobes.

They seized on the TSA's new full-body scanners and "enhanced" pat-down procedures to portray TSA screeners as the biggest threat to liberty and freedom in the history of the United States.
Levine can be over the top at times; I'll admit that myself. But, even if you discount this 50 percent, it's still strong, and strongly real, stuff.

And, you don't have to discount him that much, because of this:
Without a doubt, there was a lot to criticize about the TSA's full-body scanners and invasive pat-down procedures, which are offensive and intrusive. Criticism of the TSA was not only valid, but also necessary. But there was a huge distance between criticizing TSA policy and the vicious smearing of poorly paid federal employees as "rapists" and "fascists," especially when these employees were in the middle of a historic unionization drive.


Indeed. TSA is a very problematic industry. But, it's not the antichrist, or fasicist, or anything close.

But, there's that word, that dirty word for libertarians.

"Union."

Greenwald himself has tried to claim that he's a liberal because he regularly speaks to socialist youth groups and such.

Nice try, Glenn. When you do speak to them, you ALWAYS speak about civil liberties issues. Show me a speech, on a website, preferably with YouTube, that proves otherwise.

And, folks, THAT is why Greenwald didn't like the original Nation piece, why he distorted the truth about what it got wrong, and why he's lied about what corrections were and were not made, ever since.

Glenn Greenwald is not telling the truth, period, when he claims to be a liberal. Any fellow liberals who claim he is? I'll punch you in the nads if I hear such a claim.

I said he wasn't a liberal 18 months ago.  I said this was part of why he continued to be a staunch defender of the ACLU, in spite of the hypocrisy of then-president Nadine Strossen and director Anthony Romero over the Patriot Act, because the ACLU has a history of being weak on union rights.

His extended back and forth with Bill Keller, retired editorial poohbah of the New York Times, underscores this again. Greenwald more than once says the Omidyar venture is all about "adversarial journalism," regardless of the political stripes of the individual journalists. But, he makes clear that this adversarial journalism is ONLY adversarial against the government, not other organizations, including NOT being adversarial against big business. Since Greenwald defended the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, one should not be surprised.

He's been a hypocrite in his libertarianism, namely with his second home country of Brazil, to add to my observation about the favalas. He's also been a hypocrite, or something, on capital-L Libertarian Party issues, especially his man-crush on Ron Paul to the exclusion of Gary Johnson, or of looking at Paul's racist past. That second link also documents that Greenwald has a past history of going in the tank for billionaires.

Meanwhile, Levine's piece on Omidyar, speaking of billionaires, refutes the claims that Greenwald makes about Omidyar being ignorant of PayPal tactics.

Omidyar got big into microfinance in India, via third parties. He claimed that his company knew nothing about some Indians being driven to suicide by onerous loan terms. However, Levine quotes from an AP story disproving that:
"More than 200 poor, debt-ridden residents of Andhra Pradesh killed themselves in late 2010, according to media reports compiled by the government of the south Indian state. The state blamed microfinance companies - which give small loans intended to lift up the very poor - for fueling a frenzy of overindebtedness and then pressuring borrowers so relentlessly that some took their own lives.

"The companies, including market leader SKS Microfinance, denied it.

"However, internal documents obtained by The Associated Press, as well as interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees, independent researchers and videotaped testimony from the families of the dead, show top SKS officials had information implicating company employees in some of the suicides."
Well, there's the reality, Glenn.

And, the plot thickens.
Curiously, in the aftermath of the SKS micro-lending scandal, Omidyar Network was dragged into another political scandal in India when it was revealed that Omidyar and the Ford Foundation were placing their own paid researchers onto the staffs of India’s MPs.
See, per what I said earlier about Greenwald and the ACLU, at the same time the ACLU was publicly fighting the Patriot Act, Executive Director Anthony Romero was teaching ... wait for it ... the Ford Foundation how to comply with the Patriot Act.

Levine goes on to show that Omidyar is a big funder of the "school reform" movement and other things.
Overseas, the Omidyar Network is embarking on a school privatization program that will make DonorsChoose look like Mother Theresa’s handiwork. Omidyar provided seed capital for a new Africa-based for-profit private school enterprise for the poor called Bridge International. ...

Bridge’s strategic partner is the for-profit education giant, Pearson. ...

Bridge is only a few years old, but criticism of its educational model is already piling up—even from centrist pro-business thinktanks like the Brookings Institution. Even at $4 or $5 a month, Bridge's "low cost" education is too expensive for many in the developing world.
There's a LOT more beyond this.

Let me go back a bit to Greenwald's post.

He's right that "dump it all" is not the best thing to do with Snowden's material. But, given the option of that, or of Greenwald kowtowing, and presumably willingly, noting all of his past history that I've documented, maybe that would be better. Sorry, Glenn, but you've opened this can of worms, not Pando.

I will note that, per this CNET article, most of Glenn's co-workers to be at NewCo don't appear to have a NSA focus, or be ardent libertarians. But, who knows how many will stay, and for how long? Who knows how long of an editorial whip Glenn will crack? I suspect it will be humongous, from what I know of him.

And, given what Scahill said about Greenwald's distorted comments on that Nation piece, I'm really, really surprised to see him signed up to work with Glenn. And a bit disturbed, to be honest. I'll look at Scahill a touch more skeptically in the future.

It's also interesting that Jay Rosen is joining this shop. Per the worries of Ames and Levine, he, if anybody, would be the person to put a check on Greenwald's potential desire to become a John Stossel on any non-civil liberties reporting, it would be him.

The additional facts are that Greenwald doesn't address all the criticisms from the original Pando article, and that he certainly doesn't provide his readers, whether the more cultish ones or the more occasional ones, the full backstory about why Ames and Levine "took him down" in the first place.

Suffice it to say that Greenwald has made his bed with a worker-hating, union-hating hypercapitalist. And, that any Socialist group that invites him to address them about anything, even civil liberties, should be shunned, totally shunned.

And, this partnership? Maybe Omidyar wants all the Snowden leaks to learn ways to spy on people as a big-business billionaire? Or trade secrets against other businesses? Or something even more nefarious?

I think Pando overstates some of the Snowden concerns. Besides, there was enough other Omidyar rope with which to hang both Omidyar and Greenwald. That said, in any case, I'm pretty sure we won't have full-service journalism. If it goes beyond a narrow focus on civil liberties issues, Omidyar's shop could indeed have Glenn becoming John Stossel, for all we know.

And, we do need Glenn Greenwalds. We also need them to be less sanctimonious. Fat chance of that with the real Glenn, though. He'd sooner become an actual liberal.