September 26, 2015

Goodbye, Carrot Face (with a) Boehner

Heard the news on NPR on vacation yesterday. Here in California, Kevin McCarthy already being touted on conservative talk radio as the man. However, suburban Sacramento's Congresscritter said nobody in the House GOP has near a majority right now.

How that will shake out in 5 weeks, when John Boehner officially leaves, I don't know. I do find it interesting that Eddie Munster, I mean Paul Ryan, is getting no touts so far. And, Eric Cantor, the former majority leader upended in his 2014 primary for not being hardcore enough? Is he sad, or glad, to be out of the picture now?

I'll have a fuller breakdown after vacation.

Note: McCarthy is now being pitched as a pragmatist. Please.

If you're a Texan, think of an opportunistic political climber like Tom DeLay, yet, unlike DeLay, apparently unafraid to move to the top rather than operate in the shadows.

He knows why Boehner faced rebellion, and as an opportunistic climber, beyond his already conservative record, he knows he'll have to trim any "pragmatic" sails he has to the teabaggers.

September 25, 2015

#Libertarianism: The flip side of the #NewAge success coin

New Ageism, and its more religious offshoot, the success gospel (and similar movements outside Christianity) all teach that if a person simply believes hard enough, long enough, deep enough, success -- usually defined in materialist terms -- will happen. A term often used is "manifesting."

Meanwhile, libertarianism?

Its believers, especially of the more Randian/Objectivist wing, are told that if they're hard-headed enough, hard-hearted enough, ruthless enough, long enough, success -- invariably defined in materialist terms -- will happen. A term often used is "libertarianism."

A more accurate term is "Social Darwinism." For New Ageism, a more accurate term is "Social Darwinism with lipstick."

September 24, 2015

Good-bye, Scott Walker; hello, Koch Brothers?

Shock me. Shock me so much that I didn't have him listed in the top 5 most likely to withdraw, in my poll at right.

I heard the news on NPR, while on my current vacation, about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker withdrawing from the GOP race.

And, yes, I am actually surprised.

I thought that he would use his neighboring-state candidacy to continue to try to boost himself in Iowa. But, no soap.

That said, on the GOP side, Iowa's caucuses lean heavy to the Religious Right, as Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have shown in the past. Walker has no such connection.

The Wisconsin miracle, economically? It's about as real as Donald Trump's non-bankruptcy business success.

And, Trump had hogged the oxygen from the big biz side of the GOP, along with his strange appeal to some tea party types. And, Jeb Bush, while not "charismatic" compared to Trump, was still ahead of Walker. And, ahead of him on donors, too.

Speaking of, it looks like the Koch Brothers' alleged anointing of Walker, long rumored, never actually happened. Was this a rumor with any legs, and they just were wanting to see more out of him? If they are going to anoint any GOP candidate, who, and when?

Meanwhile, and not to justify SCOTUS on either Citizens United or McCutcheon vs. FEC, but, this shows that money, or the hints of it, aren't everything. Tricky Ricky Perry is gone. Bush is struggling. (We'll see how much Walker interruptus helps him.)

The Donald, I do believe, will eventually blow over. More on that in a separate post.

So, who's next?

Why I don't believe in "justified" actions with serious moral consequences

A blog post of mine last month, about the 70th anniversary of the world's first atomic bombing, at Hiroshima, is the basis of this.

At least one liberal to left-liberal friend asked if I thought the bombing was "justified."

My response? I said that I generally tried to avoid that word.

Why? I pointed them to my review of Walter Kaufmann's "Without Guilt and Justice." The title it self should offer some hint as to my thought. The fact that Kaufmann is the world's best mid-20th century expositor of Friedrich Nietzsche should offer yet more. But, click the review link for details.

Of course, existentialist morals can differ from one another, Nietzsche's own are surely different from Kaufmann's, and this is his book, not Nietzsche's. Both are surely different again from Sartre's or Camus'.

The big point is that he disagrees strongly with John Rawls on ethics, and his critiques surely apply in a general sense to other liberal humanistic schools of ethics.

Perhaps a better way of looking at this is that Kaufmann believes in his own version of humanistic ethics. It is an empirical one, and one that fully accepts the Problem of Induction in trying to formulate moral laws.

And speaking of induction and empiricism, perhaps this is a good time to reference David Hume's "An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals," which in turn, may have influenced Nietzsche's "On the Genealogy of Morality." (Yes, he reacts against some British philosophy, but that appears to be against utilitarianism.) Certainly, it's arguable that Kaufmann sees Nietzsche through a Humean set of glasses, to the degree either one is influencing him.

I take Hume's focus on "the passions" and morals as descriptive, rather than prescriptive, and certainly not an overarching theory. Of course, I think Hume rejected such theories in general, and that itself is arguably a theory, or an anti-theory.

September 23, 2015

#Fahrvergnügen, meet #BlueBell

With Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn officially stepping down, I think there's parallels between his company and the American ice cream maker.

Per the link, and per my blogging about Blue Bell, as here, too rapid of expansion is what likely led to corner-cutting at both places.

(More here on Volkswagen's being driven by Ed Abbey's "theology of the cancer cell," growth for growth's sake.)

And, it should be a warning to we the consumer not to buy stuff from such companies.

There's another parallel of sorts. Volkswagen is public, Blue Bell private. But, both Winterkorn and Kevin Kruse seem to be very sharp at board politics. Per the behavioral economics tag, boardrooms, it would seem, aren't very rational.

And, some slogans?

"Listeria: It puts the 'l' in 'Blue Bell.'"

"Fahrvergnügen: It's German for 'cheating pleasure.'"

That's especially true now that we learn, as I heard on the radio this morning, that renowned German auto parts maker Bosch reportedly warned VW back in 2007 not to try cheating EPA tests. Shades of Blue Bell, indeed.

And, yes, just like Blue Bell listeria helped kill a few people, so did VW smog.

TX progressives talk Bernie, Ahmed,refugees, money, more

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a happy and balanced equinox, which this blogger  celebrated in national parks, as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff stands with Ahmed.

Socratic Gadfly turns a bit of a skeptical eye to European panic over the "refugee crisis" and provides some critical analysis of how it's being handled.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos tried her very best to watch the second GOP Presidential debate but she just couldn't take it anymore. She hung in there for two hours and twenty minutes.  GOP Presidential Debate: A Trip Back to the Twilight Zone

Tired of watching Bernie Sanders surge, Clinton surrogates grabbed the 'socialist' brush and started smearing him.  PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is pretty certain that this is how it's going to go until the Sanders campaign no longer represents a threat to her coronation nomination.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. It’s becoming clear that the GOP in Texas has no problem with the cuts to Medicaid therapy.  They just don't want to be blamed for it, Abbott, GOP Want Cuts, But No Blame.

Neil at All People Have Value said that Alexander Hamilton should remain on the $10 bill. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The TSTA Blog salutes education reporter Terrence Stutz on his retirement.

Paradise in Hell annotates Donald Trump's Texas speech, and celebrates its first year of blogging.

Texas Clean Air Matters explains why parents should care about climate change.

David Ortez reports from a Houston Mayoral forum on issues facing younger voters.

Danyahel Norris illustrates the importance of Houston's equal rights ordinance.

Finally, the TPA congratulates Lize Burr on her new positions as Editor and Publisher of the Burnt Orange Report.

September 22, 2015

How long will the Dallas Morning News remain anti-paywall?

Will a new editor, and a new managing editor whose last newspaper gig was with an ardently anti-paywall company, as I blogged earlier this month, be able to overcome ... well, overcome 15 years of digital-related stupidity and about a decade of paywall stupidity, and a publisher who's presided over most of that near-decade of paywall stupidity?

Or will a JOA with the Fort Worth Star Telegram come first?

The News is the 11th largest newspaper in the country. (Why it's not ahead of the Denver Post, even with allowance for the collapse of the Rocky Mountain News, I'm not sure. And, why the Houston Chronicle, no longer having to share a Metroplex-sized area with another daily, after the demise of the Houston Post, is behind the Snooze, is even more perplexing. Of course, in audited circulation, the issue of "branded" circulation is the most perplexing thing of all.) Besides the somewhat special case of USA Today, the New York Post is the only larger paper without a paywall.

The Post is, in its own way and different than USA Today, also sui generis. Rupert and the House of Murdoch are still content for it to bleed money as long as it remains a bastion of "man on the street" conservative print journalism, a thumb in the eye of liberal New Yorkers, and so forth.

My predictions?

The paper remains anti-paywall as long as Bob Moroney is publisher.

The two newspapers form a "JOA lite," short of a full JOA but with more cooperation, and more interlocking work than already in place, and forms it by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, the bleeding continues. The News has just let go of what is surely one metro columnists popular with white suburbanite readers, Steve Blow and, rumoredly, Jacquielynn Floyd. (I've not seen any confirmation on that.)

I never hugely warmed to either one when I lived in Dallas, precisely because I wasn't in their target audience. Found both kind of like pablum, and found Floyd less liberal than she claimed to be. Basically, they're both writing to NPR listeners, which is fine. Or "fine."