SocraticGadfly: 3/13/16 - 3/20/16

March 18, 2016

Cubano béisbol players coming direct to America?

Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman
So, with a Treasury Department announcement from Wednesday, are we finally past the point of the likes of Aroldis Chapman and Yasiel Puig not having to engage in dangerous escapes from Cuba in order to play béisbol in America?

Well, we could be closer to that, but there's going to be a number of factors involved before we're THAT close to that.

So, let's start by taking a look at what the Treasury Department, which oversees sanctions against Cuba, had to say on Wednesday.

Here's the key points from that:
Cuban nationals in the United States in a non-immigrant status or pursuant to other non-immigrant travel authorization will be authorized to earn a salary or compensation, consistent with the terms of the particular visa, provided that the recipient is not subject to any special tax assessments in Cuba.  U.S. companies will be authorized to engage in transactions related to the sponsorship or hiring of Cuban nationals to work or perform in the United States similar to nationals from other countries, provided that no additional payments are made to the Cuban government in connection with such sponsorship or hiring.
Note the items in bold.

Commenter Historophiliac, at a group baseball blog where I also contribute, notes that Cuba signed a deal in 2014 with the KBO to let Cubans play in Korea in exchange for getting a cut of Cuban salaries. But, that's clearly cash, and wouldn't cut the mustard unless put into a shell company.

MLB, in requesting early in March that the Treasury Department make such changes, envisioned a nonprofit shell company as a workaround, though:
Under the proposed plan, according to M.L.B.’s top lawyer, Dan Halem, an entity made up of Cuban entrepreneurs and officials from baseball and its players’ union would be created. A percentage of salaries paid to Cuban players would go to the new body, which would function like a nonprofit organization and support youth baseball, education and the improvement of sports facilities in Cuba. 
The proposed body could satisfy the terms of the embargo, M.L.B. contends, because no money would go directly to the Cuban government.
Well, let's look at how this might play out, then. 

First, this won't affect the current season, whatever happens or will happen. We're too far into spring training for Cuban players to crack MLB or even AAA squads this year.

Second, per what I highlighted on the Treasury Dept. release, what does "payments" mean? Is it cash only, or is it any capitalist-based financial considerations?

Because, to channel my inner classicist a bit, MLB will have to steer between the Scylla of the letter of the Treasury Department and the Charybdis of what Cuba wants.

If "payments" is cash only, let's say one of Raul Castro's minions pitches something like the following to one of Commissioner Corleone's minions.

We like that you had a single spring training game here in 2016. We'd really like teams to agree to play a couple dozen.

And, you'll surely want to build an MLB-level spring training complex here, probably in Havana. Maybe a second in Santiago or something. (And feel free to add enough grandstands to that field, or those fields, to seat the typical Serie National crowd.)

¿Oh, and you know, Señor Commissioner? I'm sure enough Yanqui fans will want to see béisbol here that they might want to do so in the comfort of a new, American-class hotel.

We can name the whole complex after one of the best Yanqui writers, one who emblemed the manhood of béisbol and is beloved in both countries, Señor Ernesto Hemingway.

No cash trades hands. The whole complex is owned by a shell nonprofit which just happens to let Raul and/or Fidel appoint the majority of the board of directors.

Cubans get thousands of construction jobs for building all of this.

Now, how realistic would it be? That would not be cash payments; it would be in line with what I envision. And, from the MLBPA's union point of view, rather than being a cut of salaries, it would come on top of that. Plus, besides youth baseball, it would create jobs and promote tourism in Cuba, the latter bringing further Yanqui dollars to the island.

How realistic is that?

Well, we have this thing in the U.S. called a "presidential election."

Bernie Sanders isn't getting the Democratic nomination, and Jill Stein or whomever the Greens nominate isn't winning the election, so it's going to be Hillary Clinton vs. some Republican, either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in all likelihood.

Clinton would surely be OK with a fairly loose reading of the Treasury statement, on the spirit rather than the letter. A GOP president would be a different kettle of fish.

So, hold on Cards fans before you start looking for the next Aledmys Diaz.

March 17, 2016

Jesus mythicism and better ideas

I'm on record at this blog and my main blog as challenging the thought processes and intellectual level of the leading current crop of Jesus mythicists, or Jesus denialists, as I've called them.

Even the best of them are but second-rate in terms of actual biblical scholarship, and those below the level of the best aren't actual biblical scholars.

That said, I've also said that, while I reject the Jesus denialists — in part because for most of them, their pseudointellectual claims are part of broader Gnu Atheism — I don't reject Jesus mythicism in general tout court.

First, I should note that there's mythicism in the narrow sense, and there's mythicism in a broader sense.

The narrow sense is that the "protagonist" of the New Testament is entirely fictional.

The broader sense is that the Jesus of the Christian New Testament is a somewhat "true to life" character; that is, no such person existed with the alleged historic framework we are presented, but one (or more) people did exist upon whom the Jesus character was based. (I've also said that issues with mythicist claims need to be separated from issues with Gnu Atheism; not all mythicists are Gnus.)

I myself have wondered if Jesus wasn't based on one of the 800 Pharisees crucified by Alexander Jannaeus. That gives the Jesus story an extra century of development time. Combine that with just a 10-15 percent growth rate per decade, far less than what Christianist (sic) sociologist Rodney Stark has postulated — a 40 percent growth rate — and Christianity could be one-quarter of the Roman Empire, setting aside extra-Imperial growth in the Sassanid lands, Armenia, Georgia, and elsewhere, by the time of Constantine. That would be enough to make it influential, yet leave large swaths of the Empire pagan then, and fair amounts still that way a century later.

Said Jesus the Pharisee could have founded a school, like Hillel or Shammai, but perhaps more syncretistic or something.

Or, even a Jesus who lived just half a century before the actual — rather than being born shortly before Herod died, being killed at Herod's hands at about that time.

Now, as far as supporting something like this, rather than making arguments from silence that backfire because they could be used against all sorts of figures of antiquity, or other nonsense, just a couple of passages from Paul suffice to make some sort of mythicism at least plausible.

The first is Galatians 4:4, which reads:
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law...

Before going down the exegetical road, several points must be laid out.

For the totally unaware, that is that Paul was writing some 20 years ahead of Mark, and at least 35, in my opinion, or more, ahead of Matthew, and probably 45 or more ahead of Luke. Galatians was either Paul's first letter, or his second, after 1 Thessalonians, written just after 50 CE.

So, we can't assume that Paul meant Jesus was born of Mary.

That verse above is the only thing in either the genuine OR pseudepigraphal Pauline letters where we hear about a detail of a physical Jesus, other than "you proclaim the Lord's death until he returns" in 1 Corinthians at the end of Paul establishing the Eucharist.

Even many liberal, critical New Testament scholars seem not to fully grasp that, just like they fail to translate the Greek "apodidomi" in the Eucharist as "arrested" rather than "betrayed," and thus read Judas into 1 Corinthians when Paul actually says nothing about him.

As for companions of Jesus, Paul mentions but two: James (the brother of the Lord) and Cephas. (Not Peter, except for in Galatians 1:18, where some manuscripts have Cephas, which I think is to be preferred as a reading.)

So, we have James, nowhere mentioned as a disciple in the four canonical Gospels (unless you think James the brother of John in the same person) and a Cephas, which yes, does mean the same in Aramaic as Peter does in Greek, but may, or may not, be the same person. (Angle three, since we're into mythicism, is that a "Cephas" was himself, like any "Jesus," radically reworked by the time we're into the Gospels.)

And, no, this is not some radical wild hare of my own; a distinction between Peter and Cephas as two different people goes back to some early Church Fathers (albeit not recognizing they were sowing tares among their wheat).

Anyway, there you have it.

Paul tells us nothing about Jesus himself other than he was a human being, and that itself may just be an anti-Gnostic or anti-Docetist statement. 

As for Jesus' life history, contra conventional readings of 1 Corinthians and Cephas passages, he tells us nothing about Jesus' life story that squares with the Synoptic Gospels and Acts. (Per the link above, John does use the Aramaic "Cephas."

That said, I disagree with the final thrust of the linked piece, which is an attempt to "save" Peter for papal authority and primacy. 

It seems clear, though, that per that link and the use of James with the modifier "the brother of the Lord" as a leader of the early Jesus movement again goes directly against the Gospels, where Jesus himself is recorded as saying, "who is my mother and brothers and sisters," and elsewhere allegedly being described as crazy by his own family.

Let's put this all on hold for a minute.

The verse in Galatians is just one of two Pauline passages for consideration.

The other is his Christological hymn in Philippians 2:
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.
 Again, critical Christian scholars seem to have their hands on something but they don't fully grasp it.

They recognize that this is a relatively "high" Christology.

But, they don't connect this with Philippians being written just a couple of years after Galatians, or really talk about how this elevated a Christology appeared so quickly. That issue is in more pressing need of explanation if you follow critical scholarship, as I do, in noting that Paul is using pre-existing material here.

So, we know Paul never met Jesus. Did he even have an idea of a historical Jesus he was hanging his hat on? Maybe, similar to Metatron of some of the Enoch literature, Paul's working with an archetype that he's trying to humanize.

And, while most "non-canonical" gospels are derivative, the Gospel of Peter reflects some traditions that are seemingly as old as those of Mark, but yet independent. An earlier floruit for a 'core historic Jesus" allows more time for a wider stream of tradition to have developed.

At the same time, other non-canonical documents further show the development of independent traditions early in Christian life, like the Didache's take on what has come to be called the Eucharist.

And per that plurality of traditions, that's another good argument, per this debate, also linked here, against mythicism in its narrow sense, at a minimum. Unfortunately, the author/framer of the debate either doesn't know New Testament scholarship that well or is engaging in some big cherry-picking. Dykstra misrepresents Q, claims that Lucan source "L" must represent only a written source (even if Ehrman claims that, which I've not heard, it's not true) and more. (Dykstra, per his blog, is not a biblical scholar, and per what I've said elsewhere about the academic qualifications, or lack thereof, of leading horseman of Jesus mythicism, probably is less a biblical semi-scholar than I am.) As for claiming L, and M, have no manuscript evidence, that's the old "argument from silence" that's a petard of sorts, even a potential hand grenade, for mythicism. We still have new manuscripts being discovered today, and even if a manuscript isn't discovered, that doesn't mean it never existed.

That said, Dykstra is right about "oral tradition" being a thin reed. Despite someone like John Lord on Balkan bards (a New Testament prof of mine leaned heavily on him) and the stress on orality in Vedic religion, they both make clear that oral transmission is based most strongly on formulaic materials, usually structurally formulaic like poems and hymns. Certainly, something like the Philippians 2 hymn fits this. But, while noting that L and M could have been more than one document each, the idea that they could be oral doesn't stand up well.

That said, Dykstra then goes on to set up seeming straw men. Ehrman nowhere refers to the "Jesus interpolation" in Josephus as an argument against mythicism. I don't know off the top of my head if he appeals to Tacitus or not; I don't myself, I can tell Dykstra that.

As for the Thomas Brodie he cites as a new light in mythicism? His riff on why Mark used the word "tekton" in referring to Jesus is, to put it charitably, stretching things.

To put it uncharitably, it's laughable.

Acts 14:17 DOES refer to the architect or shaper, and without connecting this to Jesus at all. Given that it was likely written 30 years later than Mark, one would have thought that it would have picked up on that idea. Rather, the other Synoptics "softening" Mark make clear they thought he was calling Jesus an actual carpenter.

From there, Dykstra clearly grasps at straws, with something like this:
As another biblical scholar, Joel Willitts, observes, "Over-confidence in what the tools of the historical-critical method can satisfactorily produce pervades Jesus research.” An article Willitts published in 2005 carefully examined the historical criteria used by six different Jesus scholars. ...
What Dykstra doesn't tell the reader is that Willits teaches at a conservative evangelical college and can hardly be called a bible scholar.

Dykstra does raise other good points, at the same time. If there was a historic Jesus as recounted by the gospels, and a historic James who was the non-Catholic blood brother of Jesus, how did he go from rejecting his brother, per the Synoptics, to being a key witness of his, per both Paul and Acts? (That seems even more problematic for David Tabor, Robert Eisenman and his ilk. And, it can't be interpreted a Pauline-based anti-Jamesian tradition in the Synoptics, as Paul himself calls James a leader of the church in Galatians, and refers again to this in 1 Corinthians 3. Or can it? By 1 Corinthians, if there ever was an Apostolic council in Jerusalem as reported in Acts, even if it did temporarily paper over differences, Paul had rejected Jacobean ideas on such things like requiring Gentiles to only eat kosher-slaughtered meat and food devoted to pagan idols.)

One doesn't need to believe in a "betrayal" of Judas to accept something like a literal Passion story. As I've noted elsewhere, this appears to be likely due to Mark getting "apodidomi" in the Pauline account of the Eucharist wrong, interpreting it as a passive voice rather than a middle voice verb.

As for citing Brodie as a worthy opponent to Ehrman, the fact that Brodie apparently thinks Paul as well as Jesus were mythical makes this, and Brodie's book, a head-scratcher. I mean, the mythicism of Paul is even more laughable than the mythicism of Jesus.

As for the book Dykstra briefly cites, "Is Not This the Carpenter," no, most of the "scholars" in it are not "well-known and well-respected," and from what I saw at Amazon, those who are, are at best for Dykstra's cause, agnostic, if that, on Jesus mythicism. That said, the scholars who do fit that are connected with a more-respected actual academic school of Biblical interpretation, Copenhagen, than Brodie, let alone American mythicists. (I agree with the "mainstream" within the Copenhagen school on a lot of its Old Testament/Tanakh findings. I think a historical David likely did not exist. I certainly think the size of any Davidic or Solomonic kingdom was not that large. And, I think it's possible no historic Solomon existed.)

And, Dykstra does note well that, in the likes of Thomas Thompson of Copenhagen, Ehrman does sometimes draw his "New Testament specialist" net too tightly. However, even without that, if Wiki is accurate, Thompson is on the "far fringe" of Copenhagen, and not just the far fringe of Old Testament/Tanakh scholarship, if he believes almost all the Tanakh was composed between the fifth-second centuries BCE. Thus, I find him less than fully credible for that reason alone, and as noted, I don't think the majority of the Copenhagen school goes as far as he does.

Conventional scholarship still stands behind the "documentary hypothesis" for the Torah, with the JED strands all in written form before the Exile; if's specious if Thompson calls the Torah post-exilic just because the P strand and final editing came into written form after the Exile. (In fact, per that link, Thompson allegedly dates the final redaction of the Torah to the Hasmonean era!) And, I still stand by some, if modified, version of the documentary hypothesis. Even if the fragmentary hypothesis is a modifier, I don't see an extreme version of it as being "controlling." Also, proponents of such an extreme version seem to laten the date of writing in Palestine. And, it seems like critics of the documentary hypothesis want to impose modern book-publishing editing ideas and mechanisms on authors of 2,500-3,000 years ago.

Conventional scholarship also considers the whole of the "deuteronomic history" to be Exilic, not post-Exilic, as internal indicators such as the end of 2 Kings and citations of earlier, seemingly written, sources, show.

As for the claim that Ehrman is an amateur in the area of intertextuality, I highly doubt that. And, Dykstra seems to think there's some special magic to not being an amateur in this area, as though intertextuality is a magic wand.

As for the idea that fear makes some scholars reticent? Might be true at religious universities, but not in the secular world. Some type of fallacy there by Dykstra.

That said, some modern minimalist critics appear to project ideas behind new literary criticism back on biblical writers without any proof. Yes, from Dykstra's piece, some people in antiquity may have thought of Jesus the way he does himself and the way he thinks they did.

We call such people "Gnostics."

March 16, 2016

Stop the "Bernie's not a Democrat" BS

I am getting so tired of this, whether it's Phil Bump (in the road) of the Fix claiming Sanders is wanting to hijack the Democratic Party but he's really an independent, or a Harris County (Texas) Democratic leader claiming Sanders is an "independent" with ideas that are "almost a museum piece."

The first shows why the mainstream media barfs me more and more. The second shows why, in national elections, I'M not a Democrat, and am becoming even less one. (If only Texas had a Socialist AND a Green Party.)

Bump makes his MSM case even worse by trotting out the hoary myth of the "Berniebro" just one-quarter the way in.

He then comes off sounding like a paid shill for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman:
What's important to note is that Sanders isn't just hijacking the party's processes -- he's hijacking the results. 
Fact is, Bump on a Log, the Democrats have long had open primaries, and some candidates have long gotten more support from independents. The only "hijacking" is the hijacking of that history on your part. Well, no; if the Peter Principle in the MSM, especially Inside the Beltway, is hijacking, then Bump(er) Pool is guilty in the first degree.

(Sidebar: WaPost Net staff? It's called a em-dash. Different browsers support it. Stop using two hyphens.)

At least Bump has the honesty to note that, for Sanders, the Democrats are "a party with which he has caucused for years." Of course, that was inescapable.

In addition, in this piece, Bump went beyond analysis, which is what I've understood The Fix to be about, to pure opining.

On to J.R. Behrman.

First, Sanders isn't an independent. That's for both you and Speed Bump.

The actual reality is, as I have blogged before, that Sanders really is a Democrat and has been since he first got elected to the House more than 25 years ago. The "I" that he has as his "last initial" is camouflage, spin, or Bernie playing to his own ego.

Democratic snowflake sheepdoggers, if they don't know the answer, need to be told that someone as "librul" as Bernie Sanders really is a Democrat in all but name, and has been for 25 years.

That said, he's a New Deal Dem, maybe an LBJ Dem. (Remember him, J.R.?) Bernie's not a socialist. Trust me, I'm more of a socialist than he is, and I'm only halfway a socialist.

Next, the claim about Green parties in Europe, or parties of the left? Puhleeze. It's easy to shoot the Greek fish in a barrel of Syriza while ignoring Jeremy Corbyn taking over Labour, making it Old Labour in new wineskins, and getting shot with the slings and arrows of outrageous slurs by the British equivalents of you, J.R. And, it also ignores that, in European parliamentary governments, there are multiple parties of the left. Whether you like them or not, for example, Die Linke seems to be growing in Germany.

And, your statement about the Greens isn't true. In 2013, the Greens in Germany got nearly the same Bundestag numbers as in 2009. The Red-Green Alliance in Denmark has steadily gained ground. Swedish Greens gained national ground until 2010 and held steady in 2014.

J.R., that's enough right there to prove that you're full of crap when you say:
Even venerable socialist governments and even the formidable Green parties in Europe or charismatic leaders like Yanis Varoufakis are struggling to dump obsolete or delusional intellectual frameworks to govern their own parties, and to fix a broken socialist international. 
Obviously, Green parties aren't struggling, and socialist ones in general are proving new power.

And, "Socialist International"? Sounds like a smear job to me. Sadly, the U.S. has no party officially affiliated with the actual Socialist International. (The Greens, who are primarily an environmental party, though expanding their scope, don't count. The Dems, who are diminishing their scope as we speak, can't count.)

As for "build a strong party" within the Democratic Party. Erm, you've held Democratic positions, per Brains' link. Shouldn't you be looking in the mirror with part of that critique? Beyond that, Sanders has done Congressional/Senatorial fundraisers for Democrats. At least you admit the Texas Democratic Party has reached sad state. You really think attacking Bernie Sanders is going to help that, is going to help you recruit young voters to possibly get involved with the party more?

Update, June 1: Matt Yglesias agrees with me: Bernie's a Democrat, has been for decades.

As for other Texas Dems who don't like me having posted this on what was the top post on Behrman's Facebook page, originally, even though it was actually a post by somebody else that was on Behrman's wall?

If they objected due to it seeming inappropriate because of his wife's passing, nobody forced him to write what he did in the first place. So, don't go blaming me for a public response.

If they objected because it went to other Harris County Dems ... maybe they needed to see it. Maybe some of them feel the same as Behrman. Maybe some Sanders backers didn't know he felt this way.

The Bern is fading to embers

Last night's results are the tale of the tape.

Losing Florida? I expected that Hillary the warhawk would win pretty big there, so no big deal.

Losing North Carolina? Well, he just barely got what I called a moral something or another, finishing within 15 percentage points.

But he got smoked in Ohio. An apparent narrow Missouri win, even with a close, narrow loss in Illinois, can't totally offset the Ohio hurt, as much in "narrative" as in delegates. Update: He wound up trailing narrowly in Missouri and will not seek a recount, giving Clinton a sweep on Second Tuesday.

Friend Brains and I have talked back and forth about when Sanders will start to make nice with the establishment, or something like that. The Michigan victory clearly pushed that past yesterday's Second Tuesday, but he's running out of states to get delegates.

Pennsylvania is theoretically "friendly," but so was Ohio, and the Pennsylvania Democratic establishment is all in Hillary's camp. It's totally in her camp in New York. I'm sure it is in Maryland. I have no doubt that California, between Pelosi, Sen. Betty Crocker and the Boxer who doesn't Bark, is in Team Clinton's circle. Maybe Wisconsin or Washington State aren't under her thumb, but those are lesser prizes than Pennsylvania, New York and California, no bigger than Maryland.

Plus, most remaining Democratic primaries are closed: no independents allowed. Given that independents have been key to the states Sanders has won so far, this is problematic indeed.

Even an Inside the Beltway (Manhattan wing) pundit like Nate Cohn misses this, in trying to give Sandernistas a dollop of hope. He also doesn't even discuss likely Democratic Establishment effects.

Sure, he can go on raising money. But, that's not going to help, in and of itself. Didn't help Jeb¡ now, did it?

If we start looking at post-mortems, one may be Bernie's footsie with Elizabeth Warren, waiting to see if she was in or out. Maybe he should have pushed her for an earlier firm decision, or else just declared on his own. (Personally, I doubt Warren ever runs for president.) Related to that is not getting an Obama-type Internet-savvy campaign off right away. Oh, sure, he got plenty of small donors online, but the whole "framing," etc. didn't happen.

March 15, 2016

Last thoughts before #SecondTuesday

Yes, it's actually the third Tuesday, but, this is the second big primaries Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders is closing the gap in all the Rust Belt states with Hillary Clinton, so that he's in striking distance in Ohio and that Illinois and Missouri are both statistical ties. Hillary's up big in Florida and North Carolina, but, per Michigan, I think those polls are outliers.

I expect Sanders to win Missouri and one or the other of Ohio and Illinois. Illinois and Missouri are both open; Ohio, along with North Carolina, is semi-open. Florida is a closed primary.

Bernie's got little chance in Florida, not because the black vote, nor because of Cuban-Americans who think him too Castro-friendly. Rather, IMO, older Jewish voters will love Hillary's hawkishness on the Middle East vs. Sanders' semi-hawkishness.

Moral victories need to become victories more often, but if Sanders can hold to within 15 percentage points on both the Southern states, especially if he wins all three of the others, it will be a big day indeed.

But, that in turn means that I, like Brains, agree that Sanders isn't bowing out tomorrow.

Which, in turn provides more reasons to say GFY to Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic National Committee, to Markos of Daily Kos and his "unity behind Hillary" push at the Great Orange Satan, and the the MSM punditry.

As for Clinton, as Politico notes in detail, even for a politician, she's managed to find the exact center within the Democratic leadership on popularity of issue after issue.

Yes, politicians are politicians; Bernie loves him some Big Ag and guns, along with F-35s. But, he's still a lot "cleaner."

Actually, as Politico notes, on gay marriage, or opposition to it, her original position was kind of principled — and very religiously-based. Add in her attendance at The Family, and if it is a Clinton-Trump race, the Democrats will actually be running a candidate more favorable to the Religious Right.

March 14, 2016

TX Progressives look at primary battles, more

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready to Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk (or let others follow lesser favorite teams) during March Madness as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff analyzed the Democratic and Republican Presidential primary returns in Harris County.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos learned that residents in the Houston, Clear Lake City and Galveston areas are sitting ducks.  Why? Because our area politicians and local leadership has done jack, zip, nada to address the regionís storm and flood infrastructure.  Not a thing has been done since Hurricane Ike in 2008.  Nothing but talk and finger pointing. Wake up Texas. Houston. It is not a question of if. The question is when.

Hillary Clinton's braincramp about Nancy Reagan's contributions in the 1980s during the AIDS crisis won her the WTF of the Week, according to PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is appalled at John Cornyn's threat to ruin the career of any potential Obama Supreme Court nominee.  Just when you think a Republican can't sink any lower, John Cornyn does.

SocraticGadfly looks at Hillary Clinton's statements about both the Reagans and AIDS and that Bernie Sanders allegedly "wasn't with her" in 1993, and wonders if we're in dogwhistle season.

Neil at All People Have Value commended the local National Weather Service for offering a clear and intelligent explanation to the general public for a missed forecast. APHV is part of


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

Lone Star Ma focuses on the 8th of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals: "Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all."

Harold Cook tries to make sense of the ever-murky Republican Presidential primary.

Newsdesk provides a primer on Robert Morrow, the Travis County GOP's wacky new chair.

The TSTA Blog decries the rising cost of public universities in Texas and the effort to dodge responsibility for it in the Legislature.

Christopher Andrews examines the social life of small urban spaces.

Somervell County Salon cringes at Clinton's hint that "melted hearts" would overcome institutional racism.