March 25, 2016

Free college education ... well, maybe ...

But only if we do some college reform first.

Bernie Sanders has proposed free college education — at public universities — for all high school graduates who are interested.

Now, beyond the alleged liberalism of a Harvard, which won't count here anyway, there's the actual pseudo-liberalism, or more accurately, special interest/tribalist liberalism, that runs through academia in general. It's the social justice warrior world, and it is probably best exemplified at public universities by the case of recently fired Mizzou prof Melissa Click. Add in that many conservative state legislatures are over-politicized back against higher ed, and further add in that higher ed in the public as well as private sectors has increasingly been turned into Big Biz, and Sanders' idea, without revisions, is kind of problematic.

Per other blogging of mine, it's about as problematic in the U.S. as national health care without a British-style National Health System.

Frankly, I don't want free four-year higher ed unless we:
1. Address the college as Big Biz issue
2. Address the SJW issue
3. Address other politicizations, and ...
4. Address the issue of academic inflation by employers in general.

Much better, IMO, would be a mix of free community college plus free lifetime education credits, like more powerful unions used to provide their rank and file.

Community colleges are cheaper. They're in general not part of academia as Big Biz. They're generally not sucked into the SJW world.

Otherwise, I fear that Sanders' idea could turn into pounding sand down a rathole.

March 24, 2016

Sandernistas, Tulsi Gabbard, bigotry, smears and Manichean eyeballs

Trust me, folks. As is my wont, I'll string all five of those together before I'm done.

Update, Dec. 25, 2018. I have some updates at the bottom, per a late 2018 Twitter poll that thinks she had a Kool-Aid drinking set of backers as vociferous, if not necessarily as big, as that of Beto O'Rourke. Do I think Tulsi is evil incarnate? No. Do I think she is all the Kool-Aid drinkers crack her up to be? No. Do I think she is an Islamophobe, and that wanting the US to exit a war in a Muslim nation is no proof that she is not? Absolutely.

That said, Islamophobia is itself an outgrowth from the core issue of her support for fascistic Hindus nationalism. It is, and she does. Period. Just as the US doesn't have a second capital in Tel Aviv, it doesn't have a second one in New Delhi, Tulsi. Per the below, note the RSS is anti-Christian as well as anti-Muslim and the BJP enables that. Basically, it is America's version of the Religious Right. I wish not only Tulsi Kool-Aid drinkers but more people in general understood that.

Were the RSS support not there, and the BJP support less blank-checked, I would consider voting for her over other Dems in a primary, though still not over a Green in a general election. But it is still there, and she is still supporting India's Religious Right. 

I'll eventually pull a separate article from items listed below.

Sandernistas was a more serious, non-stereotyping term for Bernie Sanders backers long before Berniebros was made into a caricature by Clintonistas. Jeff St. Clair of Counterpunch was using the term nine months ago. That said, St. Clair, writing for a true left-liberal site, pivoted from saying that he had warmed to Sanders as a cudgel against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Establishment to noting that Sanders was still part of that Democratic establishment on Israel and other things, as part of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment.

OK, we're at Democratic Establishment. That leads to Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and her endorsement of Bernie. She was vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee, but over various conflicts DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz over management of this year's primary cycle, and a desire to openly endorse Sanders, she resigned her DNC spot.

Unfortunately, Gabbard is also arguably an Islamophobic supporter of India's ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, or BJP, or at least a Hinduphilic to the point of accepting BJP's discrimination against other religions, as the BJP is also enabling by silence the persecution of Christians in India. Or worse.

As Wikipedia notes, the BJP is joined at the hip with the right-wing Hindu nationalist organization Rashtrya Swayamsevak Sangh, normally shortened to RSS. The RSS has been banned multiple times in India, the last ones arguably unconstitutional, but the former ones of concern. (At partition, the RSS refused to accept the Indian flag, the tricolor of today, since it includes "Muslim" green.) It also opposed the Indian Constitution guaranteeing equality to all Hindu castes, a stance which I don't think it has repudiated today, although it has called for various social uplift programs for lower castes — but only within Hindu structures.

Unfortunately, Sanders has yet to repudiate this endorsement.
Refusing to repudiate current coups is bad enough, as the lack of a foreign policy revolution; continuing to accept the endorsement of an Islamophobe is even worse. And, that's a selective reading of Gabbard, just and only on her opposing U.S. attempts to overthrow Assad in Syria. That's the only reason she has opposed intervention there. Elsewhere? She's a hawk in the War on Terra.

Back to that "worse" link. The RSS and affiliates have been alleged to been involved in anti-Christian as well as anti-Muslim riots. Multiple Indian states have anti-conversion laws of some sort, and they've all been pushed by the BJP, as the political party representing RSS Hindu nationalism interests.

Contra an insinuation in comments, these laws are NOT about preventing forced conversions of Hindus, how much or how little that happened under the British Raj or earlier. Rather, they're to prevent the free evangelizing activity of Christians, and to a lesser degree, of Muslims. The only actual forced conversions in India at this time are forced conversions BY Hindus. Let's remember that as we read on.

(In all of this, it is worth noting, as etymology hints, that Hinduism is seen by RSS types — and arguably rightly in some ways — as a cultural/sociological structure as much as a religion.)

While not involving the same level of punishment as in, say, Saudi Arabia, these laws do allow for criminal penalties upon violation.

Doug Henwood, in the first half of this podcast, talks in depth about the BJP, the RSS and the charge of fascism, with Benjamin Zachariah, a professor of modern Indian history at the University of Trier.

Let's add, to further undercut the ground of commenter Hari, that she spoke at a BJP-related fundraiser for her. (Corrected; I originally called it a fundraiser for the BJP.)

Her speech starts about 10 minutes in. She speaks for about a dozen minutes, a long time, and far more than just courtesy comments.

The Lok Sabha, for the unfamiliar, is India's lower house of parliament. In other words, an elected representative of the BJP spoke at a fundraiser for her.

Either ironically or hypocrically, she talks, at about the 15:30 mark, about people "struggling to worship" halfway across the globe. I guess those don't include Muslims or Christians in India.

She's also been called "the Sangh's (RSS's) mascot" by an Indian newspaper.

Both these and more come from a Quartz India piece on her, with analysis at top, interview with her at bottom.

In that Quartz piece, she says a couple of things I find eyebrow-raising. The first is:
While there is no doubt there is some discrimination directed toward different “religious minorities” in India, throughout India you will find Muslims, Christians, and people of all kinds of religions free to practice their faith. 
Um, no. Not true. The Gujarat violence against Muslims and the Orissa violence against Christians alone undercuts that. The no-conversion laws are further prove otherwise.

Then, there’s this:
There are many Hindus in America who feel they need to convert to Christianity or take “Christian” names if they or their children are to succeed in this country.
Sounds purely anecdotal. Maybe it was true a century ago, as with other East and South Asian immigrants? Today? I highly, no very highly, doubt it; sounds like it’s more propaganda for BJP-run India.

She then claims to have “met with” Congress Party as well as BJP members.

Erm, call me when she speaks 15 minutes at a Congress Party fundraiser for her.

This is all important to note, because there's a lot of Indian flak-writers (sic on spelling) out there working hard to spin all of this. They will claim that Gabbard has met with members of Congress as well as BJP. That may be true, but it still doesn't explain why she led the charge to block House Resolution 417, which specifically mentioned attacks on Christians as well as Muslims. It's a surprise that any Indian PR flak group would actually link to the resolution because of that, precisely since it undercuts claims about what it's about, including the insinuation that its original sponsor was Keith Ellison, America's one Muslim Congressman. Actually, it was introduced by a non-Muslim conservative Republican, with Joe Pitts even being at least fairly much part of the Religious Right.

I'm not a Christian, I'm a secularist. But, I point out the Hindu nationalist attacks on Muslims as well as Christians, and the bill's mention of that, to try to remove the claim that HR 417 was giving cover to radical Islam or something. Besides that, secularists have occasionally faced problems, too. And, also showing that I'm not making this up, native Indians like renowned novelist Arundhati Roy have spoken out against religious violence — which started after the BJP came back into power.

The PR spin also fails to explain why people politically connected to her, and Indian or Indian-American, are BJP-connected. Like wearing a BJP party sash, in the picture.

So, we've now covered bigotry. It's on to smears.

At least some Sandernistas who slaver over Gabbard's endorsement of Sanders have passed around the anti-Semitic smears against the author of that piece, Zaid Jilani, that eventually got him bounced from the Center for American Progress. (Jewish organizations not part of the Israel-first lobby, like Mondoweiss, have defended Jilani.)

Other smears come from at least one Indian PR flak attacking HR 417, claiming that, besides Muslims pushing it, other backers were Marxists. The BJP, as one might — and should — expect, is politically right-wing in general. More, from The Jacobin, on why cries of Marxism would so resonate with BJP backers.

Coincidentally, or not, the president of Center for American Progress — where Jilani worked before being sacked after being subject to those anti-Semitic smears — Neera Tanden, is herself Indian American. Uncoincidentally, she is a Clintonista.

As for the claim that the resolution was interfering in Indian internal affairs? Tosh. First, it was only a resolution, nothing more, therefore there was no interference. Second, Congress has passed similar resolutions on religious freedom against other countries. Indeed, it even passed the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998.

Finally, her claim that ISIS et al act purely out of religious belief and that poverty and social isolation aren't other factors is a flat-out like, convincingly refuted by the likes of Scott Atran, and, in the wake of the Brussels bombings, underscored by Belgium's Molenbeek ghetto, which, in turn, reflects the problems of the quasi-nation of Belgium itself.

Back to the other "-istas."

The Sandernistas often seem unwilling to actually see things in broader context, viewing this campaign through a quasi-Manichean lens, as Sanders vs. Clinton, period — Ormazd vs Ahriman.

Not I.

First, I vote for ideas before people. Second, I view very little in life in terms of such dichotomous polarities.

I want Sandernistas, as Clinton moves closer and closer to clinching the Democratic nomination, to start talking seriously about Plan B, that is, voting for Jill Stein or whomever the Green Party nominates. Unfortunately, I'm despairing more and more of the depth of insight of many of them, and the willingness of them to vote for ideas, rather than an individual. That's even more problematic when Stein, or another Green nominee, is not part of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment.

But, if you don't want to think in terms of Plan B, especially if you don't want to open your eyes outside the two-party box, you're not wanted anyway. Beyond that, this is yet another sign of how horrific the national Democratic party has become, that a fairly challenged challenger like Bernie Sanders is this popular, and often, uncritically popular.

As for Sandernistas trying to defend her, or his not refuting the endorsement?

Let's take one I just heard on Twitter, that "she's a U.S. politician, not an Indian one."

I already had an analogy in the holster, ready for a quick draw.

I said:
And, that's exactly how I see it.

As for blanket Gabbard defenders who think this is either anti-India or anti-Hindu? Rot.

If you're an Indian-American, the answer is simple. Push BJP and its RSS backstop to allow true freedom of religion. Tell friends if they don't, to vote Congress or other secular political parties.

And, if you don't believe BJP restricts freedom of religion? You're wrong. And at some point, rather than continuing to post new comments in reply to yours, I''m going to stop allowing comments.


Updates, Dec. 25, 2018:

1. An in-depth 2017 piece by the New Yorker points out that she's a Trump-like level of political weathervane — other than never changing on her BJP support. I've already muted one Twitterer who refused to accept that she could want to stop American involvement in the war in Syria yet still be an Islamophobe (like Trump). That includes, like Trump, supporting a blanket ban on Syrian refugees coming to the US.

2. In 2016, Hawaii's Dem LGBT caucus endorsed her Dem primary opponent, they found her so untrustworthy. As of one week ago, they still find her untrustworthy. So, Tulsi Kool-Aid drinkers who say she supports gay rights? People on the islands kind of disagree. (On the first link, at the time, folks like the idiotic Democratic Underground attacked the messenger, the Maui Times, as a "conservative rag" rather than actually consider the message, just because Tulsi was posing as a Berniecrat. Especially in light of the second link, the message rings true.)

3. She did, eventually, support Conyers' HB 676, but I don't trust the depth of that support. Even since then, she's used the New Dem weasel phrase "universal health care."

4. She still has not modified in any way her BJP support. As of six months ago, she still drew ire of Indian minorities for that and the Islamophobia associated with it. RSS leaders spoke at the World Hindu Congress she attended.

(Note: If Modi weren't PM, and Obama were still president, I suspect he'd still be blocked from entry to our country. So, it's the BJP, not just the RSS.)

5. A Jan. 5, 2019 Intercept piece has more.

6. In this video, with quote noted on Wikipedia, Tulsi supports the "ticking time bomb" idea that torture is sometimes justified.

7. She's also pro-drone.

8. She also accused Palestinians in Gaza of using people as human shields, basically spouting standard Israeli talking points.

So, to her Kool-Aid drinkers? I would certainly vote for any reasonable Green for president against her. An Islamophobe who may still be a closet bigot on gay rights hasn't captured me, let alone I wouldn't vote for a Trump-level weathervane.

Did Hillary rig the Arizona Democratic primary? I highly doubt it

But, that's the latest meme on certain liberal glorified blog sites, most of which list 4-5 "fast facts" alleging voter suppression in some way, shape or form.

Let's tackle a few of these.

First, closed primaries aren't "shenanigans" and Arizona's primaries have been closed in previous elections. We can call that a problem with the two-party system or something, but ... shenanigans it's not. And, Arizona's primaries have been closed primaries since at least 2004.

Second, turnout was actually lower than in 2008. Comparing 2016 to 2012, with an uncontested Democratic race and Mitt Romney fairly in control on the GOP side by this point is fallacious.

I agree that with a contested Democratic primary, there should have been more polling places. That said, that problem appears to have been confined mainly to Maricopa County.

Third, "calling" the race with only 1 percent? Well, Michigan was a spanner in the spokes, to use the British word, but I assume the media had reasonable exit polling numbers to work with, especially after that. (Also, Clinton won Arizona in 2008, it should be noted.)

Third, on registration issues? Given that such things are in charge of the county recorder, and they're elected officials, and Arizona is strongly Republican (certainly in Maricopa County), this would require the GOP to be in cahoots with Arizona's state-level Democrats. Yes, I know we're getting anecdotal evidence of individuals. But, that doesn't prove any fraud, first, and second, even if there were fraud, I simply refuse to believe that GOP officials would be in cahoots on this.

County officials and the secretary of state have both suggested turning primary elections back over to the parties. That's parties' rights in general, and in many states, how it's done.

Of course, that would then lead the conspiracy-minded to even higher dudgeon.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned electronic voting machines flipping votes yet, because we know that's how John McCain, with the help of GOP-backing voting machine manufacturers, defeated Barack Obama in 2008.

As for the first of those linked glorified liberal blog sites. Well, "Russia-Insider," like "Russia Today," can of course do a great job of spinning every voting mishap in the US, which in Russia ...

As for R-I's claims that Clinton "stole" Massachusetts? Well, Bill probably should have gotten more than just a light slap on the hand. However, the Massachusetts establishment was behind Hillary, and no, Bill Clinton did not stop thousands from voting. Oh, and for Sandernistas wanting Elizabeth Warren to endorse him? Erm, before the Massachusetts primary would have been the time for that! So, no, Sanders ultimately lost Massachusetts and never gained Warren in the first place.

As for the issue of "inactive voters"? In 2012, Fox estimated there were 20 million nationwide. In some cases, it may be the problem of state voting officials. However, in other cases, it may well be the non-voter's fault. And, no, I wouldn't trust a Sanders for President Reddit thread to have full details about problematic registrations in New York State.

Were there irregularities? Yes. Do at least some of the irregularities reflect larger problems with the American political system? Yes.

That doesn't mean we had a rigged election.

Does Twitter tweak algorithms on things like #WhichHillary? Possible, I don't know, but if so, did it specifically target that hashtag? I doubt it. Oh, and private businesses don't "censor." Only governments censor.

I do think this all shows Richard Hofstadter right: the paranoid style remains alive and well in American politics. Actually, this is probably some subset of American exceptionalism.

March 23, 2016

Sorry Sandernistas; Clinton continues to lead

I know the backers of Bernie Sanders don't like to read things like my blog post yesterday about why he's very likely to lose the Democratic nomination. But, it's true.

Yes, Bernie won two primaries yesterday to Hillary's one. However, per the details, Arizona has more delegates than Utah and Idaho combined. And, while Hillary won a lot of Southern states unlikely to go Dem in the general election, and while Arizona's not likely, either, it would take World War III for Utah and Idaho to vote Democratic.

Plus, as noted on that blog post, we're headed to a string of states like New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey that are closed primaries AND that have strong pro-Clinton Democratic state establishments. Again, per that link, Sanders backers can either start thinking about Plan B, or not.

Correction to the header — a busy day at work and I "assumed" and we know what happens. Per Jaguar in comments, Sanders actually picked up more delegates.

Note: Per this and previous posts, I'm not suddenly "anti-Sanders." I'm just preaching the gospel of realism.

March 22, 2016

Why is Bernie likely to lose the Democratic nomination?

First, yes, Sandernistas, the enthusiasm is good. But, if you're over the age of 30 and think Bernie Sanders is still going to win the Democratic nomination, it's probably time to stop believing in the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, and instead wake up and smell the coffee. More than that, it's time to start thinking seriously about Plan B, after it's even more clear that he won't win, that is, voting Green in the general rather than sitting out.

Not only is he behind on straight delegates, not counting supers, the remaining slate, rather than favoring him, is stacked against him. Only Wisconsin, among remaining primaries, is an "open" one. Large California and two small states are "mixed," allowing for day-of party registration. (And I'll stand by this prediction even if Clinton is right, and not just lowballing her odds on March 22 events.)

And, independent voters have been huge Sanders supporters, as shown above, but, of course, if you can't vote for him in the primary, then you're unable to support him.

So, why IS he going to lose, assuming my analysis about the greater uphill sled he faces for the rest of the way is true? Several reasons, some of them at least partially self-inflicted, or at least self-induced. I'm going to start with those first.

1. Getting a late start into the race. He played footsie with waiting on Elizabeth Warren too long. He should have said: "I need an earlier declaration, either yes or no." If Warren couldn't or wouldn't deliver, he should have declared himself, period.

Personally, I don't think Warren will ever run. So, anybody on the left-hand side of the Democratic party, no matter who wins the general election in 2016, needs to throw their 2020 rose-colored glasses in the trash.

(Sidebar: Warren said some vaguely nice things about Sanders, but never endorsed him. Sandernistas still yearning or hoping for such an endorsement are apparently clueless that the Massachusetts primary has already happened.)

2. Not having a top-level campaign organization. It's not been bad, and probably is no worse than Hillary Clinton's in a number of ways, but it's not great. While Bernie's gotten all those small donations, those aren't necessarily a sign of good staff and they're definitely not necessarily a sign of good Web-savvy staff. In other words, battling an Establishment candidate, he needed as robust a staff as the guy who was successful eight years ago — Dear Leader.

3. Adopting the "socialist" label when he didn't need to — and when he's not one. As I've blogged before, in calling for a British-style National Health Service, and said elsewhere in supporting nationalization rather than bailout of problem banks, I'm more of a socialist than Bernie Sanders is. And, no, corporate welfare, whether for Big Ag or for the military-industrial complex, doesn't count as actual socialism.

Now, the Bernie Sanders of 20 years ago might have been neck-and-neck, and the Bernie of 25 years or more ago would have been ahead of me. But, that's what happens when you're in Congress that long. He could have called himself something like "a new New Dealer," or campaigned on a pledge to "restore the Great Society," and both been more accurate about his actual politics and possibly scared off some Democrats less.

I say "possibly," because there is no guarantee of that, as we start transitioning to elements less under his control.

That said, why put an unnecessary millstone around your own neck? True, the label may have attracted a few people, but it may have scared off more.

4. The "he's not a Democrat" theme. Actually, he is, other than the technicality of the last initial of "I." And, he has been since he first got elected to Congress. He's even participated in Congressional Democratic fundraisers. That hasn't stopped the utter bullshit, uttered by both Democratic professionals and Inside the Beltway pundits, claiming that he's not. That gets back to No. 2, and looks ahead to ...

5. Fighting an Establishment candidate. Hillary Clinton may have claimed she's not a good politician. But she is a well-connected one, as those of us who have bitterly complained about Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Iowa caucus shenanigans and other things know. Per the Clinton Foundation, she's also a well-heeled politician, no matter Bernie's small-donor fundraising prowess. And, she's one that, even by political standards, at least among Democrats, is unafraid to be brazen in her lying. And, again, per the "he's not a Democrat" bullshit, you've got others unafraid to be brazen in lying on her behalf, too.

That said, we're going to do a whiplash transition back to something very much in Sanders' control, and that is ...

6. Running inside the Democratic box. Per the "he is" link, he's long been a Democrat. Per the fact that he refused to call out Clinton for the Honduras coup or Dear Leader himself for the semi-coup in Ukraine, he's long been very much inside the bipartisan foreign policy establishment box. Criticizing coups 60 years ago is nice, but when you focus on GOP coups, and ignore actual or attempted coups by Democratic presidents in the past decade (or 50 years ago — JFK with Bay of Pigs, Diem and Trujillo), you're clearly determined to stay in that box. Being a warhawk-lite, not quite as bloodthirsty as Clinton, further underscores this, as does a debate failure to make a straightforward "I will cut the Defense Department" statement. In turn, things like this are why, even if Sanders had gotten the nomination, I likely would have voted Green again anyway. I wanted a bit more of a domestic policy revolution, and something a lot different in foreign policy. And, related to that, Sandernistas' refusal to face reality about Tulsi Gabbard has become more irritating by the day. (Jewish organizations not part of the Israel-first lobby, like Mondoweiss, have defended Zaid Jilani.)

Beyond that, as things like farm bills and foreign aid show, foreign and domestic policy aren't always inseparable.

I'm not disillusioned. I knew about Sanders' shortcomings months ago, just like I knew about Obama's shortcomings in 2007 and knew before the end of that year that I would vote Green in 2008. That said, an earlier announcement and a campaign staff even better than it is in some ways would have made Sanders last longer as a useful cudgel to beat Democrats over the head.

Could Sanders win the election if he were nominated? Sure. So could the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

In all of this, I'm not anti-Sanders. I pulled the lever for him here in Texas. It's just that I'm a realist in terms of how I view the two-party box, and also how I see the need to get Sandernistas to sign on to the Plan B of voting Green in the general election.

March 21, 2016

TX bloggers look at water pollution, First Amendment, elections

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes to hear more Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk later this week as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff looked at the legislative and judicial primary runoffs for Harris County.

When Libby Shaw learned some of the drinking water supplies in the state well exceed the federal standard for arsenic, she asked how will small government, government loathing lawmakers react?  What will they do?  Nothing, of course.  Pretend the problem does not exist. No Worries Texas. We Can Shoot the Arsenic Out of the Water.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is disgusted to see Greg Abbott leading the charge against legal voters in Texas, but, he is not the only one. The wrongly named American Civil Rights Union wants to disenfranchise voters, too.

Socratic Gadfly, with new news about it, updates a major blog piece from last fall about the First Amendment, politicization of academics, academic freedom, and fired professor Melissa Click.

Hillary Clinton admitted to Chris Matthews that she sold her vote to invade Iraq for $20 billion, to George W. Bush. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is glad that's finally cleared up.

Neil at All People Have Value said that people in the Houston area should stop doing dumb things that cause wildfires. APHV is part of

Texas Sharon discussed an upcoming Denton town hall meeting about renewable energy.


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

The Texas Election Law Blog highlights what President Obama said about innovation in civic technological engagement.

Juanita contemplates the sheer awesomeness of a Trump/Carson ticket.

Trail Blazers looks at various "stop Trump" options, including the seemingly laughable ones that include Rick Perry.

Prairie Weather sees election media as a mirror of America.

Grits for Breakfast wants to know why the Texas Rangers seem incapable of rooting out local corruption when they are called upon to investigate it.

Ty Clevenger complains about the State Bar of Texas' refusal to take action against Ken Paxton.

Lone Star Ma focuses on the 9th of the United Nations' new sustainable development goals: "Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation." (That's as a former assistant secretary at the UN bemoans its growing dysfunctionality.)

Dan Solomon talks to Wendy Davis about Dawn Porterís abortion law documentary Trapped, among other things.

The Makeshift Academic reminds us that Merrick Garland has a lot of company in the confirmation process.

Somervell County Salon turns 11.

The Dallas Snooze tries to reinvent itself again

Let's call the Snooze the Old Gray Lady of Beloville, since like to capitalize the "The" as part of their names, and have about the same level of pretentiousness, as the Morning News is, IMO, indeed one of those papers run by snide, arrogant elitists, even if current publisher Jim Monroney isn't part of the inheriting family stream.

Yours for $24.99 from the Dallas Snooze, if you're either
stupid or gullible enough to pay that much for a T-shirt,
let alone one from a business with shades of cluelessness.
Regular readers will know that I've taken the Snooze's latest attempts at being Pollyanna, in the last nine months, repeatedly to the woodshed, for Part 1 and Part 2 of "The Decline and Fall of the Dallas Morning News," accompanied by a separate post taking a steely view at Monroney's talk about a third attempt to paywall the Snooze.

And now, Poynter comes dangerously close to drinking some Belo Kool-Aid.

First, yeah, Belo probably should sell the downtown office. You know what, though? It should have looked at that idea a decade ago, when it first started swinging a real meataxe on hiring. At a minimum, it should have done that half a decade ago, when Dallas had emerged from the Great Recession.

As for Editor Mike Wilson's insights and pizzazz? I looked somewhat more skeptically at that in the Part 2 piece. That was in part skepticism about Wilson, and in part skepticism, even a bit of cynicism, about what he can do within the current power structure. Maybe Belo — since the Snooze and the related Dallas papers (which is al Dia and what else since the NeighborsGo set has been collapsed?) is all it has left, needs to get out of print media biz entirely and sell to somebody else. Maybe, under current or new ownership, Monroney needs to be kicked to the curb.

I covered ME Robyn Tomlin in the Part 1, but that was before shit-canning NeighborsGo (Go where?) and telling other the old "reapply for your jobs." Ahh, that's the neoliberal media answer to itself. Don't cut Monroney's salary, let alone have the Belo family take a smaller profit margin. Rather, reapply for your jobs, and since Texas is a right-to-get-fired state, we can pay you whatever we want, since it's technically a new job. (I am glad for those who got rehired, whatever hoops they had to jump through, whatever their new jobs are, and whatever they pay.) And, I noted that she comes from a background of less than stellar business-mindedness itself. (That said, DFM has a bullshit level about as high as Belo.)

Back to Poynter.

It then seems to tout (or at least not analyze critically) changes at GuideLive. Some of them are more than cosmetic, but others are just snazzier new lipstick on the same old pig.

It doesn't address the issue of whether hard news, instead of covering the wrong beats, has been seen as being too much in bed, even today, with old Dallas power brokers.

As for the Snooze's idea to make more money off marketing consulting for Metromess businesses, as the San Francisco Chronicle is doing in the Bay Area? First, this seemingly sets up potential conflicts of interest. Second, with any such newspaper attempts, if I'm a business, why would I go to a newspaper rather than an established advertising, marketing or PR shop? Second, specific to the Snooze, if I know how much it's struggled, and I'm a Dallas biz thinking these things have been self-inflicted, why should I value its advice? Fourth, the Chron, as a Hearst paper, has similar marketing shops at other newspapers it owns. That includes the NYC headquarters and Houston, plus a satellite in San Antonio. That means for regional or national companies Hearst can provide a reach Belo can't.

That said, the Poynter piece linked just above, about newspapers being adverse to PR? Erm, maybe editorial staff, but the corner suite folks? See my comment above about the Snooze being in bed with old time Dallas.