June 03, 2017

Phat Albert gets No. 600!



Albert Pujols: what's ahead
for 2017 and beyond?
Albert Pujols, aka Phat Albert, Prince Albert and other monikers, will never reach his St. Louis Cardinals level of skill in his "twilight" years with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. (And Downey and other places?)

Nonetheless, he keeps moving up various baseball milestone ladders. So, what's ahead for him for 2017 — and beyond, with a full five years left on his contract, shy of Arte Moreno doing an A-Rod-style buyout?

Per the header, he's just knocked out No. 600 Saturday night. And a grand slam to boot! He is the ninth to pass that. MLB.com video here. Another video, on YouTube, from someone at the game, on the left field seats, here.

He'll have a chance to move further up the career rungs this season, too. Sammy Sosa at 609 and Jim Thome at 612 should easily be surpassed; Ken Griffey at 630 may have to wait until next year.

Pujols joins Sosa as the first two players born outside the United States to crack the 600 mark.

Another milestone also lies ahead. Starting the year at 2,825 hits, Pujols is eyeing 3,000 hits. (That said, Pujols hasn't had 175 hits since 2010 —though he was close in 2011 and 2012 — so this may wait a year.) He should, though, at a minimum, pass the likes of Pudge RodriguezBabe Ruth and Barry Bonds and move into the 35th-place slot on the career hits list. (Passing Bonds by 1 would be 111 hits.)

Career in that department? Even allowing for nagging injuries and continued decline, he should get at least 3,550 hits, which would put him past Tris Speaker into fifth all time. (That's on an allowance of 155 hits this year and an average of 145 per year over the four remaining contract years. Another 81 — which might be a tough challenge — would give him 3,631, and Cardinals fans know who that's about.)

On career homers, let's give Pujols 29 for this year for a career total of 620. While I don't see him catching the big three of Bonds, Hank Aaron and Ruth, that still gives him a good shot for passing 700 with 20 a year for the rest of his contract, and 24 a year would push him past Ruth. At a minimum, after Junior Griffey, he'll catch Willie Mays, then should pass A-Rod.

Pujols has also joined Bonds and Ruth in the 600-homer, 600-doubles club.

And, Albert still has a decent shot at one all-time career record. Right now, he's 480 short of The Hammer on the career RBIs mark. Throwing out his injury-plagued 2013, he's met or beaten that mark every year with the Haloes. Ruth is in second, just 398 ahead of Pujols. Barring serious injury, Albert catches him. Even with more injury problems, he's just 270 RBIs away from passing A-Rod into sole third place.

Aaron's mark for career extra-base hits is also a possibility. Pujols needs to average 54 a year. Outside of the injurious 2013, Pujols was well over that mark until last year. If he can't catch Aaron, second place, at least, is almost guaranteed, with about 47 XBHs a year needed to pass Bonds, and third is a cinch.

He likely wont catch Aaron on career total bases, but should pass everybody else for second.

Oh, and while he's not the fielder he once was, and accumulating injuries have moved him more and more to DH, he's still and already 11th in career assists by first basemen. By the end of his career, there's still a chance he passes the likes of George Sisler to move as high as sixth place. (that said, coming off his latest foot surgery, he will start this year solely at DH.)

June 01, 2017

#ParisAccord is little more than high-aspiration #climatechange Jell-O (updates)

Glaciers in Glacier National Park were already shrinking from climate change
a decade ago, as shown above. The Paris Accord that President Trump has
left had no teeth in it to force the world to start cutting carbon emissions.
I had blogged earlier this week warning that Jell-O was likely all we would get out of the Paris climate talks.

And we know the details, per the Washington Post. Per that link, the Guardian, and what I heard on NPR this afternoon, there's no enforcement of anything that is enforcement-worthy.

Update, June 1, 2017: If you're a tribalist Democrat just looking to hit Trump over the head, and don't believe me that nothing in the agreement is enforceable? It's true. Oh, the whole accord is just 25 pages. Or the back dozen of the 31 that included the agreement to implement the actual deal. (Different sizes depend on different fonts, etc. on different documents.) Have you actually read it? Have you seen that many countries signed with caveats? Have you seen that Nicaragua didn't sign it precisely because it was unenforceable aspirational bullshit that actually did nothing? And, Obama's "green fund"? Neoliberal, aspirational, focused more on mitigation than prevention.

Sadder yet? This tweet, from someone who should know better:

Stein knows that it will in no way "condemn us to climate catastrophe. Or she should. If she actually doesn't know that, she has no business representing the Green Party in any way.

Yes, governments are required to craft action plans, and update them every five years. Yes, there's an international body that's supposed to oversee these plans.

And? What powers does that body have? Erm, none?

The Post:
The agreement binds together pledges by individual nations to cut or limit emissions from fossil-fuel burning, within a framework of rules that provide for monitoring and verification as well as financial and technical assistance for developing countries.
See the word "enforcement" in there, as part of, or after, "monitoring and verification"? Nope, me neither. 

Per the Post's header, "historic" Jell-O is still Jell-O at the end.

Further down, the Post says:
The accord is the first to call on all nations—rich and poor—to take action to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, with additional reviews required every five years to encourage even deeper pollution cuts.
See any "enforcement" after "call on"? The only "historic" is developing as well as developed nations are involved. A wider-spread Jell-O is still Jell-O in the end.

The Guardian:
(N)egotiators from nearly 200 countries signed on to a legal agreement on Saturday evening that set ambitious goals to limit temperature rises and to hold governments to account for reaching those targets.
“Goals,” again, doesn’t have the word “enforcement” behind it.

The Post then salutes Dear Leader:
The agreement is a major diplomatic achievement for the Obama administration, which has made climate change a signature issue in the face of determined opposition from congressional Republicans
Well, sure, it's a victory.

First, NPR says his stance is this is not a treaty, but rather comes under the umbrella of implementing the Rio 1992 treaty. (Penumbras of Justice William O. Douglas, even?)

Second, the "voluntary" is also what he wanted in general.

Per Time, before the deal was finalized, other than the issue of carbon emissions transparency, Dear Leader's team wanted as much of the accord to be voluntary as possible.

The Guardian, on that:
The US president, Barack Obama, hailed the agreement as “a tribute to strong, principled American leadership” and a vital step in ensuring the future of the planet.
I guess “strong, principled” is spelled “J-e-l-l-O.”

As for environmental groups? The neolib, plugged-in and connected ones like it; the real ones don’t.

First, a politically connected enviro group:
“This is a pivotal moment where nations stepped across political fault lines to collectively face down climate change,” said Lou Leonard, vice president of climate change for the World Wildlife Fund. “For decades, we have heard that large developing nations don’t care about climate change and aren’t acting fast enough. The climate talks in Paris showed us that this false narrative now belongs in the dustbin of history.”
And now, a realistic one:
“The United States has hindered ambition,” said Erich Pica, president of the U.S. chapter of Friends of the Earth, an environmental group. “The result is an agreement that could see low-lying islands and coastlines swallowed up by the sea, and many African lands ravaged by drought.”
True, the summit did express an ambition even higher than the goals of stopping climate change at 2C of higher temperature versus the pre-industrial age. (Don’t forget that we’ve already done a full degree of that.)

But, there were tradeoffs for that “ambition” of 1.5C:
“The idea of even discussing loss and damage now or in the future was off limits. The Americans told us it would kill the COP,” said Leisha Beardmore, the chief negotiator for the Seychelles. “They have always been telling us: ‘Don’t even say that’.”
More "strong, principled leadership."

Another group, Sierra Club spinoff Earthjustice, for whom another Texas Progressives member works, has gone political enough to try to split the difference.

From its President Trip Van Noppen:
Today marks a new era in global cooperation on climate change.
But:
Despite the agreement’s laudable goals, the combined climate action pledges submitted by 186 nations would still leave the world on a path to over 3° global average temperature rise by the end of the century.
Yet, it too uses “historic” in its header. I'll give it two-thirds of a kudo.

Guardian environment columnist George Monbiot got it right:
By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.
He continues:
In fairness, the failure does not belong to the Paris talks, but to the whole process. A maximum of 1.5C, now an aspirational and unlikely target, was eminently achievable when the first UN climate change conference took place in Berlin in 1995. Two decades of procrastination, caused by lobbying – overt, covert and often downright sinister – by the fossil fuel lobby, coupled with the reluctance of governments to explain to their electorates that short-term thinking has long-term costs, ensure that the window of opportunity is now three-quarters shut. The talks in Paris are the best there have ever been. And that is a terrible indictment.
James Hansen is harsher yet:
“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued [sic] to be burned.”
Can’t put it more bluntly than that, especially since he’s using my word “bullshit.”

Hansen’s harshness includes Dear Leader:
“We all foolishly had such high hopes for Obama, to articulate things, to be like Roosevelt and have fireside chats to explain to the public why we need to have a rising fee on carbon in order to move to clean energy,” he says. “But he’s not particularly good at that. He didn’t make it a priority and now it’s too late for him.”
Well, I didn’t have such hopes for him, and thus voted for Cynthia McKinney in 2008 for the same reasons I’ll vote for Jill Stein or whomever the Greens nominate in 2016. That’s definitely true if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, and 98 percent if Bernie Sanders is.

Setting aside the issue of any naivete over China, scientists agree with Hansen, Monbiot and myself. Mark Hertsgaard notes the deal doesn't even include the phrase "fossil fuels." The initial text was weaker than Copenhagen's final text, and even the final text is perceived as kicking the can down the road, and scientists warn that's simply not acceptable.

That said, at least the Paris deal did expose bullshit out of Beijing, bullshit that I called out a year ago when the U.S. and China supposedly came to what was also called a "historic" deal.

(Another note to the gullible: "Historic" ≠ "significant.")

The exposed bullshit was that China was quite resistant toward the five year plans for emissions reductions. Setting aside the hypocrisy and irony of nominal Communists opposing five-year plans, we found out the Chinese have already been cheating bastards on announced carbon emissions in the past.

Of course, India exposed its own bullshit before the deal was finalized.

Sadly, despite China’s own bullshit on climate change being brought to light just a month ago (see below), Hansen is kind of naïve about Beijing and it allegedly taking leadership on this issue, IMO.

Louis XV said, reportedly,  “Après moi le deluge,” based on his mistress, Madame Pompadour, originally saying “Après nous le deluge.”


I guess we need to start saying “Après nous l’enfer.”

Plus, even if it’s not considered a new treaty, good luck getting money for it, Dear Leader. Congressional wingnuts have already vowed to block any new spending; I presume that would include the developing world mitigation aid.

So, don't pour warm, pre-congealed Jell-O on my leg and tell me it's raining.

That includes you, neoliberal Obama fellators like Jon Chait, who has fellated Obama on this issue now, too.

Call me back when either the US, or the EU as a group, passes a carbon tax plus a carbon tariff to force the whole world to financially play along on actually taking action.

We need action both deep and broad at the same time. A carbon tax and tariff is a large part of that, but ultimately, per Jacobin, we need to reframe the entire issue, and "wrong foot" modern capitalism.

May 31, 2017

Albert Pujols, eyeing 600 dingers and records DOES IT!

Albert Pujols: what's ahead
for 2017 and beyond?
Albert Pujols, aka Phat Albert, Prince Albert and other monikers, will never reach his St. Louis Cardinals level of skill.

Nonetheless, he keeps moving up various baseball milestone ladders. So, what's ahead for him for 2017 — and beyond, with a full five years left on his contract, shy of Arte Moreno doing an A-Rod-style buyout. (Or a Josh Hamilton-style semi-buyout, referring to Moreno's and Pujols' current team!) It in part depends on how healthy he can stay this year and otherwise, how much he generally has in the tank.)

Per the header, he's just nine taters away from a career 600. (ESPN projects that to happen on May 20.)

Update, May 31: Running about two weeks behind projections, due to a mix of an even slower than normal start for him and yet another offseason foot surgery, Pujols hit No. 599 last night. MLB video here. That said, David Schoenfield asks a good question — why is this milestone chase of arguably the best first baseman of all time not drawing more excitement?

Update 2, June 3: He did it! And with a grand salami to boot!)

He would be the ninth to pass that. He'll have a chance to move up the career rungs this season, too. Sammy Sosa at 609 and Jim Thome at 612 should easily be surpassed; Ken Griffey at 630 may have to wait until next year.

Another milestone also lies ahead. Currently at 2,825, Pujols is eyeing 3,000 hits. (That said, Pujols hasn't had 175 hits since 2010 —though he was close in 2011 and 2012 — so this may wait a year.) He should, though, at a minimum, pass the likes of Pudge Rodriguez, Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds and move into the 35th-place slot on the career hits list. (Passing Bonds by 1 would be 111 hits.)

Career in that department? Even allowing for nagging injuries and continued decline, he should get at least 3,550 hits, which would put him past Tris Speaker into fifth all time. (That's on an allowance of 155 hits this year and an average of 145 per year over the four remaining contract years. Another 81 — which might be a tough challenge — would give him 3,631, and Cardinals fans know who that's about.)

On career homers, let's give Pujols 29 for this year for a career total of 620. While I don't see him catching the big three of Bonds, Hank Aaron and Ruth, that still gives him a good shot for passing 700 with 20 a year for the rest of his contract, and 24 a year would push him past Ruth. At a minimum, after Junior Griffey, he'll catch Willie Mays, then should pass A-Rod.

And, Albert still has a decent shot at one all-time career record. Right now, he's 480 short of The Hammer on the career RBIs mark. Throwing out his injury-plagued 2013, he's met or beaten that mark every year with the Haloes. Ruth is in second, just 398 ahead of Pujols. Barring serious injury, Albert catches him. Even with more injury problems, he's just 270 RBIs away from passing A-Rod into sole third place.

Aaron's mark for career extra-base hits is also a possibility. Pujols needs to average 54 a year. Outside of the injurious 2013, Pujols was well over that mark until last year. If he can't catch Aaron, second place, at least, is almost guaranteed, with about 47 XBHs a year needed to pass Bonds, and third is a cinch.

He likely wont catch Aaron on career total bases, but should pass everybody else for second.

Oh, and while he's not the fielder he once was, and accumulating injuries have moved him more and more to DH, he's still and already 11th in career assists by first basemen. By the end of his career, there's still a chance he passes the likes of George Sisler to move as high as sixth place. (that said, coming off his latest foot surgery, he will start this year solely at DH.)

Hillary Speaks! #Hillbots swoon! I throw up in their mouths



Yes, Hillary spoke.

And told us more bullshit than in the previous nine months.

First, the idea that because of her sex, she couldn't get mad over the election results is rank sexism. It is, you tribalist #ImWithHer (and ignoring Cynthia McKinney 2008, Jill Stein 2012, Jill Stein 2016) #Hillbots.

It's sexist because it perpetuates a myth that women are somehow unable to get angry. Constitutionally, of course they are. (By that, I mean emotional constitutions, not the toilet paper of Philly 1787.)

It's sexist because it inflates claims about the so-called patriarchy, if that's what she's getting at. Nobody is repressing her right to get angry.

It's also classist, because it ignores that many workaday world women, and men, can't get angry on the job or they'll be fired.

And, it's a lie.

Anybody who believes Hillary's claim she couldn't be angry because she's a woman ignores the lampshade she reportedly threw at Bill in the White House. It ignores the many other reported instances of anger when she was First Lady. it ignores the anger that’s noted in the new book, “Shattered.”

What was it Billy Martin said about Reggie Jackson and George Steinbrenner? 

Oh, yes.

"One's a born liar, the other's convicted."

Just plug in Hillary Clinton first, and Bill Clinton halfway (on "is," and loss of law license, etc.) second.

Of course, this all goes to show that, despite their rejoinder to Karl Rove a decade-plus ago, most tribalist Democrats aren’t really part of the reality-based community either.

OK, besides that like, and Hillbots and Clintonistas being ready to believe it, let's unpack this more.

There's the language of victimhood:
“I was the victim of a very broad assumption that I was going to win.”
Well, that Jehovah's Witness type back of hand to forehead will probably click a box with a few, but it's also not credible.

"Shattered" indicates that, at least after overrated ex-FBI Director James Comey spoke about Anthony's Weiner having probed its way into your emails, you were worried. And, Five Thirty Eight and other polls noted at that time that you didn't have a lot of room for error. Maybe your own attempts at head-faking, as Robby Mook and others call it, over not going to Iowa contributed to that, and you hoist yourself by your own petard.

I mean, you're the person who still claims you somehow got "lucky" enough to make a $100,000 killing on cattle futures.

As for blaming the DNC for not enough data?

Doesn't this really indict your own campaign, since Dear Leader in 2008, and 2012, ran his own data-mining and targeting operation separate from the DNC? And, isn't this the DNC that's being sued right now for allegedly rigging the primary campaign in your favor? Isn't this the DNC run by your best bud Donna Brazile after you nudged aside Debbie Wassermann Schultz?

And, in his own piece, Brains reminds of her joint fundraising with the DNC. Riffing on Brains, let's also remember that she was partaking of the DNC's data operations. You know, the ones with the security-glitchy servers run by NGP VAN, the one that the Sanders staffer got into and then Debbie Wasserman Schultz temporary cut the Sanders campaign off before the threat of a lawsuit.

Her joke about "covfefe" fell as flat as the rest of the left hand of the duopoly's jokes about it, or as flat as the rest of her campaign.

Actually, it IS about the Russians. It's Trump's code that "Bill is sleeping with a Russian bimbo, courtesy Frank Giustra."

People talk about how she's a different person once the political "wraps" are off. Well, if she really has run her final campaign, the wraps are off. And she didn't she much in the way of human warmth. Instead, this looked like a calculated press op to butter the public up for her book, which will probably sink like a lead-petrified turd.

And, is there anything much more tiresome than an earnest liar?

And, yes, despite Bill seemingly being the smooth, suave liar, I think that proves that he's less the born one than she is in some ways.

The Slickster no more believed his own lies than he did in the man in the moon. Whereas she seems to believe hers. But, she's got that junior high school earnestness that makes the self-believed lying still not work, but in a different way from Bill.

NYT opens itself to #TrumpTrain punking and Google SEO punking

Liz Spayd has been neutered
So, the Old Gray Lady has decided to can its public editor position, apparently in part as a way of canning its current public editor, Liz Spayd, who didn't do the job as well as predecessor Margaret Sullivan.

That said, the position, created in the wake of Jayson Blair, was always about forward-looking PR for the paper at bottom. And, when the paper gives you shit, sometimes, shit-tasting lemonade being made at the end still isn't that good, if you're the public editor, no matter the seriousness of your lemonade-making endeavors.

That said, per a Salon overview, on paper, Spayd had the chops for the job. But, she not only appears antiquated in relation to social media, but in relation to ways in which the Times could be, and sometimes was, different in a good way.

In hindsight, she strikes me as "earnest." Like a fourth-grade schoolteacher from the 1950s. And, generally, that's not that good.

On the other hand, predecessor Margaret Sullivan was by no means perfect. I once both emailed and Tweeted her about staff "pre-writing" a weather storm in anticipation of a snowpocalypse that didn't pan out. Never heard back. How she would have handled Stephens, I have no idea. That said, per Nieman Lab, Sullivan's defense of the position, and by extension, her prior inhabitation of it, is kind of laughable.

But, back to the headline of this post.

The decision to eliminate the public editor comes a day after the Times announced the creation of a “Reader Center” led by editor Hanna Ingber. One role of the new “Reader Center” is to improve how the Times “respond(s) directly to tips feedback, questions, concerns, complaints and other queries from the public,” according to a Tuesday memo.
This is the TrumpTrain punking part of the headline. Have fun with THAT, Times! Because you will get it. You're probably already getting it with your idiotic "say something nice about Trump" schtick. I know that, if there's others like me, you're getting punked from the other side, too. Well, actually from the nonduopoly left-liberal third side.

Then, there's this, from the memo to staff from Punch Sulzberger:
We are dramatically expanding our commenting platform. Currently, we open only 10 percent of our articles to reader comments. Soon, we will open up most of our articles to reader comments. This expansion, made possible by a collaboration with Google, marks a sea change in our ability to serve our readers, to hear from them, and to respond to them.
Lemme see how interesting that is. Will readers try to Google SEO their own comments? Will Google AdSense try to sell Google ads into those comments?

What else will this involve? Google bots helping edit comments?

And, while the PE role was allegedly designed to address, or turd-polish, the Blair issue, it never did allegedly do that for Judith Miller. Or for the Times holding a 2004 story on President Bush spying on Americans until after the election. Or its sanitized photo coverage of U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Couple of other notes, coming primarily from the Times' own piece. One, Spayd is getting kicked to the curb on Friday. Wow. Second, this is part of larger buyouts. Third, they're going to hire some new journos. They claim that the moves are to hire journos who don't think in "legacy" ways, but what it really is, is younger people they can pay less.

Overall ad sales are still down. It's unclear if the post-election circ rise has come close to offsetting that. It's also not reported if the backlash over the Stephens hiring has ixnayed that rise or even reversed it.

In any case, getcha popcorn! And remember Spayd by this interview earlier in May.

Say goodbye to History for Atheists

I don't always blog about changing my blogroll. But, I do on occasion, since it's a small list, when there's a significant reason for it.

And, there is.

I keep a fairly slim blogroll, as well as general webroll, on this and other blogs. But, blogs I link to, or even incorporate into my feed list, aren't necessarily ones I totally agree with. I'll keep ones that I find stimulating when in disagreement, especially if the disagreement is more on matters of philosophy rather than empirical facts in the hard or social sciences, or interpretation thereof. That's especially true as long as exchanges between me and other authors remain halfway personable.

Well, Mr. O'Neil's History for Atheists blog, which had been linked here, is gone again. (He'd originally been placed here and one other blog after he'd commented favorably on something I wrote.)

His blog is primarily about refuting Gnu Atheist claims about religious figures and ideas in history. And, on people such as Giordano Bruno, he has some good refutation. (And he's not alone in that.)

I won't link to him, though.

When he's wrong, he can sometimes be howlingly wrong.

And he was, a month ago, in trying to defend the papacy in general, and Pope Pius XII in particular, against charges of anti-Semitism. If he had stuck with the title of the blog post and ONLY defended Pius against charges of being a toady to Hitler, he might have had something. But, both the body and in responding to comments, he couldn't stop there.

One medieval papal bull he cited, Sicut Judaeis, was honored as much in the post-Crusades-era breach as in the observance. And, no, it was not "honored" in the breach by "just everyday Catholics." It was "honored" in the breach by popes, the papacy, the Vatican, the Papal States.

Directly related to that, O'Neill refused to even discuss the much later, 1860s-era, Papal States kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. And, it's hugely relevant to refuting his claims. The kidnapping itself, the existence of a ghetto inside Rome — which undercuts later Vatican attempts to distinguish between religious-only anti-Judaism and ethnic anti-Semitism and more.

Also relevant to undercutting him is Catholic hierarchy in the US ignoring physical anti-Semitism as late as World War II. (About halfway down the piece.)

He refused to discuss books by professional historians — non-Jewish as well as Jewish — that undermine his claims about Pius XII. And, I've read several such books.

One such book is "The Popes Against the Jews," just read and reviewed by me here. Its author, David Kertzer, previously wrote "The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara" and "The Pope and Mussolini," both of which I have read, and reviewed the latter here. (Pius XI comes off as better than Pius XII, but that's praising with faint damns one of the worst popes of the last 200 years or more. And don't forget that Pius XII, as Vatican Secretary of State, negotiated and signed the Reichskonkordat.)

Kertzer also wrote an NYT op-ed about the Vatican whitewashing its interpretation of the sealed documents which it invited him and select others to review, which is an excerpt from "The Popes Against the Jews." That said, per Kertzer, it also seems that JP II was trying to blame Italian nationalism in the 19th century for the kidnapping of Mortara and other issues, rather the reality, that the Mortara kidnapping fueled Italian nationalism.

Also related to this is all the different Catholic journals' histories of anti-Semitism in the 18th, 19th, and perhaps 20th centuries. These are official Catholic societal journals, at least theoretically controllable by "nihil obstat" and "imprimatur."

Then, he says, after I told him I hadn't listened to his podcast attached to the post — but without answering at all to Mortara, high-placed priests' post-WWII involvement in the "ratlines" and Vatican knowledge of that — and active involvement with one of the two — and more — his only answer is "go listen" to the podcast" followed by a stream of insults. That "Vatican" knowledge included Pius' personal knowledge, and support. Oh, and Pius XII knew about the Croatian Catholic Church's involvement with the Ustashe, too.

And, even as an opponent to Hitler, that opposition became much more attenuated after June 22, 1941. And O'Neill knows THAT too. It's why Pius supported the ratlines. After Barbarossa, everything was filtered through a Red Scare lens. And, O'Neill knows THAT, too.

That said, there are many Jews who support Pius' actions. (Unfortunately, the main book supporting his post-Barbarossa actions is published by winger publishing house Regnery, and written on commission.Worse, its author, David Dalin, per Wiki on the book itself, cuts the papacy the same blank checks O'Neill does.) I think, pre-Barbarossa, they're halfway defensible. But, after that, especially once the Final Solution started (and I am sure Pius had at least hearsay about it) they're not.

As to O'Neill's dismissal of books critical of Pius XII, I had never read Cornwell's "Hitler's Pope," and don't intend to. Cornwell's not close to being in Kertzer's class as a historian. And, O'Neill knows THAT, too.

Pius' Christmas 1942 radio broadcast is the only real token of support for his defenders.

In any case, the possible, or actual, anti-Semitism of the papacy in the last 300 years is not limited to Pius XII.

Beyond that, my most charitable explanation is that, even though he's an atheist himself, O'Neill is still some sort of "cultural Catholic."  Or, more accurately, given his much higher regard for Rodney Stark than I have, perhaps he's a "Christianist" in the same vein as Samuel Huntington et al. And, this also shows that being a non-Gnu Atheist is no more a guarantor of moral or intellectual honesty than is being an atheist in general.

If it's the same Tim O'Neill being referenced here on an online forum, he's also wrong about other issues related to the Holocaust. Among them? Hitler did not come to power via a "backroom deal." Instead, he was duly accepted as chancellor by President Hindenburg as the agreed-upon representative of a parliamentary coalition. That's the way chancellors, premiers and prime ministers are selected. And, his particular selection, as far as negotiations between coalition partners, was no more of a backroom deal than with any other parliamentary coalition in Germany or any other country.

With all of that, my less charitable explanation is that, whether he's conscious of it himself or not, beyond Christianism, O'Neill has some carefully nuanced anti-Semitism in his veins. And, frankly, given the vitriol of his willful whitewashing of the papacy, I'm going to ascribe that less charitable interpretation.

So, Tim, I've got one bit of vitriol back for you.

Go fuck yourself. (And per a comment of yours, I'm too busy to try to open the mind of an apparent close-minded bigot. See last line of this post.)

And, thus, note that being an atheist is no guarantor against various forms of bigotry.

My personal take is that the papacy, overall, and not just "Catholics out there," has centuries of history of off-again, on-again, anti-Semitism, but that that never totally disappeared until, oh, say the 21st century. It may have been less than that of "Catholics out there," but it still clearly existed. For Pius XII, I believe that he had a mix of low-grade anti-Semitism in a generic sense, moderate-grade support for Jewish needs in Europe before the Holocaust, and a virulent subsumation of all other foreign policy issues to anti-Communism.

Beyond the actual war issues, his Edgardo Mortara-type stance toward Jewish children baptized during the Holocaust as a smokescreen is another black mark.

May 29, 2017

TX Progressives remember Memorial Day and the #RWNJ #txlege dead

The Texas Progressive Alliance doesn't need a back channel to bring you this week's roundup. We also hope that readers were able to observe Memorial Day — our nation’s salute to our war dead, and originally our nation’s salute to our Union Army Civil War dead — in an appropriate way.

Off the Kuff has an update on the redistricting situation.

Socratic Gadfly has collected and assembled his first set of thoughts on the idea of guaranteed, universal, or basic income, both its promises and its possible perils.

Texas Republicans are leading the way for mean, misogynistic, crazy, racist policies. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme joins the resistance.

With hurricane season approaching, Neil at All People Have Value reported on the Trump/Governor Abbott hurricane plan for the Houston/Galverston area. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Democrats were on the comeback trail even before the Montana special election results came in, reported PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Lewisville Texan Journal talks about a new homeless shelter for teens in that city.

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

Mark McKinnon wonders how the Texas GOP got to be so out of touch with the business community.

Better Texas Blog explains the Saturday Night Massacre budget deal.

The TSTA Blog criticizes Greg Abbott's support of the "sanctuary cities" law.

Grits for Breakfast checks to see which criminal justice bills did and did not survive the end-of-session bloodletting.

Dwight Silverman explains how you can legally circumvent the new texting-while-driving ban.

Juanita has a preferred candidate for Chair of the Republican Party of Texas.


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Mimi Swartz was not amused by Greg Abbott's joke about shooting reporters.

May 28, 2017

Quist, Gianforte and the DCCC

Everybody else has offered hot takes on the Montana House special election. Here's my slower simmer.

First, Greg Gianforte was not that bad of a candidate for the Republicans. He lost by slightly less than four percentage points to incumbent Steve Bullock in the 2016 gubernatorial election. The fishing hole issue was a hotter button issue then, and Bullock had an experienced political history, with a background as elected AG and a staffer inside the state AG's office before that.

Rob Quist, on the other hand, was a political novice who had never before even run for dogcatcher of Utopia. The fishing hole issue had died down and Quist wasn't skilled enough to exploit it anyway.

Given all of that and more, I can understand the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee NOT sending more money to Quist. And, if he's the best candidate former Gov. Brian Schweitzer could recruit, that says something about Schweitzer, the state Democratic Party, or both.

And, Quist showed his novicehood in his campaign. He ran behind previous Democratic markers for a statewide office. And, he couldn't beat an outright creationist in the West, the most secularized part of America. And, per The Hill, a candidate with a history of unpaid taxes in general is bad, but worse when running as a "progressive." You probably won't find that, but you will find turd-polishing about this race, at Down with Tyranny.

And, despite Quist being called a "progressive" (a term about as vacuous as "populist") he, like Bullock and Schweitzer, loves him some climate-threatening coal, even if he rebrands it as "clean coal." (At least, unlike Schweitzer, he wasn't promoting coal gasification.)

Things like that, in turn, show the perils and struggles of finding a broadly left-liberal balance without being totally single-issue "line of death." (Schweitzer is some degree of gun nut, on the one hand, but early on supported single-payer and has long been at least decent on American Indian rights.)