July 21, 2017

Kyrie is butt-hurt, LeBron is WTF and Ainge is salivating

Kyrie Irving
OK, here's the verschnizzle on all that.

In case you haven't heard, Kyrie Irving says he wants the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him because he doesn't want to play wingman to LeBron James any more. Yeah, jaw drop. One ring and two other Finals trips will do that, I guess?

Sidebar: Well, maybe you DON'T have a superteam, LeBron.

Irving mentioned the Spurs, the Knicks, the T-Wolves and the Heat.

Let's look at a couple, while noting I'm not sure how easy the salary cap matches would be for each one.

Carmelo Anthony
The Knicks? Shit, Carmelo Anthony has to have a salary near enough. Yeah, sounds like Kyrie could be a bit of a headache, but if I have the chance to put him beside The Unicorn, Kristaps Porzingis, I do it. Or maybe Melo goes to the Rockets or otherwise becomes part of a three-team trade. Hmm.

And, my guess, at least on a potential deal is right, with the third team reportedly the Suns.

The Spurs? Pops likes defense. Kyrie doesn't. And, just as Kawhi Leonard is making that his team, Kyrie would have to accept playing second banana to him. And, who do you trade for him? An ill-fitting LaMarcus Aldridge, re the salary cap?

The Timberwolves? Tom Thibodeau definitely likes defense. He'd have to play about fifth banana to Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.

The Heat? Pat Riley would move heaven and earth to make that happen. And, it probably could. Stay tuned. Goran Dragic would be a near fit on cap. If Cleveland owner/meddler Dan Gilbert could be placated with a draft choice or something as well ... that could be a trade.

Any snark aside, Knicks, Heat, Spurs, T-Wolves, in order, are my guesses of trade likelihoods. And now, Red Satan reviews some of the trade possibilities. ESPN also goes further down the road of "Is Kyrie 'all that,' and if not, what is he?"

If you believe advanced defensive metrics and other things, he is NOT all that. In turn, that may affect how much smarter teams will pay for him. The Knicks aren't "smarter teams," but the other three on Irving's top-four list definitely are.

Back in Cleveland ...

LeBron James
LeBron was blindsided and disappointed. And he's keeping hands off. Kevin Love is reportedly pretending to chill.

And, if he wasn't sure about going to the Lakers next year, as rumored, well this will probably increase that incentive.

Even if the Cavs hold on to Irving rather than trading him, that's an icy clubhouse in months ahead.

Now, to Beantown.

GM Danny Ainge, just having landed Gordon Hayward as a free agent, and still having stockpiled draft choices, is salivating at a gutted Cavs team.

He's just going to salivate, while trying to be patient at the same time.

(Update, Aug. 24: Ainge was salivating until he pounced in for the trade.)

Update, Sept. 20: Kyrie bunny-hops around Stephen A. and Max attempting to grill him.

Who is Alan Smithee, aka Actual Flatticus?

There are many Alan Smithee characters on Twitter, all riffing on the origin of the name, but only one who is Actual Flatticus by sign-in.

He was a Twitter friend of mine. Very thought provoking and usually very, very sharp on issues of campaign finance, both soft money and dark money.

He likes to tell people never to believe what he says, but check it out for themselves.

Unfortunately, that's a schtick with him, not reality.

We got in a long argument over Jane Sanders' ongoing federal investigation, and he blocked me.

That was after a shorter argument about whether or not the Emoluments Clause applies to presidents. It does, contra his claims, as I document in detail.

And, it goes along with me not calling him out for a link that he used to demean Democracy Now's Amy Goodman as a money-grubber who allegedly made $1 million a year when her show was spun off from Pacifica. It may or may not be correct; in any case, per The Nation, her pay and sidebar moneys were mutually negotiated. Also, the source is biased, having previously sued WBAI.

And, the source has HUGE other problems. As in, it's from a website anti-semitic enough to believe The Protocols of The Elders of Zion are "real," and conspiracy-thinking enough to believe in chemtrails, the New World Order, the Illuminati and all sorts of other shit.

Who is Smithee, in more detail?

Some further speculation:

Probably Smithee was involved with the Democratic party at one time, as a precinct captain. Maybe even to the level of county committeeman in a decent-sized county. Maybe a delegate to a state convention.

Like Brains, he got burned, disgusted and burned out at some point. But acted differently. Rather than look to vote Green, or other third parties, when available, not voting is his preference.

He hates journalists in general. Black-and-white thinker on this, as on several other things.

He can’t stand Jill Stein, for whatever reason. Rather than pick something truly nutty, like her sexist Mother’s Day comment, rather, in my time w/him on Twitter, he picked on her idealism, saying she “declared war” on Saudi Arabia as his reference to her quite reasonable call for an embargo on arms sales to KSA.

But, that may be driven by something else. I think he’s got some background sexism, at least when it comes to argumentation. I think he likes to argue more with women than with men, likes beating them even more than men. I do not think this parlays into sexism against HRC as a presidential candidate.

I don’t think he’s a troll per se. That said, for him, every problem is not a nail, but a rock needing to be crushed by a sledgehammer. And ultimately, he leaves the feeling of a dull, throbbing toothache. I think he does know better, but this has been his modus operandi so long he doesn’t care. Related to this, it’s not just Stein. He doesn’t like the Green Party in general for whatever reason, as noted above. He doesn't hate it, but from what he's discussed of his past voting record, he refused third-party voting.

That said, again, he doesn’t like to be proven wrong, when he can be proven wrong, despite his calls for people to check out everything he says. Another way of putting this is “he’s got a mind like a steel trap” … and … no, it’s not rusted shut, per an old MASH joke. Rather, it’s a double spring-loaded, or pre-programmed, trap, or something like that.

Based on his citing Educate-Yourself (the link above), and other people referring to Amy Goodman’s alleged $1 million pay as a reason she’s a co-conspirator on suppressing so-called 9/11 “truth,” I wonder if he’s a conspiracy theorist. The reality on Goodman is that the parting from Pacifica was mutual, mutually agreed and mutually acceptable, per this Nation profile.  The Educate Yourself piece Flatticus used is also a flat-out lie to claim that her salary is tax-free. NOBODY’s salary is tax free. They may take all sorts of deductions, but it’s NOT “tax free.” 

Do I hate him? No, not at all.

I find it kind of sad that he can't or won't practice what he preaches on the verification issue.

And, so, I think others on Twitter need to be warned about him.

July 20, 2017

Early Texas gov's race rumblings (updated)

Gov. Strangeabbott has, of course, already declared for re-election.

Part of me wonders if he made this official announcement this early was to scare off Danny Goeb from considering a maverick move from Lite Guv to Guv. And no, that wouldn't have surprised me in the least if that were on Danny Boy's mind. (State political analyst Harold Cook agrees on that.)

Few new thoughts via Brains, in two separate posts.

In the first, he speculates about Speaker of the House Joe Straus running for guv as an independent.

Interesting indeed. And, given the flap over the bathroom bill, Texas big biz would pony up campaign cash, and Abbott threats of enemy-listing would be futile.

Two questions — would he consider it and could he win?

The "consider" issue is predicated in part on him possibly being burned out on resisting the Tea Party wingnuts during his five terns as speaker, and while conscientious — which his "no suicides" comment to Goeb about the bathroom bill indicates he is — finally getting tired.

That said he could run and have a non-Mucus (Michael Q. Sullivan) replacement discussed with other Straus Republicans in the House plus Democrats.

The could he win?

Hoo boy. That big biz cash would have to pony up for a GOTV drive of massive proportions as well as lots of advertising. However, big biz in Texas with big office space could find him plenty of campaign events to address.

The second post? One Democrat who's in but not in, and one Democrat (for now) who's definitely in.

Let's take the second of those candidates first.

Tom Wakely certainly talks the right talk about what's wrong with today's Texas Democratic Party. Indeed, he talks enough social justice and environmentalism that I'm with Brains — he could run as a Green if he tires of chasing the Dem brass ring.

Brains thinks something like that, created by TDP cold shoulders, if not outright kicks from Gilberto Hinojosa and minions, could well happen. Wouldn't surprise me. Wakely has at least indicated he'd be open to an independent run of his own.

A Green run would be better. But, that's yet more reason for Texas Greens not to opt out of trying to regain ballot access next year.

(Per Brains' comment, I Tweeted Wakely to consider the idea, and cc-ed the Texas Green Party's account.)

The second candidate? Or quasi-candidate? Jeffrey Payne has basically announced that he'll make an announcement. No previous campaign experience, unlike Wakely, who sought Lamar Smith's House seat last year.

He checks the special interest tag as a gay candidate. He checks the rich conservative wing of the Democrats tag as a businessman citing his business experience. Of course, the Dallas Voice once did a boatload of spinning for eventual felon Joey Dauben.

Yet more about Payne here. Hmm. Hinojosa et al might run more scared from his candidacy than from Wakely's.

Update, July 22: We may have a third candidate. Reportedly, Mike Collier, who already announced for Lite Guv, will either move down to comptroller or up to the guv's race to clear space for former state legiscritter Allen Vaught to run for No. 2.

Collier's got the Dem establishment's seal of approval already. If he does move up, Wakely needs to — and probably will — think harder about his options and plans.

July 18, 2017

TX Progressives are the lull before the #txlege special session storm

The Texas Progressive Alliance is girding its loins or whatever for the special session of the Lege, and hankering after a “Sunset and Sign, Die” pin.

Off the Kuff highlights a spate of LGBT candidates running for office in the near future.

SocraticGadfly tells any Texas Greens who are thinking of skipping 2018 in working to restore party-line ballot access to stop entertaining such thoughts because next year will be a good opportunity.

Got any Democrats in mind to run for governor in 2018?  Drop a line to the TDP if you do, says PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value attended the Medicare For All Town Hall sponsored by the Bernie Sanders Our Revolution group and also by Houston Socialist organizations. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

At Dos Centavos, Stace calls out the Harris County Commissioners Court for being chicken-shit on the SB4 lawsuit.

Grits for Breakfast does a roundup of what actual police reform should look like.

South Texas Chisme notes that anti-immigrant stances are affecting shrimping.

Lewisville Texan Journal has the latest on a Title IX lawsuit against that school district.

McBlogger calls out religious liberals for dissing secularist liberals as a straw man, and other things.

Somervell County Salon has an update on a North Carolina county going beyond even the broad allowances on meeting prayers after the Town of Greece case.

David Bruce Collins gives an intro to the campaign of Green candidate Hal Ridley Jr., running for CD-36.


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

Better Texas Blog keeps digging into how bad Trumpcare would be for our state.

Juanita has some fun with a Republican neighbor.

Paradise in Hell wonders what town hall meetings Ted Cruz goes to. Meanwhile, wherever Rafael is, High Plains Blogger sees the return of Lyin’ Ted.

Dawn Hanson advocates for high-density affordable housing as an answer to income inequality.

Michael Li demonstrates how not hard it is to draw minority opportunity districts in Texas.

Gabriella Dunn documents the other requests for voter data in Texas.

The StartleGram talks about Abbott end-running traditional media again, this time for his re-election launch.


July 17, 2017

#BasicIncome is NOT a magic wand

I've already done one long blog post noting that basic income, guaranteed income or universal income is just ONE tool in addressing automation, other employment concerns of the future, the power of labor in general and more.

It looks like I need another.

When the likes of basic income guru Scott Santens are uncritically retweeting claims that basic income could fight climate change and more (and no, I'm not linking to it), it's time to write.

First, BI may, or may not, bring about non-employment changes, including social and environmental ones.

Second, if Indiana is an example, it could exacerbate global warming.

We know this from a temporal experiment that state did, when it transitioned from year-round Standard Time, with the exception of the Gary and Evansville areas, to adopting Daylight Saving Time.

With more people going home near the heat of the day, home AC use shot up, for an overall rise in state electric use.

If BI led more people to be at home even more, something like this could happen nationwide. That's VERY true if we had 15-hour work weeks, per something else Santens retweeted.

Could it reduce stress? Possibly, or replace it with more marital / partner stress from couples being together more. Again, don't make unwarranted claims.

This doesn't even address the fact that many Americans would go nutsy Fagan in general with a 15-hour work week, between addiction of workaholism and guilt of the Protestant work ethic.
Santens also uncritically retweets conspiracy theorist, 9/11 Truther and alt-right fellow traveler of sorts Caitlin Johnstone.

The big issue? Rather than calling him a "guru," perhaps it would be better to categorize Santens as an "evangelist" for basic income.

And, evangelists stretch the truth. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

That's why I am not only a secularist, but, at the same time, I'm not a Gnu Atheist.

Basically, at bottom line, evangelists are salespeople.

Hey, Og Mandino said that about Paul of Tarsus. Don't be saying that I, a secularist, am slurring evangelists.

This will probably be the last thing I write on it for a while.

Santens and others also know that the level of basic income necessary to actually have a chance at work-related stress reduction absolutely won't happen in the US and is unlikely even in western and northern Europe.

And, on the sales side? It may even be injurious to the promotion of the cause of basic income to present it as a magic wand when it's not.

Santens also approaches being simplistic in other ways.

He notes the problems with food stamps (TANF) and Medicaid being made into state block grants by "the politicians." Well, first, they didn't start that way, and second, who's to say that, without strict "lockboxing," that basic income couldn't end up that way?

This is another reason basic income is just one tool.  Fix the various parts of the safety net, too.


Sidebar: Dylan Matthews, in a wide-ranging, mostly good sometimes iffy piece, notes other problems.

There's the Charles Murrays of the world, who want to gut the existing safety net even more than liberatarians, for example. Surely, other economic-thinking paleoconservatives agree. And, even allegedly liberal union leader Andy Stern wants to use BI to cut at least parts of that net, and cut Social Security. That said, this is far from the only reason I put "alleged" in front of liberal with him.

Stern has other issues. He, along with Murray (with Murray the reasons are obvious) doesn't want a BI that includes kids.

Overall, Matthews brings a good deal of largely well-placed pessimism. And, part of his solution is well-based on that. That's both for a targeted version of BI within the US safety net perhaps being a better starting point, and a more comprehensive BI in the developing world helping both it and the whole world.

That said, Matthews has his own neoliberal interpretation problems with our current economy and labor system. Does automation raise wages? For computer and robot programmers, sure. For the employees who work with the robots? Maybe. For those replaced by robots? Not at all.

We should have his pessimism about elements of BI, yes. But, they shouldn't be run through his own version of a neolib filter. And, yes, it is some sort of a neolib filter. He didn't expressly use the word "Luddite" in attacking worriers about automation, but the idea was there.