SocraticGadfly: 4/8/18 - 4/15/18

April 14, 2018

#Spurs gone? And then #Kawhi gone?
Yes and hopefully yes

Kawhi Leonard: Headed
out of Dodge, or rather,
out of San Antone?
Game 1 of the first round of the NBA playoffs showed the San Antonio Spurs have little chance of beating the Golden State Warriors without Kawhi Leonard.

(Update: See my new post about possible trade destinations for Leonard if the Spurs pull the trigger and also see the poll at right to vote on that. That said, per some new verschnizzle from Woj, the relationship may not be broken after all.

And, as of the end of the NBA Finals, it became very clear that Woj's new verschnizzle was wrong.)

Update, June 15: Kawhi, according to Yahoo's Shams Charania, wants out.

Update, July 5: Via Yahoo, ESPN's Michael Wright said Kawhi hid from Spurs staff when they came to visit him in New York. Rather:
There was a point during his rehab process in New York that some of the Spurs brass went out to see him in New York. As soon as those guys arrived to the building, Kawhi’s people grabbed him and sequestered him to another part of the building. And so the Spurs’ people couldn’t even see him.
That's just chickenshit.  It's more chickenshit on the part of Kawhi's uncle Dennis Robertson, but it's chickenshit enough on the part of Kawhi.

In addition, per Zach Lowe, potential trade partners have no idea how healthy he is. And, in light of Haberstroh, have no idea if they would get to talk to Leonard and his team even if the Spurs allowed it! I'm kind of like one Spurs fan on that Deadspin link. Park Kawhi's ass on the bench. So bad that he rusts. Treat him like Joakim Noah.

Back to the original.

It also showed an attitude issue.

Leonard, out most of the year with a quad tendon problem — playing briefly after a conservative, quite conservative, Spurs medical staff cleared him, then sitting himself for the rest of the season — couldn't even be bothered to come to Oakland to be with the rest of ... what might or might not be his team right now, mentally, and may or may not be his team physically next season. That's even as Tony Parker, with a seemingly worse quad tendon injury, healed even quicker and without physical — or psychological — complications.

Steph Curry, with an MCL knee problem, was on the Dubs' bench. Kawhi was absent. (And, no, Kawhi wasn't even back in San Antonio; he's basically been separate from the team for much of the latter part of the year, though not all, since benching himself.) Marc Spears at The Undefeated is also asking "Where's Kawhi?" And

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich admits the injury has been perplexing. And, on this ESPN video, Amir Elhassan says he had an injury misdiagnosed a couple of years ago. This Twitterer talks more about that 2012 injury.

Let's talk more about this. (Click the link above for two more pages of talk.)

First, his own doctors obviously cleared him for the nine games earlier this season, otherwise, he wouldn't have played then, skippy.

Second, if he's not going to play this postseason at all, even needing to be in pre-pre-season shape for next preseason? That's four months away. He could be with the team on the bench, or first row courtside, for the playoffs.

Third, that said, his 2012 injury is connected to some degree to this year's by type, but on the other leg.

On the other hand, per Skippy the wonder Twitterer (account suspended, that's why you don't see the info now) I don't recall a massive brouhaha over him being misdiagnosed, though it eventually was rediagnosed as tendinopathy, which is more serious than tendonitis.

Meanwhile, if we're going to Reddit, skippy the wonder Twitterer, here's the Spurs Reddit with some better discussion, IMO.

(Update: At The Undefeated, Brando Simeo Starkley also tries to defend Kawhi. And also, in my opinion, fails.

First, the Tony Parker angle (settling aside the issue of whether or not TP was throwing passive-aggressive shade at Kawhi), He never was THAT fast, first, and second, he's got a lot more miles on older wheels. Hell, before his injury last year, during the regular season, I said Pops should bench him.

Second, the "Spurs cleared him to come back"? As I pointed out on my first point to Skippy the wonder Twitterer, so did Kawhi's own doctors/trainers/medical team.

Third, on the blame issue? If not Kawhi, maybe that team of his. Yes, he and/or they may be right to see Isaiah Thomas as a cautionary example.

We're still at the "not part of team for the playoffs" issue. Starkey doesn't address that, not even in the light of Pops' wife passing away.

For that matter, I don't know what Kawhi thinks. He hasn't touched his official Twitter account for 3 years. His "official" Instagram is by his sister and has just 11 posts.

Further sidebar: Just last August, the Saints fired two orthopedists who worked for both them and the Pelicans after a player misdiagnosis. If Pops and Buford thought their medical staff had done a similar screw-up, they'd be firing people too.

But, Kawhi's teamside absence indicates to me that Woj's earlier hints of discord are true – and cut both ways. Or three ways. Per Manu Ginobili's comments in February, I think a fair chunk of the team, not just Pops and R.C. Buford, have some issues.

Pops has now officially written him off for the playoffs, it seems. And, in video at that link, he bluntly, in best Pops style, refuses to answer a question about Kawhi's value as moral support being on the bench.

And, chocolate donut Twitter's Marcus Johnson has shown he's even more an idiot as a basketball commenter than he is a Hillbot. He saluted Kawhi:
Yep, Hillbot dumb on basketball too.

Hey, Marcus? Spurs doctors pushed nothing. Note the "very conservative" above on hist treatment. (It also describes the likes of you as seen by the likes of me politically, so you should be able to get that.)

Now, back to Kawhi.

First, the current series. No Kawhi kills the Spurs offense, especially against a team like the Dubs. Patty Mills is the only guard fast and skilled enough to be a drive-and-kick player. Manu and TP aren't fast enough. Dejounte Murray and others aren't good enough.

Danny Green is the only good three-baller among the top seven of the rotation outside of Mills, and he's not the type who creates his own shot. That means a lot of slow dump-and-kick halfcourt sets revolving around Lamarcus Aldridge. Rudy Gay is an OK one, but he's past the point in his career at creating his own shot on a three-ball in general, and definitely not against a team like the Warriors.

Defensively, it's worse. The team has no great perimeter defenders. Kyle Anderson is decent inside. Aldridge is above average. Pau Gasol is near the end of the line. None of the three is fast on rotations, or fast enough to guard perimeter players on switches.

I'd be surprised if the Warriors don't sweep.

Second, to Kawhi not being in Oakland for moral support? If it is indeed possible he's out for the entire playoffs, then yet more rehabbing in New York, as he allegedly is doing, is unnecessary. Period. End of story.

There is no "I" in team is a cliché, yes, but with a grain or four of truth behind it.

The big tell? If he's not in the house at the AT&T Center for Game 3.

That leads to part the third ...

That said, will the Spurs move him in the offseason? D-Wade has already says yes, and says, Celtics the team. Who Boston would send back, I don't know. Would Pops and Buford want multiple draft choices that Danny Ainge has hoarded, maybe even throwing another player back, and go the rebuild route? Indeed, I said repeatedly on Twitter the last few weeks of the NBA season that the Spurs should tank and get in the lottery this year.

Basketball Reference says the Clips would be interested, but who do they have to offer back?

I mean, Parker is 35. Aldridge is 32. Green is 30. Manu of course is 40, and Pau is 37. If you trade Kawhi, then trade Aldridge as well for a team wanting a more traditional center, and see if you can get something for Gasol for a team wanting a backup stretch 4. Getcha a bunch of draft choices plus young players and get lucky if you can. And tank. Beyond that, if Elhassan is right and this injury is also worse than thought — but with the psychological side a factor there — don't the Spurs have to look to move him if they think he's got some permanent limitation?

From the Spurs POV, moving him might make sense psychologically, just as much as the Cavs moving Kyrie Irving. But, Kawhi will have to pass a physical AND look mentally committed to Boston or whomever for a trade to come off with any value to the Spurs.

At the same time, some people have commented on the Spurs' difficulty signing free agents, and the idea that no Kawhi would make that worse. Well, the Spurs have been good enough at retaining their own when getting lucky in the draft they haven't needed a lot of big-name free agents.

The real question is how free agents potentially coming to Alamo City would read the Kawhi-vs-et al showdown.

Art Bell can rot in hell

Art Bell can go rot in hell.
Unfortunately, there is no such place for him.

Bell, known as hosting late-night talk radio on paranormal and other topics, died on Friday the 13th.

Jokes aside, he was a major popularizer of a lot of pseudoscience. This included the idea that the government was manipulating our weather through the HAARP program and that it was conducting experiments on Americans through what looked like ordinary jet contrails but were really "chemtrails" of toxic substances.

Bell was a major popularizer of chemtrails.

(So, too, is Dennis the Menace Kucinich, which I had forgotten.)

My mom never did full post-stroke therapy and never was totally complaint about taking post-stroke cholesterol medicines, because she believed that chemtrails had caused what she often refused to call a stroke rather than her "arm problems."

So Art Bell can rot in hell.

So can Ohio Green Party chair Chemtrails Bob Fitrakis. And, it's not just Fitrakis. I don't know percentages, but it seems like Greens and Green-leaners in general are more ready to espouse a number of conspiracy theories than mainstream Republicans and Democrats. That said, on one in particular, antivaxxerism, they're joined by capital-L and small-l L/libertarians.

And, per Wiki, chemtrails conspiracy theory often led to others.

Please don't mention an actual government conspiracy found true, like the Tuskegee Airmen experiments, or the government spraying of zinc cadmium sulfate. Two wrongs don't make a right. Nor do photoshopped pictures, or other claims about airplanes. And, these other tests had records on file that were leaked or otherwise got into the public domain. If chemtrails existed, the same would have happened by now.

April 13, 2018

#ClimateChangeIsReal so get ready to sweat, Texas

Two months ago, the Dallas Morning News ran a story that had some climate scientists predicting Dallas and environs could have 120-degree summer days by 2050.

In other words, take Phoenix now. Add Dallas' summer humidity, which is closer to that of Houston than that of Phoenix. That's Dallas in 25 years, while many readers of the Snooze are still alive.

Alarmist? I don't think so. I'm no James Howard Kunstler, but I am more worried than the the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as more worried than Michael Mann and many US climate scientists.

A non-climate scientist who is more worried is an emeritus engineering prof from Cornell, Anthony Ingraffea.

He does know something about fracking, and he expects that will push the world over that 2°C doorstep within 15 years, per DeSmog Blog. That's less than the 25 years for Dallas to become a sweatier version of today's Phoenix.

Specifically, he knows about methane leaked from fracking for both natural gas (methane) and oil.

People who know much at all about climate change know that methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, even if relatively shorter-lived. Over a 100-year period, per the pre-Trump EPA, it's about 30 times more potent. And, governments try to make methane look even that benign by using a 100-year period rather than 20 years, per Scientific American.

And, speaking of leaks, per Wikipedia, let's not forget that HC-134a filling modern air conditioners.

So, no, 120-degree days in Dallas is not an alarmist prediction at all. It's also why I say that people tut-tutting about Trump exiting the Paris climate accord are tut-tutting about something toothless, while they are something clueless.

April 12, 2018

Some philosophers are more equally wrong than others

I like Massimo Pigluicci a lot. He makes philosophical issues accessible to the general public, and he covers a variety of issues. We agree on a lot of issues, like ev psych, will, fairly much on volition and more.

That said, I can't let a comment on this post by Dan Kaufman go without a response. And, since Massimo has twice refused to post moderately (but no more than that) snarky comments by me about Dan's comment, I shall go in more depth, and higher or lower snark, here.

Yes, it's Massimo's blog and he has the right to moderate comments as he pleases. And, this is my blog, and I have the right to write posts as I please. And, beyond evolutionary biology's tit for tat of reciprocal altruism, done subconsciously, on a number of social interactions, I practice it conscientiously.

Anyway, here's the comment, rather the first from that post:
Philip, your reply is a dodge. You claimed that mathematics is empirical. I pointed out that this would entail that mathematical statements are probabilistic, which they clearly are not. Simple modus tollens. To which you reply “it’s random.” 
No one ever died from admitting they were wrong about something. Why not give it a try?
Emphasis on the second graf is mine, because that's what this is about.

First of all, other than a British astronomer named Coel and a Canadian confusednik named Garth, not currently commenting on posts, and DM, not a total favorite of Massimo's either. NOBODY among past or current regular commenters has more difficulty admitting they're wrong than Dan. Dan is right a lot more often than them, but, when he's wrong, he doubles down on it as much as them.

And, Massimo knows that. (Or at least, believes something close to that.) I can mention specific issues, the biggest in my mind being that Dan rejects medical science's claim — and has done so on Massimo's blog — as to what constitutes one standard drink of an alcoholic beverage.

Hence my riff on Orwell's "Animal Farm" and Dan as Napoleon. It's part of why I stopped writing for Dan's site after a couple of posts. I disagreed with the editing-for-content and direction on my second piece and knew it wasn't something he's let me win, or even get closer to 50-50.

If Massimo is going to moderate posts over this issue, then why not start by editing Dan's to remove that second paragraph? Or keep it from being posted in the first place?

And, he let Dan and Philip have a 4-5 comment back-and-forth before that. So, my one denied comment really can't be that much worse in lack of contribution than their original back-and-forth.

(For the wonderers, both of my would-be comments did a pull-quote on Dan's second graf. In the first, I then said "posted without further comment." In the second, I said something about this being similar to "electric" comment of a week or two back. (Dan's blog is The Electric Agora.)

For Philip, it's not a matter of whether he was right or wrong on the particular back-and-forth. (I think he was pretty much wrong, myself, per Dan's first graf.) It was Dan's ... well, Dan's tacit hypocrisy. "Pots and kettles" come to mind. And, nobody else challenged him on it — or, at least, Massimo allowed nobody (else) to challenge him.

I tried again, on Massimo's next blog post. Again, no soap.

And, on a third post, where Dan was clearly wrong, and has been wrong in the past — what constitutes alcohol abuse and similar.
Calling people who regularly drink more than 3.5 drinks a day alcoholics is calling them exactly what they are. They are addicts, just as smokers or drug users are.
= = =
What a load of nonsense. Someone who has a beer with lunch and two glasses of wine with dinner is an alcoholic? If so, the term is useless to make any characterization that would be of any interest to any productive purpose.
And, Massimo even knows, via old convo on Google+, my thoughts on this issue. And he hasn't explicitly disagreed with Dan's wrongness.

And, June 27, another blog post where Massimo didn't post a comment about me being critical of Dan.

Also, June 29, where Massimo truncated a comment of mine in editing to omit:
Funny how Dan keeps wanting to “drop it,” and then keeps commenting. I think St. Ludwig of Wittgenstein would have an observation about that use of language.
And, since Dan is "Mr. Wittgenstein" I'll save that for the future. Dan, on this post especially, willfully butchers straightforward language and empirical information in the name of motivated reasoning.

So, there you go, Massimo. If you won't let me hoist Dan by his own petard over there, I'll still do it here.

And make this my featured post, now that I have a pic to go with.

And, July 29, Peter Smith being allowed to throw me under the bus on this post at Massimo's new Patreon site with:
Gadfly, this is one of those occasions I can really advise you to read the book 'Innumeracy'. From 1945 to 2009 there were 214,135,000 births(but data for '46, 47, 48, 49 & 51 are missing). We don't really know how many abuses there have been but certainly there are less than 100,000 reported cases of abuse. This is .05% of the population of children born in the period. Even if we take into account gross under-reporting we come to a figure of less than 1%. Currently there are approximately four million births per year, which means there are roughly 60 million children 15 years or younger. Reported claims of abuse are a tiny fraction of 60 million. Given these numbers(I admit they are only rough approximations) I cannot even begin to accept your statement as a rebuttal of my claim that generations were raised in a climate where they were advised to love themselves.
And I indirectly responding to Massimo, telling him it wasn't about religion, telling him I would directly address Peter elsewhere, and then having even that comment deleted? (As for actual data, on child abuse, I told Peter he's off by a factor of at least 3,000 percent.) Sorry, no, wait, that's co-dependent or whatever and I'm not sorry — especially if Peter's commenting there more, I'll be following you less, Massimo. As Patreon doesn't have an RSS feed, I probably won't put you in my links list, either.

April 11, 2018

TX Progressives want Havana Ted's DNA!

The Texas Progressive Alliance is neither the subject nor the target of an investigation, but it is bringing you this week's roundup, while wondering if Ted Cruz can prove he’s human.

Off the Kuff noted that Texas lost another federal lawsuit about voting rights.

Brains and Eggs took a look at the latest events in the Houston-area CD-7 runoff

Socratic Gadfly, seeing the latest anti-Palestinian violence by Israelis, looks at myth vs reality in a major piece of Jewish history.

Stace writes about Tex-Mex music Grammy winners Los Texmaniacs' new album, Cruzando Borders, which will touch on border and Mexican American themes. It's quite timely during this era of Trumpismo.

After more than a generation of one-party dominance, it’s tough for any Texas Democrat to predict what a winning statewide campaign would actually look like. But if Texas Leftist had to take guess, it would come pretty close to the Beto O’Rourke campaign thus far.

And speaking of winning, TL notes more great news for Texas’ classical music community as the Houston Chamber Choir receives a very prestigious National honor.

Neil at All People Have Value attended, as he does each week, the John Cornyn Houston Office Protest.  
And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

At the Dallas Observer, Stephen Young reports on how Plano City Councilman Tom Harrison faces a recall drive over numerous anti-Muslim comments.

Stan Spinner, Lindy McGee, and Julie Boom urge Texans to not politicize vaccinations.

Better Texas Blog explains why a property-tax-for-sales-tax swap is a bad idea.

The Houston Press ties gun ownership and gun violence – including suicide — to older white males and their psychological issues.

Also at the Dallas Observer, Jim Schutze notes politics and charity make strange bedfellows, with Dallas ISD trustee Bernadette Nutall taking Koch Bros.-laundered money.

Elise Hu remembers her first mentor and his warning about Sinclair Broadcasting.

Deborah Beck urges elected leaders to have in-person meetings with constituents.

Therese Odell grapples with the politics of Roseanne.

April 09, 2018

Is Thomas Frank right to worry that Trump can be re-elected?

As he does here?

Yes and no.

He's right to worry that national-level Dems are too reliant on Robert Mueller putting Trump behind legal guns.

He's wrong, IMO, in thinking that Trump is going to get a Slickster Clinton economic goosing.

First, his own trade wars — wrongly framed, even though fair trade vs "free trade" is an issue — will shoot him in the foot.

Second, labor force participation has remained flat for the last four years and is still far short of pre-Great Recession numbers. With or without trade wars, I don't expect Trump to fix that in the next 2.5 years.

So, it will have to be Trump getting an economic expectations goose. Trump train voters, especially in coal-mining West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and manufacturing Great Lakes states, will have to believe that Trump has indeed fixed the economy. Those tax breaks for the rich and big biz will have to trickle down.

Can that many voters stay that self-deluded (in many cases) that much longer, in the face of no more than modest economic gains?

Or, if Dems regain the Senate, can they fuel themselves with social revenge votes? That seems more likely.

That means a Democratic candidate who can get minorities, as well as working-class whites who may be less than totally self-deluded, to turn out.

There's one such person, who is not perfect, but is better than the last few Democratic candidates. And, he's starting to make more sense on guns now too.