SocraticGadfly: 5/27/18 - 6/3/18

June 01, 2018

St. Louis Cardinals at the one-quarter pole — my thoughts

Mildly surprised, overall, am I, given everything that has happened, that they're just 1/2 game back of the Cubs, but 4 1/2 back of the Brew Crew, in third.

As I predicted at the start of the season, right now at least, trailing the Brew Crew. Even if not predicting Milwaukee in first.

What needs to happen to change this?

Well, the pitching just needs to keep on keeping on. Miles Mikolas has been the pleasant surprise indeed. He and Michael Wacha have more than filled the Adam Wainwright hole. We need Carlos Martinez back off the DL sooner rather than later. And, this makes me wonder if we're getting into Cardinals rabbit hole territory about occasionally being coy on injuries. But, with Alex Reyes headed to the big show, if Carlos does have a more serious injury, don't rush him back. Just tell us what's up, Mo and Girsch. (Update: Carlos starts Wednesday, June 6.) The pen has been serviceable, with Bud Norris the surprise and Jordan Hicks lighting up radar guns (and umps' balls-counters for walks).

We're good there, overall. Really.

Well, we WERE good until the announcement that Reyes was going on the DL with a lat strain. Sounds significant enough that Carlos needs to be gotten healthy again sooner rather than later after all, though his own lat problem will reportedly shelve him for up to a month, though it could be less. And, the injury might explain Reyes having no Ks after the first inning of his start.

So, we're closer to so-so than good there.

The plate sucks. Dexter Fowler can't bat his way out of a wet paper bag and remains a defensive issue at times, too, Marcell Ozuna continues to underperform (though not greatly underperform outside of what may turn out to have been a fluke/career year last year) and Matt Carpenter in Dex's territory until recently.

Kolten Wong has become a fragile-ego disaster, and it's time to stop pinning all of this on Matheny. Jose Martinez has been a pleasant surprise and that's it.

With Paul DeJong out for some time, two of the four of the Dex/Carp/Ozuna/Wong foursome have to step it up, period. Hopefully Yadi Molina is back by mid-June.

With a currently-crowded NL playoff-potential field, the Birds can't afford to give up much more ground, if any, before the All-Star break.

This is what needs to happen. Will it?

Not sure.

I don't think Dex hits above .260 for the rest of the season. Of course, I was against signing him to the contract he got at the time Mo offered it. I thought four years was enough, and I said that, if absolutely necessary, give him either a fifth year or a no-trade, but not both.

I was also against the Ozuna trade, assuming that Christian Yelich was already available then and the price no more than what the Brewers eventually paid. And, I think that he doesn't get to where he was last year. Put him down for ending the year about at his 2015 level, which is certainly not what the Birds wanted. (Derrick Goold claims the Fish pushed Ozuna first and wouldn't commit as to whether or not Yelich was available. If true, Jetes and his general management sound even dumber than they already have. Goold says he got this from Marlins sources, but ... it still sounds like the Birds didn't try to push that hard on the "noncommittal" on the Fish trading Yelich. And, Goold can at times, in my opinion, be a team mouthpiece. The difference in trade dates was about six weeks.)

As of today, both the Cards and Cubbies would miss the playoffs. That's how tough the NL is right now.

May 31, 2018

#NBAFinals2018 — a bizarre Game 1 in Oakland

JR Smith, as nailed on Twitter
JR Smith doing his Chris Webber at the end of regulation was bizarre. Whether more or less bizarre than his Friday spinning claiming he knew the game was tied vs. Thursday seeming to say "I thought we were ahead" is debatable. That said, he arguably could have been saying "I thought we were ..." whatever else follewed. Update, June 2: JR admits people know how to read lips and that he fucked up. Nice that he didn't stick with the BS.

Klay Thompson's brain fart of his own on D right before that, eventually forcing the foul on George Hill and the 1-of-2 free throw shooting, was bizarre for sure.

Kevin Love playing not just OK, but actually good defense, at least for him, even on Steph Curry, was definitely bizarre.

Tristan Thompson being charged with not just a flagrant, but a flagrant 2, on Shaun Livingston at the end of OT was definitely bizarre. And, we'll have to see if the punch to Draymond Green's face on top of that is enough for a Game 2 suspension. It should be. (Update: The foul, rightly, has been reduced to a flagrant 1; he gets a fine for the Draymond incident, but no suspension.)

King James getting ready to strangulate JR Smith.
NOT bizarre  — the reversal of the call on the LBJ / KD play to call the King for a block. As I saw it, he didn't finish his slide left until Durant was already pushing off his jump plant foot. That's a block. I agree with Stan Van Gundy, though, that fouls should be an all-or-nothing on when you can review them.

Update: Refs stand by reversal of call. They would have had to huddle, anyway, whether with video or not, because they disagreed from the start. Read the whole piece, about the difficulty of reffing, the self-review they have to do and more.

Besides, in a regular season game, a similar reversal, off video, has already occurred.

And, sorry to Ken Silverstein, but since the Dubs aren't my most fave team, but, at the same time, they're your NBA version of the Patriots, I think my credibility here is as good as yours.

Beyond that, after the way James mugged Jordan Bell in game 2, and Bell then got called for the foul? He personally and Cavs fans in general got NO room to bitch. (Bell went off on LeBron afterward with definite NSFW language.)

(And, per alleged increases in player-ref issues this year? Hell, refs could throw 4-5 Ts a game, easy.)

Most bizarre of all?

That last 27 seconds of OT between the Cavs' missed last shot attempt and Thompson's foul.

Cavs are only down eight. But, they essentially surrender. Nobody's trying to steal the ball. Nobody's fouling any Warriors, whether after an attempted steal or no steal attempts. Sure, you don't want a 5-minute hackathon, but for one or two possessions, don't you have to foul, put a Warrior on the line, then try to hit a quick 3-ball at the other end? And, IMO, that's in part on Ty Lue. If he's seeing the players give up, and he's not pushing them, then it's ultimately his surrender.

Other thoughts?

Warriors looked chippy in the third. They looked like they were going to start one of their patented runs, then a mix of poor ballhandling, indecisiveness and poor movement killed that idea.

Draymond got lucky on his late game 3's, but Steve Kerr still needs to chew his butt for shooting that many.

Kevin Looney was OK, but Livingston was a stabilizer and all around good player tonight. Assuming Iggy is still out, I say, let's see a few more Livingston moments in Game 2.

The Cavs, beyond Hill's missed free throw and JR's brain fart, in general missed a chance to steal a game they needed to steal sometime, preferably before Iggy's return.

The reffing in general was chippy, or crappy. TT shouldn't have been charged with any flagrant, let alone an F2. Several clean strips were called fouls.

Maybe both teams were tired from tough Game 7 efforts in the conference finals, as far as a bit of the brain farts. Still, they had three-four days to rest.

May 30, 2018

Jill Stein is still 'recounting' while getting less transparent

Update, Nov. 28, 2018: I owe Jill Stein a partial apology. While I still think both transparency and administration of her recount fundraising and the work it funded could have been better, it has now gotten results.

From a legal settlement, Pennsylvania is going to paper ballots in 2020, followed by automatic audits in 2022.

Hey, it's only 18 months after the 2016 presidential election.

Remember the recount that Jill Stein asked for in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin?

Remember how she pledged to have a plebiscite on how to distribute any leftover funds?

Well, per the Daily Beast, she's still "recounting," she's gone dark on transparency about reporting to the feds and other things what she's doing with that, and in addition to what he made as her campaign manager, David Cobb has been raking $7,500 a month as her recount legal czar or whatever.

And, no, I don't assume that's the only legal work he's done during this time. As for what he does to earn that money, he wouldn't tell the author:
Well, that's nice.

The feds are concerned enough about not reporting to the FEC since last September that they've given her an official threat:
In a May 7, 2018 letter, the FEC warned Stein campaign treasurer Steven Welzer that he was violating federal law by not accounting for half a year of spending. 
“The failure to timely file this report may result in civil money penalties, suspension of matching funds, an audit or legal enforcement action,” the letter states, noting there is no grace period.
Seems pretty straightforward.

As does this:
As the Center for Responsive Politics has noted, U.S. law dictates that funds raised for a recount “only go toward expenses directly related to the recount, such as paying state staff that counts the votes or any other administrative or overhead payments, as well as post-election litigation.”
If that group's name is unfamiliar, this should be — the Center for Responsive Politics runs the well-known, widely-respected Open Secrets campaign finance website.

The House Intell Committee hauling her up on Russophobia was stupid. Her getting an FEC audit would be an actual black eye.

Some people try to say this about continuing the now non-recount:
But David Jefferson, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says there is good reason to keep fighting. An expert on election security, he provided technical support and guidance during the initial recount effort. 
“It absolutely was not a Stein campaign cash grab,” he told The Daily Beast. And while examining voting machines and their source code may not change the result of the last election — Stein’s attorneys would quickly note they are not trying to — it could help secure the next one, Jefferson argued. It is about transparency. 
“To be perfectly clear, we never really had any evidence [of vote hacking],” he said. “The point we have always been making is that you have to look. You have to check. You don’t just accept the results of complex software, especially proprietary software. You don’t just trust it.”
This ignores what the Center for Responsive Politics said — this doesn't count as a recount and needs to stop. (Jefferson tried to sell Clinton on a recount.)

In my opinion, the Green Party Executive Committee, which rejected backing her recount, needs to take follow-up action in an official statement of some sort. Some sort of distancing statement. But, it may not, as six months later, it said it supported it. (eyeroll)

Now, it is true, as I updated here, that she couldn't recount New Hampshire and Minnesota, as far as the ex comm claiming politics. (Hillary Clinton could have recounted New Hampshire, and I am guessing the law was changed there to block a repeat of Nader's 2004 recount.) However, the other information, on margins of victory, etc., still stand true, as does the fact that, at the time of the recounts, Stein never cited Minnesota or New Hampshire law herself as a reason she couldn't get recounts there. So, I still see it as part of apparent "lesser evilism," which falls in line with claims she was willing to step aside if Bernie could be persuaded to stand for the Green nomination.

On the Cobb deal, he's not the only staffer from her 2016 campaign to be on the recount payroll, another eye-raiser; her campaign's director of operations, Kendall Ferguson, is hauling in about as much, per the last FEC filing. Former press director Meleiza Figueroa is getting a few dinero, and campaign information director Matthew Kozlowski is raking more than Cobb! But, not a surprise; a year ago, I noted that Cobb, Bob Fitrakis and other lawyers got more than 20 percent of the funds raised; I'm sure we're past 30 percent just on insider lawyers now, and probably at more than 50 percent to old campaign staff.

In a June 5 brief update, Davis has crunched some more pay numbers, beyond what I did in the original post here, as somebody from Stein must have seen his first piece and done a new FEC filing.
"The delay in our latest filing is due to the fact that we have had to revise our reports as a routine part of the audit process that automatically follows the use of clean money public campaign finance matching funds," Stein campaign communications director Dave Schwab said in a statement. "This is a difficult, labor-intensive process that has taken our compliance team months of work to prepare."
Sure. Amazing that you caught up on seven months of filing, plus your 2017 year-end, all at once, and within a week of the original story.

Also, Davis finally gotten a comment from Cobb trying to justify his existence. And the $7,500 a month he continues to rake. The pay of him and Kozlowski is half the total month burn rate of the non-recount effort.

Schwab still says a vote will be taken in the future of how to distribute remaining money. Well, you're below $800K; only the suckers are holding their breath, though many suckers exist on this issue.

This, this money laundering by other means, and expectation of this, as well as my disagreement with most of the premises of the recount, is why I never gave her any money. I rejected most of her claims about faulty computers. That includes, as TDB notes, that she appears to want to try to have it both ways on "Putin Did It." But, setting that whole issue aside, I rejected the claims of Michigan State computer science prof Alex Halderman.

That said, it is interesting that, while campaign manager Cobb and others are still raking, old campaign chairwoman Gloria Mattera is not associated.

I mean, this recount was so serious that the doppelganger of Greg Palast, the famous Greg AtLast, started his own investigation, and later discussed it in detail. He did not get $7,500 a month, though.

As for the money? Supposedly, some donations have been returned. But Stein's own recount webpage has no line item for that. As for Greens who claim friends have gotten refunds from Stein? Those are nice anecdotes, but again, nothing listed on the recount website. Nor did she promise that. She did promise a plebiscite or whatever on how to disburse any remaining money. Never promised refunds. And, given Schwab's claim that a vote will be held in the future? Those claiming refunds? There's a word for anecdotes that remain unconfirmed and where at least indirect evidence argues that they're untrue.

This too has made me realize that for many Greens (perhaps more than the average of all humans) a sample of n = 1 is to them actual evidence and not anecdote. Or, given that refunds were never promised, that a simple claim of n = 1 is evidence.

That said, is Charlie Davis, the author of the piece, a Hillbot in lockstep with his employer? I doubt it, but, that doesn't mean he's "all right," beyond the scope of this particular piece.

First, per his Daily Beast pieces, he did criticize unnamed members of "the left" over Syria in 2016, right around political conventions time, so the answer is ... maybe, right there. That said, he's also written for In These Times. And, In These Times as a site gave some positive coverage to Stein. It even ran a piece by Cobb.

That doesn't mean that Charles Davis feels that way ... and per his personal website, he almost certainly is more aligned with DB than with In These Times. He also likes to strawman leftists, again in relation to interventionism both on his own website where he claims to see a leftist new McCarthyism and at Daily Beast. When not strawmanning, he's disparaging, and claims "Assad did it" in Ghouta, or in Khan Sheikhyoun, both of which almost certainly are wrong. (He takes whacks at Max Blumenthal in that new McCarthyism piece, and called Sy Hersh a conspiracy theorist over his Pentagon + Turkey claims but hasn't even touched him on Syria — or Ted Postal, or Robert Fisk. And Fisk, if anything, may be harsher on the White Helmets than Blumenthal. And, there's only one other group of people besides liberals who strawman leftists on Syria — that's Trots, and I'm pretty sure Davis is not one of those. The liberal + Trot mix usually claim we leftists normalize Assad, which is again simply not true. Indeed, a day later, Fisk's newest piece notes how Assad is starting to practice what we could call "opposition cleansing.")

Also, he's kind of touchy at even the insinuation that factual evidence might be used to stuff Stein down. And referencing a 2015 interview with Stein, before it became clear per that summer 2016 piece at Daily Beast, that Clinton didn't have close to a cakewalk, proves little, Mr. Davis.

And, I wouldn't have semi-rhetorically told him on Twitter, in essence, "it may not be a hit piece but ... " if I hadn't already looked at his background.

I moved this information up the page so that Greens can't say I'm blind to some of his background. Anyway, I have found factual information at places like National Review and the New York Post. And, I'm not so much a conspiracy theorist to believe Daily Beast made up quotes in this piece. But yet, many Greens — including the many who still don't get that Stein, not the GP, pushed the recount — can't accept that.

In short, overall, the article was quite fair. It was also helpful, in a Green-related Facebook group, for showing the contortions in which some Greens will engage. Hey, Greens, this is just like Berniecrats having problems with Hillary Clinton but not necessarily with the Democratic Party as a whole.

(And, reactions illustrate that those who overestimate their political knowledge are more likely to engage in conspiracy theories. More here, in a piece linked at that original, which also shows that conspiracy theories generally aren't driven by ideology but by losing. Especially in the US, with its strong-president system and first-past-the-post Congressional system, this means third parties probably should have more conspiracy thinkers than Republicans or Democrats. So, Libertarians?)

It actually, on who individually was raking, could have had the additional detail I provided, though Davis did do more of a breakout on the second piece. I'm still curious as to why DB thought it needed to be that long as it is after Davis pitched it. I'm also curious if DB was his first target or not. Appearing on, say, The Intercept, a few Greens might have found it allegedly less biased. However, many others would have found reasons to attack The Intercept.

What's behind this, anyway? That is, what's behind the extended recount/non-recount?

Stein has an endgame, I'm thinking.

As noted, this is not a recount. It's purportedly about voting integrity. If Stein wants to create a PAC or think tank to address this, fine. (I wouldn't give her money for that, either, as there are much better people for this than her advisors. And, I'm not alone. Look three paragraphs below.)

And, in fact, she may have. 

Frankly, I think there's some other end game here. I wouldn't be surprised if Stein pulls a Bernie Sanders and starts an Our Revolution type group, or a Sanders Institute, or both. Possible proof of that is that her recount page has a link to a new website, Voting Justice.

As for what she would expect to do with such a site, in the future? Mark Lause had her number on this in his end-of-2016 piece about the recount's start:
(T)here are scads of people in numerous government agencies with money bins of resources more than the recount fund-raising goals looking for exactly this sort of thing 24/7.  Does anybody think that they’d find such a thing and keep a lid on it to be nice to the Russians?  And they are competing to find exactly this sort of thing.  So, does anybody think that one of these agencies might find evidence for this and cover it up knowing that a competitor would be following the same chain of evidence? But does anyone seriously think that the recount will uncover what no part of that massive national security apparatus has not? 
Frankly, if anyone seriously thinks that 2016 represents some major departure from the standard of electoral integrity (or lack thereof) characteristic of contemporary voting, they’ve simply not been paying attention.
My thoughts exactly.

Frankly, like Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein needs to go away. (And I like Bill Kreml's take in this Vice piece; he was my preferred Green candidate in 2016.)

And, speaking of that, Charles Davis, do you think Hillary needs to go away? Does Chelsea not need to rise up, herself?

Meanwhile, OpenSecrets also led me to Stein's top 2016 donors among corporations and their PACs. Pretty tech-heavy. Also, how did she miss accepting a donation from Lockheed, unless she returned it later?

And, that Voting Justice site?

DC already has presidential votes. Other countries have similar federal districts, and some of them may also have lack of parliamentary delegates. Otherwise, retrocession to Maryland, not statehood, is the constitutional option on the table now. Puerto Rico has engaged in self-determination. Multiple plebiscites have continually favored its current status, therefore that issue's a simple lie. If voters there want another plebiscite in the future, and opt for statehood, we'll go from there.

Corporate constitutional rights cut both ways, as the likes of Glenn Greenwald have noted. If corporations had zero personhood, they could not, as corporations, be sued or tried. (In Europe, as the VW emissions cheating scandal has show, the German government has basically no way to corporately punish the company.) Finding the right balance, not eliminating this, is the answer.

On voting integrity, I agree with the basics. That said, elections were stolen in the days of paper ballots, too. And, citing and linking to Greg Palast as a "source" on this issue kind of lost me.

And, as for Green Party members? If wanting a better party, and better candidates, is trolling, then fine, I'm a troll.


Update: Per Cobb's belated response to the initial Daily Beast piece, the Ohio problems he claims his 2004 recount fixed have been overblown by many, including Ohio "Green Party" grifter Bob Fitrakis, who reportedly is no longer even a party member.

And, I was unaware until now that New Mexico had a serious problem. Per this report, I can explain one portion of the alleged problem — no undervotes in many precincts — quite easily. New Mexico had straight-ticket voting in 2004. Remember that not all political precincts have anywhere near the same number of voters. With straight-ticket voting in a small precinct, "zero undervotes" is fairly likely.

Other claims aren't as "spooky" as the authors present. It's arguably easier to think about undervoting on a machine than a paper ballot if each race is presented on a separate screen, dealing with the more undervotes on voting machine claims. Their own numbers support that. Precincts with an average of three early votes? I'd be more surprised if 5 percent had zero undervotes than the 36 percent that did. Some issues on the report are of more concern, but, the authors undercut their case with the instances I mentioned.

Update 2: Stein is supposedly using some of the "recount" money for her Putingate legal bills vis a vis Congress. It is all legal, though, as Davis eventually has to admit. But, ethical? Different question. But, a better author than Davis, per my strawmanning observations, would be a better person to ask the next round of actual and rhetorical questions.

Mudsills, part 4 — the problem with the rich

NOT the superrich, the rich.

"The Birth of a New American Aristocracy" is about the 9.9 percent of the rich below the 0.1 percent super-rich. Near the end of the piece, looking at the 2016 election, it talked about how the 0.1 percent helped stoke angers of the 90 percent at the 9.9 percent in between, while also looking down and "kicking down," which the piece exactly says. 
Did I mention that the common man is white? That brings us to the other side of American-style resentment. You kick down, and then you close ranks around an imaginary tribe. The problem, you say, is the moochers, the snakes, the handout queens; the solution is the flag and the religion of your (white) ancestors. According to a survey by the political scientist Brian Schaffner, Trump crushed it among voters who “strongly disagree” that “white people have advantages because of the color of their skin,” as well as among those who “strongly agree” that “women seek to gain power over men.” It’s worth adding that these responses measure not racism or sexism directly, but rather resentment. They’re good for picking out the kind of people who will vehemently insist that they are the least racist or sexist person you have ever met, even as they vote for a flagrant racist and an accused sexual predator.
The piece goes on to connect today’s mudsill history to past mudsill history.
Where were the 90 percent during these acts of plunder? An appreciable number of them could be found at Ku Klux Klan rallies. And as far as the most vocal (though not necessarily the largest) part of the 90 percent was concerned, America’s biggest problems were all due to the mooching hordes of immigrants. You know, the immigrants whose grandchildren have come to believe that America’s biggest problems now are all due to the mooching hordes of immigrants.
That's mudsillism to a tee — the middle class envying the rich while letting them, and even more the super-rich, believe their problems are all due to inferiors.

The author notes that Calvin Coolidge passed a big tax cut for the rich and super-rich in 1926. The 9.9 percent became more hopeful, while the 0.1 percent looked for more separation. They, too, kicked downward.

And, he connects that with the origin of the mudsills, too.
That gilded, roaring surge of destruction was by no means the first such destabilizing wave of inequality to sweep through American history. In the first half of the 19th century, the largest single industry in the United States, measured in terms of both market capital and employment, was the enslavement (and the breeding for enslavement) of human beings. Over the course of the period, the industry became concentrated to the point where fewer than 4,000 families (roughly 0.1 percent of the households in the nation) owned about a quarter of this “human capital,” and another 390,000 (call it the 9.9 percent, give or take a few points) owned all of the rest. 
The slaveholding elite were vastly more educated, healthier, and had much better table manners than the overwhelming majority of their fellow white people, never mind the people they enslaved. They dominated not only the government of the nation, but also its media, culture, and religion. Their votaries in the pulpits and the news networks were so successful in demonstrating the sanctity and beneficence of the slave system that millions of impoverished white people with no enslaved people to call their own conceived of it as an honor to lay down their life in the system’s defense.
Mudsills both disliked and envied their "betters." Many talked about a rich man's war but a poor man's fight," but, until the end, in most of the South, undercutting the hopes of Lincoln, few opted out.

Per the "white" part, this is why, although I reject the idea that every individual white is at this time privileged over every single minority, I accept white privilege as a generalization with at least 50 percent validity, and not a stereotype.

Sadly, Matthew Stewart believes the best revolutions — which he rightly notes are what it takes to lessen inequality — are by the 9.9 percent, citing the American Revolution as an example.

So, we have an elitist, who recognizes that financially, his socioeconomic class is part of the problem, not the solution, but yet, believes that his cohort is part of the solution for good governance.

Methinks he's still too self-gilded. Certainly self-delusional, made worse by pretending to not be self-delusional.

Any wonder that people like this, who are presumably neoliberal Democrats, infuriate today's mudsills?

Part 1, and part 2, about Trump and mudsills have more background, as does part 3, about the myth of Irish in America being slaves and related things.

Here, I explain vs Adolph Reed and Doug Henwood, and the likes of Jacobin why mudsillism is a real thing and needs to be treated as such.

Oh, and the 2016 elections show this. The Atlantic notes that, among working-class white voters, sociocultural anxiety, and NOT economic anxiety, pushed such voters who indulged any anxieties toward Trump.

May 28, 2018

TX Progressives talk Memorial Day, runoffs, hurricanes

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you that Memorial Day started as a day to honor Union dead from the Civil War, not as the day for Southern Republican whites to think Bobby Lee died for their sins as it offers this week’s roundup.

In additional political blogging, at the Texas Monthly, R.G. Ratcliffe notes Empower Texas and Mucus, aka M.Q. Sullivan, took heavy hits in state lege races. At the Texas Observer, C.D. Hooks thinks little of state Democrats’ fall chances.

At the Statesman, Jonathan Tilove looks further at the upcoming governor’s race, and at the News, James Barrigan asks  if Lupe Valdez can drive general election Latin@ turnout, both writing before Lupe Valdez’ latest kerfuffle, over unpaid property taxes.

In a hot regional race, David Bruce Collins analyzes Lizzie Fletcher’s margin of win in the Democratic CD7 runoff.

Brains and Eggs takes a first look at the Harris County judge general election showdown.

In Dallas, at the Dallas Observer, Jim Schutze says black Dallas has an old guard problem as bad as white Dallas.

Jim Schutze pops up again to note the lawyers for the State Fair billed $1,200 for reading one of his stories, at an hourly rate of $795. Not sure whether the grifting itself or the ridiculous rate is worse.

SocraticGadfly reviews Amy Chozick's "Chasing Hillary" and one-stars it for several reasons to save you the trouble.


In other Texas blogging news, Alberto reminds us hurricane season has an early start.

 Space City Weather heralds the start of the hurricane season.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board reports Arkema knew well in advance of Hurricane Harvey about flood risks, according to Texas Vox. I noted at that time how self-proclaimed skeptics bashed the media over early Arkema reporting, while turning out to be  pseudoskeptics with a vested interest in the bashing, and tribalism.

Fort Bend County is suing the Corps of Engineers over Harvey-related flooding. Good luck, but you won’t win.

Grits for Breakfast deplores the state scaring people away from calling 911 on drug overdoses.

Colin Strother tries to wrap his mind around the Korean Summit debacle.

Bay Area Houston channels the Congressmen who nominated Trump for a Nobel Prize.

Juanita checks in on Blake Farenthold.

Monica Faulkner analyzes a recent report about youths in Texas foster care who are pregnant or already parents.

The TSTA Blog is not impressed by Greg Abbott's roundtable on gun violence.

Houston Press says thank the European Union for the privacy notices in your email.