December 14, 2018

Andrew Sullivan hits new pseudointellectual low

In what I see as possibly his greatest feat of anti-intellectualism since denoting an entire issue of The New Republic to touting the pseudoscientific insights of The Bell Curve, Sully is now hoisting high the old canard that atheists are really religious, too.

I have myself said that Gnu Atheists, in some sociology-type ways, show a mindset similar to fundamentalist-type Christians, and have thus called them atheist fundamentalists. But, I've never claimed that they, let alone non-Gnus, are religious.

He then followed with teh stupidz of claiming religion is in our genes.

Neither one is close to true, in reality. The fact that Sully is arguably a very good representative of the Peter Principle in mainstream media, especially thought and opinion media, on the other hand, is almost ironclad as an argument now.

But, I couldn't let such arrogant, arrant nonsense go unchecked.

Here's a few thoughts I posted on Twitter, with interspersed comment:
In short, per his Bell Curve love, on B, Sully seems to be doubling down on the pseudoscience of Ev Psych. A Scott Atran or Pascal Boyer will easily steer clear of this while offering much more plausible theories about the origins of what eventually became religious belief mindsets.
From there, it's off to the land of false analogies, refuted by this:
The real problem is Sully's willful ignorance on a fair amount of philosophy. I note that here
and here:
Finally, Sullivan shows his misunderstanding of the political movement he claims to represent.
Tosh. Both here and in Europe (and the Anglosphere across the world), many politicians and political thinkers are both classical liberals and irreligious.

December 10, 2018

TX Progressives talk cooperation, vote turnout, more




The Texas Progressive Alliance knows the value of cooperation as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff made two last attempts to find a relationship between straight ticket voting and Democratic likeliness to "drop off" from long ballots.

As winter meetings arrive, SocraticGadfly switches from politics to baseball to applaud the Cardinals for the Paul Goldschmidt trade.

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

Texas Monthly introduces its 31 power brokers.

At the Dallas Observer, Jim Schutze says the latest Trinity River plan is “Six Flags for rich people.”

Stephen Young notes that, despite Betomania, Texas voting turnout, at least in midterms, STILL sux.

Texas Observer runs the syndicated Jim Hightower column that his syndicator, Creators, wouldn’t.

Better Texas Blog warns of the dangers of short term health insurance plans.

Paradise in Hell wants to see that Confederate plaque in the Capitol banished.

Texas Vox takes a first look an environmental bills for the 86th Lege.

The TSTA Blog reminds us that funding schools is the state's responsibility.

Juanita always takes the time to marvel at the wonder of Louie Gohmert.

The Lunch Tray explains the latest USDA announcement on school mean nutrition policy.

David Bruce Collins takes aim at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders.

Two possible Cardinals trades?

The first is pretty straightforward. The Indians have indicated that Cory Kluber and possibly Trevor Bauer might be available via trade. Carlos Carrasco had also been mentioned earlier but he's now off the market with a contract extension. Also, the Bauer possibility seemed more speculation by other teams than anything hard from the Tribe as he still has two years of arbitration control. The resigning of Carrasco, fairly cheaply, means that the team might move Kluber, though.

(Update, Dec. 18: MLBTR says the Indians are still open, at least on Kluber.

Update, Jan. 7, 2019: I would be OK without Bauer; Deadspin reminded of his MAGA-type nuttery.)

The Cardinals, with their own Paul Goldschmidt trade, discussed by me here, have some room to deal now.

Jedd Gyorko is superfluous with the presumed move of Matt Carpenter to third. Jose Martinez has a great bat plus a stone glove and so is ideally an AL DH guy, and the rise of Tyler O'Neill means outfield room is needed, at least if he's ready for a full-time role. I'm not saying Gyorko plus Martinez swing the deal by themselves, but, it's a start.

(That said, MLB Trade Rumors reports on Jan. 3 the Cards are, according to Ken Rosenthal, less and less likely to trade Martinez this year. Let him DH in interleague games in AL parks, cut Goldy a day off every two weeks and play once a week at a corner OF spot [more if unfortunately necessary] and you get him, what, 150-200 ABs and limit his glove damage. Given that he's a year away from even entering arbitration, makes sense, if he's not a part of any good trade talks.)

This lets the Cards have another arm to help move beyond Adam Wainwright, unless he has a major rebound in 2019, and to decide more how much to pay Miles Mikolas and Michael Wacha a year from now. (Any contract the Cards give Wacha should be cash-low and incentive-high based on his injury history.)

I don't know who besides Gyorko and Martinez would make a package, but it's worth further thought. I would be willing to include a pitcher back as long as its not Mikolas, Carlos Martinez or Alex Reyes, and not the hottest of minors prospects.

For Cleveland, they could use Jose Martinez this year as a corner outfielder, since Melky Cabrera's a free agent not likely to be resigned unless as a cheap fourth OF, and Michael Brantley (who may be resigned?) is also a free agent. Martinez could mix this with first baseman and DH. They could then, a year from now, buy out Edwin Encarnacion's option for 2020 and let him walk, while rebuilding their outfield.

(Update, Dec. 17: Brantley has reportedly inked a deal with the Astros.)

Should a trade like this come off, or even if not, I don't think Derrick Goold has the correct Cardinals lineup by batting order.

Assuming Kolten Wong is injury-free and mentally rejuvenated on a full year free of Mike Matheny micromanaging him, I put him at the top of the lineup. Harrison Bader (if he cuts his strikeouts) second. Carp, another lefty, is third. And he needs to get a mindset. Goldy is in cleanup. Yadi fifth. That gets you L-R-L-R through the first four spots. Of course, it's righty-heavy after that. (Yes, a certain Bryce Harper would fix that, but I don't see that happening. Michael Brantley would also fix it. So would Nick Markakis, but I think he had an Indian Summer year last year.) Another option is shoving all the above people up a spot and dropping Marcell Ozuna somewhere in 2-5, but then slotting Wong no lower than sixth. Or dropping him to eighth and if Dexter Fowler is still here, putting him in one of the top three slots as a switch hitter IF he reverts to 2017 or earlier.

Speaking of ...

==

The second trade, that I've seen suggested elsewhere? A salary dump swap. Fowler goes back to the Rockies for Wade Davis. Salaries are just about dead even. Both might benefit from change of scenery, and the Cards are still in the look for a closer.

Rockies might have a hole to fill. Would be tough for Dex to move past Gerardo Parra and Charlie Blackmon, but the free agency of Carlos Gonzales leaves right field open. David Dahl has looked decent for them in cups of coffee in 2016 and a partial season in 2018, but they might still want another outfielder.

That said, if that trade happens? Geez, we're a righty-heavy team at the plate.

And, it very well could not happen. Mo says he's OK with Fowler as his starting right fielder.