SocraticGadfly: 2/10/19 - 2/17/19

February 15, 2019

Why would Adam Silver go to the NFL?
Well, the Kaep and Reid settlements clear the coast

Red Satan and others have reported that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has reportedly been contacted by one or more NFL owners about jumping ship to replace Roger Goodell.

(Note: I had already planned a post focusing on the Silver news to go up Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. I obviously piggybacked the Kaep settlement onto it. Deadspin has openly requested someone to leak news about what's inside that NDA. Stand by.

Also, this was just a quick hot take on the Kaepernick setttlement because of that. I will have a much more in-depth cold take in a few days. Stand by.)

Other than additional money, and presumably additional stability of "weaker" franchises, why? Why would Silver jump leagues?

Instead of letting players like LeBron James openly address controversial social issues, as well as the likes of Steve Kerr in the coaching ranks, he would be running the No Fun League, having to handle ongoing issues concussions and TBI, on the one hand, and Colin Kaepernick, his suit against the league and everything related to it; all the stuff that Goodell likes to dodge.

I think Silver actually enjoys player issues in the NBA, and the only way he would jump ship is to have approval for some changes, including with Kaep and others like Eric Reid.

On the other hand, as Deadtoads reminds us, Silver did say that the typical NBA player is a joyless anxiety-laden nebbish. And, you know what? As Ray Ratto details there at Somewhat Better Barstool, he might be right to make a jump, if he did. I certainly couldn't blame him. He's fixing the one-and-done and has tweaked the lottery. Leave! (Thanks, Ray, for the derp comment back on Twitter.) And Silver arguably has reasons to leave.

That said, though sadly not disclosing terms, Kaep and Reid settled with the NFL Friday afternoon, so — the coast is clear now!

That said, the non-disclosure does disappoint me. Unless you got Pwn'ed, Kaep, it's almost like Russell Wilson throwing an INT at the 1-yard line after marching downfield on principle.

And, it does uh, off-put me a bit. As a journalist, if I had a lawsuit, and I got into settlement talks, on principle related to the spirt of the First Amendment, I wouldn't sign a non-disclosure agreement. They could bid me down to five bucks plus my lawyers' fees.

And, his own cause involves the First Amendment. As a unionized employee, he has free speech workplace rights that many of us don't. And, as a unionized employee, he also has freedom of assembly workplace rights many of us don't.

Basically, with Kaep, I want to know what, if anything, besides money (beyond the NFL covering his legal fees) is involved. 

And, we have an unofficial answer. William Rhoden says the pair allegedly got $60-80 million. So, $15 million for Reid and $45-$65 million for Kaep?

Reality, as Red Satan also noted about the settlement, is that this was a lose-lose if it went to discovery. The league would have to show the general public just how much money it makes. For Kaep? The league-players collective bargaining agreement makes it VERY tough to prove collusion.

Deadspin talks about Silver's predecessor, David Stern, appearing on a podcast and saying Kap never would have been suspended, then citing Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf as a counterexample. The Dead Zone is half right. Stern did suspend him and then put restrictions on him. BUT, owners didn't chase him out of the league. Instead, he lost his shooting touch, especially on the 3-ball, and worse, as a point guard, lost his playmaking ability. This is like M.C. Baumann of The Ringer in January, telling lies about the contract of Yasmani Grandal and contract offers, as well as telling lies that claim Grandal was better than Russell Martin when Martin got a bigger FA contract, to make a point about how baseball free agency is broken.

Was Stern more of a dick than Silver (setting aside how Silver might handle an Abdul-Rauf today)? Is MLB free agency broken? Yes and yes. No need to tell lies as part of the narrative in either case.

As for the likes of Yardbarker saying the NFL is still king? Yeah, but the king sleeps uneasily with a second straight decline in both TV ratings and ad revenue at the Super Bowl.

As for why the NFL would want Silver? Derp. Anything to get rid of Goodell. Yes, The Shield's contract still runs a few more years, but ... if owners want to get rid of him, they'll buy him out if necessary.

You know what else? John Elway can stop being a hypocrite and trading for POS quarterbacks like Joe Flacco. (That goes for other GMs too, of course.)

That said, Deadspin is surely right on this one. Kaep's been out of the league two years; owners and GMs will claim he's all washed up.

But, not too washed up for Arena Football 2.0 to be interested. OTOH, it was also interested in Tim Tebow. Nuff ced. They wanted Kaep for entertainment, not wins. At the same time, if this IS true (and not saying it is) Kaep had a ridiculous ask for the AAF, and, really, too high for the NFL. (I will tackle this much more a follow-up post.)

And, flipping Deadspin? Kaep has two years of not taking shots from defensive ends and linebackers. With the league doubling down again on mobile QBs like Lamar Jackson, he should be hired.


As for Silver? Well, the NBA is much more cutting-edge as a sports business than the NFL. NFL owners surely would like that.

What the MLBPA needs in the next contract

One slow-walked free agency season? Maybe not a deal.

Two in a row? Yes. As Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned, even after pitchers and catchers have reported, pushing my poll at right into its fourth time block, it's clear that the baseball free-agency world is banged up, even if not fully broken, as everybody from Justin Verlander to Pat Neshek and a number of other players have said.

That said, it cuts both ways. Dallas Keuchel, for example, is not worth seven years at $30M a year, which is the high end of what his agent, Scott Boras, reportedly has been seeking. Harper is not worth 10 years, period, unless management as well as Harper get multiple opt-outs. At least two, if not three. GMs have caught up to Boras and his analytics dog-and-pony show.

So, what does Major League Baseball Players Association President Tony Clark need to get for the union in the next contract — and preferably an agreement in principle already by the end of this year?

A few thoughts of mine.

1. I'm OK with the qualifying offer still existing, since the penalties on it have already lessened.

2. What we need to start with is more revenue sharing, and a higher portion of the lux tax going to revenue sharing.

3. We need to combine that with an actual spending basement for low-market teams along with fines for not spending X percent of their revenue sharing money.

4. Something needs to be done to loosen up international draft money, so teams don't fetishize it quite as much. That issue is ridiculous.

5. Biggie No. 1 — shorten arbitration time frames. As from three years to two.

6. Biggie No. 2 — look at higher built-in accelerators for pre-arb rookie scale contracts.

7. Consider some other contract ideas from other leagues. Maybe adopt NBA and NFL ideas on guaranteed vs non-guaranteed money on what counts against the lux tax or not.

These are better and less gimmicky than a 3-batter requirement for pitchers, or even a universal DH.

At the same time, the analytics revolution, prodded for years by agents like Scott Boras on the labor side to sell their player, and embraced early on by Billy Beane on the management side as a way to find good players cheap, has now spread throughout the sport. Players and agents simply need to adjust to that. Cards owner Bill DeWitt, and more straightforwardly, his son, Bill DeWitt III, just said this.

And, that's why we're not going to see a spate of craptacularly bad contracts, unlike 2016.

Not needed in this analysis is bullshit, like that from M.C. Baumann of The Ringer in January, who said Yasmani Grandal had to settle for his 1-year deal. Nope, Baumann knows well that Grandal reportedly had better offers. It's also a lie to claim Grandal was better than Russell Martin when Martin got a bigger FA contract. Martin had posted a 5.4 WAR year and a 4.0 before that, while Grandal has never busted 3.5 WAR. Baumann also cheated by saying at the time that, at 3$50, Andrew McCutchen had the best FA contract available, while ignoring the six years of Patrick Corbin and even the four, at better AAV, of Nathan Eovaldi.

Beyond that, it's fun to bust Baumann's chops just because he works for Bill Simmons.

Jeff Passan, in his new digs at ESPN, is much more correct. Verlander et al are overstating the case of unsigned free agents, though it's still not negligible. They're also overlooking the Alphonse-and-Gaston nature of Bryce-vs-Manny, or more, their agents, Boras-vs-Lozano.

As far as how well off, or poorly off, lower market teams are financially, per this piece from the San Diego Union Tribune, the Padres are pretty transparent, within MLB allowances, in their financials. But, they're not spending that much themselves, transparency aside.

Baseball fans need to stop buying cable TV packages with regional sports networks, among other things. Declaring a larger pox on the owners' houses, a minor pox on players' house, and a big fat one on the telecommunications industry would be the deal.

February 14, 2019

TX Progressives talk state politics

The Texas Progressive Alliance only spends forty percent of its day in Executive Time, which is just enough to put together this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff considers John Cornyn's campaign strategy and what it says about how Texas Republicans are looking at 2020.

SocraticGadfly read Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht's lament about some of the judges unseated in November and had a two-pronged response — Hecht had a bunch of political sour grapes, but yet, Texas could adopt specific ideas from other states on better judicial selection.


And here are some posts of interest from other blogs and news sites related to Texas.

Better Texas Blog warns about undercounting Latino children in the Census.

The TSTA Blog is not impressed with the Senate property tax bill.

The Texas Observer has a good piece about news deserts — entire counties without a newspaper — and what happens with that.

Raise Your Hand Texas advocates for separating school funding from high stakes testing.

Stephen Young thinks the end my be near for Dallas' downtown Confederate memorial.

Texas Monthly was impressed by Sen. Kirk Watson's questioning of SOS David Whitley.

The Lunch Tray revisits "pink slime".

Justin Miller has a good takedown for the Texas Observer on Greg Abbott’s “bipartisanship” claims in his State of the State, along with those property tax issues.

February 12, 2019

Blogroll non-cleanup: Why are they still there?

A number of my blogroll members have been there for years. Why, and why are they still there? (Recent additions are noted in my most recent blogroll cleanup piece.)

Ted Rall was one of the very few people decrying the Afghanistan War at the start. (Since then, I've seen more.) He also at least occasionally bats outside the duopoly box. And, like me, he saw through Obama even before Dear Leader was elected.

That said, he reads his press clippings too much. Some of them, he may even write. And, since he went way wrong on Malaysian Flight 370, I've ramped up my skepticism of him. (He claimed it landed in Kazakhstan, and was hinting at some conspiracy related to that.) That said, he's an acorn-finding hog who's only blind in one eye, to riff on an old saying.

Sadly (but not totally surprisingly), in an update, as of April 2019, Frederick Theodore Rall III (I've started calling him by his given name on Twitter) is now officially a member of #TheResistance. No, really. He called for Congressional Dems to impeach Trump on the discredited Russiagate nonsense while admitting it was discredited. This is of a piece with Ted's self-centeredness on his L.A. Times lawsuit and many other things.

Basically, I'm at the point where I keep him on my blogroll for laughs and as a reminder for something to regularly punk him about. Anybody who can still tout his real-time opposition to launching the Afghanistan War as well as Iraq, then be an establishmentarian hack in the next, sucks donkey dongs.

Down with Tyranny? At one time, I thought Howie was more insightful than turns out is truth. Sniffing the crack of Iron Stache Randy Bryce too much (never stopped), then of Beto O'Rourke (appears to have detoxed, but waited a while to admit he was addicted) and Madcow Maddow, plus Putin collusion nonsense, I realize he's just a left-neoliberal, at the left edge, if that, of the overrated Justice Democrats. But, he's good to keep precisely because of that.

As of April 2019, it continues to guzzle Russiagate Kool-Aid by the gallon, and also refuses to admit Dem presidential candidates have moved beyond. I still keep it around, mainly to see how delusionally addictive Putin.Did.It is.

Counterpunch is a stand-in for larger leftist media. (I may add an RSS feed, if available, for one or more of TruthOut, TruthDig or AlterNet. That said, those three often rerun stuff that is from Common Dreams, etc., and Counterpunch arguably bats further left.) OTOH, a month after claiming that China was a democratic nation, CP has now tried to pretend the mullahs never existed in Iran's revolution. Or giving Tulsi Gabbard half a pass or more on her relations with neocons on Israel and Modi in India without even mentioning "RSS." It may be getting dumped. It has been dumped before. Sometimes, it engages in reflexive anti-Americanism with the truth being the first casualty of that. And, that's why I dumped it before. Along with Alec Cockburn being a climate change denialist. And issues of whether Serbia committed genocide in Kosovo or not. Given past Serb history, I argued that Counterpunch, at a minimum, shouldn't have been facily dismissive of such claims.

I think half of Counterpunch's problem is weak editing. Not copy editing, but the big picture content editing. It's too willing to take too much from too many — although it still hasn't said it's taking my tongue-in-cheek humor about Cactus Ed Abbey. Result? An editorial "voice" with lack of unity.

Liberal Values Blog may have one foot a bit more still in the Democratic Party than I do, but Ron Chusid is generally near my territory.

Independent Political Report is pretty insightful about third-party issues. Tilts libertarian, but has at least basic stuff about Greens and tidbits about the Constitution Party and remaining fragments of the Reform Party.

Ballot Access News is often more detailed, and more eclectic, than IPR, but is in the same general territory.

Grits for Breakfast has great insights about the Texas prosecutorial and judicial world and occasionally looks national. I've disagreed with him on a few things, but, he's usually very solid.

Popehat knows his legal issues and he's funny. Wish he'd blog more. That said, I do see him as a "First Amendment weaponizer" at times; and no, that's not a compliment of a libertarian who thinks "money = speech" in politics.

ProPublica goes beyond AP or local newspapers, though it teams with them at times, on investigative journalism. Enough said.

Skeptophilia is a down-to-earth skepticism site that is in no way a part of Movement Skepticism or Skeptics™.

Retraction Watch keeps a good eye on science research.

Northier? Spent part of his growing up on the Big Rez, not too far from, and not too many years later than, where and when I did. He's also a secularist and a left-liberal if not leftist. Nuff sed.

Robert Fisk? If you want one voice of experience who honestly knows most of what the hell is happening in the Middle East, it's him. Anybody who doesn't know him, and claims to be progressive, left-liberal or beyond, gets the back of my hand.

Michael Hudson is a leftist economist. Think he overstates the historic background of debt jubilees at times. Think he's wrong on MMT. But, thought provoking even in these areas.

Existential Comics, while Corey focuses on existentialism, covers philosophy in general. With a helluva sense of humor, and often with leftist politics behind it.

February 11, 2019

Green New Deal vs Green New Deal, part 2
Cost, affordability and more

My first post comparing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Dems' version of a Green New Deal to the original US political version of that by the Green Party had gotten so many updates, I realized that it was time for a second post.

First, now that AOC has released her own Green New Deal document, it looks highly aspirational. No carbon tax or other sticks to go with carrots. No real estimate of costs. No carbon tariff to increase domestic political feasibility, plus, per the reality of climate change, to force the whole world on the same page. These are going to be questions that need to be answered, issues that need to be addressed. Carl Beijer notes this, in noting AOC's document does discuss "funding" with no talk about real costs. The Green Party has also weighed in, saying it has fossil fuel industry loopholes. And that photo reminds us where, within the political world, the idea first articulated in the US>

Michael Grunwald has another critique. That is that the manifesto is a laundry list grab back. Agreed! Prioritization is important. For example, were I president? Climate change and national healthcare would be the top priorities. A step below that would be a minimum wage hike. Other things fall yet lower.

As for the cost? Contra a Reason claim of $7 trillion, this Stanford study goes much lower, without specific final numbers. Among other things, it says that reduced electric generation costs would offset some of the construction and installation costs. I'm going to say $3 trillion over a time period until 2040 rather than 2030, and scrapping some localization issues of the Stanford study. Still pricey? Yes, but not THAT pricey. At $150 billion/year, less than half of DoD's budget. And, Reason also ignores technology improvements, as well as the possibility of nuclear being part of the renewables mix. The Green Party response to AOC, meanwhile, notes that cutting the defense budget by 50 percent would take care of things. The allegedly libertarian Reason, often a foreign policy imperialist squish, ignores that.

And, it is a squish. That includes, under a No True Scotsman pleading, the claim that capitalism does not almost inexorably lead to imperialism. Small-l libertarians are generally squishes on imperialism. The Libertarian Party is better ... though not perfect. The Koch Bros help fund a Latin American think tank growth project, which is OK with local think tanks that are OK with military-backed authoritarianism, including when it's connected to the US.

European Greens have done some calculations years ago and say 3 percent of GDP per year. In the US?

Showing that the wingnuts are running scared, the Washington Times has also weighed in. There's a fair amount of whataboutism in the piece. Let's just tackle a couple of them.

1. High-speed rail. It talks about the cost of this while ignoring the cost of airport runways, the higher cost of airports vs train stations, the cost of air traffic controllers and many other things.

2. Interstate Highway System? Ike got the money by declaring it the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, as the 1956 act notes. Klein surely knows that and ignores it. The Green Party specifically notes we can cut defense spending by 50 percent. At the same time, speaking of, the Pentagon is repeatedly on the record as noting that climate change is an issue.

3. Apollo? This is silly. The rockets were already being built for the Defense Department at Mercury and Gemini stages. And, the capsule and lander were all contracted out to defense contractors. Apples and oranges.

4. World War II? Well, not silly, since many people have said we need the equivalent of a Manhattan Project funding level and mindset to tackle climate change. Manhattan Project? Refresh me again if that wasn't about national defense and national security.

That said, I'm seeing a trend here. Let's call this the National Defense Green New Deal. Problem solved! (We can also put former, post-abolishment, ICE workers to new use, eh?)


Update, Feb. 22: The New Republic, of all places, not a leftist outfit, now asks if some Dems (not necessarily AOC) are deliberately trying to steal Greens' thunder.