June 22, 2019

Another AOC stumble ignored by pergressuve Dems

And, yes, that spelling is deliberate, and may become a feature around here, just like "librul."

The latest Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stumble that's not being gut-checked by many?

AOC has called for Congressional pay raises.

Nope, nope, nope. Fix the three-day Congresscritter work week, and fix the issue behind that by passing federal campaign financing for Congresscritters, then we'll talk about pay raises. Congresscritters currently get $174K in base salary plus franking money and other expenses. Howie at Down with Tyranny calls out Steny Hoyer for pushing this without mentioning AOC's name. And, unlike him, I do NOT count the money Congresscritters are given to hire staff, because those salaries have to be paid. (That allowance, of nearly $1 million on the House side, includes other expenses as well as hiring staff, to boot. More here on what's false and what's true on what Congresscritters make.) Howie knows all this, too; he wrote his whole piece as a Hoyer smear. That's why I commented there about AOC supporting it, too.

And beyond the triple-nope as an actual item, how can she get this wrong politically? Running as an outsider, a real progressive, an everyday Jane, etc., and then six months in her first term, and taking some criticism over her DC digs, and more criticism over dollar matters involving her chief of staff, to be tone-deaf on another anti-populist type financial issue, one of several financial issues on which she has stumbled? (As well as stumbling on hamburgers and cow fart hypocrisy for Ms. Green New Deal 2019.)

Even if she's not that pergressuve, it's still a bad-optics stumble that leads me to continue to question some of her political savvy.

That said, on other things, including halfway talking out of two sides of her mouth on BDS, she's got plenty of political savvy.  And in spinning a good, albeit somewhat mythical, personal story.

June 21, 2019

Online dating pretentiousness from a Beto backer

Taken from the "who I'm looking for" section of someone's online dating profile.

This is not fully directly quoted, and is scrambled out of order a bit, lest anybody go searching.
I like … Marxism. … My life revolves around politics. I campaign for Democrats every single say, as of 2018. I'm on the fringes of the left. My ideal man is part of the Beto O'Rourke for Senate campaign like me.
Look, biatch, which is it?

Beto ain’t close to the fringes of the left, let ALONE to Marxism.

Oh, Hegelian dialectical materialism is bad as philosophy and pseudoscience when made the backbone of a social science like Marxism is.

And, it goes on, in another vein!
He has a Ph.D. and is a handsome intellectual with an IQ above 140.
Look again, biatch. If you actually were a Marxist, or any sort of real leftist, you’d know that IQ is not THAT accurate of a measure of intelligence AND that differences in IQ scores are partially driven by socio-cultural differences.

She closes with this:
To paraphrase a friend, I believe I'm worth the effort. 
No you’re not.

And I had fun blogging about your pretentious pseudointellectualism, Claudius' third wife. And, you're not only over 21, you're over 35 — old enough to know better.

June 20, 2019

Kawhi, AD and the King

Now that some of the dust has settled on the New Orleans Pelicans' trade of Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart, plus three first-round draft choices, and now that some of the dust has also settled on more clueless takes on the trade — especially from clueless LakeShow fans — we can discuss this at least semi-rationally before the July 1 official start of the NBA meat market.

First, I'm going to be even blunter than Zach Lowe and say "The Pellies won."

Why?

Several reasons.

First, I've already said that next year, LeBron James will be 35, will be, barring a bigger injury than last year in the top 10 in career minutes played and is already No. 1 in career playoff minutes. Lowe does the math and says he is likely to be No. 3 in total combined minutes at the end of the year.

So, even if AD actually DOES sign a new contract? Guess what, Lakers clueless-rati? It's going to be with a diminishing LeBron who at best will be Dwyane Wade 2.0 and at worst will be Kobe Bryant 2.0.

And that's just on the physical side.

I know many people have claimed that, as D-Wade did for him in Miami, he's willing to play second banana. We'll see. He had nobody to play second banana TO a year ago.

"But Kawhi Leonard is coming here!"

No he ain't.

His most recent indications of that simple fact are just three months old and LONG AFTER a Woj tweet that's become like crack cocaine for many Lakers fans. While there's no recent direct quote, NBA inside business has him clear that he does NOT want to play for the Lakers in part because he didn't want to be LeBron's second banana. And he's not alone. Maybe an aging LeBron will be Kobe 2.0 in that way too?

Well, if those sentiments are still true, he sure as hell doesn't want to be third banana to both the King AND Davis. Get.A.Fricking.Clue. Especially since he hoisted a second Finals MVP award, and in his own quiet way, showed he's an alpha, he's looking for a place to lead and to win.

And per Woj
And per Woj on video (sorry, won't embed)
Kawhi ain't going there because those sentiments are still the same.

And, given how well the Clippers pushed the Dubs in the playoffs? The "other" LA team actually fits that better for him.

That's assuming he leaves Toronto. Maybe he stays. Maybe he stays on LBJ-like one-and-option contracts. (And I thought of that before Red Satan mentioned it.)

Meanwhile, on Twitter, an apparent Lakers fan engaged in whataboutism in discussing the Woj video. Yes, dude, we don't know if Kawhi will stay in Toronto, go to the Clippers or maybe jump on a third team. BUT — and this is what I said in retweeting Woj — we have a firmer idea than ever that he will NOT go to the Lakers.

So, an aging LeBron, AD, and scrubbeenies.

And, per Lowe, that's an AD who, while getting better, is still not a fantastic playmaker for a big man, and is not an "initiator" in general, along with not being a great 3-baller, though he is OK at least.

He is, of course, a great defender. And even an aging James is above average to well above average. James is still an offensive initiator, but he'll need help there and shooting the ball outside the arc, something the Lakers already sucked at last year.

One can argue, given the Lakers' pre-LeBron record on free agents, that they needed a trade like this No.Matter.What. That may be true. And, we'll see in a month if it paid off. As of now, though, among large-market teams, their record in free agency attraction is as bad as the Knicks and worse than the Mavs.

Beyond that, add in the Lakers' management turmoil, with Magic Johnson quitting, and coaching turmoil, with No. 3 choice Frank Vogel emasculating himself to get the job.

OK, on the Pelicans side?

Other than having to put up with Daddy Ball's flapping gums for a couple of years, they didn't lose anything.

And, if Kawhi does move to the "other" LA team? I would push the Clippers past the Dubs. Maybe behind Denver, I'm not sure; we'll have to see how the Nuggets handle the spotlight. Even with the Rockets. Ahead of the Warriors. Well ahead of the Lakers.

The Lakers right now? First, we don't even know if the Pellies will be kind enough to draw out the official trade date to late July. If not? That's less cap space for any free agents that DO want to play with LeBron. Gimme this team with one midlevel free agent of the upper grades, one midlevel exception contract, a second exception contract and some veterans minimums? Still behind the Nuggets, Rockets and Dubs for sure. Behind a Kawhi-led Clippers team for sure; maybe even with them otherwise.

As of right now, they're no better than No. 5 in the West, as I see it.

If Klay Thompson comes back at 80 percent by the All-Star Game, they're ahead.

The Rockets are still ahead, even with all the CP3 drama.

The Nuggets, led by the Joker, are of course still ahead. (And, that's not counting whatever Michael Porter may bring next year.)

And the Jazz, with the Mike Conley trade, stay ahead.

June 19, 2019

TX Progressives: Lege screws schools, Abbott screws science
Happy Birthday Big Bend, 2020 previews, Dallas politics

As Gov. Greg Abbott hit the "sign" or "die" deadline Sunday after the Texas Lege's "sine die" wrapup, this week's Texas Progressives roundup nears the finish line of what the Lege did, and did not do, and what Abbott signed off on, from what it did send to him, along with learning the fate of Bobby Lee, discussing the fate of Eric Johnson, and other things.


The Lege

The Lege has apparently royally screwed over smaller school districts in House Bill 3.

The Religious Right laments winning relatively little beyond the save Chick-fil-A nuttery.

The Lege is finally paying for state parks.

But it gave itself an even bigger pass and loopholes on not being covered by public records laws with HB 4181.


Abbott

In one of his wingnut "freedom" moves, and in one of his wingnut "ignoring science" moves, Abbott vetoed a bill requiring rear-facing car seats for toddlers. It may have been another of his revenge vetoes, too.

He did, smartly, use an executive order to extend the life of the State Board of Plumbing Examiners. That also reduces the chances of a special session. (It's also an argument for Texas to have an every-year, rather than banana-republic every-other-year, legislature.)

And he was a weasel in letting the aforementioned HB 4181 become law without his signature.

But, he did legalize industrial hemp and CBD oil.



Texana

SocraticGadfly, through words and pictures from his many trips there, celebrates the 75th anniversary of Big Bend as a national park; besides the pictures in the blog post, a sunset to the west of Big Bend, near Marfa, is pictured at left. (Marfa might still be worth a visit, before getting totally Californicated or Austifornicated.)

 Mean Green Cougar Red celebrates twenty years in the real world.

 Miya Shay scolds the University of Houston for swiping a photographer's work.



What? A Burger?

What? A Burger? is now coming to you from Chitown City as the national hamburger of the Pointy Abandoned Object State™ sells not just a minority stake, as originally rumored, but a majority stake of itself to Chicago investors.

 Dan Solomon is not okay with the sale of What? A Burger?.

Like most Texas "national foods," with the exception of barbecue, it's overrated, IMO. Thus, tweets like:
Are actually kind of funny.

Now, if Whataburger had a good green chile (correct spelling, Texans) burger like New Mexico chain Lotaburger, we'd be talking.


Dallas

Stephen Young asks if the mayor's office is a likely dead end for Eric Johnson. (My answer? On elected politics, at least, yes.) That said, I disagree on one thing; I think Eddie Bernice's seat is Royce West's for the asking first, if he wants it, then Eric Johnson's second.

Young also reports who bought the Bobby Lee statue; the company no-commented.

And, he also notes the city lost a bunch of money settling a porn convention lawsuit.

Jim Schutze reports that one of Dallas' police unions wants chief U. Renee Hall canned.

The crane that killed a downtown Dallas woman should have been able to withstand winds twice as high as what actually brought it down. So what else was wrong and how does this tie to the city's and state's bad record on crane accidents?


State and national politics

Wingnut rural voters who surely, overall, hate single-payer health care despite its likely lowering of costs, and also back their wingnut state politicos in hating Obamacare Medicaid expansion, also hate paying taxes to keep a rural hospital open and will surely refuse to connect the dots.

ConservaDem Henry Cuellar is getting primaried. Meet Jessica Cisneros.

Greater Houston Greens are NOT imploding. David Bruce Collins clears up the mystery of who now owns the party website.

Congressional Dems are fighting back on wall funding.

The Trib looks at Red vs Blue Texas (And ignores Green Texas, whatever color Libertarians identify with, etc.) to see possible Democratic flips in the U.S. House and both houses of the Lege. It also offers up the latest presidential polling.

Stephen Young reports that Former Fetus and Forever Fuckwad Jonathan Stickland has a potential new residence. Judging by the polling in his House district getting tighter and that the Religious Right didn't get much out of this Lege cycle, some of his district might help him move.

Brains offers a Democratic debate preview in his latest 2020 roundup.

Therese Odell says her own goodbye to Lyin’ Sarah Palin.

Off the Kuff has had it with national writers who are clueless about who is running for Senate in Texas. (He has not asked them to mention Sema Hernandez more, I don't think, though I won't snark as much as Brains. And in any case, IMO, Royce West ain't running.)

As Bernie Sanders continue to call himself a "democratic socialist," more and more national magazines are asking "just what does 'socialism' mean in America"?

AOC has called for Congressional pay raises. Nope. Fix the three-day Congresscritter work week, and fix the issue behind that by passing federal campaign financing for Congresscritters, then we'll talk about pay raises. Congresscritters currently get $174K in base salary plus franking money and other expenses. Howie at Down with Tyranny calls out Steny Hoyer for pushing this without mentioning AOC's name. And, unlike him, I do NOT count the money Congresscritters are given to hire staff, because those salaries have to be paid. (That allowance, of nearly $1 million on the House side, includes other expenses as well as hiring staff, to boot. More here on what's false and what's true on what Congresscritters make.) Howie knows all this, too; he wrote his whole piece as a Hoyer smear. That's why I commented there about AOC supporting it, too.

June 18, 2019

Texas small school districts officially screwed by House Bill 3

Remember how, less than six months ago, the Big Three of Texas politics — Abbott, Patrick, Bonnen — and their minutes in the Lege were talking about big bold property tax reform AND teachers getting $5,000 raises?

Well, in case it did not become clear to you before "sine die" from the Lege followed by Strangeabbott's "sign" or "die," the second part of that came nowhere close to happening.

Per what this blogger has seen on the ground in his day job, details of House Bill 3 are causing no end of confusion for small school districts. Rural districts, class 2A as well as class A, generally have the superintendent as district finance manager as well. No separate person for that.

Now, they theoretically have the experience in general, but with how late it was finalized and the number of moving parts it has, if you're a small school district superintendent and your district has a July 1 budget year, it's frustrating.

And, the bill's backers have frankly been semi-lying

In school districts with which this person is familiar, there may be an AVERAGE $4K raise, but if you're at the low end of the experience scale, your raise is about half that. And, that's as many districts are still trying to figure out just how much new money the state is giving them.

So, there's going to be a lot of disappointed teachers with less than five years of experience, thinking for months they were getting $5,000 raises and finding out they're getting $2,000 or $2,500 instead.

And, parents in school districts finding out that, beyond that, the state is giving their schools about zero new money for most things other than teacher pay raises.

As for the stated goal of helping small school districts retain teachers by having most the pay hikes kick in with five or more years of experience?

First, many small-town teachers want to be there for other reasons. If they're looking to move, it's for career advancement, or to move to a small town that interests them even more. Money comes after.

Second, if that's NOT why they're there, they'll be gone before the five-year mark.

June 17, 2019

There are five clauses to the First Amendment

And, unfortunately, all five of them face more headwinds in today's America.

Here's some of the details on the problems.

As the arrest of Julian Assange has shown:
  • The media thinks there's only one clause;
  • It thinks that clause is a blank check;
  • It's totally indifferent about two of the other four.
The general public?
  • The winger portion thinks that one clause is a blank check;
  • Much of the left and right, conservative and liberal, winger and not, doesn't actually care for the central clause;
Much of the public cares even less for two other clauses.

So, first, a link to the actual amendment.

The five clauses are, to inform the unfamiliar:
  • Freedom of religion;
  • Freedom of speech;
  • Freedom of the press;
  • Freedom of assembly;
  • Freedom of petition.
Per the first and second bullet lists?

The press does often think that "freedom of the press" is a blank check in many times, not so much to libel, but to print information that is secluded — whether public sector or private sector — without impunity.

Often, such information needs to be published. At other times, it does not. The process of working through this is called "editing," something Julian Assange couldn't bother himself to do.

The press is indifferent about the last two clauses, especially the freedom of assembly. When presidents used "national security" after 9/11 as an excuse to put protestors at their events in protest pens blocks away from their appearances, and allowed political parties to do the same, national and big regional press said nary a word.

Since then, while the media has called out anti-BDS bills as a violation of freedom of speech, it has ignored that they're also an infringement of freedom of assembly, since that's exactly what boycotts are about.

Ditto, since the election of Trump, when wingnut Congresscritters have blocked alligators from commenting on their social media accounts, big media has ignored this infringement on freedom of petition.

The general public?

Wingers of course continue to deny Jefferson's "wall of separation" on church and state, including the descendants of the Baptists who applauded Jefferson. They also continue to lie with claims we're a Christian nation.

The general public has, in repeated polls over decades, indicated that it's willing to have freedom of speech restricted on national security grounds, which is bad enough, but on lesser, even much lesser grounds.

In reality, the First Amendment cares not for decorum or style, nor about upholding actual or alleged traditional mores.

Also, the general public often has little more concern for freedom of assembly than the press has shown. Many have not worried about elected officials engaging in social media blocking; in fact, wingers have often applauded it.

Finally, as I noted recently, specifically about Stephen Breyer, "librul" Supreme Court justices don't care a lot about the freedom of assembly or freedom of speech portions of the amendment.