SocraticGadfly: 8/25/19 - 9/1/19

August 31, 2019

Friday Night Lights quick hits

It's been three years since I wandered the sidelines, but the camera eye, skills and reflexes seem sharp, still.

And with that, a few hot takes from Zero Week.

Let's start with the first play of the game.

First, coaches of small high schools? Like 3A and 2A?

That "sprint my whole kickoff team up to the ball and have them stop on a dime before going into normal kickoff formation"?

Looked kind of cool 10 years ago.

It was already getting halfway passé 5 years ago.

Now? It's tired. And, if you're at a small school with a closely matched opponent and you're only fielding 25 players, you might just wear out enough of your team enough more to give up a late game-winning touchdown, or to run out of steam on a would-be winning drive of your own.

Also, to me, it makes you the head coach look like somebody who thinks "grit" and "willpower" will always win out, and if that doesn't work, then maybe you yelling at your players more.

You want to really show grit? Have somebody do pushups on the sideline for every yard of offense you gain on every play, or at least, every yard on defense you force the other offense back.

You want to show something better than willpower? Make sure your players are thinking of the game's flow better.

And, speaking of that?

At one of the two games I shot tonight, somebody called a timeout on defense in the first half when the team was already out. I didn't catch who, whether it was one of the players or a coach on the sidelines, as I was already locking in on my camera when the whistle blew. It was, IIRC, on a fourth-down play, and it gave the team on offense a first down.

When I heard the whistle and saw the flag, then saw the crossed arms, I knew why the delay of game call was made. If this was made by a coach, you certainly should have. If it was made by a player? Isn't this why coaches, especially on defense, at the high school level, keep control of time-out calling themselves?

Third, are coaches really getting that wussy with rain?

I mean, moving a HOME game off your grass field because of a medium, but not heavy, North Texas rain that stopped about 4 hours before game time, just as the weatherman predicted, to move to a neutral site with turf? If it rains like this in two weeks (or three, or four) are you going to look for a turf field again when you know the nearest one remains verboten to you?

A collegiate friend of mine, when softball or baseball opponents looked to walk, said "Swing the bat or wear a dress."


"Play the mud bowl or wear a dress."

Maybe Dave Campbell's Texas Football and/or Texas Bob, since they're now some sort of partners, could put an asterisk next to such a team's home schedule in future years, at least on non-district games.

And that's your quick Zero Week take from this corner of the world.

August 30, 2019

Michael Tracey, Ron Paul-tard (updated)

I'd had a fair amount of this information buried at the bottom of my Tulsi Gabbard Kool-Aid piece.

It needed its own post, per the header, and now it's getting it.

So, just what is the background of Michael Tracey, Tulsi Gabbard fellator and unofficial campaign press secretary?

Even before the Tulsi Gabbard presidential campaign announcement, he'd been writing some hacktacular crap. It only got worse since then. He lost two reputational star levels with me, not just one.

And, until I hit teh Google, I forgot Tracey's own #FakeNews claim that Maxine Waters pushed him. I couldn't have forgotten, because I did not know until this teh Google, that Tracey wrote extensively for paleocon outfit The American Conservative. That includes repeating conservative BS that the IRS targeted conservative political shops. Both there, and before that at Reason, he wrote several bromance articles about Ron Paul, never talking about his racism or his Religious Right stances that undercut his claims to really being a libertarian. (And, yes, Michael, they're bromance pieces.)

The Paul bromance, assuming the heart of yearning for it still beats — and I have no reason to believe it does not — explains a lot about Tracey running Gabbard up the flagpole and saluting her. I wonder if, in a lower grade way, Tracey doesn't support sort of Caitlin Johnstone-type red-brown or red-black alliance. If not seeing his Uranus rising in the House of Caity, then compare him to a younger Justin Raimondo. (I hadn't looked up his address in years; he comes off more than ever as a self-hating gay if he can't even support traditional libertarian ideas for legal positive protection of gay rights as needed.) More evidence the Paul bromance might be a thing? Tracey took to Real Clear Politics to whine about the DNC not yet qualifying Gabbard for the next debate. That link is also slightly conspiracy thinking. This tweet, about another candidate, is even more so.
And, no, this isn't an "occasional thing." Tracy was writing for Reason before the Occupy movement started. He wrote nearly 30 pieces for TAC over five years. Which then leads me to wonder: Was The Young Turks that dumb to hire him? That lazy on vetting him? Did he do some good spinning? Many Redditors had the same questions at the time Cenk let him go.

And, I wonder if Tracey has ever thought of modifying his "anti-Semitism isn't THAT bad" comments after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. As for him citing Alec Cockburn as support? I stopped reading Counterpunch for years in part because I thought Alec sometimes pushed the envelope on anti-Zionism hard enough to put a toe or two across the line of anti-Semitism. In any case, it was arguably dumb at the time and certainly is now. It comes off as of a piece with his Tulsi comments, though; that he's the one true person to see left-liberal reality correctly.

Speaking of Michael's seeming fellow travelers? Caity Johnstone's also got the hots for Tulsi. Reason No. 5 is wrong, per what I've read about the reasons behind the DNC split. Besides, things like superdelegates have been around, and have been a problem, for 40 years. And, it took Tulsi three-plus to complain? She also takes a selective look at Tulsi's foreign policy (i.e., not a word about India or about refugees).

However, there's just one BIG problem.

As I tweeted Tracey my original Kool-Aid piece repeatedly, Gabbard favors drones, favors torture, has passed on lies that Palestinians uses human shields and said that if AIPAC had asked her, she would have spoken to their conference, as well as accepting defense contractor campaign money. That was even before she voted FOR AIPAC, mentioned in my piece of a couple of weeks about about the cult of the #TulsiTwerkers.

She's not a paleocon by any means. Not even close. Especially when you add in the Islamophobia that's connected to her Hindutva peddling. She's a neocon as much as anything, on much of foreign policy — just one who doesn't want to expend American military lives on the neocon project in general and otherwise draws the circle fairly narrowly.

What I can't figure is, is this a case of Tracey being that self-deluding, or is it more a case of him willingly peddling the Kool-Aid for whatever reasons. And I don't even want to risk warping my mind on why Caity's bromancing her.

Greenwald doesn't seem to be a Kool-Aid drinker as much as a fence-straddler, or at least he seemed that way when she first announced. But, his tweets were ... not altogether sound, is the best way I can explain it. (Note: More and more left-liberals and leftists who take a serious look at both economic and social injustice have over the past year or two taken a more serious look at Glenn, and found him more and more wanting.)

I'm kind of surprised Justin Raimondo wasn't puffing her before he died. She did get guest column space on, though.

Oh, and earlier this month, new shit hit the fan. That would be Hindutva fellow-traveling Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi suspending the Indian constitution and constitution-based agreements for and with Kashmir, cutting off electronic communication access from Kashmir to the outside as much as possible, and essentially putting it under martial law.

The reality of Kashmir as a "giant prison camp" and how India (led by the BJP, but with Congress and allies in acquiescence) got to this point is explained in detail by Arundhati Roy.

That's the subject of this tweet:

I had told readers to stand by for further news related to this, by early October. And, we're here.

And that additional news? I'll tell what I can, and you fill in the blanks, on me mentioning my side of an email exchange. (I don't feel it's fair to release another person's emails unless it's about a matter already public.) Any

Anyway? I submitted an edited version of this to Ken Silverstein with the hope (and later, more hope) it would run in Washington Babylon. And, we're two months on, and it hasn't.

That hope was of two parts. One was having Ken run something else of mine, as he has run one or two other pieces.

The other was getting the information about Tracey's background — and bank-shotting off that to Gabbard's background — to a wider audience than my site. That was my primary hope, even as other alleged outside the box journos show themselves to actually be stenos on things like Gabbard and Trump's Ukraine missteps.

I have used a couple of Ken's tweets, or links he's posted on Book of Face, as a Twitter cudgel, but it's not quite the same.

I don't know why, and even if I did, I couldn't tell you on here. But, Twitter is public, and Andrew Stewart, who is Ken's managing editor or something, didn't like this version. He especially doesn't like the "Paul-tard" part. (Stew comes off as about as puzzling as Justin Raimondo, about whose political incomprehensibility I blogged when he died.)

Note 2: I think Matt Taibbi may be moving halfway into Tracey range as an uncritical Gabbard steno. And, I'm thinking I may write specifically about that, and some other alleged outside-the-box journos who peddle at least parts of the Tulsi Kool-Aid.

Note 3: Per someone pointing this out on Twitter, I was so focused on the Ron Paul stories on Am Con that I didn't notice Mikey was enough of either an idiot or an ass kisser to call Booger Ted Cruz "charming" in 2014.

August 29, 2019

#Dems2020: What's their endgames?

Now that a few candidates have dropped out, and the two most ConservaDems, John Delaney and Tim Ryan, refuse to do so despite very good reasons that they should do so, it's time to look at what I think the intended end game is of each Democratic candidate, along with a guess as to what's up if they don't.  And, it's their intended end game as a goal, not what I think is realistic.

This includes only serious and semi-serious candidates. It does not include truly border candidates, or late entries. See here for my original assessment of each semi-serious candidates' changes; it includes candidates who have now dropped out.

Bernie Sanders. End game? Presidency. If not? Finishes out this Senate term then probably retires.

Elizabeth Warren. End game? Presidency. If not?  A second run in 2024 seems more likely than seeking a third Senate term. That's if she's not the Veep on a winning Sanders ticket, which would seem unlikely in terms of age and geography, but, hey, Clinton and Gore did it.

Joe Biden. End game? Presidency. If not? Slowly fading away, mixed with perhaps being a scold if a Sanders is nominated and wins. Or more than a scold.

Ryan-Delaney. End game? Same for both, that's why they're paired — block Bernie Sanders, and maybe, block Elizabeth Warren as well. I think both are willing to step aside if they have some assurance Bernie, at least, isn't winning. Their if nots are different. Ryan presumably peels back to seeking House re-election by the end of October or so. Delaney's out of Congress, so, he'll stay around to be the ConservaDem white knight through, oh, March. Should Sanders get the nomination, expect a refusal to endorse. Should he win, expect a scold who eventually gets a guest gig with CNN.

Kamala Harris. End game? Presidency. If not? Another Senate run in 2022 followed by another prez run, unless a Sanders or Warren Veep nominee.

Pete Buttigieg. End game? Presidency. If not? A 2022 Senate challenge of Todd Young for U.S. Senate. I don't see a run for a third term as South Bend mayor.

Julián Castro. End game? Presidency. I think two months ago he thought he was really not in it, and would have been honest about it, but ... the times have changed. If not? Coming back to Texas for a 2022 gov run.

Corey Booker. End game? Presidency. If not? Veep to either Sanders or Warren, and running for a third Senate term in 2024 if not that.

Robert Francis O'Rourke. End game? Presidency, I think. If not? New media owner of some sort.

Andrew Yang. End game? Presidency. If not? Secretary of Commerce for a two-year dip, then back to the private world.

Amy Klobuchar. End game? Secretary of Agriculture. I don't highly see her seeking a fourth Senate term in 2024. If not? She might still run, or maybe look at a gubernatorial run.

Marianne Williamson. End game? Becoming president by New Age mind manipulation. If not, which is of course the case? Maybe angling for the UN ambassadorate under a Sanders presidency; if not that, then writing books.

Tulsi Gabbard. End game? The presidency, aided by outside the box alleged journalists who won't tell the truth about her. If not, which is of course the case, and which is her real end game? I don't know. I can't picture any Democratic nominee who is elected giving her any Cabinet position. Ambassador to India? Assuming she doesn't pull out of the race in time to keep her House seat, and Trump is re-elected, would she accept a position from him?

Gabbard has now ruled out an independent candidacy. That said? First, this is a typical boilerplate answer, and second, CNN didn't ask her about third-party candidacies.

August 28, 2019

The seven sides of Kirsten Gillibrand and Al Franken

Now that Kirsten Gillibrand has dropped her presidential bid, her leading the charge against Al Franken as the #MeToo movement gained steam a year ago is a PERFECT illustration of this phrase of Idries Shah that I take ever more to heart.

And this one from Shah is good, too. I am working to apply it more and more to myself.
More than two sides?

There were indeed seven, at a minimum.

One was that Al Franken did indeed appear to be some sort of sexual harasser.

The second was that he was nowhere near as bad as .... well, Donald Trump and Roy Moore, both in the news at the time.

The third is that the Democratic Party, while not simon-pure on this issue (Bill Clinton, Jeffrey Epstein being connected to him as well as Trump), it politically needed to be more simon pure than Republicans, and more simon pure than it had been in the past. Gillibrand herself said that had Doug Jones might have lost to Moore had Franken not resigned.

The fourth is that Franken's primary accuser, Leeann Tweeden, may have been exploited by wingnut media.

The fifth is that, given her own background, she may have been willingly along for the ride. At a minimum, it hasn't hurt her own career

The sixth is that Gillibrand almost certainly saw this as a way to slingshot to the front of the #Dems2020 presidential pack.

And failed.

As that link notes, she didn't electrify the more pergressuve wing of Dems. That's because she was perceived as a ConservaDem when first elected to the House,. and half of her political shifting since then was perceived as opportunistic.

The seventh side is that, despite Jane Mayer's piece, Gillibrand is far from alone. And if seven Democratic senators regret their actions, that means many more don't.


The real end note goes beyond the 2020 presidential election in particular, or politics in general.

It's that, as much as it gets hated on, more people could stand at least a small dip in the dunk tank of philosophical learning.

And, there are many readable and informative philosophers.

Plato, even though I disagree with much of him.

Marcus Aurelius, or Epictetus.



A Dan Dennett, though I disagree with much of him.

The relatively recently deceased Daniel Wegner.


Etc., etc.

On Shah, I've more recently also started focusing on this second observation of his. It too, is relevant to the current situation.

The older I get, beyond "twosiderism," the more I know the world is not blacks and whites and the more I consciously work against that in myself as well as with others.

And, we all make assumptions. And I mean this in a much more serious vein than "making an ASS out of U and ME."

It's ultimately, in part, about subselves. There may be a part of the consciousness-level integrated "me" that has assumptions about which that consciousness-level integrated "me" is unawares.

Take Franken. Maybe he has a sexual edge-pusher subself he's not yet come to terms with. If Tweeden hasn't considered how much some part of her might be a willing fellow-traveler, that's an unquestioned assumption. As for Gillibrand, perhaps she best illustrates the assumptions behind assumptions. Let's presume she did assume this would fast-track a Prez bid. Why did she think that?

Texas Progressives talk schools, DAs, candidates, newspapers

The Texas Progressives hope you put the spirit of labor into Labor Day, America's capitalist cock-block of May Day, on Monday, and extolls condolences to those who have to work for capitalist, rather than public safety, reasons, especially if you don't get comp time.

And with that, on to the Roundup.

Texas politics

Greg Abbott took flak from both sides (I see what I did there) at his first roundtable discussion after racist wingnut Patrick Crusius' shoot-up in El Paso. Gov. Strangeabbott? It's OK to "stand your ground." (I see what I did there.)

An interesting new development in the Bonnen vs Mucus standoff. Strangeabbott publicly endorsed the just-resigned former head of the House GOP caucus, Justin Burrows. I presume rumors were already floating about Christo-fascist Tim Dunn wanting Burrows primaried? The Trib adds that even Danny Goeb is calling for party unity on this issue, rather than publicly backing Mucus, as one might think.

Off the Kuff looks at the psychological shift in Texas politics.

The TSTA Blog wonders if our state leaders will ever criticize Donald Trump.


Jim Schutze laughs at Mayor Eric Johnson's naming a commission to look at the city's murder rate.

In the Texas schools A-F ratings, in the Best Southwest, Lancaster finished two points ahead of DeSoto and tied with Cedar Hill with an 81, while three points behind Duncanville. Wilmer-Hutchins High had a 70 and Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary had a 59-F. Good think that now-disgraced Larry Lewis couldn't brainwash the school board nearly 15 years ago into taking over the old Wilmer-Hutchins ISD.

Grits for Breakfast notes how KPMG told the city of Dallas to manage its PD better before hiring more cops.


Grits takes Harris County DA Kim Ogg, who looks more and more like a ConservaDem hack all the time, to the cleaners for why she opposes the bail lawsuit settlement there.

Juanita is pissed off at Pearland.

John Coby calls out Houston Mayoral candidate Bill King's dishonest endorsement claims.


SocraticGadfly looks at how the proposed Gannett-Gatehouse merger might affect the Texas newspaper world.

The Texas Observer localizes for Texas what intelligent transportation planners have long known: adding freeway lanes in urban areas ultimately ADDS to traffic congestion rather than lessening it. This is important given how much the Metromess, Helltown and also San Antone are already sprawled, and the I-35 double deck history in Austin, plus the reality of climate change. Once those new lanes get built, it's harder to fight new rounds of sprawl, to extend mass transit into new sprawl and more.

Orac notes that medical public health and computer modeling say that, thanks to antivaxxers like Former Fetus Forever Fuckwad Jonathan Stickland, Texas is "overdue" for a measles outbreak. The research includes Dr. Peter Hotez, attacked and mocked by Stickland during the most recent session of the Lege. The state's four largest metro areas could be facing 400 measles cases. Of course, FFFF Stickland lives in one of those metro areas.

The state of Texas executive Larry Swearingen for the murder of Melissa Trotter even though he may well have been innocent.

Are you REALLY hungry? Here's this year's State Fair food finalists.

Therese Odell wades into the Sean Spicer/Dancing with the Stars controversy.

Rosalie Reuss documents her experiences commuting by bike in San Antonio.

National politics

A Native American, a Diné, Mark Charles, is hoping to be elected as an independent. A longer shot for sure than Winona LaDuke being elected as Nader's Veep, and I don't know what his positions are right now outside of American Indian issues, but, he was part of a candidates forum on those issues.

David Bruce Collins says that Howie Hawkins, one of several Green presidential candidates, will be hitting the Texas hustings, in Dallas Sept. 7 and Houston Sept. 9. The lie that he's a Russiagater (if by that, you mean he believes there was Trump-Putin collusion) continues to spread. Rather, for conspiracy theorists like Caitlin Johnstone, and people who link to her Tweets, Howie believes, as do I, that Russia did engage in a variety of Russian government connected general meddling in the 2016 presidential election. That said, as I said on Twitter, if his nomination leads to a bunch of conspiracy thinkers leaving the party, I'm all for it right there.

August 27, 2019

Bibles, tariffs and the First Amendment

Donald Trump's tariff war on China has some interesting twists.

First, it includes books. (In case you didn't know, a lot of printing is done in China.)

Second, because his Religious Right group-think followers are once again too selfish to take a real hit for the Trump Team, well, just as Trump has delayed tariffs on big-screen TVs to not take effect until mid-December, and thus, not disrupt Christmas shopping), well, made in China bibles are being exempted from the tariffs against Chinese books.

On the surface, this sounds interesting enough, per the Pro Publica story.

But, PP doesn't ask any constitutional law scholars if this might be a First Amendment violation.

On a narrow reading, it almost certainly isn't, because the First Amendment begins, "Congress shall make no law ..." and the president isn't Congress. But, along with federalizing the First Amendment, Supreme Court history has generally extended it to executive branch actions as well. New York Times Co vs United States, the Pentagon Papers case over prior restraint and the First Amendment, comes to mind.

So, why isn't this a First Amendment violation?

August 26, 2019

Check out the bobcats in South Texas

I first saw this piece in High Country News, which writes about the West, which does not include Texas. The piece appeared first in an online mag of the California Academy of Sciences, though, which I guess explains that.

It's a good piece about their resilience in the face of various threats. The photos are better displayed in High Country News, as a slider all at the top. But they're bigger in the webscroll at the second link.

First, I had no idea that bobcats could take down a young deer.

Second, as far as their resilience, versus the threats they face, I didn't know that they were seriously u hunted for their pelts. Disgusting.

Whichever link you click, go past the pictures to read the story.

August 25, 2019

Halloween Creep now precedes Christmas Creep

Good fucking doorknob!

We're a full week before Labor Day, and more than two full months before Halloween.

And, Halloween costumes and decorations are already jamming aisles and walls at WallyWorld and dollar stores.

Remember when people were agog that Christmas decorations, candies and such were out on shelves by mid-October? Well, this is the exact equivalent.

Since Halloween has long been secularized, but originates in the Christian side from All Hallow's Eve, and in Celtic religion from Samhain and with witches and Wicca, maybe we can next get Christmas-like slogan battles.

"Happy HallowDays!"


"Splendid Samhein!"


"Bring Out Your Dead Day."

After ALL, the "saints" of the following All Saints Day ARE the dead.

I would like to add that, per the top photo, Christmas ripoffs like Halloween villages only add to my loathing.

Of course, speaking of greetings, the kids' "trick or treat" is itself extortionary. And, to the degree it derives from Samhain, throws shade on modern Wiccan claims that ancient Celtic religion was all sweetness and light.