SocraticGadfly: 9/15/19 - 9/22/19

September 21, 2019

Friday night lights, Week 4

I didn't blog immediately after Week 1, but I wanted to add a few thoughts.

First, back to Week Three.

It was Friday the 13th, and superstitions and belief in luck as a metaphysical issue aside, it was lucky for some teams and unlucky for others, complete with a Friday the 13th full moon, with high clouds and a humidity haze from Texas' normal September late summer being stronger than normal, diffusing that full moon just a bit.

A night like this, especially in small towns, makes one realize how high school sports can be somewhat of a community unifier. It's still not a perfect one, and high school sports, above all football, is still overvalued in Texas. It also makes one realize how rare African-American players can be in small towns west of I-35, for Texas history reasons.

Second, on to Week Four.

I'm getting the remaining rust knocked off my photo eye, and off my note taking fingers as well.

The picture at right is a leftover, compared to what we'll be running in one of the newspapers in our group.

This was Ponder (red) hosting S and S. (Officially spelled with an ampersand, but since Blogger still can't or won't render ampersands, I have to type that out.)

First, great stadium for a small school for shooting. In the first quarter, with some sunset light augmenting the stadium lights, I was shooting 1/400 at 1600 ISO and that was no underexposure on my 100-300 4-5.6.

I dialed down to 1/320 after that, and shot that the rest of the game. I was getting some underexpose on long shots or in end zone areas, but nothing huge. I never went above 1600.

Second, an issue.

As in, an issue.

I wrote a newspaper column about this more than a decade ago. It was, IIRC, at a basketball game, not a football one, but as even more people may be at the football game, applies there, too.

High school sports events do NOT need "booty music" played over the stadium or gym PA system. It's age-inappropriate. IMO, it's age-inappropriate for high school, and certainly for any younger kids in attendance.

And, I don't just mean "urban contemporary" (which is what I'd classify this as) or hip-hop. There are rock and country songs that are also "booty call" music. It's inappropriate not only on ages, for sexualizing high school kids more than they already are, it's also generally sexist music.

In my Week One Friday Night Lights, I didn't name Lindsay as the school getting titty baby over its grass field getting rain-soaked, as I am now, but ... Ponder? You need to fix this.

Third, another issue.

I understand a certain amount of "working the refs," but ... I also know it goes overboard at times. S and S's new head coach was ridiculously vocal compared to Ponder's, and this was before the score was even close to the 41-7 final. Chillax, dude.

September 20, 2019

Dems2020: Candidates ranked by cult level

We had stereotypical (and often overblown by the media, but not necessarily always overblown) Berniebros in 2016. With a crowded Democratic field this year, what levels of cultic behavior do we have among followers of different candidates this year? Conspiracy thinking and refusal to listen to actual facts are my main two criteria.

Tulsi Gabbard's fans are No. 1 with a bullet. They're so bad that one of them claimed all the facts in my original Tulsi Kool-Aid piece were not facts because they weren't about her Congressional votes. Many others simply refused to read. Then, after one of them called "black" as "white" on her anti-BDS vote without even prompting, having already invented the #TulsiTwerkers hashtag, I did a separate piece about the cult level. And it IS a cult, just as much as the cult of the guru Tulsi herself follows. (She hasn't answered Tweets about India's putting Kashmir under martial law, either.)

And, no, she's not "the peace candidate," either.

Second? Mayor Pete, or Mary Pete. As I said in writing him up, if he weren't gay, he wouldn't have this following. Don't believe me? Dale Peck, gay himself, said so for New Republic, in a piece that got so many people pissed off it "had to be" hauled down, but is still archived. The same SJW type folks in and around the LGBTQ world were part of why it was hauled down, but not the only reason. And, no, SJW folks, starting with the fact that Peck himself is gay, it's not anti-gay. And other gays also said it was not homophobic. And, thus, within at least the SJW precincts of the LGBTQ, Mary Pete has a definite cult following, enough to allegedly send Peck death threats. And, although written as a gay-world callout, and with the rudeness deliberate, Mayor "Gays are more diverse than blacks in South Bend" was also called out from the straight side not just by me, but by Slate.

Third? The man who isn't even a presidential candidate, Mike Gravel. Hey, cultists? He openly admitted he was not a candidate (and has dropped out of being even a quasi candidate), but that he just wants a spot in a debate and then he'll exit. GFY any of you attacking the mainstream media for reporting the actual facts. Besides, he's the one open 9/11 falser among actual or fake candidates. (Tulsi might be an under-the-radar one, but that would actually let Mooslims off the hook; she's far more likely to be a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist.) Speaking of, Gravel endorsed Tulsi and Bernie both, then had the alt-Illuminati sector of Twitter (Tulsi or Bust? Tulsi or Bernie or Trump?) parsing Gravel vs. Gravel's non-campaign team and who was endorsing whom. I think Gravel was endorsing Tulsi (shock) and his team was endorsing Bernie as PR. Since then, Gravel has weighed in further, moving outside the duopoly to tell people that they should help Howie Hawkins with Green Party ballot access. I agree, Howie, and Gravel is a more real antiwar politico than Gabbard or Sanders. But don't get in too tight of an embrace with him or some followers.

Fourth? Sorry, Sandernistas, or whatever, but it is the Berniecrats. You're up with the Peteys at times in conspiracy thinking level. Yes, sometimes, the MSM may be targeting him, and Jacobin singles out MSNBC (and it seems rightly so, including Horse Pee-er, I mean Hoarse Whisperer involved) but on other things? Madcow had him dead to rights on guns and many Berners haven't yet fully faced that. Others, though he sounds more peaceable than in the past, have yet to address his own degrees of military Keynesianism for F-35s. (And pulling up the Bernie of 30 years ago, and per Seven Days in Vermont with Bernie on guns as Just.Another.Politician.™, and pretending he's remained static? Uhh, no. Jacobin, as with Liza Featherstone throwing shade at other candidates' families while carefully writing around Bernie's nepotism via Jane, as I note here, is among major promotors of his cult.

Fifth? I would say Elizabeth Warren, but she has a plan for that, too, surely. This cult will surely grow as Nick Kristof earlier this month showed he's a fake pergressive even within the duopoly world with calls for a Warren-Mary Pete ticket and nary a mention of Bernie. At places like Lawyers, Guns and Money, otherwise known to me as The New Daily Kos, the cult factor is high.

Beto? He had a cult nine months ago. He had remnants of one six months ago. He has none now. Or so I thought when I started this a week or so ago. But now? There are second acts indeed in politics. He still doesn't have any big cult, but the guns issue, complete with Meghan McCain stupidity, has revived him.

Marianne Williamson has the orb-ish goofers on Reddit, but that's not a cult, it's a parody of one.

September 19, 2019

Muting vs blocking vs reporting on various social media

Here's how I decide when to do either of the actions above on the social media in which I am involved, and what if anything to say about it.

By my involvement, I mean, I am on Facebook, Twitter, this and other blogs that I run, and Quora. No desire at all to be on Instagram, and Pinterest doesn't interest me, as non-fiction reading isn't a "pinnable" hobby.

OK, so, here goes.

Facebook?

First, because of Hucksterman's "let's all be connected," you of course don't have a mute feature there and you never will. You can "snooze" a friend for 30 days. You can try, if you have FB Purity as an add-on, entering their name into your filters and see if that blocks them. In my one time trying it ... it sort of worked. But, you can't snooze someone who is not already a friend, so if a person in a group that you're in is being an asshole, all you can do is block them.

I used to be less willing to block, because I thought it was rude.

Now? Fuck Hucksterman. And, if it's more than just assholery, but something like being a conspiracy theorist? I tell them, just before I block them. If they are a friend, and they unfriend me? I post, after I've blocked them, that I've blocked them, with an "@."

Reporting?

Have done so on occasion. Usually not worth it, IMO.

Oh, one other note, because of the way Facebook works? If I tell you, especially on a thread that is either in a group, with an individual with a large number of friends, or otherwise heavily trafficked, that I am leaving the conversation and, because I've been tagged more than once in the thread already, to please not tag me? If you do? Blocked.

Twitter?

Muting is more fun than blocking, first. That's especially when you don't tell the person that you've muted them. I like doing that. I get the last word — on my end — in an argument and I simply move on. On my original primary account, that had a lot more followers (thanks, MAGA heads in general and Covington Catholic chuds in particular for getting me suspended), I sometimes muted friends and later unmuted them.

Blocking? I sometimes tell people I am going to, and sometimes I don't. On conspiracy theorists, my general action is to either mute or block. It used to be block-only, as on Book of Fuck, but I've kind of moved away from that. I need to get back to it.

Reporting? I do that on about 10 percent of people with whom I have ugly run-ins. I NEVER say anything about it before or after, and not just don't say anything to that person.

Quora?

Because of its interactive Q and A nature, blocking and muting work a bit differently. At times, when you'd block on Twitter, you should mute on Quora and vice versa.

Reporting? You can either report the person, or just a question. I report questions for clickbait reasons and report persons for alt-right, alt-right-lite but still with hateful attitude and similar reasons. I also report all conspiracy theorists. Under reason why? Harassment. Specifically? "Harassing the truth." Yes, I actually say that.

My blog?

Comments are moderated. I don't get that many, but I do moderate (I also get some spam.)

When someone is being obnoxious and ongoing-ly obnoxious, at some point I simply cut them off, and I tell them in a comment back that I'm going to cut them off. They then know, or should know, that they have one last shot, and after that, it's my turn.

It IS my blog, and not theirs, after all.

What gets you in trouble with me?

Being an unrepentant conspiracy theorist, first and foremost. I don't care if you're a fellow Green or other leftist. Ditto, if you're Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, etc. By unrepentant, I mean, continuing to believe in the fact of contrary evidence. And it can be any serious conspiracy theory: 9/11, Seth Rich, JFK, chemtrails, antivaxxerism, etc.

Other things can, but that's the biggie.

September 18, 2019

Texas Progressives want gun control now

The Texas Progressive Alliance thanks Briscoe Cain for clearly demonstrating why no civilian should own a weapon of mass murder as it brings you this week's roundup. Yours truly also "thanks" Speaker Dennis Bonnen for, beyond his continued surrenders to Mucus, showing how he's such a squish by not condemning Cain. I also offer my take on R.F. O'Rourke's Dem Debate 3 statement that lead Cain to shoot his mouth (only, fortunately) off, as well as my constitutional and other disagreements with mandatory buybacks in this post.

Read on for the rest of the roundup!


Texas politics

The Trib has a preview of the first Texas redistricting since the One-Eyed Umpire, John Roberts, gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act and removed the Texas Legislature from "preclearance."
Off the Kuff analyzed those two polls from last week that again showed a competitive Texas between Democrats and Republicans.

Rick Casey finds a common thread among the Republicans targeted by the Bonnen/MQS fiasco


Texas politics/gunz

At the Dallas Observer, Stephen Young notes that Gov. Strangeabbott has moved to the right of Lite Guv Danny Goeb on gunz.

RG Ratcliffe evaluates Dan Patrick's seeming change on background checks for gun purchases.

John Coby calls for the end of open carry.


Dallas


SocraticGadfly calls out the Dallas Observer for doing a hit job on a wind farm that's not even in its normal coverage area.

It's "nice" of Brains to think about me on Texas' high speed rail, but, as I blogged several weeks ago, per Jim Schutze, the real real estate grifting may not be out in Roans Prairie (though we shouldn't ignore that) but in downtown Dallas. There's also good evidence that there is plenty of good old capitalist lying on ride count estimates.


Fort Worth

The FW Weekly has a rave review of the just-reopened, revamped, Amon Carter. The design is better, the layout is better, including thematic displays, and more.


Houston/national

David Bruce Collins talks about his interview with the Chronic about All Things Green. (Article is not yet up, but he promises an alert when it is.)

Grits calls out Houston mayoral candidates for lying about crime stats.


Texana

A state judge has blocked the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority from draining four reservoirs.

The Observer notes that more and more apartment landlords are doing fee-cramming on residents.

The Austin Chronicle eulogizes Daniel Johnston.


National

The Texas Observer dings Trump twice. First, it notes how the administration is blocking journos from asylum hearings. Second, it notes that the administration has double the burn rate Congress appropriated on #BuildTheWall. Kudos to Gus Bova on both.

Mondoweiss notes that only two Democratic presidential candidates have explicitly called for the U.S. to cut foreign aid to Israel. INNNNNterestingly, neither Bernie Sanders nor Pete Buttigieg spell their name as "Tulsi Gabbard." Take THAT, #TulsiTwerkers; one again your Kool-Aid is a potion of lies. So, Brains, the "Boot" may be a dipshit, but he's not a lie-spinner with a cult of lie-lovers.

Brains offers his take on Dem Debate 3 in Houston last week.

In what is far from the first time for Julián Castro to be a hypocrite (Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer has savaged his time as HUD Secretary), the Trib notes that, while he called out Biden on immigration issues in the Houston debate, he backed the immigration policies of Biden's boss and his, Dear Leader Obama, when at HUD.

Also apropos debates, at the Houston Press, Jef Rouner says whoever gets the Democratic nod should simply refuse to debate Trump. I get where he's coming from, but I think that would backfire, too. Better answer is to selectively use Trump's own tactics — and use them first.

September 17, 2019

An update on all things Marlin

I occasionally blog updates about what's happening in an old stomping grounds, Marlin, Texas. The city is definitely NOT the garden spot of the world, and is possibly the poorest place in Texas outside the lower Valley and select spots in Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth.

First, the potentially good news. A Chinese-based real estate speculator is interested in the Falls Hotel. I have long said that that's just what Marlin needs. Revitalize the hotel, and the famous mineral waters, into a modern resort. People pay for that shit.

Second, several not-so-goods begin with then-Marlin police chief Nathan Sodek committing suicide a month ago. Still unknown what the criminal investigation was about, but if they wanted his cell phone, sex issues are guess No. 1. As in cellphone child porn. His predecessor, Michael Pesses, retired just a year after hiring.

Meanwhile, at Marlin ISD?

TEA, which long has talked about taking over a district like Houston, and now how thrown a medium-small district like Snyder into its target list, has essentially taken over this district.

Former superintendent Michael Seabolt, having been suspended, agreed to resign but without buyout cash. Shock me. When first suspended, he said he would fight, but at resignation claimed TEA had a deck stacked against him, saying it was "dishonest" and "untrustworthy." I still think he was wrongly throwing his predecessor, Michael Steck, under the bus, as, if the district was still as bad as he claimed, TEA monitors would have had to have been complicit in a coverup. So ... maybe look in the mirror when making such statements?

And, what a superintendent, whoever the person is, is doing making $140K a year at a school district that size and that poor, unless that included a major TEA supplement, is beyond me.

That said, Steck has moved on to his second post-Marlin school district. I have speculations why.

And, as for the Marlin paper? It appears their previous experiment with a general manager / fake publisher has fallen through and Dennis Phillips is reduced to stringers.

And, it appears John Keefer was not re-elected as mayor. Questions about property purchases probably are behind that, as the new city council has reversed one initiative that I think had his imprimatur.

September 16, 2019

No Kaep is not going to the Saints or Steelers

Damn there's dumber fucks about pro sports on Twitter than about politics. Of course, in this case, politics lurks in the background.

Getcha popcorn! We'll explore how Kaep has become a tool for multiple sides, far removed from reality.

Number of folks are suggesting Colin Kaepernick should be signed by either the Pittsburgh Steelers, who will be missing Ben Roethlisberger for a full year (or more) instead of relying on untested Mason Rudolph.

Maybe.

There's a reason Rudolph was a third-round draft choice. (And traded twice.) I don't care how much Red Satan fellates him.

That said, Kaep is not in game shape. Minimum of two weeks on the purely physical side, no matter how much he's been working out, and more than that on game mindset and learning the offense side.

Which is why, the suggestion that the Saints should sign him to replace Drew Brees for a 6-8 week vacancy is simply stupid.

Teddy Bridgewater is a decent QB who is in both game and game mindset shape right now.

I mean, the Colts had time before the season started, when Andrew Luck announced his retirement, to sign Kaep. They went with backup Jacoby Brissett.

First, would he come back? Why?

Kaep has two years of not taking shots from defensive ends and linebackers. He might enjoy staying pain-free.

Or, he might say that, rather than being rusty, he's fresh. With the league doubling down again on mobile QBs like Lamar Jackson, he should be hired.

So, how would you rank him against current QBs?

My take, based on a mix of:
1. Overall QB physical skills
2. Overall QB athleticism
3. Overall QB decision making and leadership

AND ... based on where Kaep was at when he was last active —

I rank clearly ahead of him
1. Tom Brady
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Big Ben
4. Russell Wilson
5. Patrick Mahomes
6. Brees
7. Cam Newton

Four of those eight are fairly long in the tooth, of course. A couple are very long.

In the "at least even," even with just a few years or even one, I'll put:
1. Baker Mayfield
2. Deshaun Watson
3. Dak Prescott
4. Jared Goff

Right now, at least, Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr need not apply as being "at least even." That's mainly due to injuries. None of Mayfield's rookie peers guarantee ahead of Kaep.

So, if you're looking more than one year out, NFL teams? Scratching Brady and Brees for sure, only about one-third of the league's QBs are guaranteed as good or better, in my book.

In addition, he was this spring not too washed up for Arena Football 2.0 to be interested.

BUT.

And a big fat BUT.

Is he overpricing himself?

If Kaep really wanted $20 million from the Alliance of American Football for arena games, he won't come cheap for the NFL. If he really wants back. What if Kaep wants a $20M guaranteed signing bonus PLUS 3/$25 or something like that on actual salary?

Ain't happening.

Were I an actual GM, and I run one of the teams that does not have a QB mentioned above, or one of the unmentioned rookie first-rounders from last year besides Mayfield? Kaep would get $2 million non-guaranteed and a $500K signing bonus. I would include one or two option years — player options — to give him some additional assurance of job security.

Look at Kaep's actual sabermetrics, per the list of QBs above and other things. Only once, in a full season, did he pop a Quarterback Rating of above 100. For comparison, Mahomes was at 113.8. Wilson, in their almost totally overlapping history through 2016, regularly rated higher. And didn't have injury problems. Remember, Kaep had a history of taking unnecessary hits when he ran the ball.

So, that's part 1.

Kaepernick has been, beyond his Black Lives Matter activism, a nice sledgehammer to beat over the head of Roger Goodell, more curmudgeonly members of the NFL ownership club and MAGA hat wearing fans. But, is he "all that" as a QB? Well, maybe he never was. Better than Joe Flacco but behind DangeRuss. About midway between the two, in fact.

Let's also not forget that Kaep agreed to a contract restructuring and bet on himself as a player, outside of #TakeAKnee. That gives a heads-up to The Undefeated's Bomani Jones, talking about Kaep's sacrifices.

In other words?

Per old friend Idries Shah ... "there are more than two sides."

That's clear here. We don't know what financial discussions were held when Kaep worked out with teams in the past two years and many other things. And, in the spirit if not the letter of the NDA, we may never know.

As for overpricing himself? It gives Kaep a convenient out. Let's say he's making $5 a year on a five-year deal as a Nike "brand ambassador" or whatever. (And, no, based on stories like this, that's not a ridiculous guess.) Why would he give that up, even if Nike "held" the contract for him, in exchange for getting beat up, unless he got a lot of guaranteed money? And, he knows he's not going to get that. Contra Eric Reid.

The last couple of years have made clear that Kaep still isn't a bad capitalist outside the NFL.

NFL owners remain better inside the NFL There's probably no more than half a dozen teams he could legitimately help, that have a need for a permanent upgrade at starting QB, that are willing to give him a chance, and are willing to give him even $5M guaranteed signing money.

The number that would give him $20M?

ZERO.

And, I think Kaep knows this, He surely knew that no arena team was giving him 20 million guaranteed. It's good posturing if nothing else. Make a semi-outlandish demand and watch nobody give you an offer. I mean, Nike's $5M a year without NFL-sized medical bills is not shabby.

Or, if we compare it to his earnings before his contract restructure, it's $5M (my guess) vs $7M.

And, no, that's not outrageous as a guess. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, who knows a little about the pro world, says "millions ... plus royalties." LeBron's lifetime deal with Nike is reportedly a cool $1 billion. Odell Beckham Jr. is raking $5M a year from Nike.

And Kaep's "Dream Crazy" ad from a year ago just won an Emmy. That will goose the royalties, and it already did; sales surged in the days after the ad.

Nike's stock surged this summer; surged $3 billion after Kaep called out its Betsy Ross shoe.

American Indian land rights "versus" environmentalism

I put the "versus" in scare quotes in the header because it is partially that; American Indians can be good environmentalists indeed.

But, it's in part a real versus.

American Indians are not necessarily, as in logically necessarily, as in innately necessary, as in stereotypical Rousselian noble savages — environmentalists.

And, no, it's not that the Columbian Contact debauched them from Rousseau's state of nature, either.

Forests were burnt by them ... to manage as human influenced parkland and to make hunting easier.

Animals were overkilled when they could be and only the best cuts eaten.

In the Southwest, mountains and mesatops were overforested to try to support unsustainable cultural growth in Anasazi sites such as Chaco. Washes were agriculturally overused, with resultant arroyo cuts. Conspicuous consumption was part of the cycle.

That all makes this essay, about environmentalists of the past fighting harder to block restoration of ancient treaty lands if they thought the tribe or tribes in question wouldn't be good environmental stewards, still worth reading today.

Runte notes that many of today's environmentalists don't want to fight this battle. Perhaps it still needs to be fought. What if today's Colorado Utes wanted lands they thought had been promised to them by treaty and their primary goal was more oil and gas drilling? In this case, due to climate change, it would be a battle that had to be fought no less than against white-led private oil companies.

Part of the change is that, oil-drilling Utes, like slave-owning Cherokees, have tried to participate in white capitalism as it was put forth to them. A side issue is that doing this can have long-lasting effects, as the plight of the Black Cherokees shows.

But, that's not all the picture, as noted above. This needs to be stressed and cannot be overstressed. Beyond the examples above is potlatch culture of the Pacific Northwest, which included not only conspicuous consumption, but pre-Columbian contact slavery and even slave sacrifice.

Then there's the likes of the Aztec and Inca. They might not have been as greedy for gold as the Spanish, but they weren't "innocent," either.

Also, not all "ancient" American Indian lands are so ancient. The Sioux, kicked out of Wisconsin, largely, by the Ojibwa, were moving west of the Missouri and to the Black Hills in numbers only at the same time Lewis and Clark were moving up the river. Before this, the Black Hills were basically "neutral ground," not ancient or not so ancient Sioux lands.

Maybe one final way of looking at this is that American Indians didn't exploit the land more because they didn't have the numbers, or the tools beyond Stone Age or occasional Chalcolithic Age technology to do so.

September 15, 2019

Ken Burns + country music = man and Peter Principle meeting

The Texas Observer joins many other media, including NPR (of course) and somewhat Rolling Stone, in fellating the troubadour of American exceptionalism, Ken Burns, for his new series on country music.

All these folks note, but generally uncritically, that Burns includes blues under "country music" and I call bullshit. (At least the Observer agrees with me on the American exceptionalism angle, which I first noted a full dozen years ago.) It is "nice" that Burns notes the blues background of white country music. But, while "cultural appropriation" is sometimes overblown in the SJW world it sometimes is a real deal. Blacks continued to get screwed on records and more as whites recorded white-bread versions of blues music.

And it WAS white bread.

Given that I've elsewhere said that watching Ken Burns is like eating Chinese food, probably the second best food-related observation about his is that his American exceptionalism is a white-bread version of American reality, which is why he is able to palm it off so well.

Back to this particular series.

Just as Burns didn't include Reconstruction in his original Civil War series, and then did a half-assed mainstream history job on it when he got around to Reconstruction, so, per reviews otherwise, it seems that he doesn't tackle how black blues/roots music people got screwed, screwed, screwed by whites.

And, so, while I like blues music, and some blues-rock where white folks might at least give a hat tip to blacks, 16 hours of paeans and encomia to country music without covering this? Pass.

In addition to all of the above, from the Vietnam War to Roosevelt presidential history, Burns also has a history of making or repeating historical errors. Some are in the service of American exceptionalism; others are just passing along stereotypical high-school history textbook scrivenings.