SocraticGadfly: 10/6/19 - 10/13/19

October 12, 2019

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt? Stop whining about
detuned baseballs; Best Fans in Baseball? don't join him.

The St. Louis Cardinals are now down 2-0 in the NLCS after Max Scherzer followed teammate Anibal Sanchez with another stifling pitching performance.

"But it's the baseballs" said Cards skipper Mike Shildt.

As I already said on Twitter?

Dude.

Both teams are playing with the same bag of baseballs, whether they really are a detuned batch or it's all the weather. (Mid-40s in Game 1, and around 60 during Game 2.) Your managerial counterpart, Dave Martinez, also commented on this and said, in essence, it's a matter of preparation.

So, yes, Marcell Ozuna didn't hit one out in Game 1 that he might have during the NLDS against the Braves. (And maybe he wouldn't have. Contra stats analyzers, I thought, well before that ball settled into Michael Taylor's glove, that Ozuna had gotten under it too much.) But, know what?

Howie Kendrick owned you in Game 1. The ball wasn't detuned when Adam Eaton had a triple. You couldn't get Kolten Wong home from third with small ball.

And yeah, speaking of the NLDS, on the other matchup, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he thought the balls had been detuned, too, specifically citing one non-homer by Cody Bellinger.

Dave? They weren't detuned in your Game 5 when Clayton Kershaw got rocked back to back by Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. Or when Kendrick had his grand salami off Joe Kelly. You, like Shildt, are looking like a whiner.

Meanwhile, Justin Verlander has he can't tell the difference.

And Tommy Edman and Jose Martinez on Shildt's own team don't think it's a thing.

==

Meanwhile, at Red Satan, David Schoenfield wonders if Schildt is managing his way out of the series.

GRACKLES INVADE NORTH TEXAS!

But, it's not QUITE "Children of the Corn."

But ...

STOP THE PRESSES!!!



If this is your lead story, as a pullout, with not one but two photos on the front page, you're at a small daily paper that should either
A. Consider running a Trib partnership story on the front, if you have to
B. Consider an AP story if you have a membership (that issue may be "open" per what I know) or
C. Consider going non-daily.

Knowing the cut-rate chain ownership?
B. May be iffy because of what is in parenthesis in combination with occasional inside content
A. Might turn up corporate noses, but if you do a story below just the grackles lead photo as wild art, why not
C. Will never be done as long as an Alabama dime can be milked.

If you're the shorthanded editor, whether or not you're familiar with the reality of end of summer/start of fall great-tailed grackles in North Texas, I'm sorry for your situation. I'm also sorry per other things.

As for that reality?

Grackles as an "urban invader" will find some swarming spot in any town of more than 5,000 people.

And, no, they don't just swarm at cheap places, or high food-litter places, like Walmart.

When I lived in the Metromess, one of their top swarms was along Oak Lawn, most heavily near the intersection with Turtle Creek Boulevard. In the Best Southwest, they semi-swarmed DeSoto's Town Center area because of the Tom Thumb across the street and the proximity of Ten Mile Creek.

Oh, north Texas newspaper? Those aren't common grackles. They're great-tailed grackles.

And bird experts or semi-experts, whether for small newspapers or Aggie state Extension pages? Stop calling them things like "pests" just because, like ravens, they're smart enough and opportunistic enough to massively expand their urban range.

October 11, 2019

Black Sox at 100 part 1 — was Shoeless Joe innocent,
and myths vs reality of Black Sox story

Winning a World Series is a crapshoot, at times. As a Birds fan, I'll offer up 1986 and David Eckstein's Cardinals.

Sometimes its far worse than a crapshoot, so to speak.

This is the 100th anniversary of the Chicago Black Sox, or eight members of that team, at least, reportedly throwing the 1919 World Series.

It's also the 30th anniversary of the heart-tug movie "Field of Dreams" and its effort to either set the truth straight or else whitewash it: 


And, per Kevin Costner, one person is identified with that more than anybody, even though not the ringleader and totally opposite Rose in personality. I'm talking Shoeless Joe Jackson, of course.

So, why do we still "pick on" Shoeless Joe, and even more than Pete Rose?

Jackson was proven innocent in a court of law, as his own granddaughter notes in discussing the centennial with ESPN.

Beyond whether Shoeless Joe helped do it or not, there's the question of whether MLB isn't hypocritical, on him, or on Barry Bonds and Roger Clemensas I've discussed before. And, within baseball, there's three managers named Tony La RussaJoe Torre and Bobby Cox who likely knew some of their players, including Bonds and Clemens, plus Gary Sheffield and Mark McGwire, were "helping themselves." And, there's allegations of Ty Cobb (not a racist, as far as that part of morals, apparently, legends to the side) and Tris Speaker conspiring to fix games.

The Black Sox in general, because this was so early in organized sport, and organized sport was trying to become more professional after the Great War, were a target. That's both as in a target for the eventual Judge Landis crackdown but at the same time, with Prohibition starting and the Roaring 20s around the corner, a target for gaming and cheating. Plus, baseball was the National Pastime. City College of New York point-shaving scandals hurt that game somewhat, but everybody moved on. More on both parts of the "target" come near the end.

As for Jackson? Like his granddaughter, as I note in this long piece, I don't think he did it.

But ... but ... but ...

That said, as John Thorn notes, many myths still abound about the Black Sox. That includes that they were underpaid (actually, the highest paid team in baseball), that they were rubes taken for a ride by gambling sharks (not true in general, and note Cobb and Speaker above, representing just a tip of alleged game-fixing at this time), and that Shoeless Joe was just a country bumpkin (actually, he had good post-baseball business career). And, contra Shoeless Joe's granddaughter, Thorn says that on the legal angle, the jury basically bought the angle peddled by "Field of Dreams" and committed jury nullification. Some might argue that Thorn, as official historian of MLB, has a reason to take this angle.

But?

On PBS, Jacob Pomrenke, in addition to refuting more myths, wonders if other pre-1919 WS were fixed. I'm addressing that in Part 2.) Pomremke, a member of SABR, chairs a committee it has just over the Black Sox. Here's a list of all his research.

So now, per Thorn and Pomrenke, I'm not so sure about Shoeless Joe.

As for the Black Sox in general? Per a sublink off Pomrenke's research, a few years ago, incredible and incredibly rare tape was found of selected highlights of Game 3 (first) then Game 1. And per that, it don't look good overall. Per Pomrenke, go to 3:06 in the video; note the brief GIF on the website for further looks at a blown double play started by pitcher Eddie Cicotte and ending with first baseman Chick Gandil that made many suspect the fix was in, then Cicotte getting (letting himself?) get knocked out of the box. At the end of that sequence, about 3:45, is the infamous play of Cicotte cutting off Jackson's throw to the plate. That's a play that's cited both for the other seven of the eight cheating but also, the quality of the throw plus Jackson's .375 BA for the Series, as evidence of his innocence.



IF ... he didn't do it? Jackson should be made eligible for the Hall, and then voted into Cooperstown, if there's at least the strong likelihood he didn't do it.

He's got the cred.

Despite his career being forcibly ended at age 32, he's 13 in JAWS among right fielders, as I note at that link. Give him four more years, and he's at around 90 WAR. Around 70 on JAWS. Right next to Al Kaline and Roberto Clemente, at a minimum.

But, did he or didn't he? Seems more gray than ever. Pomranke and Thorn both lean yes on Shoeless Joe and all eight, and marshal their evidence better than Keith Law.

And, even his good performance could square with cheating. Maybe the adrenaline kicked in and he performed on autopilot. Maybe he had a guilty conscience, or fear of getting caught, enough to pull back. Maybe, even, he was a designated cutout, to do better than normal while the others cheated, to try to put people off the scent.

The biggest part is that the players went looking, rather than the gamblers starting by soliciting them.

October 10, 2019

Further thoughts on moar wind farms bloviating

To follow up on a piece I wrote about the Dallas Observer doing something that looked like a hit job on a proposed wind farm in North Texas, there are a few additional observations to make, versus it, some of the nutters who commented, and the reporter who ain't in Oz or Portlandia any more.

No, this wind turbine has not caused two-headed calves to be born,
abortion mills or pot shops to spring up, nor a lot of other alleged
problems with wind farms.
First, are there tax abatements for wind? Yes, some federal ones

Are there tax abatements for solar? Yes, federal.

Are there tax abatements for oil and gas? Yes, a HUGE one called the depletion allowance. And a second, quasi-abatement called US soldiers and sailors in the Persian Gulf. Not to mention wars and wars by proxy.

Have you stopped driving your car in response? No, you "support our troops American exceptionalist right to cheap oil."

(Also, as I said before, how many of you have natural gas leases and so don't want wind turbines ANY where because it will cut into your royalties?)

Related to that?

Related to that? Two pieces of information Meghan Lawrence didn't supply, one easily already available when she wrote her original article and one just updated.

The already available? In three years, according to Wiki, wind electricity will be cheaper than every form of natural gas electricity except an advanced version of combined cycle power plants. It's already cheaper than all non-combined cycle gas power plants.

Second? And reflecting what I said about gas prices being in the terlet otherwise? Oct. 2, Comptroller Glenn Hegar reported natural gas production taxes for September were down 34. 5 percent from a year ago. Oops.

OK, that nonsense is out of the way.

Do wind turbines too close to homes cause some noise and/or light pollution? Yes. Is the would-be developer of the proposed wind farm in question doing as much to address these concerns as it could? I don't know.

As far as noise in general?

Is a wind turbine any more noisy than a High Plains wind? Having relatives and friends with wheat fields in western Kansas, and having stood in them when, per the old joke about Amarillo, "there's only one barbed wire between here and Canada and it's down," the wind itself can be noisy. Now, so far, most wind farms aren't that far west because that puts them further from big cities and they don't need that much wind. But, the wind itself can be noisy.

Is the light from the tower any more light polluting than a pole light on a barn plus a second on a shop? Probably not.

And, if we're talking pollution and we're in places near oil and gas wells? Wind farms don't stink and they don't run the risk of leaking anything into the soil.

As for property issues? If you're not the property owners who could actually get windmills, and especially if you're #MAGA hat wearers, you're pretty hypocritical on property rights. Hypocritical in your selectiveness. Organizations like Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation might say the same. (That said, it was formed earlier this year and is clearly a front group.)

But, do wind turbines cause cancer, two-headed calves or other such things?

Tosh and tommyrot.

And, no, they don't kill a zillion birds, either. But, coal or gas fired power kills 10 times more.

And, if I heard one person right, besides this Trumpian stuff, don't cite from Watt's Up. You just further undermined your credibility.

Are turbines objects you can't avoid 300 feet in the air, or 600 feet if this farm is built and that's the tallest size?

Yes.

You know what else is?

Cropdusters. And ag drones, growing in popularity in the country. Low-flying helicopters, too.

Is EDP renewables, if not yet taken over by Three Gorges, the focus of its acquisition? Yes. Does Three Gorges already hold a minority stake? Yes.

But, for the nationalists saying "China" as you wave your gimme flag? Check what country makes that. Check what country makes your MAGA hat, too.

The energy expended in building, delivering and erecting turbine parts? Real, but less than an oil or gas well, I'll venture.

None of this is blanket support for wind farms in general nor is it support for the particular wind farm in question.

Finally, to wrap this back to Meghan Lawrence? These are the nutters you're dealing with.

October 09, 2019

Suing again to protect the dunes sagebrush lizard

Because of new lies by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the dunes sagebrush lizard, on top of its old, Obama-era bipartisan lies, the Center for Biological Diversity is again suing USFWS to protect the lizard.

The bipartisan lies were not just USFWS. They were also by Obama's oily original Interior Secretary, Kenny Boy Salazar, who helped drive Dear Leader's "all of the above" hydrocarbons push on BLM and Forest Service land, as seen here.

Per Center for Biological Diversity, the lies, obfuscations and lies by omission ultimately trace back to former Texas Comptroller Susan Combs and her fake protection plan, one that a federal judge initially swallowed in CBD's first suit, as detailed here.

Texas Progressives call the score: Hong Kong 1, Rockets 0

This corner of the Texas Progressives says Boomer Sooner in anticipation of Saturday's Red River Shootout, while also hoping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of their NLDS showdown Thursday.

Meanwhile, we've got lots of state and national politics for you, and an intersection of them and Texas sports.


National / international / Texana / sports

The Houston Rockets and Daryl Morey led this, followed by owner Tilman Fertitta big-footing him, but more and more people in the NBA are looking bad on kowtowing to China, even as Adam Silver himself is ahead of some of the more "woke" players and coaches.


Dallas

Yours truly offers his thoughts on the Amber Guyger trial and sentencing, along with thoughts on Judge Tammy Kemp's disregard for the First Amendment.

And after the verdict, Grits offered his thoughts on the trial and the case as a whole.


Texas politics

SocraticGadfly looks at his state rep, Drew Springer, sees that he's NEVER faced a general election and says that if Democrats are serious about turning Texas blue, they need to challenge even candidates like him.

Long time Houston-area Green Party activist David Bruce Collins is eyeballing a run for Senate. Stay tuned to his blog.

Not so fast on relief from surprise medical bills. Loopholes abound in the Lege's legislation and doctors and hospitals groups are scrambling to exploit them.


At the Trib, Ross Ramsey offers the latest of what will surely be many political analysis pieces of Texas being a crucial state in 2020 elections.

G. Elliott Morris describes Texas now as "magenta" rather than "purple", but says it is on the way there.


Texana

The Observer reviews "Big Wonderful Thing." I've got it checked out from my library and am one-third through. No Texas myth-making so far, but could have stood a few more pages on American Indians, Spanish Texas and Revolutionary Tejaños IMO.

Christof Spieler runs through an autonomous vehicle thought exercise.


National

Rick Perry, getting side flak from the Trump-Ukraine issue, although supposedly not personally involved (isn't that a Beltway catch phrase?) is stepping down as Secretary of Molecules of U.S. Freedom. And, presumably precisely because he is stepping down, Trump is throwing him under the bus on the Ukraine issue. OTOH, Tricky Ricky has admitted he pushed Cheetoh to call — just not anything connected to alleged extortion of Ukrainian President Zelensky. The scandal has now spread to indicate lawyer friends of Giuliani were in on Hunter Biden type grifting. Surely the OTB stenos will ignore that, with Aaron Maté et al calling this Resistance sour grapes or something.

Gus Bova notes that both within Texas and nationally, due to Trump, the private prison industry is losing financial support.

Brains kicks "secrut librluz in the CIA" Markos over his latest claims of poll-spamming. So what if it IS, Kos? Can't you spend more money on Daily Kos to prevent repeat voting?

Perry Bacon, via Brains, explains why black Democrats tilt "establishment" more than whites in intraparty tussles.

Noah Horwitz, gracing the roundup with his first contribution in a year, is endorsing Lizzie Borden, I mean Lizzie Warren, in the Dem primaries, presumably as the best chance to head fake some people she's kind of like Sanders, and so head him off at the pass. Dew Drop Inn is calling, Noah. OTOH, Noah does believe she's better than any Dem not named Bernie, gives her style points, and admits he was wrong about 2016, and about Obama. He also notes Warren's DNA problems.

Therese Odell goes to town on Day One of Impeachment Inquiry TV.


National/duopoly

Down with Tyranny shows how even allegedly pregressuve Democrats will abandon principle in the quest to whore after Democratic Congressional gains, as in this case, rubbing their hands over Trump undercutting ethanol subsidies is seen as a good deal when we actually need to stop subsidizing ethanol and we also need to ditch the renewable fuels standards, let alone ditching the push for expanding E15 sales. Stuff like this, from allegedly pergressuve Dems, is why I'm not one.

October 08, 2019

NBA's "outspoken" and "woke" like Steve Kerr, LeBron look bad
on China even as Commish Silver blazes a trail

After Houston Rockets owner and general toady Tilman Fertitta told GM Daryl Morey to cool it with supporting Hong Kong protestors cuz NBA money in China, and Rockets money in China ever since Yao Ming, NBA Commish Adam Silver said the league supports Morey's free speech rights. Silver stopped short of a blanket endorsement of Morey's actions, even as Morey and Fertitta's ace player, James Harden, did a Eurostep over Morey's dead body to love on China. Per that piece's including a new Tweet by Morey, it looks like Fertitta at a minimum encouraged him to eat some Twitter crow. Russell Westbrook was giving silent wingman support to Harden.

BIG new update, Oct. 17: Silver now says the CHINESE GOVERNMENT asked him to fire Morey.

Part 2, Oct. 18: The Chinazis (it's fun to say, but the Trump Trainers have no standing to use it) are now saying there was no "requirement" to fire Morey. Sounds like Beijing's Foreign Ministry has higher-quality shyster lawyers than does Donald Trump. Yes, Chinazis, Silver never said "requirement." He said he was "asked."

Look, any time Booger Cruz is on the right side of an issue, and on the same side as a Democrat like Julián Castro, it's bad.

==

And, it's now spreading beyond Texas.

Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden State Warriors, was asked for his take? His take was a tap dance around saying nothing.

There may be bits of truth to his statement.

That said, the idea that wingnuts are roasting him only because he's wrong here are themselves a laugh, as anybody with a brain knows.

He's getting roasted for his past history of things like anti-Trump and pro-Kaep stances, which are actually correct.

That said, the idea that someone who follows politics as much as Kerry does domestically knows nothing about Hong Kong — especially with the Warriors moving across the Bay this year to San Francisco, nationally famous for its Chinatown — is pretty laughable. It's doubly laughable when we forget that Kerr's father, Malcolm Kerr, was president of American University in Beirut, Lebanon and that his parents met while rescuing Armenian genocide survivors. Kerr's grandfather, Stanley, also was at American University and again, after earlier helping Armenian refugees. Kerr himself grew up in Lebanon.

Kerr comes off as no better with a full back-and-forth on Twitter:
Oops. Besides, by the time Kerr issued his tap dance, it was becoming clearer this was about Chinese big-footing in general, not just Hong Kong.

And, "not passionate" about this? OK. Steve .... well, you've probably opened up another can of worms. Assuming you are more versed about post-1999 Hong Kong than you'll admit, "not passionate" doesn't come off well.

And, while Morey was attacked over Hong Kong, there's the Uighurs and more. C'mon, Steve, and others? That said, Morey had crickets until worried about a personal friend in Hong Kong. So, not passionate because it's not personal? Well, Steve, neither you nor I (I think) PERSONALLY knows a Guatemalan immigrant family separated at the border, but both of us protest.

ESPN, the Great Red Satan, has put itself in the hypocrisy circle too. Per that link, Deadspin has an internal memo (gotta love ESPNers leaking to Deadspin, right?), news director Chuck Salitaro tried to squelch any discussion of C-H-I-N-A. Kudos to former Dallas Snooze columnist Kevin Blackistone for not playing along. Per a link there, ESPN struck a deal with Chinese NBA broadcaster Tencent back in 2016. It's a HUGE deal — exclusive ESPN content in China and more.

THAT said, back to the wingnuts trying to harsh the NBA mellow. Bari Weiss? Grade A hypocrite. Wants anti-Zionist Jews to self-censor, but complains when she thinks (wrongly) the NBA is doing the same. (Silver's unspoken caveat: He can't do a thing over a Tilman Fertitta forcing employees to censor.) Clay Jenkins? Wingnut sports butt-boy for wingnuts.

Silver has now issued a follow-up, saying the league "Will not put itself in the position of regulating what players, employees or team owners say or will not say."

Standing by on what Gregg Popovich might or might not say. The league's most outspoken individual player, LeBron James, is also maintaining social media radio silence, it seems. (LeBron's corporate sponsor Nike, per the NYT, has yanked some of its shoes from China over the designer of these particular shoes supporting Hong Kong.)

LeBron has now, as of Oct. 14, officially joined Nike on hypocrisy watch, and redoubled that with his laughable claim that Morey was "misinformed and not educated."

Well, gee, King James, we ARE talking about China. Maybe Xi Jinping has a spare spot for Morey in a re-education camp?

On Twitter, LeBron has now clarified (I think) his original statement. Translation: LeBron's saying that Morey didn't know how much MONEY his Tweet would hurt. As for LeBron himself? This new piece talks about how many yuan he might be losing.

And now, Andrew Bogut is throwing some shade, in good sub-Tweeting style, at King James.
Meanwhile, wingnuts are hypocritically piling on.

This all said, as NBA games on China are broadcast on state-run CCTV, per Bloomberg, it's likely that not a lot of money is at stake.

In his full statement on the league website, Silver has said this is NOT about money ("growing the league") but about NBA values. He said that while he recognizes different political systems are involved, the NBA is standing by its values.
"For those who question our motivation, this is about far more than growing our business. Values of equality, respect and freedom have long defined the NBA — and will continue to do so."
In case he hadn't made himself clear, Silver doubled down on this with a second statement four hours later. This came after CCTV had announced it will not broadcast NBA preseason games scheduled to be played in China. Silver, while admitting he was surprised by the CCTV move, said that t
"But if those are the consequences of our values, I still feel it's very, very important to adhere to our values."
Silver's got a backer now that wingnuts love to hate.

Gregg Popovich shows Steve Kerr how it's done. "I felt great again," Pops said when reading about Silver's two statements. Let's quote Pops in detail:

“[Silver] came out strongly for freedom of speech. I felt great again. He’s been a heck of a leader in that respect and very courageous. Then you compare it to what we’ve had to live through the past three years, it’s a big difference. A big gap there, leadership-wise and courage-wise,” Popovich said. “It wasn’t easy for him to say. He said that in an environment fraught with possible economic peril. But he sided with the principles that we all hold dearly, or most of us did until the last three years. I’m thrilled with what he said. The courage and leadership displayed is off the charts by comparison.”
And that's how it's done. It's true that Kerr didn't have, unless he had browsed for it, Silver's first statement available, and certainly not his second. But, he could have said "I trust the commissioner will have a more detailed response or something."

But, he chose to say what he did.

At the same time, wingnuts try to spin Pops away while ignoring that Trump himself refuses to "attack China."

Silver is otherwise trying to thread a needle. He said the league is "apologetic" about Chinese reaction. But he also said the league is not apologizing for Morey.

Per the NYT, Game 6 of last year's Finals, when you adjust for population differences (which the NYT's Daniel Victor did not), had one-quarter of the TV market penetration in China as in the US. AND, that was with Toronto, and its Canadian audience, not counting in the US numbers. Now, it's true, those numbers could continue to grow. But, as of this time, and when adjusts for income differences, etc.? Silver's got "some concern" but still has firm ground at the same time.

But, what about unis and other swag? This is China, is my response. What percent of NBA gear already being sold there is knockoff? Fifty percent? More?

And, as far as Tencent? It's already contracted for NBA rights in China. I don't know how much it's paid, but if it tries to weasel out, NBA is looking at breach of contract. Of course, if it escalates, Chinese President Xi Jinping could simply refuse to let anybody bid on a new contract and try to cram a fait accompli down Silver's throat.

As for Joe Tsai of Alibaba now being majority owner of the Brooklyn Nets? He's on the hook like Tencent. He pushes back too much against Silver backing free speech? Is he going to sell the team? At that point? He's selling a losing proposition.

Otherwise, as Daniel Victor reported in another piece up today, about South Park being censored by China? Its producers added further mockery to the next issue.

Silver will probably do a good job of continuing to thread this needle, and owners and players will realize there's still more money to be made, or lost, on the American side of the Pacific than on the Chinese side.

==

Update(s) Oct. 10: James Harden is officially looking like either a dumb fuck or a grifting bastich if he thinks "we all" have freedom of speech and is apparently including Chinese in that, per Red Satan reporting on a Rockets presser. That was preceded by Rockets media relations PR staff cutting off a reporter when she started asking about China, making Tilman Fertitta appear as if he hasn't "gotten the memo" from Silver.

Keep it up, Rockets, and I could actually start hating you.

Don't get sucked into Quora!

I've been told that Quora, the successor to sites like Yahoo Answers, once had a "golden age."

Maybe Yahoo Answers, or others like it did. It obviously doesn't today or it wouldn't have been replaced by Quora.

Well, Quora has a "sewage department" possibly bigger than Twitter's and it does less about it.

Alt-righters, especially of the Neo-Confederate type, are the worst, as shown in the screengrab above.

But, if you report these people for telling lies about history? Quora does nothing. Does nothing about the Trump Trainers and their rhetorical Trump puffery questions. (I have reported this person more than once for lying about history under Quora's "harassment" for reason why.)

Does nothing about the conspiracy theorists of all stripes.

Does nothing about the clickbait question askers.

BUT ... if you comment to the top person that his answer is a LIE ... without calling the person a LIAR, just the answer a LIE? Quora kills your comment to his answer.

I have HAD IT.

I refuse to cosign Quora's bullshit. That's especially since, unlike Twitter, it's SUPPOSED TO BE a place where people can get answers, kind of like ... Yahoo Answers.

I have deactivated my account and likely will delete it soon.

Go Fuck Yourself, Quora.

To lesser, pre-Trump degrees, I suspect Yahoo Answers, as well as Ask Jeeves and others, faced the same problem — people peddling opinion as answers.

Well, you have to crack down on that right away, if you don't want to eventually lose integrity and reputation. But, given Quora's not cracking down on clickbait questions, it's clearly, IMO, seeking to goose the golden-egg goose of ad dinero.

October 07, 2019

Alt history: No American Revolution, one path forward

This is an expansion of an alt-history answer I gave on Quora to the alt-history question of what would have happened to Texas without an American Revolution.

The base point? It would have remained part of Spain, then independent Mexico. The one wild card is Louisiana.

To extend this idea, let us assume Napoleon keeps Louisiana, with nobody else to sell to.

At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, for loyalty in fighting France, Britain gives Spain the portion of Louisiana south of the Arkansas River and takes the rest for itself. That serves as an additional buffer.

THAT said, then assume that American Revolution-type conditions are realized in the War of 1812.

First, the American Revolution could have been prevented.

Give the colonies some token representation in Commons, like one member per colony. If they protest about not having more, bring up pocket boroughs and rotten boroughs and then, per Monty Python, if the colonialist protest, tell them to snuff it. Make some compromise on what is taxed and at what rate. Allow a select number of American ships to trade directly with the Caribbean, but only conditional on British inspections of cargo and manifest in the American ports.

At the same time, promulgate information about the Quebec Act in Ireland and maybe encourage bits of immigration as a counterweight. At the same time, write that act to look slightly less pro-Catholic in the U.S. Tell the colonials that the settlement restrictions are for their own good unless they want to pay more taxes for more British troops. Also, pass it earlier, and in a separate set of acts from the so-called Intolerable Acts. (None of this is unreasonable alt-history.)

Due to the 1774 Quebec Act, and Canadian population growing since 1774 (and Britain diverting more and more there as possible), let us say this Rebellion of 1819 ends with the original 13 colonies plus the “Old Southwest” in a new United States of America. Florida is Spain’s, as it had been. The Ohio Country remains part of British Canada, and of course, so does British Louisiana north of the Arkansas River.

Mexico secedes from Spain the next year, as in real history.

The weak new US, presumably under an Articles of Confederation government, isn’t strong enough to take the current state of Louisiana, or go across the Mississippi in general for another couple of decades. Plus, there’s no unity of government on such an idea under an Articles-type government and one that’s dominated by slave states.

Andrew Jackson, the George Washington of the new American republic, leads the calls for a new constitution, and is elected the first American president under it. New England, edgy about a new nation with a stronger constitution and just as pro-slavery as the post-1819 Articles government, rebels when Jackson makes a military play for Louisiana in 1833.

Britain, having just emancipated the Caribbean islands of slavery, sees a chance to muck around in American history and does so. New England is easy to supply from Canada as well as directly from the Home Islands, and seizing the eastern sliver of New York will provide the extra defense line of the Hudson River.

Britain also sells arms to Mexico, which Jackson cannot stop. Other independent Latin American nations support Mexico in various ways and Jackson fails.

A new Treaty of Ghent has Jackson agreeing that Britain has a right to guarantee the independence and inviolability of the new Latin American republics. He also agrees to accept the Mississippi and Ohio as boundaries and to accept the new Nation of New England’s independence.

October 06, 2019

Bad baserunning kills Cards in Game 3 before Martinez meltdown

Harrison Bader's boneheaded play of getting picked off by Darren O'Day in the bottom of the eighth wouldn't have mattered if Carlos Martinez had not been even shakier in his last couple of regular season appearances and his near-implosion in Game 1.

But, that's where things started.

As I said in Game 1, when 3B coach Ron Warner didn't send Yadier Molina home on Kolten Wong's double, I am still worried that Mike Shildt does not have this Redbirds team fully past its baserunning boners of the Mike Matheny era.

Let's say Bader isn't picked off. Jose Martinez' pinch-hitting flare loads the bases with 1 out. A sac fly gets a second run.

But maybe Shildt should have done something different before that. If he's going to pinch-hit, which of course he is, have Paul DeJong bunt Bader to third and Tommy Edman to second. (I wondered at the time why Shildt wasn't doing this. I also accept that the matter of how good a bunter De Jong is, is a matter of conjecture, in part because he has ZERO sacrifice bunts in his MLB career. And that itself is probably something Shildt needs to address in 2020 spring training. I'm not looking for Whiteyball, but I am looking for continued growth in "the little things.") Braves manager Brian Snitker is then forced to either walk Martinez to put the force back on, and you're bases loaded with 1 out again, or else play the infield halfway.

Anyway, I have no idea what was in Bader's mind. He has decent speed, but has never been thought of as a huge base stealer. And, especially against a submariner who had been in the AL for years until this season, if you can't read his motion, it's dumb to take any sort of big lead, let alone be thinking of stealing third. And, he was brought in cold as a pinch-runner, to boot. You HAVE TO "stay within yourself" on something like that.

That said, the biggie is of course that Martinez melted down.

Should Andrew Miller have been kept in after his strong work in the top of the eighth? That one may get debated, too. What seems pretty clear right now is that Martinez doesn't have it.

Red Satan ranked the Cards' bullpen overall as sixth-best, or glass half empty, third worst, among the eight playoff teams.