SocraticGadfly: 9/13/20 - 9/20/20

September 18, 2020

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the "notorious RBG" — and no, its not too soon for this type of obit

First, I speak from outside the duopoly, where I know that all the current Democrat-appointed SCOTUS justices, including the late Ginsburg, are or were some degree of squishes on the First, Fourth and Sixth Amendments.

So, no, Dems who think you own my vote, you don't, and this doesn't change things.

Here's some of the not so highlights of Ginsburg only, separated from Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor.

First, clearly not even a left-liberal, let alone a leftist, on things like protesting, calling Kaepernick "dumb and disrespectful," while never calling out BFF Hillary Clinton for wanting to recriminalize some flag-burning even after SCOTUS' Johnson ruling

UPDATE, Oct. 13, 2021: Katie Couric, in her new memo, says she edited out even worse shit that Ginsburg said in that interview in 2016.

And, worse yet? She suspected Ginsburg didn't understand the question. She asked the Notorious Bobo Whisperer, David Brooks, and he agreed!

If they were right, they agreed to protect a senile Justice, and in an election year no less. 

For the record, here's what's edited out:

In new memoir, Going There, Couric writes that she edited out a part where Ginsburg said that those who kneel during the national anthem are showing 'contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.'


In reality, I HIGHLY doubt Ginsburg was senile or close to it.  Instead, Katie and the Bobo had to protect the St. Notorious of Scaliaburg from herself.

I'd actually call her take on the issue "dumb and disrespectful." Disrespectful to Black Lives Matter. Disrespectful to the spirit of the First Amendment while giving lip service to its letter. Disrespectful to a minority when a member of an oft-oppressed minority herself. (If another Jew failed to stand for the National Anthem after we refused to, say, bomb the rail lines to Auschwitz in late 1944, or after we turned away the MS St. Louis in 1939, would she have called that "dumb and disrespectful"?

I was disgusted enough with the Kaep comment at the time. And, with everything that's happened since George Floyd's death, I find her equivalent of a knee-jerk conservative's take on Kaep to be nothing other than despicable.

I'm more disgusted yet on learning that she later did a non-apology "apology," admitting that what she said was crass and saying it would have been better not to respond, but never actually apologizing. She was also a weasel for not even doing this personally, but rather having the Supreme Court press office do a release.

ZERO attempt to understand him, just like wingnuts. But, not surprising. She, along with the WHOLE rest of the Court at the time, per that top link, hated the freedom of assembly clause of the First Amendment. And, of course, that's what protects protests.

Book of Face claims that, re Kaepernick, she wasn't very Black-friendly in her personal hiring, either. And one Roe-related statement sounds eugenicist. And, she was a good anti-environmentalist capitalist earlier this year, too.

That said, there may be more to it, per that and the above. Stanners of the Notorized RBG — if they know this — don't really like to talk about her having no black clerks as an appeals judge, and just one in TWENTY-FIVE YEARS on the Supreme Court. If it walks, talks, and quacks like a duck ... 

Ginsburg had little love for civil liberties for the less fortunate abroad, as well. As Mondoweiss notes, she had little love lost (and that's probably being polite) for Palestinians.

That link above is from the New Yorker (tho I got it via Counterpunch), not exactly a radical site. It does also follow up on what I noted at the start of the piece — Ginsburg was a squish on civil liberties, especially for criminals.

As for the flag burning and BFF Hillary's take? Ginsburg had sold her mess of pottage to become a "centrist liberal" well before Bill nominated her to the Supreme Court. This is only more confirmation. And yes, "centrist liberal" is correct, and that's not just my take. Her 2019 biographer called her that, repeatedly, and elsewhere, Counterpunch has noted said biographer pulled punches to get as much access as she did to family and friends of Ginsburg.

Then there was her strange bromance with Nino Scalia. (Sidebar: The Nation noted early last year that she did a partial cave to him on Bush v Gore. And, the piece noted, as well, that there was a cult among her devotees, and that said cult had a dark side. 

It wasn't wrong, those claims of a cult; I wrote about said cult back in 2016. We're going to see more of that over the next week or so; there's plenty of it on Twitter tonight. As I updated in 2019, her new biographer called her a "centrist" within liberal federal judges of the last generation. Calls her that more than once. At that Nation link, Mari Uyehara also uses the word "centrist." And I agree.

Her last case? A concurrence with the wingers on the court that a 1996 Slickster law limiting habeas appeals for asylum-seeking immigrants is still constitutional. It was shit like this that led the Edelmans to ditch the Clintons — and Ginsburg to stay "loyal."

And, for her cultists, who are all in the left half of the duopoly, not outside of it? Schadenfreude is a bitch, especially if Biden loses. 

And I am SHOCKED that Jill Lepore, author of an error-riddled, interpretive-error-riddled, "centrist liberal" American history, is part of the RBG cult. I am MORE SHOCKED that Lepore was ALSO the author of the other New Yorker piece, up above. Actually, this time, I actually AM shocked.

At Slate, commenting on Trump's would-be replacement for Ginsburg, Dahlia Lithwick is also part of the cult, claiming a Ginsburg care level for the less fortunate that isn't quite true.

Counterpunch, in another example of editorial unevenness, runs a Ginsburg-stanning piece.

Speaking of Twitter, now, we the plebs know what all the Trump Supreme Court shortlist chatter was about over the past week.

As for the chances of Trump and McConnell trying to fill her seat before Nov. 3? Not likely, as I see it, but a lame-duck move is more possible.

Update, Oct. 3, 2023: Part of James Bamford's early writings against the NSA offer further reason to loathe Ginsburg. Read also his latest book, SpyFail.

WRR survived Laura Miller to eye its centennial

Dallas', and Texas', oldest radio station, WRR, is one I listened to regularly when I lived in the Metromess in the 2000-oughts, but now that I'm close enough to get it on a lucky day on car radio, I'm more likely to want a CD.

Per D Magazine, as the station gears up for the approaching centennial, it is a "unicorn." I knew that it was one of the few commercial classical stations, or one of the few non-NPR classical stations, period. The old one in St. Louis, the FM side of the dial of the paired stations at least formerly owned by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is now contemporary Christian; a non-commercial non-NPR station of some sort has filled the void there.

More here from NBC-5, which notes it moved to the FM dial in 1948 and became all-classical in 1964. As the second-oldest federally licensed radio station in the country, one that precedes the FCC, ti's one of the few west of the Mississippi to keep a "W" rather than a "K" call sign.

And, I knew it is the almost the only, if not the only, municipally owned radio station, any format, in the US. That said, that almost wasn't the case 15 or so years ago. As I tweeted to D Mag:
This is true.

As mayor, Laura Miller made noises about selling the station on more than one occasion. Laura Miller the mayor was a bit diff than Laura Miller the D Mag columnist and a LOT different than the Dallas Observer muckraker.

Speaking of, Jim Schutze roasted her (and her "connections") over this. (This was also when Jim Schutze was a real curmudgeon, not one who gave bad cops a pass and other things.) In a second piece, Schutze noted Miller was trying to have her cake and eat it too on the original deal, backing away from half of it. Surprisingly, Schutze didn't note that WRR also broadcast Dallas City Council meetings and the tower swap idea would have meant Dallas south of the Trinity couldn't have heard Laura Miller's mayoral shenanigans in live time.

That said, per a great long piece by Texas Monthly that covers the history of the now-nonexistent AM station as well, the council meetings (a coverage requirement added in 1982) are "ratings suicide."

Now, classical stations may not have huge listenership. On the other hand, they are parties of one in their fields, unlike rock, country, easy listening, rap, etc., where there's half a dozen or more of each in a city the size of Dallas.

And, generalizing but not stereotyping, they have older, wealthier audiences that will spend for certain things, like luxury cars, Persian rugs, etc. And well-off Miller and well-off hubby Steve Wolens should have known this. (Schutze noted the station was in the black.)

And, speaking of demographics? The station's listenership is one-third under 35, Texas Monthly said.

Anyway, the station survived.

But the programming, and even more the announcers, have gone downhill since Scott Cantrell, classical music freelance critic and formerly of the Morning News, decried some issues there, with which I totally agreed, 15 years ago. Still plays "blue haired lady" music even more than the DSO, though I did hear Schnittke on there once relatively recently. (Back in the 2000-oughts, when Sundays were listener requests in the afternoon, I phoned in and got one of his "tamer" pieces played.)

Classical is being hollowed out less by syndication and web broadcasting than other genres of FM radio, but it is being hollowed out somewhat. The station has one less announcer and more canned music than before. What its long-term future holds, I don't know.

September 17, 2020

Texas Progressives talk wingnuts, Valley voters, Luby's, lab meat brisket

Plenty of state and national political news to talk about in this week's Texas Progressives Roundup. As has been semi-regular for the past six months, state, national and global coronavirus news and analysis has been split out into a separate post. So, with that, let's dig in!


Can a new PAC really turn Texas blue by turning out Hispanics in the Valley? Yeah, you can keep coloring me skeptical until it happens.

SocraticGadfly says that the wingnuttery was thick at an SD30 special election GOP candidate forum.

Off the Kuff was on top of the big vote by mail rulings this week, both the good news and the bad news.

 Gus Bova asks a damned good question: "Why does Cornyn tweet?" (Maybe because, as in other things, he's trying to play wingnut catch-up to Ted Cruz?)

Dallas PD head U. Renee Hall is leaving, end of the year, with a sudden announcement. Dallas Observer's hot takes and ... NONE within the first five days by Schutze, surprisingly, who DOES report about BLM coming to the Park Cities, albeit with tidbits of Schutze-style fearmongering.

DosCentavos posts about the long-awaited video release of the HPD killing of Nicolas Chavez and the firing of those involved. What's next?

Updating an old post of mine from earlier this month, as I see it, Texas Greens who refused to pay the HB 2504 filing fees stand a solid chance of getting back on the ballot. BUT!!! They have to appeal the Travis appeals court's ruling.

Grits for Breakfast tries to make sense out of Greg Abbott's muddled messages on police funding. 

Chris Hooks makes the same effort, with the same result. 

Marice Richter reports on a veteran Republican political consultant switching parties this year. (Editor's note: Switching after helping a wingnut upset Ryan Sitton in the RRC GOP primary, THEN claiming today's GOP doesn't represent your values? Something's rotten in the state of Denmark. But, I keep this in as a Kuff choice just to illustrate what being a ConservaDem is about.)

Dee Dee Watters insists that we include Black trans women when we say "Black Lives Matter". 

 Jef Rouner experienced a range of emotions on the first day of remote school. 

Grace Keyes warns us to not take the Postal Service for granted.


Lab grown meat is coming for the Texas brisket. Given all the effort that BBQ guru Daniel Vaughn says is involved? I highly doubt the price point will be close to the natural-world thing for decades.

It's officially the end for Luby's. This isn't unexpected. And, I'm one of those people who, many years ago, ate at Luby's (and at Furr's in New Mexico) and yes, my habits have changed. (I'll still stuff my face at a Pancho's, or did pre-COVID, but, if it's all-you-can-eat, give me Souper Salad and eating healthier.)

Pepe the Frog's creator, who is NOT a wingnut, tries to rescue him from the wingnuts. It's interesting, and I had no idea of the origin story.


How many Trump tweets will Twitter actually remove under its new policy, described by CNN? "Slim" or "none"?

McConnell's efforts to keep the Senate in GOP hands surely have taken some sort of blow with the failed "skinny stimulus." But how much? The Democrats will need to play this as McConnell going backward, and do so quickly. BUT? This could be a head fake by Mitch, who would then go back to his midsummer offer, tout how great it is, and out-chess Chuck Schumer if that one fails.

Australian teens have joined those in the US and elsewhere in filing a climate change lawsuit, this to try to block a coal mine expansion.

Oil and gas execs busted, in a secret recording, for private truths vs public lies on methane and global warming.

Also under the environment, a bunch of actual and alleged environmental movement founders have come out and said "don't vote Hawkins." They stress you can push Biden leftward. How well did that work with Obama? I refer to Ted Rall's "electoral trolley problem."

Bernie Sanders says Joe Biden's being too much a centrist is worrying to Bernie about Joe's campaign prospects.

QAnon in the upper reaches of Wall Street? Yes. And, per a response to me on Twitter? Probably money involved, or at least the prospect of grifting.

September 16, 2020

Time for some Twitter cleanup, maybe another timeout
as well as one from Facebook

I have taken several Facebook timeouts of one week or less. But, until earlier this summer, never took a Twitter timeout, as in, like with Facebook, doing an account snooze.

The one I did do with Twitter was more than two weeks.

Here's my take on the two.

Twitter's cesspool, proportionally, is probably worse than Facebook's. But, overall, Twitter does a better job of cleanup. That's the only social media programs I use regularly. I use MeWe semiregularly, ditched Jimmy Wales' site, tried and passed on Mastodon and occasionally used Instagram at previous work sites. I use LinkedIn regularly FOR JOB HUNTING ONLY. You're an idiot if you blog there under your real name, especially about anything not narrowly related to your career field.

That said, back to the header.

There's an old cliché that says "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."


This is clearly an Idries Shah issue:

First, as I have said here and elsewhere, the enemy of my enemy may simply be an ally of convenience. That's another side right there.

Or, the enemy of my enemy may also be an enemy to me on other issues, or even on the issue at hand, just via a different track.

Politics (what else?) brings this issue to the fore on Twitter.

I get, in a sense ("get" but don't agree with) still butt-hurt Berners who look for takedown tools against Joe Biden. As a Green, Bernie would have been more acceptable, but I was still voting for the Green Party nominee before 2020 started. (Well, at least for eventual actual nominee Howie Hawkins, and at that time, had the door open for Dario Hunter. The other candidates already seemed off the wall, and then, this summer, true Dario revealed himself. But I digress, again.)

That said, using wingnuts who are often attacking Biden because they're Trumpers, or like nutter H.A. Goodman, Bernie → Trump guys, as part of your takedown tools? No. I'm not blocking, or even muting any of you folks, but I am unfollowing several.

Anyway, the cleanup has happened, but not for the reasons above.

Trump talked over the weekend about considering a pardon for Snowden. That then brought the Assange-stanners, especially not the halfway sane ones but, natch, the Seth Rich conspiracy theorists, to the fore. I unfollowed several people who had been following both Suzi 3D and Kim Dotcom, and then eventually kicked both of them full to the curb. On her? Yes, she's right about the "Five Eyes." So are many other people who don't lie about Seth Rich, don't stovepipe Assange, don't claim persecution and haven't "magically" ended up in Moscow. Her tale sounds less credible than it once did, which is part of why I think I had been following her.

The need for a new Facebook timeout is for other reasons. I've been reporting more and more posts there by wingnuts as fake news, and Twitter, sadly, still doesn't have a "false news" report line.

That said, I had already thought weeks ago that Twitter, even though it has the deeper cesspool, does a better job of policing.

That then became confirmed in spades with news that Facebook fired an engineer after he discovered information that wingnut activist groups were getting preferential treatment in getting false news flags removed. And, given that individual wingnuts' false news posts often involve sharing items from these orgs, I've just been playing kabuki theater. Well, no reason to do that deliberately.

Plus, while Facebook does have a "false news" report, the results of it are definitely a "nothingburger" most the time. A screen over the post that says "Facebook has found this partially false/false." No takedowns.

New Facebook, which is being forced upon us, sux donkey dongs worse than New Twitter. And, it sux in another way. It's burying the "most recent" button for chronological post feed, and instead forcing the algorithms on us. And, it says, in New Facebook help, that you can hit the "most recent" feed, but that posts will eventually revert to Hucksterman's definition of "most popular." I smell another Facebook timeout coming up.

Alternatives? Ello long ago became the British MySpace. Mastodon is clunky. I tried some other alternative to Twitter that interested me even less than Mastodon.

But, there is MeWe. Formed out of remnants of Google Plus after Google pulled the plug on it (after screwing the pooch in several ways), it's not bad. I just need to make an effort on developing some contacts there. On the other, or third, or whatever hand or side, I had a Trumper regularly trolling the Green Party group there. And on the fourth hand, friend Brett Welch said several of his groups have "dried up" recently, including some migrating (back?) to Hucksterville.

September 15, 2020

Coronavirus roundup, week 24: Greg Abbott, COVID weasel

A "skinny" GOP-backed Senate bill for more coronavirus relief, which was skinnier than a previous GOP plan that Senate Democrats had rejected, failed, and Mnuchin for the White House is expecting nothing else to transpire. That's as the FEMA-funded $300 bump for unemployment has run out of money. (Oh, and contra Trump Train riders, including my one brother [and maybe the other two who are fellow travelers], such bumps reportedly have little to no real effect on job hunting.)

The more flags you have behind you, usually, the more hypocrisy behind your actions. 

At Texas Monthly, CD Hooks expands on a previous briefer piece noting that Abbott the career lawyer and judge, looking specifically at four coronavirus issues where Abbott was a hypocrite.

Stanford colleagues of his are calling out Trump's new wingnut point man, Scott Atlas.

The severity of COVID in younger adults becomes ever more real and clear.

I discussed Ed Yong's great new Atlantic piece about "magical thinking" and other things among Americans. I said that it was part of American cultural DNA, and not just on coronavirus. I said it was part of Merika's larger belief in "salvific techologism."

At the Texas Monthly, CD Hooks notes that Strangebbott's hokey "Back the Blue" push, with no Dems of note biting, is bullshit, hypocrisy, and probably unconstitutional. He also thinks that while it may be of marginal to modest effect in state House races, it wil be no more than that.

FDA head Stephen Hahn making impromptu visits to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is, despite his protestations his agency will not put an unvetted vaccine on the market, the latest sign of him being a Trump toady. 

The Wall Street Journal, most notably Greg Ip, is stanning for Trump and Republican governors on "Reopen America," complete with multiple lies about other countries today and distortions about how the country addressed Spanish flu. That includes lies, contra the link above, about youth and COVID.

And, showing some brains, 62 percent of the country is worried that Trump will get such a rush to happen. 

Coronavirus is also increasing global hunger.

That executive order Trump wrote keeping meatpacking plants open as a "national emergency"? Uahh, actually, it looks like the meatpackers wrote it.

September 14, 2020

Courageous vs cowardly vs stanning in Gainesville, Texas on the PRO Gainesville protests against CSA statues

I'd written months ago about Black Lives Matter in Gainesville, Texas.

I then wrote about the Cooke County Commissioners Court's decision to keep its United Daughters of the Confederacy propaganda statue in place, including noting that wingnut letters-to-the-editor writers to the Gainesville paper were full of crap when they talked about the "courageous" Cooke County Commissioners Court.

Courageous, in this follow-up, is the members of PRO Gainesville who have said they will continue to protest the statue. But? See below.

Cowardly is wingnuts starting rumors, as elsewhere, that "antifa" is coming to town. And, I'm sure those rumors will continue to propagate.

That said, there's more than two sides here.

Legitimate protestors, the rules are the rules. PRO Gainesville leader Torrey Henderson and two others of its members were charged with misdemeanors for walking in a roadway and later bonded out. Unless you want to be arrested just to be arrested, for possible Kabuki theater, the rules are the rules. Yes, the Gainesville PD may have bias, but this is a statute statewide and nationally. When I was in antiwar protests in the Metroplex, once each at two different protests, I was warned about not getting in the street. I complied.

And, the Dallas Observer? Well, not the first time I've called it out for idiocy, although in this case, it's in part the idiocy of people quoted. The "kids" referenced by PRO Gainesville attorney Alison Grinter? They're legally adults. You may (or may not) have meant "kids" metaphorically, but you are an attorney. And, in the video linked in the piece? I saw, less than a minute in, a person crossing the street on California against the light. Further on, I saw people far enough out in the street on California that I would consider that ticketable. And, it's not just walking in a shoulder area that's not market for parking. When the protestors turn around, at the 9 minute mark, there are people walking in a driving lane. Even when walking on the shoulder area, on the return walk, they're outside the area marked for parking and close to the driving lane, walking on the line repeatedly.

Grinter claims:
It’s “unfathomable” that the police are arresting kids who strayed in the street to avoid puddles, she added, while at the same time ignoring armed counterprotesters making terroristic threats.
The first puddle in the video is at the 14 minute mark, well after the protestors are warned multiple times by cops. And, that's just a block-long area. So, get on the sidewalk!

And, they ARE warned. More than once. You can hear it.
Henderson said she heard no such command; police allowed them to complete the march, which had remained peaceful throughout.
So, Torrey, you may say you didn't hear it. It's loud and clear on your tape. If you're going to take this case to trial, you'd better hope a doctor will confirm you're clinically deaf.

Indeed, at 14:38, the person who apparently filmed this says:
They're telling us to stay in (sic, from what I hear) the road and we're not listening. I like it.
Then at about 15:38, he wonders:
Are we going to stay on the street?
At that point, people are clearly walking in a driving lane area.

At 15:45, he says:
Last I heard, streets were a valid avenue for protest.
Not if you're obstructing traffic and don't have a protest permit that allows you in the streets. Even the ACLU says so.

So, you folks just self-owned. Congrats. Indeed, Gainesville PD could have arrested 30, not three.

(Also per the ACLU, and per comments to the Gainesville paper by Henderson, if you don't have a permit, you can be cited for "sound amplifying devices." That would include a bullhorn.)

Oh, and the fact that Valley View PD were also there partially supports Chief Phillips on why he didn't make arrests at the time.

This definitely proves Idries Shah right on being a more than two sides issue. On this sub-issue, on how you conduct protests, you've made it that. So, "congrats" also for losing a partial degree of sympathy in this corner. You can gain it back if you plea out rather than being dumb enough to go to trial, and in that plea, being honest about breaking the law, as relatively minor as it is.

That said, it's not totally minor. Those of you from Gainesville (and per the filmer or one other person he caught on mike, not everybody was from Cooke County) know California/FM 51 is the main drag in downtown. The only worse places for this would have been on US 82 or I-35.

September 13, 2020

WSJ tries to stan for Trump on coronavirus lockdowns

Greg Ip says encouraging early mask wearing might have helped nuance lockdowns and other strategies more selectively, early in the "game." That said, per that WSJ link, we need to be careful about thinking that Sweden's numbers showed that herd immunity worked. Rather, Swedes may may have heard enough in the news about how bad things were in their country and started masking up, started having businesses require masks, etc. And, Ip's info from JP Morgan claiming Sweden's economy suffered less than its Nordic neighbors? Business Insider says that's simply untrue. And, his claims about youth dying less from COVID than from the flu may or may not be true, but its implications of overall COVID youth severity are also untrue. Ip isn't alone in misstating claims about kids at his paper, though. Others at the Murdoch Journal claim the same.

The header may be a bit harsh, but I don't think so.