SocraticGadfly: 2021

December 30, 2021

Texas progressives wonder if Beto's gonna get Kinky-schizophrenic

A brief Roundup, written in advance of vacation. I'll add anything Kuff has, from the road or at the start of the new year.

Besides the "Abbott Tax" (but remember, R.F. O'Rourke took lots of oil and gas money himself in the past), Beto's going after Abbott for vetoing rural broadband legislation. OK, this? It's "nice," but it ain't where the political money is, especially since R.F. has said he ain't backing off all his prez campaign gunz statements. Beto Bob is not yet nearly as schizophrenic as Kinky Friedman, who infamously in 2006 wanted to both legalize pot and put public prayer and the Ten Commandments back in schools, but he's getting there. (Today, I think Kinky, unlike Jesse Ventura up in Minnesota, was actually afraid of the possibility he might be elected, and so, never would stop some degree of clowning.)

The bullet train to real estate grifting (it IS, that's the only reason there's a stop at Roans Prairie) is in court, with the state saying it can't use eminent domain. The Texas Central honchos claim they're a railroad, vs. Kenny Boy Paxton saying the don't currently have a line or tracks AND they're not likely to secure necessary financing to finish it. It's a cold day in June when I agree with Kenny Boy, but there you have it. Already a year ago, in one of several pieces I've written on this, contra Brains and Kuff, though Kuff's reader-commenters had more brains two years ago, cost estimates had doubled. Meanwhile, Strangeabbott had flip-flopped on it. If R.F. were smart and looking at the 'burbs, not Hale County or whatever, he'd go after this.


And now for other stuff.

Tex-ass wingnuts efforts to ban books have moved from school libraries to your local public library, and not just in the reddest of red small rural areas. Places as big as Victoria face this fight. 

Californians ARE Californicating Texas if In-N-Out outnumbers Fuck You the Squirrel, aka Bucee's. That said, the Monthly piece ignores that Rick Perry's Tex-ass Miracle was built on Ill Eagles (along with legal immigration from elsewhere, plus smoke and mirrors), not just the start of Californication. It is interesting in that it notes R.F. beat Havana Ted in 2018 among native Texans, but not really a surprise. Many Californians coming here are NOT from the Bay Area; they're Orange County and Inland Empire who like Texas more than Phoenix.

Read about polluting soap chemical maker BASF and its connection to oil-and-gas refining polluting on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Off the Kuff discusses a couple more redistricting lawsuits, a new one filed by Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer over CD35, and an earlier one filed by a state prison inmate who objected to the practice of counting inmates where they are being incarcerated rather than where they live for the purposes of apportioning districts.

SocraticGadfly noted that Ronny Jackson and other Texas winger Congresscritters want to fight the effects of climate change, but only when it affects cops, and without admitting that the likes of Winter Storm Uri are connected to climate change. 

Rick Casey speculates about what might happen if Donald Trump runs but does not win Texas in 2024.

Mark Pitcavage presents some random facts about white supremacist tattoos.  

Mandy Giles is now blogging at Parents of Trans Youth. Elise Hu looks back on her 2021. InnovationMap presents Houston's top three COVID research stories from 2021.

 Reform Austin introduces us to some school librarians who are fed up with and fighting back against book bans.  

Susan Hays and Nonsequiteuse eulogize the great Sarah Weddington. 


Can Colorado River basin states, namely the lower basin, cut 500,000 acre-feet from their annual usage, or more specifically, keep 500K more in Lake Mead? Color me skeptical until it happens. It's a voluntary/incentivized plan, and we've seen how well, or poorly, those work with water. That's even more true because this one does NOT only target junior rights holders. Plus, if Nordhaus-Schellenberger "environmentalist" John Fleck thinks it's a big deal, I'm skeptical right there. Also, per Fleck, while it's not "chump change," it's still less than 7 percent of the lower basin's allocation. It also does nothing to address Lake Powell directly, if it has less and less to send downstream.

RIP Joan Didion, but don't eulogize her too much.

December 29, 2021

Coronavirus week 90C: Vax mandates, nuanced

As a brouhaha spills out on organized lefty (or not so lefty) circles about the Green Party's Steering Committee officially backing a vaccine mandate, and with conspiracy theory lefty horseshoers claiming that the Steering Committee was infiltrated by COINTELPRO (no really), and antivaxxers willing to call vax-mandate backers "fascist" but getting butt-hurt when they're called "antivaxxer," and perpetuating the naturalistic fallacy of the healing of vitamins (along with HCQ and ivermectin, of course), and some people who support mask mandates oppose vax mandates, this needs a fresh look.

And, for that, we start with old friend Idries Shah and his "no twosiderism) quote.

OK, with that out of the way, some other things.


Let's remember that Biden's mandate is actually a vaccination OR regular rapid testing mandate. Now, most employers don't want to spend the money on rapid testing, or the payroll money on checking people's own rapid testing more regularly.

So, it's a de facto vax mandate, but let's be honest.

Second, large businesses, especially in urban areas, are likely to be bigger spreaders. Is 100 employees the right number? I don't know. Maybe 200 is better? So, we can nuance that. 

Should being infected replace a vaccine? No. Infectious immunity offers less immune support than a vaccine.

Third, the second prong, about health care workers, at least in facilities that get Medicare or Medicaid, needing a vax? Hellz yes. I know hospital CEOs are worried about losing more employees, but, especially among non-doctor health care staff, vax resistance is fairly high, and not just in stereotypical red America. Remember that MDs without a PhD aren't fully scientists, and apply that in spades to nurses, etc. This one should have happened months ago, to be honest.

Now, are there talking points within that? Sure, like if you got rid of for profit health care and paid most hospital CEOs a lot less, they'd  then hire more health staff. But, that is, in and of itself, neither here nor there.

Fourth, the health care vax mandate shouldn't stand by itself. The newer anti-symptoms meds, like Pfizer's new one, should be included free for health care workers ... AFTER they're vaxxed up. That's a nuance that's well short of national health care, but a nuance.

Fifth, nuance also includes not putting all one's egg in one basket, per what I said about Biden earlier this week on rapid testing. That also includes nuancing COVID downtime when people test positive, per what strain they have, if we identify that. That is, if we know you have Omicron not Delta, you're out of work for 5 days not 10.

Finally, we need to keep all of this in mind if Walter Reed's omni-SARS vax pans out, for when the next pandemic hits.

December 28, 2021

COVID, week 90B: Endemic Fauci, rapid test Status Quo Joe and more

Anthony Fauci now admits that "deal with it" will probably be the end game on COVID. In other words, it will become endemic, but how severe it will be versus "just the flu" is still uncertain. He also says, so to speak, that Omicron will contribute to herd immunity. Wingnuts will love that. 

Status Quo Joe's words about getting us all inexpensive and easily available rapid test kits, or specifically, taking an initial pass on "free rapid tests for the holidays," are also coming back to bite him in the ass. See here for yet more. It seems that maybe Status Quo Joe fixated too much on a vax mandate without addressing other issues. And, to reference BlueAnon denialism, fixation can sometimes be a sign of .... And, see the ABC interview background here. Status Quo Joe, as part of that, said "the team" recommended against vax mandates to fly. Did Biden ever push that hard in the first place, knowing that airlines would fight back on that one?

(Remember, Vietnam helped sink two presidencies; Nixon's Watergate and Ellsberg break-ins were tied to it, so it wasn't just LBJ.)

SCOTUS will hear the challenge to Biden's vax mandate (actually, of course, a vax-or-test mandate) from the 6th Circuit on Jan. 7.

In Texas, as nationally, more people died of COVID this year than in 2020, per a Texas year in COVID roundup. Why Status Quo Joe made such stupid statements about Trump, that were so specific, when he was Veep to the Dear Leader who said "you can keep your doctor," is beyond me. Per the link, low vax rates in Texas add to the problem.

COVID kills kids. Sometimes painfully, as here in Texas.

"One virus to bind us all" is surely what antivaxxers will say about the Army developing one vaccine against not just COVID-19 but all current SARS viruses.

Walmart is limiting online sales of rapid reaction tests. The fact that people are hoarding shows the fear is there.

December 27, 2021

Coronavirus week 90A: Autoimmune disease fears are usually BS

With the rise in the omicron variant, there's a rise in pushback against vaccine mandates from people who claim they have autoimmune diseases and thus allegedly cannot get vaccinated.

NOT true.

Reality? Even for people with an autoimmune disorder, COVID itself is MUCH more likely to produce adverse effects than a COVID vaccine. Maybe "especially for."

Here's the bottom line:

currently no mechanisms have been demonstrated that can explain the correlation between vaccination and the development of chronic autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, epidemiological studies do not support the hypothesis that vaccines cause systemic autoimmune diseases

Period and end of story.

So, for people like Beverly Hallberg who should know better? Consider them just a "new variant" (I see what I did there) on antivaxxerism.

December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas and into next week

As you see this, I'm out in the semi-wilds of Southern California. I should be out and about hiking and birding at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, which I stumbled upon last year.

This year, I'm back there intentionally. I wrote this in advance, and I am hoping there is a Christmas Day Bird Count there. It actually started last week, as far as the actual Audubon-organized national event, and runs through the start of the new year.

From there, Joshua Tree and more in Sand to Snow than I did last year. Hoping to meet up with friends in the Southland, too.

I'm hoping to both see new birds and get better pictures of some of the noes I saw last year, as well as shooting a bit of video.

This is obviously posted ahead. Posting for the next week will be light, and posted-ahead stuff. See you in the new year.


Update from kyped wifi, Dec. 27; bird spottings thin but desert bighorn good with La Niña rain.

December 23, 2021

Texas Progressives get ready for the holidays

Shades of a couple of years ago, the Secretary of State + DPS are still flagging citizens as non-citizens.

SocraticGadfly offers a few thoughts from up on the Red about 2022 primary filings (and Green and Libertarian convention filings). 

Stace gives us his thoughts on some of the 2022 Dem Primary races.

Off the Kuff (with Kuffner a week behind the curve on my version of the roundup from a week ago) lets you know about the absolutely bonkers primary election that Republican voters in Potter County are fixing to have.

A now-former rookie teacher talks about how her first year, self-truncated, played out in the middle of COVID. Beyond the COVID issues, what she learned about the education system in general is half the story. As with the Great Resignation, COVID basically just accelerated trends.

Meet the jaguarundi, which probably isn't in Texas, but, people are looking.

The Monthly talks about the bois d'arc tree and its "Osage orange" fruit without noting their alternative names of "bois d'arc balls" or "horse apples."

As discussed elsewhere, the Monthly talks about Cal Gov Gavin Newsom's plan to greenlight citizen lawsuits for gun control, since the Supremes OKed SB 8. It adds that gun nutz warned about this in arguments before the court.

Speaking of holidays, the Chronic has a four part investigative story, starting here, about how many millions of dollars churches around the state get on property tax exemptions for church-owned parsonages. The sky's the limit on appraisal; just has to be on 1 acre or less of land.

Texas Monthly presents the 2022 Bum Steer Award winners.  

The Bloggess tells you how to participate in the 12th annual James Garfield Miracle.  

Mark Sumner earns "honorary Texan" status for reminding us of the time that Louie Gohmert sued Mike Pence for the crime of obeying the law this past January.  

Juanita is not impressed by Ken Paxton's "vote fraud" efforts.  

Will Wilder and Elizabeth Hira show how the Freedom to Vote Act would de-fang Texas' voter suppression law.

I personally will be off birding in the Southwest. Posts will be light through the new year.

December 22, 2021

Gil Hodges: A 2nd microcosm of Cooperstown veterans committee screw-ups

I simply do not get the fandom for Gil Hodges. It's like a fricking cult, mainly of Brooklynites, but also of others. (See, I didn't even say "fucking," per the tone trolls commenting on my original piece about Veterans Committee screw-ups.)

And, TOTALLY unwarranted as I see it.

His case? Far worse than that of Minnie Miñoso, discussed in more detail here. Pretty worse than that of Tony Oliva, now discussed in detail here.

On my original piece about the VC's screw-ups, I said he wasn't even a AAA HOFer. In the longer body, I pulled my halfway-in-cheek tongue out, and per WAR, amended that to say he wasn't a AAAA replacement HOFer. I stand by that.

OK, the numbers.

43.9 WAR is the biggie.

And right now, I hear the "but WWII" chorus.

He was 19 in 1943 and got a cup of coffee call-up because of the war. No WWII, he's still in the minors in 1944 and 1945. So, you're already wrong. Or, Not.Even.Wrong. 

Now, to details.

First, on the sabermetric side? NO, NONE, ZERO 7-WAR seasons. Only one 6-WAR year. 

No, sabermetrics in general, and WAR in specific, aren't perfect, but it seems like the biggest bashers of them are people who know they can't make a good sabermetrics-based claim for a player's skill level.

Second, let's go non-sabermetrics; per the HOF numbers at bottom left of a player's profile? His only black ink is strikeouts once, sac flies twice. Total black ink points? TWO! Average HOFer? 27.

The rest of those categories? "Gray ink," "Hall of Fame Monitor," and "Hall of Fame standards," on ALL of them, he's somewhat to well below the benchmarks. 

I've never seen a THAT BAD on a player who has yammerers (you are) saying "let him in." Shit, even Jack Morris was above benchmarks on "Gray ink" and "Hall of Fame Monitor." When you're worse than Jack Morris, you're bad.

Third, back to sabermetrics. Never busted 150 on OPS+, which is "not good" for a first baseman. It, like WAR, is park-adjusted. Ebbets Field was not a total bandbox down the lines for a right-handed batter, unlike a lefty, but it was almost as bad a bandbox in left-center as in right-center, and, of course, a sub-400 foot center field covers both batters. And, that's why WAR and OPS+ are park adjusted. 

Yet, even though both black and gray ink are NOT park-adjusted, Hodges was out of the running on both. 

Career OPS+ of 120. Horrible for a first baseman who's an alleged Hall of Famer. Even Keith Hernandez, a lowish-power glove-first first baseman, is at 128.

Now, to Jay Jaffe's JAWS7, a good tool for putting a player heads-up with others at their position on a mix of longevity and peak. Hodges is 40th. He's worse than Frank Chance, someone else who doesn't belong in Cooperstown. (Unfortunately, Jaffe, like Bill James, is a Big Hall guy, and probably an emotion-driven one, too, who doesn't actually look at what sabermetrics says in many cases like this.)

If we click the top of the row for OPS+ on the JAWS7 for 1B, it's worse yet. The only name modern readers would recognize at 120 is Justin Morneau. Mark Grace is at 119. So is Andres Galarraga. (Grace is also ahead of him on WAR.) Part of the argument about Tony Perez not being Hall-worthy? He's only at 122. And, while I'm here, a sidebar to Dodgers bluebloods perhaps thinking this enhances Mr. Playboy's HOF chances? Steve Garvey at 117 OPS+. AND under 40 WAR.

Yep, that's Gil Hodges' company.

As for his managerial skills? IMO, he caught lightning in a bottle once. Having ditched the second, expansion Senators for the Mets, they continued to play as well after he left as before. As for claims that a short managerial career truncated his surely inevitable greatness? Danny Murtaugh won two World Series and two additional NL East titles after 1969 expansion, probably would have been the 1979 WS manager had he lived, but had his career interrupted multiple times by illness before his untimely death, yet can't get the time of day from various Vets Committees ...

Or from alleged sabermetric genyuses like Jay Jaffe, who both hates on Murtaugh as a manger and slobbers over (yes) Hodges as a player. If Jim Kaat's picture is in the MLB Encyclopedia next to "compiler," then Jaffe's is next to "hypocrite." It's next to Bill James, another Hodges slobberer.

Now, some Hodges fellators are probably doing a "player plus manager" bank shot, a la Red Schoendienst. Ixnay on that. Red was approximately the same on player WAR, but, went to two WS, back to back. In addition, he was on the coaching staff for the 1982/85/87 WS appearances and continued to serve as a team executive after that Besides, he lost not only a possible 1944 call-up as a player due to WW2, he also suffered eye damage from the war, per Wiki. Better yet, read Red's obit.

Minnie Miñoso: Not a screw-up by the Vets Comm, but still wrong

Yes, I had originally planned only one of these. But? As the fellations continue, per the new Tony Oliva piece, which is now up? I'm firing back, now on Minnie Miñoso.

The Undefeated, going back to its roots of Black advocacy rather than half its current stuff —which is often "Hey, this is your ESPN assignment editor. To make sure you don't run out of news "content," here's a piece that has Black athletes in it. Sorry it doesn't have civil rights stuff, but ... we do what we can." — says that Miñoso may have been hurt by the color of his skin, but even more by the non-English of his original mother tongue.

Possibly, but?

He still had only 50 WAR.

He was a below-average fielder (he was). He got thrown out on the bases a lot. One 8-WAR, one 6-WAR year. He's not a horrible inductee, but not great.

Back to that asterisk? For anybody talking "but include the Negro Leagues"? Fine. Per B-Ref, he's still under 55 WAR. Given that those were young years, he probably wouldn't have been in MLB's majors most that time were this 20-30 years later and discrimination in playing weren't such a problem, so I still don't see him as much more than 55 WAR. Remember, that when he DID get his initial shot, with the 1949 Indians, he was sent ... to the minors, not back to Negro League ball ... because he wasn't good enough. The Undefeated, in its fellation of Miñoso, admits that Cleveland was [ahead of the Dodgers!] baseball's most integrated team in 1949. It then raises the "Gold Gloves" argument; well, in two of his three winning seasons, he had a negative dWAR. They didn't exist back then, but that's why cognoscenti look at Fielding Bible awards today.

(A Red Satan piece on Oscar Charleson spells it out for me. B-Ref has scanty enough info on Negro League parks that it cannot park-neutralize OPS+, per the story — and on the flip side, presumably can't park-neutralize ERA+, or calculate FIP, let alone to do a FIP+ like Fangraphs. Because of not having the same minor league structure and individual teams not having minor league systems, B-Ref also can't calculate WAR for Negro Leagues players.)

It then shows further wrongness, with this:

Miñoso put together a résumé that was underappreciated. He produced numbers better or equal to those of Yogi Berra, Bill Mazeroski and Nellie Fox, his contemporaries. Miñoso didn’t join them in Cooperstown until Sunday.

Well, those are all defense-first positions, more than right field. Second base somewhat, catcher definitely so, and in addition, we've established that, legend aside, Miñoso was below-average defensively. 

That said, Fox's oWAR was way too low. He shouldn't be in the Hall either. Two wrongs don't make a right. Ditto on Maz.

Berra of course is a different case.About 5 more o-WAR while going through the rigors of catching and nearly 10 more overall WAR. And, so, that's just wrong.

As for  early Black entrants? Larry Doby was ia different league, so to speak. He had as much MLB WAR in a career a bit more truncated by discrimination, and had more batting black ink. And, vs an 8 and a 6 on WAR seasons, it was a 7 and two 6's. Ten points higher on OPS+. And, refuting claims that Miñoso was feared as a batter, Doby had more IBBs in a shorter career. (Doby gets in anyway, of course, as a "pioneer.")

Finally, lest some someone point to Oliva and Miñoso and chatter? It's off to Gil Hodges.

Tony Oliva: A microcosm of Cooperstown veterans committee screw-ups

A week ago, I blogged about how the Early Baseball Committee, and even more, the Golden Days Committee, was wrong, or worse, at times Not.Even.Wrong, on the veteran players it voted into the Hall of Fame.

I'm now going to look at one case in microcosm: Tony Oliva

First, he had under 50 WAR. Almost EXACTLY another Harold Baines.

I venture many voters said "but he had three batting titles."

I don't care if he won three batting titles. Bill Madlock won four and he's not in the HOF either, and he shouldn't be in the HOF either. (Madlock might be an even better comp than Baines.)

But, that started me to wondering.

And, here we go. Other players with three batting titles who probably aren't Hall-worthy.

Dead-ball days? Ross Barnes, Pete Browning. Barnes had a way-short career; dunno why. Most of it was short seasons with the pre-NL National Association. So, he's so far in the past that, even had he played longer, it might be hard to discuss him at all. Browning played longer, with somewhat longer seasons, but still is enough in the past to be hard to say much about. 

Modern era? Joe Mauer. And, no, his 55 WAR, with half his career at 1B/DH, not Hall-worthy. True, the injuries not his fault. But, ditto for Buster Posey. Or, in the past, Ray Fosse.

Close? Willie McGee; two titles and a fourth place. Not a HOFer. Dave Parker, two titles and a fifth with five total top-10s. Not a HOFer. (Self-inflicted.)

True that it's not Oliva's fault he was stuck behind Bob Allison his first two years. (Allison had a 7-WAR season himself in 1963. He's actually not THAT distant of a comp to Oliva, for that matter. )

A 1972 season where his bad knees caught up to him spelled the end to his career. (And, the Twins maybe should have flopped their outfielding halves if playing Oliva in left instead of right would have helped his knees at all, with Allison then staying in right.)  He led the league in slugging the year before that, and took his third batting title, but missed a quarter of the year. But, even before that, just one 7-WAR year, along with two 6-WAR ones.

Some pitchers allegedly claim to have feared to pitch to Oliva. They apparently didn't tell writers that; the BBWAA never gave him more than 50 percent. Everybody on that original blog post is the same. Neither writers nor previous Veterans Committee incarnations could see themselves to saying they were "all that."

Final thought and another comp: Larry Walker, also of course, a right fielder, and who got in the Hall on his last year of BBWAA eligibility. Different injuries than Oliva, but a variety of nagging injuries that shortened his career. Also three batting titles! Two slugging titles, not one, and two OBP titles.

MUCH better defensive outfielder. MUCH better baserunner.

Three hundred extra games? That would give you 12 WAR; still leaves a 55-WAR Oliva far short of a 73-WAR Walker. (On that games played? Oliva is closer to Posey than Walker, and outside the top 500. He also played one-third fewer games than Parker, who had notoriously bad wheels, and Oliva was playing on natural grass. Just some sidebars on the injuries issue.) I could even throw in part of sitting behind Bob Allison for another 5 WAR. He's still at just 60 WAR.

December 21, 2021

Coronavirus week 89 - Robert Malone and Omicron

Both Atlantic and Orac tackle Robert W. Malone's quackery in detail. The Atlantic piece nails part of his silliness besides being butt-hurt over not being called "the inventor of mRNA vaccines." He got COVID in early 2020 and developed long-haul COVID. He took a Moderna shot hoping it would alleviate his symptoms, Atlantic explains. Uhh, that's not how vaccines work, and that's why MDs without a PhD aren't really scientists. I've tackled him before in another roundup.

The latest Atlantic piece from Ed Yang claims some of the Omicron best-case scenarios are partially off the table. We'll see. Sarah Zhang, also there, largely agrees. Zhang engages in basic exponential reasoning about its greater transmission rate, while ignoring that it will hit a wall of already infected and-or vaccinated people soon enough. Yasmin Tayag, who I've called out on these pages before, for thinking that most people are rational actors, then for attacking vax mandates even though people aren't rational actors, also gets on the alarmist train, but not quite so severely.

Dave Leonhardt, who two months ago said it was time to start transitioning back to normal, now talks about Omicron threatening Red America.

The Trib takes the first look at Omicron in Texas.

Now that the Sixth Circuit has upheld Biden's large-biz vax mandate (which is NOT that, though everybody calls it that; it's a vax-or-test mandate) the plaintiff-losers want emergency SCOTUS help.

December 20, 2021

Lake Show struggles grow; will turmoil, too?

The latest? Anthony Davis has a sprained knee. Out a month minimum, when he'll be "re-examined." Since AD has now said he "heard a pop," I wouldn't expect any really good news in four weeks, Lake Show fans.

Meanwhile, the team has tried to move Russell Westbrook, but nobody wants him. Would you, with his empty stats boxes? This is after having to let Alex Caruso go while watching him hit the next level with the Bulls, just as Kyle Kuzma, part of the trade to the Wiz to get Lil Russ, also has jumped it up.

Daryl Morey doesn't want Lil Russ, from what I hear, among other things, not even to dump Ben Simmons back, in part because even he would have to give a player back. I wondered if dumping Ben plus Danny Green in exchange for Russ, Avery Bradley and a draft pick might work.

Without a draft pick, ESPN says that is +3 for the Lakers/-2 for the Sixers. Add new rookie highlight Austin Reaves? OR Trevor Ariza or Kent Bazemore? Doesn't change it. Nor does Carmelo Anthony, who I don't think Morey would want either.

Meanwhile, the Lake Show has inked the inky Isaiah Thomas on a 10-day From what I see, I venture there was some possibility that was happening even before Lil Russ hit COVID protocols. And, with his 19 on opening night, they're surely thinking about keeping him for the year, aren't they? That adds to team turmoil, or I would think it would, if they do.

As I said last week, I thought the Nuggets should tank, with Michael Porter out and Jamal Murray not likely back before the All-Star Game. Maybe I had the wrong choice?

Now, the Lakers ain't tanking, even less than the Nuggets. But, they probably should consider it. They're just one new LeBron James injury away from deep shit.

Speaking of, LeBron is now in special pleading mode, asking rhetorically, "How can we really fully assess what we have when we haven't been whole?"

But, isn't that the whole issue? AD is a walking injury history. You're third in total season-plus-playoffs career minutes, and becoming ever more liable to injuries lasting longer. And you begged for the team to get Lil Russ even if it decimated team depth. No sympathy, dude.

December 17, 2021

Ronny Jackson, other Texas wingnuts want to pay to fight climate change without calling it that

Straight from a Jackson "news" release:

Today, Representative Ronny Jackson (TX-13) introduced the Providing Our Law Enforcement with Adequate Recourses for a Response Act, or the POLAR Response Act, which would add polar vortexes to the list of disaster-related emergencies when the Department of Defense (DoD) is considering law enforcement for the transfer of excess property and equipment as part of the 1033 program. This could include equipment such as vehicles, generators, sleeping bags, tools, and first aid supplies.

The 1033 program gives the Secretary of Defense authority to transfer excess DoD property to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies for law enforcement activities, including counterdrug, counterterrorism, and border security. This also includes responding to disaster-related emergencies such as hurricanes, tornados, or high water. The POLAR Response Act would add polar vortexes to the definition of major disasters included under the 1033 program.

Jackson said: "When Texas experienced an unprecedented polar vortex earlier this year, we identified vulnerabilities in our disaster response capabilities that should be addressed. That includes making sure our brave law enforcement officers are prepared to respond to the most unconventional challenges, even polar vortexes in Texas. Adding polar vortexes to the definition of major disasters for the DoD’s 1033 program will help ensure officers have the best possible equipment at their disposal to protect citizens, mitigate fallout, and get communities back on their feet as quickly as possible. The POLAR Response Act will do just that.”

Jackson is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. Link to the full bill text can be found here.

Co-sponsors include Representatives Troy Nehls (TX-22), August Pfluger (TX-11), Tony Gonzales (TX-23), Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Pat Fallon (TX-04), Randy Weber (TX-14), Jake Ellzey (TX-06), Pete Sessions (TX-17), and Van Taylor (TX-03).

And back to interpretation.

Not only is this hypocritical for not admitting Winter Storm Uri was at least partially connected to climate change, it ignores that Tex-ass will get hit by more than polar vortexes. The PUC says it will mandate summer weatherization rules next spring. We'll see if they have any more teeth than the winter weatherization rules — and if that adds more to the electric bill. We'll ALSO see, if that latter is a fear, if the PUC punts again until after the first Tuesday in November. 

None of this is on Ronny et al's agenda.

Texas primaries 2022: A few thoughts from up on the Red

Updated with TRULY strange new information.

In House District 68, incumbent David Spiller is being challenged by blooming permacandidate Craig Carter, and some smaller ones. But? That's likely changing soon, at least as far as a viable challenge. Carter was recently arrested on the north end of Fort Worth. Charge? A biggie. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Sadly, it doesn't stop there. Not even close. Carter now claims there's a criminal conspiracy behind the arrest. AND, it doesn't stop THERE. In that same piece, he ALSO claims that said criminal conspiracy is behind the serious accident a year ago that killed his daughter and mother-in-law and seriously injured his son-in-law.

Here's the actuality of that accident. Here's the reality of who caused it and how. I don't know if his claims above are some weird throw-off of mourning, or just worse.

Craig Carter needs a LOT of psychiatric help, it's clear. Sadly, this might make him more attractive to some voters in this area.


And now, the original post.

Presuming he wins the general as well as the primary, it will be relatively nice to be represented by Michael Burgess rather than Ronny Jackson. Burgess has five primary challengers. Had to go snoop around to find that. Texas SoS as of Wednesday had no info on CD 26, or CD 25, for that matter. Burgess had a general election challenger two years ago in a contested Dem primary; no L or G challengers.

Drew Springer appears to have no opposition in his run in SD 30, period. Democrats list one candidate, but status is "rejected." No idea on Libertarians, and surely no Greens.

That said, remember when Libertarians once boasted of candidates in every state Senate district? They didn't have one in the SD 30 special election. Nor have they ever primaried every Congressional District. They never primaried Mac Thornberry when he had CD 13. Jackson, as a newcomer, would have seemed an easier target, but nobody jumped in there, either.

So, you may be bigger than Greens, Texas Libertarians, but that doesn't say a lot and you're slipping backward, by that token.

Cooke County actually has a Dem running for county judge. That's better than neighboring Grayson County to the west, over 100K and theoretically getting more trickle-up from the Metromess, where no donkey could be troubled to run.

The most interesting race in chess board terms is, of course, the GOP's AG primary. I'll give 50 percent odds it goes to a runoff, but no more than that. I'll also give 50 percent odds that Eva Guzman, with her "clean campaign" attempt, is NOT one of the two in that runoff, unless she changes up her race. Especially with Gohmert Pyle now in the mess, most of the oxygen is being sucked out unless she creates some of her own.

It used to be easier to nose around GOP and Dem state websites for this info. Not today. I couldn't even find "filed candidates" links or menus. The Greens do post candidates as straight news on the website. The Libertarians don't. 

And, thank doorknobs it does! Because now I know already NOT TO VOTE for Green gubernatorial candidate Delilah Barrios, at least as of this moment. I have little love lost myself for Robert Francis O'Rourke, but if part of why she doesn't like Beto is "Attacks on 2nd Amendment rights," then I want nothing to do with her. First, even though he said he's not repudiating his "we're going to take your AK-47," he surely doesn't mean that 100 percent literally.

And, what if he did? I still believe in a "corporate" interpretation of the Second Amendment, with the "well regulated militia" clause governing. So did the Supreme Court, before Heller. And, an AK-47, at least on full auto, has zero non-military purpose. And, I don't give a fuck for what SCOTUS has said from Heller onward.

I Tweeted her Wednesday night to ask exactly what she means. If I have it before this goes live, you'll get it. And, as of late Thursday night, as I finished this up, she hadn't responded, though a liberal Democrat friend had retweeted it. That said, if David Bruce Collins is part of her campaign staff, I would think he saw the tweet, or else, this one:

And, it's meant. And, her platform makes this more clear. Yet elsewhere, she says she wants more restrictions on the gun purchasing process and that she supports the buyback of assault weapons. So, we're in the land of either actually foolish inconsistency, or one of hypocrisy.

And, update Dec. 23, it looks like Barrios is also an antivaxxer or fellow traveler, as well as a gun nut of fellow traveler.

Having seen other dissident Greens spew scads of misinformation over this issue, I suspect she does, too. The link she posts is full of other nuttery, with claims that the likes of COINTELPRO infiltrated the GP's Steering Committee. 

(Other "dissident Greens" are touting, of course, ivermectin and HCQ, and of course, even more stereotypical Green claims like vitamins and herbs.) With Barrios being a health care professional, though exactly in what capacity (a CNA can be a "health care professional") if she's in agreement with this quackery, it's worse yet.

And, no, vax mandates aren't racist. Hours of operation may not be perfect, but when Walmart and your local grocery story have been offering vaccines for a year, Blacks and Browns have had opportunity. As for the "indemnified pharmaceutical industry"? That saved it from being bankrupted by autism-pseudoscience antivaxxers.

And, with these addenda, I smell a separate blog post about just Barrios coming up after the new year.

That's especially as I see a "third strike" on the "she says" link ... that's transgender vs transsexual, and how that all plays out in various ways.

So far, I know that the Greens are running Barrios for governor and emerging perma-candidate, youth division, Hunter Crow for the RRC. Update that: Alfred Molison is listed as running for land commish.

So, "congrats," Texas Greens, or rather, congrats Molison, so I can vote for somebody running for statewide office.

As far as the gov race in general, 2018 Green of convenience is the only Dem I recognize off the top of my head in that primary besides Beto. And, Texas Libertarians' top candidate is "Taxation is theft" Dum Fuq Dan Behrman. As I said above? Texas Libertarians, you're moving backward.

But, Behrman isn't even the looniest candidate in the local election mix.

December 16, 2021

There's NOTHING "shocking" in the new JFK/Oswald document dump

That's contra the breathlessness of this piece (and surely others) and the claim that, per Elizabeth Lea Vos, Seth Rich conspiracy theory promoter, Greenwald is also a JFK falser, per screengrab:

OK, on to reality.

So what if Oswald met a KBG agent in Mexico City. We already knew he visited the Soviet embassy there, and ALL Soviet embassies have KGB agents. Just like Russian ones today have FSB agents. Just like US embassies then and now have CIA agents. NOTHINGBURGER.

An anon caller Down Under said the Russkies would finance a hit? Australia and the CIA considered another call, also in Australia, a crank.

Castro loomed large in the CIA investigation? Really? Fidel actually knew about Operation Mongoose and was afraid the US would use JFK's death as an excuse to invade.

Coronavirus, week 88 — the global south and more

Good Atlantic piece here about vax hesitancy outside of "the West." It starts with South Africa, where Whites are more vax-hesitant than Blacks, but are still vaccinated at a higher percentage because of access. "Privilege," maybe we should call it. Or wingnuttery, with White South Africans circulating clips by the likes of Cucker Tarlson, I mean Tucker Carlson.

From there? Russia. A mix of organized anti-West antivax trolling, combined with Sputnik having even worse transparency problems than any Chinese vax plus having efficacy problems after a quick rollout, and on top of that all, the air of Russian fatalism and Russian government mistrust, and finally, a quasi-mystical tradition of Russian folk cures, and you've got problems.


Will omicron plus lack of booster shots, plus general vaccination slowness in America, make COVID somewhat a pandemic of the vaccinated, too? The Atlantic has thoughts

Derek Thompson says that more and more data from South African seems to confirm an emerging semi-consensus: Omicron is a superspreader, but relatively mild on case severity.

Zeynep Tufekci notes that, even if it is relatively mild, it could still hit nursing homes hard. She notes that, even with vaccination, the immune system of senior citizens is less robust than it is for youngers. Plus, she notes that omicron already is becoming known as a superspreader variant. But, in a new open thread, she largely agrees with Thompson.

And, Dr. Peter Hotez is more worried than Derek Thompson.

With a Wisconsin wedding a superspreader event, even among reportedly vaccinated, do need to stop talking about a "pandemic of the unvaccinated? Or will people lie about vax status, even to friends? I lean to the latter. Or, even if the vaccinated do get infected, and nobody was lying about vaccination status, will severity remain greater among the unvaxxed, and thus, especially if 51 percent of new cases are among the unvaxxed, our trope stands? Or is the sample size too small to say much of anything.

Your Local Epidemiologist describes her holiday plans.

December 15, 2021

Should the Denver Nuggets tank?

Sounds shocking to even think about talking about this, doesn't it? Especially for a Nuggets team that was in the Western Conference finals two seasons ago.

I don't think it's "shocking." Red Satan, after all, ran a piece a week ago talking about how the Nuggets were now at play-in round level. Nikola Jokic was banged up, and missed a few games. He's back, but still. And, how well can he bear up carrying an ever-heavier share of the offense?

Yeah, Aaron Gordon is doing pretty well. But, still? You don't know when Michael Porter is coming back from that back surgery. All reports say not this year. What I'm getting at is, you don't know about next year. Jamal Murray isn't coming back before the All-Star break. Backup guard PJ Dozier recently dropped for the rest of this year.

You're not finishing better than the play-in round.

And, if you win that? You play either the Dubs, with Stephen Curry and the bunch, especially with Klay Thompson back at any level of play, or the Suns, with Devin Booker, Chris Paul et al.

Win that? It's either the Lakers with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, or the Clips with Paul George and presumably Kawhi Leonard.

If you tank, you are higher up in the draft rankings than you are if you're in the play-in round but don't make the final eight in the West. And, this is a decent draft year. Any place in the top 10 has you doing well.

So, I think it depends most on Joker. If he doesn't stay banged up AND you KNOW you're getting either Jamal back BY the All-Star break, don't tank. Otherwise? Tank away. Given MPJ's back injuries and surgery issues, you need to have a high draft choice next year.

The question is, how low can you tank? You can probably drop below the Spurs, cuz Pops would eye the No. 10 spot like a dog on a bone. Even more so the Kings, starved for any playoff appearance. The East is better overall, so you can probably fall below everybody but the Magic and Pistons. That puts you at No. 6, with a halfway decent shot of one of the three lottery Ping-Pong balls and a guarantee of no worse than No. 8.

December 14, 2021

Texas progressives roundup: Reproductive choice, election stupidities, more

As many have heard, SCOTUS said SB8 would stand for now, while letting legal challenges proceed; it also narrowed the range of lawsuits available to abortion providers, including letting most politicos in Texas, like Kenny Boy Paxton, off the hook. That was after a state district judge said it was unconstitutional the day before. The district judge, like the Supremes, said the law would stand while legal challenges played through state courts; in other words, no injunctions.

The biggest takeaway at the federal level is that the Umpire, John Roberts, has officially "lost" the court on abortion issues. Dahlia Lithwick vividly concurs, complete with umpiring analogies. The second-biggest takeaway is that the "five" tipped their hand. Gorsuch said they weren't ruling on the constitutionality of the law or not, but by leaving the "citizens lawsuit" enforcement in place, that providers couldn't sue Paxton, district judges or district clerks, but only the head of DSHS and medical licensing boards, means they really WERE ruling on its constitutionality. Per Lithwick, yep, that's gaslighting by Gorsuch.

Off the Kuff reviewed the state and federal Supreme Court rulings on SB8. (Editor's note: Kuff's BlueAnon take on SCOTUS is somewhat more "spun" than what I have listed above as part of this week's Roundup, re who can be sued, though he admits at the end that damage has been done.)


GOP wingnuts in Amarillo are going to run their own primary, outside of the county clerk or election board apparatus. Complete with paper ballots. Contra county Rethuglican chair Dan Rogers, we know turnout increased nationwide in 2020 and surely there, too. That's just the start of this. County officials will still manage mail ballots, for both Rethuglicans and Democraps. But, Rogers says that, contra normal practice, on early voting in person, it will have to be like election day — vote your home precinct only. Yep, this, per election pros, WILL piss people off. Like his own Rethuglicans. As for the possibility that hand-counting paper ballots will INCREASE errors, supported by research? "I don't need studies," he says, sounding like a true modern anti-science Rethug. Even more fun? If he violates the ADA in any of this, he can be fined. Possibly sued. And, he's personally liable.


SocraticGadfly talked about the latest lawsuit against Texas election law.

Meet Texas' "Dead Sea."

"Stand your ground" meets "Blue lives matter." Which one wins in the wingnut world? In Midland, it's stand your ground (and not shocking to me). That said, the Monthly needs to edit more carefully. I never "knew" that Snyder was south of Midland.

Once again, DPS and the Secretary of State are being a joint clusterfuck on voting eligibility challenges.

Did you know there's an EPA Superfund site in metropolitan Dallas, in Grand Prairie? Details here. Naturally, it's in a low-income, high-minority neighborhood.

How much more will a boom in LNG exports, and an increase in oil exports, wreck the Gulf Coast?

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins supposably has a Dem primary opponent. Billy Clark can't be much of an opponent if, as of Dec. 11, last Saturday, his campaign website doesn't work. (In addition, attorneys who put "Esq." after their names are usually laughably pretentious, even with the overall pretentiousness in the legal profession.)

John Coby notes the "critical race theory" flareup in Clear Creek ISD.

Mean Green Cougar Red comments on the problems transit agencies are having hiring and retaining bus drivers.

The Austin Chronicle has a South by Southwest update.

The Current is on top of one San Antonio ISD's willingness to pull library books off the shelf.

December 13, 2021

Top blogging November 2021

This is backdated to before my post about the Veterans Committee skyrocketed, so here goes. As is usual, not all items were posted in November. This is just the ones that were the most popular in the past 30 days. That said, this month's overview is sports-heavy.

No. 1, in fact, was from 10 years ago, but is still relevant today, although Xi Jinping Thought surely has less angst about strongarming Google today than back then, while Google, and Western companies in general, media, Internet, or others, have generally shown less compunction about kowtowing to Beijing.

No. 2? Further debate about just how special (or not) Shohei Ohtani's season was. Related? No. 4 was from October, about how Ohtani is still not Babe Ruth.

No 3 and still trending from October? The St. Louis Cardinals' dastardly firing of Mike Shildt. Related? No. 10, my postmortem on the Birds' 2021.

No. 5? It's a link in the middle of my disclaimer on the right hand rail, snarking on Marcy Wheeler, aka Emptywheel. I guess that, as some hot blog posts trend, especially on political news, it draws attention. And, it's as relevant as ever, as #BlueAnon like her largely fellate #StatusQuoJoe on foreign policy.

No. 6? As Omicron puts COVID issues back in the headlines, and COVID obstructionists as well, my summer piece about just what happened to John Ioannidis started trending.

No. 7 and trending back again, after falling out of my top 10, on the sidebar, in the middle of the month? My old post, complete with Photoshopping, kicking BOTH Bill Nye and Ken Ham.

No. 8? Hall of Fame related thoughts on the retirement of Buster Posey, tied to Yadier Molina.

No. 9? With lab meat big news last month, and plant burgers along with that, I retweeted an old story about how Impossible Burger et al aren't all that healthy.

December 10, 2021

Nope, Cardinals fans, Wainwright wasn't robbed of a Cy; nor would he have been a HOFer, Best Fans in Baseball

The claim I saw on Twitter, from some "Best Fans in Baseball" groupies responding to Buster Olney, was that Adam Wainwright would have been in the Hall of Fame if not for injuries, and that part of why he lacks a HOF case beyond that is that he was robbed of the 2009 Cy Young.

The latter, first.

There ARE legit cases of Cy Young or MVP robbery.

This ain't one of them.

Winner Tim Lincecum was a full WAR point ahead of Waino. And, given that WAR can be accurate within half a point, you'd have to assume both that Lil Timmy was too high AND Waino was too low. Anyway, I pointed that out to the BFIB Twitterer, who irked me because he said "robbed."

Had he said something like, "You could make a case that Adam Wainwright should have won the 2009 Cy Young award," different story. But, he said, and I quote, "robbed." I'm not going to embed, to spare him the BFIB jokes, which I as a Cards fan but not a total homer will laugh along with at times.

Either he or one other person on the thread said that Waino lost votes cuz Chris Carpenter. Things like that might have been true more than 20 years ago. They might be more true even today on the MVP. But, each pitching game is separate, unless it's a starter and a closer from the same team battling for the Cy.

Plus, the first dude said, "WAR doesn't mean much to me- especially for pitchers."

My response to that?

No, WAR is not perfect, but, in an actually good piece at Red Satan, I quote:

The goal of WAR is to give the most complete sense of a player's value to his team, and it's perhaps the best piece of data to compare the greatness of one player to the next.
There you go. Couldn't have said it better myself. Now, get off my lawn.

Besides, there were FOUR pitchers, not two, bunched within half a WAR of each other. Javier Vazquez was fourth in the voting and Dan Haren was fifth.

And, by either sabermetric or non-sabermetric stats, I can make a case for most of them.

Lincecum led the league in K's. Special pleader, what the hell, Dean Hartmann, I'm naming your ass — and for my "Unknown" trolling comments on this piece of mine about the Veterans Committee's recent fuck-up? I said "ass"; so sue me — said K's don't mean much to him. So, rejects WAR, but also rejects a non-sabermetric stat. Okayyyy ... (Timmeh also led in complete games and shutouts among non-sabermetric stats, and FIP among sabermetrics.)

Carp led in both ERA and ERA+. Good argument there.

Haren led in both K/BB ratio and WHIP.

Waino? Led in wins, definitely, as we all know, not directly tied to pitching prowess, and innings pitched, nice but not huge.

Vazquez doesn't really jump out for anything.

No, Timmeh earned the win.

As for injury? He missed all of 2011, near peak. Give Waino 6 WAR. For the most of 2015 he missed? Four WAR. For the most of 2018? Two more. That's 12 WAR. Added to his actual 44.5, he's at 56.5. Let's say I was 2.5 WAR stingy. That's still less than 60.

And? Other pitchers have had plenty of injuries and better track records. Near-peer Clayton Kershaw is a derp. Sandy Koufax from the past. Dizzy Dean from the Cards' way-back past. Kershaw broke 7 WAR three times. Koufax did it four times, including two 10-WAR seasons. Dean did it three times, including approximately 9 WAR in his 30-win year.

Waino never had a 7-WAR year and never knocked my socks off. On non-sabermetric stats worth something, he once led in complete games and twice led or tied in shutouts. And, he's a non-horrible batter for a pitcher, which is where he gets 4 WAR.

Or, another way to put it? B-Ref lists Roy Oswalt as his best comp, and that sounds about exactly right.

I told the group of Tweeters not to @ me, too, saying I was a long-time fan who was at the game when Glenn Brummer stole home. Bryan Bauer decided to be a clown anyway.

Libertarians sue Texas again over election law; Greens AWOL

From an edited version of a Libertarian Party of Texas news release:

The Libertarian Party of Texas, along with several individual plaintiffs, represented by Gordon, Arata, Montgomery, Barnett, McCollam, Duplantis & Eagan, LLC filed suit against the Texas Secretary of State, John B. Scott and Texas Deputy Secretary of State Jose A. Esparaza. The complaint asserts that Section 181.0311 of the Texas Election Code requiring third party candidates to pay a fee, or submit a petition in lieu thereof, in order to be considered for nomination is unconstitutional and infringes on the rights to free speech, free association, and equal protection.

In Texas, filing fees paid by Republican and Democrat candidates are used to offset the cost of primary elections, which are largely paid from the General Fund, utilizing taxpayer dollars. In contrast, ballot-qualified Libertarian Party and Green Party candidates do not participate in primaries, and instead participate in Party-funded nominating conventions. Additionally, fees paid by primary party candidates go to their Parties, while non-primary candidates are required to submit payment to the Secretary of State, thus to the general fund.

“The passage of H.B. 2504 in 2019 began the Texas Legislature's attack on free and fair elections and we are taking the necessary steps to protect voters’ rights. By passing S.B. 2093 this year and continuing their war against competition at the polls, while simultaneously claiming to want real election reform, Republicans and Democrats once again prove they are more than willing to work together so long as it ensures voters only have the two of them to choose between. Electing our representatives is a fundamental practice of liberty and to deny Texas voters a choice at the ballot box is antithetical to representative democracy,” Libertarian Party of Texas Chair Whitney Bilyeu said in conjunction with the filing of the suit.

The state’s claimed legitimate interest in only having candidates who’ve demonstrated a modicum of support appear on the ballot is already met for those applying through a ballot-qualified convention party, Nathan Moxley of the Libertarian Party of Texas said in a news release.

Additionally, third parties may only place one candidate on the ballot for each race, thus eliminating any danger of ballot overcrowding. Plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief and an overturning of this unconstitutional legislation.

OK, my further take.

Given that Bilyeu lives in Harris County, heartland of Texas Greens (the fact that Greens are thin on the ground in Travis County says something both about the Green Party and about environmentalism there), surely some Greens know about this. They may have known when it was filed. It's sad that this isn't a "bipartisan third party" filing. I assume that Greens don't even have a friendly brief of support filed. Of course, as I Tweeted snarkily yesterday, I'm talking about a state party that has had two Tweets in the past month.

The suit is here.

That said, re HB 2504? Living in Drew Springer's district, I'm quite familiar with its ramifications, as well as with the unified Libertarian-Green federal lawsuit over that and related issues, which is part of why I don't like that this one isn't, so far at least, "bipartisan." I also, in relation to my non-snarky snark, and the "two Tweets" (and nothing on the Texas Greens website) blogged a couple of months after the federal suit about the Texas Greens' disorganization at that time, among other things. That old shibboleth/bugaboo of "consensus" (a wrong turn that may or may not be over-extrapolating from the Ten Key Values, which don't mention the idea) continues to bite. I've blogged before about the overinterpretation of the "decentralization" issue. You know who else has required 2/3 supermajorities? The old cloture standard of the U.S. Senate. The Democratic Party on presidential nominations until 1936. In both cases, driven by Southern white racism giving a minority veto power.

Back to the suit itself. It surely will not be heard enough in advance of the March 1 primary date and Libertarian and Green state conventions for candidates of those parties to get judicial relief, if a jury (if jury verdict is being sought) were to rule in favor, and an injunction is unlikely, IMO, given how the state Supreme Court tipped its hand in 2020 re HB 2504 and candidacies then.

December 09, 2021

Texas Progressives talk ERCOT, RRC, RU486, Roe more

Lots of stuff to consider on this week's Roundup, so let's dig in. The acronyms and one word in the header should tell you what we're about.


Contra Strangeabbott, who probably checked the National Weather Service 90-day forecast (expected to be warmer and drier than normal) before saying the Texas energy and power grid was ready for another Winter Storm Uri, it isn't. That's mainly cuz Wayno, Kristi and the new dude at the RRC continue to undercut real winterization of the natural gas pipeline and delivery world. The RRC and ERCOT continue to buck-pass on accountability.

Reproductive choice

The state's ban on abortion-inducing medications after seven weeks is almost certainly unconstitutional on interstate commerce grounds. Sadly, to date (other states have such laws), the feds, in the form of the FDA, have been cracking down on mail providers rather than taking states to court.

So, will the SCOTUS either emasculating or full-overturning Roe be a killer-winner for Dems at the 2022 polls? No. Let me repeat that. NO. Speaking of polls, Politico gets top Dem operatives (many anon) and even an Emily's List spox to admit that. The Emily's spox says, in essence "It polls well, but it does bupkis on actual vote turnout." Nothing new; for years, decades even, abortion has been a voting booth push for wingers, not Dems. That said, beyond even librulz, at lefty Counterpunch, Dave Lindorff (wrong on other stuff in the past) doesn't understand that

Other state

Matthew McConaughey isn't running for gov, but Dan Solomon rhetorically asks about any continuing interest in politics.

Mark Cuban just bought the town of Mustang. The Monthly suggests others.

The author of a book banned by Lake Travis ISD talks about the process, including apparent racism.

Chris Collins rounds up the Texas weird

Off the Kuff provides a couple of filing updates.

Reform Austin laments how their city became one of the least affordable places in the country.

Texas 2036 warns that the shortage of doctors in the state is getting worse. (Hey, remember when tort "reform" was supposed to fix that?)

The Texas Signal talks to Rep. Michelle Beckley about her candidacy for Lt. Governor, and to Jay Kleberg on his bid for Land Commissioner.

Doctors Junda Woo and Barbara Taylor urge San Antonio to use the tools that it has at its disposal to end HIV in that city

Other national and global

What we know so far on what works, what doesn't, what's unsure, on reducing racial bias in policing. 

SocraticGadfly dives back into COVID gain of function issues, along with Fauci and NIAID's apparent failure to monitor Peter Daszag.

RIP Bob Dole. He's still a Republican, even if possibly better than John McCain and Colin Powell. He just doesn't get tarred with the Iraq War because he was no longer in the Senate. Did he ever apologize for being a Nixon flunky? For talking about "Democrat wars"?

Even CNN is calling out Status Quo Joe's confabulations. Sadly, CNN, re this particular confab, is NOT calling out Status Quo Joe's blank checks to Israel.

Kemp vs Perdue in the Georgia GOP primary? Getcha popcorn!

December 08, 2021

We're Hispanics, not Latinos and REALLY not LatinX

That's the message from new polling sponsored by Politico. Hispanics nationwide almost totally reject the neoblather "Latinx." Not only that, a large majority reject "Latino" / "Latina." For what? I just said for what: "Hispanic." While there are some differences, the preference for "Hispanic" largely transcends age, country of origin, and political alignment. 40 percent say "LatinX" bothers them; 20 percent A LOT. And, 30 percent say their support for a politico using "LatinX" would decrease; that includes 24 percent of Dems and 30 percent of "independents."

Per another Politico piece, if Dems have any brains, they'll see "LatinX" and the academic activists pushing it as "wrongfully woke." That will include noting that the younger generation dislikes it just about as much as oldsters. And yes, it's far from the only reason that Republicans have started getting more Hispanic votes again, but it's one that Dems should indeed listen to.

It is interesting to see 9 percent of US-born Hispanics plump for "something else." Would that be "Chicano" or similar, "Mexican-American" or similar, or not being labeled? Growing up in New Mexico, I know many older, American-born Hispanics preferred "Mexican-American" way back when; the more conservative ones vociferously rejected "Chicano." I can tell you that, even today, "Hispanic" is bigly preferred to "Latino."

That said, if you have to do something? Yes, these words have either masculine or feminine gender in Spanish, but words with an "-e" ending sound neutral. Like "Grande," the adjective in "Rio Grande." And, that is "-es" in the plural, again, more neutral-sounding but wholly pronounceable.