SocraticGadfly: 2021

October 16, 2021

Kyrie Irving, deconstructed, is no Colin Kaepernick, but neither is Kap

This is a very good piece by Brian Phillips at The Ringer. It's about the walking mass of contradictions and self-indulgence that is Kyrie Irving, while also noting that he's had a real social background at times, like the bubble last year. Phillips also notes the power of the players in the NBA, starting with LeBron James being the first player to act to assemble a "superteam," then Kyrie working to step out from his shadow from the Cavs return years and do the same himself.

But, Phillips IMO doesn't go far enough.

Did Kyrie want the NBA and Adam Silver to undo the bubble because he was worried about endorsement $$$ as well as social justice? Not asked by Phillips. If Kyrie Irving really cares about his American Indian heritage, why has he gone to events on reservations maskless? Not asked by Phillips but asked elsewhere.

Then there's the shitshow of some people comparing him to Colin Kaepernick, especially in light of more and more Chucky Gruden emails being unveiled, with one email saying that a team should "cut the fuck." There's the BS of him attacking Eric Reid as well, and also his bullshit over PEDing.

There's even more racism, when talking about Robert Griffin III still playing, while Tim Tebow isn't. Real answer is that Griff's second-best year was the same as Tebow's best and his third-best year was about as good, or TLDR, Tebow sucked.

That said, Colin Kaepernick may still be laughing all the way to the bank himself, as I said a couple of years ago.

We can all agree that Chucky Gruden is a racist, homophobic, misogynist dumb fuck. Are there others in NFL positions of power? The Shield claims not. Sure. We know Redscum, now WFT, GM Bruce Allen shared Gruden's email about Kaep. But to whom?

A few details slip out about Cardinals firing Mike Shildt; journos smell rat reading between the lines

As St. Louis Cardinals fans in particular and MLB fans in general know, it isn't usual to fire a manager on the same day as a baseball playoff game. In fact, team president John Mozeliak had to touch base with the commissioners office first, per the Post-Distpatch account and others.

Several things of note here.

First, "philosophical differences," even if (allegedly by Mo, Shildt hadn't commented yet) are on the field only still doesn't necessitate this much of a rush, unLESS

Mo was worried that Stubby Clapp or Carlos Marmol were already on the short list of another team that hasn't yet made a managerial move, but is expected to do so soon. 

I'll take Mo at face value that they're front-runners to replace Shildt and that, even should Aaron Boone be fired by non-renewal, Mo wouldn't go that direction. (There's other reasons he wouldn't do Boone; see below.)

Second, Mo did this himself, rather than handing off to nominal GM Mike Girsch. (Probably reasons for that, too; see below.)

Third, the presser to announce this was Zoom, not in-person, per the STL Sports Page account. Was Mo hoping to avoid at least a bit of grilling that way? (Especially since the firing was over the phone, per the PD's Ben Frederickson, as linked below.)

Fourth, Mo had a shorter hook than he did with Mike Matheny. A FAR shorter hook. Matheny was a bigger ass-kisser, is likely why.

That off the field? That ass-kissing? As in the incidents above? Shildt probably pissed off Mo in some way. BenFred tackles that issue. He adds that it appears to focus on hitting coach Jeff Albert, loved much more by Mo than Shildt. Second, as far as lack of ass-kissing? Shildt's public complaints about the lineup. Quoting Ben:

Multiple times this season Shildt made comments about his team doing the best it could with what it had. The front office is not a fan of a manager lobbying for upgrades, publicly or privately. Problem is, that’s exactly why the Cardinals need a manager who does just that, because it provides some pressure on the front office to improve during a season, which is the one thing the Cardinals have struggled to do or refrained from even trying to do in recent seasons. Shildt did not campaign from the start. He used to say such things were above his pay grade. He began to speak more freely this season. Some fans failed to interpret his pleas. The front office didn’t.

There you go.

Also per Ben? Mo admitted it was in part about Albert when he said it wasn't entirely about that.

Speaking of? This guy notes the far less fulsome praise for Shildt after his firing:

Probably connected again to the lack of ass-kissing.

Cardinal70 also notes no comment from DeWitt, or DeWallet, as Miklasz used to call it. Ben Fred says DeWitt looked irritated to have to be summoned himself on short notice.

I do like the BS from Mo: "With just one year remaining ... it was in everyone's best interest we addressed this now."

Really, Mo? You couldn't address this ... two weeks later?

And, who's "everyone"? You and the mouse in your pocket called Girsch?

Color me skeptical that this is as Mo is trying to sell it.

Another note: Even if, as Schoenfield alleged at Red Satan, this all boils down to his decision to use Alex Reyes at the end of the wild-card game to face Chris Taylor, or that decision as a microcosm of pitcher handling, did that still necessitate this haste?

No, deny as you will, this smacks of something OFF the field.

The Cardinals outperformed their Pythagorean this year by five games. They were even last year and -1 in 2019. They were at Pythag in 2018, but much below for the first three-fifths of the season when Matheny was still in charge. As the PD notes elsewhere, Shildt had a better season than Mo.

My guess is that, after the wild-card game, Mo and Shildt got into a red-ass argument. Mo may have raised the Reyes issue and Shildt may have said once more, per Darrell Royal, "You pitch with them what brung you," and that led to the shit-canning.

Will Shildt land on his feet? Ben Frederickson and John Alba are among commentators suggesting the Padres should scoop him up and fast to replace Jayce Tingler

Tingler, Shildt and Luis Rojas are the three managers so far fired after the end of the season.

This isn't the first time Mo has been secretive, or weird, on major baseball decisions. Remember how he handled Shelby Miller being on the postseason roster yet not playing several years ago? I blogged about that not once, not twice, but three times, it was so puzzling, and over multiple rounds of the 2013 postseason. Remember when Mo called out "junior GMs" for second guessing him over moves like this and the late Oscar Taveras? And then threw Taveras under the bus?

As for the replacement? Rick Hummel says that Nolan Arenado, he of long-term contract and opt-out options, should have some say on a replacement. He also notes it won't be Chris Carpenter, who has joined the Haloes. 

Besides, Cards fans who remember Carp know there's no way he'd be an ass-kisser. And, Aaron Boone, after managing the Yankees, wouldn't be, either.

So, it's likely Clapp or Marmol. Marmol may have an edge as a minority candidate.

And, after a few years, when one or the other of them are fired? Mo hires from within again, to get another ass-kisser.

October 14, 2021

Cardinals fire Mike Shildt, and in a big-ass rush; why?

As St. Louis Cardinals fans in particular and MLB fans in general know, it isn't usual to fire a manager on the same day as a baseball playoff game. In fact, team president John Mozeliak had to touch base with the commissioners office first, per the Post-Distpatch account and others.

Several things of note here.

First, "philosophical differences," even if (allegedly by Mo, Shildt hadn't commented yet) are on the field only still doesn't necessitate this much of a rush, unLESS

Mo was worried that Stubby Clapp or Carlos Marmol were already on the short list of another team that hasn't yet made a managerial move, but is expected to do so soon. 

I'll take Mo at face value that they're front-runners to replace Shildt and that, even should Aaron Boone be fired by non-renewal, Mo wouldn't go that direction.

Second, Mo did this himself, rather than handing off to nominal GM Mike Girsch.

Third, the presser to announce this was Zoom, not in-person, per the STL Sports Page account. Was Mo hoping to avoid at least a bit of grilling that way?

Fourth, Mo had a shorter hook than he did with Mike Matheny. A FAR shorter hook.

Speaking of? This guy notes the far less fulsome praise for Shildt after his firing:

Guy also notes no comment from DeWitt, or DeWallet, as Miklasz used to call it.

I do like the BS from Mo: "With just one year remaining ... it was in everyone's best interest we addressed this now."

Really, Mo? You couldn't address this ... two weeks later?

And, who's "everyone"? You and the mouse in your pocket called Girsch?

Color me skeptical that this is as Mo is trying to sell it.

Another note: Even if, as Schoenfield alleged at Red Satan, this all boils down to his decision to use Alex Reyes at the end of the wild-card game to face Chris Taylor, or that decision as a microcosm of pitcher handling, did that still necessitate this haste?

No, deny as you will, this smacks of something OFF the field.

The Cardinals outperformed their Pythagorean this year by five games. They were even last year and -1 in 2019. They were at Pythag in 2018, but much below for the first three-fifths of the season when Matheny was still in charge.

Will Shildt land on his feet? Ben Frederickson and John Alba are among commentators suggesting the Padres should scoop him up and fast to replace Jayce Tingler

Tingler, Shildt and Luis Rojas are the three managers so far fired after the end of the season.

This isn't the first time Mo has been secretive, or weird, on major baseball decisions. Remember how he handled Shelby Miller being on the postseason roster yet not playing several years ago? I blogged about that not once, not twice, but three times, it was so puzzling, and over multiple rounds of the 2013 postseason. Remember when Mo called out "junior GMs" for second guessing him over moves like this and the late Oscar Taveras? And then threw Taveras under the bus?

Maybe Adam Wainwright didn't like Shildt's F-bombs? 

There ya go!

Bring back that Jesus fish on the mound! Unfortunately, that F-bomb speech was from 2019, so, doesn't explain anything.

Unless Shildt has an Urban Meyer problem.

Coronavirus, week 79: This is your brain on COVID

Even relatively mild cases of COVID can cause lasting brain changes, Psy Post reports.

Speaking of "brains on COVID," Allen West has "got it." He claims it's "not serious" but then says he'll likely need to be hospitalized. He's of course taking HCQ (cuz it has a Q in it?) and horse dewormer ivermectin for symptoms. Says his driving challenged wife is vaccinated while admitting he's not.

Brains on COVID include yet another Green on Hucksterman, a former friend, now blocked, passing on bullshit about the vaccines' deadliness and more. Many were gathered via his news settings on Opera's News App, but some came straight from RT.

The Atlantic says that COVID hospitalization rate is becoming a less accurate measure of the current problem with COVID, as many people in there are testing positive with mild symptoms and COVID may not be the primary problem. They've got light symptoms if any, because why? Vaccination. He quotes a doctor saying we need to look at  patients hospitalized from COVID, not with.

For the Texas Progressives weekly blogging roundup, I dropped a trio of new COVID-related posts. I started by noting that it's been a sad banner year already passing 2020. I then talked about vax mandates and how "firewalls" have failed outside the US. I wrapped up by looking at a leading COVID contrarian, or COVID obstructionist, the well-known medical public intellectual Dr. John Ioannides, and wondering what the hell happened to him.

Katelyn Jetelina explains COVID waves.

Orac refutes another round of bullshit from the COVID obstructionists (NOT "contrarians"). Among the actual science? "Natural immunity"fades faster than a vax and is less effective; many mild cases of COVID does not create many antibodies.

October 13, 2021

Trans activists face internal challenges over puberty blockers, surgery for minors

First, a friendly reminder, as I blogged last month, that sex is NOT gender and that the National Institutes of Health says so.

Now, the actual story.

Two British doctors, both transsexuals themselves (sic on the word, as sex is not gender!), Dr. Marci Bowers and child psychologist Erica Anderson, both say that puberty blockers are overprescribed for minors and that surgical procedures, ditto, as first stated on Bari Weiss' Substack and then reported by the Daily Mail.

First, Bowers:

'We zig and then we zag, and I think maybe we zigged a little too far to the left in some cases. 
I think there was naivete on the part of pediatric endocrinologists who were proponents of early [puberty] blockage thinking that just this magic can happen, that surgeons can do anything.' 
She said that the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) could be intolerant of dissenting opinions. 
'There are definitely people who are trying to keep out anyone who doesn't absolutely buy the party line that everything should be affirming, and that there's no room for dissent,' Bowers said.

Tribalism is a biatch, is it not?

Now, I've warned the Dialogue not Expulsion group of current and former Greens about "the company you keep." Ordinarily, I wouldn't reference the Daily Mail and Bari Weiss.

But, mainstream media left no choice, according to Anderson:

Anderson said that she had submitted an op ed to The New York Times warning about the risks of treatments, and the paper turned it down because the story was 'outside our coverage priorities right now.'

There you are. Oh, and I know that's a piece of crap, whether it comes from High Country News years ago with refusing to run the likes of Jim Styles, or the NYT now refusing to run this. You DEFINE what your coverage priorities are, and in the large sense of the word, this is a political decision, Kathleen Kingsbury.

It's even higher-grade bullshit because, per Weiss' piece, guest-authored by Abigail Shrier, Bowers is scheduled to take over leadership of WPATH next year. "Trans activism" and state laws on transsexual issues have been all over media coverage earlier this year, to boot.

The Substack gets into other issues beyond the Daily Mail summary, too. Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, a Dutch psychologist who first latched onto puberty blockers, has also gotten skeptical about their side effects.

I know Mayo Clinic guidelines for when and when not to use puberty blockers AND to not use them in the absence of counseling at the same time, as I told one trans advocate on Twitter last week. (That said, per the Substack, the Mayo Clinic apparently does not note all the physiological problems they may cause.

The pair also noted one other thing I already knew, at that same link above: About 70 percent of juveniles reporting gender dysphoria outgrow it. That said, many outgrow it by realizing they're gays and lesbians of their biological birth sex. And, in some cases, entertaining the idea of being transsexual, for teenage boys especially, may be safer at home than accepting being gay. We're still there, folks.

And, while I don't totally like being even briefer fellow travelers with wingnuts, when the mainstream media offers no option, to riff on an old Texas cliche, I'll dance with who's gonna brung me.

October 12, 2021

Texas Progressives look at elections; we're not cooking with gas

Ruy Teixeira has a breakout on the latest Pew information about Hispanic voting for president last year. Hispanics by all major areas of national origin broke harder for Trump than in 2016. By states, they did so in almost every state but California; Valley Hispanics in Texas were not an outlier. As with Anglos, education, followed by income level, were the biggest variables in predicting Trump or Biden support. 

Off the Kuff documents the latest lawsuit (#6 in a series) against Texas' voter suppression law.

Stace gives us a snapshot of the 2021 Alief ISD Bond propositions as we get ready for the November election.

Texas Election Source draws a maximally competitive Congressional map.

Following up on an item in last week's Roundup, Michele Carew has resigned as Hood County elections administrator after hounding by MAGAts. Pro Publica notes she appears to be part of a growing trend.

Lil Kalish speaks to a volunteer driver at the Bridge Collective, which provides transportation and accommodations to people in central Texas seeking abortions, about their work.

The Texas Politics Project takes a long view at our state's attitudes towards abortion and anti-abortion laws.

Amber Briggle makes the economic case for LGBTQ inclusion in the Texas workforce.

Are Democrats doomed in the Senate for a decade? Ezra Klein discusses what David Shor claims. Klein leaves open the door that Shor is either too simplistic or that some of his claims may be true but based on different data points. I also think Shor is wrong on his claims of why Hillary Clinton lost, and Klein doesn't take that one.

The Fifth Circuit temporarily paused the federal district judge's pause on SB 8, the Texas abortion-killing law. The Trib notes that any places that performed abortions during the pause might be liable to suit, though the doctor who admitted doing one a month ago has yet to face any real suits, from what I recall. And, Texas Right to Life is coy about its plans over this. Shock me, the grifting bastiches.

Former Brazoria County District Clerk Rhonda Barchuk is a Dum Fuq indeed, and most likely a racist one, for her likely illegal method of selecting people for juries, no matter what her attorney says. (The fact she has one illustrates it's a problem. So does the fact that about everybody involved in felony criminal justice in the county knew about this.)

An illegal immigrant appears to have been lynched.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is running his re-election campaign by directly attacking Trump. (Sort of; the body of the story doesn't live up to the header.)

The Hill says most Senate GOPers don't want Trump to run again. But, if he does, they'll collapse like a house of cards before the primaries are half done.

Here's who that "Blacks for Trump" guy really is.

A number of stories have come out in the last year about how a gas stove pollutes the inside of your house or apartment. NPR's is the best I've seen so far. Plus, from a serious car wreck five years ago? I have issues with gas leaks and gas companies' non-responsiveness about them. Every bit we can do to reduce natural gas usage, especially as long as gas utility safety issues are unregulated (as in why they're not required to have a text-message alert system about leaks) is good.

QAnon leads a California man to allegedly kill his own kids.

Speaking of, you really don't want to be a Black kid in particular, or a kid in general, in Rutherford County, Tennessee, where the juvenile court judge is elected, makes $176K, and was born in Mount Juliet, home of another wingnut, Charlie Daniels.

Why is Josh Marshall an apologist for Hucksterman? I don't know the why, but in claiming "there's no willfully bad person doing this," I know the IS is true. Of course, part of "why" is that he's a neoliberal capitalist.

October 11, 2021

Do Southwest's pilots have a leg to stand on, esp. after their apparent sickout?

Last week, Southwest, the last of the major airlines, said it too will meet the Dec. 8 deadline for President Biden's vaccination mandate.

UPdate on that! On Sunday, Oct. 8, per Twitter, Southworst was having to scrub shitloads of flights the whole weekend. Official PR aside, word on the tarmac from some is a sickout by its pilots protesting the mandate. Southwest has a pilots union separate from most other major airlines, and it's been hardnosed in a variety of often good ways. That said, some Twitterati, especially as rumors of a sympathy strike by air traffic controllers bubbled up, said remember St. Ronald of Reagan and PATCO. That also said, SWAPA says its pilots are NOT doing an official OR unofficial sickout.

OTOH, remember that unions can spout PR bullshit just like corporations. And, they not only can, they do.

Per this story, the pilots are claiming that the National Railway Act, which governs union-management issues on airlines as well as railroads, requires negotiations. That cuts BOTH WAYS. Southwest's pilots have shown about zero interest in negotiating. See the NLRB's explainer, first bullet point. And, yes, SWAPA, I can google!

I really don't think they have a leg to stand on. If things get nasty, Southwest might ask for legal discovery on individual pilots social media accounts, vis a vis any possible sickout.

Part of the pilots' original August lawsuit may have merit. But the mandate? I doubt it. 

And, United's pilots have no problems with the mandate, nor does United's full employee fleet:

It's that simple, SWAPA.

Happy Indigenous People's Day

Some thoughts here, about the reality of American Indian lives, via The Conversation.

At the same time? More thoughts here, here, and here, largely focusing on High Country News' "wrongful wokeness" about American Indians, as a reminder that they're human beings who put their pants on one leg at a time, like anybody else.

Potlatch slavery and culture murders and Aztec sacrifices of still-beating hearts aside (yes, all true), racism, tribalism (pun intended), less than perfect environmentalism, are all parts of being an American Indian. 

As for the "native land" of the top link? WHOSE native land? The Sioux were just moving west of the Missouri River in numbers the same time as Lewis and Clark were going up it, having been booted out of Wisconsin by the Ojibwa / Chippewa. The Navajo? The western half of the Arizona part of their reservation and the Utah sliver weren't occupied by them until the 1800s, either. Those are just two of many examples. Do the Sioux want to "neutralize" the Black Hills or even give it to the Shoshone or Arapaho? Do the Navajos want to give land back to the Utes?

There's also a petard-hoisting here. Most American Indians stress that they didn't believe in the past in individual land ownership. True enough. For that matter, if we're using the word "ownership," they didn't believe in tribal land ownership, either. Control? Yes. Ownership, in the "rule of law" sense or even a rough equivalent? No.

Oh, and no, and contra what a non-skeptical leftist like James Loewen says, the Iroquois weren't behind the U.S. Constitution and Chief Seattle didn't say that.

The Conversation, via Pocket, posted wrongfully woke nuttery, from academics, a week ago. Here's my Twitter thread start.

And carry on. You don't need the whole thread, but I'll give you one more tweet:

There you go. That deals with the static locations and hints at the land ownership issue.

October 09, 2021

Blogroll update

As I do every quarter, I have a brief list of blogroll changes. Not all items that get dumped from the blogroll vanish. Some may still be on the links list, but got deblogrolled. Others, though? Full gone.

Like ...

The Daily Poster. David Sirota isn't raking as many Substack bucks as Glennwald, but he's not hurting. While he's not anti-third party, he's not pro-third party, and he's more Dem-wired than he'll admit. Plus, half the pieces or more are paywalled, and the last straw? He's now Tweet-protected his Twitter account, for whatever reason. Bye.

The Adventure guy, and his hiking trips around the Colorado Plateau. I "follow" him on Flickr and get emailed. I've become less enraptured with him when he repeatedly claims to have "captured" a "sunburst" when it's actually a lens filter. (There are ways to actually diffuse the sun, but the "burst" in that case isn't going to be that symmetrical in pattern or color.)

On watchlist

Black Agenda Report. Now that Glenn Ford has followed his better, Bruce Dixon, in passing away, that means the "show" is being run by Xi Jinping Thought Kool-Aid peddlers Margaret Kimberly, followed by Danny Haiphong. They're getting closer to being dumped.

Orac. If the Delta variant hadn't surged, along with wingnuts demanding ivermectin, he'd already be gone, for COVID-related tribalism.

Nautilus. Puts one foot in the world of New Ageyness too often.

Two-Party Opera. Lack of posting, and given the timing on the lack of posting, I wonder if it's Sleepy Joe Biden related.

And, added ... 

Payday Report, by a worker, for workers, seen via DC Babylon. Mike Elk.

Sadly, in updating the blogroll, I launched some new fuckshit from Blogger, which now limits blogrolls to showing a max of ten blogs at a time. So, you folks who do a blogroll alphabetically rather than by most recent post? Might wanna rethink!

I threatened to, once again, export the content and go to WordPress (where I actually have a blog that I've not posted to for a decade). For now, fortunately, I found where to change that in the XML and set it at high enough a number I'll be OK, and know that if I make new additions, I can just change the max number of blogs to display. Or, if I can find the widget tweak that I used to make a scroll out of my blog archive and my links list, I'll do that. Cheap bastards at Google / Alphabet have largely abandoned Blogger support.

I'd like to update my links list, but wonder if it will face the same bullshit.

October 08, 2021

Shohei Ohtani, you're still no Babe Ruth

I had intended a longer post about how special Shohei Ohtani's 2021 season was compared to some past breakouts.

But, that's been delayed two weeks for a special shorter post.

This is an updated post of one I did about this subject from the start of last month, and it's being done for several reasons.

First, now that we're at the end of a season, we can further peruse this debate, especially with debate gearing up for the playoffs and Shohei Ohtani lamenting that the Angels aren't there and broadly hinting they need to do more, though he later said he's perfectly open to signing a new contract with them.

Three years ago David Schoenfield tried to claim that Mike Trout was on track for the best season ever. He was wrong and I thoroughly explained why.

But, Schoenfield has moved on. Now he's hinted that Ohtani might be among the best, and, once again, from what I can see before I hit the ESPN+ paywall he ignores Walter Johnson's GOAT 1913 season. (To be half fair, in 2018, it wasn't just Schoenfield; it was a whole set of ESPN clusterfuckheads.)

So, no, Schoenfield Ohtani's year, while it could have been in the 10-WAR range if he finished out strong, is NOT Babe Ruth . Or Barry Bonds. Or Mike Trout.

And certainly not Walter Johnson.

Also, as for the two-way claims? Well, not totally so fast. In his peak, Johnson appeared as a batter in 55 or so games for several years straight. (That said, most those years, he pitched 48 or more games.) Twice he was over games. In 1914, one year after his peak, he had 160 PAs. In 1918, 167. Rounding up a 0.9 year, he had seven straight years of 1.0 or more WAR at the plate. (Johnson also in 1913 tied his career best in batting with a 109 OPS+. You can see more about Big Train at my post linked up top.

I now see that some dood from Yahoo Sports, Jack Baer, via MSN, has doubled down on Schoenfield's nuttery on Ohtani vs Ruth, and that's what led me do to a separate breakout just on this. And, he's wrong. Ruth tossed 133 innings in 1919 and well enough to have 9.9 combined WAR. Ruth, also being reasonably two-way in 1918, tallied a flat 7 WAR in a season that, for the BoSox in specific, was just 126 games due to WWI. Add 25 percent to 7 WAR, and we're at 8.8, right next to Ohtani's 9.0; Ruth had 382 ABs and 166 IPs in that shortened season. He had 133 IPs in 1919; both cases are higher than Ohtani's.

Bob Gibson, while no Walter Johnson, had a career batting WAR of 7.0. Four times he had a season batting WAR of 0.7 or higher; five times he had 100 or more ABs, not plate appearances.

Ruth also leads me back to one point already discussed in my previous blog post about Ohtani, first raised by commenter David in Minnesota, and a second point I'll discuss further in upcoming posts about Ohtani's season.

The already raised point? Ruth was playing left field (sic, not right, which he did with the Yankees) when not pitching, and not designated hitter, because such a thing didn't exist. Obviously, he was making extra throws with his arm, but he was also putting more stress on his legs. Ruth wasn't the getting-tubby guy of a decade ago, but, it's just that the extra work on his legs, which are key to good pitching, might have been tiring them out more.

The arm? In 1918, Ruth had 121 putouts in the OF (plus a few more at first base). He had 222 in 1919. So, he had that many outfield throws, minimum, plus between-inning warmup tosses.

Now, moving back to Ohtani? His mound/bat WAR split is more even than Ruth's was, and of course, far more than Johnson's. But, the DH-ing is itself some sort of asterisk.

The upcoming point to get discussed more? Ruth did this two years. Call me back in a year from now on Ohtani.

==

One more point on Johnson, and the ESPNers saying in the dead ball and semi-live ball eras, WAR favored pitchers more? He had a career 76 OPS+ at the plate. You'd take that out of a plus-fielding shortstop today. (And, going by games played as a pitcher and as a batter, at his peak, he pinch hit in 7-12 games a year.)

===

And, expanding on something I said in comment to Uber? In both 1918 and 1919, Ruth's WAA as a pitcher wasn't very good. But, his batting WAA relative to his WAR was better than Ohtani's. (For batting appearances AS a pitcher, B-Ref normally sets WAA equal to WAR, which complicates things a bit.

Another way to look at this is WAA won-lost percentage, near the right-hand edge of B-Ref's info. In 1980, Ruth was a touch lower than Ohtani's short 2018 and a fair amount lower than this year on the mound.

As for the population issues? One-third the population going into one-half the teams of today, or just over one-quarter of the population, if we note the exclusion of Black players, going into one-half the teams, would seem to argue for somewhat lessened competition. But, as I noted, the flip side is that the NFL didn't exist in Ruth and Johnson's early parts of their careers, and the NBA and predecessor BAA didn't exist at all. You wanted to be a pro athlete? It was baseball or nothing. There's other things that could be argued both ways. For example, there was no college baseball, but the minor leagues were more robust and competitive than today. Plus, without guaranteed contracts, if you started slipping, an owner had no compunction about dumping you.

October 07, 2021

Texas Progressives discuss more elections-related news

"God's will is being thwarted" in Hood County, by an elections administrator actually doing her job, but who the true wingnuts want replaced with a county clerk who, after Obergefell, resisted giving gay couples marriage licenses. And, Rethugs like former SoS Carlos Cascos who talk about their party eating their own are part of the problem based on previous silence. Even Kenny Boy Paxton defends Michele Carew.

The Trib looks at how redistricting could affect the Valley.

The Monthly looks at some of the most bizarrely gerrymandered U.S. House districts in the Lege's first proposal. I will personally say that being in Michael Burgess' district would be less bad than being in Ronny Jackson's, for two reasons. First, Ronny Jackson. Second, Cooke County would be tied to Denton County, and the advancement of the Metromess, rather than a rural Red River and Panhandle district. At the same time, the reverse cracking and packing due to rural population loss that I expected a year ago is coming to this area, as in exchange for not having any of Cooke County, Jackson WILL, ridiculously, have part of Denton County in his district. "God, Notre Dame and wingnuttery" Pat Fallon will have a sliver of his Fourth also enter Denton County (and Collin) rather than reasonably including Bowie County (Texarkana) along with the rest of the eastern Red River. Colin Allred's 32nd and Mark Veasey's 33rd both look ridiculous.

Off the Kuff took initial looks at the proposed Congressional and State House maps.

RIP Sissy Farenthold.

Rick Hasen worries that the events leading up to Jan. 6, that is, the bizarre lawsuits, Trump trying to pressure state election officials, are not in our rearview mirror, but are rather ever more in front of us.

SocraticGadfly, with connections to his most recent vacation, shows that, based on both the past at Olympic National Park and the present at Point Reyes National Seashore, the National Park Service still simply cannot be trusted to regularly be a good environmental steward.

Former Shrub Bush flunky Matthew JAY Dowd screwed the pooch on the start of his Dem run for Lite Guv. Rather than delete his entire Twitter account, he, or rather "he" and whatever political PR firm he hired, deleted 175K Tweets, as Fox reported. Then, on CNN, he claimed that Fox had "dream(ed) up some conspiracy theory" in reporting this. Actually, Fox was dreaming, smoking crack, or stringing wingnuts when it called Dowd a "left-wing media pundit." In reality, contra Fox, he's a ConservaDem, and if he got the nomination, and the Greens didn't have either A. Any candidate at all or B. A non-nutter, I wouldn't vote for him.

The performative Andrew Yang denies being performative while in the midst of being performative.

Stace laments Houston Cops Being No-Billed for killing of Nicolas Chavez.

The Austin Chronicle reviews a new TV special about the Michael Morton case.

South By Southwest shares its views on the "punitive legislation" being pushed and passed by Republicans.

Steve Vladeck testified before Congress about Texas' unconstitutional abortion ban and the role of the "shadow docket" in SCOTUS letting it stand.

Juanita celebrates the Alex Jones verdict.

Jef Rouner tallies up some of the winners and losers of redistricting so far.

October 06, 2021

Coronavirus, week 78C: Just what DID happen to Ioannides?

Regular readers, who know I write about issues beyond politics in the narrow sense, covering public policy, and people who could be considered public intellectual types, surely know who Dr. John Ioannides is.

People who follow my COVID coverage surely know the starting point for this. 

And, that's that Ioannides, 18 months ago, claimed that COVID would only kill about 10,000 Americans. *See below.

Well, by official statistics, he's sadly wrong by more than 700,000, and in reality, he's probably off by at least 1 million.

Well, not only has he not admitted he was wrong, instead, he's at a minimum engaged in motivated reasoning to try to pretend he was right in spirit, if not reality. At a medium point, he's jumped into various COVID conspiracy theory pools, per Science Based Medicine, or to put it another way, become one of the types of doctors and medical science Ph.Ds he used to criticize, per Wired. At a maximum, he may be a grifter who's making serious bucks for some of his more outrageous pronouncements, and whose colleagues, or co-conspirators, have suckered places like Scientific American into publishing opinion pieces by fellow conspirators under claims of being straight news.

Since that original Not.Even.Wrong claim? 

He's said that ER doctors don't know how or when to best intubate COVID patients. He's claimed that doctors have listed COVID as cause of death on death certificates either because they overestimate COVID being involved, or, in a more dangerous assertation (that makes me wonder how much he's grifting himself) that either they or their admitting hospitals make bucks (from who, the feds?) for writing out such death certificates. The SciAm piece engaged in something else "old" Ioannides would have excoriated other researchers for doing: not disclosing conflicts of interest. Per the update there, a link to a BuzzFeed piece busts a study cited by Ioannides for something else he has excoriated other researchers for in the past: replication problems. And, his own claims about death certificates and COVID causality cite a study with only 57 cases. Small sample size! Big cause of replication problems. Another BuzzFeed piece documents has participants for that study were recruited on unethical (and scientifically non-controlled) premises, and also notes that the study designer was the now-infamous Great Barrington quack Jay Bhattacharya. (The co-grifters at SciAm, in another piece that WAS labeled as opinion, mischaracterize what Great Barrington is all about, even ignoring its herd immunity thrust and claims.)

And, Ioannides remains unrepentantly wrong about other things, namely about how hospitals, as of what he claimed one year ago, were prepped to handle new surges. Not.Even.Close. even as I type.

The Wired piece, by David Freedman, was pretty broadly, though not quite overly, charitable as of its date of writing, May 1 of last year. Today, it looks semi-laughable.

But, back to the top. SBM has the goods on Ioannides from just two weeks ago. Dr. John Howard says he continues to double down on botched intubation claims, and now with child deaths. He claims that child vaccinations for COVID will cause enough shedding, or whatever his reasoning is, to infect more vulnerable adults. (Well, gee, John, maybe "vulnerable" adults need to get vaccinated!) He most recently made his claim that doctors and hospitals are grifting off death certificates in July. Last fall, long after he was Not.Even.Wrong on the low end of death claims, he appeared to be touting herd immunity for kids already a year ago, opposing school closings. (See below.)

I asked the SBM author, on Twitter, if he'd directly asked Ioannides if he supports herd-based immunity for kids on measles, since "measles parties" are big among the antivaxxer crowd. I then directly emailed him the same question. Him, Ioannides, that is. I added the question of wondering whether he shouldn't question the whole normal child vax schedule if that's his stance on COVID.
 
I won't directly quote, but, OTOH, he should know things like this aren't totally off the record.
 
He claims he's an ardent supporter of vaccination, denies he promotes herd immunity and calls SBM irresponsible.

My honest take?

* I think Ioannides is oh, about 10 percent sinned against. The 10,000 dead was at the low end of a range, but he did emphasize that low end. And, many researchers he's nailed in the past have likely been waiting to deliver comeuppance.

I'll charitably grant another 10 percent to him for critics treating him uncharitably in the first three-six months after COVID hit. But that's it.

On the rest? The remaining 80 percent falling in his own lap? 
 
Even when he's not been outrightly wrong, he's invited abuse from some of the smugness and non-caveating. And, you're known by the company you keep. That is, Jay Bhattacharya. OR the iffy (but probably not as bad as you) Vinay Prasad, on whose podcast you appeared. It's up to you to provide separation, doctor, not SBM. Ditto on the "well, the old were about to die anyway" that you've said more than once about COVID morbility. If you don't want to sound like Dan Patrick, that's your fault, not SBM's. (Orac has just called out Prasad for going Godwin's Law on public health restrictions. And, COVID obstructionists [they're more than COVID contrarians] are claiming pieces like this are antisemitic.)

As for irresponsible? I wouldn't call SBM that! But, via Massimo Pigiucci and John Horgan, I've had run-in's with SBM's Novella Bros. before.
 
I first wondered, when an Institute for Science Based Medicine was formed, if THEY were grifting. Horgan didn't directly use that word, but called out both them and Orac over the issue of American medicine overtesting, often for money.

There's smugness to go around. (But maybe Ioannides' is much older than we first recognized? Maybe he's long pushed the "maverick scientist" angle and gotten nailed? Of course that link is by Orac, who's long pushed the tribalism angle.)

At the same time, Horgan was also critical of Ioannides already in November, over the death estimates issues. BUT? Not critical enough. Given Horgan went after SBM in part because of the money involved in medical overtesting, not noting that Bhattacharya's study was funded by the founder of Jet Blue, and other issues? John, you pulled your punches. (He's admitted that he did so and says that he still admires and likes him too much to go further.)

And, beyond smugness? I'll file the charge of gaslighting, too. After emailing you my rhetorical questions and links, including the one SBM piece, you said everybody needs to look at your research. That SBM link I sent HAD MULTIPLE LINKS to your research. I "click through" as well as actually reading the original, as warranted.

And, sorry to Horgan, but this is as charitable as I can be.

Dr. Ioannides? Another story about hospitals overflowing their capacity, just weeks ago.

Officially a COVID banner year in 2021

"Congrats" to COVID anti-vaxxers, AND to public health wingnuts including everybody from Trumpists to Glenn Greenwald! Coronavirus has killed more people in the US this year than last year.

Meanwhile, the wingnuts continue to seek out fake vaccine cards, driving the price of them up and getting more people arrested for peddling them, rather than just getting a fucking shot. And, smuggled ivermectin (maybe it's fake, too?) is also on the rise, rather than just getting a fucking shot.

Also, the first link's overall US death toll seems to be at least 20,000 low, per Worldometers.

And, speaking of, its graphs are worth noting. (They're not link-postable pictures, sorry.) Both daily cases and daily deaths


Don't read Adam Tooze

This is an extended version of my Goodreads review of his new book "Shutdown," along with an essay of his I found at Noema Magazine about how China dodged the early post-USSR Russian implosion.

Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World's Economy

Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World's Economy by Adam Tooze
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Problematic and troubling technocratic narrative

The "problematic and troubling" is NOT about the material in the narrative. It's not about "all shall bow before Xi Jinping." Rather, the narrative itself (including Tooze's take on China and COVID) is what's problematic and troubling. And, like British new leftist Perry Anderson's take on Tooze's "Crashed," I speak from several degrees to his left, albeit here in America, not the UK. But, I'm not close to a Trumpist, contra other low reviewers.

A deeply problematic book.

By page 11, Tooze is describing Dems’ Green New Deal as though it were pristine and unsullied, rather than a watered-down ripoff of the Green Party’s original. If a centrist mag like Atlantic or a left-center (but moving a bit more left) site like TNR (can’t remember which one) could report this, why can’t Tooze have it?

Especially since he doubles down on this story. And does so mulitiple times.

Probably because it would spoil his narrative.

The narrative? With a plasticine definition of “neoliberalism,” the main narrative by page 30 seems to be that neoliberalism can stretch to fit anything, just as much as his definition of it. The ergo that comes from that is that, if neoliberalism got anything wrong before, a better version of it will fix things in the future.

Also by page 30, he downplays the more baleful parts of neoliberalism in the west (inequality gap grows) and globally (increased climate change by carbon and other pollution being exported to places with less regulation and increased exploitation of workers, especially minorities like China’s Uyghurs).

In other words, we’ve got a book written by a technocratic neoliberal celebrating the “pragmatic” work of most central banks and using that pragmatism to underpin his plasticine.

Other problems, some bigger, arise after that.

The first and foremost is Tooze’s assumption that China controlled COVID as well as it claimed it controlled it. Even before he makes this claim / accepts this assertion, he’s undercut it by talking about Chinese restrictions on COVID-related information leaving the country. (As I write up this review, per Worldometers, China claims less than 5K COVID deaths, a number that’s laughable. It reports fewer total cases than Rwanda, also laughable.) We also have good evidence that larger nations of East Asia, like Vietnam, haven’t controlled COVID as well as they have claimed, or as their reflexively anti-American parroters in the West have claimed. Then, there’s the related vaccine issue. China’s is worse than anything developed in the West. And, the most Westernized Asian nation, Japan, was a flop on distributing Western vaccines.

In the last full chapter of the book, Tooze really jumps the shark, with his claims about efficaciousness of the Chinese and Russian vaccines.

Sinopharm has much less study than Western vaccines. Plenty of news stories note this. They also note that inactivated virus vaccines may have less potency than mRNA or adenovirus jabs. Tooze ignores all of this. He also ignores that China had reported only relatively limited clinical trial data.

Sputnik V? Production problems. It’s why WHO never approved it. And, its clinical trial data was so bad to leave open the question of data manipulation.

Also ignored.

Now, more details on some of this only came out after Tooze's book, but some of this information was out there last year, or at the start of this. And, if he didn't have a chance to know of this, he shouldn't have made the claims he did. (Amazon has a pub date of Sept. 7, 2021, to be precise, so that largely removes even that excuse.)

And, on this, with me already seeing this as a three-star book, it fell to two stars.

There was one final failure in the conclusion. Tooze talks about the “huge East-West gradient” in dealing with COVID. Of course, he bases this on accepting Chinese data, or lack if it, at face value, and ditto for Vietnam and some other nations. At the same time, he ignores the clusterfuck response of one major East Asian nation, Japan. He also ignores that at least one “Western” nation, New Zealand, did generally quite well.

Beyond all of this, some of his tangents, like Middle Eastern rivalries becoming more exacerbates, aren’t really even tangentially connected to COVID.

If this is a “grand narrative,” which he calls it, then it’s a dime-novel version of one.

And, at that point, before getting to the conclusion of my original review, I want to talke about his Noema piece. It ties with his intellectual dishonesty about China expressed repeatedly throughout "Shutdown." I call it intellectual dishonesty because a professor at Columbia who writes for international public and foreign policy magazines knows the truth about China issues (and should know the truth about things like the Green New Deal).

The piece is all about how China, in the late 1980s, avoided Russia's implosion at the end of the USSR and start of the new Russian Federation. And, yes, China may have had good leadership and smart economists, but the amount of difference in their situations, HUGE differences, is all omitted by Tooze.

First, China was a member of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank since 1980, when the membership it had since 1945 was stripped from the Republic of China and given to the People's Republic. Remember that James Earl Carter, arguably our first neoliberal president, was in the White House then and not St. Ronald of Reagan. Russia didn't get membership in either organzation until 1992.

Ditto on most-favored-nation status. Russia didn't get that until 1992, either. And, in all three cases, US strings were attached that weren't for China. Again, Tooze knows all this. And, given that Noema started out of a partnership with the WaPost and Puff Hoes, the turd-polishing of China, and the shin-kicking of Russia, shouldn't be surprising. Bipartisan foreign policy establishmentarian par for the course. I don't recognize all the names on the editorial board, but I see enough. Walter Isaacson, writer of crappy modern history books and bios and Aspen Institute "guru"; Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn; Fareed Zakaria of Beltway media; Pico Iyer; and Puff Hoes founder Arianna Huffington. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong of the LA Times etc.

And with that, I not only recommend against reading this book, but as with select other authors, I recommend against reading Tooze in the future, period. His lack of engagement with COVID facts, especially vis-a-vis Beijing, is troubling.

View all my reviews

October 05, 2021

Coronavirus week 78B: Odds and ends on vax mandates, firewalls

Texas schools have already had more COVID cases this school year than all of the previous one. That was already the case late last month; the weekly case numbers are declining, but still higher than they were the last week in August and the first week in September.

The state has crossed the 50 percent mark on people fully vaccinated. My wingnut county is approaching the one-third mark. Hispanic vax rates are technically lower than for Whites, but it's only 1 percentage point, and most of the state's counties with the HIGHEST vax rates are in the Valley!

Havana Ted / Cancun Ted is now trying to own the libs by touting his love for antivax NBA players.

===

American, Alaska and Jet Blue have joined United in vaccine mandates among major and semi-major airlines. The NYT explains United's reasoning, noting that, as a major international carrier, with pilots and flight attendants, this moved beyond being a US issue. (It would also cover ground personnel outside the US, re international vaccine mandates.) Jet Blue and Alaska say it will be by Dec. 8, which is a Biden Administration deadline for federal contractors, and all the major airlines are just that. American has released no deadline, but obviously, it will be by then. Meanwhile, per the first link, Delta and Southwest are sitting on their asses. Delta is charging unvaccinated employees higher insurance premiums; Southworst, as far as I know, is doing nothing, even though their rash COVID-related flight cancellations one-two months ago nearly fucked up the end of my vacation. Also per that first link, Delta said it's "evaluating Biden's order." Southwest said the same, per NPR. In both cases, pilots unions are pushing back.

But, Southwest now says it too will meet the Dec. 8 deadline.

UPdate on that! On Sunday, Oct. 8, per Twitter, Southworst was having to scrub shitloads of flights the whole weekend. Official PR aside, word on the tarmac from some is a sickout by its pilots protesting the mandate. Southwest has a pilots union separate from most other major airlines, and it's been hardnosed in a variety of often good ways. That said, some Twitterati, especially as rumors of a sympathy strike by air traffic controllers bubbled up, said remember St. Ronald of Reagan and PATCO. That also said, SWAPA says its pilots are NOT doing an official OR unofficial sickout.

OTOH, remember that unions can spout PR bullshit just like corporations.

Per this story, the pilots are claiming that the National Railway Act, which governs union-management issues on airlines as well as railroads, requires negotiations. That cuts BOTH WAYS. Southwest's pilots have shown about zero interest in negotiating. See the NLRB's explainer, first bullet point.

===

Speaking of deltas, the delta variant has broken through New Zealand's firewall. No surprise, really. International supply chains are being affected in part by COVID surges in Vietnam, touted largely by reflexive anti-Americanists as a COVID miracle last fall and this spring.

Coronavirus week 78A: Wrongly preparing for the next "big one"

At the Atlantic, Ed Yong encourages "us," that is, US policy makers, public health officials, and others, to look ahead to the next pandemic, since "we" have botched doing that before. Without saying the words "national healthcare," he says addressing its current state is high on the list. Sleepy Joe Biden, albeit being hamstrung by a split Senate with Sinister Kyrsten Sinema on the dole from drug companies, has done nothing about this. He can't hide behind her anyway, as he told Dems a year ago he'd do nothing.

Yong adds that what Status Quo Joe IS funding is "magic bullet" stuff that Merika loves but, that because it's not the unsexy basics of public health, is wrong. He notes that Robert Koch's rightly praised work on germ theory has allowed magic-bullet loving Merika to focus on the wrong stuff with medical cover.

Finally, as Biden touts infrastructure, the infrastructure of university departments, offices for city, county and state agencies, and other infrastructure aspects of public health are themselves crumbling, Yong says.

In turn, this isn't surprising, either.

America loves to build big, flashy shit. Trump was the epitome of that, but not alone.

America does NOT like to do the unsexy work of maintaining things. Or fund it.

Add in that wingnuts' attacks related to COVID have primarily focused on public health issues, and the problem is complete.

October 04, 2021

Top blogging for September: Afghanistan, COVID pieces still ride high, plus a blast from the Bill Nye past

Again, this is the list of the most popular posts DURING the last month. Not all were written IN the past month.

No. 1 is an old post from 2014 that's gotten new popularity (and I don't think due to bot-related action). It's about who won the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate. I told atheists Gnu and old alike that Bill Nye the Attention Whore (more accurate moniker for him) did NOT win.

(You can see the Ken Ham photoshopping at the link. I wanted to display another piece of mine instead, about another religious wingnut.)

No. 2 is from the start of the month, telling ESPN's David Schoefield and others to go light on the Shohei Ohtani superlatives about this season because it's only one season, there's the GOAT year of Walter Johnson, consider Babe Ruth (and how the BoSox, pre-sale to the Yankees already) were shifting him off the mound, and more. (I'll have further thoughts after the season is over.)

No. 3 is from the latter half of September, and courtesy an Arkansas hospital CEO, I punk pro-lifers and others, re religious exemptions to COVID vaccines based on fetal stem cell concerns.

No. 4 is also from just a couple of weeks ago and also COVID-related. It's about how Rolling Stone semi-screwed a pooch, but more, got unwittingly screwed by a doctor making an unsubstantiated claim, but how Drew Holden then made unsubstantiated claims of his own in the name of COVID-resistant wingnuttery and trying to own the libs. Dr. Jason McElyea has apparently still not caveated what Rolling Stone picked up from his comments to Oklahoma teevee.

No. 5? Also from last month, about how former Counterpunch editor Alexander Cockburn likely lied in claiming the Taliban made a no-strings-attached, conditions-free offer to surrender Osama bin Laden. (And, that doesn't totally shock me.)

No. 6? Refuting a shitload of COVID misinformation.

No. 7? My supportive take on Douglas Rushkoff, a left-liberal foe of tech-neoliberals, saying we need Basic Assets even more than Basic Income.

No. 8, like No. 5, challenged Counterpunch Afghanistan claims. In this case, I rejected the claims of Alex's younger brother Patrick (and the framing behind them) that the Taliban were undisputed masters of Afghanistan now.

No. 9? Back to the coronavirus. I called out Sam Husseini for engaging in horseshoe theory leftist misstatements about WIV and the reality of what gain of function is, and is not.

No. 10? For Labor Day, as federal job benefits expired in states still participating, I wondered about the longer-term future of former restaurant and retail workers who refused to go back to crappy workplaces.

Lab meat ain't happening

This great longform piece explains why commercial lab meat, cultured meat, whatever term you use, is NOT coming to your dinner plate at an affordable price by 2030 and probably by 2050.

I had long been somewhat skeptical of energy costs. Related to that, I've been skeptical of environmental benefits, especially climate change ones, assuming the electricity for this wouldn't all be renewable by any means. 

This story doesn't focus on that.

Instead, it looks at the processing sterility issue, which was No. 2 on my skepticism list.

To explain? To grow lab meat, you've got to have a clean room. As in, not just generically clean, but something on the approximately level of cleanness as a computer chip manufacturing clean room.

Just one problem. Computer chips are light and small.

Sides of beef are not.

Joe Fassler's take is that this not only is VERY likely not "scalable" to the size needed for economies of scale to cause major price drops, but that it pretty much may not be that scalable period.

All it takes is one scare of hamburgers being contaminated with lab e coli, even though this happens all the time in the regular hamburger sales world, to sink it, right?

As for the economies of scale issue, look at how much more "fake meat" costs than the real thing, and also note how it's limited still to just burgers and sausage at this time.

===

So, the "Impossible Burger" and siblings?

No, not so much.

First, for various reasons, they're still a lot more pricey than meat, though not so much to be not at all in the commercial ballpark.

Second, it's LESS HEALTHY. Yes, you read that right. Impossible itself has as much saturated fat as beef and much more sodium. That offsets the advantage of no cholesterol. Plus, it IS a processed food, and per that link, at least as of two years ago, and contra the PR fellating of Genetic Literacy Project, not all ingredients had been independently tested.

Third, and also per that piece, the energy inputs for faked meat, while not nearly as high as lab meat, could well be higher than for actual beef, and certainly higher than, for say, grass-fed beef.

The real answer?

Per that old commercial: "Eat less beef."

You don't have to be a vegetarian. But, if everybody in the US cut their beef and pork eating by one half, poultry by one third, and fish stayed even so as not to overfish, that would be a huge change right there, and one a lot less pricey than faked meat, let alone lab meat.

October 01, 2021

The National Park Service REALLY can't be trusted

The history of Olympic National Park and the National Park Service not wanting to run that park (and instead the Forest Service keeping it, as it already ran Olympic National Monument, the precursor), then not wanting a "big Olympic," then letting logging continue in the park for more than a decade after being forced to accept a big Olympic, all documented by Carsten Lien, per my extended review of "Olympic Battleground," has shown that, in the past, the National Park Service can't really be trusted to be an environmental-minded agency, and only looks well within the federal government when compared to the Forest Service, BLM, and Fish and Wildlife.

Well, past is prologue.

And, as shown at Point Reyes, with the Park Service breaking the original agreement, and extending the leases to cow-shitting, cow-farting, climate change inducing, tule elk harassing (and possibly killing) and indirectly, plover-killing ranches inside the national seashore, shows that with the NPS, the past is prologue to a possibly even more corrupt present.

And, since the NPS has no director at this time, though Sleepy Joe Biden had nominated an acting director before this deal with the devil was made, this means that NPS career staff (and by silence, at a minimum, Point Reyes staff) made this deal, not some political flunky.

Speaking of political flunkies? Pseudo-environmental Congresscritter Jared Huffman has his fingerprints all over this, even to the point of bamboozling Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, possibly, unless she was a willing self-gaslighter.

It's people like him, and the lauding he gets from mainstream environmental groups, that disgust me about today's Democratic Party and its mainstream environmentalist apparatchiks. The California and Bay Area Sierra Clubs, for example, say NOTHING about getting people to comment on Interior's comment process, which ended Sept. 13, per that link above. They say NOTHING bad about Huffman.

And, I have personal experience, at least possibly, with this issue.

I may have almost hit a tule (if it wasn't a blacktail) two months ago on vacation, in that very area. It was dark, the last full day of vacation, and I was cutting over from Point Reyes back to the 101 at Olema ... just west of Fairfax, either a tule or a blacktail jumped out and crossed the road. It was really too dark for me to tell for sure, moonless night, and the relative closeness of it, plus me in a rental after driving the Surfside Highway a full day, had my nerves a bit jangled. 

If it WAS a tule, I blame the Park Service and or the ranchers for hazing it as part of why it jumped in front of me.

I also, per point 7 of the leases link, saw the beaches closed or restricted in access to protect snowy plover habitat; as Counterpunch notes, the cows attract ravens, which feed on plover eggs when not feeding on anything cow-associated.

So, fuck Jared Huffman in his hypocritical ass and the same for the Sierra Club.

September 30, 2021

COVID Week 77B: Various new nuttery

How bad is COVID in Texas schools? The Trib says that cases for the new school year have already topped all of last year. More ammo for superintendents in their battles against Strangeabbott.

A Canadian study that prompted claims that vaxxes would greatly increase heart inflammation odds was wrong and has been retracted.

Shock me that Kyrie Irving is at the heart of NBA players and COVID denialism/minimalism, and even worse, a COVID conspiracy theorist.

Eoin Higgins writes about lefty types who have jumped down the the COVID denial rabbit hole.

Scott Lincicome and other CATO nutters claim Biden's vax mandate is unconstitutional. Lincicome, who works for CATO, also lies about herd immunity studies. I Tweeted him what I blogged last week.

His ilk, libertarians, mixed with Trumpists who are an ideological mess in some ways, not the left, are the biggest problem, and they're NOT "vax hesitant." They're vax resistant, or even vax refusing. Here's Eric Boehlert. Here's the NYT on "red COVID."

Top that with NBC reporting that denialists are telling each other to take loved ones out of hospitals and not go there themselves. Part of the conspiracy theory is that they'll die of "something" in there and thus the hospitals will get more money. Part of it is so that they can "treat" these people at home with ivermectin, iodine, and now, new to me, nebulized hydrogen peroxide.

(Dr. Wes) Ely said this patient was not alone, and that some of those who refuse the vaccine “just keep denying until they’re dying.” 
“And let me say, this is not rare. You asked me what I’m hearing, and this is happening. Real time. Right now.”

NBC also notes that this has led to assaults against hospital personnel.

A Gallup poll reinforces this. The extended poll shows not huge gaps between R's and D's, among people identifying with the two major parties, on vaccination rates.

Once again, neoliberal Dum Fuqs like Yasmin Tayag writing stories on the basis of dealing with rational actors are half as bad as the actual denialist Dum Fuqs.