SocraticGadfly: 2/14/21 - 2/21/21

February 20, 2021

More SJW pandering: High Country News still doesn't want me back

I think it's been three full years now since I cancelled my digital-only subscription to a magazine I once loved but with which I now have a love-frustration relationship. (That applies, IMO, to some relationships you and I have with other people, too; love-frustration is much more the thing than stereotypical love-hate.)

Anyway, just after New Year's, HCN offered me a rock bottom buck an issue digital only subscription. I pondered a few days, then said "no" to myself. 

Thank doorknob.

The magazine that pandered to Melanin Base Camp a couple of years ago and let it run a passel of lies under guise of an opinion piece is back again.

This time, it's over a piece, one co-published elsewhere, I believe (like elements of Melanin Base Camp) that dives into social justice warrior pandering. It's about state CROWN acts that would let Black women wear their hair in "natural" ways and would also require more transparency on "natural" hair products for Black women over possible toxicity.

There's both hypocrisy and an elemental logical fallacy in the piece.

The hypocrisy? For Blacks, "straightened" hair is not natural, no more than Whites getting a curling iron and more for Afros. (Indeed, two of five pictures in a slide show at the piece show Black women with straightened hair.) And, many Black women's "natural" hair care products, especially many with the most toxicity? Straighteners.

The elementary logical fallacy is of course the naturalistic fallacy. As I tweeted back to HCN, and the author after tagging her in a follow-up tweet, angel-cap mushrooms and arsenic are both perfectly natural.

And, I said "no" to the same $12 subscription offer last summer for myriad other reasons. They include failure to distinguish between carbon cap-and-trade and carbon tax, failure to correct errors in a story about inland ports, and (additional hypocrisy and irony alerts) running a puff piece about "real Cherokees vs Elizabeth Warren" that .... ignored Black Cherokees! (I forgot to link, in that "myriad" piece, publishing Indian legend and noble savage myth as truth.)

Half of the good stuff, or at least interesting stuff, they do have anymore, comes either from The Climate Desk at The Guardian or from Hakai Magazine as co-published. There's also issues about claiming their website was/is clunky while already, years ago, it had Javascript warnings whenever you'd right-click a picture, warning you that copying was not allowed.

February 19, 2021

Post-capitalism of a sort: Specific example

In comments at another blog post, Tiago asked me, per my graphic, what exactly I meant by a non-Marxist post-capitalism rather than anti-capitalism. 

I can now offer a specific example. I'm not saying I agree with it totally, nor am I saying it's the only post-capitalist option out there, but? "Doughnut economics," as described in this story, are one example, and an example with an explicitly environmental focus. Is it perfect? Of course not? Is it even going to wind up being the best option? As currently formulated, likely no. Is it a good starting point, despite bashing from non-wingnut conservatives to Branko Milanovich on the left? I say yes. Robert Hunziker has his take on doughnut economics at Counterpunch.

February 18, 2021

Texas Progressives have some warmth for the winter's record cold

Speaking of said cold, last week, Gov. Strangeabbott, ERCOT, et al, warned about possible rolling blackouts. I "Loooovvveeeee" how ERCOT, Rethuglican state leaders, and some Democraps as well, all love to brag about how Texas' electric grid is largely unconnected from the rest of the nation — until that's a problem. I was in Odessa a decade ago when we had a storm dip down there with snow and single-digit lows. Tex-ass, esp. in that area, had to "borrow" electricity from across the river in Mexico. It's just another part of the bullshit called "Texas exceptionalism."

Reminder to wingnuts: This is why we use the term "Climate change," which includes but is not restricted to, "global warming." Note to #BlueAnon: This is a reminder of why Status Quo Joe's "climate action plan" is bullshit, and AOC's Democrat version of the "Green New Deal" ain't much better, especially in light of her actions, or lack thereof, related to it since becoming a Congresscritter.

Reminder 2 to wingnuts: Will you defend Havana Ted Cruz now becoming Cancun Ted? 

So, from the frozen-in-spots Red River, let's dig in.


Real estate bimbo Jenna Ryan is the latest Capitol seditionist to trot out the Nuremberg defense even as Corona Cornyn and Havana Ted Cruz joined with the great majority of Senate Rethuglicans to acquit Der Grüppenführer. 

Hypocrisy, chutzpah and more. Dad who believed in #StartTheSteal drove his 18-year-old son to DC on Jan. 6. He participated in Start the Sedition and is charged with assaulting a cop. Dad wants kid released to him rather than held in confinement.

Could Trump be tried for election fraud? The Fulton County (Ga.) DA is looking at it.

Lincoln/Black History

SocraticGadfly, for Lincoln's Birthday and Black History Month, looked critically at two new history books that try to make Lincoln into St. Abraham of Lincoln in one particular area.

You may have heard of Prince Hall Masons. Here's what you should know about their namesake, per some Black History Month news.


Good fucking bye to Austin police chief Brian Manley, who shows how "liberal" in Austin more and more is white techno-neoliberalism, given how long the city manager and city council have co-signed his bullshit before now.

Off the Kuff looks at the possibility of appellate court redistricting in this legislative session.

If you're a high schooler, no, sorry, you don't get a complete pass on taking STAAR.


Police union grift in New Jersey gets detailed. It's probably worst there, like many things New Jersey, but it's still cautionary.

Rick Casey connects the Capitol insurrection and the Republican push for voting restrictions to the Big Lie of voter fraud.  

Therese Odell sorts through the voluminous evidence in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.  

Space City Weather explains how we get snow instead of sleet or freezing rain.  

The Great God Pan Is Dead brings us a little D.H. Lawrence.  

Paradise in Hell lets us in on the secret of the most affordable city in America.  

Andrea Zelinski tries to make sense of Texas secessionists.

February 17, 2021

Hot take on uncritical leftists supporting Jimmy Dore Thought

As regular readers here know, I've done several blogposts about uncritical, nonskeptical leftists peddling, and drinking themselves, the Kool-Aid of Xi Jinping Thought.

Now it's time to turn domestically and look at Jimmy Dore Thought for the first time.

I just do not get why Greens like David Bruce Collins think Jimmy Dore is a good dood, ignoring that his political framing on Force the Vote was likely wrong, and all of Dore's other issues.

Oh, yes, all those "other issues."

Per Rational Wiki, with which I do NOT fully agree on what is conspiracy and what is conspiracy theory, Dore is:
A JFK conspiracy theorist;
A 9/11 falser;
A Seth Rich conspiracy theorist.

This ignores his bromance with/whitewashing of the Boogaloo Bois, which DBC also ignores. That said, elsewhere, DBC ignores Caity Johnstone's past support of red-brown alliances in trumpeting her calls for "unity" on the left.

Sidebar: Dunno about Dore, but Greenwald is also a sexist, which DBC may not know. Glennwald has sexism going back 25 years, and yes, gays, despite bigotry against them, can be sexist — in fact, some of the most vociferous sexism I've run across has been from gays.)

Given that many people, like Bob Fisk at Douma, have pointed out realities otherwise, Rational Wiki is full of shit in saying that claims that Assad didn't do every chemical weapons attack attributed to him is a conspiracy theory. And, sometimes Rational Wiki is not just wrong, it's full of shit, and there's no other way to put it. I've done an editing note, similar to ones at Wikipedia, and we'll see if it sticks. (That said, this and related issues, such as whether OPCW has internally lied about some of this or not, is in many ways a cesspool.)

And, if people claim I'm hypocritical? No, based on how I know how to use evidence and critical thinking, I know the difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory. So, both conspiracy theorists and Rational Wiki can go get stupid.

February 16, 2021

Nature Bats Last 1, Texas Exceptionalism 0

That's the running score from Winter Storm Sucks-Ass, though I am sure that Congresscritter Chainsaw Dan Crenshaw is far from the only Tex-ass wingnut to claim otherwise.

Despite the Electric Reliability Council of Texas itself saying that frozen controls at ALL non-renewable power plants were a serious problem with electric generation AND that it knew in advance that some wind turbines would be offline due to icing, AND that their lost power was only a small percentage as compared to the much larger loss from frozen controls, etc., ALL as documented by Politifact ...

That didn't stop Chainsaw Dan Crenshaw from lying his ass off on Twitter.

In a Tweetstorm of epic stupidity even by his standards, he tried to not only blame renewables, but blame California for doing some sort of Vulcan mind meld on Texans to pawn off renewables.

How do you deal with that?

Well, moving beyond Politifact, the REAL problem is one that Texas exceptionalists often boast about as not a problem, or even a benefit.

That is that Texas' electric power grid is largely disconnected from the rest of the nation.

And, this is NOT the first time that's backfired.

West Texas, the High Plains and Permian, had a pretty back cold snap a decade ago. Texas had to "borrow" electricity from Mexico.

Indeed, the StartleGram's editorial board references this (well, in terms of how it messed up Jethro Jerry Jones' Super Bowl) and says, bluntly, heads need to roll at ERCOT. 

The Chronic piles on, in a news story with this quote:

The ERCOT grid has collapsed in exactly the same manner as the old Soviet Union,” said Hirs. “It limped along on underinvestment and neglect until it finally broke under predictable circumstances.

Sadly, a lot of ConservaDems in Tex-ass have peddled the ERCOT Kool-Aid right along with Rethuglicans.

Coronavirus week 45: Local COVIDIOTs, gummint ties? And more about the British variant, and mask battles

The first half of the header relates to the photo above. I was at the Gainesville Tom Thumb Saturday; it had BOGO on Peet's coffee. It wasn't until I was in line ... and shifted from an express line I thought would be slower to one I thought would be faster (and was wrong) that I noticed the person in front of me in the new line was maskless. And, by the time I got to the checkout, I also noticed that people in what was now the line on my right were maskless. And, it was crowded due to Snowmaggedon panic buying. Anyway, I couldn't get my smartphone out quickly enough, then turned from "selfie" lens to "you" lens, to get a pic of the person in front of me, who was with another person, until after they were checked out and out the doorway. And, I try not to be too blatant when I do this; I didn't want to shoot pix of people in the next line while I was checking out.

Anyway, I saw the car this pair of ladies got in, and I shot the picture above while the passenger was in it. The driver had parked their shopping cart and was coming back, and saw me and yelled at me for taking a photo. I yelled at her for her passenger being maskless. Worse? While the plate may be California, the driver had on a City of Gainesville Parks and Rec Department sweatshirt. AFAIK, the driver doesn't work for the city's Parks and Rec Dept. I don't know if they work for the city at all or not.

As for Tom Thumb? I know they're busy. I also know that COVIDIOTs are kind o rampant here. Bad enough in Denton two weeks ago, at least at Winco. That said, I gave Tom Thumb a shot again two-three weeks ago after not going there since November. I haven't gone to Wally at all. And, they're going to be boycotted again for a couple months.

• This all plays out under the shadow of Texas passing 40,000 coronavirus deaths.

• The so-called British variant? Per Wired UK, maybe we should call it a mega-variant, as it picked up 17 genetic changes at once in its first big change. (Remember that it has since picked up some of the changes that originally distinguished the South African variant.) It appeared to have acquired these all at once, inside a COVID "long hauler," which in turn offers cautions about evolutionary changes in other long haulers, I would think.

• The battle for masks in the main city in the worst-hit county in the worst-hit (and most stubbborn) state: Read about the fight for COVID sanity in Minot, North Dakota.

• Instagram has banned RFK Jr for being an antivaxxer COVIDIOT.

• Childhood vaccines may be here by fall.
• A week ago, I wondered if metropolitan areas had overworried school closings. Now, the CDC has issued guidelines for opening.

• Especially if you're a worker in a right-to-be-fired state like Tex-ass, your boss or company can boot you if you refuse the vaccine. That said, SHOULD it? Skeptical Raptor looks at broader ethical and public policy issues. That said, 10 states, including some with high woo factors, are considering state laws to override the EEOC.

• The first COVID cases in China, it now appears, were actually in October 2019, not December. The question now is, how much did Beijing, or at least Wuhan and WIH, know this all along?

• Collin College has a president who is a COVID minimalist at best, as well as hating the First Amendment. That said, if the fired instructors were "instructors" (ie, adjuncts) and not tenured profs (likely, as community colleges use primarily adjuncts and Collin is at 62 percent) they're likely SOL on getting reinstated. Even if not adjuncts, community colleges generally don't have "tenure track" faculty the same way four-year or four-year plus graduate colleges and universities do. And, since Tex-ass is a "right to get fired" state ...

• Texas Monthly touts DIY coronavirus testing stations and notes that many of them have served minority populations and others that have been underserved. Problem? Story doesn't look at accuracy rates of these mom-and-pop testing shops.

• Much as #BlueAnon likes to tout Lina Hidalgo at the helm in Harris County, at least at the national level, having a woman as leader doesn't lead to better COVID outcomes. (Hell, Kristi Noem shows that.) Rather, it's the macho, or lack thereof, in the SOCIETY. And we all know about the posturing of Der Grüppenführer.

February 14, 2021

Not fully buying Scott Alexander's Kool-Aid

The publishing blogger of Slate Star Codex, Scott Alexander / Scott Siskind, pushes back hard at the latest New York Times piece about him and his work.

First, contra Alexander, I suspect there's at least one psychologist or psychiatrist in this world who is a currently practicing clinical psychologist who blogs about psychological issues and does so under his or her real name. I KNOW there are such people who write books. 

So, on that count, he's full of shit.

Second, anybody who favorably links to "Mencius Moldbug" is also questionable. Even if he was "denounced," repeatedly linking to him without regular denouncement leaves you questionable. Per the Times, so does who's on your blogroll.

Third, beyond the Times playing "gotcha" by using a real name in its initial reporting, IF Alexander was being read avidly by Bay Area tech-libertarians who are within, say 4 degrees of Kevin Bacon to Peter Thiel, hellz yes, I want to know who's writing that. That also includes if he's a water carrier for opposing so-called "cancel culture."

Fourth, the Times story provides more background on why Alexander yanked the original SSC. It wasn't a crude takedown AND the Times author notes his full name was easy to find. Shades of Actual Flatticus aka Chris Chopin, whom this guy Siskind sounds more and more like. (Per comments on his Substack above, the fanbois are as thick as the late Chopin had on Twitter.)

Fifth? As far as fears of harassment? It was Cade Metz, the NYT author, who got that. NOT Siskind.

Sixth, the name "Slate Star" seems designed to appeal to the "Gray (Slate!) Tribe" idea.