SocraticGadfly: 4/4/21 - 4/11/21

April 09, 2021

Patriotism is the last refuge of a Texas Senate Democrat

Per the old adage that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, on Dan Patrick's Senate Bill 4, the "Star Spangled Fellatio Act," the scoundrel level is almost as high among Senate Democraps as Rethuglicans. Once again, for left-hand duopolists asking why I'm not a Democrap, Royce West (D-Our Man Downtown) saying this would be good for promoting national pride is why.

 Mark Cuban understands this issue 100 times as much as West. And, it's not like West faces any challenge for his state senate seat, and I doubt he has another run for statewide office planned. So, I guess he really believes this shit. Per something I read on Twitter yesterday that many conservatives worry about "too many" liberals in academia because they think they'll practice indoctrination because conservatives would, well, ConservaDems would too. 

What next, ConservaDems saying "My country, right or wrong?"

Kudos to Sarah Eckhardt and Nathan Johnson for voting no. (José Menéndez had an excused absence. We'll see if he says anything in the future.) A smackdown to allegedly more progressive Senatecritters like Donna Campbell and Judith Zaffirini.

I know the quote's background, and per Boswell's original backgrounder to Samuel Johnson's statement, it fits Senate Democraps, the two exceptions above noted, perfectly.

April 08, 2021

Is Glenn Greenwald libertarian-lying about his robbery cause?

Greenwald said earlier this week that he and husband David Miranda had recently been robbed.

He then went on to blame it on coronavirus lockdowns. NOT fair.

Rio de Janeiro is in lockdown but Glennwald and Miranda's palatial home (profiled there in 2014, and complete with security guard, per first link) is in Rio state. That said, it does have an 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew. Businesses are allowed to run at 50 percent capacity outside the curfew hours.

Is that a "lockdown"? Not really. It's like many US states were a while back. Restaurants, obviously, among businesses limited to 50 percent, and they and bars would both have to close at 11 p.m. It's been in place since at least March 22. The city has been longer than that.

OTOH, Glennwald's robbery?

March 5. Rio city entered a "control period" two days earlier, per this AP story; Rio state may have been a couple of days earlier. So, no more than a week or so. Not months or whatever.

Unlike Glennwald's ranting hinting in that (shock me) Daily Mail piece, before he went on Swanson Tucker Carlson's show to talk to his good buddy fellow socialist.

No, this may not have been a political target crime. But it wasn't COVID craziness, Glennwald, contra this:
'What is the effect of lockdowns, and quarantines, and isolation, and social distancing?' Greenwald asked. 'Not to make excuses for people to do this, but it drives people to this level of desperation.' … 

'It is really kind of a taboo on being able to weigh those costs. Everyone just said no. The only thing that matters is the coronavirus and stopping it.

First, what's taboo among your ilk and not-so-socialist Swanson Tucker, is saying not everything can be priced in dollars and cents.

Second, to trump your libertarian "open it up" mindset? As I've said before: Dead people don't shop.

Beyond that?

You were almost certainly targeted as a rich stinking capitalist. You were making 500 large or more per year with The Intercept and surely even more at Substack. And, as of 2018 Brazilian congresscritters like Miranda got about $16,500 per month — and in a weirdness of corruption, they and other public servants had a 15-month pay year. And, a shitload of perks. More on that shitload of perks here. Yes. So, Miranda makes another $250K in a country with rampant poverty (Brazil's minimum wage, and that's presuming there's just 12 months in the year for the peons, is just over $200 per month) that you try to avoid by living on rural mountaintop acreage with private security. And, if they were there for an hour, they probably had the two of you targeted as rich stinking capitalists who had things like art and jewelry that are easy to hock.

So, by purchasing power parity, Glennwald's $500K American is $3 million at Ipanema. Miranda's Congresscritter salary is $1.5 million US, plus all the perks. If Glennwald really wants to fight corruption, the fight starts at home.
I'm sorry, that's chump change from Glennwald's FORMER job. Substack is paying him much, much more, as in $1-2 million per year. (And, yes, it's time for a new blog post about the pair of Brazilian 1 percenters.)

Go fuck yourself and take your libertarian coronavirus lies with you. And, no, neither you nor Swanson Tucker is a socialist. As for Miranda? He may indeed be in a socialist party, but, he's married to you and cosigns your bullshit until he speaks out.

And, let's not forget that this is a man who still lies about his supporting the Iraq War when it was started.

Texas Progressives roundup: Voting hither and yon

Who to let vote and who to not let vote, and how to do this, is occupying a fair chunk of the Lege's time. But, as usual every other year about this time, there's more idiocy in Austin right now. There's also other idiocy elsewhere. Actually, there's other idiocy at Austin to note, just at UT, not under the Pink Dome.

With that, let 's dig in to this week's Roundup.

Texas politics

The "election integrity" vote restriction crusade continues. Here's the Observer take. (The latest anti-abortion bills, etc. are also covered there.) At the Trib, Ross Ramsey says for Republicans, it's about 2018 more than 2020.

That link also talks about weatherization bill. The Senate's has fines, the House's various bills don't. Senate covers natural gas as well as electricity; the House doesn't. It's weird to have a bill that's better in the Senate than in the House, but there you go. OTOH, the Senate bill has that anti-renewables anti-subsidy poison pill.

Off the Kuff also comments on the Senate's omnibus voter suppression bill and the fight against it.

SocraticGadfly has takes on two Texas Democratic items. First, he looks at the latest Betomania lead balloon. Second, he looks at a 2018 election pal of Beto: Kendall Scudder, ConservaDem. .

A biggie. In a bipartisan bill, expanded Medicaid may come to Texas.

Will qualified immunity sink the George Floyd Act? Let's hope not and let's hope the bill's sponsors stand by their "guns," so to speak. Qualified immunity is what needs to be sunk.
 Grits for Breakfast concluded that Texas was able to greatly reduce the number of traffic stops conducted without any negative effect on crime.


The Monthly weighs in on "The Eyes of Texas" brouhaha. The Trib shows old white boy QB Colt McCoy pressured alumni to keep the song. (Both are long reads.)

Dan Solomon takes the Chronic to the woodshed for allegedly semi-fawning coverage of Deshaun Watson.
The Current introduces us to Kaitlin Teniente, the first female coach of a college E-sports team in Texas.


Seven Collin County jailers have been fired for their part in the death of Marvin Scott III.
Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker celebrates National Out To Win Day.


The New York Times has a breakout analysis of Georgia's new voting law.

Boycott Sonic, Arby's (where still existing) Buffalo Wild Wings and Jimmy John's. Here's why.
G. Elliott Morris criticizes an analysis of the effects of Georgia's voter suppression law.

April 07, 2021

Green Party nutter William Pounds dives deeper in the shitpile

First, he's trying to get himself elected governor of Aridzona. I originally thought he doesn't look old enough to meet the likely minimum age. Weirdly, it's just 25. Weirdly and stupidly. Seeing John Mason, with home I've also "interacted," or tangled, before, as his campaign manager only adds to the laughs factor.

Second, per the link (to which I gave a no-follow) he's trying to do so via starting one of these "Independent Green Party" bs groups, riffing on the lying butthurtness of Dario Hunter, rather than within the existing Arizona Green Party

Third, also per that top link, he wants to use this as a vehicle to get Jesse THE BODY (Pounds HATES that) Ventura nominated as prez, along with officially declared capital-L Libertarian (since 2018) Cynthia McKinney as his veep. This is the same Jesse who himself got butthurt when he couldn't get the GP nomination handed to him on a platter. (That didn't stop some of his backers from trying to use Hunter as a stalking horse at the 2020 GOP convention.) This is also the same Jesse who, in 2016,  first lied and then crapped in the Libertarian Party bed, ensuring he'll never get nominated for even dogcatcher there.

Per a follow-up to that original post about Hunter, with comment by Brandy Baker, I can only see Pounds as an assclown.
I noted McKinney as official Libertarian in my post about the Alaska GP being deaffiliated. (Side note: Just as the original "domino theory" was a conspiracy theory, IMO, so is the claim that "trans activists" are dominoing Rhode Island and Alaska into the Georgia GP. That said, Pounds is surely working to vacuum up the Alaska disaffiliated.)

Fourth, his own butthurtness rejoices in Peter and Leela Daou not getting a consulting contract with GP national. Why he capitalizes half of Howie Hawkins' last name I have no fucking idea and no real desire to learn. Why he thinks Howie is the "deep state" as well as ecosocialist, I don't know and don't care to learn either.

The two bullshits together explain why he'd like a Libertarian as Veep and  Libertarian-flirter before killing his relationship with them as Prez on the nominations. (So, too, does his LinkedIn, which shows he's done freelance writing for the website of Lib-tard Ron Paul.) Of course, that presumes his independent party even gets on the ballot in Aridzona.

I blocked him on Hucksterman over this Jesse bullshit last year. May have blocked him on Twitter as well, or maybe he's on Gab or something now.

Hey, Pounds? Kyrsten Sinema left the Aridzona Greens to become a Democrat. Why don't you at least have that same level of honesty and become a fucking Libertarian?

And, seeing him as ultimately being a Libertarian, and yes, Pounds, that's exclusive from being a Green, he's not only an assclown, he's an agent provocateur.

As for Greens fearing ecosocialism? Again, I joined the GP (as a volunteer and voter) seeing it as a party of the left as well as an environmentalist party. I think your fears, let alone terrors, over socialism are ... ridiculous. Of course, in many cases, this may be walking hand in hand with an over-interpretation of the "decentralization" plank of the key values, the same thinking that leads to "paper" state parties.

As for Pounds' schadenfreude? It's sad. The Daous would have brought some new insight and help to the party. The GP seems bent on self-destructiveness.

And, all of this, plus the reminders of GP Facebook group censorship and more, is yet another reason I'm not a Green.

Oh, finally, let's not forget that both Ventura and McKinney are conspiracy theorists and there's no way I'd vote for either. (Jesse is mainly just a 9/11 falser; McKinney is full of all sorts of shit.) And, per his LinkedIn, Pounds is himself a junior conspiracy theorist in the budding.

And, yet other reasons I'm no longer officially a Green are that the party's National Committee doesn't seem to give a fuck, or else thinks it can sweep things under the rug. No mention of the Rhode Island and Alaska party disaffiliations. No mention of efforts like Pounds'.

April 06, 2021

Coronavirus Week 52: Odds and ends

• First, yours truly is now covered, and as a "one and done" courtesy Johnson and Johnson. That said, no, even before warnings about it being connected to ID theft, I'm not dumb enough to shoot a photo of my vaccination card and post it online, and certainly not dumb enough in the era of facial recognition software to shoot a selfie of my mug PLUS that card.

Nor am I a deep-fried enough virtue signaler to feel psychologically compelled to do so.
That said, I'll tell conspiracy theorists from wingnuts through horseshoeing leftists to STFU.  (So will Dr. Peter Hotez; scroll to the bottom.)

• Speaking of, Orac writes the post he'd "hesitated to write," taking John Ioannidis to the WTF woodshed.

• Largely White exurban/suburban Katy ISD parents, thinking they're Black and woke, are citing Brown vs Board of Education as among reasons they're suing the district for keeping a mask mandate. Shock me that wingnut Jared Woodfill is the plaintiff attorney.
• Have rural Texas JPs undercounted COVID deaths?

• More people, such as oracle Zeynep Tufekci, continue to talk about a fourth search.

• Kids' COVID cases are spiking, at least in Michigan. This is what the likes of Tufekci warned about.

• A vaccine manufacturing plant with a history of problems mixed vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZenica.

• Fauci has said the US may not need the AstraZenica vaccine anyway.
• The wrongness and lies of Alex Berenson get detailed

• In the wake of various forms of COVID denialism, Dr. Peter Hotez frets about the growing global anti-science movement. Per a CNN clip embedded in the piece, South Dakota has the eighth-highest COVID death rate in the nation.

• Tied to this? White evangelicals have surpassed Black America as the nation's biggest vaccine denialists. (Overall, Black and White vaccine hesitancy is about equal.)

April 05, 2021

Could COVID deaths in Texas be worse than thought?

Are rural Texas counties undercounting COVID deaths because rural JPs, the people who make death certificate diagnoses outside hospitals, aren't trained on what to look for? The Observer investigates.

Here's one takeaway:

According to the Boston University data, 24 mostly rural Texas counties likely missed half or more of the COVID-19 deaths in 2020.

Followed by another:

Last April, JPs from Orange and Jefferson counties told the Beaumont Enterprise that they didn’t want to waste money ordering tests on people who were already dead, nor were they counting the deaths as COVID-19 deaths based on information provided by family members.

So, whether or not undercounting is deliberately politicized in some cases, it comes off looking that way.

Whether a state ME system is the best fix for this or not, I don't know. A cheaper but better option might be requiring a basic training in coronary science certification for JPs.

More pressure on Texas to loosen pot rules

Unfortunately, due to the hidebound rules of a banana republic every-other-year Texas Legislature regular session, loosening of Texas' rules on legalized marijuana ain't gonna happen this year, unless Abbott includes it in the call for the redistricting special session.

But, the pressure is increasing.

I noted two weeks ago (and haven't checked the bill's status, but here's a bill-tracker site) that Oklahoma was considering expanding application for its wink-wink, nudge-nudge medical marijuana program to residents of all 50 states. This would seemingly be targeted most at Texas. 

And, no status check needed on this one.

Last week, in a special session, the NM Legislature approved full recreational marijuana. It's not a huge bill; it's not Colorado. Possession amount is 2 ounces plus growing for up to six plants, so essentially, it's full decriminalization of non-felony marijuana. And, per Cliff Pirtle of Roswell, had the NM Lege taken more time, it probably could have done better. But, nonetheless, this is a game changer. Former Gov. and Libertarian prez candidate Gary Johnson, who pushed for this 20-plus years ago, salutes the change.
(Update, April 12: It's now signed into law. Also, the bill automatically expunges old pot-related criminal records. )

Seriously, think about it. If roughnecks from the oil patch in Odessa, Andrews, etc., drive 62/180 to Hobbs to buy a bag, is DPS really going to waste time and money with entrapment efforts for speeding etc. on the state line?

(Update, April 19: Pew Research says we all want pot. It says 91 percent of Americans want either medical or recreational legalization and 60 percent want full legal recreational marijuana.)

In other neighboring areas, Louisiana has fairly liberal laws on medical marijuana, with the caveat it's for non-smokeable versions of pot only, and the second caveat that you can't take it in public.  Arkansas has kind of strict, but not too much, medical marijuana laws, but weed as well as edibles are allowed.

(Update, April 21: Virginia is now the first Southern state with recreational legalization, perhaps further increasing the pressure. It's a highly stringent legalization, though, if you look at the details.)