SocraticGadfly: 4/18/21 - 4/25/21

April 23, 2021

Texas Progressives roundup: Marijuana support and more

Plenty of stuff in this week's roundup.

We've got hypothetical 2022 Texas state race information, the latest Lege nuttery on guns, education funding and more, and even world religious news.

So, let's dig in!


The Snooze says would-be ConservaDem (he WOULD be) Matthew McConaughey highly outpolls Strangeabbott in a purely hypothetical match for gov. Always beware of polls like this involving celebrity candidates.

Also of note: The same story says a majority of Texans oppose "permitless carry." And, kudo to the Snooze for its not using another phrase which shall not be used here either.

Liz Hanks brings the many low points of the permitless carry debate.

As week before last, when all but two Senate Democrat legiscritters made patriotism the last refuge of a scoundrel, seven of of their House compatriots voted to remove all restrictions from gun nutz. Will any be primaried?

Because of the number of power plants down for maintenance, electricity ran tight in Tex-ass again last week. Waiting for renewables to get blamed, even though they don't run power plants.

Will the Lege do another clawback on further rounds of education-focused federal stimulus funds? Well, it may whack state funds from districts that did online-only classes during the school year.

Wingnuts and even the mild mannered Glenn Hegar bitched after Team Biden revoked an extension of Texas' Medicaid 1115 waiver granted by Team Trump last year. The revocation is on solid procedural grounds for lack of transparency in the extension process. Kuff has more background.

R.G. Ratcliffe talks about Abbott's rise to be the most powerful governor post-Reconstruction.

Off the Kuff analyzed the propagandist's advantage in pushing voter suppression bills.

State Rep. Erin Zwiener reacts to the passage of anti-trans bill HB1399, while her colleague Rep. Gina Hinojosa answers Dan Patrick's questions about voter suppression in SB7. 

Reform Austin covers Briscoe Cain's history of supporting voter suppression.

Could arrests for misdemeanor C traffic stops be eliminated? Grits has the latest.

Yvonne Marquez profiles 10-year-old transsexual activist Kai Shappley.

The Dallas Voice compares this year's Lege to a pack of schoolyard bullies.

The TPA mourns the passing of Jim Henley, Houston educator and former HCDE Trustee, who mentored many of today's young Democratic leaders.


The shitstorm that is Collin College President Neal Matkin has moved from the Dallas Observer's coverage to D Mag, which means it's big stuff. (D Mag, in turn, links to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which means it's REALLY big shit within academia.)


NM Gov Michelle Lujan Grisham appears to have been paying off the man who accused her of assault, that is, sexual assault crotch grab style. "INNterestingly," NM Political Report ... isn't reporting on it, even after me posting to its Facebook page. Oh, this is more common than you think.

Everything you wanted to know about the Solar Winds hack-attack is on NPR (other than the issue of how much of this the US does, of course).

Alexis McGill Johnston, head of Planned Parenthood, admits it's time for an honest reckoning about the legacy of founder Margaret Sanger on eugenics.

Marjorie Taylor Greene has (for now) disassociated herself from an "America First Caucus." Lauren Boebert? Silencio so far.

Keith Ellison moves from one-time darling of the Berners to cop-shielding ConservaDem Minnesota AG. His chief of staff says "required to defend," but, he could have pled for the judge to rule against state police, even a directed verdict-type injunction, as part of the plea.

Marijuana legalization? More people want it. My thoughts and caveats.


SocraticGadfly, switching from politics to his second blog, says that Martin Luther almost certainly did NOT say "Here I stand, I can do no other," 500 years ago.

April 22, 2021

Earth Day 2021: Earth Day to May Day

As yours truly blogged at Independent Political Report, ecosocialists within the Green Party have it exactly correct: Earth Day to May Day is the only way to look at April 20. Per Albert Einstein's famous comment about insanity, we cannot truly and fully address climate change within the same capitalist system that has foisted climate change on our planet in the first place.

At the same time, many libertarians in Green clothing, like nutter William Pounds and his ilk, hate this. They hate anything with a whiff of socialism. And, as libertarians, they hate anything with a whiff of the regulatory state, which is also needed. Voluntary collectives, especially when the European idea of "libertarian" that's behind "libertarian socialism" is twisted into the American idea of libertarianism, can't do it. And, many of them, like Chad Wilson, have other problems.

The Green Party is going to crack up anyway, between the Howie-haters / Jesse Ventura cultists (and Dario Hunter fellow travelers), on one hand, and so-called "trans activists" ("trans" by itself is not a word except as the first word in the name of an old GM car or an old airline, and "transgender" is not "transsexual") demanding everybody run them up the flagpole and salute them while booting the Georgia Green Party on the other. (None of this should be taken as implying that I agree with everything some Georgia GP representatives have stated, either on this issue or other issues.)

But, with or without party alignment, I can still fight for ecosocialism on Earth Day. (The SPUSA has its own bits of "trans activism" problems from what I've heard.)

April 21, 2021

We want pot! We want it legal! We want it now!

As Texas is now semi-surrounded by New Mexico's legalization of recreational marijuana, Oklahoma still looking at ersatz full legalization, and Arkansas having medical legalization, per my updated blog post about that, Pew Research says 91 percent of Merika wants at least medical legalization, and 60 percent want the full meal deal.

Related, to a degree? The NYT explains the backdrop of state laws banning hanging air fresheners from mirrors. It notes that's why Daunte Wright was stopped in Minnesota — the law is often a pretext wedge.

That said, I'd like to see a state learn from both booze and tobacco and legalize it, but only with labeling and with THC-prorated taxes.

By the first, I mean, just like cigs have to list tar and nicotine, pot has to list THC, AND it has to list it versus "ditch weed."

By the second, I mean that 20 percent THC would be taxed as much as twice as much as 10 percent THC. I'd even be open to putting a cap on max THC.

April 20, 2021

Coronavirus Week 54: Gaslighting in the name of science

The idea that surface contamination is a major factor in coronavirus transmission had been fading long before the CDC officially said: It largely taint so.

So, how did we get here?

At the Atlantic, Derek Thompson talks a bit about how some scientists had vested professional interest in the surface transmission area. So much so that they were engaging in gaslighting on the issue. Yes, gaslighting.

Zeynep Tufekci has the details, in a long read.

But, as with Fauci's Platonic noble lies, "we" really shouldn't be surprised. Scientists are human and pretending otherwise is the first step of engaging in scientism.

The NYT says we need to stop overworrying about COVID variants, at least as long as we're already vaccinated.

A pair of medical ethics professors says Johnson and Johnson vaccines never should have been paused.

As several states have dropped mask mandates and others consider it, Oregon may extend its version.

Lisa Gray highlights the work of a Houston woman who has helped over 500 people get vaccine appointments.

April 19, 2021

The rise of the nones and politics as the new religion

The rise of the "Nones" in America doesn't mean a decline in belief, per this from the Atlantic:
"(W)hat was once religious belief has now been channeled into political belief."
That said, there is no "god-shaped hole." There IS, rather, a "god-belief-shaped hole." The idea of a "god-shaped hole" is Augustinian bullshit.

The "nones" may indeed, per the SJW division of liberals (who are NOT leftists) may act in ways the second link states. But, with people acting like there is one, that may happen.

On the right, as the Religious Right had made the church politics in a way that the Black church really had not (and, in some ways, was forced to), with tied with the rise of Trumpism. So, they're already prepared for that.

What this will mean for the future? SJWs versus a more secularized version of the Religious Right, or the Religious White? A (non-lethal, we hope?) version of the Thirty Years War?
What the Atlantic really misses is that politics and religion in America both smack too much of tribalism in many cases, and that the Nones are just bringing a liberal tribalism to the political table. 

It also misses, per this great Politico piece about political activism in the Gilded Age, that politics as ersatz religion ain't necessarily new.