SocraticGadfly: 12/26/21 - 1/2/22

December 30, 2021

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

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

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

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


And now for other stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Pitcavage presents some random facts about white supremacist tattoos.  

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

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

Susan Hays and Nonsequiteuse eulogize the great Sarah Weddington. 


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

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

December 29, 2021

Coronavirus week 90C: Vax mandates, nuanced

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 28, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 27, 2021

Coronavirus week 90A: Autoimmune disease fears are usually BS

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

NOT true.

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

Here's the bottom line:

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

Period and end of story.

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