SocraticGadfly: 3/13/22 - 3/20/22

March 19, 2022

Autogynephilia and transsexualism

First, that second word? It's my blog, my language.

Second, that first word? Most identity activists within BlueAnon Democrats haven't even heard of it.

"Trans activists" have, though, and they loathe it ... because it's tied to the idea that especially among men, there are multiple varieties of transsexualism.

Within major or semi-major authors in the non-fiction world, Alice Dreger first broached this in "Galileo's Middle Finger."

Now, though marred by using the word "transgender" when talking about sexual transitioning, and getting confusing because she also talks about gender, Sarah Ditum gives new details about all of this, and how one type of male-to-female sexual transitioners want to do this, and go this far, precisely in part because that's where their sexual kink takes them.

Finally, none of this is to support Paxton and Abbott. There are more than two sides to this issue.

March 18, 2022

Interstate 27 hypocrisy from Ronny Jackson

Ronny Jackson and other Texas Congresscritters love to attack Washington ... while still sucking at the federal teat. Latest case in question? Interstate 27. 

It doesn't need to expand from Laredo to Colorado, let alone further north, but that's the plan, with an added map at this piece.

Per that piece, I could halfway see the I-127 spur connecting to I-25 at Raton, New Mexico. Actually, I could more than halfway see that, if that's IT north of Amarillo. If you do that, you don't even need an I-27 north of Amarillo to roughly follow US 287 and US 385. Trucks and cars can just take I-25 all the way up north.

As for southward below Lubbock? Connecting to Midland/Odessa I can accept. 

Southeast of there? Forget it. 

Mexican goods destined for western US states can keep coming via Juarez, as they already do.

March 17, 2022

Coronavirus Week 101: What's next?

Katharine Wu looks at various semi-worse to worse-case scenarios post-Omicron.

Zeynep Tufekci writes a counterfactual history of early COVID responses in her NYT column and discusses at her Substack. In the US, she says that it was far from just Donald J. Trump who is to blame for our semi-abysmal response. And, she is right.

The Bulwark looks back at two years of politicized COVIDiocy.

What's next in Europe is another new wave, right on the heels of Omicron.

March 16, 2022

Dear Mo: Sign Zack Greinke; Update: Well, screw that

Update: Just minutes after posting, ESPN tells me I'm too late, and that Mo remains a cheapskate. The Royals welcome Zack Greinke back to his original home on a 1-year deal.

I busted St. Louis Cardinals president John Mozeliak's chops 10 days ago for claiming that Colin Moran could be the answer at DH, rather than spending for Kyle Schwarber or Anthony Rizzo, or even Kyle Seager. (Well, 4/$79M is too pricey for Schwarber, but 2/$32 for Rizzo? Might not have been bad.) I'll stand by the idea of adding Jonathan Villar, who could easily pick up 200 ABs at the three non-1B infield positions and another 300 at DH as a lefty against righty pitchers, while still letting righty bats cycle through the DH spot for a day off from the field.

(With Schwarber and Rizzo both signed now, Seager is arguably the best lefty bat, especially among ones with at least bits of power, left available, per Spotrac. And, with the Cardinals signing Corey Dickerson [why? OF depth is better on the team than IF depth, I'd argue] they're probably out of the Seager running.) 

Even further back, as in, one year ago, and before that, I've repeatedly said you can never have enough arms, and that's starters as much as or more than relievers. Well, with the Cards facing problems on both ends, with both starter Jack Flaherty AND reliever Alex Reyes being not likely to answer the Opening Day bell?

The answer there is WAS simple: Sign Greinke. (Erm, it WAS!) Given that the Brew Crew are division favorites and the Flubs have made a few moves around the edges, sitting pat won't work. And, this is just current injuries. Given the age of Adam Wainwright, there's no guarantee he'll be healthy all year. (Note that last year was his best season since 2014.) And Miles Mikolas has had his arm problems, too. And, we're still waiting to see how well Dakota Hudson is recovered from his Tommy John. (Yeah, he looked good at the end of last year, but? Small sample size.)

Last fall, when encouraging the Cardinals to look in the pitching world, even if they wouldn't pay for a Robbie Ray, only a budget Steven Matz, I suggested Greinke. And, I also said then that I did not think a Matthew Liberatore was the answer. Not the immediate answer.

As for affordability? Right now the Cards are at $147M on salaries and $164M for lux tax purposes, per Cot's Contracts. Waino's $17.5M comes off after this year, as does Yadier Molina's $10M. Mikolas' $17M ends next year. There's room to spend.

Basically, compared to last year? Let's take semi-worst case scenario and say:

Flaherty is out the year (we know now he's out the start of the season and Reyes 2 months minimum);

Ray pitches the full year;

Waino regresses, plus Waino/Mikolas/Hudson all have twinges enough to each miss about 1/3 the season.

So, that's your No. 1-3 starters, apportioning 2/3 a spot each to the latter 3. So, it's possible that Liberatore may have to be, or forced into trying to be, part of the answer. It's possible that Drew VerHagen, signed to be a reliever first, will have to be moved into the rotation. Last year, there was talk about trying to "stretch" Reyes this year. Obviously, that one isn't happening. (Sidebar: Mo talked about success in signing players who had gone to Japan as part of the reason for inking VerHagen. Dude, you had ONE year of success with Mikolas, one year of meh, and then a bunch of injuries.)

Barring serious in-season injuries to them, I think we can go ahead and hand the Brew Crew the division title right now. Question is, do the Cards currently have enough to stay ahead of the Cubs for second in the division, and for one of the six expanded playoff spots, whether they're second or third in the division? Well, I'll put the Brewers, Braves, Phillies, Dodgers and Giants ahead of them for sure. That leaves the last playoff spot and I haven't mentioned Padres or Mets. As for the division, yea, I know, latest odds still have the Reds ahead of the Cubs, which I find hard to believe. I mean, other than Marcus Stroman, the Cubs haven't had any needle-pushing moves, but, they haven't gutted their team, and haven't had any major losses, either. So, yeah, I'm fingering the Cubs to finish ahead of the Reds. That said, what this really illustrates is that the NL Central basically sucks right now.

Russia-Ukraine thoughts: Week 1

I have written longform pieces on the Russia-Ukraine war, about the NATO expansion broken promises and related issues, the Minsk Agreements, the potential endgame, and a first roundup of dishonesty about the issues.

In light of that piece, especially, and along the lines of my weekly COVID roundup, though hopefully for a lot shorter time, I'm going to post a weekly roundup of Ukraine-Russia voices of sanity pieces worth reading.

Here's one noting that Ukraine's elites, its oligarchs, by plundering it even more than Russia's oligarchs did to that country, drove the national backs to the wall.

People who have done much reading about Ukraine know about the Azov Battalion. People who have read more know about other groups like C14. Without denying their continued existence under Zelensky, is it possible that they were more toothless than fierce, and that Putin's propaganda war helped revitalize them? Thoughts on that here.

Yeah, Bernie Sanders may have opposed NATO expansion, but how firmly? Ted Galen Carpenter notes Bernie's always been softer on interventionism when a Dem's in the White House. In line with that, I noted in the 2016 Dem debates that he refused to call the 2009 Obama-Clinton coup in Honduras a coup.

A reminder to take some pieces there with a grain of salt, but Antiwar is worth at least an occasional look.

Unherd, from which my first two links come, also deserves a look, but warning: If you sign up, it's a PITA to unsign, and warning No. 2, it can be as uneven as Antiwar. For example? Using this war to condemn Biden's alleged (NOT actual) "net zero" policies, and no, not linking.

Remember that post-Cold War dividend we were promised, if you're nearly my age or older? Well, here's a friendly reminder that the Big Promiser himself, the Slickster, was arguably the Big Waster of that dividend.

NBC can call any and every statement about biolabs in Ukraine "disinformation" even as it uncritically passes on US disinformation claiming Russia plans biological warfare.

Late addition: Shock me that at Texas Monthly, Forrest Wilder can strawman (and deny that any genocide has happened in Ukraine, ignoring Odessa 2014 among others) while apparently going for laughs about someone portrayed as basically RT America's youngest broadcaster. The fact that Blevins has conspiracy theory ties doesn't make everything she says about the conflict 100 percent wrong.

March 15, 2022

Texas Progressives: More primary post-mortems

This corner of the Texas Progressives Alliance has no idea where the people of Ukraine honestly stood on things like NATO expansion before the Russian war, so won't claim it knows where to stand with them, and leaves that at that while introducing this week's roundup.

Texas Monthly has the post-mortem on Harris County primary vote-counting and Isabel Longoria. Why County Judge Lina Hidalgo hired such a hack, and what this may say for her longer-term political future, who knows? 

Democrats won't win more races until they recruit better candidates. (As the piece notes, many potential such candidates refuse to do the dirty work on statewide races.)

And, related to that? Dem primary turnout was down, GOP numbers were up, the Observer notes. Personally, I doubt it's primarily due to SB1; rather, it's anti-Trump animus driving Dems in 2018 vs. anti-Biden animus and the GOP today. Add in a more sharply contested GOP gubernatorial primary and there you go.

As for that bill? The Trib reports 18,000 mail ballots rejected in the 16 largest counties. But, we don't know the GOP/Dem split on this, nor statewide numbers, nor the GOP/Dem split on them. Off the Kuff rounds up news reports about mail ballot rejections from the 2022 primaries.

The Observer dives in to the GOP AG runoff between Kenny Boy Paxton and Pee Bush.

The Texas Signal takes a deeper look at that Abbott-supporting oligarch's lawsuit against Beto O'Rourke.

Department of Family and Protective Services, already short-staffed and already under a federal court order about its family services, is the agency Strangeabbott picked to meddle into family privacy on issues of transgender and transsexual children and medical and related issues. (They're two different classes of people, folks.) Rightfully, a judge put this on hold.

Collin College is facing its third First Amendment lawsuit from an ex-professor.

Internationally, Anatol Lieven has a good take on the real elites connected to Putin: Not the oligarchs, but those who rose to power with him in the post-Yeltsin world. Interestingly, his long-time Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, gets only a listing, and no discussion. Stand-in President Dmitri Medvedev doesn't even get a listing.

March 14, 2022

Texas Progressives talk oil and baseball

The Roundup was long enough, and I didn't really have a Monday blog piece, so I split it into two. With that, let's dig in.

With oil at and above $100 a barrel, the Monthly explains (most of which I already knew) why Wall Street isn't financing new drilling in the Permian. And, it probably won't be financing new drilling for a while. Paying shareholders will come first. This is MeriKKKa, and even the awl bidness is going to have to accept that. One interesting part is that many Wall Street investors are also trying to greenwash themselves, and that adds more complications.

Chevron has paid to settle Clean Air Act violations, speaking of oil.

With baseball back, SocraticGadfly looked at lockout winners and losers along with season speculation about the Cardinals and other things. I didn't put anything there, but I expect the stRangers will finish out of the money even with a 12-team playoffs. The Stros will finish in, even if they don't resign Correa, but that will make the difference between just making the playoffs and making a post-season run.

G. Elliott Morris explains why it's hard to measure opinions in autocratic regimes.

Texas Monthly notes an upswing at Texas lifestyle clubs.

The Dallas Observer defends Peggy Hill, as a person and as a parent.

The Texas Living Waters Project urges lawmakers to seize this historic opportunity to transform the state's fragile water infrastructure.

The Austin Chronicle eulogizes "Sister" Bobbie Nelson.