SocraticGadfly: 1/29/23 - 2/5/23

February 03, 2023

Biden to end COVID emergency; "justified"?

The announcement that this will happen in May appears to have caught many Congressional Democrats off guard. Why it did, I don't know; without having a "date certain," Biden had first announced this would happen last December.

Here's what it means, per items at this link.

The price of an mRNA booster will be $82-$130. But, they semi-suck anyway.

People kept on Medicaid who no longer qualify will now be booted.

Food stamp boosts will be gone.

The "why" is at that first link, in part. With the House now in GOP hands Biden figured money to continue to back an emergency declaration wasn't going to be there.

Per the first link, there's one other thing — it means Biden can't continue to invoke Title 42 at the border. #BlueAnon probably still thinks his hands were tied there. Rather, this was more a voluntary option on his part from early on.

Is it "justified"? Well, in a country without national health care, not really. But, in terms of where we're at right now on cases and deaths, per Worldomters? Yes. Sorry, People's CDC. Sorry, fellow travelers like Gregg Gonsalves and Walker Bragman. Or more, "sorry" than sorry. "Sorry," overwrought doom-mongers (especially for money) like Jessica Wildfire.

Is it "justified" and why is that word in scare quotes? It's because, per Walter Kaufmann, I generally reject the idea of "justice," and hence, of whether something is "justified" or not.

February 02, 2023

Dear Yankee Dum Fuqs: It's ice, not snow in Texas

I wasn't born in Tex-ass, nor, contra the Tex-ass immigrant cultist saying, did I get here as fast as I could. And, for the right position in the right location, I'd leave. (That said, I could be in a lot worse places.)

That said, the Yankees laughing at Texans over their driving in the recent ice storm, and related cluelessness, is too much. My locales before getting here include St. Louis and Michigan. I've driven on plenty of snow, and have driven on enough bits of snow in North Texas, that I haven't entirely forgotten that. Now, in part it's due to how long I've lived here, but I've driven on more ice here than all other places combined.

First, per the header, it's ice, not snow. Yes, there are some dum fuq drivers here either driving too fast for conditions, or being Texas yahoos. (And don't get me started on people driving without their daytime running lights in general, let alone in bad weather.) If the header doesn't convince you, ice going all the way down to greater Austin, per the pic at left, from Pflugerville, will hopefully do the trick.

But? Many people have simply been trying to do their best to get around, and not always being fully successful.

Monday-Tuesday, on precipitation, all we had in my neck of the Tex-ass woods was either sleet or freezing rain. Those combine well to become ice.

The street in front of my office was a pebble-grained sheet of ice yesterday.

One of the "gotcha" attempts on Twitter was by a person called "FROSun Liberal." I quote tweeted her, and I see that now she's deleted:

Maybe a small bit of guilty conscience on deleting her tweet?

Or maybe not. 

She was also saying this was comeuppance for Abbott being governor.

Anyway, as far as the meteorology? Yes, ice storms happen in the plains because of that geography. Ditto on tornadoes, and it's a factor in Gulf hurricanes. It's why North America has the most and most varied severe weather of any continent.

Second, as far as 340K people being without power as of the time I was typing this Wednesday evening? No, that's not good, but, some perspective? In a state of nearly 30 million, that's 1.1 percent of the population. Ice storms up north do worse. And again, nothing to do with Abbott.

Third? Texas does use salt, at least down as far south as Austin. (City of Austin uses only dolomite crushed stone for grit, not salt.) And, that includes pre-treating roads in advance of storms with brine.

Fourth? I hadn't thought of that new play on the name of Beto-Bob until yesterday.

Fifth? #BlueAnon gotchas on something like this are like Kos himself, Markos Moulitsas, saying "poor whites" in red states had earned their COVID deaths.

February 01, 2023

Texas Progressives look at the start of the Lege

And we start with Chris Hooks and Forrest Wilder talking about how to survive the Lege. It's not bad, overall. Per Point 3 and 4, it's "interesting" that the Lege wants to bar local governments from "lobbying," but doesn't want to do a damn thing about actual lobbyists. That said, I've never heard the term "vendor bill." I HAVE heard "private member's bill."

Smelling Musky and his Space X are losing popularity in Brownsville.

Texas' foster care system is close to facing the full wrath of Judge Janis Jack — for the third time.

San Antonio has decided to end the use of coal at its municipal electric utility. The Observer discusses how easy, or not, that may be.

The StartleGram, catering to wingnuts on its op-ed pages, in what remains of the newspaper. Shock me.

Jeff Guinn has a new book on Waco and Branch Davidian. The Observer reviews.

Off the Kuff looks at the new swarm of voter suppression bills now being filed in the Lege. 

SocraticGadfly notes how 20 years or more of easy Fed money are part of what has is in our current interest rate situation.

Evil MoPac explains Austin inflation. 

 The Texas Living Waters Project wants to see water issues on the Lege's agenda. 

The Dallas Observer rounds up the best rejected Texas vanity license plates. 

Raise Your Hand Texas reminds us that we still face a teacher workforce crisis. 

The Texas Signal looks at Ted Cruz's ambition.

January 31, 2023

Texas voters: Worry as we worry, but don't vote as we vote (or don't show up)

The Trib reports on a new Lyceum Poll that says large chunks of Texans worry about the future of democracy. And, per them, Strangeabbott's poll numbers are underwater.


Because we're nowhere near an election, Lyceum doesn't limit this to "likely voters." In fact, per their methodology, they actively sought out people not registered to vote. They wound up with 24 percent of respondents not registered. Of the 76 percent who are? If 25 percent of them aren't likely voters, then only about 60 percent of the respondents are really involved at the voting level in Texas politics, and fewer than that have even a modicum of activism.

January 30, 2023

Dan Patrick, hater — and media and GOP missing issues

The Steve Toth and Chris Paddie feuds are both funny, but there's side issues the Trib misses in the former case.

The biggie? Given that Dade Phelan's predecessor as Speaker, Dennis Bonnen, was taken down by a leaked private recording:

Why isn't the fact that Toth's words that got Patrick pissed also came from a leaked private recording drawing more airplay from Texas media?

Ditto on why isn't there intra-GOP pushback, whether among today's House members (Toth folded like a cheap suit) or bloggers, activists etc. who aren't wingnuts-squared like Luke Macias?

And, why isn't anybody, whether wingnut-squared or not, attacking the leaking concept in general?

Danny Boy might have Rethuglicans that cowed, but where's the Trib? And, has Danny Boy cowered the leaker, too? After all, with Bonnen, it was Mucus, self-revealed quickly. Texas Scorecard, from what I see, is mum so far about exactly what this meeting was.

I doubt casinos are coming to Texas

The Trib talks about casinos and sports betting both looking for legalization from the Lege this year. It says the two are operating on parallel tracks and may even conflict with one another, if/when push comes to shove.

Strangely, it doesn't mention one headwind casinos could face.


Specifically, Oklahoma Indians. Living not too far from Winstar, and not real far from the Choctaw site in Durant, and having been by both the Kiowa and Apache casinos across the river from Wichita Falls, there's a lot of gold in them thar casinos that the Oklahoma tribes don't want to lose. The furthest west casinos aren't real far from Lubbock or Amarillo, and the furthest east not too far from Texarkana, so North Texas is blanketed. In addition, Far West Texas/Trans-Pecos can hit the Mescalaro casino near Ruidoso, and there's some Indian and other gaming in Louisiana, not really far away.

That said, the Chickasaws, owners of WinStar and many of the others closest to Texas, do also own Lone Star Park in Arlington, and are amenable to casino gambling in Texas if one of the casino sites .... could be wrapped with the racetrack. Feb. 3, the tribe indicated its support for the Sands (Sheldon Adelman family) and its casino push. Fort Worth Rep. Charlie Geren has parlayed that into a push to put casinos before the Texas public on a constitutional amendment vote.  Geren's bill is interesting in other ways.

If I were a betting man (heh, heh), I'd offer 2-1 against sports betting (which isn't that bad, given it's Tex-ass), but still 5-1 or more against casinos. Kuff, reading the same story yesterday, semi-hangs his hat on the possibility of Lois Cockwhore (thanks, Brains) filing a gambling bill in the Senate. Per the Trib piece that's for sports betting, not casinos.