SocraticGadfly: 7/30/23 - 8/6/23

August 05, 2023

Hiroshima "justified"? Is that the right word?

Yes, CNAS is a neocon site, but Elbridge Colby, here writing on the 70th anniversary, is right about Hiroshima but wrong on how he frames it.

First, he agrees with me, contra the Gar Alperowitzes of the world, that the bomb(s) did bring about the Japanese surrender, though he sadly does not parse the Imperial rescript, as I do, to conclusively refute these more credulous precincts of the left. (Since I wrote first, and have known this since the first time I read "Downfall," nearly a decade earlier than the 70th anniversary, as detailed here, yes, he's agreeing with me, not the other way around. That also includes my review of "Unconditional," with Marc Gallicchio agreeing with and building on Richard B. Frank.)

But, as noted, there's a "framing" issue. Per Walter Kaufmann, I don't use the word "justified" in such situations.

August 03, 2023

Greg Abbott's roadway to nowhere?

So, Gov. Greg Abbott, aka Strangeabbott, wants TxDOT and the Texas Transportation Commission to allocate $150 million for a new set of frontage roads in the Valley?


If he's going to pull more of his Operation Lone Star related bullshit and tell DPS jefe Steve McCraw to stop truckers at the border, on bullshit anti-Biden grounds (when the reality is Biden has Title 42 restrictions in place by other means), it's a road to nowhere.

August 02, 2023

Boo fucking hoo for High Plains Tex-ass farmers

From what I know, they probably overdraw the Ogallala Aquifer more than any other state that's above it, though New Mexico's could be right up there with them. In both states, anyway, a fair amount of it is for the same demented reason as in places like Southern California with Lower Colorado River Water — alfalfa for dairy farming. (And, if not that, some of the milo on the Texas side of the line also goes to dairy farming.)

And now they're crying about how it's being depleted so rapidly, without talking too much about how they're a large part of the problem, compounded by higher evaporation from irrigation in warmer Texas vs Kansas or Nebraska, and compounded further by the aquifer kind of tilting downhill toward the south. (On the New Mexico side of the line, wells into the Ogallala were starting to draw sand 25 years ago in spots.)

And, this is only going to get worse due to climate change, which most farmers don't want to discuss, although admitting it in the background. (Even the Noble Research Institute prefers euphemism, such as "climate variability.")

Per a PBS Frontline episode years ago about use of Roundup vs crop rotation? Many farmers, mythos aside about their yeomanship or anything else, have gotten lazy on such things. One part of me doesn't totally blame them, as they continue to face Ag Secretary Earl Butz's now 60-year-old dictum of "get big or get out." But, even with that, I still see laziness.

August 01, 2023

If god can't or won't stop school shootings, Texas Lege, how will these guys?

One of both the dumbest AND most unconstitutional bills to come out of this year's Lege?

One permitting unlicensed chaplains to do counseling at public schools. That includes, per the header, trauma counseling after shootings or psychological counseling to find and help troubled kids and prevent them from becoming active shooters.

Per the latter half of that, again, note the word "unlicensed," as in psychologically unlicensed, and if setting themselves up as an independent, non-denominational pastor, not having even one class in pastoral counseling, possibly.

Per the story, state Rep. Cole Hefner (R-Tim Dunn) said that local school boards can set standards. But, wait a minute. Didn't the Lege also pass a bill this year further undermining local control? Didn't the Texas Supremes just rule that Strangeabbott had the legal authority to unilaterally override local mask mandates? Yes and yes.

First, this WILL be a Trojen's horse for evangelizing on campus. And, in schools with non-Christian students, that WILL include guilt-tripping them.

Second, since god can't or won't stop school shootings, what will these chaplains do?

July 31, 2023

Peter Kalmus, the man speaking to the Greens, and what he really should be talking about

First of all, I have to "love" how the Green Party says its annual convention is going to be virtual this year because the world is still recovering from COVID. Worldometers says that's a lie, whether for the world as a whole or the US. And, if you really believe that shit, have fun as People's CDC and fellow travelers squaring off with the general antivaxxer types in the party, or the "libertarian Green" oxymorons.

Update, Aug. 7: There was a minor surge, end of July and start of August, yes, but the US never (AFAIK, having just gotten back from vacation, broke 100 deaths a day, and certainly not for more than 2 days straight. That is STILL *just* 36,500 a year, no worse than an average "just the flu" six-month season less than a full year.

Admit it's for budget reasons.

Or better, as Greens, say it's for climate reasons, to reduce fossil fuel emissions from jets and cars to travel. But, make sure to push Zoom attendees to be buying renewable electricity. (And, try to figure out why you didn't try Zoom or something similar, in at least odd-numbered years, pre-COVID, on that account.)

Peter Kalmus? Intense on the subject, per Pro Publica. Contra his hope not to be one, he's a doomer. And, why was he raising backyard chickens? Buy free-range commercial chickens, or semi-commercial larger lot backyarders from somebody else. And, eat less of them. He should know the carbon math about meat, even poultry.

Speaking of, per EPA, 7 percent of the 28 percent of the transportation sector's GHG emissions come from commercial aircraft. Kalmus could trim various portions of the pie chart, or get others to do so by, in the transportation sector, pushing for:

  • Tighter fuel standards for SUVs;
  • For both cars and trucks/SUVs, getting rid of the flex fuel loophole;
  • Getting rid of E15 gas;
  • Improving mass transit by not only getting funds for hybrid drive buses, but putting MORE but SMALLER buses on the street to run more frequent routes, thereby making mass transit more attractive.

Focus on that, and you'd probably get rid of half as much GHG as from getting rid of air travel entirely. Blindly attacking air travel, as Kalmus also does, along with the author, in a Counterpunch piece (commercial, not executive business and other private jets) has long struck me as a form of virtue signaling, mixed with medieval monastic hair shirts or flagellations.

Also, contra David Yearsley at that link? Johann Jakob Froberger and others 200 years ago left carbon footprints as part of their actual footprints. Horses don't fart or belch as much as cows, but they do. And, 200 years ago, not all their manure was recycled in gardens and fields; there's plenty a story about a late 19th century New York or London's problems with horse shit.

Back to the second main idea, though, on other ways to cut GHGs as good or better than addressing air travel.

On power? New federal legislation that says Fannie / Freddie will not buy up mortgages in states that don't promote rooftop solar on new homes. Game-changer right there.

For US aid for the developing world, with new advances in DC power allowing for longer distribution? Helping places like sub-Saharan African countries build more local DC power plants to distribute wind and solar. HUGE. (Update: Per this Wired piece, Just Energy Transition Partnerships are helping in some degree, but there's little in the way of hard numbers, especially on how much fiscal help is behind these things, and how much of that is loans vs grants and similar.)

Update, Aug. 19: Last night on Twitter, per "gay barista Paul" and others responding, Kalmus said he was "surprised" Biden hadn't declared a climate emergency. Unless that tweet was 110 percent rhetorical, it says a lot more about Kalmus than about Climatemonger Joe.