SocraticGadfly: 12/17/23 - 12/24/23

December 23, 2023

The COVID doomers are out again, wrong again

Whetherr it's (ex)-Berners trying to score points on Biden on this issue, as has been the case for a full year now, or simple hysterics, the COVID doomers have been out and about on Twitter for a couple of weeks already.


Wrong once again! Per Worldometers, nope, no surge in cases or death rates.

STFU, hysterics. Or, in the case of Berners, tribalists. Actually, with the likes of attacks on Leana Wen, you're both tribalists. And both hysteriacs.

That said, COVID doomerism, especially when combined with general doomerism, is good money for the likes of Jessica Wildfire finding suckers, even while being full of shit.

December 22, 2023

Jim Schutze self-resurrects to carry more water for Mike Miles

After largely wrongly, it seems, stanning for Miles when he ran Dallas ISD, and largely being sidelined at D Mag after a ceremonial rollout in early 2020 after the Dallas Observer dumped him (rightly, IMO), Schutze decided to drop a column at the Chronic this summer in defense of Miles being named TEA's enforced new superintendent at Houston ISD.

 But, that ain't enough. According to D Mag's head honcho, Mike Rogers, Schutze is now Substacking for Miles. Well, no, wait. That was a month BEFORE Schutze's column in the Chronic, which means?

Schutze was schwaffling. I won't say flat-out lying, but, he did get that column into his contract.

As to his Substack? Full of strawmanning, as well as his renewed boner for Miles. Surprised Amber Guyger's not in there. Maybe he learned his lesson.

That said, is Miles the devil incarnate? No. But, per that first link, he's not all Schutze claims. Not even close.

Did he have a boner for Miles? That author notes 286 Schutze columns at the Observer. Surely many more after that.

Does he still have a boner for Miles at his Substack? Click the link.

December 21, 2023

A failure of focus at Vernon College? The Trib? Both?

How will community college funding changes by the Lege change said colleges' student recruitment angles? The Trib looks at Vernon College. That said, questions remain, including about whether CC's don't need to downsize more, especially the ones like Vernon in more rural areas, and whether or not they need to downsize yet more with the Lege's focus on outcomes-based education. The piece does finish by hinting at the vo-tech angle such colleges need to address, but could have hit it harder.

Also, the piece looks at Black potential students as well as White ones. Missing? Hispanics, more than 30 percent of the population in Vernon and more than 20 percent in the surrounding area. Indeed, the word "Hispanic" is nowhere in the story. Right there, I can tell you the story is a fail, and if it reflects where Vernon College is at, its plan for changing enrollment declines will also be a failure.

The community college of my community college district recently got a federal grant to help bolster Hispanic educational outcomes. Did Vernon College get such a grant? Apply for one but not get it? Not apply for one? Not know of one? None of that's in the story.

Anybody who looks at Texas High Plains demographics know that rural counties there not only face the "Great Hollowing Out" of continuing population decline, but have that problem partially lessened by a "Great Hispanic Replacement."

The reporter is herself a minority, but neither Black nor Hispanic. She graduated Northwestern. Chicago has at least a few Hispanics; this should have been on her radar.

December 20, 2023

Texas Progressives talk Bum Steer Awards AND bum steers in awards

This year's Texas Monthly Bum Steer for 2024? Who else but Dannie Goeb himself, aka Dan Patrick. Kenny Boy Paxton was a runner-up (natch) as were Elmo Musk and Texas A&M. And, per the piece, since Texas Democraps still suck, he'll be leading the state (he does) for another six years. That said, the last graf of the piece is funny:

But though Patrick has prospered here and has lived here for nearly a half century, he still does not fully understand Texas. He knows what the small group of Republican primary voters who elected him want: endless culture war. He knows how to role-play a version of a Texan, posing in his campaign ads with a brush jacket and an old pickup truck. But Texas contains multitudes. This place is too wild and weird to fit in Patrick’s narrow and exclusionary ideological vision. His failure to see Texas is a pitiable thing.

Yeah, right. Genteel moderately librul Tea-Sippers writing Texas Monthly pieces don't understand today's Tex-ass. Presumably someone with the brains (I think) of a Mimi Swartz had nothing to do with that write-up. As OC wingnuts Californicate Tex-ass, Patrick fully understands what today's Tex-ass is becoming on the Republican side.

School chaplains IS the camel's nose of the Religious Right in the tent, but just as I said long ago about what would happen if school prayer were revived, many of the initial backers of the idea are more hesitant now about THEIR denominational ox being gored.

Despite being a Paxton impeachment manager, my state House legiscritter, Spiller, is a wingnut indeed, per Trib rankings.

Tyler has had a strictly secular holiday season display area for years, but a rabbi still decided to go wingnut when told his menorah wouldn't be allowed.

Off the Kuff points out that three of the Supreme Court justices that refused to let Kate Cox get an abortion are on the 2024 ballot, including the most notoriously anti-abortion zealot on the Court. 

SocraticGadfly says RIP Craig Watkins.

Neil at the Houston Democracy Project said State Senator Carol Alvarado would better serve democracy by working hard for Democratic voter turnout rather than criticizing active rank and file Democratic volunteers. 

Texas 2036 provides a sneak peek at its joint report on trends in extreme weather in Texas with Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon. 

Shock me that the (currently) second-largest United Methodist church in the US is in Southlake, tilts semi-wingnut within the UMC, and has its growth being driven by Californication.

 Your Local Epidemiologist looks at the life-threatening aspects of anti-abortion legislation.  

Law Dork reviews SCOTUS' decision to take up the mifepristone appeal. 

The Dallas Observer explores the excesses of a Plano megachurch's Christmas extravaganza.  

The Bloggess announced the 14th Annual James Garfield Miracle.

A deeper dive on Dobbs, Putin, Zionist Nazis of the IDF and Gaza

Behind the scenes of the Supreme Court's ruling on Dobbs and the Roe reversal. One big issue is that the leaked draft, per the story, probably hardened all of the apparently locked-in conservatives, notably Kavanaugh, from joining Roberts on a controlling centrist opinion that would have granted Mississippi's original basic request of rolling Roe back to 15 weeks. I figured this at the time, but this is why I assume it was some conservative who leaked it, and precisely for that reason. As for the investigation of clerks by court marshals? Assuming it was a conservative clerk or two involved, winners write the rules, including whitewashing. The story doesn't discuss how detailed a report of the investigation Roberts gave to fellow justices.

As for whose clerk?

Arguably, a Roberts clerk could have said "what the fuck, I'll leak it" in order to box his boss in. Highly unlikely. Pissing the Umpire off could have backfired on future career prospects. A Kavanaugh clerk trying to force his boss's unsteady hand is much more likely. Whether that's more likely than a Thomas, Alito or Gorsuch clerk being the leaker, but for the reasons above, I don't know.


The Times Magazine reports on the shattering of trust between many more leftist Israelis and Palestinians after Oct. 7. Unfortunately, sadly, disgustingly, whatever, the story hits a chughole early on when it appears to accept all hasbara-type claims about the Tribe of Nova music festival at face value. And, while discussing rape, it only discusses allegations of rape by Hamas, not rape by members of the IDF, nor does it discuss if the Palestinian portion even raised this issue, lest it shatter what fragile alliance remained.

That said, as shown here in the States (where tensions are admittedly lesser) such fractures don't have to happen, per this Medium.

Reminder, via here and here, that Zionist Nazis in the IDF will kill Palestinian Christians just like Palestinian Muslims, and will attack churches just like mosques. But, the #ReligiousRight in the GOP and the candidates it herds, as well as "good Catholics" Joe Biden and RFK Jr., and good New Ager Marianne Williamson, whose "love faucet" doesn't flow to Gaza, won't tell you this. And, Israel's already out with the most blatant hasbara yet, on this. Jerusalem's deputy mayor says there are no Christians and no churches in Gaza. Worse yet, with an Arabic name, Fleur Nassan-Nahoum is presumably a Palestinian Christian willing to play Stephin Fetchit to Zionists just to attack Muslims.

Also, as seen in a Beeb interview and elsewhere, too many media professionals globally still work on the presumption that "Palestinian" without modifer = "Palestinian Muslim."


Great story, with the New York Times actually detailing a fair amount of the truth on how Russian President Vladimir Putin punked the Western sanctions world in general and Jeffrey Sonnenfeld in particular. Punked them he has, and contra Sonnenfeld's sneers (which ooze through the Internet's electrons), many of the new Russian owners, for the short term at least, are apparently running their new companies OK or even better than OK.

That said, the Times kneecaps itself by repeating the likely canard, which I first saw on Financial Times a week or two earlier, that the Russian economy would overheat some time next year. These are the same folks who claimed a year ago, just before Putin started doing these Russian-style Special Acquisition Vehicles of Muscovite capitalism (I see what I did there), that the Russian economy would be brought to its knees by American-led sanctions. James K. Galbraith ripped that claim to shreds with actual empirical evidence eight months ago; he or somebody similar may do the same with this.


Democrats hate on Tommy Tuberville for hurting the military. (In reality, continued and presumably rising problems with obesity in particular and fitness in general among the section of today's high school graduates that don't perceive better job opportunities elsewhere hurts the military far more.) If only someone would tell him, as I did on Twitter with that link, that abortion is legal in Israel.

Speaking of the health spectrum of today? Americans are shrinking as well as getting heavier. Blame Millennials and/or the corporate food they eat and/or are offered, or that they're not offered via cuts in food stamps and other aid directly to the poor, as both problems started about 1980.  On height? By countries of the world, Merikkkan men are barely top 50, and women aren't even that. 

As for Tuberville? This isn't a direct quote, but per an old MASH episode, you know what happens if he hurts the military enough? "Peace."


Cornel West thinks President Biden may pull an LBJ 1968. I doubt it. If nothing else, his "Irish Alzheimer's" will keep him from doing that. (And, contra others, I think Biden has more of it than many other people think.)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is reportedly offing more opponents. Mark Ames doesn't want to believe it, but Mark, somethings these things are real and you, like Counterpunch at times, need to drop a reflexiveness in your anti-American foreign policy establishement stance.


December 19, 2023

Buddy, can you spare $700 million? For Ohtani, or the Dodgers?

Everybody else is writing about Shohei Ohtani's record-breaking contract with the Dodgers, so why shouldn't I?

First, per the header? I think it's a big fat overpay. Got in an argument months ago with a chud on r/mlb about the success rate of pitchers coming back from two TJs. Yeah, the second is not a "full TJ," but still. IMO, he'll be a batter-only player by the time he and Dodger Blue are halfway through that 10-year contract.

I add in a blog post from this summer about "the cautionary tale of Jacob deGrom." Even if he's still raking like currently, that alone should knock the contract down to $50M/year.

That said, as everybody knows by now, this contract is massively eferred

Second, this is Los Angeles. They don't need Ohtani on the team to goose fan numbers, so scratch that.

Third? Does Mookie Betts now think he's underpaid? Regret not having an opt-out clause in his contract? Speaking of? Mookie Betts' best two years by WAR are better than Ohtani's top 2.

Fourth, re small-market teams? Rich teams should not be allowed to defer payments on a contract just to dodge the lux tax line. That's doubly true as we learn the deferment is $68 million per year of the $70M. It's more ridiculous than NFL contracts with guaranteed vs non-guaranteed money. (Question: How much do small-market teams bitch during discussions for the next CBA? How much do mid-tier free agents, if they think about it?)

Yeah, Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer, in his 17 Questions about Ohtani's Contract piece, says that this won't really benefit big-market teams. But, he adds that the current MLB language requires a team to have money to make good on a deferred payment structure within two years of the deferred money starting to kick in. Good luck with that, small market teams.

That said?

Fifth, re small-market teams? MLB needs a salary floor as well as a lux tax line, soft cap, whatever. For the A's/Las Vegas Whazzups, Rays, Marlins, Royals, etc.? If you don't maintain an MLB payroll of $80M or whatever? You get dinged revenue sharing money in future years. Or docked draft choices. Or other punitive actions. After all, the whole point of revenue sharing is that small market teams have extra money to spend to be competitive. (Question: How much do big-market teams bitch during discussions for the next CBA? How much do mid-tier free agents, if they think about it?)

Sixth? After he IS back pitching in 2025, I'd laugh if he joins Clayton Kershaw on the playoff pitching flops roster.

Seventh? If Arte Moreno has an ounce of brains, he looks to trade Mike Trout and accept that it's time to rebuild.

December 18, 2023

The ACLU stanning for the NRA

I heard about this more than a week ago, but wanted to offer something up anyway.

First, some apologists may say this is like defending the Nazis in Skokie 50 years ago.

No it's not.

The NRA may not be as flush as it tries to make out being, but it's much more flush than the National Socialist Party of America was or is. Or, as Students for Justice in Palestine is today. In short, it doesn't need the ACLU's help.

And help it is.

This is NOT an amicus brief. ACLU is serving as counsel for the NRA.

And, per the link, I don't see this as an attempt to silence the NRA, whether it needs civil-liberties organization help or not. Therefore, this is NOT "a controversial First Amendment issue." It's a semi-controversial NON-First Amendment issue, per the Second Circuit's ruling.

And, it's not like it needs to goose its membership. Trump's election, and its aftermath, did that, unless it had humongous churn. So why?

The "both sides" angle like too much of mainstream media still does too often? Churn, after all? An expectation of a Trump re-election?

And, let's not forget then-and-now Executive Director Anthony Romero, hand-in-glove with then board prez Nadine Strossen, working to gag other board members like Wendy Kaminer 15-plus years ago, when they protested about ACLU staff teaching people how to COMPLY with the Patriot Act.

Let's also not forget that, just a few years later, Romero wanted to pardon torturers.

Finally, per Wiki's page on it? Don't forget that while the ACLU "courageously" defended Nazis in the 1970s, it "cowardly" refused to defend alleged Communists in the 1950s. AND, it supported anti-First Amendment legislation, too.

The ACLU may have apologized for being lax in defending Communists. I don't know that it's ever apologized for the Patriot Act shit.

And, yes, it does a lot of good. But, it does its share of not so good, and needs to be kicked every few years.