SocraticGadfly: 5/26/24 - 6/2/24

May 31, 2024

Speculation on the 2024 presidential election going to the House, round 2

I offered an initial guesstimate last December; this is about 50 percent a reprint of that, with updates on specific items in italics and new backgrounding information.

Now that candidate issues are pretty much rounding into shape (other than knowing who the Libertarian candidate will be and if there's any real possibility of Trumptards stampeding the LP into a dual nomination) it's probably time for round 2.

I have the help of a recent Quinnipiac Poll, albeit registered voters in general, not restricted to likely voters. I also have 270 To Win as an easy electoral vote tracker.

And, per the original, there's Wikipedia's entry on the 2020 election the starting point.

Bob Jr. still strikes me, and certainly, pollsters, as the biggest wild card among independent and third-party candidates, as I wrote last December in this paragraph. Where is he most likely to have an effect? I'm basing this somewhat on state-by-state hunches and a general thought that he takes 60 percent Republican, 40 percent Democrat, among his voters who voted for somebody else in 2020, and doubles that with "green" voters. (Not "green" in that sense; green as in didn't vote for either one in 2020.) And, the QPac poll

My guesstimates, as listed in December, and updates/hedges in italics, primarily from 270 To Win aid, speaking of how Bob Jr. affects the race, using what 270 calls its "2024 Consensus" map.

1. He keeps Arizona in Biden's column. 270 says it's a toss-up; I'll make it a mild Biden lean.

2. He keeps Georgia in Biden's column. 270 is ditto.

3. He takes Maine, both of the individual Congressional district electoral votes and overall. 270 gives one of them to Trump, rest to Biden. I'll still stick with mine for now.

4. He takes New Hampshire. I will stick with that.

5. And, for shits and giggles, let's say he takes Wisconsin as well.

That's 18 EVs for him. Not enough to send it to the House. It's 288 Biden, 232 Trump, 18 Kennedy. But?

Let's say I'm wrong on Arizona and Georgia. That's 17 votes. I'm moving them to Trump, not Kennedy.

Then it's 271-249-18, right? Wrong. We forgot to factor in redistricting, which gives Trump's 2020 states 3 more EVs this time, and Biden's 3 less.

We are now at 268-252-18.

Even if I am wrong about Wisconsin, that's still 268-262-8.

May 30, 2024

Texas Progressives talk state GOP, Uvalde, abortion, lizards

I'm a secularist, so no thoughts and prayers, or tots and pears, for people in Valley View, but yes, sympathy for the families, remembrance of the dead, and finally, recognition of the frailty, and absurdity in a Camus way, of life in general.


The Texas GOP has gone even more batshit crazy, per state convention resolutions, plus shown that, more than ever, it's afraid of competition. (Don't be shocked; both duopoly parties are.) Plus, not that it's ever stopped either Tex-ass GOP voters or its leadership before, but, the "win a majority of counties for statewide office" is clearly unconstitutional — until and unless SCOTUS wants to undo Baker et al. More batshitness starts with the election of Abraham George as party leader. That's even as the disarray increases, and the money, other than Wilks and Dunn type drops, slows down.

Meanwhile, everybody there had fun kicking Dade "Dade" Phelan.

After getting a settlement against the city of Uvalde, parents are now suing Daniel Defense, Activision and Facebook's parent. They're also suing the DPS. Good luck on both.

The Monthly casts a sharp eye on the Board of Pardons and Paroles work in getting Daniel Perry off the hook.

Off the Kuff is not surprised that no one likes the guidance on abortion provided by the Texas Medical Board. 

SocraticGadfly salutes the potential, though not environmentally guaranteed, Endangered Species Act listing for the dunes sagebrush lizard.

New Mexico has a state ethics commission that actually works, contra ours here in Tex-ass. 

Liberal American Zionism is dead, dead, dead. Maybe here in Tex-ass, Kuff will write about Zionist repression of pro-Palestinian student protestors. (Nahh, would undercut his BlueAnon tribalism.)

Neil at the Houston Democracy Project said that traitors don’t honor brave service & Memorial Day. (Note: Aquino's definition of "traitor" is #BlueAnon tribalist. But, rather than delete, I'm leaving it here with that note.)

Space City Weather explains what a derecho is.

The New Atlantis uses the proposed I-35 expansion in Austin as an illustration of "induced demand".

CultureMap previews an imminent docuseries on the history of the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Texas Monthly interviews Colin Allred, and annotates their interview as they go. (And doesn't push as hard as it could.)

Finally, congratulations to the Harris County Public Library system and the Houston Children's Museum for winning 2024 National Medals for Museum and Library Service.

May 29, 2024

Cards fans continue to fellate Yadier Molina without facts

Per a post on r/Cardinals that is the stupidest one I've ever seen and that was eventually hauled down by mods, some douchebro from Effingham (moderates NSFW "Effingham hookups" sub) claimed the Cardinals Mount Rushmore should be Musial, Gibson, Pujols and ... Molina.

I, like many others, mentioned Rogers Hornsby. But I then went further. Much further.

You're fricking shitting me that you don't know who Rogers Hornsby is. Per another commenter, Ozzie is No. 5.

I don't think Yadi is even in the top TEN.

We have Ken Boyer at, say No. 6.

Brock at No. 7 even without high WAR.

Dizz, short career and all, at No. 8.

Country Slaughter at No. 9.

Simba at No. 10, just to note IMO he's the best overall catcher in Cards history just to put a last stamp on this.

(I could even try to slip the Old Redhead in at No. 11.)

SMH. Really?

And, at that point, pissed off lots of Cards fans. 

So, I add to it, and blog here. 

Staking out who I am, my flair of Glenn Brummer at r/Cardinals shows I'm a real fan. But, not the worst stereotypes of BFIBers, either.

First? Simba had 45 WAR with the Cards, more than Yadi's total.

Second? Yadi is arguably Jim Sundberg with boatloads of pitch-framing PR. We head to JAWS for catchers. Sundberg is within 1.7 WAR overall, with more than 300 fewer games. He's within 2.5 dWAR. Related? Not only is Rodriguez ahead of Molina, Gary Carter is within 2 dWAR. Bob Boone is the same dWAR as Sundberg. Now, Yadi had a 7-WAR and a 6-WAR year, which Sundberg didn't. OTOH, that was a weird two-year peak. Yadi not only never broke 5 WAR otherwise, he never broke 4 WAR. He never broke 3.5 WAR, even. (Yes, I know WAR is somewhat "non-granular,", or "big-grains granular," but still.)

On D, and setting aside pitch framing, which is not a measurable stat? Sundberg was slightly better at the percentage of baserunners he threw out while trying to steal, though not as much above MLB average as Molina. Yadi was way better on range factor/9, but, OTOH, was below MLB average for his time while Sundberg was above. Yadi was better on zone fielding runs by a solid margin. 

I've also said in the past, in detail, that, at a minimum, I don't think Yadi is a first-ballot HOFer, if at all. On the "magic" /s of pitch framing, I said we don't know if Johnny Bench or Yogi Berra might not be as good, or better. Pitchers and scribes both talked about Yogi making pitchers better when they got to the Yankees.

Third and related? I got even more downvoted in a third-level response comment when I said it was unarguable, not arguable, that Ozzie should be No. 5 on Redbird Rushmore, behind Hornsby but way ahead of Molina.

Update, June 4: Another Best Fans in Baseball brilliante has now posted rhetorical snark about Yadi at r/MLB. I posted a link to this piece. And, in comments to one commenters, I posted oWAR for catchers and said Yadi was Mike Napoli. Or, if you want someone who played more at catcher, he was A.J. Pierzynski. No, really. (At least the OP does a decent pivot to saying Sundberg is underappreciated.)


Of course, these are the same BFIB who laud the addition of Matt Carpenter of the 73 OPS+, or here with one, can't properly count the value of a WAR point, and even by their WAR math, way overestimate the value of Nolan Arenado.

And, when the hell did he start getting called "Marp"? That's about as stupid as #TheLou.

May 28, 2024

"Fixing" the Denver Nuggets: Trade MPJ?

In a sense, no, they don't need to be fixed, but in another, they do.

It's Kevin O'Connor, so take it with a grain of salt. But, he's got good insights in general for what the Nuggets have to do next year and years ahead. And, much of it falls on head coach Mike Malone. And, some of it falls on Calvin Booth. A fair chunk of it falls on both being on the same page:

Booth and Malone had different approaches to the season that often clashed. Booth was investing in the future, and Malone was thinking entirely about the present. And in the end, nobody won. The Nuggets failed to advance to the conference finals and the rookies didn’t get developmental time they needed. Booth’s plan could still work out in the long run if his draft picks improve. But with the Nuggets already planning their summer vacations, it looks like he whiffed on a valuable chance to win it all again. ...
Maybe the Nuggets had to lose this season for Booth and Malone to get on the same track long term. But all season, Denver lacked organizational alignment, a worrisome reality for a franchise that just won its first title with a historic player who’s still in his prime and who this season won his third MVP in four years.

Good insights.

First, Calvin Booth has little wiggle room. The Kroenke family clearly hasn't given him explicit permission to blow past the second apron on the new, stricter salary cap.

Related? Jeff Green is old enough, and his per-36 dropped this year anyway, that they should have been able to do OK without him. Bruce Brown? Probably could have used him, but not at $22M a year.

That said, in game 7 against the T-Wolves? Minny's bench only played 9 more minutes than Denver's. That's a difference, but not huge. And, when the oldest player on the floor, Conley, blows by Michael Porter Jr at the start of the second half, that's bad. (Let's remember that both teams rested in that locker room at halftime, then Minnesota blew the doors off from the start in the third quarter. Also, hold on to the MPJ thoughts.)

While Malone should be on the same page as Booth, and recognize there's not a lot of team wiggle room? He holds the trump cards, O'Connor notes:

The pressure this summer is undoubtedly on Booth, though. Malone inked a long-term extension in November through the 2026-27 season. Jokic is signed through 2027-28. Meanwhile, Booth’s contract is up after the 2024-25 season

That's big.

Finally, getting better three-point shooters is important. Also, per the end of the piece, getting Malone to have more 3-ball shooting with the players he has is itself important.

As far as Booth's lack of wiggle room? The Nuggets are already over the first apron. Resigning Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will surely put them over the second apron. At the first apron, already, they can't do a sign-and-trade, as the biggest deal. They can't go above the midlevel exemption and other things. The second apron makes it worse. Among other things, you can't use multiple players in a salary match on a trade. Has to be one-on-one, at least on your end. (You can take two back, but only send one, I think.) Midlevel exemption is out, period.

So, first, the Nuggets have to make other deals, that they can under the first apron, before resigning KCP. (I assume he opts out of his option.)

So, on sign-and-trade? That cuts both ways.

If I'm Booth, and, per O'Connor, the KCP market goes north of $20M? I look at that possibility.

I also look at doing something I have thought about long before O'Connor suggested it. And, that's trading Porter. Here's O'Connor:

He’s still only 25 years old and appears to be past his injury concerns after missing only 21 games the past two seasons. And he’s certainly one of the league’s best shooters. But he’s expensive, he doesn’t create his own shot off the dribble, and he’s inconsistent on defense. Maybe it’d make sense for the Nuggets to trade Porter for two players, giving them more depth while retaining shooting prowess. Because for the second consecutive year, MPJ’s production fell off a cliff in the playoffs. Last season, Porter averaged 12.3 points on 11.4 shots per game on just 32.7 percent shooting from 3 over the final three rounds. This year, he was even worse in the second round, averaging 10.7 points on 10 shots on 32.5 percent from 3. Porter was also more productive on defense last year.

In addition? He's just not that good defensively; inconsistent is part of it.

If he gets shipped with one of the young players, either this just-ended year's second-year players, or the rookies, to sweeten the pot, I'd be OK with that, depending on return. That's especially if it gives Booth enough wiggle room to resign KCP (who I keep if Porter's gone) and stay below the second apron. Ie, Porter, plus possibly a second player out, and the two players back are only 80 percent 

Also, setting aside first vs second apron, for other salary match reasons, this trade needs to happen before June 30.

May 27, 2024

Congress' major part in winning the US Civil War

Congress at War: How Republican Reformers Fought the Civil War, Defied Lincoln, Ended Slavery, and Remade America

Congress at War: How Republican Reformers Fought the Civil War, Defied Lincoln, Ended Slavery, and Remade America by Fergus M. Bordewich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I like a history book that isn’t afraid to forcibly advance a thesis, even if I don’t totally agree with it, as long as it has at least a reasonable amount of factual backing. And, Bordewich’s does. It is that St. Abraham of Lincoln most certainly did not win the war single-handedly or even close to it. Rather, Congress had a significant role, and often took the lead, both in actions directly related to the war and ancillary ones.

Note: This is an expanded version, as is my wont here, of my Goodreads review, which was completed two weeks ago. This makes a perfect Memorial Day piece.

As Bordewich shows, one of the most important tools, beyond individual acts of legislation, was the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. This is directly parallel to the WWII US Senate committee, helmed by Harry Truman, that propelled him to the vice presidency nomination in 1944. Chaired by Ben Wade, it repeatedly investigated tactics and command by generals, starting with McClellan, as well as material and supplies, war profiteering and more. In 1864, it took testimony from the survivors of the Fort Pillow massacre. (Nathan Bedford Forrest being allowed to survive after the end of the Civil War is itself an indictment of Reconstruction.)

At its best on 1863-64. Noting the part-time nature of Congress and how the new one wouldn’t start until 1863, Bordewich notes how the Clerk of the House, Emerson Etheridge, a Tennessee Unionist who turned anti-administration after the Emancipation Proclamation, was going to use his powers as clerk to reject the credentials of as many Republicans as he could, in collusion with Vallandigham and Sunset Cox. But, Republicans sniffed it out, and reportedly, Lincoln was OK, in extremis, of using troops to oust Etheridge.

But part of the story is Smiler Colfax being elected as Speaker for that Congress, as Galusha Grow had lost re-election to his seat in the midterms. Lincoln reportedly wanted old Illinois friend Elihu Washburne, who wouldn’t have been bad, or the odious Frankie Blair, who would have been. This was all new to me.

Also new to me were details of Hannibal Hamlin being dumped for Veep, especially how much Lincoln was allegedly involved, even to the point of allowing a nominal pro-Hamlin vote on the first ballot. It’s arguable that, at the time, the concern to get a War Democrat as Veep was reasonable. But, it appears Lincoln wanted Hamlin gone anyway. I suspect it was because he suspected Hamlin would be more and more a Radical foot inside the White House as Reconstruction ramped up.

This, then, connects to Lincoln’s pocket veto of the Wade-Davis act. And, no, contra Wade’s modern chief biographer, even if the Wade-Davis Manifesto in the New York Times after the pocket veto was overblown, the act itself was NOT.

This, in turn, though little discussed by Bordewich, would seem to tie to Lincoln’s ongoing support for colonization — yes, even up to the week of his assassination. It definitely ties to Lincoln’s “rosewater” reconstruction plans, where Speaker Julian Ashley couldn’t get a deal to admit Louisiana’s congresscritters in exchange for Lincoln accepting something at least halfway like Wade-Davis for unreconstructed states. (I'll have an even more expanded review on my blog, and this will be part of it. (It should also be noted, per Bruce Levine, that Salmon Chase warned Lincoln at the start of his presidential reconstruction of Louisiana to net let it pass a black peonage law. Lincoln did anyway.)

Some historians, like James Oakes and David Reynolds, will give you the St. Abraham of Lincoln version of the story on colonization, claiming he never spoke about it in public after the Emancipation Proclamation. True, but a nothingburger. As the link in the previous paragraph shows, he DID talk about it with Butler two full years later. Before that, in early 1863, per email exchange I had with Oakes, Lincoln's Emigration Bureau continued to explore Belize as a colonization site — with his encouragement. Per that link, also, Lincoln asked Attorney General Edward Bates in October of 1864 — while worried about re-election, let us not forget! — if Emigration Commissioner James Mitchell could have his salary restored, though Congress had killed the commission's budget in July. (Mitchell himself, per that link, was apparently paid directly as an employee of the Department of the Interior.) Bates, as he prepared to resign as AG, did his best to dodge a formal legal opinion but informally admitted to Lincoln that the answer was yes.

Much more — Lincoln's whole pre-presidential and presidential history of support for colonization — is fascinating, if troubling, reading. Bureaucratic infighting between Mitchell, known to Lincoln since at least the late 1840s, and Interior Secretary Usher kneecapped the British Honduras and British Guiana possibilities. So did Seward's hatred of colonization, and, as Secretary of State, his willingness to say so in front of foreign envoys.

Back to the original review.

Per anti-Radical historians today who say that Ben Wade as president pro tem killed chances at impeaching Andy Johnson? He was freely elected. The GOP was going to stand by him. Recuse himself? Whoever was president pro tem wasn't going to recuse himself and besides, it was Chase (with a lot of horrible legal rulings, perhaps done with his own eye on the presidency) who was presiding over the impeachment trial.

That said, on some items, it was pushing at an open door in general. Lincoln, old railroad lawyer, certainly supported the Pacific Railway Act and its later emendations. Ditto, being from the Illinois prairie, on the Morrill Act, the Homestead Act and the creation of the eventual Department of Agriculture.

Possibly a stretch to claim the Civil War era sub-Treasury led directly to the Federal Reserve, although the National Banking Act was a step in that direction. And, Bordewich never ponders why Congress didn’t cut straight to the chase and create the third Bank of the United States.

Oh, Lincoln’s nationwide suspension of habeas corpus in fall of 1862 did NOT, in and of itself, create martial law. A journalist should know better than that. Not all people arrested and held without release went automatically to military commissions instead of civilian courts, though that was, yes, often the case, when Lincoln did go on to declare martial law. In any case, suspension of habeas corpus by itself does not create martial law. Ex parte Milligan makes this clear.

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