Unreality Check #10: Beisbol, Lt. Dan, and record stores

In case you didn’t notice, Republicans are trying to cancel Major League Baseball because they object to its position on voting rights. And they’re carrying on as if they think they have a chance of doing so (#GetWokeGoBroke?…puhleaze).

That didn’t work so well with the kneeling and the NFL did it? Games are still selling out. TV contracts are still getting signed. When will they realize they’re outnumbered?

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Newly ‘blonde’ Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is a ridiculous snowflake.

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If you’re starting to get out into the world for the first time in…a long time, plan a trip to your local independent record store. Not only will you come home with something you’re happy you bought, but the visit will do wonders for your reorientation (nostalgia being the powerful drug it is), and you’ll help a business that (if it’s lucky) is only just now starting to emerge from a 12-month winter.

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American oilfield services and equipment sector employment rose by more than 23,000 jobs in March, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Higher crude prices are good for the industry and adding to payrolls to this degree is one of the clearest indicators yet that the industry is starting to feel like they’re going to stick around.

And in a win for the environment (and therefore all we creatures who live in it) the DC Circuit granted the Biden administration’s request Monday to vacate a rule left over from the Trump cabal that would have prevented the EPA from setting standards to reduce greenhouse gas pollution produced by so-called stationary sources, such as refineries.

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One of the things those afraid of “socialized medicine” wave around most frequently is the plethora of choices and lack of waiting our current system provides us. What a crock. I called to make my daughter a virtual appointment after school with her OB/GYN. Even on a remote basis they weren’t going to be able to get her in for 2 months with that timing. So now it’s tomorrow at 1:30. In the middle of the school day. Guess WE have to figure that out. While paying several thousand dollars/year in premiums. To be part of a network I didn’t choose. And then pay the doctor anyway to meet the deductible.

Unreality Check (#6)

Last week the Texas 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Tarrant County Community College v. Sims, that Texas’s state law prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sex also provides protections against discrimination for LGBTQ workers. The favorable decision provides state-level protections for LGBTQ workers for the first time under Texas state law.

The Texas appeals court’s opinion included language that interprets the Texas Commission on Human Relations Act (TCHRA) consistent with the recent US Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County that determined discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by federal law. 

In January, The Human Rights Campaign filed a “friend of the court” amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiff. The brief argued that Texas state law is clear — the US Supreme Court’s interpretations of Title VII apply to analogous provisions in the TCHRA.

Some light from down here in Texas after a long string of self-inflicted pies in the face.

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Pres. Biden’s pause on new leases for oil and gas drilling will have marginal impact on production, according the US Energy Information Administration. The agency expects crude production in 2022 to fall by fewer than 100,000 b/d on average as a result of the administration’s order on leasing.

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Note that the same people who are upset about a handsy French cartoon skunk getting ‘cancelled’ were fine with a presidential candidate who “grabs ’em by the pussy.” At least they’re consistent.

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The GOP now has another entertainer’s back (Tucker Carlson) instead of the military’s.

President Biden announced that two female generals were in line to become combatant commanders and that initiatives were being pursued to recruit and retain women to the US military.

Tucker said, among other things that “China’s military becomes more masculine … our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine.”

The Pentagon issued a statement attempting to address Carlson’s ignorance, adding that “What we absolutely won’t do is take personnel advice from a talk show host.”

Noted veteran Col. Alexander Vindman put it this way: “Tucker Carlson dishonors the service and sacrifice of all women who have served in the Armed Forces. Many who paid the ultimate sacrifice. He’s never served anyone but himself, but would deny soldiers the means and equipment to be effective. #HereRightMatters”

And Republicans side with Tucker.

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Even so, like Jefferson, I would prefer newspapers without government to government without newspapers.

Unreality Check (#5)

Photo from studentenergy.org

It looks like there might be some wiggle room on energy in the both the new administration and Congress. Congressional Democrats, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), have made a series of proposals intended to modify the terms under which oil and gas leasing can occur on federal lands rather than banning it outright. They’re also trying to get President Biden on board. Grassley called on Congress to increase royalty rates, describing the current system (in place since the 1920s) as “corporate welfare.”

Yes, Grassley represents the state that produces far more ethanol than any other, but sometimes you take help where you can get it.

Democrats likewise want to raise royalties paid to the government and are also pushing for remediation of abandoned wells, tougher regulation of methane emissions, and increased public input into the process. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), chair of the energy and mineral resources subcommittee, described Congress’s actions as an effort to provide Biden with ways to fix a broken system rather than simply throwing it out.

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Republicans in the Texas legislature are keeping the pedal to the metal, putting forward a bill that would ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization. The bill would charge women who have abortions and doctors that perform them with murder. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Mar. 9 signed a bill into law banning abortions for any reason except saving the life of the mother.