Sunday, October 13, 2013

What's in a name? On Redskins, Indians and Braves

== Team Names - I dare to weigh in ==

cleveland_indians_wallpaper-29780At some risk -- and no conceivable benefit -- but as a distraction from politics, I have something to offer regarding the controversy over whether to change the names of sports teams that appear to demean ethnic groups. Keeping things simple, I'd propose a simple rule of thumb.

If the name trivializes or mocks or derides, it should go.  If the symbolism is belittling and mocking, it should be punished as soon as possible.

If the name appropriates an ethnicity that subsumes a whole people, it should probably go… unless it's done with so much respect and consultation that those people sign on and give their okay. Which seems highly unlikely.

But if it is instead a profession that provides the name… something that men and women have chosen as their line of work, then the issue, I believe, is whether it is done with respect.

UnknownSo how do things parse out?  Clearly, the name "Redskins" falls into category one. There is no way on Earth it isn't simply offensive racism. Come on. Do the right thing. It's inevitable... so get it over-with and choose a new name that fires up home town zealotry for the team's region...

"Gooooooooo Bureaucrats!"

On the level of symbolism, on the other hand, the example images above show that the Redskins have made real efforts to depict nobility while the Cleveland Indians are clueless. Either way, sorry... it's too late.  Accept it.

At the opposite extreme is the team name: Atlanta Braves. A "brave" is not strictly-speaking an ethnic group, it could be regarded as a profession.  Packers, Steelers, Oilers,  Cowboys, Raiders, Pirates… One can argue that the name is a tribute to the same admirable qualities -- agility and boundless courage -- that inspired the creators of the fantastic Crazy Horse sculpture in South Dakota.  Efforts have been made to modernize the imagery.

In this case, the issue might revolve around -- is the respect and admiration genuine?

Still, having pointed out that distinction, I do believe that - regarding this controversy - I am in no position to judge or declare right or wrong.  If my point about "a profession" were to persuade some Native American people to negotiate an advisory panel with the club, leading to deeply respectful symbolism that satisfied all sides, might the name be saved?

But barring that, well, a name that offends millions ought to go.  This isn't "political correctness."  It's just courtesy and noticing things our parents didn't.

Same with the Cleveland Indians.  For heaven's sake. You Clevelanders already have a new mascot ready to go!

tumblr_ma5h10FSDt1qbmmu7o1_400Come on, ain't it obvious?

Just call yourselves the Cleveland Grovers!

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about the Washington Red Tapes.

Robert said...

I am somehow reminded of my own desire to name my firstborn son "Philip Lovecraft Howard"...

Rob H.

Edit_XYZ said...

"David Brin said...
Ian, I tossed in Brazil having forgotten Ian's list. Mea culpa. STill, show me one other wealth transfer anywhere near that big. Show me one impetus for development that was greater."

What wealth transfer?
You truly don't let facts get in the way of your beliefs - even when they are pointed out to you:
"Duncan Cairncross said...
As far as I can see the USA normally had a trade surplus until the late 70's
The main country with a trade deficit was the UK averaging 1.2 Billion pounds from 1955 - 2013
Since the 1980's the US has mostly had a deficit increasing up to 40 Billion dollars
The US total deficit is probably larger than the UK's - but not as large as the relative sizes of the economies"

This statistic is proof there was no wealth transfer from USA to the rest of the world until the late '70s.
Ian proved there wasn't any world-uplifting such transfer since.

"I believe you have it backward. Yes, human attitudes toward war has evolved. One reason was the very IMAGE of the atomic bomb mushroom cloud, a work of art that transformed us. But what came first was that image... the stick... and the carrot of a world peace greater than the world has ever seen."

First - the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki played, at most, a distant secondary role in Japan's surrender - despite what you want to believe.
In the book "Racing the enemy", Tsuyoshi Hasegawa proves this decisively.

Second - peace during the cold war depended far less on atomic weaponry than you want to believe.
Read John Mueller: "Retreat from Doomsday - The Obsolescence of Major War" for ample proof of this.
Steven Pinker's "The better angels of our nature" reached the same conclusion analysing the issue from a different angle.


In conclusion - Both 'the stick' and 'the carrot' you're so fond of mentioning for self-aggrandizement purposes are underdeveloped; more like duds.

Anonymous said...

I'm in favor of the Washington Minority Whips.

Anonymous said...

I supposed the KC Chiefs would be in there with the Braves on the "profession" idea.

For some reason this reminds me of an older native american guy I met. I don't think he'd ever been east of the Mississippi, but he was always to be seen wearing a Philadelphia Eagles cap.

David Brin said...

I love the Washington Redtapes. WOuld require a minimal sticker go over all current Schwag

Apparently even a tribal name can be okay. One fellow wrote in on my FB: "I will offer up an appropriate use case of the Florida State Seminoles. The School and the Tribe work together to be very careful to not promote stereotypes and both benefit from the use of the name. The Tribe got higher recognition (and was able to buy things like the Hard Rock Cafe corporation etc) and the School gets a very traditional Florida connection."

The San Diego State Aztecs don't get many complaints.

I will not lift a finger to argue with someone who thinks that H Bombs weren't a deterrent to war. The irony is that I do believe - and promote - the notion that civilized consciousness is improving! But to deny that the mushroom cloud played a role in that... or that vast networks of world trade did not uplift billions of people... well, I remain boggled by the creativity of human fantasy.

David Brin said...

I love the Washington Redtapes. WOuld require a minimal sticker go over all current Schwag

Apparently even a tribal name can be okay. One fellow wrote in on my FB: "I will offer up an appropriate use case of the Florida State Seminoles. The School and the Tribe work together to be very careful to not promote stereotypes and both benefit from the use of the name. The Tribe got higher recognition (and was able to buy things like the Hard Rock Cafe corporation etc) and the School gets a very traditional Florida connection."

The San Diego State Aztecs don't get many complaints.

I will not lift a finger to argue with someone who thinks that H Bombs weren't a deterrent to war. The irony is that I do believe - and promote - the notion that civilized consciousness is improving!

But to deny that the mushroom cloud played a role in that... or that vast networks of world trade did not uplift billions of people... well, I remain boggled by the creativity of human fantasy.

Jonathan S. said...

I don't know about this John Mueller fellow, but I was there - I worked in nuclear planning at HQ SAC in the mid-Eighties. And the only thing that stopped a war with the USSR on several occasions was the fact that it would have gone nuclear, and that both sides' deterrence was the appropriately-acronymed MAD. Nobody was quite ready to push that particular button.

(As a side-note, when the TV-movie "The Day After" came out, we in the office agreed it was a nicely-sanitized lighthearted romp. The real aftermath would have been much more grim.)

Edit_XYZ said...

"David Brin said...
I will not lift a finger to argue with someone who thinks that H Bombs weren't a deterrent to war. The irony is that I do believe - and promote - the notion that civilized consciousness is improving!

But to deny that the mushroom cloud played a role in that... or that vast networks of world trade did not uplift billions of people... well, I remain boggled by the creativity of human fantasy."

So - you present no counterargument to the pretty overwhelming case I just made.
You just come with an unsupported dictums and think they have any value.
Good luck with that.


Jonathan S., I recommend you read up the books I mentioned before assuming the scare of the day was actually an imminent Armageddon averted only by MAD.

David Brin said...

"The Day After" was, however a very feminine, woman's eye perspective on such an aftermath. No mohawk-n-leather raiders. Cops staying on duty till they dropped. Vastly more moving.

The Postman was written in my own traumatized state as a child of that era. Kids these days have no idea. Seriously, no clue.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Kids these days have no idea. Seriously, no clue.

I second that - we were brought up under the inevitable, inescapable, threat of WW3 - the big one

Nobody looked forwards and saw a future without the war
Some saw the war as bigger some smaller
but everybody expected a worldwide nuclear war

And now - its gone!

Unknown said...

I'd agree with Mr. Brin on this one. We knew that the Soviets were the enemy and we were completely convinced that if we used the bomb on them, they would return in kind. That was what stopped us.

David Brin said...

Guy on FB suggested Cleveland simply change the logo to multi-armed Kali and sell Nehru jackets and bring in Bollywood stars. Okay, next problem!

Edit_XYZ said...

Yes - everybody was traumatized and scared of nuclear war.

That does not mean the actual situation was nearly as desperate as was believed and feared.

Rob Perkins said...

I will attest. As a member of the generation following David's, I can't really understand the humor in "Dr. Strangelove". Just can't.

(I still remember where I was when Bush 41 ordered the missile silos to stand down, though, and the relief I felt at even that tiny gesture.)

In fact, it kind of feels these days as though real life (Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, etc) is satirizing that movie, which makes it just plain not funny...

I may have to give it a second try.

CJ-in-Weld said...

Edit_XYZ

Just as a reference point, and truly, truly not meaning to imply an argument is invalid on this score, but...

How old are you? Did you live at a time when nuclear war seemed a real possibility?

Also, how long have you been reading this blog? I only ask this second question because Brin has been touting Pinker since The Better Angels... came out, and you offered it up the other day as if it were new around these parts. IIRC. I choose not to go back and confirm on this phone based browser.

Jonathan S. said...

Edit, I reiterate - I was there. HQ SAC/XOXPC, Force Timing & Deconfliction, Software Section, dually assigned to the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, JSTPS/JPPPC. I was cleared to know everything about the SIOP except scenarios leading to launch.

Nuclear war, Mutually Assured Destruction, was a very real threat in those days. I don't care what some academic wrote years or decades later, because I was there.

Robert said...

Edit, I only lived through the end part of the Cold War... and I believed nuclear war was likely. I loved Reagan and still believed he'd cause a war! And hell, he almost did! Look, go over to Cracked.com and look at what they have to say about the American Nuclear program and all the near-misses we had. We almost nuked OURSELVES several times, let alone the Russians! And we were provoking them! Big time! Even into the 80s!

Or did you not know about the incident when Reagan joked about the bombers being en-route to the Soviet Union which was picked up by a live mike and caused the Russians to go on full alert?

Rob H.

Alfred Differ said...

I was born months before the Cuban missile crisis, so I'm not really aware of the earlier years of the Cold War. My graduate adviser was a generation older, though, and I remember his reaction to the fall of the Berlin wall. He stared at the TV tearing up and and mumbling that he never thought he'd see it. He had an idea of what could happen next and was simply stunned and shaking after awhile.

The youngest among us have NO idea how much that fear permeated us all. I found the 80's to be pretty scary, but that's nothing compared to what happened when I was born. The kids born my year have the radioactive evidence of all the above ground 'testing' in the enamel in our teeth to this day.

What the real dangers were is a matter of debate, but one thing we DO know now is that one Soviet sub did NOT fire on us... because one man said 'No' while two others said 'Yes.'

Paul451 said...

"I was there" can be wrong. You can argue with "I was there". But it takes some balls to tell "I was there" to read a book.

Tony Fisk said...

I will point out two things that happened in 1983:
1. Sep 1: Russia shoots down a 'spy plane'. It turns out to be a Korean Airlines 747 passenger jet (KAL007) that had gone slightly off-course. On board were 269 passengers including a US Congressman. USSR insist it was a deliberate provocation. Things get a little strained on the diplomatic front.
2. Sep 26: Russia's missile defence system lights up with reports of multiple Minuteman launches from the US. The 'standing order' is to launch an all-out retaliation. It is over-ruled by the duty officer; a stand-in called Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov.

It was a fortunate call, but think about that: one Lt. Col. overriding the Soviet High Command.

But, yeah... no worries, mate!

Edit_XYZ said...

@CJ-in-Weld
I was relatively young when the Soviet Union collapsed. As such, I was only tangentially exposed to the zeitgeist of the cold war age.

I do read this blog from time to time. I posted here before, occasionally.
As such, I was aware D Brin read 'The better angels of our nature'. However, the Pax americana meme he repeatedly invokes completely ignores S Pinker's book.

@Robert, Alfred Differ, Tony Fisk
Yes, stupid mistakes/miscommunications could have led to nuclear exchange. Which is why it was supremely stupid on the part of both superpowers to build such a huge nuclear arsenal.

But the question is - why didn't the two superpowers go to war intentionally, as their analogues so often did in the past.
The conventional wisdom is - because of MAD.
However, a very strong case can be made - was made - that a change in mentality was the main cause, with MAD only secondary. As in - even without nuclear weapons, the superpowers would not have gone to all-out war.

@Everyone
Yes, two generations were traumatised by fear of nuclear war.
The question is, how much of this fear was objectively justified, and how much merely the human mind blowing the peril put of proportion, as per our evolutionary tendencies?

"@Jonathan S. said...
Edit, I reiterate - I was there. HQ SAC/XOXPC, Force Timing & Deconfliction, Software Section, dually assigned to the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, JSTPS/JPPPC. I was cleared to know everything about the SIOP except scenarios leading to launch.
Nuclear war, Mutually Assured Destruction, was a very real threat in those days. I don't care what some academic wrote years or decades later, because I was there."

Jonathan, you only say ~'I was there, therefore I am right'.
J Mueller (and others), on the other hand, came with a lot of convincing arguments to conclude the contrary.

You may be right. But in order to make a convincing case, you must show under what respects are Mueller's arguments flawed and its conclusions, incorrect. A simple dictum just won't do.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"Jonathan, you only say ~'I was there, therefore I am right'.
J Mueller (and others), on the other hand, came with a lot of convincing arguments to conclude the contrary.

You may be right. But in order to make a convincing case, you must show under what respects are Mueller's arguments flawed and its conclusions, incorrect. A simple dictum just won't do."

Disagree
Jonathon specified a specific occasion when the war nearly happened
That is all you need to falsify the argument "that there was never any real risk"

I don't need to show somebody how his arguments are flawed when I have seen the thing he says is impossible happen

I don't need to find the fault in the analysis that says a bumble bee cannot fly I just need to see the thing fly

Edit_XYZ said...

"@Duncan Cairncross
I don't need to show somebody how his arguments are flawed when I have seen the thing he says is impossible happen
I don't need to find the fault in the analysis that says a bumble bee cannot fly I just need to see the thing fly"

In the discussed situation, 'seeing the bee fly' is seeing a nuclear exchange.
Duncan, you did NOT see the bee fly.

"Jonathon specified a specific occasion when the war nearly happened"

Really? Where?
He only mentioned unspecified 'several occasions' in the mid-Eighties.
Nothing specific here.

Anonymous said...

"It is over-ruled by the duty officer; a stand-in called Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov."

HE deserves a Nobel Peace Price

Paul451 said...

Edit_XYZ
"As in - even without nuclear weapons, the superpowers would not have gone to all-out war."

Problem is that the nuclear war was they only thing the two super-powers didn't do. Hell, every nuclear power fought wars during the post-WWII period. They just didn't go to war with each other.

Even if the rate or scale of war was gradually declining, going from major warfare throughout the 19th century, a major European war in the early 20th century, a global war in the middle of that century... to no war between any major powers from then on... is too sharp a change to blame on anything but the fear of nuclear war.

The eagerness of the neo-cons for the invasion of Iraq, the manufacture of any excuse to justify it, that is not a "change of mentality" from the enthusiasm for war that created the conditions for WWI.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"I will point out two things that happened in 1983:
1. Sep 1: Russia shoots down a 'spy plane'. It turns out to be a Korean Airlines 747 passenger jet (KAL007) that had gone slightly off-course. On board were 269 passengers including a US Congressman. USSR insist it was a deliberate provocation. Things get a little strained on the diplomatic front.
2. Sep 26: Russia's missile defence system lights up with reports of multiple Minuteman launches from the US. The 'standing order' is to launch an all-out retaliation. It is over-ruled by the duty officer; a stand-in called Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov.

It was a fortunate call, but think about that: one Lt. Col. overriding the Soviet High Command.

But, yeah... no worries, mate!"

Plus a bomb nearly exploding over NC

Plus The Cuban Crisis

Plus........

Plus any number of potentially deranged individuals with the ability to launch a bomb

And that is from the outside!
I bet the insiders know of a lot more near misses

Seeing the bee fly is seeing occasions where the exchange came close

And that is just "accidental war" not some deranged politician (on either side) deliberately starting a war
Think of some of your current crop with that power
Believers in the End Times moving to make it happen

Paul451 said...

Anon,
"[Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov] deserves a Nobel Peace Price"

The Peace Prize is not really given for that kind of singular moment. We probably need a more concrete "Stanislav Petrov Prize" for single extraordinary acts.

[There were a few similar acts on the US side, where a duty officer recognised a false-alarm and called back the planes at the last second, or broke protocol to check that (for example) a triple-failure of communications didn't mean an attack. But we don't know their names.]

Paul451 said...

[By contrast, the number of friendly-fire and civilian-killings in modern warfare suggest that the modern military does not default to "check first, shoot later" in most cases. So that is not an explanation for the lack of WWIII either.]

Alex Tolley said...

back on topic. Nearly a decade ago, the SW YMCA organization "Indian Princesses" accepted that the name was unacceptable and changed it (under some pressure) to the neutral "Adventure Guides". I think that was quite reasonable and I don't believe the name change had any impact on the organization's popularity and mission.

LarryHart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

Kids these days have no idea. Seriously, no clue.

I second that - we were brought up under the inevitable, inescapable, threat of WW3 - the big one

Nobody looked forwards and saw a future without the war
Some saw the war as bigger some smaller
but everybody expected a worldwide nuclear war

And now - its gone!


Third (says the echo chamber!).

I was at the tail end of the generation Dr Brin refers to, born in 1960. The fear of IMMINENT nuclear war was probably less in my era than in Kruschev's day, but Duncan is correct that all foreward-looking sci fi just took it for granted that there would BE a nuclear war between now and any far future setting. "Planet of the Apes" was not atypical.

Even Asimov's pre-Foundation novels of the Galactic Empire ("The Stars Like Dust", "The Currents of Space", and "Pebble in the Sky") referred to a barely-inhabitable Earth with huge radioactive zones without requiring an explanation.

Even in our day, 9-11 would not have become "NINE-ELEVEN" just because of the airplane attacks, which once thwarted could almost never be repeated in the same manner. What scared us s***less about 9-11 was that the NEXT terrorist attack might involve nukes.

LarryHart said...

Oh, and I did mean to comment on the whole "echo chamber" thing.

Until very recently, the whole point of democratic debate and government was to build CONSENSUS. Thus, as time went on, there would be greater and greater agreement on a particular course of action. More people "coming around" to the majority view is not in and of itself a bad thing.

I find it ironic that the dig-heels-in holdouts for an intransigent minority position see the majority opposition as an "echo chamber" who must be taking marching orders, because they couldn't possibly see the same reality independently.

LarryHart said...

If I were in charge:

Chicago Blackhawks and Atlanta Braves are fine.

Washinngto Redskins--too racist.

Cleveland Indians--too buffonish.

But since I'm not in charge, that's just my opinion.

Edit_XYZ said...

@Paul451
I recommend you rad S Pinker 'The better angels of our nature'. It addresses most of your points in detail and dismisses them - with ample arguments:

The gradual decline in war and the mentality that engendered it, friendly-fire and civilian killings in modern times, etc.

@Duncan Cairncross
I already addressed upthread the problem of accidentally igniting a nuclear war. Yes, it was - and is - a major problem.

"Seeing the bee fly is seeing occasions where the exchange came close"

Seeing the bee appearing to try a lift-off and then desisting is NOT seeing the bee fly.

matthew said...

I get very frustrated that commenters refer to the nuclear threat as being over. It is not. We made have stood down our SAC forces but we still have plenty of nukes ready to fly on very short notice. Pakistan and India still are at each others' throats. Israel possesses nukes, hidden away on their subs and bunkers. Russia is ruled by an oligarchy with nukes; China is too, if you squint at the Central Committee. North Korea for crissakes.

Most of these nukes are no longer on hair trigger, yes. But they are not gone. They still can (and most likely, will, in some manner) be used some day.

Just because we are not using MAD to keep a minute to minute balance going does not make nuclear weapons a negligible threat.

Pinker's book is all about attitudes toward use of force in aggregate. Individuals still use force, just not at the same statistical frequency. Nuclear command and control is not a straightforward reflection of a societies' aggregate opinions on use of nuclear force. Not one nation bases their nuclear use policy on public sentiment solely. To use Pinker to say that the nuclear threat is over is just wrong.

matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
matthew said...

The break point on team names / mascots will be teams named "Warriors." I bet we see a few native mascots morphed into grecian spearmen in the next ten years. The NBA Golden State Warriors' logo is now a bridge. I think that they need a phalanx set into the logo on the bridge myself.

matthew said...

To celebrate Ada Lovelace day tomorrow (10/15), get yourself some "women in science" threads. Cool tees featuring people smarter than me.
I'm not a shill or a spammer, just thinking that shirts these are geektastic.

David Brin said...

MANY VARIOUS REPLIES!


Tony, MAD was a very iffy basis for peace and it almost failed many times. Indeed, had you been listening to Oppenheimer and Teller debate, in 1947, you'd have called Oppie the sane realist and Teller a madman. But Teller proved to be right. The bombs DID shake us out of our typical patterns. They did prevent "world" level wars while the planet had a chance to develop and allow fevers like communism to break. Mind you I look at this in a unique way…

… what percentage of "reareness" is our world line compared to the average parallel world of outcomes?

Example. Reagan was completely looney to push and shove and dare and provoke the Soviets. Breszhnev did start the 70s-80s arms race, without any doubt. We wanted to let defense spending DROP a lot after Vietnam but when he saw what the USSR was doing, Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, realized we had to build up. Reagan accelerated that… and the sped way past the Sovs, waging economic warfare, daring them to try to keep up.

It was a risky move. Andrei Amalrik (look him up!) had earlier forecast that Soviet economic bungling would lead to the USSR's collapse but Reagan forced the issue so hard that probably a MAJORITY of worlds parallel to ours are nuclear cinders from Russian-paranoid spasm reactions. I'll let our conservative friends have their deity, but he was truly a dope to push things without a scintilla of subtlety.

In our world, we have Adropov, who cleverly put in Gorbachev as his successor, and Gorbachev used every Soviet disaster or incompetence as an excuse to fire a few thousand incompetent and paranoid-stupid jerks. KAL 800 was only one. Chernobyl was the biggest. Also Matthias Rust. (Look him up!)

====

Edit_XYZ I do not ignore Pinker's book. I believe that world development and increasing education and nutrition and health and access to electricity and popular culture (e.g. Hollywood films preachign tolerance) and countless other things have helped promote a less violence age, especially mass media that zero in on bad things, provoking response from people far away, increasing generosity and decreasing our tolerance of horrors in other lands. See how I know Pinker? In fact his list is less complete than mine.

SO? None of that would have happened without Pax Americana. Not one bit of it.

My generation of males was scheduled to die by the hundred millions in the World War III that would have been fought in Europe and everywhere, had not nukes tipped the balance. There was no way to hold the Fulda Gap against the vast numbers the Sovs could have hurled through it, utterly uncaring about casualty rates. Have you ever heard of the Battle of Berlin? They were conquerors, oppressors and did not give a fly's flick about human life.

====
Paul451, collateral civilian damage has plummeted in US military engagements but our degree of acceptance with a shrug "that's war," has also plummeted.
====
Matthew is right. The threat of nuclear war is not gone. Indeed, the fact that we squeaked by one phase still implies it might slay a majority of alien races out there, helping to explain the Fermi Paradox. And it may yet do us in.

Clearly, sooner or later, something better than Pax Americana is needed. Whatever Comes Next (WCN) should be designed with American wishes (divided power, checks and balances, looseness, diversity, strong individual sovereignty) at the table, which won't happen if Americans continue to frantically ignore the topic! Still, some kind of WCN will and must come.

Robert said...

Small question. I've recently seen a news article shown on Facebook claiming Utah had massive savings because of drug testing of welfare recipients. Anyone know anything about this and if it's accurate or a lie being tossed out there? (And it's amazing that Utah saw such savings when Florida saw losses because of the two people caught compared to the legitimate people who weren't taking drugs.)

Rob H.

sociotard said...

"Reagan spending beat the commies"

Kind of a myth. Yes, military overspending greatly contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union. But it really doesn't look like Reagan boosting US production did that. US spending went down, and US spending went up. Soviet spending just went up. It didn't go down or stay stable when the US military expenditures went down. It only went up. I am confident that, had Reagan kept a politely small military, the Soviets would have still spent themselves into the poorhouse.

http://i.imgur.com/ShFR3.png

The soviets spent a lot on military because the bureaucrats and politicians in charge of deciding the gun/butter question had a number of incentives not related to economic health or even defense readiness, really.

So, related to the irrationality that keeps the US buying planes and tanks that the generals keep pointing out we don't really need.

David Brin said...

Sorry Sociotard that isn't how it works. Aggressive conquerors build up their militaries and look at the curves of opponent capability and when the disparity is great enough they start making demands. Or fool themselves into believing they can "win".

It's called history.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Matthew

Re Nuclear threat
The thing that made the threat such a worldwide thing was not the bomb but the specter of many many bombs

Then an attack would have had to be replied to instantly with a massive response

Now, yes we may lose a city, we may lose a big bit of India or Pakistan
But not a whole world in flames

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

Interesting article concerning Paul Krugman and why he shouldn't be listened to. Of course, it's from someone who Krugman has apparently insulted in the past, but you have to wonder if Krugman is just good at handwaving his misses and emphasizing his hits.

Rob H.

matthew said...

That Krugman article is from Niall Ferguson. Absolutely no one should listen to a word Ferguson says.

See:

A Factcheck of Ferguson in The Atlantic

Details of Ferguson Threatening to Sue a Reviewer That Gave Him a Bad Review

And Gay-Bashing Keynes

The man is a fool and a tool. And Krugman eats him for lunch anytime they fight.

Robert said...

Fools exist to say things others don't dare. Just become he's a poseur and idiot doesn't mean that Krugman shouldn't be examined more closely to ensure HE isn't pulling the wool over people's eyes as well.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

I'll trust Krugman over Fergusn any day of the week.

Robert said...

And yet a stopped non-digital clock with all its hands intact is still right twice a day. All I'm saying is we shouldn't just accept Krugman's dictates blindly and instead should double-check and also make sure he's not ignoring his OWN mistakes and incorrect forecasts.

-----------

No one have any data on the Utah drug testing bit I asked about? I prefer having some evidence to back up when I diss comments like it.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

i am perfectly aware that Keynsians like Krugman have a record of successes spotted with blemishes. Those are grist for criticism and revision.

Alex Tolley said...

Krugman consistently comes near the top of pundits based on correct predictions.

See this recent example. There are plenty of others.

Krugman, unlike most people, does not ignore his wrong predictions and addresses them. In this regard, his honesty about his work is very refreshing.


NoOne said...

Niall Ferguson has been bashing Krugman for apparently pretending that he was right "about the [2008] crisis and consequences" but Krugman isn't pulling a Golan Trevize here. As this article points out, he's been mostly right about policies enacted in response to the crisis.

Jonathan S. said...

"No one have any data on the Utah drug testing bit I asked about? I prefer having some evidence to back up when I diss comments like it."

Well, according to a Snopes article from 2011, the only states at the time to have enacted such legislation were Florida, Missouri, and Michigan; the Florida law apparently found that a whopping 2% of welfare recipients were definitely using, with 2% indeterminate and 96% positively drug-free. No word on the Missouri law, but the Michigan one was suspended by a federal court ruling that it violated Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Oklahoma had reportedly passed a slightly modified version because of this, that only mandates such testing if there is reason to believe the recipient is in fact using.

Having spent some time on assistance, I doubt very much you could maintain much of a drug habit on the amount they give you anyway.

Paul451 said...

Robert,
Re: "Savings" from drug tests.

No data, but I did note their "because of the number of people who walked away rather than...", which implies the harassment of the drug program drove people off the benefit rather than by actually detecting drug users. It's easy to harass people off of welfare. It usually doesn't save money because it shifts the cost elsewhere. (For example, you'll see an increase in fraud, in staff stress and assaults and hence higher churn, training costs and workers-comp, etc.) Adversarial-style welfare is a high-cost way to "help" people. You might get rid of 1% of "cheats", but you do it by causing distress to the other 99%, which inevitably flows back into the cost of the program.

If cutting costs is your goal, it's probably more cost effective to just pick a percentage of recipients at random and deny them benefits for a year. It has about the same targeting efficiency, causes less problems for the remaining recipients, and those picked know that it was just bad luck. But if you have a welfare program, it's probably intended to help people, and harassing people in the name of efficiency seems to undermine that.

HarCohen said...

For the record, it has been the Cleveland Indians routinely since 1915. Blame the Atlanta Braves for starting this. I suppose with a play-off game behind us this year, the dearth of pennants, and the focus on the healthcare industry here, we could become the Cleveland Patients.

"With Lajoie gone, the Molly McGuires now needed a new nickname. Somers asked the local newspapers to come up with a new name, and based on their input, the team was renamed the Cleveland Indians.[20] Legend has it that the team honored Louis Sockalexis when it assumed its current name in 1915. Sockalexis, a Native American, had played in Cleveland 1897–99. Research indicates that this legend is mostly untrue, and that the new name was a play on the name of the Boston Braves, then known as the "Miracle Braves" after going from last place on July 4 to a sweep in the 1914 World Series. Proponents of the name acknowledged that the Cleveland Spiders of the National League had sometimes been informally called the "Indians" during Sockalexis' short career there, a fact which merely reinforced the new name."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Lake_Shores#Franchise_history

LarryHart said...

I speak for no one but myself, but I don't find the NAME "Cleveland Indians" offensive, just the logo.

Exactly the opposite for the Washington Redskins.

Shawn Oueinsteen said...

I think the Redskins should change their name to the Native Americans. They can then keep the logo and the fight song ("Hail to the Natives, hail victory...")

The only trouble will be the phrase "go native." Some early ball games are played in hot weather, and many in the stadium will go native.