Politics

A Few Modest Suggestions For the #NewRedskinsName

As it turns out, the Patent Office refusing to register the trademarks for the Washington Redskins means less than you might think. Largely it means that the federal government will no longer actively protect the trademark. It doesn’t mean the team can’t use the name or sue to keep its use in its own hands. Read here for how all that’s broken down. (h/t: Ace) So the lively twitter hashtag #NewRedskinsName will probably amount to naught.

But, there may yet come a point when the team’s owner tires of these shenanigans (especially if he reflects on how his stated intent of the use of the name will never be afforded the same courtesy as the stated intent of Liberals in Good Standing like Stephen Colbert), and decides that he wants news reports on his team to concern themselves with their most recent playoff failure instead of the racism-dissociation kabuki de jeur. To that end, I offer these suggestions for a new team name, depending on how Mr. Snyder wants to put an end to the matter:

1. If Mr. Snyder wants to change as little as possible, while flying under the PC radar:

redskinsThe Washington Potomacs.

Advantages: You can probably keep the same logo and mascot (after all, who is to say that the stately Native American bust on the helmets isn’t a Potomac?). If the University of Florida is allowed to call itself the Seminoles, this should fly. You might get the leadership of the 500 current members of the Patawomeck tribe to sign off on it, just to seal the deal.

 

If he want to be obnoxious about it: change the team logo to resemble one of the warrior indians from this picture:

WWscalping3

Edit the white woman out, of course, just make the guy look as badass as all football mascots are supposed to be. I’d go with the one on the right.

2. If Snyder Wants to Illustrate What it Would Actually Look Like if Football Team Names Were Intended to Disparage Their Subjects:

libThe Washington Liberals

Advantages: This could be a fun exercise in protest theater. The mascot could be someone dressed up as the College Liberal meme to the left, who could march up and down the field holding “Down With This Sort of Thing”-type signs. The coach should throw out his red flag -regardless of whether he’s used up his challenges – every time he deems the other team has played “insensitively”. Instead of Cheerleaders, they could have Discourse Providers, who would spend halftime lecturing the fans about how horrible they all are, before ritually flagellating themselves for whatever white or cisgendered privilege they happens to be holding onto (differently-gendered Discourse Providers of Color would naturally be excused from this).

If he wants to be obnoxious about it: whenever they make it to the Super Bowl, forfeit “in apology for America.” For bonus points, wait until after the coin toss to do it.

 

3. If Snyder Wants to Go Full Meta:

262112-Gray-Football-Helmet-largeThe Washington Football Players.

Advantages: Impossible to be officially offensive, yet contains as much gleeful obnoxiousness as the others put together. Grey helmets with no logo. Grey jerseys with darker-grey numbers and names on them. No mascots, no cheerleaders, no fight songs, no team spirit, and the offense should call the same play (up-the-middle play-action pass) every down.

If he wants to be obnoxious about it: Do it for one season, then go back to being the Redskins.

In Austin, Apparently Things Aren’t Supposed to Cost Money.

Parks and light rail are made with hope and dreams and the fierce urgency of change, you see.

“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchin Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8500 this year.

“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings [of "irate homeowners"]. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore.”

Um…

Homer-BlankStare-1

 

Okay, so…is this how things are supposed to work in your world?

  1. Vote for All the Neat Things
  2. Government builds All the Neat Things, Because it has All the Money
  3. ???????????
  4. TAXES STAY THE SAME!

Perhaps I’m being unfair. The person did say that she doesn’t mind paying taxes, so there’s obviously some awareness of the connection between public projects and the public purse. But the idea that public projects should keep pace with the tax base seems never to have occurred to her.

I should be sympathetic. I really should. This is exactly the result that people on my side of the aisle predict from the Progressive insistence on Having All the Things Now. But I’m not. Because when people on my side of the aisle make that prediction, people in Austin tell us we’re just a bunch of racist patriarchal bitterclinging ungoodthinkers, and that they, the Right Kind of People, know better.

So this silly bint can choke on her property tax bill until she figures out that when she approves a public project, she’s sending a bill to herself.

youdensemotherfucker

Why Government Bureaucracies are Un-Fixable

Megan McArdle gets the nature of the problem, in a very sensible article on the VA.

  1. You can’t fire government bureaucrats – especially not en masse, so matter what you do, old patterns re-emerge.
  2. Every “reform” just adds a new set of directives and rules without trimming or significantly changing the old ones.

What that means in plain English is that when you put reforms in place, you can’t just rip out the stuff that’s not working and do something different. What you’re actually reforming is the process, and because many of the current elements of the process are functionally mandated by other government rules, or court rulings, or bits of legislation that your reform effort didn’t amend, you have to layer your reform on top of the system you wanted to reform, rather than in place of it. Many of your reforms simply stack another layer of bureaucracy on top of the bureaucracy that was already causing problems. This is a problem that CEOs don’t face, unless they’re in some heavily regulated business such as banking or oil refining.

Most important, it is easier to change some parts of the system than others, and much easier to give something than to take something away. So it was relatively easy for Barack Obama to tell the VA that they had to do more to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. It seems to have been very hard to change the claims process to make it move faster or to hire more staff to help things move more quickly. The result was an even bigger backlog — and, since the reforms commanded the staff to move more patients, more quickly, the temptation to “juke the stats” to make the waiting lists appear shorter than they were.

So, while fully intending to make the VA work better, the Administration made it even worse.  And to a certain extent, this isn’t Obama’s fault. It’s not a question of having people who care more or are smarter – this is how bureaucracy functions. George W. Bush made a serious effort to make the VA work better, too. It did not.

So if every good-faith effort to fix a bureaucratic system just makes the thing more complex and counterproductive (Hi, No Child Left Behind!), what is to be done?

bureaucracy-cartoon

Jeff Goldstein is Still Awesome

I don’t go over to Protein Wisdom as often as I used to, because Homer was right: no one wants to listen to Cassandra. And Goldstein has been too often right these last several years to qualify as anything other than a prophet of our times.

But sometimes, dammit, it’s lovely to hear the truth so refreshingly conveyed:

All of which is a rather lengthy way of telling you, with all due respect, Senator Paul, that Mitch McConnell can go fuck himself sideways with a frozen swordfish — and if you feel the need to strap it on to make him feel less like he’s simply masturbating, that’s your call. But count me out.

Regards,

Jeff Goldstein

proteinwisdom.com (an erstwhile important blog whose “Purity” and refusal to give go-along “conservatives” a pass has led to a campaign of marginalization; which doesn’t make what it has to offer any less correct) – See more at: http://proteinwisdom.com/#sthash.pBeVrzKD.dpuf

And there you go.

Die, Leviathan, Die.

They Had a Dream | The Weekly Standard.

“It is actually harder to do some of these things in reality than we thought when we put it down on paper,” a book review in the Washington Post quoted a former Obama health care adviser as saying. This can stand as the last word for the great aspiration, and the people who held it. They wanted their chance, and they got it. They had it. They blew it. They’re done.

Read the whole thing.

Watch Jon Stewart Not Make Connections

First, the obligatory clickbait:

‘Motherf*cking Sh*t!’ Jon Stewart Goes on Furious Rant over VA Scandal.

Oh, Stewie is hot and bothered, and the jokes are teh funny! Elbows get thrown at Obama himself. Utter gobsmacked disbelief at how no matter how mad they get, the guys at the head of the government can’t get the VA to provide health care in anything like a timely manner.

All the while, expecting that ObamaCare is going to improve the healthcare for rest of us.

I look forward to his delightful rants when it doesn’t. They won’t accomplish anything, but they’ll make me feel superior to the old clown.

Which is about the best I can hope for at this point.

Why We Ever Stopped Using the Gibbet, I’ll Never Understand

I have always found the concept of lethal injection creepy and offensive. There’s something Orwellian about using the instruments of medicine to bring about death. Yes, that’s how we put down animals, but a human is more than just an animal. A human, even one guilty of a capital crime, deserves to suffer death honestly, not as a euphemism.

I assume lethal injection became popular due to its apparent “humanity”, i.e. the lack of suffering comparable to hanging, beheading, or firing squad. But the execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma on Tuesday has put the lie to that. Instead of a quiet passing from life to un-life, Locket writhed and clenched and suffered for forty minutes.

Stacy McCain takes the tack of reminding us that Lockett’s execution was still less severe than the group rape, shooting, and burying alive of Stephanie Neimann, for which he received his death sentence. With this, I have no argument. But I am less interested in how much Lockett suffered than in the pretense that execution can be done without suffering.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.

- Genesis 9:6

I am myself something of an agnostic on capital punishment. I am uncertain of its benefits and have doubts about whether the state should be trusted with the taking of life. But I recognize the instinct that says “hang the sonofabitch from the nearest tree”, and I do not judge it. And that’s why lethal injection creeps me out. Execution becomes an elongated series of procedures and steps, done quietly in the dead of night, away from the public eye. In a week, I will have forgotten Clayton Lockett’s name. The state will have lifted him out of the stream of history.

The question of whether he deserves it or not is incidental. If we must execute men in the name of public order and justice, then let us do so openly. Let us do so without pretense, without false solicitousness, without swabbing his arm with alcohol in preparation for a dose of poison. If we’re going to shed his blood, then shed his blood, and let the citizens of the state in whose name that blood is shed be the witnesses.

In conclusion, if we haven’t the stomach to hang murderers in the public square, we shouldn’t be executing them at all.

UPDATE: Kevin Williamson, who has become my favorite writer at National Review, opines much the same:

The fiasco in Oklahoma suggests that maybe we took a wrong turn back in 1792. If we are to have capital punishment, there is something to be said for the old-fashioned methods. The sword is indeed too aristocratic for a republic such as France’s or our own, and our already over-titled public sector does not need a High Executioner. But there is something to be said for the sword, and for the high executioner. Execution is a job for a man, not a machine. The power to take a life is profound, and it must be undertaken with the highest degree of sobriety and responsibility. The intimacy of the sword in the hands of the executioner communicates that power and responsibility much more directly than our own relatively bloodless bureaucracy of death ever could. The plodding American mode of bureaucracy if anything subtracts from the profundity of an execution, being organized around a principle of dehumanization that in a sense makes the actual taking of life anticlimactic, almost — but only almost — beside the point.

So WHY Did Hillary Get a Shoe Thrown At Her?

Because there seems to be a wrinkle:

An attendee later handed a reporter a piece of paper that was apparently thrown by the woman. It appeared to be a copy of a Department of Defense document labeled confidential and dated August 1967; it referred to an operation ‘Cynthia’ in Bolivia.

“Operation Cynthia” seems to be a hole in Google. I cannot find any good info on what Operation Cynthia was. There’s a Time magazine article from 1967, but it’s behind the paywall. Wikipedia is mum.

What this has to do with Hillary mystifies me.

UPDATE: Sean pulls the veil back some:

A library card is a powerful thing. Operation Cynthia was the name of an anti-guerrilla operation ordered by then-President Barrientos and conducted by the Bolivian military. The target was a group of pro-communist militants who opposed the standing government of the time and who appear to have had close ties with Fidel Castro in Cuba. The operation was named after the commanding officer’s daughter.

According to Wikipedia, Barrientos came to power “in a CIA-backed coup”, whatever that means (did the CIA say “Hey, you, get rid of this president and we’ll back you,” or was it more like Walder Frey asking Tywin Lannister for approval before the Red Wedding?). The article doesn’t substantiate this, and indeed suggests that the charge  originates with Barrientos’ erstwhile frient and Minister of the Interior, Antonio Arguedas, who fled to Havana with Che Guevara’s diary after Bolivian troops captured and killed Guevara. So there’s that.

One might safely assume that the Johnson Administration would have provided support in some form for the combating of Marxist guerrillas in Latin America, but this remains an assumption.

What was Hillary Rodham doing in 1967? Near as I can figure, this is about the time she stepped down as President of the Wellesley College Young Republicans, and moved to supporting Eugene McCarthy’s campaign. So…

whatever gif