Evidently Elizabeth Warren became so tired of Trump's gauche "Pocahontas" taunts that she got a DNA test. If she had been a bit more cunning she would have waited to spring this on Trump in a debate, but she did spill the beans. Naturally Trump promptly welshed on his bet (that he would give a million dollars to the charity of her choice if she proved to have Indian ancestry). She also managed to annoy a number of Native American activists. Why exactly? Well, Native American tribes are jealous of their ability to control their own membership. This has emotional and social roots but is also based on the bones Congress has thrown to the tribes in scanty recompense for having stolen their Continent - a very limited sovereignty and some affirmative action competitive advantages in certain economic ventures. In particular they don't want tribal membership expanded by DNA test. I'm pretty sure that Warren has not claimed tribal membership in any economically or socially significant way - despite repeated Republican lies to that effect - unless you count a contribution to a charity cookbook that she labelled "Cherokee." There is, however, a whole industry of falsely claiming protected minority status to gain contract set asides, and one prominent Republican Congressman is currently embroiled in such a scandal.
Popular posts from this blog
Alexander at 30 something grieved that there were no more world's to conquer. Robbert Dijkgraaf writing in Quanta, asks whether physics has reached that sad state. While he concludes in the negative, his denial sounds more like "hey, we can still add a few decimal points here and there." Lubos Motl and Peter Woit both have commentaries up today, and Lubos is predictably outraged at his one time coauthor, and Peter is more measured. The Universe still has some puzzles for us of course, but it is not clear that their understanding will have the same kinds of revolutionary import that the discoveries of Newton, Maxwell, Einstein and the quantum theorists have had. In particular, the Cosmos is starting to feel a bit cramped. Of course it is indeed large beyond our imaginings, but there don't seem to be dragons out there, or at least not dragons that we don't already know about. Black holes, quasars, gamma ray bursters all seem to fit pretty neatly under known la
I am arguing with Connolley again. The occasion is his review ( http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-tyranny-of-merit.html ) of a book called the Tyranny of Merit. It's not likely to be a book I would read, because I'm a lot more concerned about the tyranny of folly. Dr. Connolley, and perhaps the author, manage to wander into the thorny philosophical territory of the meaning of value, justice, and merit. Can we say anything about these except that opinions differ? Connolley: " The assertion (p 136) that Hayek doesn't understand that things other than market value, have value, is drivel. So what we get is a fatal problem for his theory: market value isn't moral worth. His answer (again, p 136) is to take market value as a proxy for social contribution, which is lying worthy of Plato. In his version, free-market liberalism differs from meritocracy. In mine, it doesn't." Dr. C tends to get a bit vituperative, which tends to have a bad effect on me,
The US spent a trillion dollars fighting the Taliban and equipping a large Afghan government force with modern weapons and training. The government troops are far more numerous than the Taliban and much better equipped, and they are melting before the Taliban like a July snow. Why? The great Arab Historian and polymath Ibn Khaldun figured this out eight centuries ago. He called it asibiyah, the social glue that holds a nation or a fighting force together. The asibiyah of the Taliban is a fanatic devotion to a religion that promises paradise to martyrs. The government forces have no equivalent. Bush and his idiot advisors often and proudly announced that they were not into nation building. When they said that, I thought “then you will surely fail.” After World War II, the US and allies spent vast sums and many decades in building Germany and Japan into modern democratic nations. That effort has proved immensely successful. Any similar efforts in the targets of B