I don’t even care about the NBA and I’m laughing

Ladies and gentlemen, if you are not paying attention to the continuing comedy that is Isiah Thomas: New York Knicks GM.

“Isiah just brought Stevie Franchise to the Knicks. Has Isiah reached the point where we can’t make fun of him anymore because it is too easy? I think he has joined “Brokeback Mountain,” two-man luge, Tori Spelling, Dr. Scholl’s Gellin’ commercials, and Tom Cruise in an elitely pathetic group. Should there be a hall of fame for such people?”

“There is no logical explanation for what he is doing. Is Stern just sitting in his office laughing his head off every time he sees a Knicks trade, or is he somehow involved with Isiah in a plot to destroy the game of basketball in New York City? MC Hammer, even in his prime, was more fiscally conservative than Isiah, yet he is currently unemployed. I demand a reality show involving Robert Downey Jr, Tom Sizemore, Kate Moss, and Gary Busey, among others, just to prove that no matter how many drugs you consume, you are still capable of outperforming Isiah as a GM.”

“Is it possible that what Isiah Thomas is doing to the Knicks right now is really some kind of sick revenge that goes back to his playing days with the Pistons?”

I haven’t watched an NBA basketball game in three or four years. About my only exposure to NBA basketball is from reading the Sports Guy’s column. But even I know that putting Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury in the same backcourt is asking for trouble of the most spectacular kind. I mean, Isiah was a point guard, presumably he knows that basketball is played with just one ball at a time.

Seriously, he may be the worst GM in any professional sport of all time. This is like the Michael Jordan era, except it’s off the court and represents the perfect Yin to the Yang of excellence. Don’t miss it!

PS – how great would it be if that last guy’s theory was correct!

Mailvox: more on the air war

PC also takes exception:

While are usually right on target and use logic to an extent I find amazing in most of your writing, I cannot agree with your analysis regarding air power and it’s use (2-20-06). In fact you remind me of the arguments used agains Gen. Billy Mitchell an advocate of air power who consistently proved his critics wrong. Do not confuse advanced analytical ability with pragmatical military assesments of who can be killed or destroyed by airpower!

First, our military is stretched thin, and the base closings and military cutbacks suggest something more sinister than what is being acknowledged, this is something you should examine more closely.

I have wondered if there is a desire to stretch the US military thin and exhaust it, especially considering the help provided to the Chinese military by some of those responsible for the aforementioned stretching.

Secondly, historically Arab and Persian armies have never been consistently viewed as sucessful against determined and well-armed western armies.

Never is too strong a word there. Arab armies conquered Spain, Suleiman I conquered Hungary in 1526 and very nearly took Vienna in 1529. And while the US military is certainly well-armed, I don’t think it can be described as “determined” given how casualty-shy it is. Certainly the American people are far from determined; most don’t consider that there is a war going on judging by the way they live.

Thirdly, your under-evaluation of airpower is selectively untrue. Your historical examples are one sided and do not support the facts. Goering could not bomb England into submission as Germany never had a operational “heavy” bomber.

That didn’t stop him from claiming he could. One might as easily say that the USAF can’t bomb Iran into submission because it lacks an operational [fill-in-the-blank]. It is entirely possible – I would say highly probable – that those who say that it can are making the same mistake Goering did.

Fourthly, North Vietnam lost three and a half million people primarily to bombing not counting seriously maimed and wounded. This hardly can be described as “not retarding their economic development”. Somebody BS’ed you!

It seems that you didn’t read the study, which looked at the economic development of those regions that were bombed compared to those which weren’t. It was surprising to find that there was no difference, except that in some cases, those areas that were bombed heavily were actually somewhat ahead of areas that were left unharmed. Since North Vietnam was not a consumer-driven economy, the loss of potential consumers clearly didn’t affect them too much… and of course, they weren’t exactly at the top of the development curve in the first place.

Fifthly, you are correct about German aircraft industry increasing throughout the war, primarily due to underground factories. Too bad there was no gas to fly them with, or experienced pilots to fly them! That was due to allied bombing. If you do not believe allied bombing in WWII was effective, interview a survivor of Dresden, if you can find one! Conversely, Japan’s aircraft industry was destroyed, along with it’s cities! Talk to the old bomber crews who could smell the burning human flesh at 20,000 feet above!

Dresden killed a lot of people, it didn’t make one bit of difference with regards to ending the war. Hitler shooting himself, on the other hand, did. As for the lack of gas, the complete naval blockade by the Royal Navy had rather more to do with that. The Allied Air Forces were tasked with destroying German military production – you can read the estimates of their ability to do so in AWPD-1 and AWPD-42 – and they completely failed in their objectives. While the air force did do an excellent job of establishing air supremacy, that was the fighter jocks shooting them down one-by-one, it was not the strategic bombing campaign.

I believe that a precision bombing campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities would only be partially successful. Some are underground I believe. Others are hidden. This calls for “boots on the ground” (something most Americans may be against).

I agree. That’s pretty much my point, actually. I would add that “partially successful” is the best we could hope for, and that we’d be opening a can of worms in doing so.

However, Terhan Valley is particularly well suited to the use of a very large and dirty hydrogen warhead. Things are probably still on the table. Your assesments on this particular matter are shallow to say the least, regarding bombing capabilities. Your military knowledge is below par, compared to your brilliant analysis in other areas. When you rush, you get sloppy. I would say, slow down and talk to some good mainline military analysts before drawing intellectual conclusions on badly selected
paradiams. McNamara used to do that all the time in Vietnam! Generally, I really like your column.

What makes you think I haven’t? Of course, most of my sources are in the USMC and the US Navy, so it’s hardly surprising that I would look on the advocates of air power and their claims with a somewhat jaundiced eye. But, as I have repeatedly stated, the gap between air power claims and air power results is very, very big if you take the time to examine the pre-war claims and the measurable post-war results. Cherrypicking the past objectives and applying a little bait-and-switch in hindsight are only confusing to those unfamiliar with the pre-war claims.

Professor Pussy

MH runs away with his tail between his legs:

No mistake was made about intelligent design since I never attributed the view to you, but suggested it is a topic because of its current status in our culture. Furthermore, I made no claim about familiarity with your “work.”

I certainly believe that religion in the past was among the major causes of wars in Europe and some strife elsewhere and that is a well worn topic that I see no need to revisit. I don’t think religion plays a significant role, per se, in wars of the 20th or 21st century.

However, I don’t think I need to be “corrected” by you on any of my statements (you should try to read them a little more carefully before you respond) or what can be inferred from them. Furthermore, I prefer not to engage any further. I have plenty on my plate with my professional duties and especially with an upcoming philosophy conference.

Regardless of what he thinks, he obviously does need to be corrected. It’s a piss-poor teacher of logic that believes the following quotes are compatible:

1. your site has served of some use in providing more real life versions of fallacies to employ in my critical thinking courses

2. I made no claim about familiarity with your “work.”

And then, of course, there’s this probable contradiction:

1. I didn’t know your view on intelligent design. I suggested it because of the popularity among conservatives and especially among Southern Baptists, since the convention assumed an official fundamentalist position some years ago, our benighted president seems to endorse its teaching in our schools, and the recent legal battles over its status.

2. No mistake was made about intelligent design since I never attributed the view to you, but suggested it is a topic because of its current status in our culture.

Given that the context was to “argue” (the title of his initial emails to me), there is a very high probability that MH believed that because I am a Southern Baptist and and (he wrongly assumed) I am a conservative, I would be a defender of intelligent design. He most likely felt confident that this would be comfortable ground on which to engage; once it turned out that there was no disagreement there, he suddenly became unwilling to argue about other matters, even those on which he admits we disagree.

No wonder he’s teaching at community college. You see, MH, that’s actually what I do. It’s kind of like kicking you in the groin after knocking you down… but even an expert in logic should be able to see that the fact one was unfairly kicked in the groin doesn’t mean that one didn’t get decked in the first place.