It is fun and funny (happy I have my stool and floor covered in solid plastic, my six pack of fresh underbritches at the ready.)
Some odds and ends.
-What Brooke says about Sargon's version of Liberalism differing from "liberalism" as defined in the US is quite true. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was vice-chairman of the Liberal International, yet the policies he put in place to deal with the massive influx of Middle Eastern and African refugees is virtually identical to what Donald Trump advocates.
-I cannot overemphasise how much I love Wooly and Brooke's emphasis on people over labels. Their humanity in doing so is just so poignantly beautiful.
-I agree with what Wooly and most of the SSTers say about ticketing of minor traffic violations and failure to pay child support both being grounds for jailing. This is part of the pathology that is North American policing which I have spoken about at length in previous entries. However, I am unsure of Torq's suggestion that this system of ticketing is in place to keep the poor impoverished. Knowing politicians and bureaucracies as I do, I know that they are lovers of money, particularly constantly inflowing streams of money, in which way they hardly differ from the Mafia (which, by the way, was originally founded to protect Sicilians from corrupt government officials.) The problem is that almost no politicians today are statesmen of the calibre of Oliver Cromwell, Alexander Hamilton or Otto Graf von Bismarck, so they cannot be expected to do the simple mathematics that would show them how jailing people for unpaid tickets costs more than it rakes in--while also diverting police from their intended purpose of removing serious troublemakers and maintaining order. Likewise, very few bureaucrats today have the mens rea to think ahead in the manner of Alfred von Schlieffen and Hans von Seeckt. The solution to this is for voters to demand that their federal representatives and national leaders declare that any municipality or state/province that rakes in significant revenues from traffic summonses will have the entirety of their federal funding cut.
How, then, are municipalities to get their operating revenue? I disagree with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to raise the minimum wage by a specific dollar amount to $15 per hour for reasons enunciated in the following video from Mountain Lake Journal.
That being said, I very much agree with Governor Cuomo's plan to cut taxes on--and listen carefully here--small businesses, i.e. what is known in Germany as the Mittelstand. Governor Cuomo is not proposing tax cuts for giants like Monsanto or Starbucks.
A measure of Governor Cuomo's which I like even more are his ongoing project to have a competition for bio-technology startups to the tune of $5 Billion if they can show their science is solid and if they agree to set up shop in New York, as well as his STEM initiative to provide free state university education to qualified students who choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics. How can municipal governments get revenue in this fashion? Municipal governments, if stripped of their ticketing revenue as they damned well should be, are then restricted to property taxes, rentals of city property, and licensing for events. As well, some cities, such as New York City, have their own college and university system. They can copy Governor Cuomo's initiatives by offering reduced property taxes for small business owners, for biotech and engineering firms and by lowering licensing fees for events so as to make their cities an attractive destination for concerts and athletic competitions. For those cities like New York City that do have their own college and university system, they can partner with biotech and engineering companies to provide scholarships to students who will study the STEMs and contribute to these companies' output.
Do not get me wrong, I am not a fan of Governor Cuomo personally. He is engaged in a puerile pissing contest with New York Mayor deBlowsio, who is also a Democrat, in a manner nauseatingly reminiscent of Republican Senator Al D'Amato and his stooge Governor Pataki engaging in a puerile pissing contest with their fellow Republican, New York Mayor Fooliani--all in the public eye for the whole world to see. As well, Cuomo, like Fooliani, simply does not respect the Williamite Bill of Rights, as evinced by his late 2012 hysterics. That being said, I am taking a page from Wooly here and saying that a combination of systems is necessary and that labels are useless. I endorse a good number of Governor Cuomo's economic initiatives while I oppose his disrespect for the Williamite Bill of Rights.
This is a nice segue into another major topic of this SST, education. I very much disagree with Aldus Valour's approach of linking student performance to teacher evaluation. This article and this article show how such an approach can be a recipe for a charlie foxtrot. The basic problem of education today is that science is not taught well and that literacy is not promoted enough. The reason science is not taught well comes down to biology. Science, you see, requires high function on one side of the brain, while verbal performance requires high function on the exact opposite side of the brain. That is why people who, like Douglas Adams, Richard Dawkins, former Canadian Minister of Labour and of Transport Lisa Raitt, who holds a Masters of Science degree as well as a Law degree, and Mr. Bumblebee (who taught university-level English courses and who now works in computer science) are extremely rare. That being said, proficiency, or at least a working knowledge of, science can be acquired. I was a Medical Archivist for part of my active professional life, yet I only have a high school-level numeracy (i.e., I cannot perform mathematics at the Calculus and Analytic Geometry or Differential Equations level.) However, I gained at least a crude understanding of science by constant self-application. I can explain some principles of Fluid Dynamics, I just cannot do the mathematics involved to fully demonstrate these principles.
The solution to the science deficit is also the solution to the literacy deficit. Encourage children to read, and to read about science. I talked about this in this entry, elements of which are worth repeating verbatim here:
"The link between literacy and numeracy would be made by having the kids read science-oriented fiction, such as Douglas Adams and such as the following lists from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's Air and Space Magazine for
These lists contain science-oriented books for children of all ages. It may not be possible to turn someone who is a verbally-oriented person into someone who is equally good at being a math and science oriented person. However, a love of science and a thirst for learning more about science can be inculcated. This is something individual parents can do for their children without waiting for the school bureaucracy to get around to it.
-On another note, the guest SJW hanger-on made the point about how awful it is that white Europeans stole the land of the Native Americans. Mr. Bumblebee has made that very point in the past. This time, he very nobly says that he does not want to play the blame game. I do not in any way condone what happened to Native Americans. However, a bit of historical perspective is in order.
What happened to the Native Americans happened largely before the Geneva Conventions were universally recognised. Furthermore, it does not differ substantially from events in Europe centuries before Europeans came into contact with Native Americans. For example, today the word "Prussian" epitomises Germandom, Prussia's army being the best within the pre-1871 collection of German statelets and Prussia's 1871 Minister-President Otto Graf von Bismarck being the major force behind the unification of these various statelets into one Germany at Versailles in 1871. However, it is a historical error to refer to "Prussians" as "Germans." "Germans," you see, are not native to Prussia (most of which is today occupied by Poland, a tiny rump of which lies in Germany.) There were native Prussians, called the Pruzzens, who, ethnically resembled the Letts. They were conquered and subjugated by the German Deutsche Ritter (the Teutonic Knights of Aleksandr Nevskii fame) who then claimed Prussia for their own in the thirteenth century, i.e. about three centuries before European met Native American. Likewise, the Szeklers/Magyars are not native to Hungary, but rather conquered the area from its previous inhabitants before being themselves conquered by the Ottomans and the Habsburgs (albeit not before trying to conquer the German lands before Heinrich the Fowler threw them back at Unstrut.) As well, the SJW hanger-on's native England today is the product of the Normans conquering the native Saxons six centuries before Europeans came into sustained contact with Native Americans.
Long story short, European conquest of Native Americans does not differ significantly from what Europeans had been doing to other Europeans for a long time before they met the Native Americans. That does not make this right or wrong. It just makes this part of the pattern of history to that epoch...and afterwards. Little Phil Sheridan and George Armstrong Custer massacred Native Americans, but there were not the first massacres they committed. Sheridan, Custer and Forsythe learned how to show no quarter to Native Americans...by first showing no quarter in the Shenandoah to Colonel John Singleton Mosby's 43rd Virginia Cavalry, a partisan unit that fought like Francis Marion did before him and like the VietCong and the partisans of today did after him.
As well, there is the uncomfortable fact that diverse tribes of Native Americans sided with Europeans in their wars against other Europeans and against other Native Americans, both during the colonial era and afterwards. Some Native Americans even served alongside the US Cavalry against other Native Americans after the Civil War.
Long story short, there is no arguing that the Native Americans underwent horrible suffering at the hands of, first, the Europeans, than the Americans. There is also no arguing that this pre-Geneva Convention mistreatment of the vanquished by the victor was the standard of the era, applied by Europeans to other Europeans and applied by Americans to other Americans just as readily as European and American applied it to Native Americans. There is also no arguing that the Native Americans are not, and never were a monolith, and that their tragic history, far from being a clear-cut story of Native Americans trying to resist European and American onslaughts, includes substantial chapters wherein Native Americans allied themselves to various European and American armies to fight either other European and Americans or to fight other Native Americans.
-On another note, while I do not necessarily agree with Torq's assessment that Mad Max: Fury Road is "feminist" (I was too busy watching how they got out of their predicament to notice the genders much--and, it must be said, too psyched that both Full McIntosh AND the boyosphere positively hated the filim), I agree with him that there was a bit of false advertising involved when the named protagonist turned out to have a much lesser role than the title would lead you to believe.
-On a positive note, I would like to end by saying how much I loved Babbling Brooke's willingness to sacrifice her time on the SST for another guest. She truly is amazing.