We call it a democracy…

October 9, 2018

The little data graphic below shows what we all know:  a little over half the people voted in 2016, and of those that did, the plurality voted for Clinton.

tunout.jpg

Now our elected (?) president has been able to appoint two justices to the Supreme Court, on which they serve for life.  Maybe that made sense in the 18th century when a judge granted a life seat might be expected to stick around for ten, fifteen, perhaps twenty years, but today..?  In the most recent case, the population represented by the senators who voted for or against Kavanaugh shakes out as shown below – a clear majority of the population was represented by the senators who voted against him.  (In cases of states where the vote was split, I calculated a 50/50 split of the population for each side.)

senate vote

So now we have a president elected by a minority of the population (that voted!) appointing a justice who is confirmed by a clear minority of the represented population, and who can join with his other coreligionist reactionaries to rule on the rights of all of us, as codified in the sacred words written over 200 years ago when, you know, slavery was okay, women didn’t vote, there was no electricity, and not even any TV!


Mounted

March 23, 2010

I saw this wonderful ceremonial horse mask today in an interesting exhibit, A Song for the Horse NationIt’s shown in the Smithsonian’s NYC branch of the Museum of the American Indian which is housed in the fabulously ornate former custom house at the tip of lower Manhattan.

 


Red Scare Irony

November 29, 2008

allen

Did the Joe McCarthy Red Scare produce anything good?

The other night I was at a gathering of people who were mostly quite a bit older than I am.  I spent some time talking with a fellow who has endowed a local cultural organization, the Puffin Foundation.  He’s a socialist from way back, and he was blacklisted during the 50’s.  That meant that many jobs were totally closed off to him, and I guess he didn’t have the inclination or resources to set himself up as an independent professional.  So he did things the good old American CAPITALIST way, and he went into business.

Turns out, this commie had a good head for capitalism, and he ended up getting rich.   He gave a lot of his gains to his workers in benefits, stock ownership and stuff like that, but he still had  plenty of filthy lucre from his exploitation of their labor left over, so he set up a foundation.  It hosts interviews, art exhibits, performances, and lectures, and it is a wonderful resource for the region.

What was his business?  Machine screws!  As an engineer and sometimes tinkerer, I know all about Allen screws, those fasteners with the hexagonal shaped hole that tightly fits a bent piece of metal that you insert to torque the screw down. They fascinated me as a kid by their precision.  Such pieces are the foundation of industrial society.  Before they existed, fasteners were made by hand, individually.  Then someone built a metal lathe to create them more precisely, but of course, that lathe was built with hand-machined fasteners.  That was the end of the artisan screw, however.  From then on, machines were used to make machine parts from which more machines could be made, bigger and better.  Without that, industrial capitalism would have stalled in its tracks.

He broke the monopoly on fastener distribution in the USA.  How’s that for a pinko!  I hope Tailgunner Joe is turning over in his grave.