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Grandpa Charlie
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Remarkable and awesome! Also fascinating!
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2015 on Parable of the sawdust spa at Pro Commerce
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Fascinating narrative, Michael, but knowing you, I suspect there may be something you have omitted ... and that is the gentlemanly thing to do! However, there's some inaccuracy somewhere: There are no British counts! The ranks go like this: King, Prince, Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, Baron ... and on the distaff side, Queen, Princess, Duchess, Marchioness, Countess, Viscountess and Baroness. Thus, where we might expect a Count to be escorting a Countess into Buckingham Palace, if a Countess actually is escorted by her husband of equal rank, he would be not a Count but an Earl! The rank of Duke is very high, and Duke is followed by Marchess, not Earl. Take, for example, the 7th Marchess of Londonderry, whose wife is generally never referred to as Marchioness but as Lady Londonderry. (She was, by the way, daughter of Henry Chaplin, 1st Viscount Chaplin.) Although she carried on the 6th Marquess and Marchioness's tradition of political entertaining for the Conservative Party (aka the Ulster Unionist Party in Northern Ireland), Lady Londonderry was intimate with many of the leading lights in the social, literary and political world of her day, particularly with the Prime Minister and Labour Party Leader, Ramsay MacDonald. This working both sides of the street by Lady Londonderry may have helped Lord Londonderry to be reappointed First Commissioner of Works upon the formation of a National government in 1931 (a coalition government of Conservatives, Liberals and Labour) under Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald (Labour), and, later in 1931, to be appointed First Secretary of State for Air, where he remained until 1935, when the National government was reformed with the conservative Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister. However, playing both sides of the street may have gone a bit too far in that in his labours to bring about Anglo-German reconciliation during the period prior to the German occupation of Prague, (putting an end to all hopes that the Munich Agreement might lead to "peace in our time"), Londonderry made the serial mistakes of meeting with Hitler, Hess, Goering, Himmler, von Papen, and other senior members of the German Government. In particular, Londonderry actually befriended Herman Goering and von Ribbentrop, This involved two much-discussed stays, of several days each, in 1936, of Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Ambassador to the Court of St. James, (later the German foreign minister), at the principal ancestral homes of the Marquess in Northern Ireland and in England. Londonderry - having exposed himself to the charge of being 'pro-German' - never got anywhere with Winston Churchill. Nonetheless, Londonderry's clout was such that he was appointed, in 1942, to the position of first regional commissioner of the Northern Ireland Air Training Corps (perhaps a sinecure for the old boy). It may be of interest that back in those days, peerages were largely, if not entirely, hereditary. However, the wife of a peer - for various complex and obscure reasons - was not always designated by the distaff title that goes with the rank of her husband. By the 1960s, however, many or most titles had become "courtesy" titles - like the titles bestowed on John Lennon and Ringo Starr - all of the lowest rank of Baron (Sir and Lady). MP's former secretary, if she referred to her husband as a 'count', may have meant that she had married someone with an hereditary title ... possibly someone with any hereditary title, but possibly an Earl, possibly the Earl of Grantham - At Downton Abbey, the Earl of Grantham and his Lady were always addressed as simply "Lord Grantham" and "Lady Grantham". There are though many real earls - the Earl of Cholmondeley, the Earl of Bath, Wikipedia lists some 59 hereditary titles with the rank of Earl (Countess on the distaff side) - Strangely, the Earl of Sandwich isn't listed at wikipedia, even though according to, there is today a surviving Earl of Sandwich and the "Sandwich family remain passionate about the world's most popular quick food that carries their name and have developed the sandwich everyone has been waiting for."
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2015 on Tiscornia and the secretary at Pro Commerce
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I'm very sure that the door-to-door crew was effective back in Chicago in the 1950s - in the days of the original Mayor Richard J. Daley. But it wasn't just on election day, it was pretty much year round. On election day, the "volunteers" (actually paid one way or another) were just continuing the continual year-round effort. For example, they would show up with transportation to the polling place. They would check to make sure everything was going well with the job the machine had gotten for some family member - maybe a City job or maybe a job at the Ford plant. For example, I remember the Philippino guy whose salary was provided by Ford but whose actual work was for the UAW, which had assigned him to the Democratic machine to work out of his home in the 5th Ward, nearly full time for months before any election. Daley required results or stinky stuff would hit the fan in whatever precinct had failed to get a minimum of 90% Democratic vote, not just for major offices but for every partisan position on the ballot. Oh yeah, door-to-door canvassing worked ... it worked, or else! Daley's personal political power was such that he was able to enforce his no-strike guarantee to industry: the entire midwest Teamsters might be on strike but trucks rolled reliably throughout Cook County. The entire automobile industry might be shut down everywhere else, but Ford and International plants in Chicago never stopped or even slowed down. That's how Daley kept industry in (and growing) in Chicago. Only the Teachers Union was exempt. Teachers could strike, because part of Daley's politics was to keep the mayor's office out of school district affairs. Very different nowadays with Rahm Emanuel held accountable for the schools.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2015 on Freak worldview 2 at Pro Commerce
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I would say (to Paul Ossiferz Stone) that it isn't so much that the notion of a protected class is obscene, it's just that it is surely superfluous in the context of crimes and of torts. A wrong is a wrong is a wrong. By any other name, torture is still a wrong. Going further along these lines, Paul would maybe agree with me when I ask the question: "Should the punishment fit the crime or should it fit the legal status of the victim?" Maybe I misunderstand the infamous wedding cake case (somewhere in Oregon, I believe), but I thought the issue was whether the customer could demand a particular design (figurines) for their cake or if they could be limited to certain choices made available by the designers. Someone I know got married years ago in an ethnically mixed marriage: white woman and man of Japanese ancestry. The bakery brought them a cake with a black groom and a white bride. That would seem to be offensive, or at least an argument could be made to that effect. But what if the bakery had only two or three models to choose from? Then they should have asked the couple which one they wanted (which wasn't the case, so the couple were nonplussed and had a right to object, or perhaps - depending on circumstances - to sue). For example, the railroad can impose size limits, the airliner can refuse to allow dogs on board. Where it gets really sticky is around the protected class issue: what if a psychiatrically disabled person claims (pursuant to the ADA) that the dog is necessary for the person's health while in transit and has a statement from a psychiatrist to that effect? Getting back to the wedding cake, would a Jewish or Muslim couple have the right to demand that the bakery become kosher to bake one cake? Generally, I thought about the infamous Oregon case that the solution would be for the gay couple to find another bakery more to their liking, so I thought myself on the side of the bakery owners. On further reflection, however, all the bakery would have to do would be to put two grooms on the cake, or two brides, depending on what the couple preferred, and that would be easy enough. Maybe the figurines are ordered in bride/groom combinations only, but even then the bakery could charge the couple for two such bride/groom combinations, leaving the bakery with two same-sex figurines left over. So I find myself in agreement with MP and with the Oregon authorities on this matter, although I still don't see why the same-sex couple didn't just walk out: "We'll take our money elsewhere!" OTOH, there are two libertarian principles involved. First libertariians tend generally to prefer social punishment to legal punishment. Thus it could be left up to the public to decide whether the bakery did wrong to refuse to drll s cakes to s same-sex couple. The issue could be fought out in the "court of commerce," so to speak. Secondly, there is a problem with all law that revolves around a status issue that treats people not as individuals but as members of one class or another. Human rights are fundamentally rights of individuals. The more that rights under law depend upon membership in a class - that is, upon "political identity" - the less do rights have to do with the preservation of individuality. "What ever crushes individuality is depotism, no matter what name it is called" (J.S. Mill). So, I would prefer that the case be fought out (or ironed out) on economic issues between a customer and a supplier where the customer would have a right to say, "Okay, we'll pay for the extra pair of bride-groom figurines." Over-regulation can be oppressive even if it results from the best of intentions, and regulation through stare decisis can be just as bad as regulation through legislation, IMHO. Over-zealous pursuit of justice can result in injustice. So, if I were a judge in a case such as this wedding cake affair, I would do my damnedest to decline to hear it or send it into mediation.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2015 on Making enemies at Pro Commerce
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Trump knows how to frame his position on immigration so it will differentiate him from, say, Jeb Bush. It isn't only here in America where the immigration issues elicit extreme positions (or positions framed to appear extreme) in the rough and tumble of electoral politics. Consider, e.g., the astounding result of the recent elections in Denmark where the single-issue Danish People's Party kicked both the Liberal Party and the Social Democrats in the arse. Clearly, what we are seeing is reaction to demographic reality - to the fact that there is global over-population (excessive population growth rates). BTW: After the recent Palin-Trump interview, the Trump-Carson ticket seems less likely than a Trump-Palin ticket - also unbeatable, but for different reasons.
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2015 on Trump and Sanders at the same time at Pro Commerce
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"Senator Sanders is by far the most extreme Democrat to run for president in American history." - MP That statement of yours at first seemed to be overstatement ... Bernie is no more extreme on the issues today than FDR was in the 1930s, although considering how much more extreme were conditions for most common people back then, FDR must be considered more moderate than Bernie. That is, Left-leaning populist political culture was much more "extreme" (radical) back in the Great Depression than today, so that the moderate FDR then and the "extreme" Bernie now - the two being very closely aligned on issues - means that I find myself in support of your statement. Yes, Bernie is the most extreme Democrat to run for POTUS in American history, assuming that he will be the Democratic nominee. If, however, Bernie is ultimately to be judged merely as a contender, then I would have to suggest that Dennis Kucinich holds the record for most "extreme" (radical), considering Dennis's NEED Act (identical to the 1933 'Chicago Plan' of Henry Simons and Paul Douglas) as well as his radical (idealistic) positions on what is called in this day and age "global security issues." Based on his record in Congress, Kucinich was at least as radical as was Henry A. Wallace, FDR's Vice President (dumped by FDR in 1944 in favor of the moderate Harry Truman). As for the Donald, I can't for the life of me understand what is extreme about him - other than his habit of framing his positions in extreme terms in order to grab media coverage. Trump first came to my attention in his announcement of his run (the Trump Tower speech) when he promised that there would be no cuts to Social Security in his presidency. (Mainstream media, of course, ignored Trump's statement on Social Security and I have discovered that most 'Lefties' have no idea that Trump has taken such a position.) Trump gave me the distinct impression that he considered anti-Social Security Republicans to be daft. I judge Donald Trump to be the only moderate among the Republican contenders, with the likely exception of Dr. Ben Carson. I tend to agree with Carson's identity-politics analysis of the prospects for 2016 - such that I have to believe that a Trump-Carson ticket would be unbeatable ... should Republican voters have sense enough to go for it, shrugging off the RNC machine and associated mainstream corporate media. What I tell 'Lefties' on the subject of the Trumpster (paraphrasing Gandhi): "First you ignore him, then you laugh at him, then you fight him, then he wins." I tell the my Tea Party friends the same thing about Bernie: "First you ignore him, then you laugh at him, then you fight him, then he wins." DISCLOSURE: I am for Jim Webb on the Democratic ticket: I know, I know, I've heard it before: "Good luck with that!"
Toggle Commented Aug 23, 2015 on Trump and Sanders at the same time at Pro Commerce
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Great blog, Michael! Not to quibble ... but the Congress has not been "Democrat controlled" since January 2011, at which time the House majority moved from Democratic to Republican as a result of the 2010 congressional elections - and remains Republican to this day. Meanwhile, the Senate majority moved from Democratic to Republican in January of this year. And while on the topic of partisan politics, I note that the Donald has come out in favor of negotiating a deal (he is, after all, author of the 'Art of the Deal') whereby corporations could repatriate their retained earnings by paying something in income taxes ... and he suggested maybe 10%. What do you think, Michael? Would 10% be too hard or too soft ... or just right? Or is the Trumpster actually opening negotiations now to be concluded in early 2017?
Toggle Commented Aug 23, 2015 on The steady recovery at Pro Commerce
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Aug 23, 2015