May 18, 2016
Yesterday I posted about a proposal to disenfranchise the elderly
. Here's a similar idea — a scheme to reduce the political power of grey hairs — but it goes about it in a different way. Instead of taking away the vote from the elderly, you give the vote to children. Their new political power would presumably balance out the influence of seniors, shifting state policy in new directions.
This idea has been repeatedly advocated by Paul E. Peterson
, professor of government at Harvard. He's argued for the idea in the journal Daedalus
(Fall 1992), The Brookings Review
(Winter 1993), and Education Next
The way it would work, in practice: "parents exercise the vote on behalf of their children... parents be given the option to assign the right to their child whenever they think he or she is capable of casting it on their own. That right, once given, can never be taken back."
The details that remain to be worked out: "Which parent gets the vote? What is to be done with election-day newborns? What proof of parentage is required?"
Peterson was not, by any means, the first to come up with the idea of letting children vote. Philippe van Parijs gives a brief history of the children's suffrage movement in his book Just Democracy
It has been repeatedly discussed for over a century, especially in France, and mostly with pro-natalist motivations. The earliest proposal of this sort seems to have been made, shortly after Prussia's victory over France, by a certain Henri Lasserre, 'the universally known historian of Notre-Dame de Lourdes'. In his proposal, every French citizen, whatever his or her age or gender, is given one vote, with the (male) head of each family exercising this right to vote on behalf of his wife and each of his children. The proposal was hardly noticed, however, except by the philosopher Gabriel de Tarde, who took it over enthusiastically, as a way of enforcing a concern for the interests of younger and unborn generations.
Image source: The Brookings Review (Winter 1993)
May 17, 2016
Back in 1970, Douglas P. Stewart, a professor of classics at Brandeis University, made headlines for advocating that the elderly should lose the right to vote.
His thesis is this:
"The old, having no future, are dangerously free from the consequences of their own political acts, and it makes no sense to allow the vote to someone who is actuarially unlikely to survive and pay the bills for (what) he may help elect."
In other words, Stewart thinks old people vote with an attitude of "grand je serais mort, je me ficherais de tou — (when I'm dead, it (society) can go to hell)."
Stewart, if he's still alive, would now be around 83. I wonder if he's still voting?
The Daily Journal (Franklin, Indiana) — Sep 23, 1970
March 18, 2016
Latest about.com article: A Brief History of Weird Campaign Promises
Example promises include:
- The elimination of poverty, after 10 pm. (Ferdinand Lop, 1940s)
- Pass a law to "keep them 'vine-ripened' stickers off of them mushy green tomatoes." (Connie Watts, 1960)
- Put joggers to good social use by forcing them to power treadmills to generate electricity. (Screaming Lord Sutch)
- Change the name of Aspen to "Fat City." (Hunter S. Thompson, 1970)
- Lose 50 pounds. (Adeline J. Geo-Karis, 1986)
March 13, 2016
Scott Allen Meek is running for President, and he's not afraid to call attention to serious issues. For instance, right at the top of his campaign website
he points out that "California is in it's 5th year of a Serious Draught."
He's the only candidate I'm aware of who's ever drawn attention to this problem, but as a California resident, I can confirm that it's absolutely true. Sometimes it gets so draughty here that I have to put on a sweatshirt. And as someone who's spent quite a bit of time in the UK, I appreciate his use of the British spelling of the word.
Other issues important to Meek include the promotion of desalination and hemp farming.
December 1, 2015
Original images here.
I am not sure having a rat-like figure as your patriotic icon is the best choice of imagery.
Here is a little background on the character, from this source.
October 28, 2015
Donald Trump has become the theme of Halloween this year. People everywhere are creating pumpkins, aka Trumpkins, in his likeness. Some examples:
A 374-pound Trumpkin created by Jeanette Paras of Dublin, Ohio. wbtw.com
by Nancy Faber, via Twitter
by billybush, via Instagram
September 16, 2015
1971 board game. I assume that whoever played Nixon was allowed to cheat.
via New York Magazine - Aug 16, 1971
August 29, 2015
The Illinois State Lottery
is not currently paying out jackpots above $25,000 until the state budget is passed. There's not even an estimated time frame for the winners who are waiting for their payouts. As you can imagine, the winners have a problem with this.
July 23, 2015
A 1930s party-planning manual for members of the American Communist Party, downloadable as a PDF here
. Let's just say, those guys knew how to throw a cheap party.
More info from a 2003 article in the NY Times
Published in the late 1930s by the party's New York state branch and recently rediscovered by a Brandeis University historian, it's a 15-page illustrated tutorial in the art of ideologically correct fraternizing. Among the suggested high jinks: cutting editorials from The Daily Worker into pieces and having guests see who can put them back together fastest, or holding a mock convention on, say, nonintervention in Spain. "One guest is made chairman. Another is Chamberlain, another Leon Blum, a third Mussolini," the pamphlet cheerfully explains. Or why not try a round of anti-Fascist darts? "Draw a picture of Hitler, Mussolini, Hague or another Girdleresque pest. Put it on a piece of soft board with thumbtacks. Six throws for a nickel, and a prize if you paste Hague in the pants, or Trotsky in the eye," the pamphlet instructs.
Also, advertise "All the free beer you can drink!" but charge expensive admission at the door ("Yes, people will pay!"). And then:
Pour your beer in the center of the glass not down the inside. POURING IN THE MIDDLE GIVES MORE FOAM AND LESS LIQUID — STRETCHES EACH BARREL FURTHER.