1931

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Defending Your Life

I have studied with great interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.
-- Otto Wagener, advisor to Adolf Hitler and future head of the SS Race and Settlement Office. [1]

Following Virginia's successful sterilization law, 27 states have passed similar laws. However, the Catholics have successfully blocked eugenics laws in New Jersey, and Colorado despite their minority status. The Pope has issued a encyclical letter this year condemning forced sterilizations laws. Lest anyone think that forced sterilization is purely racist, the procedure is now called a "Mississippi appendectomy" due to all the white Southern people being sterilized against their will. Europe is just getting started. Denmark allows voluntary sterilization, but it will soon be mandatory for "mental defectives". In a few years all of Protestant Europe will pass sterilization laws with the exception of Holland and the United Kingdom. Catholic countries will reject the idea. Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw appears in a newsreel promoting the idea of gassing all the useless human beings unless they can justify their existence. (Click Here.) His friend, H.G. Wells, agrees while Aldous Huxley is fighting the general trend in this brave new world. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, after World War 2 during the Nuremberg trials, one of the charges made against the Nazis was the mass sterilization of people. Hmmm. I'm not saying that the United States was the equivalent of Nazi Germany, but I sense a lot of hypocrisy being shoveled out the back of the pickup truck along with the manure. A lot of people were embarrassed by their eugenics position once they saw where it led. And they should have been embarrassed... and ashamed. There are lessons to be learned here, but not the lesson that the people of the past were bad. That lesson is too easy. I love America, but I refuse to blind myself to its historical problems. I judge that we have not fully learned our lesson. We have swept a lot of our past under the rug, and those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. I sure don't want to repeat the eugenics lesson. It hurts too much. [8] [9]

TILT! It's a Pin Ball Machine... Almost

Baffle Ball is called a "pin board" game. There are no flippers, no bumpers. Scoring is on the honor system. It is 10 balls for a penny. You pop the ball onto the table by pulling back on the spring-loaded handle. The ball moves across the table, hits various pins and falls into baskets. "Tilting" is allowed. Two companies in Chicago are producing these games at $17.50 each or $20 with the metal stand. (That is well over $300 in 2015 dollars.) The companies will deliver over 50,000 machines. David Gottlieb is behind the two companies and he will produce bowling games and later video games such as Q*bert. [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. I admit it. I was an early video game programmer for the IBM PC when it was running at a screaming 4.77 megahertz. I know all the tricks to make that dog hunt, and one trick that could totally trash the hardware. There were early problems with the electronics that could be exploited through software... but don't tell anyone I told you. They fixed it. Which video games did I write? I did a conversion of SideArms for the PC with full-screen scrolling which was considered a miracle back then. I also did a conversion of Platoon (after the movie). I actually got a job in Austin, Texas for doing that one. The guy hiring me had played the game and liked it. Although the company didn't last, my stay in Austin has. I took chances, and made a lot of my own breaks. As they say, fortune favors the prepared. I'm not bragging. I had a lot of help, especially from my wife. I have learned to listen to her and take her advice because amazingly, she is often right. That really hurts. [13]

The Hoover Moratorium

Remember those 1,000 economists who warned President Hoover that the tariff and subsidy scheme was going to bite him in the backside sooner or later? Well... it's sooner. It has become clear that the nations that borrowed money from the United States during World War 1 will not be able to make further payments on their loans. (That is called defaulting on the loan.) Of course this leaves the United States holding the bag. President Hoover has called for a year-long moratorium on payments without accumulating any interest. While some nations love this idea, France does not. By December, Congress will approve the Moratorium but it's not going to help. Europe's economy is slipping into oblivion. The UK has decided to abandon the gold standard. The USA is not far behind. [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, Finland eventually resumed its payments. The UK did not. Currently, it still owes $74 billion in 2010 dollars. It was the economic collapse that was pushing people toward socialism. Capitalism seemed to have failed. (Actually, capitalism has its ups and downs, but to really goof up requires government assistance.) One more interesting fact. In 1931 the unemployment rate for black people was slightly less than for white people, but that changed because of the Davis-Bacon Act. Congress, in their wisdom, required public works projects to pay a minimum wage rather than the local prevailing wage. Why? I'd like to say that they had only the welfare of the worker in mind, but not really. Those pork-barrel projects were not bringing enough money to their congressional districts. By setting a minimum wage a contractor would be more likely to hire local workers rather than bus in cheaper labor from outside. That resulted in a net loss for black people on hiring. [15] [16]

Notable Births

  • Mikhail Gorbachev (Living): Last leader of the Soviet Union. [17]
  • Boris Yeltsin: First President of the Russian Federation after the Soviet Union fell apart. [18]
  • Raúl Castro (Living): The communist President of Cuba after his brother, Fidel, retired for health reasons. [19]
  • Rupert Murdoch (Living): CEO of News Corp and Fox News. [20]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Rip Torn (Living): Zed in "Men in Black" and the defense attorney in "Defend your Life". [21]
  • -- William Shatner (Living): Captain Kirk of the original "Star Trek", and the star of several TV series. [22]
  • -- Leonard Nimoy: Mr. Spock of the original "Star Trek", and a recurring character on "Fringe".[23]
  • -- James Earl Jones (Living): The voice of Darth Vader in "Star Wars", Mufasa in "The Lion King", and roles in "Coming to America", "The Hunt for Red October", "Field of Dreams" and more.
  • -- Dan Rather (Living): CBS News reader. I find it difficult to call him a journalist. [24]

**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked on 2017-Jan-15.

In Other News

  • Al Capone is found guilty of tax evasion. Selling bootleg booze and shooting people in the streets is OK, but if you don't pay your taxes you are going to prison. Lesson learned. [25]
  • Dracula and Frankenstein are released! Universal Studios was losing millions until these blockbuster films saved their bacon. [26]
  • The Empire State Building is completed. Tallest building in the world at this point. It took a little over a year to complete. [27]
  • The George Washington Bridge is opened for traffic. Longest main bridge span in the world until the Golden Gate Bridge opens a few years later. [28]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1931, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Cohen, Adam. Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck. Penguin Press. “At the Nuremberg trials, where the victorious Allies prosecuted Nazi leaders for war crimes, the charges included mass sterilization. Otto Hofmann, the head of the SS Race and Settlement Office, one of the Nazis charged with mass sterilization, defended himself in part by referring to the American states that had adopted eugenic sterilization laws--and the Buck v. Bell decision.” 
  2. George Bernard Shaw - Conservapedia. conservapedia.com (2017). Retrieved on 3 January 2017. “In one public address, recorded in a March 5, 1931 newsreel, Shaw gave expression to the Nazi doctrine of 'life unworthy of life' (Lebensunwertes Leben): 'You must all know half a dozen people at least who are no use in this world, who are more trouble than they are worth. Just put them there and say Sir, or Madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence? If you can’t justify your existence, if you’re not pulling your weight, and since you won't, if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then, clearly, we cannot use the organizations of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to yourself.”
  3. ON THE ROCKS. gutenberg.net.au (2017). Retrieved on 3 January 2017.
  4. George Bernard Shaw: Justify Your Existence - YouTube. youtube.com (2017). Retrieved on 3 January 2017.
  5. Alex Shrugged notes: The date I have for the newsreel is 1931, but I know that Shaw was in the Soviet Union at the time, so I am now unsure of the date of the video reel. It could have been 1933.
  6. Casti connubii - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 16 January 2017. “Casti connubii speaks out against the eugenics laws, popular at that time, that forbade those deemed 'unfit' from marrying and having children: 'Those who act in this way are at fault in losing sight of the fact that the family is more sacred than the State and that men are begotten not for the earth and for time, but for Heaven and eternity.'”
  7. Kealey, Terence (Winter 2001-2002). "Black Student's Primer on the History of Eugenics, A". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education,No. 34 (The JBHE Foundation, Inc): 114-115. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3134140. Retrieved 16 January 2017. "In Europe, of the Protestant countries, only the U.K. and Holland resisted eugenics on the grounds of civil liberties (Winston Churchill, who "wanted the curse of madness to die," was most disappointed) but all the Catholic countries rejected it without hesitation. As the Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton said: "Eugenicists have discovered how to combine hardening of the heart with softening of the head."". 
  8. (2013) Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime, The. Pantheon Books. ISBN 9780307907783. Retrieved on January 16, 2017. 
  9. Lazarus Long - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 16 January 2017. “When the character of Lazarus Long is introduced in Methuselah's Children, he is 213 years old, and the breeding experiment that created the Howard Families has proven to be a success, with most 'Howards' enjoying a lifespan of approximately 150 years and changing identities periodically to conceal their long lifespans. 10% of their number have elected to end 'The Masquerade' and live publicly, with the approval of the Howard Foundation; but this process has backfired.”
  10. Gottlieb - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 June 2016. “The company was established by David Gottlieb in 1927, initially producing pinball machines while later expanding into various other games including pitch-and-bats, bowling games, and eventually video arcade games (notably Reactor and Q*bert and, leading to the demise of Mylstar; M*A*C*H*3).”
  11. Kent, Steven L.. Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon: The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World, The. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 9780307560872. “Baffle Ball did not have flippers, bumpers, or a scoring device. Players kept track of scores in their heads. Once they launched the ball, they could control its course only by nudging the entire Baffle Ball cabinet, a technique later known as 'tilting.'” 
  12. Internet Pinball Machine Database: Keeney and Sons 'Baffle Ball'. ipdb.org (2017). Retrieved on 16 January 2017. “While both companies began production of this game in November 1931, Keeney was first to have this game on the production line and was first to advertise them. Gottlieb took care of all of the distribution details. Baffle Ball was 'the first game to top the 50,000 mark in production and deliveries' but we do not know the exact quantity produced or how many of that quantity were made by each company.”
  13. Alex Shrugged notes: On Platoon I was hired to fix the code for Platoon after someone else had tried to convert the code from the Commodore 64 over to the IBM PC. I don't know who he was but clearly he was not an Intel programmer.
  14. Hoover Moratorium - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 16 January 2017. “This statement was met with disapproval from France, as well as many US citizens. Despite this negative reaction, it went on to gain support from fifteen nations by July 6. The moratorium was approved by Congress in December.”
  15. Glenn Beck. Broke. Threshold Editions/Mercury Radio Arts. 
  16. Sowell, Thomas. Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy. Basic Books. ISBN 9780465081387. “Before federal minimum wage laws were instituted in the 1930s, the black unemployment rate was slightly lower than the white unemployment rate in 1930. But, then followed the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938--all of which imposed government-mandated minimum wages, either on a particular sector or more broadly. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which promoted unionization, also tended to price black workers out of jobs, in addition to union rules that kept blacks from jobs by barring them from union membership.” 
  17. Mikhail Gorbachev - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “He was the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, having been General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, when the party was dissolved. He was the country's head of state from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991 (titled as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, and as President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991).”
  18. Boris Yeltsin - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet. On 12 June 1991 he was elected by popular vote to the newly created post of President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), at that time one of the 15 constituent republics of the Soviet Union. Upon the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev and the final dissolution of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991, after which the RSFSR became the sovereign state of the Russian Federation, Yeltsin remained in office as president.”
  19. Raúl Castro - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “According to the Cuban Constitution of 1976, Article 94, the Vice President of the Council of State assumes presidential duties upon the illness or death of the President. Raúl Castro was officially made President by the National Assembly on 24 February 2008, after Fidel Castro, who was still ailing, announced he would not stand for President again on 19 February 2008.[7] Raúl Castro became First Secretary of the Communist Party at its Sixth Congress on 19 April 2011, having previously served as Second Secretary under his brother for 46 years.”
  20. Rupert Murdoch - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “Murdoch thus had full control as Chairman and CEO of global media holding company News Corporation, now the world's second-largest media conglomerate, and its successors, News Corp and 21st Century Fox, after the conglomerate split on 28 June 2013.”
  21. Rip Torn - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “The nickname 'Rip' is a family tradition in the Torn family.”
  22. William Shatner - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “Shatner became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, Captain of the USS Enterprise, in the Star Trek franchise.”
  23. Leonard Nimoy - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “an American actor, film director, photographer, author, singer and songwriter. He was known for his role as Spock of the Star Trek franchise, a character he portrayed in television and film from a pilot episode shot in late 1964 to his final film performance released in 2013.”
  24. Dan Rather - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “Daniel Irvin 'Dan' Rather Jr. (born October 31, 1931) is an American journalist and the former news anchor for the CBS Evening News.”
  25. Al Capone - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “There was no doubt that Capone spent vast sums but, legally speaking, the case against him centered on the size of his income. Capone was convicted and was sentenced to eleven years in federal prison in November 1931, fined $50,000 plus $7,692 for court costs, and was held liable for $215,000 plus interest due on his back taxes.”
  26. Frankenstein (1931 film) - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “In 1930, Universal Studios had lost $2.2 million in revenues. Within 48 hours of its opening at New York's Roxy Theatre on February 12, 1931, Dracula starring Bela Lugosi had sold 50,000 tickets, building a momentum that culminated in a $700,000 profit, the largest of Universal's 1931 releases. As a result, head of production Carl Laemmle, Jr. announced immediate plans for more horror films.”
  27. Empire State Building - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “he Empire State Building was designed by William F. Lamb from the architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, which produced the building drawings in just two weeks, using its earlier designs for the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the Carew Tower in Cincinnati, Ohio (designed by the architectural firm W. W. Ahlschlager & Associates) as a basis.”
  28. George Washington Bridge - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 15 January 2017. “was the longest main bridge span in the world at the time, at nearly double the 1,850 feet (560 m) of the previous record holder, the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit. It held this title until the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937.”

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