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Herbert Hoover's Day Off

The US economy has taken a nosedive. 600 banks have closed. Million upon millions of dollars have been lost. And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Congress has a bright idea. In their wisdom, they have determined that cheap import goods are driving down the price of domestic goods. (Actually, it is more efficient manufacturing methods that are driving down prices, and deflation means that our dollars can buy more.) The farmers have been begging for subsidies, while car manufacturers have lobbied for tariff protections. In fact, so many lobbyists have "just dropped by" that Congressmen can grant them only 2 minutes each... maybe 3. Nothing in writing though. Shhh! The Smoot-Hawley Act is going to raise tariffs in ways that Congress cannot possibly be aware of. The bill is too complex and basket provisions hide tens of thousands of subsidies. Over a thousand economists collectively condemn the bill. The high tariffs will be considered a declaration of war against our foreign competitors, and war debts owed to America will become impossible to repay if those foreign counties are cut off from the most lucrative market in the world. But their pleas fall on deaf ears. President Hoover signs the bill into law. America has taken an economic hit to the jaw, and the government has decided to lean into it. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Inflation was intolerable, so I paid careful attention when President Nixon asked the American people to have one meatless day per week. We all laughed. "HOW ABOUT ONE MEAT DAY?" We were eating imitation this and imitation that. And by the way... it does NOT taste just like butter! One of Nixon's speech writers was also an economist named Ben Stein. He warned Nixon that a wage and price freeze would totally hose the economy, but it was an election year. Wage and price controls were believed to help the employer, protect jobs, and keep food prices low. But the price controls did not apply to new products and new foods. Suddenly, everything was new. Prices skyrocketed, but wages remained frozen. Years later, when Ben Stein was building a movie career, he played a school teacher in the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". He is famous for the line, "Bueller? Bueller?" The director asked him to improvise a class lesson. He began teaching how America shot itself in the foot with the Smoot-Hawley Act. ([Click here]) Eyes glazed over, and students laid their heads down in a pool of their own drool. It was hilarious, and every word was true. [5] [6]

The Australians Discover the Australians

At this time Papua New Guinea is being administered by Australia. The known population of the island lives along the coast with an uninhabitable mountain range running down the center. Then gold is found in the wash of a river. Mick Leahy is hoping to make it rich as a gold prospector, so he organizes an expedition to search for gold in the mountainous region. To his surprise, the land levels out at a higher elevation, and when night falls, he can see fires all around him. The next morning the natives arrive to inspect the party. They are both amazed and afraid of the white people. The native consensus is that these skeleton-like beings are spirits. They wait for nightfall and secretly watch the white men. When one of them goes outside the camp to... eliminate, the watcher runs over to inspect. Yep. It stinks as bad as anyone's. These white guys are human. In time it will be determined that a million people live in the so-called uninhabitable region. They are isolated even from each other, so that they speak 800 separate languages. This will take some study. [7] [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Anthropologist Margaret Mead had recently made her name publishing a book on the love life of the Samoans. She naturally headed to New Guinea to study these isolated people. She later published a book on the subject which I read in the 1980's after her passing. Her works had become controversial. Pop psychologists and free-love gurus were using Mead's studies to justify "open marriage" and gender role reversals. In other words, men and women think exactly alike and are interchangeable. They had missed Mead's point. Men and women might hold different jobs, but the meaning behind those gender roles is not interchangeable. Like it or not, societies arrange themselves so that the most important jobs go to the men. The fact that those primitive societies considered child-rearing to be the most important job meant that women were relegated to drudge jobs like hunting and defending the tribe. The duties may change, but the game remains the same. [10] [11]

FYI, I checked out my conclusion with a psychiatrist friend and she confirmed that whatever the job is, if men consider it important, they tend to dominate it. (I think she was laughing too.)

Notable Births

  • Neil Armstrong: First man to walk on the Moon. [12]
  • Buzz Aldrin (Living): Second man to walk on the Moon. [13]
  • Ross Perot (Living): Business man and Reform Party Presidential candidate. [14]
  • Pat Robertson (Living): Chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Republican Presidential hopeful. [15]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Ray Charles: He will be "more important than Elvis Presley" according to Billy Joel. [16]
  • -- Clint Eastwood (Living): "The Man with No Name" spaghetti western, "Dirty Harry" movies and known for his no-nonsense political views. [17]
  • -- Gene Hackman (Living): Actor in "Superman", "Enemy of the State", and a predictable but inspiring movie, "Hoosiers". [18]
  • -- Shel Silverstein: Author of "Where the Sidewalk Ends", "A Light in the Attic", and the song, "A Boy Named Sue" (Click Here) which will be Johnny Cash's biggest hit. [19] [20] [21] [22]

**Note 1: (Living) means they were alive when I checked on 2017-Jan-13.

In Other News

  • Congress creates the Veterans Administration. [23] [24]
  • The word "Technocracy" comes into use. It is the domination of technology. [24]
  • Pluto is discovered. [25]
  • The Schmidt wide-field telescope is invented. It is preferred for its quality picture taking. [24]
  • Also...
-- Neoprene. It smells, but they'll work that out. [26]
-- Photo-flash bulbs. Does anyone still remember these things? [24]
-- Scotch tape. Not your modern tape, but it starts here. [27]
-- Birdseye frozen foods. First marketing tests. [28]
-- And TWINKIES! The cake-filling-machine can now be used when strawberries are out of season. [29]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1930, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Fleming, D. F. (November 5, 1936). "How the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Was Made". Proceedings of the Annual Session (Southern Political Science Association) (The University of Chicago Press) (9): 14-19. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43945714. Retrieved 13 January 2017. "The tariff act of 1930 was a declaration of economic war by the strongest economic power against the whole of the civilized world. It was notice to the other nations that retaliatory tariffs, quotas, and embargoes against American goods were in order. Protests from scores of foreign trade associations poured in while the bill was in preparation and the tariff rises it provoked from other nations began to be passed as soon as it was adopted. The act was a notice to our war debtors that the dollar exchange with which they might make their payments to us would not be available. Our campaign of frantic lending abroad had already ended -- suddenly. Now credits due for imported goods were to be sharply curtailed. The law proclaimed to our legions of new private debtors on every continent that they too could expect a shortage of dollar funds. It was a plain warning to all growers of staple crops and to many manufacturers that their markets abroad would soon be curtailed. These markets had already begun to shrink before the law was passed.". 
  2. Fordney–McCumber Tariff - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “The Fordney–McCumber Tariff of 1922 was a law that raised American tariffs on many imported goods in order to protect factories and farms. Congress displayed a pro-business attitude in passing the tariff and in promoting foreign trade through providing huge loans to Europe, which in turn bought more American goods.[1] The Roaring Twenties brought a period of sustained economic prosperity with an end to the Depression of 1920–21; the prosperity ended in late 1929, and the tariff was revised in 1930.”
  3. Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “The act raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to record levels.”
  4. Alex Shrugged notes: My little joke about "leaning into it" is a take off of an old joke by Bill Cosby who did not believe that when your car is sliding on ice that you should turn the wheels into the slide.
  5. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) - IMDb. imdb.com (2017). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite what the principal thinks of that.”
  6. Alex Shrugged notes: My comments on Ben Stein come from my recollection of an interview he gave and from watching the movie.
  7. Pinker, Steven. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. New York: HarperPerennial. 2007. ISBN 9780062032522. (BOOK) Quote: "A million Stone Age people lived in those highlands, isolated from the rest of the world for forty thousand years. The veil would not be lifted until gold was discovered in a tributary of one of the main rivers. The ensuing gold rush attracted Michael Leahy, a footloose Australian prospector, who on May 26, 1930, set out to explore the mountains with a fellow prospector and a group of indigenous lowland people hired as carriers."</p>
  8. New Guinea - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “The island is divided among two countries: Papua New Guinea to the east, and Indonesia to the west.”
  9. Territory of New Guinea - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “The British Government, on behalf of Australia, assumed a mandate from the League of Nations for governing the Territory on 17 December 1920. The terms of the mandate were not received in Australia until April 1921.[8] This mandate was enacted and administered by the Australian Government through the New Guinea Act 1920 until the outbreak of the Pacific War and Japanese invasion in December 1941 brought about its suspension.”
  10. Mead, Margaret. Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. Morrow. ISBN 0688060161. 
  11. Margaret Mead - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “Mead's findings suggested that the community ignores both boys and girls until they are about 15 or 16. Before then, children have no social standing within the community. Mead also found that marriage is regarded as a social and economic arrangement where wealth, rank, and job skills of the husband and wife are taken into consideration.”
  12. Neil Armstrong - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 12 January 2017. “Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as commander of Apollo 11, the first manned Moon landing mission in July 1969. Armstrong and Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft, while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the Command/Service Module. Along with Collins and Aldrin, Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon. President Jimmy Carter presented Armstrong the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978. Armstrong and his former crewmates received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.”
  13. Buzz Aldrin - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 12 January 2017. “As the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, he was one of the first two humans to land on the Moon, and the second person to walk on it. He set foot on the Moon at 03:15:16 on July 21, 1969 (UTC), following mission commander Neil Armstrong. He is a former U.S. Air Force officer with the Command Pilot rating.”
  14. Ross Perot - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 12 January 2017. “Ross Perot, is an American businessman best known for being an independent presidential candidate in 1992 and the Reform Party presidential candidate in 1996.”
  15. Pat Robertson - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “He unsuccessfully campaigned to become the Republican Party's nominee in the 1988 presidential election.[4][5] As a result of his seeking political office, he no longer serves in an official role for any church. His media and financial resources make him a recognized, influential, and controversial public voice for conservative Christianity in the United States.”
  16. Ray Charles - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 18 December 2016. “In 2002, Rolling Stone ranked Charles at number ten on their list of the '100 Greatest Artists of All Time',[2] and number two on their November 2008 list of the '100 Greatest Singers of All Time'. Billy Joel observed: 'This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley'.”
  17. Clint Eastwood - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “A Fistful of Dollars proved a landmark in the development of spaghetti Westerns, with Leone depicting a more lawless and desolate world than traditional westerns, and challenging American stereotypes of a western hero with a morally ambiguous antihero. The film's success made Eastwood a major star in Italy and he was re-hired to star in For a Few Dollars More (1965), the second of the trilogy. Through the efforts of screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni, the rights to For a Few Dollars More and the final film of the trilogy (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) were sold to United Artists for about $900,000.”
  18. Gene Hackman - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “He first came to fame in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde, in which he gained his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His major subsequent films include: I Never Sang for My Father (1970), in which he gained his second Best Supporting Actor nomination; The French Connection (1971) and French Connection II (1975), in which he played Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle; The Poseidon Adventure (1972); The Conversation (1974); Superman: The Movie (1978), in which he played arch-villain Lex Luthor; Hoosiers (1986); and Mississippi Burning (1988), in which he gained his second Best Actor nomination.”
  19. A Boy Named Sue - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “Cash also performed the song (with comical variations on the original performance) in December 1969 at Madison Square Garden. The song became Cash's biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and his only top ten single there, spending three weeks at No. 2 in 1969, held out of the top spot by 'Honky Tonk Women' by The Rolling Stones.”
  20. Where the Sidewalk Ends - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “Where the Sidewalk Ends is a 1974 children's poetry collection written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein.”
  21. A Light in the Attic - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “A Light in the Attic is a collection of poems by the American poet, writer, and children's author Shel Silverstein.”
  22. Shel Silverstein - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 January 2017. “Silverstein believed that written works needed to be read on paper—the correct paper for the particular work. He usually would not allow his poems and stories to be published unless he could choose the type, size, shape, color, and quality of the paper.”
  23. Federal Bureau of Narcotics - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 12 January 2017. “These older bureaus were established to assume enforcement responsibilities assigned to the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, 1914 and the Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act, 1922.”
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 498-501. 
  25. Clyde Tombaugh - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 12 January 2017. “He discovered Pluto in 1930, the first object to be discovered in what would later be identified as the Kuiper belt. At the time of discovery, Pluto was considered a planet but was later reclassified as a dwarf planet. Tombaugh also discovered many asteroids. He also called for the serious scientific research of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.”
  26. Neoprene - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 12 January 2017. “Neoprene is sold either as solid rubber or in latex form, and is used in a wide variety of applications, such as laptop sleeves, orthopedic braces (wrist, knee, etc.), electrical insulation, liquid and sheet applied elastomeric membranes or flashings, and automotive fan belts.”
  27. Scotch Tape - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 12 January 2017. “The precursor to the current tapes was developed in the 1930s in St. Paul, Minnesota by Richard Drew to seal a then-new transparent material known as cellophane.”
  28. Clarence Birdseye - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 12 January 2017. “In 1930, the company began sales experiments in 18 retail stores around Springfield, Massachusetts, to test consumer acceptance of quick-frozen foods. The initial product line featured 26 items, including 18 cuts of frozen meat, spinach and peas, a variety of fruits and berries, blue point oysters, and fish fillets. Consumers liked the new products and today this is considered the birth of retail frozen foods.”
  29. Twinkie - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 12 January 2017. “Twinkies were invented in Schiller Park, Illinois[8] on April 6, 1930, by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company. Realizing that several machines used to make cream-filled strawberry shortcake sat idle when strawberries were out of season, Dewar conceived a snack cake filled with banana cream, which he dubbed the Twinkie.”

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