Monday, January 16, 2017

History: The Year is 1931

I've uploaded year 1931 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Defending Your Life -- Eugenics update with Geroge bernard Shaw suggesting we gas the dead weight (that is, people).

TILT! It's a Pin Ball Machine... Almost -- It is an early version. I talk about my video game programming efforts.

The Hoover Moratorium -- The economists were right. Hoover was wrong.

Notable Births -- Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Raúl Castro, Rupert Murdoch, Rip Torn, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Earl Jones, Dan Rather

In Other News -- Al Capone is found guilty of tax evasion. Dracula and Frankenstein are released! The Empire State Building is completed. The George Washington Bridge is opened.

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.

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