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Confusing

jhnmakii

'When I got back to the house, I saw she had taken most of her clothes and her stuff from the bathroom. I didn't see anything else missing, no photos, none of the memories lying around the house, nothing.'

I'm confused on the part, 'I didn't see anything else missing, no photos, none of the memories lying around the house, nothing.'

I'm not american so i may not get it, is this one of those sentence where only americans can understand? like sometimes when i watch youtube videos and some americans say double negatives.

Grant

@jhnmakii

is this one of those sentence where only americans can understand?

I'm not American and it mostly makes sense to me.
The only bit that doesn't make much sense is none of the memories lying around the house, I've never heard of memories being referred to as physical objects before. Other than that bit it makes sense.

Replies:   garymrssn  sejintenej
Ernest Bywater

@jhnmakii

This isn't exact English grammar, but many people will write it this way. What he should have written, was:

'When I got back to the house, I saw she had taken most of her clothes and her stuff from the bathroom. I didn't see anything else missing: no photos, none of the memories lying around the house, nothing.'

or

'When I got back to the house, I saw she had taken most of her clothes and her stuff from the bathroom. I didn't see anything else missing. No missing photos, none of the memories lying around the house are missing, nothing else is gone.'

........

The items listed after the word missing are the items that he expects to have some missing but aren't

Replies:   graybyrd  Ross at Play
garymrssn

@Grant

In this case "memories" is a metaphor for those objects that evoke a memory.

Replies:   madnige
sejintenej

@Grant

I'm not American and it mostly makes sense to me.

No problem with that either.
On the question of memories I think garymrssn got it right with " "memories is a metaphor for those objects that evoke a memory" though I personally would not have written it as jhnmakii did

Replies:   jhncanson
Switch Blayde

@jhnmakii

I'm confused on the part, 'I didn't see anything else missing, no photos, none of the memories lying around the house, nothing.'


It's fine. It's not a double negative.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

It's not a double negative.

Technically, it's three separate negatives, but none of them affects the others. The main problem with double negatives is when they conflict or counter each other. Here, there are simply three counts: no photos, no memory laden objects and nothing else.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Technically, it's three separate negatives, but none of them affects the others. The main problem with double negatives is when they conflict or counter each other. Here, there are simply three counts: no photos, no memory laden objects and nothing else.


That's why it's not a "double negative."

jhncanson

@sejintenej

It was from a story i read. I was confused at the last part when he wrote the 'no photos, none of the memories lying around the house, nothing.'

I understood what he meant but i was confused as to why he structured it that way that's where my confusion was.

Replies:   Harold Wilson
madnige

@garymrssn

In this case "memories" is a metaphor for those objects that evoke a memory.


memorabilia?

Crumbly Writer

@madnige

memorabilia?

I'd have used "none of the detritus of her history", but that's just me. (The idea being, she threw away all the evidence of their history together, providing yet another rejection of the guy left behind.)

graybyrd

@Ernest Bywater

It's a huge mistake to judge vernacular by the standards of the region in which you live, or by the standards of so-called "proper" English. If you don't understand the passage, or don't agree with it, just pass it by. Don't stand there gawking at it, or clucking at it, or pissing on it!

Attempting to "correct" it results in mutilation and dismemberment.

The phrase as quoted is most certainly American vernacular of a particular type, and it has a certain flavor, or "tone" that is very direct and emotional. It conveys exactly and precisely what the author intended.

As a reminder:

A vernacular or vernacular language is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, especially as distinguished from a literary, national or standard language, or a lingua franca used in the region or state inhabited by that population.

Also, an "editor" is generally regarded as someone who pisses all over an author's work until it suits their taste.

Replies:   Grant  Ernest Bywater
Grant
Updated:

@graybyrd


If you don't understand the passage, or don't agree with it, just pass it by.


and abandon the story & move on to something that makes sense.

If the people you are writing for have their own dialect, then by all means write in that dialect.

But if you are hoping a wider audience will read your work, then you really need to write in the standard language that you're targeting for your audience.

It's all well and good that certain groups may have a particular way of speaking English (eg USA Southerners, the Irish, Scottish etc) so if you're going to write specifically for those groups, then write in a manner that they will understand. But if you intend for a general audience to read your work, then it would be better to write it in standard English (which of course is different for America than it is for, say Australia).

At least when using one of the forms of standard English other English readers will still be able to follow. However if you insist on writing the part of say a Scotsman in a heavy Scottish accented dialect, most people will give up trying to read it as they struggle through the dialogue.

The best method (IMHO) for those that have a heavy accent is to mention the fact, and while starting off their first few lines of conversation in that dialect, taper it off so eventually only a few words in a sentence still remain in that dialect.
That way the reader is aware they have a heavy accent, and they able to read the dialogue without struggling through it.

Ernest Bywater

@graybyrd

It's a huge mistake to judge vernacular by the standards of the region in which you live, or by the standards of so-called "proper" English. If you don't understand the passage, or don't agree with it, just pass it by. Don't stand there gawking at it, or clucking at it, or pissing on it!


Graybyrd,

The phrase concerned does not indicate any vernacular, dialectic, or slanguage of any type, but screams more of poor English due to the way the first sentence is constructed and presented fitting in with formal English as against vernacular English of any type.

Even so, when an author uses a dialectic or regional specific form of vernacular English as against a more generic form and all it does is leave the reader confused as to what they're trying to convey in the story, then they've failed as an author, unless they were targeting a very specific sub-market and said so at the start of the story / book.

The most common definition of the word vernacular I've seen is:

The everyday language spoken by a people as distinguished from the literary language.

With regards to English the literary language is Formal English.

graybyrd
Updated:

But if you are hoping a wider audience will read your work, then you really need to write in the standard language that you're targeting for your audience.

That's exactly what the author of that quoted passage did: wrote for the intended audience.

As for vernacular, nowhere does that imply an indecipherable Scots brogue, a Cockney rhyming slang, or a Aussie's slang. I agree that attempting to duplicate heavily-accented speech is both unnecessary, clumsy, and near-impossible to do with skill and grace. As a general rule, accented speech is tedious. And unnecessary.

But there are exceptions.

Read the "Uncle Remus" stories sometime, for pure charm of story-telling. An editor today would either eviscerate that work by rewriting it to suit current "correct" standards, or would tediously and apologetically explain how politically incorrect and racially insensitive it (was)(is). Yet it stands on its own, and those who take offense are welcome to close the book and seek elsewhere. The stories are a product of a time, an age, for an audience that lived in that time. And many in these times continue to find that the charm and wit and homilies contained in them far exceed any breast-beating indignation concerning demeaning vernacular.

AS for "standard" English, that confuses me. Where is the "standard?" Whose flag do I salute? On whose soil stands the pole upon which the banner of "standard" English waves? Upon which works does "standard" English impose its standard? Who is the judge? Where is the committee? To whom do we submit ourselves for judgment?

Is the average reader the judge of "standard" English? A hundred... a thousand... many thousands of readers, collectively, the jurists of "standard" English? Some may say "yea" they are, but I'd raise an equal number who say "nay" they are not.

Words are mere symbols, shades, poor coins of assumed meaning. No two readers get the same meaning from a reading. Think about that. If I write "damned redneck," what is your interpretation of that phrase? I'll bet it's not the same as mine! I'll even bet we'd not agree on its interpretation, or where the phrase is relevant, or to whom it should apply! And what of that word, "damned." What is the implication of that word? How does it apply?

Is the phrase "damned redneck" even in the lexicon and jurisdiction of "standard" English? Is it permitted usage? Or does it lurk out of bounds of "standard" English, confined to the woodshed of vernacular expression?

Creative writing unapologetically demands the freedom to color freely, outside the lines. How far outside, and with what colors and shapes and gestures is both the right and the risk exercised by a creative writer. Some readers will cheer; some will jeer; most will never be aware it exists. But there are none, no one, who can point to the banner of "standard" English and cry "dishonor," for nowhere on this planet does such a banner wave except in the eyes and minds of small-minded purists who, like the French, cling to each imperishably correct word and phrase like solitary sentinels, pilings driven in the sand to stand forlornly against the changing tides.

Switch Blayde

@graybyrd

AS for "standard" English, that confuses me. Where is the "standard?" Whose flag do I salute?


Whether you like it or not, it's academia.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Switch Blayde

AS for "standard" English, that confuses me. Where is the "standard?" Whose flag do I salute?

Whether you like it or not, it's academia.


and therein lies the problem: whose academia? England, Australia, The USA, I've even read tell of Chicago.
For me it can be any one of those four but please not Louisiana or Pondicherry

richardshagrin

@sejintenej

I think it depends where you went to school. Or maybe what the New Yorker Magazine thinks. All those publishers in New York City copy each other.

Switch Blayde

@sejintenej

therein lies the problem: whose academia? England, Australia, The USA,


We're not talking about spelling or slang or idioms or style guides. We're talking about grammar. With the exception of some punctuation rules, grammar is the same in all those English speaking countries.

A subject is a subject. A verb a verb. An object an object. A sentence a sentence. A dependent clause a dependent clause. Tense is tense.

sejintenej
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


therein lies the problem: whose academia? England, Australia, The USA,

We're not talking about spelling or slang or idioms or style guides. We're talking about grammar. With the exception of some punctuation rules, grammar is the same in all those English speaking countries.


I was thinking far more about vocabulary. I don't suppose most of you would understand "up to town", "DVLA" or "GCSE"; we sometimes have the same problem with standard American (and I am excluding specialist baseball and football etc. terms). For example, to me a "redneck" is an inhabitant of the Appalachians ;-)

unless you are talking English when it could be an oilfield worker.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Switch Blayde

A subject is a subject. A verb a verb. An object an object. A sentence a sentence. A dependent clause a dependent clause. Tense is tense.


And so on... A ruby is a ruby. An emerald is an emerald. A diamond is a ...

It's how all of them get strung together that makes a necklace. Assuming one is clever enough to drill holes or wire them or forge clasps that string them together on a cord or chain or some such arrangement.

So what? Grammar is a guide, not a Sacrament. I realize that many point to Heaven and claim to be High Priests of the One True Language, but that's absurd on the face of it. English is a compound of many languages and constructs, and it changes, it evolves, it adapts. It is exceedingly flexible, malleable, and is perhaps one of the most expressive languages on the planet.

Grammar Nazis do the language a disservice.

Writers who understand the norms of English are free to weave and extend them them much as a musician who understands the rules of music are free to improvise and meld and forge new constructs, original works that extend the boundaries.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@graybyrd

That's exactly what the author of that quoted passage did: wrote for the intended audience.

Then they should make a note in the story description that it is for a particular audience.
Like people using drug when they mean dragged, most readers can generally figure it out from the context, but if large portions of the story involve such word usage people not from those areas that use words that way will quickly find it tedious or difficult to follow the story. If the author is lucky they will just abandon the story, if not then the story will be heavily marked down because of those issues.

For someone who's main language is one of the standard forms of English, such use of language, while it might be common in the author's region, actually makes things difficult for those that don't use it.
I read for enjoyment; and I don't find struggling through a story enjoyable. So the occasional usage of a regional dialect here & there I can deal with, but frequent use results in me giving up on that story & generally avoiding that author all together. Why read something if it's not enjoyable?

If an author want to write for their local area, well and good. Just make it known in the story description. If they want a wider audience, then they need to write for that audience.

Grant

@graybyrd

It is exceedingly flexible, malleable, and is perhaps one of the most expressive languages on the planet.

And misusing the language often leads to confusion & mis-understandings.

Grammar Nazis do the language a disservice.

As do those that misuse & abuse the language in their ignorance of it.

Writers who understand the norms of English are free to weave and extend them them much as a musician who understands the rules of music are free to improvise and meld and forge new constructs, original works that extend the boundaries.

All well and good when the person actually knows & understand what those rules are, and why they are, and what they are doing & why. Unfortunately many people don't, and their misuse and abuse of the rules frequently results in a convoluted mess that is a struggle to read and interpret.

The whole point of written language and it's rules and their exceptions (and the exceptions to the exceptions) is so that the person reading can learn what it is you wish to tell them.
If they can't understand what it is that you've written, there wasn't much point writing & releasing it, was there?

graybyrd

@sejintenej

unless you are talking English when it could be an oilfield worker.


Ayup. And when I was a small child, my stepfather was a "roughneck" in the Wyoming oil fields. Now as it happens, most 'roughneck' oil field workers also have red necks from the harsh summer sun and the bitter winter winds. But one should avoid calling a roughneck a redneck. Unless, of course, one wishes to risk swallowing and spitting a few of their displaced teeth.

Wyoming ranchers of that period, and their ranch hands also sported red necks. And pale white foreheads where their broad-brimmed felt hats sat, and pale white bodies except for a harsh red and sunburned 'vee' on their throat extending down onto their chest, where their shirt collar gaped open. But no one ever poked fun or made lower-class allusions until the banks gained control, and the ranchers and cowpokes and saddle tramps were called "busted."

Crumbly Writer

@graybyrd

AS for "standard" English, that confuses me. Where is the "standard?" Whose flag do I salute? On whose soil stands the pole upon which the banner of "standard" English waves? Upon which works does "standard" English impose its standard? Who is the judge? Where is the committee? To whom do we submit ourselves for judgment?

That's easy: A story set in America uses standard American English in the narrative and descriptions, one set in England or Europe uses British English, while those set in Canada or Australia uses those versions. Most readers are familiar with the different speech patterns to recognize standard English architypes. The exception to the above, however, is you also adjust the language based on your target audience. Thus an Australian trying to sell to an American market had best use standard American English, or he won't sell many books.

As far as 'breaking the rules' is concerned (Uncle Remus being a classic example), you've got to first understand the rules so you understand the risks. If you decide the story is better by breaking the rules, then go right ahead. However, if you do a poor job of it, expect to be severely criticized for it! That's the risks of rule breaking.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

That's easy: A story set in America uses standard American English in the narrative and descriptions, one set in England or Europe uses British English, while those set in Canada or Australia uses those versions.


CW,

I'd vary this statement to include the English variant used can, and should, be that reflected by the main character. An Australian character doesn't start using US spelling and English structure just because he's in the USA, he'll continue with what he's already learned. Ditto with a US character in Europe staying with US English. Althou we see more and more of the International English in literature today.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Tense is tense.


There are pills for that these days. Or you can get a massage.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

There are pills for that these days. Or you can get a massage.

In the past I was tense, but now I'm pretty damn relaxed!

red61544

Replace "memories" with "mementos" and most of the confusion disappears.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@red61544

Replace "memories" with "mementos" and most of the confusion disappears.

Or replace the entire discussion with a container of Mentos, and then everyone will forget what we were arguing about. 'D

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Another 10 comments or so and we'll forget anyway.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Another 10 comments or so and we'll forget anyway.

It's not that we forget, as we keep returning to certain central themes, but as happens naturally, conversations evolve, turning to related concerns. The biggest problem is when the honest comments revert to either attacks or a series of puns, both of which tend to curtail conversation. (The puns are fun, but they're often the death knell of a forum post.)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer


The puns are fun, but they're often the death knell of a forum post.


Nooo, get the crash cart. The thread can't be allowed to die until someone mentions Hitler.

AJ

Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

You just did, so I guess it's over now.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Dominions Son

These days it's possible to "Trump" yer Hitler, 'n conclude it with a "Cruz" missile.

There ... thread well 'n truly kilt!

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

The thread can't be allowed to die until someone mentions Hitler.


I thought the death knell required them to compare another poster to dear old Adolph, not just mention him.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

I have a moustache, as did dear old Adolph. Is that good enough?

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

Is that good enough?


I don't know. I didn't make up that rule.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

I don't know. I didn't make up that rule.


It's not a formal rule, it goes around in several forms all derivative of Godwin's law.

Godwin's Law itself doesn't say anything about ending the discussion or who wins. All it says is that as any discussion on the internet grows, the probability that someone will compare something to Hitler/Nazis approaches unity.

For those who don't know enough statistics jargon:
Unity=1=100%

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

For those who don't know enough statistics jargon:
Unity=1=100%

Ha-ha! I like that interpretation. One use of the "Adolf"/Nazi link equals Everyone does it in every case! Personally, from what I can recall, I can count the number of Nazi references on this site on one hand. Hell, Trump has accomplished more than that on his own (though he toned it down after his Nazi salute episode).

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


(though he toned it down after his Nazi salute episode).


Diversion alert:

I must have missed that one. Many people confuse sticking the right arm up in the air at an angle with the Nazi salute. The Nazi salute actually starts with the right arm held straight down the side, it comes up to have the right arm held straight across the chest with the hand held flat and the side of the palm touching the left shoulder, then the arm swings up and out at an angle to be held stiff at 45 degrees from horizontal with the hand directly in front of and in line with the shoulder. So often you see video of people doing it wrong, and movies usually get it wrong as well. Watch some of the old videos of the great rallies Hitler held and you'll see ranks of Brown Shirts and Black Shirts doing the salute in the correct manner in unison.

There was another salute used, one by senior people like Hitler, Himmler, etc where they brought the right hand up in a way similar to putting your hand up when surrendering, bit with the hand in front of the shoulder instead of beside it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Ha-ha! I like that interpretation. One use of the "Adolf"/Nazi link equals Everyone does it in every case!


Not quite the way it works.

1 It would only apply to the forum, not stories.

2. It doesn't say everyone does it every time. What is says, applicable to SOL forums, is that as the number of comments in any given thread increases, the probability that someone (not everyone) will make a comparison to Hitler/Nazis approaches 100%. At some minimum number of comments, it becomes nearly certain that someone (not everyone) will do it.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

Once upon a time, prior to probably 1930, Adolph was a perfectly respectable name. My Grandfather (father's father) was named Adolph. I don't know why Joseph Stalin didn't kill Joseph as a name the way Adolph Hitler killed Adolph as a choice for new parents. Maybe Attila (the Hun) is as unpopular as Adolph? Are there any other mass murderers whose names became unpopular/infrequently given to children?

Switch Blayde

@richardshagrin

Are there any other mass murderers whose names became unpopular/infrequently given to children?


Judas

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Judas wasn't a mass murderer.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Judas wasn't a mass murderer.


I was replying to the "whose names became unpopular/infrequently given to children" part.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

I was replying to the "whose names became unpopular/infrequently given to children" part.


The question was about mass murderers whose names became..., not just anyone whose name became....

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

The question was about mass murderers whose names became..., not just anyone whose name became....


I believe it went beyond that. I believe the question was about names that would be unpopular/unfavorable because of someone in the past with that name. Adolph came up because it was Hitler's first name and he happened to be a mass murderer.

What about last names. How would you like your last name to be Hitler?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

believe it went beyond that.


You are mistaken. Here is the exact question asked.

Are there any other mass murderers whose names became unpopular/infrequently given to children?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Are there any other mass murderers whose names became unpopular/infrequently given to children?


I know that's the quote. That's what I quoted in my reply. But I took a broader view of it. Sue me.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I must have missed that one. Many people confuse sticking the right arm up in the air at an angle with the Nazi salute. The Nazi salute actually starts with the right arm held straight down the side, it comes up to have the right arm held straight across the chest with the hand held flat and the side of the palm touching the left shoulder, then the arm swings up and out at an angle to be held stiff at 45 degrees from horizontal with the hand directly in front of and in line with the shoulder.

No, it most certainly wasn't a formal 'Nazi salute', instead at one of his rallies he insisted that each of his followers pledge allegiance to him (to prove they weren't protesters invading his events) and had everyone raise their arms in a scene reminiscent of Nazi rallies. He never got the similarity, but the press ran with the photos/video in every news outlet the next day.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

he insisted that each of his followers pledge allegiance to him (to prove they weren't protesters invading his events) and had everyone raise their arms in a scene reminiscent of Nazi rallies.


Well, it is also what you do when you're sworn in at a trial. You raise your hand. Your other hand could be on a Bible or not, but they tell you to raise your right hand, and you're pledging to tell the truth.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Well, it is also what you do when you're sworn in at a trial. You raise your hand. Your other hand could be on a Bible or not, but they tell you to raise your right hand, and you're pledging to tell the truth.


Except that wasn't the signal he selected, he used the straight arm out, held above the head while pledging allegiance to their self-appointed leader. If he'd simply asked them to affirm that they were really followers it wouldn't have been much of an issue, but the historic parallels were obvious, especially since he refused to renounce his many skinhead, neo-nazi and KKK supporters.

Some Nazi references are accidental, but most we walk into on our own accord.

awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin


Are there any other mass murderers whose names became unpopular/infrequently given to children?


God.

(ducks)

AJ

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

re Hilter

Is that good enough?

I don't know. I didn't make up that rule.


It was certainly the rule on demon local newsgroup in the 1980's. All that was necessary was to write the family name with correct spelling. Inversion of two letters, ie. Hilter, was acceptable

I have no idea of the origin

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

(ducks)

I must admit, I haven't met any young kids named "ducks" in ages!

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

It's the political correctness nazis - they now deem it unacceptable to greet someone with "Hello My Duck" or "Hello Ducky.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I must admit, I haven't met any young kids named "ducks" in ages!


I used to work for American Express and because of what we did we came across many card member names. For example, I was going through a core dump (yeah, ages ago on a mainframe) and saw Freddie Prince's name. It was when he committed suicide. It was probably canceling his card.

Anyway, I once came across a Donald Duck. So he was a kid named "Duck."

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde


Anyway, I once came across a Donald Duck. So he was a kid named "Duck."


Many years ago I was visiting some people in a reasonably remote major town in Queensland, Australia, when another of their friends stopped by to have and after work chat and a cup of tea to help settle him down before going home. He's a cop, and just finished a shift. His last 'client' before the end of shift was a truck driver passing through the area a little faster than normal. He let him off with a warning,because he didn't want to go home and tell his kids he'd booked the guy, he always mentions who he books for speeding. The name on the driver's license was - - Michael Mouse. Ayep, he let Mickey Mouse off with a warning so he needn't tell his kids he'd booked him.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

It's the political correctness nazis - they now deem it unacceptable to greet someone with "Hello My Duck" or "Hello Ducky.

I always go with: "This is Suzie, my Duck-Buddy." or "Let's go Duck the Shit out of each other!"

I don't see how they could possibly take offense over those!

Harold Wilson

@jhncanson

It was from a story i read. I was confused at the last part when he wrote the 'no photos, none of the memories lying around the house, nothing.'

I understood what he meant but i was confused as to why he structured it that way that's where my confusion was.


As has already been pointed out, there was a grammatical error. What the author was trying to do was to introduce a list of examples to support his statement.

statement: list of examples

In this case, he was also trying to emphasize the negativity of the statement by repeating the word "no" with each example. This is called "parallel construction" and is a useful literary device in a lot of ways.

For example, you can have sentences with the same basic structure, or repeated clauses with the same structure. This sets up a rhythm that makes the whole a more powerful statement:

A little neglect may breed mischief:
for want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
for want of a shoe the horse was lost;
and for want of a horse the rider was lost.


The difference, of course, is that s/he apparently didn't know how to write it. That is, what punctuation to put in what locations. If you read it out loud, it "sounds right" in American English. (Almost- the colon would introduce a longer pause.) But it should have been structured the way others have mentioned.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

I agree with 'I didn't see anything else missing: no photos, none of the memories lying around the house, nothing.' Everyone would understand the way the writer would have spoken this sentence. An alert editor would have picked up a colon was needed when writing it to introduce the list which followed. I might have suggested "not photos, nor any of ..."

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

re: Are there any other mass murderers whose names became unpopular/infrequently given to children?
Not that I found. I looked up Charles (Mason) from US Social Security lists by decade. Charles dropped from #10 in the '50s down to #33 in the '80s. If anything, the rate of that decline slowed in the 70's because of Manson's exploits in 1969. Also, Son of Sam's exploits in 1977 did not stop the rise of Samuel from #85 in the 60's up to #33 in the 90's. Sadly, Afold did not make the top 200 in either the 30's or 40's.

graybyrd

I have a feeling that after this year, "Donald" will be less popular as a boy's name and it will be difficult to play Bridge without erupting into giggling or hysterical shrieking fits.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@graybyrd

No Trumps bids will gain in popularity :)

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

No Trumps bids will gain in popularity :)


right up to the moment the people who vote against him suddenly realise the other candidate has just finished selling them down the river when the shackles on their wrists are shut tight.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

right up to the moment the people who vote against him suddenly realise the other candidate has just finished selling them down the river when the shackles on their wrists are shut tight.


If he wins, the people who vote for him will have the same problem.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

If he wins, the people who vote for him will have the same problem.

One of his most bothersome comments (which he's repeated) are cancelling certain aspects of the Constitution which he has 'issues' with. He's suggested passing all new 'freedom of expression' laws, instituting entirely new 'liable' laws similar to what many African despots rely on and criminalizing the reporting for facts in the media.

If anyone will be 'shackled' under a new Presidency, it'll be the Press/writers and/or people with opinions that Trump doesn't approve of.

Replies:   sejintenej
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

If he wins, the people who vote for him will have the same problem.


Probably, but they'll also live longer.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


No Trumps bids will gain in popularity


Does anyone else play bridge?

I am 'at Play' with more than your minds.

AJ: How could you? 'No Trump bids' please. In this context 'No Trump' is an adjective, and 'bids' is the plural form of the noun 'bid'.

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Ross at Play

I've never played bridge, but I did used to play Oh Hell once a week for a few years, in a version that had four hands of No Trump in the middle.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@tppm

The "No Trump" rule isn't unique to Bridge. It's used in any game which allows players to, on winning the bid, to select which suit is "Trump" (beats any other card in another suit). Declaring "No Trump" simply means you're discarding that rule for the length of the game.

Replies:   tppm
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

If anyone will be 'shackled' under a new Presidency, it'll be the Press/writers and/or people with opinions that Trump doesn't approve of.

I wonder if he will follow Stroessner of Paraguay. A part time journalist was not sufficiently fawning so representatives of the country's press were put into a plane and had to watch as the offender was thrown out over Asuncion without a parachute.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@sejintenej

Perhaps. But more likely that will be what happens the first time an uncooperative member of the GOP House caucus tries to go "independent" with his vote.

Ernest Bywater

Since this thread has morphed into one on activities and statements about the US Presidential election, I wish to add one item. In some press there was a comment about the US southern border fence being replaced with a large wall like th Great Wall of China due to concerns about the number of illegal Mexican immigrants, mind you many of them also come from much further south after illegally entering Mexico in the first place. However, what I want to suggest is that instead of going to a lot of trouble to immediately ship the illegal actual Mexican migrants back south they should be sentenced to 3 or 5 years labor in road-gangs to go around picking up the litter and rubbish left beside the roads and int he streets. Within a decade the US would have the cleanest roads and streets in the world.

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

Ernest; I agree with you and consider that as appropriate for the hordes of illegal migrants coming to Europe. However, there are far more available jobs like sorting through rubbish and recycling anything possible. The could also be sent into the existing rubbish heaps - a definite boost for the US economy

I can't see a Mexican/USA wall being too effective given the number of sophisticated tunnels under the existing border

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@sejintenej

I can't see a Mexican/USA wall being too effective given the number of sophisticated tunnels under the existing border

10 metre deep foundations.
Make them work harder on the tunnels.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Grant

I can't see a Mexican/USA wall being too effective given the number of sophisticated tunnels under the existing border

10 metre deep foundations.
Make them work harder on the tunnels.


According to a US TV feature on the problem one tunnel complete with railway was 60 feet deep so the wall would need 120 foot deep foundations! Far better simply sink explosives everywhere along the border and just blow up the nearest one when seismic instruments detect digging.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I want to suggest is that instead of going to a lot of trouble to immediately ship the illegal actual Mexican migrants back south they should be sentenced to 3 or 5 years labor in road-gangs to go around picking up the litter and rubbish left beside the roads and int he streets. Within a decade the US would have the cleanest roads and streets in the world.

Hell, simplify your idea. Instead of spending billions for pointless law-enforcement that doesn't halt anything, offer free entry into the U.S. in exchange for 5 years service developing the infrastructure for a decent wage. You'd see a tremendous boost to the economy, few illegal immigrants and we'd finally have the kind of infrastructure we haven't had since the 50s!

Government spending on infrastructure (in the 60s) produced the biggest economic boom (most sustained) ever recorded, yet ever since we've halted government investments to cut taxes, we've seen repeated tepid to depressed economies. A strong middle class drives the country forward, while investing in the poor (or the very rich who don't invest any of it) does little for the economy, as does investing in programs (like law-enforcement or drug-enforcement).

Replies:   graybyrd  Ross at Play
Not_a_ID

@graybyrd

These days it's possible to "Trump" yer Hitler, 'n conclude it with a "Cruz" missile.

There ... thread well 'n truly kilt!


At least until someone decides to go on a drone strike.

graybyrd

@Crumbly Writer

the very rich who don't invest any of it) does little for the economy,


Figure that one percent now reap 85 to 90 percent of the wealth, and use that capital to acquire more capital. That does nothing for infrastructure, job creation, or the general economy.

Make of that what you will. Common sense says that when there's no gas in the tank, the engine stalls. When the oligarchs hoard money, the economy stalls.

richardshagrin
Updated:

@graybyrd

Economics from 50 years ago, may have changed. GNP (gross national product) equals C plus I plus G, where C is consumption, I is investment and G is government spending. If most of the money is going to people who spend their income (rather than saving most of it) the economy gets bigger, faster. Investment is buying physical things, not putting money in banks or other non-physical products (bonds, stock trading (the used stock stock market as opposed to setting up new companies with newly issued stock) or buying other merely financial documents. Investment is a word of art, and it means what economics professors want, not the common idea of putting your paycheck in a savings account at the bank. G is government spending, and has gotten to be a much bigger part of GNP lately. The parts of C plus I plus G that occur overseas don't drive Gross NATIONAL product. Building a factory in Mexico does nothing for our GNP unless some of the machinery is built in the current year in the US. G that is spent outside the US does not increase GNP or Gross Domestic Product because the money gets spent outside the US, and people that get it there spend it there. G that builds infrastructure is "better" for GNP than foreign aid.

Back to the current discussion, C is higher if income is spread among more people than if it goes mostly to a few, because the few sit on it, "saving" it rather than buying things that give income to others in the country. If we could expect the rich to spend their income on physical products (cars, boats, houses, American drugs) it wouldn't make much difference how the money people get is distributed. When the top one percent of income earners get the majority of the income and don't turn it into C, GNP goes down, compared to more equal income distribution, where much higher percentages of income gets turned into C. The income inequality doesn't matter if it goes mostly to capitalists, highly paid movie and sports stars, or politicians, unequal distribution reduces C and thus GNP.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Instead of spending billions for pointless law-enforcement


America has a mindset of always looking for BIG solutions. For all kinds of social problems, big solutions rarely achieve much, and often with extreme costs, financially for the community and personally for unintended victims of the policies.

There was a time when big solutions worked, such as: railway networks; Hoover Dam & Panama canal; manufacturing, medical & farming advances; and belated efforts in World Wars. The low hanging fruit has all been picked. Only incremental change is possible now for most desirable goals.

This attitude becomes especially destructive when the goals being sought are opposed by a substantial part of the population. The Vietnam War failed because a lot of the population knew America's military cronies were no better than the French rulers. The 'War on Drugs' has achieved nothing more than massive spending on law enforcement and prisons, and the destruction of many lives because of the society's unforgiving attitude to former convicts.

I am (still) a drug addict and alcoholic who has not used either for almost 30 years. I would support heroin and cocaine being available to addicts with a medical prescription. I would seek to protect the society by forbidding registered addicts from driving motor vehicles.

There are no such easy solutions for Immigration policies, but EVERY statement that begins "This is how to solve of Immigration problem" ends with an idea that would cause far greater problems than it corrected.

I see a lot of those suggestions being driven by attitudes in America that are far too barbaric to be contemplated by other Western countries. The most obvious examples of "it's okay as long they they will suffer, and not us" are the imprisonment rates, the death penalty and time limits on unemployment insurance and other welfare programs.

It's not going to get any better soon. Since the 'culture wars' started under Reagan, GOP legislators have been refining their tactics of intransigence and refusing to pass any bills they do not fully support. Will a moderate like Kasich ever be able to negotiate with Bill Clinton on reforms to target welfare spending more effectively? Not in my lifetime! The sabotage of Obamacare by the GOP is going to continue costing the country dearer. It spends very much more on health services than all other Western countries, yet the outcomes for life expectancy and productivity are appalling.

All you ever hear these days from GOP politicians is "No tax increases" and "everybody should adhere to the teachings of my religion."

I would approve of "no tax increases", but their definition of that insanely includes no cuts in 'tax spending', i.e. foregoing tax collections because of concessions in tax laws. There policies are in fact that welfare payments to the needy should be cut as much as possible, but welfare payments for the wealthy are sacrosanct!

That is the real driving force behind the support for Trump. It is primarily working class voters who cannot stomach the social policies of the Democrats, but are fed up with GOP economic policies that only favour the well off. That resentment was already brewing 24 years ago when Perot got almost 20% of the vote.

The 'Decline of the American Empire' has certainly started, and will gather pace as long as all moderate voices in public life are drowned by assorted demagogues. I cannot say that is a bad thing, but I expect the new order from China is going to be even worse for sane and moderate countries, such as my Australia.

Replies:   richardshagrin
sejintenej

@graybyrd

Figure that one percent now reap 85 to 90 percent of the wealth, and use that capital to acquire more capital. That does nothing for infrastructure, job creation, or the general economy.

So where do they put that wealth?
- shares in companies which are needed to provide employment, goods and services
- direct employment - house servants etc who use their wages to benefit an average of six people per such employee
- luxuries (yachts, palaces ....) which provide employment for builders, repairers/services, etc etc.

- Very little of such wealth is in the banks but whatever is there is used to finance manufacturing, sales, purchases .......etc.

The big problems are the 80% rule and hospitality. 80% or more of companies fail within 3 years. Restaurants are notorious for bankruptcies. I don't know about the US but over here only about 5% of people are entrepreneurs and they invariably have great problems in raising finance which itself works against employment.

There are a thousand other arguments like those but tempus fugit

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@sejintenej

So where do they put that wealth?

- shares in companies which are needed to provide employment, goods and services

- direct employment - house servants etc who use their wages to benefit an average of six people per such employee

- luxuries (yachts, palaces ....) which provide employment for builders, repairers/services, etc etc.


Which is the problem.
Very large amounts of wealth spread across a very small percentage of the population.
A billion dollars between a million people would have a bigger effect on the economy than a billion dollars in the hands of one person.

Replies:   sejintenej  John Demille
richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

There are no such easy solutions for Immigration policies, but EVERY statement that begins "This is how to solve of Immigration problem" ends with an idea that would cause far greater problems than it corrected.


There was no immigration problem before there was legislation to limit and control it. Law enforcement is the problem. We might want to be sure terrorists and criminals (as defined here, not Chinese who are defined as criminals in China for memorializing the Tieniman Square anniversary) are kept out or report to a "parole officer" once admitted. Failure to obtain a job or have assets to support the immigrant might also be something worth controlling. But if we let almost everyone who wanted to come here to visit, or live here if they can afford it, we could get rid of a lot of irritating government employees and retaliation against Americans who try to visit other countries (like Argentina, where they charge $125 to enter the country because we charge their citizens that to enter the US.) The immigration problem is because of government rules and legislation, not because people want to come to the US. It might be nice to limit welfare to US citizens if the whole world came to live here, but there are jobs that don't get done by US citizens that immigrants probably would do cheaply enough to improve our overall economy. New cuisines from immigrants from distant countries who set up restaurants. Although it might be difficult for them to offer elephant ears on a bun because of the lack of proper buns.

sejintenej

@Grant

Which is the problem.

Very large amounts of wealth spread across a very small percentage of the population.

A billion dollars between a million people would have a bigger effect on the economy than a billion dollars in the hands of one person.


Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him and his family for the rest of his life.

That is approximately $1000 per head which would feed them for a few months????

It does mean that you close down $1000 millions worth of businesses and put tens of thousands of people out on the street begging or littering the streets with their undernourished, lice and disease infected corpses.

What is MScrap worth and how many people / workers in how many countries would be in trouble?

Replies:   Grant
John Demille

@Grant

Which is the problem.
Very large amounts of wealth spread across a very small percentage of the population.


This has become such a meme lately, or maybe it's me noticing it more. I don't know.

Why is it a "problem"?

Ever since pre-history, the few leaders have more than the rest of the population. It's always been like that. It's human nature.

It's totally ignorant to somehow blame the poverty "problem" on the rich. Remember, the default state of humans is absolute poverty. You're born with nothing. You have to survive. If you think about it also, nobody owes you anything unless you've lent it to them to begin with.

Those rich people that so many now show contempt for have begun somewhere. They or one of their ancestors worked hard, were smart enough and accumulated wealth and passed it on to their progeny. There is nothing wrong with that. How would you feel if you worked hard in your life, built a business, bought a house, bought some land (basically accumulated some wealth) and when you died you couldn't pass it on to your own kids? That some people simply decided to take it from them and 'distribute' it? Would you support that?

Remember, this world is built on capitalism. Whether people like it or not, it's capitalism that built this world. Nobody has set out to work hard and build something great to simply give it away. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak didn't start making computers hoping one day to accumulate billions and then distribute it to the 'needy'. Without ambitious people hoping to make money and live a better life, nothing gets built. Some things require 'Big money' and require people with lots of money to become a reality. A project like space x or high speed trains or the giant shipping ships that make everyday consumer stuff possible, these things require somebody with huge capital to get them done. If somehow all the rich people and companies were capped to a certain limit, who will build these ridiculously expensive things that in the end makes the world better for all?

Socialism doesn't work. Communism doesn't work. Mild socialism barely works. Socialism and Communism work until you run out of other people's money.

Capitalism works really well because people get rewarded for their hard work and their motives don't get thwarted by lazy people with grubby hands. It's not like the 20th century's experiment with communism showed the immense benefits of such fucked up system. It's really odd that people seem to simply ignore the lesson and keep peddling the same old tired ideas like 'the rich are too rich'.

But I guess that's how the majority of average people are. They want something for nothing. They see people with lots of money, they envy them and they devise plans to take away that wealth for themselves without having to work for it.

Of course, somethings are wrong in capitalism too. For example, big money buying government people to create legislation to benefit them and blocking others.

A billion dollars between a million people would have a bigger effect on the economy than a billion dollars in the hands of one person.


A million people with $1000 each will eat for a month or two and the billion dollars will be gone. A billion dollars in the hand of a good entrepreneur can create businesses and jobs for a good portion of those million and feed them and afford them a life for a long, long time and hopefully, some of those million that have the jobs created by the entrepreneur will save money and create their own businesses giving jobs to even more people.

Watch this youtube video and tell me if it doesn't make sense to you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661pi6K-8WQ

Replies:   richardshagrin  Grant
richardshagrin

@John Demille

A million people with $1000 each will eat for a month or two and the billion dollars will be gone.


The money isn't "gone". As fast as its spent it is income to be spent by others. Restaurant owners, cooks, waiters, people who sold food to the restaurant, and dozens of others who briefly received the money. They spend it hopefully quickly again and the effect spreads throughout the economy. The billionaire may spend it usefully establishing new businesses or investing it in capital goods, but the effects on consumption are much slower, and the rich tend to save much more of their income and the multiplier of their cash income is much lower. In the worst case they buy existing art or collect stamps or coins and the money does not produce very much new production at all. Of course poor people may put some of their income in a sock or under their mattress, but more money gets into circulation faster when poor people have the income. They buy things quickly that give other people income.

Grant
Updated:

@sejintenej

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him and his family for the rest of his life.

That is approximately $1000 per head which would feed them for a few months????


Who said anything about giving people that money?

It's pointing out the fact that more people with less money has a greater beneficial effect on the economy than one or 2 people with huge amounts of money.

And that is also the case when it comes to businesses- lots of small businesses are better for an economy than one or 2 extremely large ones.

It does mean that you close down $1000 millions worth of businesses and put tens of thousands of people out on the street begging or littering the streets with their undernourished, lice and disease infected corpses.


Really?

Think about it for a while.

One of the things that really piss me off is massive companies (eg Apple, M$, International banks & finance houses, mining companies & too many others to mention) that don't pay their fair share of tax, or as is the case here in Australia pay no tax at all due to accounting cleverness.

They squeal like stuck pigs any time it's suggested that they be required to pay tax like all the other smaller business have to. "We can't compete" or "We'll go broke" or "We'll pull out of your country".

The fact is they provide minimal employment in the over all scheme of things, and other than the higher levels of management the rates of pay aren't much better than those provided by smaller businesses. And all the money they make goes back overseas- it is of no benefit to our economy.

And would they really forgo all profits in protest at losing 10-15% of what they currently make?

And if they do, so what? That would then open up opportunities for other companies to come in, and they would require employees just like the ones that left did.


Replies:   sejintenej
Grant
Updated:

@John Demille

This has become such a meme lately, or maybe it's me noticing it more. I don't know.

Why is it a "problem"?


When a CEOs pay & renumeration is 20 times that of the median workers pay it's not an issue. When it's 500 to almost 2,000 times larger, it's an issue.

When the pay for CEOs has grown by 8.5%, corporate profits grew by only 2.9%, and average US employee pays grew by 0.3% in the same period, it's an issue.

A million people with $1000 each will eat for a month or two and the billion dollars will be gone. A billion dollars in the hand of a good entrepreneur can create businesses and jobs for a good portion of those million and feed them and afford them a life for a long, long time and hopefully, some of those million that have the jobs created by the entrepreneur will save money and create their own businesses giving jobs to even more people.


Of we could say it would keep those people alive, clothed, housed, with power & clean water for a month or 2 and help with their children's education, or we could give it to an entrepreneur who would lose large amounts of it on failed startups & a lavish lifestyle & may, eventually, maybe, get a business up and running employing a few hundred people, till they over extend & jump ship taking all the profits & bonuses with them & leaving those that were working for them worse off than they were before they got their jobs at that great new startup.

It's interesting how different people have different interpretations of the same thing.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  graybyrd
Ernest Bywater

@Grant

When a CEOs pay & renumeration is 20 times that of the median workers pay it's not an issue. When it's 500 to almost 2,000 times larger, it's an issue.


When the CEO's pay goes up by a few hundred thousand while they sack a dozen or so workers because costs are up and profits are down, it's a major issue.

graybyrd
Updated:

@Grant


When a CEOs pay & renumeration is 20 times that of the median workers pay it's not an issue. When it's 500 to almost 2,000 times larger, it's an issue.


It's also an issue here in the U.S. where a few decades ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the "One Man, One Vote" issue, attempting to equalize representation between rural and urban regions.

That has in recent years been replaced by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which essentially recognizes corporations as "people" and money as "free speech," and removes limits on corporate political campaign spending. This becomes, in essence, the "one dollar, one vote" rule.

Now a CEO, being paid 500 to 2,000 times more than any employee, has a hugely disproportionate political influence exceeding that of any common voter. The most egregious current example is that of the Koch Brothers, who have amassed such huge personal fortunes that their political war chest and campaign influence (thanks to removal of any limits by the Supreme Court) is virtually unchecked.

So, in brief, that is why disproportionate wealth matters, and why it is a direct threat to any hope of continuing democratic governance!

In essence, the U.S. is no longer a democracy; it is an oligarchy!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@graybyrd


... disproportionate political influence exceeding that of any common voter. The most egregious current example is that of the Koch Brothers


I agree with your point, but would quibble Rupert Murdoch is a more egregious example.

One of the most disturbing trends I see in US is the division of GDP. These figures are only approximate, but in the last few decades income from employment has dropped from 75% to 65%, while profits have risen from 15% to 25%. I think investment is the other 10%.

The distortions this creates may not be obvious, and may not have happened yet, but they are inevitable and severe - for growth levels as well as human hardship.

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd
Updated:

@Ross at Play


The distortions this creates may not be obvious, and may not have happened yet, but they are inevitable and severe - for growth levels as well as human hardship.


Income from employment has dropped dramatically because of the shift of high-wage manufacturing jobs from the U.S. to overseas, low-wage regions, including fabrication for the so-called "tech" sector. Service industry and other domestic employment wages are typically much lower than manufacturing wages, and--as a second impact against GDP and economic viability--have been suppressed by employer pressures. Fact: wage and benefit increases have remained stagnant for three decades.

The real human tragedy to watch in the next decade will be the destruction of American workers' retirement security. Political FUD* aimed at destroying the Social Security system, and Corporate destruction of the retirement pension system, will ensure that aging Americans will not have sufficient income to survive in retirement. The "401K" system is a cruel hoax, offering no security and insufficient returns.

The manipulation of interest returns on savings accounts has severely impacted elderly Americans who had saved and invested, and are now realizing little return. And it's also made it economically insane for anyone to put money into a savings account for their retirement, since inflation depletes the principal amount faster than interest returns can increase it. Savings=automatic losses. We (wife & I) have lost thousands of $$ thanks to destruction of interest rates on long-term Certificates of Deposit, which are currently far less than the rate of inflation, and have been for several years. The impact on retirement income is severe.

My point? America's economic well-being for the mass of its citizens has been destroyed by corporate and financial industry greed, made possible by government manipulations.

*FUD=fear, uncertainty & doubt.

Of course, the destruction of the middle class and America's wage base virtually assures the follow-on destruction of the Social Security system. So, the GOP hard-liners have it exactly right: when jobs were moved overseas, of course we can no longer afford the luxury of social security or public health care or public education or other "unaffordable" benefits.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@graybyrd

I doubt the social security system will be destroyed, however benefits will not rise with inflation. Figures don't lie but liars figure. My benefits have remained level for the last couple of years, while things like bread have gone from 99 cents to $1.39 at Safeway where I find the cheapest prices in my area.

Actually eliminating social security would be extremely difficult politically. Its the third rail in American politics, touch it and get electrocuted. (Subway reference, power for the subway comes from the third rail.) Old people vote and would vote against anyone who ended SS.

Grant

@richardshagrin

Old people vote and would vote against anyone who ended SS.

What if it was ended for everyone else and the old people got the largest share of those savings?
Divide and conquer. It's worked in the past, it'll work in the future.

graybyrd
Updated:

@richardshagrin


Actually eliminating social security would be extremely difficult politically. Its the third rail in American politics, touch it and get electrocuted.


That used to be true, but no longer. The "radical right" has desensitized that reaction. But that's not the danger that I foresee.

Instead, there's that ocean of money flowing in, like a massive tidal surge. That's simply too tempting a target to ignore. First, the "people" will be convinced that "government" is too incompetent, too corrupt, and too untrustworthy to be allowed to continue administering Social Security. Then, a bill will be introduced to transfer Social Security "trust funds" to privatized Wall Street investment administrators. For a fee, of course.

Let your imagination play with the possibilities of that scenario for a few moments. What could possibly go wrong with that? And what could Congress possibly see as beneficial for themselves from that move?

paliden
Updated:

@richardshagrin


while things like bread have gone from 99 cents to $1.39 at Safeway


What part of the country are you living in?

My wife paid 3.19 for a loaf of "Nature's Own" honey wheat bread in Winn-Dixie in northeast Florida.

edit: that was this evening about 3 hours ago

Replies:   graybyrd  Capt Zapp
graybyrd

@paliden

My wife paid 3.19 for a loaf of "Nature's Own" honey wheat bread in Winn-Dixie in northeast Florida.


Here in the Pacific NW we're seeing typical prices of $4.50 to $4.99 for a loaf of multi-grain whole wheat bread.

Capt Zapp

@paliden

My wife paid 3.19 for a loaf of "Nature's Own" honey wheat bread in Winn-Dixie in northeast Florida.


I wish I could find it that cheap. I pay $1.99 for store brand or 'this week's special'

Replies:   richardshagrin
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Actually eliminating social security would be extremely difficult politically.


Here in Australia social security pensions for the aged, and a few others, were introduced in the 1960s (or there about) by the Commonwealth government. They put up taxes to cover the cost. Since then they've always paid for it out of the incoming taxes instead of putting the extra taxes aside.

In recent decades different parties have introduced tighter and tighter controls on who is entitled to get the pensions, most have been introduced by the more socialist leaning party as ways to keep the rich from being entitled to get some of their tax dollars back. In more recent times laws were introduced to force employers to put money aside for employee pension funds, and that was followed by laws forcing people to put part of their pay into pension funds if they earned over a certain amount. The long term result is the great majority of people will have their own self funded pension funds and thus not eligible for a government pension, but the government will continue to reap in the dollars meant to cover the pensions. Want to bet the US won't go the same way!

Replies:   Ross at Play
richardshagrin

@Capt Zapp

Safeway on Queen Anne Avenue on top of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle this week has it on sale for $1.25 a 22 oz. loaf, brand is Oven Joy, comes in both White and Wheat Enriched Bread and the label advises no High Fructose Corn Syrup. There used to be a Safeway house brand "Select" if I recall correctly that was only 18 oz. for 88 cents but I haven't seen it is many months, stopped when the price went to $1.39. They still have hot dog buns and hamburger buns with that brand.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

The long term result is the great majority of people will have their own self funded pension funds and thus not eligible for a government pension

YES. Exactly as it should be. It ensures a minimum standard for everyone; you can live on it, but it's tough. Aging populations meant alternatives were substantial increases in taxes as a proportion of GDP, or raising the retirement age to about 70. The majority coming through now are enjoying a very comfortable standard of living.

the government will continue to reap in the dollars meant to cover the pensions

Every adjustment may seem like an added burden, but in the long term governments set their priorities for spending and revenue sources, and make choices so they come out roughly equal.
I always vote for the same side, and I would argue vehemently about priorities, but the only time in my lifetime I would say federal government economic policies caused substantial harm to the economy was when Jim Cairns was Treasurer.

Want to bet the US won't go the same way

YES. It could happen in Australia because both sides are sane and moderate. In the US, getting 60 votes in the Senate to pass a sane compromise like Australia now has is never going to happen.

sejintenej

@Grant

One of the things that really piss me off is massive companies (eg Apple, M$, International banks & finance houses, mining companies & too many others to mention) that don't pay their fair share of tax, or as is the case here in Australia pay no tax at all due to accounting cleverness.

Blame your politicians (or the peeps who elect them). These companies pay clever people to find ways round the laws so why don't the politicians write laws which simply cannot be avoided? Either the politicians are too stupid or, I suspect in a few countries, they are paid to leave loopholes.

It should be relatively easy to state that you, Mr foreign company, sell xxx% of your worldwide turnover in our country so you will taxed at our rates of tax on xxx% of your worldwide profits (calculated according to our rules) OR you will establish a sales company in our country, you will sell to them at rates commensurate with those you sell elsewhere at the highest rates and we will tax you on the difference. Like it or f*** off. Of course they will squeal but if they don't want to lose the market ....

tppm

@Crumbly Writer

In Oh Hell (as I learned it), each game will be 24 hands, in the first hand each player is dealt 3 cards and the 13th card is trump, then each player bids what he thinks he can take, the total bids may not ad up to three. The second hand, dealt by the player to the left of the current dealer, is 4 cards each and the 17th card is trump, and so on till each player is dealt 13 cards and the hand is no trump as there is no 53rd card to turn up for trump, then four hands of no trump then count back down to 3.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@tppm


In Oh Hell (as I learned it)


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh_Hell

I've heard of the same game by several names that are similar in meaning. Also some minor variations on the play.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@tppm


Oh Hell


This is one of the few complex trick taking card games suitable for an uneven number of players. Anywhere from 3 to 7 players works well.

There are many variations in scoring. My choice would be:

# If you make your exact bid, 10 points per trick taken or 5 points for a zero bid

# If you do not make your exact bid, -10 point penalty, but +1 point for every trick taken.

Note that once a player exceeds their bid, the point per trick taken encourages them to continue trying to take tricks (and to screw other players as well)

The number of hands to be played should be agreed before the game starts, and will depend on the number of players. To be fair, the number of hands each player is dealer (the death seat) should be the same. Accordingly, you count the number of hands to get from 3 cards each up until the deck is exhausted. Double that number for working back down. The number of hands of No Trumps in the middle is then the lowest number to make the total number of hands divisible by the number of players.

For those that enjoy cards, it is a vicious, fun and very challenging game. It and Hearts (penalty -13 for taking Queen of Spades & -1 for any Heart) are the only truly great games I know for 3 or 5-7 players.

A simplified version which is good for families to teach children wanting to learn more difficult card games is simply: no bidding and scoring +1 point for every trick taken on the way up; -1 point for every trick taken on the way down; and just cut for first dealer as any advantage is slight.

Crumbly Writer

@graybyrd

Make of that what you will. Common sense says that when there's no gas in the tank, the engine stalls. When the oligarchs hoard money, the economy stalls.

The standard economic theory for decades was that, investing money in the working classes drives the economy (7 $ spent in the economy for every $1 invested by the government), while money spent on the wealthy goes into additional savings (very little reinvested in the economy). The poor spend even money (since they have little savings), but the funds are too insufficient to boost the general economy.

Economically, government subsidies of the rich/corporations make little sense (other than basic graft and campaign extortion--legislate what I want and I'll pay you).

All the counter economic arguments popular in the 80s concerning 'supply side economics' have never been borne out in real life. (I've always been a frustrated economist!)

@richardshagrin

G is government spending, and has gotten to be a much bigger part of GNP lately.

That's due more to recent downturns in the economy (GDP drops, making the share of Government spending rise even as government spending overall is dropping) rather than governmental excesses.

@Ross

There was a time when big solutions worked, such as: railway networks; Hoover Dam & Panama canal; manufacturing, medical & farming advances; and belated efforts in World Wars. The low hanging fruit has all been picked. Only incremental change is possible now for most desirable goals.

It's not that all the low-hanging fruit has been picked, but that we stopped investing in capital (roads, bridges, dams, etc.) and now invest in Corporate incentives and government expenditures which grind to a halt over time due to political infighting.

Paying for new airports/roads or repairing bridges still benefits the economy, but few legislatures care enough to compromise on their partisan electioneering.

It's not going to get any better soon. Since the 'culture wars' started under Reagan, GOP legislators have been refining their tactics of intransigence and refusing to pass any bills they do not fully support.

It's got nothing to do with "bills they don't support", instead it was a strategy the U.S. Republican party adopted, stating that 'If we shut down the government, no one will blame us but instead will blame the party currently in power for accomplishing little of value'. Unfortunately, that thinking will turn around as soon as the Republicans get elected and the Democrats adapt the exact same behavior!

@Sejintenej

- Very little of such wealth is in the banks but whatever is there is used to finance manufacturing, sales, purchases ..., etc.

The big problems are the 80% rule and hospitality. 80% or more of companies fail within 3 years. Restaurants are notorious for bankruptcies. I don't know about the US but over here only about 5% of people are entrepreneurs and they invariably have great problems in raising finance which itself works against employment.

Not true. The problem is, if you have all the money you need, there's little need to spend it, so instead it'll go into investments (which often includes foreign investments in 3rd and 4th world countries.

As far as enterpeneurs going broke, it doesn't really matter in terms of investments. What matters is the return on investment, or how much money is generated by a set investment. Enterpeneurs spend lots whether they succeed or fail, while major corporation and high-paid CEOs reinvest little of their overall capital.

Replies:   sejintenej
Crumbly Writer

@tppm

n Oh Hell (as I learned it), each game will be 24 hands, in the first hand each player is dealt 3 cards and the 13th card is trump, then each player bids what he thinks he can take, the total bids may not ad up to three.

New game: "Oh Trump". Where the dealer insists he's a "HUGE winner!" and everyone else at the table refuses to play. All cards are wild, regardless of who Trump is (or because of who Trump is).

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

The big problems are the 80% rule and hospitality. 80% or more of companies fail within 3 years. Restaurants are notorious for bankruptcies. I don't know about the US but over here only about 5% of people are entrepreneurs and they invariably have great problems in raising finance which itself works against employment.

Not true. The problem is, if you have all the money you need, there's little need to spend it, so instead it'll go into investments (which often includes foreign investments in 3rd and 4th world countries.

As far as enterpeneurs going broke, it doesn't really matter in terms of investments. What matters is the return on investment, or how much money is generated by a set investment. Enterpeneurs spend lots whether they succeed or fail, while major corporation and high-paid CEOs reinvest little of their overall capital.

When I was working the biggest problem the banks had was finding somewhere to put it. Borrowing by creditworthy would-be borrowers in one's own country was a fraction of customers' deposits (and you can't really ration what customers place in their accounts) so a lot went into Eurocurrency loans (euro in this sense has no connection with the currency - it is loans outside the lender's territory). Those were often pretty dicey because all banks had the same problems - an American bank couldn't lend to a German company because either the German company didn't need loans or its house bank was already lending.

As for entrepreneurs they are needed to create the next generation of businesses (be they Apple or the drugstore down the road)creating employment, GNP and paying taxes. No entrepreneurs and business slowly dies - look at Dearborn.

High-paid CEOs - exactly where do their salaries go? You are almost suggesting that they don't employ builders, interior decorators, gardeners, don't frequent restaurants, buy TVs and food and drink ......... The money has to be going somewhere; every employed person is supporting six others.

Replies:   tppm  Crumbly Writer
tppm

@sejintenej

High-paid CEOs - exactly where do their salaries go? You are almost suggesting that they don't employ builders, interior decorators, gardeners, don't frequent restaurants, buy TVs and food and drink ......... The money has to be going somewhere; every employed person is supporting six others.


All of that (maintaining the $100 million mansion and million dollar a year lifestyle) might use up 0.1% of their assets (and remember the house itself is an asset, though it's maintenance is expenses). most of the rest goes into stocks, bonds, and other investments that don't particularly contribute to the economy.

Meanwhile the working stiff on the bad side of town spends 80 to 90% of his income on groceries and rent, with a little left over for recreation, 100% of which contributes to the economy.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@tppm

most of the rest goes into stocks, bonds, and other investments that don't particularly contribute to the economy.

and if there are no investments, stocks, bonds etc then there are no companies so no employment, no food, no nothing but NO TAXES because there can be no uncivil "servants".
All this of course unless you are a follower of Lenin et al

Replies:   Grant  tppm
Grant

@sejintenej

and if there are no investments, stocks, bonds etc then there are no companies so no employment, no food, no nothing but NO TAXES because there can be no uncivil "servants".

The great majority of businesses (at least in Australia) are small businesses. No shares or dividends or boards or CEOs involved.

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

High-paid CEOs - exactly where do their salaries go? You are almost suggesting that they don't employ builders, interior decorators, gardeners, don't frequent restaurants, buy TVs and food and drink ......... The money has to be going somewhere; every employed person is supporting six others.

Not at all. What I'm saying is the ratio of investment (what the government spends) to results (how much money is generated in the economy) is poor. If you give a small amount to a lot of working people, they'll spend it all (because they have to), and the people they pay will be more likely to pay someone else with the money they receive.

However, if you pay Bill Gates or Tim Cook, they continue doing what they were already doing, and simply deposit the remainder. After all, your cash infusion doesn't affect their 5 to 10 year plan. Thus you get little return on your investment in the economy beyond what would occur anyway. For a government investment, there's no benefit (other than financing your reelection).

@Sejintenej
Seriously? I don't think Lenin has had a serious 'follower' for the last 50 years. Even the U.S.S.R. didn't pay attention to his claims, choosing what they wanted to foster and who they wanted to pay.

No one here is going to suggest tossing your money into the streets, but government expenses need to be justified (the money is entrusted to the legislature, not "given" to them). If they can't prove they've invested it wisely, why bother employing them (other than their useless rhetoric)?

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

No one here is going to suggest tossing your money into the streets, but government expenses need to be justified (the money is entrusted to the legislature, not "given" to them). If they can't prove they've invested it wisely, why bother employing them (other than their useless rhetoric)?

I agree totally with your concluding observation but if Government can't prove ....... how are you going to stop employing them?
Two examples; in all the years that the European Union has existed never have their auditors been able to certify the accounts as appearing to be true and fair. Should we continue paying them?

In my county two years ago the proud boast of the county police force was that they solved 5% of all reported burglaries. No comment about the other 95%. Can we get rid of incompetent officers? (no!)

Replies:   Dominions Son  Grant
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

how are you going to stop employing them?


Considering we are stuck with a two party system and a bureaucracy that is not fully accountable to Congress, violent revolution is probably the only answer.

Grant

@sejintenej

In my county two years ago the proud boast of the county police force was that they solved 5% of all reported burglaries. No comment about the other 95%. Can we get rid of incompetent officers? (no!)

How would you determine incompetence?
In the past, very high conviction rates by certain detectives often boiled down to them being better at fitting someone up for the crime than actually getting the person that did it.

Replies:   sejintenej
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Dominions Son

More than two parties probably would be worse. If I recall correctly Lincoln was elected having gotten a plurality of electoral votes from among four candidates. There are a few independent senators and representatives but mostly they align with one of the two major parties.

I am not certain we would want the bureaucracy that was politically responsive to whatever party had a temporary majority in Congress and the Senate. One of the major good government accomplishments was setting up the civil service where careers of experienced workers didn't end when their political sponsors lost power. Violent revolution is probably not the best answer. Who do you want killed by the violence? Like some African republics you might get one man, one vote, once. Then the people in power never let go because if they did they would be killed. One of the major accomplishments of the US system is that people survive losing elections, and sometimes come back to be elected again. President Cleveland served two (non-consecutive) terms, first losing his re-election campaign, and then getting re-elected the next time he ran.

Jefferson may have agreed with you about violent revolution but fortunately we have not had to follow that path, unless you count the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Washington had to put down a rebellion, something about liquor prices, but mostly we have let elections settle disagreements. Winston Churchill said Jaw-Jaw is better than War-War.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

More than two parties probably would be worse.


No parties (or at least not allowing the parties to have any direct participation in the election process) would be better. As Washington said, political parties are inherently undemocratic.

Replies:   sejintenej
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Violent revolution is probably not the best answer. Who do you want killed by the violence?


Who said I thought it was the best answer. I don't, I just think it's the only answer where the question is "Okay, how do we change it?".

Reforming the process from within is doomed to failure.

Of course, we can always decide to live with the situation as it is. That changing the system isn't worth the cost of violent revolution.

However, I think the system will continue to get worse and worse, until either the system collapses under it's own weight or enough people decide that violent revolution is the lesser evil.

I don't think either of these outcomes is particularly good, just that one or the other is inevitable.

PS. That's my optimistic view. You don't want to hear my pessimistic view.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son
Updated:

@richardshagrin


Who do you want killed by the violence?


Edited.
Start with all career elected officials (anyone who has never had a job they weren't elected to.

Anyone who seeks power/authority for it's own sake is unworthy of it.

sejintenej

@Grant

In my county two years ago the proud boast of the county police force was that they solved 5% of all reported burglaries. No comment about the other 95%. Can we get rid of incompetent officers? (no!)

How would you determine incompetence?
In the past, very high conviction rates by certain detectives often boiled down to them being better at fitting someone up for the crime than actually getting the person that did it

OK so of the 5% of burglaries which were solved(which doesn't mean that it went to court) some were fitted up you have an awful lot of peelers who didn't do anything. Why pay them?

Replies:   Grant
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

Who do you want killed by the violence?

Edited.

Start with all career elected officials (anyone who has never had a job they weren't elected to.

Anyone who seeks power/authority for it's own sake is unworthy of it.

Although I can go along with that answer my immediate reaction was "who is authorised to determine who shall be attacked / killed?" Remember it could be the bloke who is after your wife/ daughter/ job /company/ potted geraniums.

Replies:   Dominions Son
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

Dominions Son
@richardshagrin
More than two parties probably would be worse.

No parties (or at least not allowing the parties to have any direct participation in the election process) would be better. As Washington said, political parties are inherently undemocratic.

There's a story on SOL about Mars after the Westhem rulers were thrown out. No parties; Utopia

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

Although I can go along with that answer my immediate reaction was "who is authorised to determine who shall be attacked / killed?" Remember it could be the bloke who is after your wife/ daughter/ job /company/ potted geraniums.


Again, I don't think it's a great solution.

However, I do think that at this point, the only way to accomplish meaningful reform of our system of government is to burn it to the ground and start over from scratch.

There are only two ways that happens, violent revolution or the system crashes and burns under it's own weight.

Neither option will be pretty and a lot of innocents will get hurt in the process.

I don't think things are quite bad enough yet to justify violent revolution.

However, one or the other, revolution or collapse is inevitable. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.

richardshagrin
Updated:

There are several ways to amend the constitution, leaving out the Bill of Rights (first ten amendments) its been done at least a dozen times. Doesn't even have to be done by elected officials (state legislators) special conventions can be called. If enough people felt strongly enough changes can be made without violence or pulling down the entire structure of government. You may feel strongly, but the trick is getting enough people to feel like you do.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@richardshagrin


There are several ways to amend the constitution, leaving out the Bill of Rights (first ten amendments) its been done at least a dozen times.


1. It's been amended more than a dozen times.

2. I hasn't happened in nearly 50 years.

3. There are at least half a dozen federal agencies for which the constitutional justification is weak at best.

4. The courts up to and including SCOTUS are constantly chipping away at the remedies for violations of certain existing enumerated rights (4A)

Given the above, what makes you think that new constitutional amendments will accomplish any meaningful change? Will there be a "We really mean it this time" clause in the new amendments?

Grant
Updated:

@sejintenej

OK so of the 5% of burglaries which were solved(which doesn't mean that it went to court) some were fitted up you have an awful lot of peelers who didn't do anything. Why pay them?


Maybe they were dealing with assaults, murders, rapes, car accidents, noise complaints, traffic duty, walking the beat, possible terrorist investigations and one or 2 other jobs?

They most likely don't have the numbers to even investigate many of them due to working on things that are considered more important. Less plods & more detectives just for burglary work?

Maybe cut back on murder investigations to help the burglary cleanup rate. Those pesky murder investigations take up a huge amount of resources; i'd figure for every dropped murder investigation you could investigate between 40-100 burglaries.

And then there's the main reasons for why something is or isn't solved- lack of evidence or a suspect, or no way of connecting the 2. No evidence, no hope of a conviction. And the biggest source of evidence, information from the public.

The real world is not like CSI- there just aren't the resources to do a full forensic workup & DNA analysis for every burglary that occurs, and turn up piece of whatever stuck in the crack between a couple of bricks (or where ever) that links a person known to the police who also happens to have their DNA on record. And then present it in a manner that the jury will buy.

tppm

@sejintenej

All this of course unless you are a follower of Lenin et al


John Maynard Keynes, actually

cantamelon

@madnige

Or mementoes. Would sound best in that sentence...

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Considering we are stuck with a two party system and a bureaucracy that is not fully accountable to Congress, violent revolution is probably the only answer.

And you honestly believe a violent revolution will produce a simpler, easier to verify system than what you started with, no matter how bloated?

Revolutions rarely start because because aren't happy with the accounting protocols.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Winston Churchill said Jaw-Jaw is better than War-War.

Jar-Jar Binks was pretty atrocious. I wonder had bad his brother, War-War, was?

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

However, I think the system will continue to get worse and worse, until either the system collapses under it's own weight or enough people decide that violent revolution is the lesser evil.

Single term elections, which many have been proposing for the U.S. elections, is an option, though unlikely to pass without a bare bones fight.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Start with all career elected officials (anyone who has never had a job they weren't elected to.

Anyone who seeks power/authority for it's own sake is unworthy of it.

I've long suggested--mostly teasingly--that I'd prefer a system where anyone elected serves a single term, then is summarily shot for every corrupt thing we haven't discovered. That would cut WAY back on the corruption, and ensure the criminal element think twice before trying something.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

I've long suggested--mostly teasingly--that I'd prefer a system where anyone elected serves a single term, then is summarily shot for every corrupt thing we haven't discovered.

Unless that single term is a lifetime long, say 50 years if you have to be 25 to get elected, there won't be a lot of candidates for jobs with guaranteed retirement to a cemetery.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


And you honestly believe a violent revolution will produce a simpler, easier to verify system than what you started with, no matter how bloated?


I don't believe that it would guarantee a positive change. I do however believe that it is the only chance for a real change.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

I don't believe that it would guarantee a positive change. I do however believe that [violent revolution] is the only chance for a real change.

Ask Bernie Sanders how popular the concept of peaceful revolution is.

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