CSotD: Explanations, excuses and whathaveyou

Between Friends gets a laugh because it’s an interesting twist on Parkinson’s Law that “work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion.”

Parkinson’s Law itself was a joke because, of course, everything conforms to opportunity, which, in this case, means that, because women carry purses, the number of things they “have to” carry is greater than it would be if they only had pockets.

A reasonable number of pockets, hence today’s joke, in which — as that list of essential non-essentials indicates — Susan has adapted capacity to accommodate habit.

My mother carried a purse that held more than Mary Poppins’s bottomless carpet bag. There were six of us, so it made sense, and I remember one time in church when somebody else’s kid start to puke and my mother whipped out a diaper and had it under his chin in the nick of time.

Which was striking because we were all housebroken by then, but cloth diapers were so versatile that you never threw them away.

Well, times change and I had lunch with a female friend the other day who carried a jacket, not a purse, and so had a pocket that would hold her wallet, which I know because she picked up the check.

Times change indeed.

Speaking of which …

Betty puts a great punchline on a modern concept, because my first thought in that seventh panel was of aerosol wasp spray which is designed to be used from about six or eight feet back but would quickly soak an under-slab nest.

And, of course, when Bub suggested tape instead, I thought “sticky” as did you.

The notion of people accommodating pests is both modern and hilarious.

And I’m betting the folks in Alabama, where not even the yellow jackets believe in birth control, are going to resist the liberal urge to co-exist with “super nests” that can house 4,000 of the little buggers.


But speaking of co-existence

Kal Kallaugher notes that, yes, Putin and Trump can agree about fake news as long as Dear Leader doesn’t realize Putin is a major source of the stuff, or, perhaps, doesn’t care. (We’re still waiting for Mueller to expand upon his findings.)

Apparently, the bromance continued with a meeting in which the Russian media was welcome but American media was excluded, but we’ve got some evidence that Trump doesn’t need a translator because you can speak to him in Russian or in English and he still won’t understand what is being said.


Gary Varvel picked up on one of Trump’s summit comments, which is that what is happening in LA and San Francisco is horrible, though Trump didn’t specify exactly what it was: People being gay, people being brown, people banning plastic bags, people eating avocado toast or all of the above.

However, a couple of observers picked up something else from the bizarre, weirdly geographically specific response to a question about Putin’s declaration that Western Liberalism is no longer relevant.

Trump thought he meant, like, liberals in the West. Our West. Coast.

Kinda makes you wonder what size donation Fred Trump had to make to get Donnie into college so he could sit in the back row having executive time.


And, BTW, I’m breaking from the Western, Eastern, Midwest and Mountain Liberals on my response to the Supreme Court’s gerrymandering decision, though I’m very sympathetic to Matt Davies’ point that it’s hard to vote to fix the system when the system is rigged to discount your vote.

Still, I’m inclined to agree with the majority that, broken as the system may be in some states, the Constitution is pretty strong on leaving states to sort that out on their own.

Let us not forget, on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment being approved and sent out to the states, that a large number of states had already granted women’s suffrage, and that Jeanette Rankin already sat in Congress since, while women couldn’t vote for her, there was no law against her running.

Similarly, 21 states have a bipartisan or non-partisan redistricting commission, though they aren’t all entirely free of legislative tampering.

Just as Rankin found a way around restrictions, there are surely means of working around hide-bound gerrymandering forces.

For instance this parade — in which women carried suffrage petitions with 1 million signatures —  was intended to influence New York’s legislators, though the nation was an important secondary audience.

In the current case, the Roberts court did not step back from its ability to intervene when gerrymandering is done on a racial basis, only when the inequities are political.

Which means first things first: As long as Mitch McConnell can deny a Democratic president the right to appoint a judge and bestow it upon a Republican president, what is right and fair and logical is irrelevant.

Vote, and bring a few neighbors to the polls.

A low turnout in November could send us back to Minor v Happersett, Dred Scott and Plessy v Ferguson.


On a related amendment

Paul Berge has a nice selection of cartoons marking the start of Prohibition a century ago tomorrow, and notes that the number mocking the new law vastly outnumbered those saluting it, though he had found a different balance back when the amendment was approved.

I have no doubt of that, but my examination of the papers of the time showed a distinct division between “wets” and “dries,” and the money of a powerful liquor lobby was behind guess which?

A raid might be covered as a crime story in a dry newspaper and as comedy in a wet newspaper, and there were states where you didn’t have raids because the legislature was majority wet.

Much is made of Al Smith being opposed as a Catholic, but the fact that he was a wet factored into his Presidential campaign as much as his religion.

But history is written by victors, and so barely mentions that, when the wets finally won, alcohol came back with far more restrictions than it had when it left.

Prohibition ended, but it did not completely fail.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Explanations, excuses and whathaveyou

  1. The Warren Supreme Court had no problem in the 1960s ordering the states to fix massively unequal legislative districts under the concept of “one person, one vote”. According to Wikipedia:

    “In the New Hampshire General Court, one township with three people had a Representative in the lower house; this was the same representation given another district with a population of 3,244.”

    I can’t see a great deal of difference in that and the practice of packing as many voters of one party into as few districts as possible to make their votes as insignificant as possible. I doubt the Warren Court would have either.

    The states could fix this problem on their own, if the states with the worst problems were not the ones with the legislature are controlled by the parties who engineered the gerrymandering.

    Another possible fix would be to use the referendum process, but not all states allow referendums, and as Florida is currently showing with Amendment Four, when a legislature threatened by a referendum has no qualms about trying to amend it to weaken or destroy it.

  2. I agree that the right to hold referenda matters — I think Colorado recently used one to put in place their apolitical redistricting body.

    Having lived there, I know they aren’t simon pure and can be manipulated by money groups, but I think they’re a vital element in the “right to petition the government” meaningfully. I’d take that to court.

    But one-man-one-vote is generally covered in the current imbroglio, with the gerrymander coming by drawing lines to create as many one-sided districts as you can, with the unfavored group only a majority in as few as possible.

    That is, assuming you have 30,000 people in potentially 5 districts, so you are required to have 6,000 people in each district. There are an equal number of Party A’s and Party B’s, which would naturally lead to very close races in each district.

    So you create four districts with 3,500 A’s and 2,500 B’s, and one district with 1,000 A’s and 5,000 B’s — conceding that district but claiming four, and meeting the “one person one vote” requirement.

    And, as I noted in the posting, there are ways besides referendum to pressure a legislature. If the women could do it, a wider group could.

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