Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Get me the President on line one...

I know how he can fix the employment thing and slash air pollution in one stroke, plus throw a bone to the "reduce our dependence on foreign oil" crowd as well as doing something about all those obese people Michelle's always going on about: Replace all private automobiles with sedan chairs.

Seriously, think how many people could instantly find employment carrying other people around. As a sop to the #OCCUPY_MOM'S_BASEMENT class warfare crew, you could even mandate that everybody has to do one month of sedan chair duty for the less fortunate every year. Run a commercial showing a couple CEOs lugging a single mom to pick her kids up from day care and those votes are in the bag.

It would cut down on traffic congestion, and it would encourage everybody to move out of those icky McMansion-riddled suburbs and back into arugula- and culture-filled cities where they can be more easily found by their local ward heeler. Plus, it'd be a finger in the eye of those sanctimonious greener-than-thou Europeans at the next UN eco summit in Monaco or Tahiti or wherever they're holding the next one. Exceptions, of course, would have to be made for government employees on important official business, like firemen and policemen and congressmen. Oh, and foreign diplomats.

This is so right in the wheelhouse of some members of the current administration that I'd be kind of surprised to find that a rough draft wasn't already in existence on the back of an envelope on the bottom of a drawer in the West Wing.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure two of your typical CEOs could provide a sufficiently smooth, reliable ride; you'll likely need 4. However, whatever you do, do NOT get in the sedan chair with 6 guys carrying it.

Samsam von Virginia

Blackwing1 said...

Could we make 'em seasonal sedan sleighs for up here in da Nort'land?

(Assuming we get enough snow each year...and just think of all the manufacturing jobs it'll create, since I'm not sure there's a sedan-chair industry. And the congress-critters could line their pockets, and bring home some pork, by mandating that UAW-shops are the only ones allowed to build them! Win, win, win...)

Lewis said...

You ignorant, retrograde Luddite! Oh, yeah, sure, let's ignore mankind's inventive/intuitive streak and go back to sedan chairs. Sometimes I honestly doubt if you're serious, sometimes I fear that you are.

Rickshaws, Tam! Rickshaws! Let's use the wheel!

Peter said...

Oh, Tam! Sedan chairs? You're pandering to the rich again! They need to do their fair share, and give up their sedan chairs for humble wicker basket-weave stools, produced using sustainably-grown bamboo by oppressed women in Bangladesh, who will use the proceeds to rescue their children from hurricane-induced poverty!


CGHill said...

The sedan chairs worry me less than the inevitable sport-utility divans.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, if we go with Sedan Chairs, does that mean the Army has to use UpArmored Chariots?

And on a related note, does that mean if I order a book from Amazon, a Carrier Pigeon will deliver the Scroll?

Anonymous said...

Silly Girl!
They don't want jobs, they want a check.

Borepatch said...

If we ban the sun, the candle makers will prosper.

mikee said...

True Story: A Harvard professor who was a bit elderly but beloved by his research students was sometimes carried from boisterous parties back to his campus apartmnet in a sedan chair, manned by his drunken research group. A campus cop stopped their loud progress across campus one night. When the professor accepted responsibility for the noise, the cop suggested he should stick to his lab instead of rioting across the campus, and maybe he'd get a Nobel prize. The prof proudly responded in a drunken roar that he already had a Nobel prize, and ordered his chair carriers to proceed onward, leaving the cop in his wake.

So sedan chairs have got that going for them, already.

Chris said...

Sounds like "A Modest Proposal . . ."

ExurbanKevin said...

"The President's on line one."

"President of what?"

"He wants to know if you've stopped the aliens or if it's ok to blow up Russia."

"Tell him 'Yes' on one and 'No' on two."

"Wait, which was 'Yes', blow up Russia or the second one?"

Anonymous said...

As part of my initiation to engineering school, we had to build a sedan chair ( in this case with a white porcelain toilet on a platform) and carry some unfortunate soul clinging for dear life across a campus wide obstacle course as fast as humanly possible.

Aside from the abject look of terror of the (usually female) eng student riding the thing as 8 somewhat inebriated 18-19yo's students ran energetically up and down stairs, over piles of tires, through a pond, etc... I will always relish the look of disbelief on the campus cop who unwisely parked his SUV across the finishing line while he tried to "restore order" and stop this unseemly display of utter chaos.

No one had told the contestant teams who just saw another @#$@#% obstacle in their way and who one after another went OVER the SUV sedan throne and all, with some alacrity.

I think the eng Society got them a new paint job and wipers afterwards, but it as worth every penny.

I can't wait to see the traffic chaos in the streets

Cincinnatus said...

Samsam has a poor idea. If you get four CEO's to pull your sedan chair, you have the problem of finding four all with the same height and the same color of hair ... if any.

Brad K. said...

@ Lewis,

Rickshaws. Wheels.

The problem I see is down the road (my road, this morning) -- all the locals from miles around are scavenging their back lots (or the neighbors', theft is a big problem) for junk iron to sell to China. We just don't have as much metal left. Unless you start knocking down big buildings, and you know how excited people got about that, a decade ago. Oh, I suppose you could use some of those old shopping malls that no longer draw shoppers from 150 miles away for the novel experience.

What do you propose to make the wheels from -- unsold Chevy Volts? The trees that have been cut for firewood? The oil that is drying up as we speak? Retired battleships (the ones that haven't been scrapped -- and sold to China)? Confiscate Target, Wal-Mart, and K-mart bicycles?

I think your plan needs some re-thinking.

And Tam,

Have you thought through attire for those sedan stalwarts? Are you talking rope sandals, kilts, and basket-weave collars, or sweats and Nikes? Will there be a crying need for linen work gloves for the carriers, and would the riders need a "pilot's friend" or similar utensil (a 'pot to pee in')?

Honestly. Wealth in America, since slavery stopped being cost effective (inflation drove the cost of food way up), has been generated primarily by consuming cheap energy -- the old growth forests that used to completely cover the Eastern US (why do you think the history books make such a big deal of the 'endless plains' of the MidWest, or even the unimaginable expanse of farmable land in the Northwest Territories -- Ohio?), later from coal and oil.

Well, oil aint as cheap, and the market has outgrown the production rate. Coal is getting closer to that 'peak', Solar and other alternatives never were cheap. And as Occupy Wall Street points out, there just isn't as much wealth being created as we want.

Now, you might say that anyone receiving welfare is already paid, so drafting those folk and their children for pedal or porter duty might seem reasonable. But the problem still remains, just like when slavery hit it's peak -- who is going to be able to afford to feed and shoe and clothe the folks carrying your sedan chair, or powering that rickshaw? And that doesn't begin to address the SEIU issue when all portagers are forced into the public employees union for scale wages, working hours, benefits, and retirement fund.

Naw. We need another land rush. Let folk stake out a homestead -- about 15 acres -- and figure out how to grow enough (solar energy in actual use) to feed themselves and trade for what else they need. Sod huts worked for some in the past, and didn't take organized labor to put up. In a couple of years, abusive taxes, fuel prices and parts shortages will start making productive farmland available. Then the growth industry will be making hoes, sledge hammer handles (who hasn't broken two or three?), and teaching folk how to prepare soil, care for crops, harvest and preserve the harvest -- while staying reasonably healthy and comfortable.

I figure that one in fifty farmers is rich by any standards. And if two percent of Americans are involved in raising the food we eat, then reverting to earlier times could replace every farmer that retires without someone to take over the farm with 50 souls waiting on welfare for their ship to come in -- raising food to eat, and producing just enough to feed what that farmer did. And who knows, maybe 2% of those new toilers would do pretty well for themselves. For the other 49 out of 50, why should welfare folk be any better off than most farmers?

the pawnbroker said...

Now just how in the hell is 1% going to carry 99%? Oh, wait...

Ed Foster said...

Brad K., the minimum accepted acreage back in the 19th or early 20th century to support a family was 40, and that presupposed the availability of water, which is all locked up by the big automated corporation farmers, at least in the lower mid-west and the wetter parts of the far west.

Have to give you a full point on the forest vs. slavery issue. The economic progression of slavery was first, steal underpants, oops, sorry.

First get a royal grant to someplace that had a lot of trees. It helped considerably to be a supporter of the Stuarts after the ascention of William and Mary.

They wanted to get rid of you without another civil war, and pretty much denuded south-western England and the Welsh borders of hidden Jacobites.

Then a group of investors in London called Factors would loan you money to buy slaves and farming impliments, which you repaid in lye.

You cut the forest down, burned it, and ran water through the ash to make lye, which you boiled down and put in barrels. The lye was used to make the leather needed to fuel the industrial revolution.

Drive belts in mills, pump seals in mines, harnesses for mules, you name it. Leather was the plastic of it's time.

After the forests were gone, it was time to use those slaves to plant cotton and tobacco, to get some use out of them. You couldn't let them go free, because they were the collateral for your loans to the Factors, which grew with every loan you took, and every purchase you made.

Every dress, every gun, every hoe had to be bought through the factor, and the multi-generational debt quickly became massive. The term used to describe the gentry in the Old South (the original seven states of the Confederacy) was "Land rich and money poor".

After the importation of slaves was denied, mostly by the British navy, you couldn't even whip one of those uppity darkies anymore. By the late 1820's you had to go to court and get them to do the whipping, according to the rule book. And you had to pay the bailiff who swung the handle.

Too bad treatment of the slaves meant too many runners headed north, and that ticked off the Factors back in London.

The twin whammies of stiff tarriffs to protect the nascent northern industrial growth and the ending of the continual westward expansion needed to supply fresh timber to burn meant the ending of traditional slavery by the end of the 20th century, without the war, same as Brazil.

Lose the land and it would be sold to upwardly mobile "White Trash" who would rent it out to sharecroppers, a much more productive use of said property, especially after South American and Polynesian guano deposits were used to produce cheap fertilizer in the 1880's.

Lincoln didn't give a damn about the slaves or slave owners. He wanted the British economic presence in the south gone, as quickly as possible, and the south "returned" to the U.S.

And Europe got along just fine without the lye, because it forced a bunch of bright German fellows into coming up with the chrome tanning process, cost effective rubber, and all kinds of nifty things that jumpstarted the Kraut chemical industry, breaking what had been a near monopoly held by the French.

Also helping facilitate the First World War, but that's another story.

Anonymous said...

Uh Brad K ... Did I read that you want to depend on welfare leaches for your FOOD? I wouldn't depend on them to change the TV channel if the remote battery dies never mind coaxing something green and edible out of the ground.

Ed Foster said...

Brad K. and Anonymous, sadly, most of the long term welfare collecting people belong on welfare, nowhere else.

A kid with an I.Q. of 90 can, with extra help and effort, absorb about an 8th grade education.

A kid with an I.Q. of 75 can get perhaps a 5th grade education at best.

Half the kids in Harlem score less than 75 on a UNESCO Culture Fair test. You're looking at 8 and 10 year olds in adult bodies.

After selectively breeding for severe slow over several generations of welfare, the Honkeys aren't that much better. Your typical score on the same test among third and fourth generation Irish-American welfare recipients in public housing in South Boston is 92, 19 points below middleclass Micks a few miles away.

Quite simply, it's easy to destroy the intellect of a bright kid, but impossible to much improve that of a really challenged kid.

The generally accepted number on how much genetics has to do with a child's success is 80%, but that's 100% at a score of 60, and 60% at a score of 140.

What would you have us do with them? Farmers are considerably brighter than the majority of the population. Here in Connecticut, the rural towns generally do about as well intellectually as the Gold Coast towns down near the New York line, filled with stock brokers and big bucks executives.

Most welfare recipients are descended not from farmers, but from farm laborers, whose simple labor has been automated out of existence. There are only so many brooms to be pushed and crates to be lifted over a tailgate.

What I object to is the amount of money given to people on welfare. I know a pizza guy who has gotten rich by putting on extra help and running 24 hours a day on the first and fifteenth of each month, when 5 or 10 $15 pizzas can get delivered to a single apartment.

I would think a charge card and simple auditing might make more sense, with "encouragement" to stay unpregnant if they want to keep collecting.

It would take a few generations, but it would be a lot safer for the rest of us.

Slippery slope. Where do you draw the line when it gets to be time to start shifting people around?

Grayson said...


@ CGHill?
Sport-Utility divans? Do they come with a winch and a rifle rack?

@ ExubanKevin -
Are you by chance associated with some band that call themselves, 'The Hong Kong Cavaliers?' :)