Saturday, December 07, 2019

Democratic Socialism and Happiness. The Nordic Model?

A Current Affairs article provides lots of interesting graphs about democratic socialism and its possible relationship to being able to have a contended life.

I like the article quite a bit, but I would like to see what happens if the five Nordic countries (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland) are removed from the graphs. 

It looks to me like the positive correlation the graphs suggest might be much reduced if we did that.  And that, in turn, suggests that perhaps the Nordic type of democratic socialism has something the other types do not have, or at least not to the same extent.  More equality between men and women, say?

Or it could just be that a cold environment makes people's brains work better when it comes to creating fair societies.  (Just kidding).

Me And Orange Marmalade

My favorite breakfast is a slice of very sour and dark rye bread with Swiss cheese and orange marmalade.  And bucketfuls of strong coffee.

It's about the marmalade I wish to write.  I love orange marmalade, almost as much as I love chocolate, but orange marmalade does not love me.

Or perhaps it does?  You decide.  For some weird reason it doesn't matter how careful I am in spreading it on the bread or how carefully I place a very thin sliver of cheese over it, to cover it completely, or how carefully I put the knife I used away.  Whatever I do, there will be orange marmalade all over my fingers up my arms, behind my ear, and, once, even in the back of my head, stuck to the hair.

If I take my breakfast back to bed I have to launder the marmalade-covered pillow-cases and often the sheets, too.

What causes this to happen?  I suspect a revenge from Zeus, because no other sticky food makes me lose all the nimbleness of my fingers, no other edible item ends up all around the outside of my coffee mug, and no other condiment ends up all over my body.  Or I might be hexed.

I once spent a night at a hotel in southern Illinois where the skies are enormous and the earth flat and where hotels seem to never have heard about orange marmalade.  Realizing that it isn't available everywhere, like oxygen, made me feel deflated and weird, as if some major physical law of the world had been disproved.  Coming home to my pot of marmalade meant relief and a return to normalcy.


This post will be archived under "stupid rubbish to get my writing going."


Thursday, December 05, 2019

Short Posts 12/5/19. On Gender Gap in Wages, Trump's Hurt Fee-Fees, US Health Care Costs Etc.

1.  I was doing housecleaning on the blog and found a  post from last spring about how to interpret the gender gap in wages (between men and women, that is).  It's a pretty good one for clarifying how to interpret the gross gap (or how not to interpret it).

2.  What the fuck is this organization?

3.  Our Supreme Leader is very thin-skinned, because he is a narcissist (see narcissistic rage), not because he feels as if the truly elite circles won't admit him.  This article argues the latter.   It's not completely wrong, of course, because the narcissistic personality disorder might be caused by a person's early life experiences.  But most mature individuals don't huff and puff and flounce off when their feelings are hurt, only to express their displeasure on Twitter. 

4.  I find writing almost impossible right now.  My apologies for disappointing anyone in that way.

5.  This video shows some British reactions to US medical care prices.  I should write more about the reasons why the US prices are so high, though I have done it many times in the past.


Monday, December 02, 2019

Post-Thanksgiving Echidne Musings

1.  I find it tough to write much in this Age Of Unreason.  What's the point of trying to dig up facts and logical arguments when they never grow any kind of wings or learn to fly, poor modest sparrows?  Everybody prefers watching the vultures eat roadkill or listening to the gaudy peacock scream out its rage.

(This means that I think I'm logical, rational, cool and collected, and that most of the online world has gone berserk.  Your opinion may differ.)

2.  Do this thought experiment:  Turkeys rule the world and humans are regarded as one of the "other animals."  They are of two types, the wild ones (which look like us), and the ones in cages.  The latter are artificially bred so that they are very very fat and extremely stupid.

Every year the turkey-world Thanksgiving television shows nattily dressed male turkeys mercifully pardoning one fat human from the oven.  Other turkeys can even vote for the one they would like to see live.

(This means that I have a very radical and fanatic streak, having to do with animal rights.)

3.  My take on the world is frequently too gloomy and bitter.  To sweeten that a little,  I want to give thanks that Sudan has now repealed the law which the earlier government put in place in 1992 and which, among other things,  severely limited women's dress and behavior*.  Those severe limitations were intended, of course.  And that's why the repeal of the law is both a good thing in itself and perhaps a sign of a change in cultural mores.

4.  Belated Thanksgiving wishes to you all.  I am thankful for my compassionate, intelligent and charming readers.


* A short overview of the effects of the repealed law:

The Law includes articles from chapter 15 of the Sudan Criminal Code, that criminalise certain personal behaviours such as indecent clothing, drinking of alcohol, offensive acts and seduction, among others.
Moreover, the Law covers a wide jurisdiction that includes the gathering of women and men in certain places, the use of public transportation, conditions of ‘good conduct’ for women workers, the use of loudspeakers, music concerts, and the opening hours of restaurants and shops.
Repressive tool’
The articles and provisions of the Law are specifically formulated in vague language, to give the police and the courts a free hand in its implementation, the SDFG says. The Law also gave the Public Order Police the powers of intrusion in private domains to enforce its articles.
Article 152 of the Criminal Code, on indecent clothing, is a good example of the vague definitions in the Law. The article does not set a concise definition of what constitutes ‘indecent clothing’. Thus, the application of this Article depends on the personal judgement of the arresting police officer.
In addition to this, it has led to misuse of the law by Public Order Police officers. There are numerous cases where detained women were financially, physically, and even sexually abused by policemen in exchange for their release.
These practices turn the Law into a repressive tool to enforce a particular behaviour and image of the society, the SDFG report reads.
The Public Order Law promotes discrimination against women with most of its articles focusing on their activities. The application of these articles systematically targets the presence of women in the public sphere in an attempt to limit their mobility and social activities.