1548 – The Hispaniolan Edible Rat becomes extinct.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:
It appears as though the current government remains well positioned to retain a controlling majority in the national elections now scheduled for sometime in late June or early July. Should they falter between now and then, look for first a manufactured crisis and if that fails, military intervention. Unless the military can engineer a compromise with the opposition, they have no real option but to act. They have too much at stake (budgets and careers).
(Which reminds me, why do we have both a Department of Defense and a Department of Homeland Security? Isn’t it the job of the Defense Department to protect the Homeland? Perhaps it no longer should be called the Department of Defense but the Department of Foreign Military Adventures instead.)
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
a. Speaking of rats (see today’s factoid above):
The kitchen of our Bangkok apartment is infested by rats (the non-edible kind) that at night after the lights are out gaily scamper about the room. Recently the maid put out an anti-rodent device that consists basically of a plastic sheet covered with a glue type substance that traps the rat unlucky enough to step on it and results in what appears to be a cruel and painful death of the creature.
My feelings about the Rodentia situation in my apartment are somewhat ambiguous. I feel neither fear, sympathy or disgust for the circumstances of either the infestation or the rodenticide. It is more like the feeling one has when one seeks to avoid meeting with someone one prefers not to meet, on the one hand one feels a little bit cowardly skulking away while on the other-hand one also is generally aware that forcing a meeting through some misplaced moral sense is probably as stupid a thing to do as can be imagined.
This ambivalence about rats I find strange given my history with the species. Growing up in New York I generally fell asleep with the sounds of rats scurrying through the walls. As a child, I was never able to settle on whether these sounds in the walls by my bed frightened me or comforted me.
When I was about Hayden’s age my family was homeless for a while. Ultimately we found an empty store that we moved into and soaped up the glass front for privacy. There was neither heat nor hot water and at night the large Norwegian roof rats would enter the room through the spaces between walls and ceilings of the store and the various pipes and plumbing servicing the residential apartments above and the grocery store next door.
Every night my mother would remain awake armed with a knife to chase away the rats while my brother and I slept. One evening while so armed and on guard she fell asleep sitting beside the kitchen table. She was suddenly jolted awaken by the sound of the rats scrabbling to get into a cake box on the table. The rats startled by her movement, leaped onto her face and head as it was the highest point in the room between the floor and the exposed pipes available to them to make their escape. She fell to the floor in an epileptic seizure beginning a 10 year period of seizures and hospitalizations.
After her being taken away in an ambulance that night, I spent the next four years living with various relatives and strangers who took me in but mostly with my grandparents. I never knew where my brother lived during this time.
After a few years and hospitalizations we began living together again but her periodic fits continued until I was about 17 years old and in a surprise to everyone mom became pregnant again with my sister and the seizures stopped. She considered both the pregnancy and the curing of the epilepsy a miracle. I was not so sure.
b. Mopey’s melodrama:
Today SWAC made it clear that she intended to withdraw Hayden from school following the completion of this semester on April 5 and return to the US at the end of April. As far as I can tell no accommodation for his continued schooling has been made.
This news will probably alter my travel schedule. Since the boy will not be continuing his education at his current school after this semester, the reason for me to travel to the US during the semester break no longer exists. I may very well wait until he leaves at the end of April and travel back to the States then for my medical treatment instead of returning in July a second time as I had planned.
Although it will be sad for me to see him leave, the burden of child rearing has become a heavy and thankless one for me under the circumstances. And, while I remain concerned for his welfare, my own experience has taught me that to the child, as long as he or she is free from privation, assault and fear, all else probably appears normal life. He has already learned at least one important survival tactic, that of appealing serially to the various authority figures that crowd into his life until he finds the one that will give him what he wants. What may have been, has little impact on anyones life other than the diminishing disability of regret.
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Delayed while in search for a metaphorical rodent character to enhance the plot.
The recent collapse of the world economy and the attempts to save it has highlighted the role played in society by classical economics and economists. Not since the middle ages has a belief system and its episcopate so dominated secular society as classical economics and economists has these past 30 or so years. So what is wrong with that, you may ask?
Here are some of the whats wrong with it (Can you think of more?):
1. Despite every attempt to demonstrate its kinship to science there is no natural or scientific law that requires that it be set up as it has been.
2. It is a system set up by men to benefit men and based upon the evolutionary directives of their sex.
3. It assumes human behavior is deterministic and minimizes the unpleasant fact that people can and do choose and agree to live and act in ways inconsistent with its theology.
4. It was developed in an attempt to explain certain international transactions and the actions of a few men in coffee houses in sixteenth century England. It failed to establish any significant predictive value for those transactions then and it fails to do so now for contemporary transactions.
5. It has for the most part been immune to the advances of science, biology, sociology and psychology that have occurred over the past 400 years.
6. It relies on classifications of people and activities that at best are illustrative of certain past events and at worst worthless.
7. It claims, like a religion, that it can explain most significant political, commercial and mass behavioral activities while it steadfastly ignores other explanations and analyses for the same phenomena.
8. It refuses to recognize that is has a fundamental conflict of interest at its core in that its episcopate, the economists, generally are employees and agents of the system that rewards them and that they then claim they have the ability to describe and analyze withoug bias.
9. It has at best become neither a hard science nor a social science but a lobby for itself and its employers.
10. It has polluted the system by which we govern ourselves by claiming expertise where it is lacking.
11. It assumes that because its practitioners can articulate what may have happened in the past they are better suited to guess what will occur in the future than anyone else with access to the same information.
12. It steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that expertise in describing past transactions does not qualify one for advising on or administering anything.
In short classical economics is treated today as a religion and its practitioners, the economists, as priests. In order to deal with the current crisis we should add economists to Shakespeare’s famous quote about lawyers.
“The dichotomy between personal liberties and property rights is a false one. Property does not have rights. People have rights.”<em