TODAY FROM THAILAND:
At last the remnant of whatever virus inhabited my lungs has dissipated leaving me free to get on with my normal and rather pedestrian days. I have begun swimming again. The water in the hotel pool, I am pleased to report has been at that perfect temperature for me, not too cold as to be chilling nor too warm to be enervating.
I recently, I had a few drinks with my friend David, often referred to as the Good David or the bad David depending upon how SWAC feels about him at the time. He has left for the US for some medical tests. I wish him well. David along with Cordt, Gary and the Little Masseuse make my time here in Thailand tolerable.
Songkran, the Thai Spring festival of water begins today and continues for a week. It is a time when Thais splash water of one another as a sign of good luck. It has become the tourists favorite festival. As much as I love the Thai Autumn festival of lights, I hate Songkran. While to most Thais it is a time to rejoice in the cleansing power of water, to the farang (western tourist) it has become a blood sport in which to revel in the shock and humiliation of a sneak attack on the unwary with a high power water gun.
Yesterday I received the distressingly sad news that Stevie Dall’s daughter Cynthia died suddenly. About 10 years ago Cindy was an up and coming pop music star. My heart goes out to Stevie and Norbert and the rest of the Dall family.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
1. US Election 2012: I guess the 2012 US national election will present the voter with a clear choice between the “Nanny” State and the “Daddy” State.
2. Fair is Fair: A Republican State Senator, head of that State Legislature’s budget committee who receives over $600 per month disability payment himself, has proposed denying state disability payments to others because unlike himself who has a legitimate disability, everyone else receiving disability payments are drunkards and lay-a-bouts.
3. A Cautionary Tale: “The National Review“ one of America’s leading magazines for conservative intellectuals has recently published an article advising white people to avoid places where there are a lot of black people. In response to the outcry that followed the publication, the magazine fired the writer.
Why is it among conservatives that when something gets screwed up they always fire the worker? Does anyone believe that the writer would have written the article if he did not believe the editor and the publisher would approve it for inclusion in the magazine? In China when something goes wrong in an organization they often execute the managers. In Japan the executives accept blame and are fired.
Don’t you think we could use that here? You know, when bankers are discovered to have made a stupid decision affecting their company or collectively the economy, instead of firing some workers in a fit of belt-tightening and rewarding themselves with bonuses, shouldn’t they be fired instead? It would probably save the bank and the country more money in the long run.
4. Stand Your Ground: Under Florida “Stand Your Ground” law, would a black person dressed in a “hoodie” carrying a concealed weapon be justified in shooting any white person he encounters on the grounds he was in fear for his life?
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES, THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Still in transition.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:
1. Hooray we’re number one!
What’s interesting about this chart is that most of these American prisoners are in the pen for violating our “substance abuse laws”(see below). While in the pen they are supported by our tax money (see below) instead of working and paying taxes.
Even though crime rates have decreased by over 25% over the past decade, our prison population continues to increase (note: this trend appears to parallel the increasing “privatization” of our penal system). 68 billion dollars was spent on corrections in the US in 2006. Over 50% of America’s prison population was jailed for non-violent crime; overwhelmingly for marijuana and similar laws. Do either the Republican or Administration budget proposals suggest that some savings here may be appropriate?
2. Notice a trend here?
The United States incarcerates more of its youth than any other country in the world. In the sixteen southern states incarceration of persons 55 years or older increased by 145% (see below and above) from 1997 through 2007 while the national prison population increased by only 8%. Most Departments of Correction report spending more than 10 percent of the annual budget on elderly care.
1. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
How about a little balance:
While surfing through the web recently I came upon an item about the old Stanhope Hotel located across the street from the Museum of Art in New York City. About 20 years or so ago it had just been converted from a hotel to a hotel which one could buy their suites as an early condo-hotel. I looked into purchasing a suite as a future retirement home there for a while. At that time they were available for about $1.2 million. Simple laziness resulted in my failure to follow-up on my interest. Today the article mentioned that the last of those suites sold recently for $30 million.
4. Pookie’s periodic public service:
Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
It looks like the lawyers, lobbyists and consultants are doing ok during this recession. We can all be thankful for that. Think of how bad things would have been had they done as poorly as their clients.
Admit it, with those ears there is an uncanny resemblance to Spock.