Daily Archives: June 20, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Jo-Jo, 0001 (May 28, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

LOUIS I

From when I was about 8 years old and until I was in my early 20s I had a close friend named Louis (pronounced in the French manner Louie), Louis Maiello.

Where Winnie (Winston Churchill of “This and that…” a few weeks back) was destined for success based on name, ancestry, looks, capability, wealth and a host of other things, Louis definitely was not. It was not just the name and family background that separated them. Where Winnie was tall, athletic, manly looking and white, Louis was small, smaller than I was, skinny and pretty, almost effeminate looking with long eyelashes and coal-black eyes. He also definitely was not blessed with that chalky pink tinged alabaster complexion with throbbing blue veins that marked one as a member of the “white” race at that time. (The white race then usually being limited to Anglo-Germanic-Nordic ancestry. Celts had been recently admitted to the club and Slavs confused things. Jews were not really white. They were Jews, and along with southern Europeans, Turks, arabs and others had just began knocking at the door clamoring for membership.) Louie was that deep dark dusky color with a flash of gold buried deeply beneath the dirt that ranked us at the bottom of the racial hierarchy, along with blacks, Puerto Ricans and Sephardim (Mexicans were not an obsession at the time where I lived on the East coast).

As an aside: As a child the white pink, blue-veined people who lived in up scale suburbs of Westchester County, NY frightened me. Those blue veins throbbing beneath that dead looking white skin always made me think of zombies or vampires. I wonder if those nordic masters of the universe had or have now any idea of how ugly they appeared to many of us. Ironically the worst and most frightening of them was an Italian. He ran the Italian operation of one of my American clients I represented when I lived in Rome. He was a Colonna; a member of the Colonna family who along with the even older Orsini family had run Rome and the Papacy for 1200 years. My client was the first person from either family in those 1200 years to take a job. “Just like one of those upstart Colonnas,” an Orsini was rumored to have sniffed. Anyway, I guess as a side effect of a millennium of inbreeding, all color had left his face but a deathly pasty white pallor. Those ghastly throbbing blue veins remained. He resembles more a cadaver than something living. He was also one of the most despicable human beings I have ever met. That has something to do with breeding also I guess.

Anyway, Louis was not pre-destined for success. At 8 he was thrown out of his house by his sadistic father and forced to live on the streets or on the largess of relatives and friends. For some reason, many of the adults I knew would warn me to stay away from him because he was a bad influence. I did not understand that. He wasn’t mean or violent, in fact just the opposite. Not that he was a do-gooder or anything like that. He preferred leaving people alone, just as he preferred for them to leave him alone.

Nevertheless, many of the bigger boys would bully him mercilessly. He would not often fight back against the bullies, preferring the strategy of avoid and escape to confrontation.

Perhaps that is why we became friends. Although I always fought back and often lost, Louie, nevertheless was sort of a kindred spirit; befriending him probably filled my own need for acceptance. Not that I was ostracized and shunned like him, but I seemed to inhabit the fringes of my childhood social sets and pushing my way into their center required a greater commitment that I thought the rewards warranted.

Although he was pretty looking, he was not effeminate and was of all of us the one who had the earliest and most prolific sexual experiences. He was very successful at it and with that his reputation among the other neighborhood boys climbed a bit as he grew older. It was said of him, that Louie could get laid in a nunnery. I on the other hand, much to my chagrin, was truly a late bloomer.

Anyway, in our late teens, I went off to college and law school and Louie, as a lot of the dispossessed people from the East coast at that time did, decamped for California. He wanted to become and actor.

He returned a year or so later and moved into a basement flat in Greenwich Village; one of the ubiquitous flats of the type that covered NYC at that time; one room below the street, unwalled in toilet in the kitchen area, no hot water, exposed tub with a piece of plywood covering it that served for the dinning table and all the rats and cockroaches one could desire.

He was living with a woman who appeared stoned all the time. Actually I did not know what being stoned all the time ment or looked like since it was still a few years before the rise of hippiedom when we learned all about it. At that time, she seemed to me, seductive. That sort of dreamy look and half-smile that flitted across her face in response to anything I said and the uninhibited movements of her body I interpreted as erotic interest rather that drug induced lethargy. I spent one night at the apartment. Louie had gone to sleep. I thought for sure I would lose my virginity that night and out of nervousness I talked… and talked until she fell asleep and I had to wait another year or so for that highly anti-climatic event we experience only once in our lives.

Louie had succeeded in becoming a movie actor of sorts in Hollywood and had appeared in a movie. He told me about what he and others had to do to get a part in a movie in Hollywood; how he had to give blow jobs and more to the producers to get the part. While he was telling me this, I noticed that it was the only time I had ever seen Louie angry or ashamed. His eyes filmed over if fear, embarrassment or self-disgust I could not tell. Perhaps he was stoned also.

Nevertheless, I envied him. I had already given up my dreams for a life in theater, unwilling and perhaps frightened that I would be unable to do the things and suffer the humiliations required to even get a chance to perform.

The movie he appeared in was a biker flic that was Jack Nicholson’s first starring role. Louie played a skinny sex-crazed hanger-on. A role he was well suited for.

Anyway, after that I sadly lost touch with Louie. He had taken the stage name of James Oliver. I would periodically search the internet for some information about him, but without luck. I assumed that he must have died of AIDs or some other form of STD.

Last week I obsessed again about why so few people respond to my Facebook posts. Previously I assumed that the posts were simply boring, so I started sharing posts that others sent to me. I believed that if they received a lot of comments on their posts, by sharing with my other “friends” I would get a similar response. Alas, no. I thought there were only two reasons for this. The first I refused to contemplate and the second was that I had too few friends. So, I went searching for more friends. I decided to click on the village where I grew up, Tuckahoe, to see if I could find a few members of my old gang who I could, for old times sake, con into reading one or two of my posts.

I was both pleased and surprised to find, James Oliver alive and well living as a 70-year-old artist in Taos New Mexico. According to a news report accompanying his profile, he continued his “Hollywood” life style becoming one of John Lennon’s favorite carousing pals, and had actually made it into one or two of Lennon’s biographies.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Fakes:

In Thailand police report they have just raided a factory making fake Nescafe.

Isn’t that a little like busting a factory making fakes of fake works of art?

2. Immigration:

In Australia, a nation of 23 million people living in a country larger in area than the US (300 million people), a majority of the descendants of immigrants believe that the country is over-populated and that future immigration should be restricted more than it is now and that any of the select few immigrants allowed (generally rich people) should have to speak “Strain” (unless of course they are very rich).

The original aboriginal settlers on the continent agreed and encouraged the new immigrants leave also. The new immigrants, however, refused to move. “Where will we go,” they cried? “Back to England? We would have to learn the language.”

3. Fake Drugs:

It is being reported that fake malaria fighting drugs are flooding the market.

Conservative economists are expected to argue that increased regulation and policing of the pharmaceutical industry is unnecessary since the magic of the market will take care of the problem. Once the people are all dead from malaria, there would no longer be a market for the fake drugs.

In case you think I am exaggerating, it is only within the last two years that one of the leaders of the Friedman free market brand of economists, Alan Greenspan, acknowledged that perhaps an exception to their free market solves all position could be made for limited government involvement in matters affecting public health [but obviously not so much involvement as to include the insurance reform of Obamacare].

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

Wow! I used to think (thanks to the emails from my right thinking friends) only poor, blacks, Mexicans and illegal aliens were the lazy scammers off the largess of the nation’s taxpayers. Now I find out that the middle class American family is also. What is this country coming to? The next thing you know they also will be looking to the American taxpayer for help subsidizing their indolent lifestyles. Why is it that only the husband and wife have jobs? They should send their kids out to work also. Why is it that it seems the only Americans who are not shiftless bloodsuckers siphoning the economic life blood out of the rest of us are either wealthy or gay?

B. A big problem in America:

Two scary charts:

STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. We are not producing enough STEM workers to maintain the productivity and innovation necessary for the growth of our economy. The only source of STEM workers able to meet our needs is through immigration of both students and qualified workers. Why haven’t we done so? Because opposition by people like some of those who send me mass produced emails insisting on closing our borders, who probably could not get into a good STEM education program themselves, and their even less intelligent Republican cohorts in Congress (and yes it is the Republicans and Conservatives) will not rest until they have destroyed the nation and the economy leaving the detritus to be picked over by Wall Street Bankers, Oil company execs, red necks in pick-up trucks and fundamentalist preachers. Instead of closing off our borders, how about if we collect this bunch of haters of the country and ship them off to Australia.

Think about it for a moment: we now have studies that show these Faux News aficionados are even less knowledgable and intelligent than those who refuse to learn anything at all and that intelligence of elected officials appear to decrease as they become mere conservative.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

Pookie believes that yellow snow is one of the foundations upon which our nation was built. The Pilgrims during the winter peed in the snow. If it was good enough for them then, it is good enough for us now.

VOTE FOR POOKIE. HE PROMISES THAT IF ELECTED ALL OF YOU CAN GO PEE IN THE SNOW.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

The core competences of high finance are supposed to be (a) assessing risk, and (b) matching people with risks to be carried with people with the risk-bearing capacity to carry them.

Robert Waldmann has a different view:
Limits to Arbitrage Bites Again: I think their core competencies are (a) finding fools for counterparties and (b) evading regulations/disguising gambling as hedging.

Regulatory arbitrage, and persuading those who do not understand risks that they should bear them–those are not socially-valuable activities.”
DeLong

(Please see my post in Daily Kos containing my discussion about Krugman’s observation.)

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

I think this photograph is a fake. They claim the creature is called a “flying fox.” It appears that its wings are too small and its musculature too puny for it to be able to fly. Nevertheless, it is another one of those things that can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night screaming, along with say… nuclear catastrophe, out of control vaginas and President Santorum.

BONUS PHOTOGRAPH:

To make up for the prior photograph, we go from the unworldly to out of this world:

A photograph of the martian landscape.

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 7 Jo-Jo 0001 (May 23, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

After almost two weeks of trying I managed to get through to Hayden by phone. He seems to be doing well. On the other hand, the news is not so good from my children, grand children, siblings, parents, their past present and future significant others as well as their friends and mine.

The young children silently suffer holes blown in their vulnerable expectation of security, by those who, whether through inadvertence, negligence or intention, are responsible for their well-being and safety.

The teenagers, experiencing the horrid hurricane of adolescence roaring through those same holes stumble through their lives on the verge of self-destruction.

As for the adults, our successes or failures are not as much all our own fault as we often believe, the success or failures of our care givers, the sometimes unseen and often violent changing tides of society, those who bear us ill will, or intentionally or inadvertently cause us harm, all bear a share.

Yet, whether we succeed or fail depends, I believe, on how well we observe the proscriptions of, in my mind, America’s two greatest philosophers. Rosanna Rosanna Dana sagely opined, “It’s always something.” And, indeed it is. And, Scarlett O’Hara, sadly watching the manly back of the probably gay Rhett Butler disappear into the distance past the newly freed ex-slaves singing happily while plucking the sticky cotton balls from the resisting bushes, correctly observed, “Tomorrow is another day.” It certainly will be. The chances are better than even that the sun will rise in the morning and set in the afternoon.
_________________________
I am closing in on re-publishing these “This and that…” posts into my blog of the same name (Here) along with the appropriate entries from my journal and email correspondence. I am beginning to be as pleased the with the results as I am embarrassed by what they reveal about me; but I have mentioned that before.

I look at it as one of those things people devote extensive time and energy to for their own amusement; sort of like my father with his slide photographs, or Simon Rodia with his Watts towers or millions of other people. It is not so much a hobby as an avocation.

When I re-read the entries I am struck as much by what I have avoided as by what I have included. While, as expected of someone my age, I often go on about memories of childhood, but I make only slight mention of my time living in Italy or my hippy years in San Francisco; a lot about college but almost nothing about law school although that can be expected since I found law school to be a time of intellectual death.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Justice pays:

In the Philippines the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court whose salary is about $900 per month and who has no other known sources of income was impeached after it was discovered that he had secreted approximately 29 million dollars in various bank accounts over the past decade. The Justice claims that the number is grossly inflated. (Thank you Gary)

2. On the other hand sometimes Justice cannot be bought when it ought to be:

In Thailand the Constitutional Court has disqualified a legislator from serving in the legislature for violating the law requiring a legislator to vote in the election in which he is running, even though the legislator was in jail at the time and the court rejected his request that he be allowed to vote.

The Court defended its decision by pointing out, “The Law is the Law. He did not vote, so he could not serve.”

3.Legal Fees

The Legislature of South Africa is debating legislation that would lower legal fees in an attempt to make legal services more affordable.

They simply do not understand lawyers. Our stock in trade is figuring out how to make our fees without regard to law, morality or the interests of our clients.

4. Censorship must die:

The censorship on a character smoking a cigare...

The censorship on a character smoking a cigarette from One Piece in Thai TV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently the Thai censors banned a movie retelling of Macbeth called Shakespeare Must Die on the grounds that it was offensive since its subject matter was regicide. This prompted a columnist in The Bangkok Post, Roger Crutchley to point out that among the many attempts of censorship in Thailand that had gone awry, in 2003 the Thai ministry of culture decided to ban 18 songs on the grounds they were offensive. The ban including one song entitled Big Flabby Buttocks and another that had been around for about twenty years. The result of the ban was that the sales of all 18 songs including Big Flabby Buttocks skyrocketed.

My sense of having failed in life has been immeasurably increased by never having listened to a rendition of “Big Flabby Buttocks.” Perhaps I can find it on iTunes.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. 2012:

According to a new study by Fairleigh Dickinson University, Fox viewers are the least knowledgeable audience of any outlet, and they know even less about politics and current events than people who watch no news at all.

B. 2012:

Congress now speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did just seven years ago, with the most conservative members of Congress speaking on average at the lowest grade level, according to a new Sunlight Foundation analysis of the Congressional Record.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

But look at this chart closely; The Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary and Poland all have socialized medicine and their costs for medical care are significantly less than in the US. They go to the doctor more than we do. Yet, they still have a lower life expectancy than we do. That proves America has the best health care system in the world.

Also, in those dens of rampant socialism, the UK and Canada, some people have to wait in the doctor’s office for a while before the doctor sees them. I know that is true. I saw it on Fox News.

Also, in Mexico, that paragon of free enterprise, not only do they have the lowest costs for medical care but their life expectancy, despite the best efforts of the local drug lords, is increasing. The Mexican experience also indicates  superiority of the US medical delivery system since, according to some of my email correspondents, at least 98% percent of the Mexican population is in the process of illegally swimming across the Rio Grande so that they can pay up to 10 times more for health care in the US and will still pay more than they do in Mexico even if, as they all inevitably do, they fraudulently work their way on to the American welfare rolls.

B. E.L. Doctorow: “Primer on Unexceptionalism.”

PHASE FOUR

If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, decide that the police of any and all cities and towns and villages have the absolute authority to strip-search any person whom they, for whatever reason, put under arrest.

With this ruling, the reduction of America to unexceptionalism is complete.

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksban...

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2008 at a press conference at the Swedish Academy of Science in Stockholm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

C. Paul Krugman regarding the failure of Economics as a valid social science and of economists as advisors on public policy:

“Economics in the Crisis: The best you can say about economic policy in this slump is that we have for the most part avoided a full repeat of the Great Depression…. [A]ll of that, I think, can be attributed to the financial rescue of 2008-2009 and automatic stabilizers…. And I blame economists, who were incoherent in our hour of need. Far from contributing useful guidance, many members of my profession threw up dust, fostered confusion, and actually degraded the quality of the discussion. And this mattered. The political scientist Henry Farrell has carefully studied policy responses in the crisis, and has found that the near-consensus of economists that the banks must be rescued, and the semi-consensus in favor of stimulus in the initial months (mainly because the freshwater economists were caught by surprise, and took time to mobilize) was crucial in driving initial policy. The profession’s descent into uninformed quarreling undid all that, and left us where we are today.

And this is a terrible thing for those who want to think of economics as useful…. It’s in times of crisis, when practical experience suddenly proves useless and events are beyond anyone’s normal experience, that we need professors with their models to light the path forward. And when the moment came, we failed…”

Finally even Krugman acknowledges what I and many others have been suggesting:

On Economics as a Science:

In Science. a physical theory that is logically consistent may be considered truth only until falsified. In Economics, a sociological theory that is logically inconsistent is often considered true even when falsified.

On Supply and Demand:

There is no such things and supply and demand because they are both infinitely manipulatable.

Wherever you have supply meeting a demand you will have someone trying to make a profit by making it not so.

On Markets:

There is no such thing as a free market. There is always a transaction cost.

Those who manage the transactions ultimately make all the money.

A market is something that one goes into to buy groceries and usually has a prefix affixed to it like “super”. Everything else is a casino.

On Free Enterprise:

The goal of every business enterprise is not to maximize profit but to separate risk from reward.

The most important goal for any democratic government should be to avoid removing risk from enterprise. Yet it currently appears that the only function of government is to shield enterprise from risk.

On Scoundrels:

The last refuge of scoundrels is not patriotism but the claim that no one could see it coming.

Most wealthy individuals are scoundrels, only very few admit it and they usually are already in jail.

D. The Sky is Falling:

“It is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.

The NY Times liberals seek to destroy the American family of the 1950s, as symbolized by Ozzie and Harriet. The TV characters were happy, self-sufficient, autonomous, law-abiding, honorable, patriotic, hard-working, and otherwise embodied qualities that made America great. In other words, the show promoted values that NY Times liberals despise.

Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.”
The Eagle Forum Blog…

This was written in response to the New York Times report that for the first time births from non-european ancestry parents have exceeded those whose ancestry is european. Although I am concerned about the implicit racism of a news organization like the “Times” dividing up American children by the color of their skin and the absurdity of using the government’s classification system that among other things considers a spanish surname as a race, the far right never ceases to amaze me for the level of their sheer mendacity and ignorance.

Repeat after me: We are all descended from Immigrants. Children Born in this Country are not Immigrants, they are Citizens.

E. There is Something about a Penis:

I do not know why but recently there have been a spate of penis focused news stories. Perhaps it is a side effect of Global Warming or caused by the Republican Party’s obsession with it (I guess you can call it a fixation on the their Member’s members.) Anyway, here are three:

1. When writing about dicks one usually begins with the French:

There is a great bit of levity among Arab television news readers because the new French Prime Minister Ayrault’s name when pronounced sounds the same as the Arab word for penis.

I do not understand why Arabs consider this funny, after all President Nixon was quite proud to be a dick and most Americans did not find that a laughing matter.

2. No matter how slight, it is no laughing matter:

In Thailand a worker killed a worker with a machete after being taunted for having a small penis.

I think is was Darwin who pointed out that ones chances of surviving to breed are greatly diminished by disparaging the size of someone junk when that other person is carrying a machete.

3. And certainly dangerous to argue over:

In Sri Lanka, a man arguingwith his wife over whether or not she would give him money to buy booze had his penis bitten off by her.

I have a lot of questions about this item; among which is what sort of argument could it be where one of the parties has the other’s dick in his or her mouth? Or, how stupid do you have to be to allow someone during an argument to get his or her sharp teeth close to your member. I believe Darwin commented on this also.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

Pookie has had more wives than Newt but less that Mitt’s grandpa. Does this mean Pookie should quit the race now, or is it OK if he makes it up after he gets elected?

Pookie promises that he will be the first president to marry several times while living in the White House. Perhaps he could marry someone new every week. That would demonstrate his deep commitment to the institution of marriage.

Pookie says, if having one family is a good thing, obviously more is better.

Elect Pookie, he promises to have as many families as he can. He promises not to discriminate. His mates will include men, women and even Rick Santorum’s dog. The White House is the people’s house and also where the President lives. A good president should have as many Americans living there as possible.

Note: During the nomination proceedings, I have refrained from commenting much on Mitt Romney, instead I focused on the clowns and crazies that ran against him. In my opinion Mitt is not that bad; mendacious perhaps and often clueless, but he was not too bad a governor of Massachusetts. I do, however, believe that he has provided no evidence that he has the strength to resist the gathering storm of intolerance on the Republican right in an unholy alliance with the anti-democratic forces that have become increasingly prominent on Wall Street and in the natural resource industries, that will inevitably overwhelm the Party and drown out even the nation’s most conservative voices of reason.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“THERE’S NO EXAMPLE IN EUROPE, YET, WHERE THE BOND MARKET HAS REWARDED AUSTERITY”
JOE WIESENTHAL

“When the effect somebody has is destructive enough the cause becomes a theoretical curiosity.
Edward St.Aubyn, “Bad News”

TODAY’S CHART:

Ironically, I suspect most likely it will be the insurance industry that leads the charge against Climate Change denial. Conservative economists will then probably claim this as proof that free enterprise works, overlooking that the insurance companies will probably be looking to government to relieve them of the burdens and risks of underwriting catastrophic insurance. The private market will then lobby for a government take over, claiming that whatever market they are in will collapse unless they can acquire the appropriate insurance at what to them is an affordable [read government subsidized] cost.

The Republican Party will suddenly support a national insurance program to reduce corporate financial risk. Faux News will denounce as Un-American those liberals who object to taxpayer funds subsidizing corporations instead of insurance reform to provide the average citizen with health care. What will the Supreme Court do then? Scalia and Roberts will probably put forth the argument that only corporations are individuals for purposes of the Constitution and that the Commerce Clause was meant to help corporations and not to provide for regulation of commerce that benefits the now non-individual individuals.

TODAY’S SNARK:

So that is what went on in Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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