TODAY FROM 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.”
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“THERE’S NO EXAMPLE IN EUROPE, YET, WHERE THE BOND MARKET HAS REWARDED AUSTERITY”
“When the effect somebody has is destructive enough the cause becomes a theoretical curiosity.”
Edward St.Aubyn, “Bad News”
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.
So that is what went on in Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.