POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:
Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
1) 2011: 734 out of every 100,000 people are behind bars in the US — far and away the highest number in the world. Russia and South Africa are our nearest competitors.
Hooray for us! We’re number one.
2) 2011: for those interested in an analysis on who won and who lost in the “Debt Ceiling“ crisis resolution:
• GOP achieved a debt limit increase that requires almost dollar-for-dollar spending cuts ($2.4 trillion).
• Revenues aren’t part of the first step in the two-step process.
• Republicans get to keep up the appearance that they are fighting for a balanced budget amendment (but it won’t ultimately pass — the enforcement clause of the deal sees to that).
White House/Democrat Wins:
• Spending cuts ($2.4 trillion over 10 years) are a little more than half of what was originally on the table.
• Nearly 40% ($350 billion) of the initial $900 billion in cuts comes from the defense budget. The remaining $550 billion over 10 years results from caps on discretionary spending (not itemized cuts), so expect the President and Dems to fight to spread those losses out to places where they’ll have the least impact.
• Of primary importance to Obama’s base, all entitlement benefits and many programs for the poor are exempt from current cuts and the trigger cuts.
• The “triggers,” or fail-safe plans, heavily favor Democrats. If the bi-partisan commission fails to agree to a balanced plan — or Congress fails to pass a balanced plan — the Defense budget alone will take half the spending cuts ($600-750 billion). This trigger gives Democrats significant leverage.
• The process is gimmicky and allows Congress symbolic votes of disapproval, but essentially the agreement will raise the debt ceiling through 2012, one of Obama’s biggest sticking points — meant to settle financial markets and to avoid repeating this charade before the election.
• Did you notice that repealing the health insurance individual mandate – Boehner’s big last-minute sticking point — is no longer part of the deal? Don’t think that wasn’t a hard-won battle.
Apparently, as is usual in politics, all is not as it appears.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:
I usually find in my daily copy of the Bangkok Posta steady stream of
humorous anecdotes. Either my sense of amusement has deteriorated along with my mental faculties or the nation is holding its breath for some reason.
1) National Security: The General in charge of National Security Council stated in a recent speech: “In the past, national was all about military and defense affairs.” He continues, “…national security must be extended…[to]…people’s well being, human dignity, public harmony and national prestige.” He goes on to state that the monarchy is part of the country’s prestige and has come under attack from political players during the past few years, and “The public must return security to the institution.”
I take it from this comment, that it may be a not so subtle warning to the new government, that the military remains ready to undertake another coup under tguise of protecting the Monarchy, if they should attempt to do something that the military finds to be not in their interests.
2) Family Values: A recent column in the english language newspaper in Thailand points out that in the newly elected Thai legislature over 10% of the successful candidates have close relatives who were either also elected to the legislature or are high governmental officials. I would guess if one added relatives high in the national security forces the percentage could approach 100%.
For those who think the US is above this, if one would add family members who are members of congressional staffs, the nepotism in American politics is probably equivalent to Thailand’s.
3) Weird: In the Sunday magazine section of the Bangkok Post in was reported that a past Thai Prime Minister was Weird. No, not strange but actually Weird. Apparently when he was born, this individual’s father noticed that his ears were located entirely below the line of his eyes and exclaimed, “This is weird,” or something like that. In Thai culture, a childs father gives the child a first name (actually nickname) usually based upon some physical feature (e.g. Daeng (red) or Nok (bird)), so Weird it was. Anyway, Weird as he was fondly known grew up to become a general in the army and one of the leaders in the coup that forced Thailand’s change from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one. During WWII, Weird played footsie with the Japanese, hoping to ride on the coattails of their conquests. As the war was coming to a close and the Japanese did not look like winners, he was overthrown by a civilian led government.
This did not deter Weird, two years later he switched sides to become and ardent supporter of the Monarchy and with the generous assistance of his military cohorts, swept back into power.
Weird is noted for having introduced into Thailand such innovations as; having all Thai’s sing the National Anthem twice a day, and declaring Pad Thai the Thai national dish.
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
I have just returned from my brief visit to “Paradise by the Sea Two Miles from the Outskirts of Hell.” I went there to meet with Vittorio and his Thai wife Anita who were spending a few days of their Thailand holidays at the beach.
Since I have given up my apartment in Paradise by the Sea for a while, I settled for low-cost budget accommodations nearby in a place interestingly called “Low Cost Budget Hotel.” My room was small and windowless but had A/C and a separate fan, hot water and a surprisingly comfortable bed.
I took Vittorio to the BBQ at Kinneree or, for those of you who recall, to the Oval Table that was the meeting place of the Geriatric Knights. It was sausage BBQ day. Given that my current diet has been quite light on meat and the variety of sausages inviting, I managed to eat too many too quickly and gave myself a massive case of indigestion that, of course assumed was the onset of a heart attack. After stumbling around for a while, receiving neither sympathy nor assistance, I flopped down of one of the red sofa’s that rest in one of the darker corners of the place and awaited my demise.
Eventually one of the hostesses noticed my distress and brought me some cold towels for my head, loosened my belt and lightly massaged my aching tummy. As I began to feel slightly better, she suggested a far older cure that surprisingly worked quite well.
Later as the sun was setting, Vittorio and I walked the mile or so along the beach front between Kinneree and our respective hotels.
Fear strikes the ex-pat community: Recently, there have been a spate of stories in the Outskirts of Hell (and in Bangkok) of men being given knock-out drops by young ladies they meet and take to their hotel rooms or apartments. The next morning they wake up having lost everything of value they may have had that the lady could stuff on her person or in her purse. The police seem disinterested, viewing these complaints from aging white men in what I imagine is not so different from the way a cop in Arizona views a Mexican complaining of an immigration scam.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Delayed until it is determined if my ennui is terminal.
a. Eponymous laws:
Segal’s law — “A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”
Steven Segal doesn’t wear a watch. Is that is why see he beats people up and makes bad movies?
b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):
“The outsourcing of governmental services is the road to tyranny.”
c. Are Men Needed:
In my blog (See, Trenz Pruca’s Journal ) I have suggested that perhaps men are the source of much of the threat to our species survival (See also, Testosterone Chronicles below) and proposed that they should be reduced in number and replaced in all things by women. Science is now discovering that possibly nature also recognizes that women may no longer need men:
“According to researchers at Oxford University, hermaphroditism and self-mating among cottony cushion scales [Icerya purchasi] is leading to the disappearance of male members of the species.”
I guess if I had a “cottony cushion,” I’d try self-mating too.
According to NewScientist: “A battle of the sexes is also occurring among African bat bugs, which…, turn transsexual to avoid stabbing penises.”
Well, wouldn’t you?
d. From God’s Mouth to Your Ears:
Clarence Darrow once wrote:
“And Joshua; you remember about Joshua. He was a great general. Very righteous and he was killing a lot of people and he hadn’t quite finished the job and so he turned to the mountain top and said to the sun, “Stand still till I finish this job,” and it stood still.”
e. Testosterone Chronicles:
A study from Royal Society of Biological Sciences The Royal Society of Biological Sciences in Britain showed data that men who have children also have less testosterone in samples of their saliva than men who don’t have children.
They no longer can afford to.
“After all, what is your host’s purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they’d have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi. “
- Thailand wants 10,000 Chinese teachers (wantchinatimes.com)