Daily Archives: July 10, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 12, 2011

“Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that its citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom to those without wealth, income or power?”

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Parody is impossible, another example: Recently, in my campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, I made a proposal so outlandish that I believed it would beggar credulity; that if elected I would sell off everything government owns, including the White House, Air Force One and the Pentagon. Alas, I discovered that earlier this year, Rick Perry as Governor of Texas promoted and signed into law legislation that would allow all Texas State public buildings, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, ports, mass transit projects, telecommunications, etc., to be sold off to corporations. Even more incredible, the law allows the prospective purchasers to borrow the money from the state who then will guarantee the loans. According to Matt Tiabbi in a Rolling Stoned article, “…a foreign company theoretically could borrow money from Texas taxpayers to buy the taxpayer’s own state property at a discount.”

Rick Perry, the people’s hero and one of God’s elect.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

ARGENTINA: In 2001 Argentina’s economy collapsed. Since then, under the presidential administrations of the late Nestor Kirchner and his wife Christina Fernandez, the country has grown faster than any other nation on earth except for China and India, while increasing pensions, child welfare and the minimum wage by 25% and creating a fund for early support for pregnant woman (Something the anti-abortion crusaders in the US eschew). The wealth gap between the top 5% and the lowest 5% has been halved, while in the US it has more than doubled.

They renationalized the pension funds that had been privatized in response to pressure from the World Bank and the IMF to do so. The private funds forced the Argentine taxpayers to foot 60% of the payouts while the private funds took their profits out of the country hastening the 2001 default.*

Finally, it has told Foreign banks that they will accept no conditions, such as the austerity measures imposed on Greece. Instead, against advice of the banks and financial institutions, they used the reserves of the Argentine central bank to pay off foreign loans and reduce the national debt.

It has done all this while building up near record foreign reserves of 48 billion USD. And, they did this all without having political control of the national legislature.

*By the way, the single worst thing that can be done to control escalating public costs for entitlements such as Social Security is to privatize it. Not only do the costs not diminish, but now they add to those costs their profits as well.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

1. Solar in California: Installed solar in California now exceeds that of all other nations in the world except, Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy and the Czech Republic. Hooray for us.

Among the reason for this milestone is that China, taking advantage of generous local subsidies as well as free trade and lower labor and environmental costs has been able to reduce costs of solar equipment enough to make it affordable for Californians while driving the local indigenous solar equipment businesses, out of business. Soon enough however the ordinary Californian, shortly to become unemployed, will no longer be able to afford to solarize their houses, but the average Chinese will. The CEO of a Chinese solar company predicted that in about a decade there will be only about 5 huge solar energy companies and that they will all be Chinese.

Free trade without equalization mechanisms for labor and environmental protections is perhaps the most treasonous act perpetrated by Wall Street on America. Pookie, Pookie, Pookie, lighten up.

2. Thailand:

“Surreal conversation with a traffic cop in Bangkok:
Me: What about the traffic jam behind you?
Cop: What about it?
Me: It’s almost 1 km long!
Cop: Let me finish my drink first.”
Voicu Mihnea Simandan

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I decided to return to the Bay Area by train, “The Coast Starlight,” a trip I have always wanted to make. So I boarded the train at about 10:30 in the morning and, alternating between my seat and the observation car, watched the coast of central California slip by. It was a good chance to spend some time contemplating what I had spent so much of my time worrying about a few decades ago.

I tried to locate projects I approved or denied, entitled or failed to do and those I built or restored during my almost 30 year involvement with the California coast. Alas the route of the train took me past very few of them. We did however travel through the area around Vandenberg AFB that was one of the few places along the 1500 mile or so coastline I had not visited. For those of you not familiar with California Vandenberg in the location of the American space programs west coast operation. While Cape Canaveral in Florida is run by NASA the civilian space agency, Vandenberg is strictly military and very hush-hush.

I arrived in SF at about 9PM thoroughly refreshed after an enjoyable relaxing and relatively inexpensive trip. In the future, I hope to travel about the country by train, but I intend to avoid eating in the dining car. I decided to have dinner in the dining car in hopes of enjoying a good meal and meeting interesting people. I was seated at a table with a man and a woman of my approximate age. Our conversation consisted of little more than, “Pass the salt, please,” and the like. I ordered steak since the rest of the menu appeared unappealing to me. The meat was not too bad, but they did to the vegetables what I had only seen done to vegetables during my travels in England.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.)

Meg continued, “I would like to know if you have remember anything else about your last conversation with Stephanie Coign?”

“No, I don’t,” he replied curtly, then added, “If I may ask, why are you taking so much interest in this? After all it is only an accident or at worse suicide, don;t you think?”

“I am just trying to cover all the bases for the report I have to file in cases like this.” Then she stopped, looked down at the floor for a moment as though she was thinking something through. Then looked up directly at Vince, her eyes filling with tears.

“No, that;s not true Mr. Biondi. I knew Stephanie, well. I cannot accept that she killed herself or accidentally drove off that cliff. Do not ask me why, I won’t tell you.”

Vince, surprised at this confession, tumbled into confusion, as more often than he liked to admit he did whenever conflicting emotions engulfed him; which was almost always and almost always left him wallowing in indecision. He immediately felt both guilt and compassion. Guilt because only moments ago he vacillated between dislike of this woman and the rawest sexual fantasies. Compassion, because of the tears in her eyes and whatever lingering fantasies remained. He realized that here was something with which he could further stir the witches brew he was thoughtlessly concocting. Uncharacteristically, he made a decision. He decided to confide in her, perhaps find an ally, even a lover (God was he horny) whatever. So he unloaded on her what he knew of Red Star, The Brethren, Sam’s death and Stephanie’s distress. He held back anything about Sam’s secret room, Russell and Isabella, Charlie and any mention of his plan and her role in it.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation” (The Thai version of the Onion):

Classified ads:

FOUND:
Three-meter Mekong crocodile in my living room. Owner please claim ASAP. Looks hungry. Contact NakonSawan555@hotmail.

FOR SALE:
“Riverside” property in Lat Krabang. No road access but great views of Suvarnabhumi Airport. Ask for Lek@Rangsit evacuation center.

WANTED:
Totalitarian Chinese-style government that actually builds long-term flood solutions. Screw democracy.

b. Real Headlines and Ads (From the US):

CLASSIFIED:
“PRESIDENT EISEN HOWARD 1971 PROOF DOLLARS, SET OF FIVE, IN ORIGINAL CASES AS SHIPPED, $8 EACH COIN.”

CLASSIFIED:
“Air Traffic Controller. No Exp. Needed”

CLASSIFIED:
AVOID THE “SUMMER SLIDE” Learning Specialist Available for SUMMER TUTERING/Licensed Certified Teacher 20 yearexperience/MATH/READING/WRIGHTING/Call Ms. Simon”

BOOK AD:
(THE BOOK IS CALLED “GAMECHANGER” AND THEY HAVE A BIG ENDORSEMENT AT THE TOP; ON COVER:) “LOOKS LIKE A GREAT READ!” –GEORGE W. BUSH

HEADLINE:
MISSIPPI’S LITERACY PROGRAM SHOWS IMPROVEMENT”

c. What the Occupy protesters really want:

1. “Wall Street owns the country…Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us…Money rules.”
Mary Elizabeth Lease in 1890.

2. “John Boehner calls on the bankers, holds out his cup, and offers them total obeisance from the House majority if only they fill it.

That’s now the norm, and they get away with it. GOP once again means Guardians of Privilege.

Barack Obama criticizes bankers as “fat cats,” then invites them to dine at a pricey New York restaurant where the tasting menu runs to $195 a person.

That’s now the norm, and they get away with it. The President has raised more money from banks, hedge funds, and private equity managers than any Republican candidate, including Mitt Romney. Inch by inch he has conceded ground to them while espousing populist rhetoric that his very actions betray.

Let’s name this for what it is: hypocrisy made worse, the further perversion of democracy.

Democratic deviancy defined further downward. Our politicians are little more than money launderers in the trafficking of power and policy — fewer than six degrees of separation from the spirit and tactics of Tony Soprano.”
Bill Moyers, America’s last true patriot.

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (The New American Lexicon):

From Frank Luntz Republican Party consultant in a memorandum to Party leaders and regulars:

After 500 years of western society’s struggle to eliminate the dead hand of unlimited inherited wealth tying up societies resources in the hands of unproductive heirs, do you really think that your sudden aversion to taxes on wealthy estates of over several million dollars (only the top 1% again) was something you thought of on your own because you thought it was only fair, especially if one day you became rich yourself?

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

In a study published by the journal Psychology, Crime and Law, Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon tested 39 senior managers and chief executives from leading British businesses. They compared the results to the same tests on patients at Broadmoor special hospital, where people who have been convicted of serious crimes are incarcerated. On certain indicators of psychopathy, the bosses’s scores either matched or exceeded those of the patients. In fact, on these criteria, they beat even the subset of patients who had been diagnosed with psychopathic personality disorders.

This is not a joke.

TODAY’S QUOTE:
“Sex is a big step on the way to happiness and joy. There is nothing wrong with it if it is followed with faithfulness and decency!”
Bonita Let-Let

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH II:

Photograph of the California Coast in its late afternoon autumn colors near Vandenberg AFB taken from the train.

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 9 2011

“But as it is, men have devised ways to impoverish themselves and one another; and prefer collective animosities to individual happiness.”
John Maynard Keynes: The Economic Consequences of the Peace
POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that its citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end, what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom to those without wealth, income or power?

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

8th Century AD: David of Sasun or David of Sassoun is an Armenian epic hero appearing in the Armenian epic tales, the Daredevils of Sassoun, who drove Arab invaders out of Armenia. (Lina’s family name Davidian is taken from the name of the hero.)

The “Daredevils of Sassoun” is also the name of an Armenian biker gang riding out of Fresno.

August 11, 2492, BC: At Dyutsaznamart ( “Battle of Giants”), near Julamerk southeast of Lake Van, Hayk, the father of the Armenian nation, slew the giant Bel with a nearly impossible shot using a long bow, sending the invading king Bel’s forces into disarray and thus founding the nation of Armenia.

(Image unavailable at this time).

To paraphrase Calvin ofCalvin and Hobbs,” “How do these soldiers killing each other solve any problems whatsoever?” The fight appears basically over whether Bel would take David’s sheep and camels and a few of his women who were probably considered by David and his brethren of even less value than the animals.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

Density of High-speed railway network in Europ...

Density of High-speed railway network in Europe (speed ≥ 250 Km/h). Km per million inhabitants (as of 2010). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A. High Speed Rail: Today the LA times editorialized in favor of High Speed Rail in spite of the tripling of its estimated costs and 13 year delay in its completion date. During my tenure as Chairman of the High Speed Rail Authority, from about 2002 through 2005, I repeatedly warned that the estimated costs in the projections at the time were dependent upon project implementation commencing on the planned dates. Unless they did so then the estimated costs would escalate rapidly, as they have. Each year’s delay raises costs substantially as it does in all infrastructure investments whether or not they are HSR, the building of bridges or new freeway lanes.

Nevertheless, I maintained then as now that the establishment of a realistic high-speed rail system was the single most significant thing that California could do by itself to stave off the looming economic (jobs) and environmental disaster that even in 2003 I believed we were inevitably plunging into. Here’s why:

1. High speed rail is the least expensive means to provide mid-length transportation in California. The cost of new freeways to carry the same number of people greatly exceeds that of High Speed Rail.
2. Unlike freeways, the capacity of High Speed Rail is greatly expandable by simply adding more cars to each train or increasing the number of trains, over the four per hour projected. On the other hand, a freeway lane once at capacity can take no more automobiles leaving the only options to be forcing people to increase occupancy of each vehicle or building additional prohibitively expensive lanes.
3. The rebuilding of degraded infrastructure or even the building of increased road capacity increases jobs, but not economic growth (New technologies, new factories and the like) to the extent to which HSR has been demonstrated to have done in every place it has been tried.
4. Carbon pollution into the atmosphere has been shown to be substantially reduced by HSR carbon irrespective of the electric generation source used. In Japan this was enough for that country to meet its Kyoto treaty obligations. And, these are real reductions not merely moving the emissions around to other aspects of the production chain, such as to some extent is the case with nuclear energy.
5. The only realistic mechanism for restoring deteriorating city centers (and reduce local and regional car trips) is by creating viable transit centers there with HSR stations as its hub. ( I made sure California’s HSR plan included this in its design, resisting intense pressure by many urging us to avoid city centers on cost and political grounds.)
6. California lacks a transportation backbone system that ties local, regional and long distance transportation. HSR is the only transportation system in the world that can provide this today.
7. HSR construction and operation has provided a substantial increment to GDP in every country where the trains operate.

B. Impeach Obama:

According to the Washington Post, Wall Street firms — either independent companies or the high-flying trading arms of banks — are doing even better. According to industry data, they’ve made more profit in the first 2 1/2 years of the Obama administration than they did during the entire Bush administration.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN LOS ANGELES:

My last night in little Armenia, we planned to go to a gallery opening in Hollywood, featuring the artist who attended the Day of the Dead party a few nights ago. Our ride never showed up, so I went to bed.

The next day, I returned to Torrence by bus. Angelenos do not recognize what a great bus system they have. It took only two buses and less than two hours to travel almost entirely across the basin (It takes over an hour of highly frustrating driving to make the same trip by automobile).

I met with Monty and Frank Gatto who had flown in from Florida for a visit. We drove to Los Alamitos Racetrack to watch the Breeders cup from the Jockey club there. We met up with David Nelson. Over a decade or so ago the 4 of us first met on a trip to Costa Rica, so this was a reunion of sorts.

On that trip, I invested in the purchase of a waterfront hotel site. Of my many investments in my life this was one of the few in which I did not lose money; didn’t make any either, however.

As I observed my companions hunched over their racing forms, I could not help but picture us as aging Damon Runyon characters, lacking only an east coast venue and appropriate nick-names; so, since I could not alter the venue, I decided to give the nick-names a try.

I of course have grown up into my 70’s only to have been saddled with an infant’s name, Pookie. Since I preferred it to my childhood nick-name, I decided to stand with that.

Monty as you know was a professional boxer in his youth. Although I have no knowledge if he fought under a moniker, I felt, if he had, it could have been something like “Kid” or “Irish” or something like that. Although he is 77 years old, I like “Kid Irish” best, so “Kid Irish” he became.

Frank’s last name is Gatto which means “Cat” in Italian. I sometimes used to call him Gattaeu which means something like “Cake” in French. I guess “Cat” is better.

Finally there is David Nelson, he could be called many things, “Smooth” or “Deal,” but usually people with the name Nelson are referred to as “Nellie,” so “Nellie” it is.

So, Nellie, Kid Irish, The Cat and Pookie were at the track steadily losing what little money they had. Then Cat said to Pookie, lets each give twenty bucks to Kid Irish to bet since he is the best handicapper among us and if he wins we use our winnings to buy ourselves a good dinner somewhere. And so we did. And we won and had a very good dinner.

The next day I watched the Niners game at a local sports bar (Niners beat the Redskins 19-11). After the game Frank and I drove up to Marina del Rey where we met Greg for lunch then returned to downtown Torrence, picked up Monty and drove to David’s condo in Long Beach for a BBQ after which we watched a video Monty wanted us to see featuring Robert Crawford singing his favorite songs from Phantom of the Opera. Frank and I soon dozed off.

Later back at the hotel we watched one of the all time great movies, “A Face in the Crowd,” starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau. Part of the way through the movie, it dawned on me that what I really was watching was the biography of Russ Limbaugh. We then viewed “High Society” (Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Louis Armstrong), one of my all time favorites.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.):

Meg entered the office. Vincent couldn’t help but notice that she appeared poured into her uniform like the plaster of paris as a kid he poured into rubber molds to produce tiny busts of the presidents or the like. He always found the slick shiny insides of the molds, just before he poured in the viscous white plaster unguent, strangely seductive. Her uniform reminded him more of the almost sensuous tight-fitting outfits worn by the Thai police than the more sartorially casual rumpled look preferred by American police. Her breasts, muscular legs and rump pulled at the fabric until it appeared ready to rip away releasing the body trapped within, exposing it to split apart and fall in quivering lumps on to the floor. Her blouse, not buttoned up all the way as it had been the last time they met, now showed significant cleavage like tulips wrapped in khaki. Okay, he though to himself, I admit I am horny, but this is a bit over the top even for me.

He stood walked around his desk, shook her hand, motioned for her to sit and said as he returned to his chair, “What can I do for you Sheriff?” Try as he might he could not prevent his eyes from drifting down to the struggle of her breasts to escape confinement.

She smiled at this obviously very male preoccupation that she was used to and encouraged. It was a smile that quickly morphed from an attempt at coyness, into what to Vince seemed wolfish, as though he was to be the main course planned for this evenings dinner.

“I apologize, Mr Biondi, for the short notice and I won’t take up much of your time. I realize you must be quite busy managing something as large as this law firm.”

Vince, disgusted with this opening gambit that only added to his annoyance and impatience, simply stared at her and waited for her to go on.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation” (the Thai version of the Onion):

AYUTTYA – The worst-in-decades flooding that has paralyzed the kingdom and damaged its economic outlook threatens to unleash a second wave of catastrophe as thousands of exploitative celebrities descend on already flood-stricken zones.

b. Real Headlines and Ads (in the US):


HEADLINE:
“DOCTORS: NEW EXECUTION DRUG RISKY TO INMATE”

HEADLINE:
“POLICE CAPTURE ESCAPED INMATE”. “The suspect was captured and gave a false name even though his first and last names were tattooed on his neck.”

ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER:
THURSDAY: “MEMORY LOSS: IS IT ALZHEIMER’S?”
WED.: “MEMORY LOSS: IS IT ALZHEIMER’S?”
TUESDAY: “MEMORY LOSS: IS IT ALZHEIMER’S?”
THURSDAY: “MEMORY LOSS: IT’S NOT ALWAYS ALZHEIMER’S”.

AD:
“ONE LINCOLN PARK. PREMIERE RETIREMENT LIVING. Meet new friends. Enjoy your short term stay.”

c. What “Occupy” really is about:

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (The New American Lexicon):

From Frank Luntz Republican Party consultant in a memorandum to party leaders and regulars:

Upset about taxes? Think the tax code is too complex? Have you ever wondered if someone want’s you to think that way and why?

e. Profiles in presidential courage:

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Some readers of my posts have taken offense at what they perceive as I and others taking too lightly the tragedy that is happening in Thailand due to the floods there. On the contrary, those of my correspondents, like the famed writer Christopher Moore, Gary Williams and others actually living through and observing the events in the country, merely celebrate the good humor and fortitude of most of the Thais as they bravely confront the disaster in the face of governmental ineptitude. So, do I.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

1.
2. “They are not even in my league.”
Lina Davidian

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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