“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?
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 of “Calvin 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:
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:
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
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.
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):
“DOCTORS: NEW EXECUTION DRUG RISKY TO INMATE”
“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”.
“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.
- Breaking: CA State Senate Approves High-Speed Rail (seattletransitblog.com)
- High Speed Rail (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Calif. High-Speed Rail’s One Vote Survival Reveals New Anti-HSR Faultline (transportationnation.org)
- Of Course People Will Ride California HSR (theatlanticcities.com)
- Background Info for the Do or Die Vote on Calif. High Speed Rail (transportationnation.org)
- California On Track To Get High-Speed Rail Line (npr.org)