January 2012 through March 2012

First quarter 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 5 Joey 0001 (March 28, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

This is the third or fourth time I have revised this paragraph.

We each view our own experiences as unique but that does not mean they are appreciably different from the experiences of others. For whatever the psychological reasons, we apply great significance to our own experiences that, as any fiction writer I am sure would be happy to point out, when all is said and done are not all that significant. Nevertheless they are ours and we cling to them as if they affirm our personal existence.

I left El Dorado Hills it sadness believing my time and relationship with Hayden may be ending, and uncertain as to whether it makes a difference to either of us beyond the time it takes us to focus on other things. I will write more about what happened these past few weeks in a later post when time and distance hopefully brings some objectivity to my thoughts and feelings.

I got as far as Sacramento and the welcome sympathy and kindness from Stevie and Norbert Dall. I stayed the night there. The next morning I set off by train to spend the day with my sister Mary Anne and her husband George. Mary Anne and I are working together to produce a business plan for a new type of social network. At least it takes my mind off recent events.

I had Lunch at MoMo’s across the street from the Giant’s Stadium with Bill Gates and Mary and George. Bill had just returned from Thailand.

Then a night at my son Jason’s where I hugged my granddaughter Amanda who has a cold and was forced to watch hours and hours of “reality” television and now I am off to Mendocino for a few days before returning to Thailand.

B. 2012 (DECEMBER 2011) PREDICTIONS AND MARCH UPDATE:

China:

December predictions: Barely avoids social and economic collapse. Major areas of unrest in the smaller industrial cities and along the edges of the desert inhabited by ethnic minorities.

March update: Too early to know if accurate, but nothing I have seen seems to indicate that it is not. In fact predictions of an impending economic collapse in China has become a recent staple of the financial press. I believe, if there is to be a China crisis, it will not become apparent until late summer and if it does occur, could throw the American presidential election into turmoil depending upon the severity of its impact on the domestic economy. I would guess it would not be too severe immediately since in the short run it would just cause a temporary rise in prices as American companies search for other suppliers.

India:

December prediction: Proudly marches off into the future, its economy flourishing, until by years end it stumbles under the weight of its own corruption.

March update: Prediction remains valid.

South America:

December prediction: Brazil, Argentina and Chile (the ABC powers) are a bright spot in the world economy and remain so throughout the year.

March update: Prediction remains unchanged.

Science and Technology:

December prediction: The first clear evidence that something is amiss with standard physical theory will emerge. War among physicists breaks out over preservation of the theory in the face of observation and the absence of an alternative theory (This is a repeat of what occurred in Galileo’s time) Medicine. Drugs and treatments to halt certain types of cancer hit the market and begin to proliferate.

March update: Prediction remains unchanged. In physics, the initial claims of a particle observed to be traveling faster that the speed of light, if substantiated, would do it. Meanwhile it is becoming increasingly evident that the fact that the vast majority of the universe falls out of traditional equations as “Dark” matter and energy hangs like the legendary Greek’s sword over the profession.

Technology and the internet:

December prediction: I made no prediction in December.

March update: I suspect that by autumn, the social and economic effects of social networks and mobile communication devices will begin to move from the ranks of idle speculation (such as mine) into the realm of “serious” study where vast amounts of time and ink will be expended attempting to fit it within standard social and economic theory (not to mention political ideology) and there it shall languish until its effects have effectively been completed whereupon someone will more or less accurately describe the situation and claim it is a new theory of almost everything.

From a product perspective, most development will be directed to making mobile more useful for high volume and professional users.

Robots will become the rage in business, allowing things like warehousing and assembly to be returned to America from foreign low-cost jurisdictions to further replace American jobs while construction of the robots moves offshore to fill in some of the foreign jobs lost.

Arts and Entertainment:

December Prediction: Lady GaGa follows Madonna into a luxurious semi-retirement. The music industry continues to contract. The Art market collapses.

March update: Prediction remains valid. New “serious art” if such a distinction is at all viable anymore, becomes an application for ones mobile phone.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES,THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Under examination for possible cosmetic surgery.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2012:

1. Today, only 55.3 percent of all Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 have jobs.
2. In the United States today, there are 240 million working age people. Only about 140 million of them are working.
3. According to CareerBuilder, only 23 percent of American companies plan to hire more employees in 2012.
4. Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.
5. According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in “the fretful zone just above it”.
6. According to that same article in the New York Times, 34 percent of all elderly Americans are living in poverty or “near poverty”, and 39 percent of all children in America are living in poverty or “near poverty”.
7. In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger. Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.
8. Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.
9. The total value of household real estate in the U.S. has declined from $22.7 trillion in 2006 to $16.2 trillion today. Most of that wealth has been lost by the middle class.
10. Many formerly great manufacturing cities are turning into ghost towns. Since 1950, the population of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has declined by more than 50 percent. In Dayton, Ohio 18.9 percent of all houses now stand empty.

Read more: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/30-statistics-that-show-that-the-middle-class-is-dying-right-in-front-of-our-eyes-as-we-enter-2012#ixzz1pfpGZedV

The most significant take away from the above dolorous statistics and the most predictive of the future of American society is the sudden and calamitous reversal of traditional American expectations that each generation is expected to enjoy greater economic and material success than the prior generation.

To step away from examining the political and economic causes of that reversal, hopefully without ignoring or diminishing them, it may be worthwhile speculating on whether or not there are other contributing or exacerbating causes.

One possible and I guess one can call a positive influence on this seeming slide is the emergence in our economy and society of the pervasive and ubiquitous impact of mobile communication and social networking. To look at it in one way, those most proficient in using the devices, have the potential to provide for pennies almost all ones needs except food and shelter. If that is even remotely so, what remains of the incentive to work hard and achieve material success, if such success is directed in part to acquiring those things necessary to travel to and impress others or to entertain oneself? And in terms of personal satisfaction, proficiency in manipulating the device may be adequate for many and if truth be known more personally rewarding than what was available for most people only a generation ago.

So, if I am right that access to basic food, basic shelter and inexpensive mobile communication devices and applications may satisfy an increasing number of the emerging generation, who grows the food, who delivers it, who builds the shelters and the devices? Robots? Perhaps that is why Amazon purchased Kiva Robots. What happens to the economy if a sizable portion of the population chooses to travel less, buy less clothing or cosmetics and the like?

And what sort of world is being created? Do those without food and shelter take it by force from those who have, like they did thousands of years ago? Who fights to preserve this rudimentary lifestyle? Does the industrial economy continue to contract and along with it the metaphor for work credit, money, find less and less upon which to, well, work so that gambling appears as valid a use for it as any? And what is the purpose of education? Are these new people, lazy parasites for opting out as they may do? If so, what do you make them do instead, work on the farms?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. More jobs.

2. More fairness in income growth:

It just proves that poor people are lazy and rich people are not because according to standard economic theory if they really worked as hard as they should have, instead of the minimum wage rising from about $6 an hour to $7.50 an hour the market would have raised the minimum wage to $23 an hour. That’s the magic of the invisible hand at work.

B. Guess which is the fastest growing immigrant population in the US today? (Hint, If you guessed Latino you would be wrong.)

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S QUOTES:

1. “Our climate is changing, human activity is helping to drive the change, and the costs of these extreme weather events are going to keep ballooning unless we break through our political paralysis, and bring down emissions that are warming our planet. If we continue on this path, extreme weather is certain to cause more homes and businesses to be uninsurable in the private insurance market, leaving the costs to taxpayers or individuals.”
Cynthia McHale, the insurance program director at Ceres

2. “Today, when we produce more food than ever before, more than one in ten people on Earth are hungry. The hunger of 800 million happens at the same time as another historical first: that they are outnumbered by the one billion people on this planet who are overweight.”
Raj Patel. Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Categories: January 2012 through March 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 33 Cold Tits 0001 (March 20, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Much has happened over the past few days; too much to cover and still too unsettled for this post. I guess it would be safe to say that, “This and That…” appears to be coming to an end. What began with my departure from the United States to attempt to assume the care of a bewildered little boy seems to be becoming resolved with that same bewildered but now two and a half-year older little boy leaping into an unknown future. Should that be the case, it appears to me as good a place as any to end this record.

When I began “This and that…” almost two and one half years ago I thought of it as merely a travelogue and tales of my missteps and foibles as I settled into retirement in another country and culture. Something with which to amuse myself and a few friends and family.

Recently I have begun posting them into a blog and adding excerpts from my Diary and email exchanges with those of you who read them and chose to comment. Although I have entered a year or so of posts, I have completed entering everything, the posts, Diaries and comments, on only the first quarter of 2010. In rereading it, I find myself somewhat disturbed, because I, as I see them for the first time all together, am meeting someone I did not know. Someone who I think even less of than I did. The Posts recorded my somewhat self-centered and self-indulgent adventures intending to be slightly amusing and to some extent artificial. The Diary entries, reveal an even lesser person, perhaps even more self-indulgent and erratic. The exchanges of comments, show, in my opinion an insensitivity on my part that at times revolts me.

Much of modern art often called serious by some, whether by those who benefit from the artists production of by artists themselves in their eternal struggle to break from the past and garner success of their own, has become not too much more than the so-called artists infatuation with his or her own experiences, assuming therein exists novelty. Alas, there is no novelty only recognition. As a society that no longer needs to move from cocooned comfort and travel the world like Burton or Stanley for physical or mental adventure, we now look within and wonder if we are different, unique and find too often we are not. In fact, we are less, less unique and less interesting than we feared. Does that make us feel better? Perhaps it is a cultural thing, the descent of Western man (and it is definitely both western and men) from their Procrustean cross into their all too soon to be despoiled grave.

B. 2012 Predictions and March update:

War:

December Prediction: The Near East:The chaos in Iraq, Syria and Egypt will require Turkey, Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia to act. International solutions will not succeed until Iran is neutralized. By the end of January, there may be a confrontation over the Straits of Hormuz. There currently is no reason for either Russia or China to join in any military action, so the US, Britain, Israel and a few other non-muslim nations will take the lead (with the tacit support of Turkey and Saudi Arabia). At about the same time, Turkey will probably move into Syria and northern Iraq to protect their interests. Iraq splits into three countries. These will be the first of the climate wars to begin in and around the desertifying areas of the globe. The Middle East: The war in Afghanistan winds down as the US and other interested parties realize what would be empire builders over the ages have learned, that there is nothing in Afghanistan worth fighting for and attention focuses where it should have been all along in Pakistan. Pakistan, declines into an anarchic failed state and economic basket case as the mujahideen elements of the military take over by years end.

March update: Near-east: Correct predictions: 1. Israel, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have begun to react. 2. Straights of Hormuz confrontation has occurred and died down mostly because of the American clever show of force. 3. Turkish troops have beer reported moving into Syria. Middle East: Correct prediction: Afghanistan war winds down, Pakistan problems increase. All the predictions remain on track.

New issue: Iranian nuclear program: Expect US (including almost all of the worlds nations including Russia and China) to try to resist Israel’s insistence on attacking Iran in response to Iran’s claim of a breakthrough in its nuclear program. Expect Russia and China to pressure Iran to return to bargaining table to further politically isolate Israel. Meanwhile, political pressure on Obama administration to support Israel will increase. Expect Obama to rally the international community, especially Turkey (who envisions an increased role in the near east now that its aspiration for acceptance into the EU has been stymied [For many reasons]). It is not very good politics for Israel to play sides in the American election. Increasing evidence of Obama’s potential victory will either compel them to accede to another round of futile negotiations or they will act precipitously and risk another indecisive military result. Expect Obama’s pro-Israel rhetoric to rise, for Bibi’s home consumption.

Since the above new issue was written a few weeks ago, Obama’s rhetoric has risen to the occasion and the recent joint announcement that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon signifies Obama’s strategy seems to have worked on Israel. Probably Bibi came to his senses regarding his hope to use the US election to his advantage.

Academy Awards:

December prediction: I haven’t any idea.

March update: I still am not sure who won what.

Social:

December prediction: Living frugally will become in. Surplus funds that were invested in financial instruments will begin to be used to purchase tangible usable assets that can be owned free and clear and used. Although this will exacerbate the financial crisis, it can reduce some of its extreme social impacts. Most of those who considered themselves rich will be less so (but not as much as the poor and middle class, but they do not count) because intrinsic value of money and financial instruments are eroding. This erosion will not be reflected immediately by inflation as much as an absence or things to buy while the money is parked and interest is almost non-existent.

March update: While living frugally seems to becoming the norm. The increased purchase of personal assets have not yet become apparent. Many of those who considered themselves rich have become less so. The super-rich have regained much of their lost wealth. No-one else has done so. Nevertheless, expect some increase in inflation as the administration attempts to deal with public and private debt, having been denied most other tools by Republicans in Congress.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

In process.

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Perhaps this is where they should end. The Naked Mole Rats awakening to the breach in their secure tunnel universe are forced to confront their destiny as the “successors.” While Vince must confront the relativity of identity in a world that may have changed more than he can imagine. Then again maybe not.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Shouldn’t we worry about this?

Or this?

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

“No man demands what he desires; each man demands what he fancies he can get. Soon people forget what the man really wanted first; and after a successful and vigorous political life, he forgets it himself. The whole is an extravagant riot of second bests, a pandemonium of pis-aller. Now this sort of pliability does not merely prevent any heroic consistency, it also prevents any really practical compromise. One can only find the middle distance between two points if the two points will stand still. We may make an arrangement between two litigants who cannot both get what they want; but not if they will not even tell us what they want.”
CHESTERSON

“Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies.”
Barry Goldwater.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“From our industry’s perspective, the footprints of climate change are around us and the trend of increasing damage to property and threat to lives is clear,”
Franklin Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America.

If the insurance industry now believes climate change to be true, than I guess that means it must be. In fact, the whole climate change denial thing can probably be summed up in the leading climate change denier in the US Senate, Senator James Inhofe’s statement,

“I was actually on your side of this issue [climate change supporter] when I was chairing that committee and I first heard about this. I thought it must be true until I found out what it cost.”

Ah yes, as always, truth or falsity or whether we live or die is a question of cost.


TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 30 Cold Tits 0001 (March 15, 2012)


TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

So, last night, at bed time, I continued telling the series of stories to Hayden that I had begun about two years ago. The stories concerned the adventures of Danny (Hayden’s alter ego) and his trusty pony Acorn (who Hayden now and then rides whenever we visit Bill and Naida’s ranch).

Danny was resting at an oasis in the desert following his besting of “The Old Man Under the Mountain.” With him were his two friends; “The Black Knight,” a gorilla (Whose alter ego cuddly toy shares my bed) who is “The World’s Strongest Knight” and rides a white horse with brown spots like a cow and is called appropriately “White-brownie or Brown-whitey,” and; “The White Knight Who Used to be ‘The Old Man who Dressed Like a Beggar’ and was The Worlds Most Powerful Magician,” until Danny, in the throne room of the Green Castle, defeated him in a duel of magic aided by “The Monster Who Lives in the Closet and Who Now Lives in Acorn’s Saddlebags,” and turned him into a mouse. In order for Danny and The Black Knight to escape from the dungeon of the “Old Man Under the Mountain,” Danny, again with the aid of “The Monster who lives in the Closet but Now Lives in Acorn’s Saddlebags” turned him from a mouse into a young handsome human except with less magical power so that his full name now became, “The White Knight Who Used to be an Old Man Dressed Like a Beggar and the Worlds Most Powerful Magician Until he was Turned into a Mouse and Then into A Young Man who was Not a so Powerful Magician.” The White Knight rode a black horse named, “Blackie.”

They had just finished dinner and were drinking their milk while staring into the campfire when a troop of musicians and actors who were camping nearby came by and offered to put on a performance for the famous Knights.

The knights agreed that they would enjoy that and the chief musician tuned up his Lute and began his song by introducing his main protagonist a skinny boy of indeterminate age named “Heimlich.” Heimlich lived in a not so great but good enough castle in a dreary country somewhere that was always foggy. Heimlich was sad because his father, who was called Pruneberry the King of the Castle (and, if truth be known, King of little else) had just died. In addition almost before the body became cold or whatever it is body’s become after its inhabitant dies, his mother Natasha Dewlap married Heimlich’s uncle, Julius Caesar (we both thought that was a very funny name).

Anyway, Heimlich and his friend (who strangely did not have a name but it could just as well been something as ridiculous and Guildenstern or Rosencrantz or even Miracle Max) one evening, for some unknown reason, decided to go the cemetery to visit the site where Pruneberry was buried. Along the way they came upon a pile of bones and a skull. Heimlich thought the skull reminded him of “Mortimer” his old kindergarten teacher.

Anyway Heimlich’s friend decided to return home after they discovered the bones because he was a sensible lad and was creeped out by the bones and Heimlich’s weirdness. Heimlich went on by himself.

When Heimlich arrived at the gravesite, a Ghost popped out and said, “Heimlich I am your father, Pruneberry and I was killed by Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar who put poison up my nose while I was asleep.”

At this point Hayden asked me “How can a ghost speak after he died?”

“A keen observation,” I acknowledged. “That is why Heimlich did not believe him and went back home.”

The next morning, as coincidence and fairy tales have it, a group of traveling actors came by the castle and asked Heimlich if he would like to have them perform a play. Maybe, Heimlich, thought, if they perform Pruneberry’s death like the Ghost told it in front of Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar one of them would be reminded and say something like, “Say that looks familiar,” and Heimlich would then know what the Ghost said perhaps could have been true.

And so, the traveling players put on the show and at just the right moment, Julius Caesar turned to Natasha Dewlap and said, “Say Natty does this look familiar to you?” At which point Heimlich became furious and drove Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar out of the castle where they were forced to live in a tent and sell apples and rutabagas to passers-by.

Hayden then asked me, “What are rutabagas?” I said, “I did not know.”

Heimlich, thereafter spent every day alone in the little castle in that dismal country with his furry white cat named “Snowy,” looking out of his window and down upon Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar trying to sell their apples and rutabaga to passers-by, except for once a year when the troop of actors came by and they had a party. The End.

I then told Hayden that the actors would perform another tale that I would tell him about tomorrow (I was already working on a children’s version of King Lear). But, Hayden asked me if Danny was ever going to go back home to visit his mom who lived in the cottage by the “Deep Dark Wood,” before setting out on another adventure. He thought it would be a good idea if he did.

I told him that Danny told the musicians that he would not listen to the story because he needed to get a good nights sleep so that tomorrow he would be well rested for his trip back through the “Deep Dark Wood” to visit his mom.

B. 2012 Predictions:

In December I made a bunch of predictions for 2012 that I sent to a few of you. Now with the first quarter of the year almost compete, I thought I would see how those conjectures are doing. In my previous post, I discussed my predictions regarding the American Presidential election, Control of Congress, US Economy and Europe. Here are a few more:

Stocks:

December prediction: Do not buy Bank stocks: Here’s a little overview of the year-to-date performance of some of the major global banking stocks on December 29, 2011, before the opening bell: BofA:-60.38%; Citi: -44.76%; Goldman Sachs: -46.41%; JP Morgan: -23.03%;Morgan Stanley:-45.24%; RBS: -50%; Barclay’s: -34.32%; Lloyds: -63.02%; UBS: -29.33%; Deutsche Bank:-28,55%; Crédit Agricole: -56.04%;BNP Paribas: -37.67%; Société Générale: -59.57%

These are just some of the Too Big To Fail institutions. And while your governments have enough faith in them — or so they want you to believe — to prop them up with trillions of dollars of your money, investors are fleeing them, even if they can expect them to be propped up further.

That doesn’t just say something about confidence in the individual banks, it shouts loud and clear from the rooftops on confidence in the banking system as a whole, and indeed on governments’ ability to continue bailing them out. In other words: bailouts don’t build confidence, they are taken as a sign that trouble’s on the way. There is little evidence they will reverse this trend in the short to medium term.

In fact, as a small investor, avoid stocks altogether.

March update: Despite general bull market over past few months, prediction remains the same for Bank stocks. Also, continuing volatility of the market still makes it a scary place for small investors. The recent bull market advance will continue in fits and starts through the summer campaign season as the administration tries to quiet any market turmoil. Thereafter all bets are off.

Medical Insurance Industry:

December prediction: By mid year the large private insurance companies will determine whether or not they can expect to escape the profit-to-care ratio caps in Obamacare (the only part of it that matters to them). If not (and I predict that neither Romney nor Obama will substantially change that) the trickle of companies fleeing the industry today will become a flood. Unlike some prognosticators, I do not believe it will ultimately lead to a single payer system. Instead, real insurance people, rather than financiers, will take over much smaller companies and live within the profit constraints, enjoying limited competition and spending their lobby dollars strengthening their market control position and slowly chipping away at the profit constraints.

March update: Prediction correct except the Investor owned companies have already begun preparing to depart. In the long run expect the industry to be dominated mutual policy owner controlled companies or various non profits alongside the government organized options provided for under Obamacare.

Campaign contributions:

December prediction: The loss of campaign contributions from insurance companies hysteria about Obamacare could be a disaster for the Republican Party reducing a major campaign donation source. It will force them to rely even more on their other major sources, the natural resource industries, a much reduced financial services industry and the military industries. The associated parasite industry (economists, lawyers, lobbyists, consultants, think tanks) dependent on their largess will also shrink further diminishing the Party’s coffers as they, following a brief desperate period of trying to salvage their gravy train, come to their senses and put their money into finding new sources of revenue in which to ply their doleful trades.

March update: Prediction wrong. New sources, represented by super-pac’s have more than replaced any loss. However, the suggestion that the Republican financial base is shrinking in terms of number of interest groups remains valid.

Super Bowl:

December prediction: Patriots v Saints. The Saints defeat the Packers then overcome the Niners in the NFC championship game and go on to beat the Patriots in a surprisingly low scoring game, 28-24.

March update: Actual,Patriots v Giants, Giants win an even lower scoring game 21-17.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

The following is a rough draft of a portion of my impressionistic observations accumulated during my involvement in coastal matters. I would appreciate any feed back you may think appropriate since I will probably publish it in a blog or two.

On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.

The 1976 California Coastal Program in the Legislature: Sheep in wolf’s clothing or the art of the dealing.

In early 1976 the California State Senate, Resources Committee rejected SB 1579 containing the most controversial portion of the California Coastal Program*, the proposed regulatory regime intended to govern development in California’s 1500 mile long Coastal Zone.

Following that defeat the environmental leaders intimately involved in the legislation (Including John Zierold, lobbyist for the powerful Sierra Club) settled upon a minor piece of legislation, authored by a little known freshman Senator, Jerry Smith a Democrat from pro-environment suburban Santa Clara County, that had already passed through the State Senate in which to resuscitate the coastal protection legislative efforts (SB 1277).

SB 1577 had failed in the State Senate primarily because of the opposition of several liberal Democratic Senators including David Roberti, a powerful Democratic State Senator from Los Angeles. Their public rational included their fear that regulation of the coastline would cause escalating land costs creating an enclave for the rich and freezing out the poor and middle class from living and enjoying the coast. In fact, their position depended to a great extent on the fierce opposition to coastal regulation by the building trades unions, strong campaign contributors to the Democratic Party.

Roberti had demanded additional protections for low and moderate housing within the Coastal Zone as his price for voting for the bill. Several of the leaders of citizen groups that supported Coastal Protection legislation, but who also believed that the legislation was deficient in this regard, worked with members of the Coastal commission’s Senior Staff to prepare the requisite amendments which were then given to Roberti. He offered the amendments in committee and Beilenson accepted them. Roberti voted against the bill anyway sending it down to defeat.

Interestingly, Peter Douglas, a consultant to the assembly Natural Resources Committee angrily opposed the amendments, insisting “social issues don’t belong in environmental legislation.” Mel Lane the Chairman of the Coastal Commission echoed this opinion and furiously accused one of the citizen leaders of, “Killing my Coastal Act.”

A few months previously, I had left my position as Chief Counsel to the Coastal Commission to join Smith. I became Chief Consultant to the Select Committee on Land Use Management Organizations, created by the Senate Rules Committee at Smith’s request in order to enhance his environmental credentials. Also with my appointment, Smith hoped to improve his chances to play a significant role in the Coastal Program legislative process that would otherwise be denied him because of his lack of seniority.

Almost a year prior, the California Coastal Commission adopted the California Coastal Plan completing a three-year process begun by a 1972 citizen passed initiative called “Proposition 20” that set up the Coastal Commissions in order to create a plan to govern development of California’s 1500 mile coastline. Following the adoption of the Plan several members of the senior staff were concerned that most of the Coastal Commissioners believed their job was done and now the future of Coastal Protection was solely in the hands of the California State Legislature. Those concerned staff believed, however, that such a hands-off approach would inevitably lead to the defeat or emasculation of the Plan in the hurly-burley of power politics in which he with the most money at risk often prevails. Most of the senior staff were experienced enough to recognize that complex and controversial matters such as the Coastal Program, in the legislative context, tended to be dealt with as a series of broad compromises and tradeoffs among those with the greatest economic interests at stake. The hands off attitude of the Commissioners, they believed, would leave the program to which they had dedicated three years of their lives without a knowledgable advocate in the private negotiations where most legislative activity gets done.

In addition, the staff recognized that the only legislative staff member in Sacramento that one could point to as having an interest in the passage of coastal protection legislation was a man who appeared to them to be so limited in knowledge and competence that he rarely was entrusted with much beyond observing and reporting on the Commission’s activities.

During the three-year coastal planning process, the much of staffs experience with this legislative aide amounted to little more than receiving periodic warnings from him of political catastrophe should the staff actually attempted to protect a resource that offended one or another of the capitol’s more aggressive legislators. In addition, the staff had the clear impression that his goal was to eliminate most of what was in the plan and replace it with what he called the “coastal essence,” that reminded most of them more of a noxious odor than a regulatory program. It had been said that Peter Douglas (the same person who would later so vociferously oppose the inclusion of social issues into coastal protection legislation) had never met a political objection so small for which he would not be willing to surrender someone else’s interests.

To make matters worse, the Chairman of the Commission, its Executive Director and Chief Planner as well as the aforementioned Douglas favored a simple bill that would continue the Commission as it was with watered down authority and jurisdictional reach containing vague references to the Coastal Plan that the public had labored to fashion trough innumerable hearings over the previous three years.

As a result, these members of the Commission Staff along with those community based so-called citizen advocates who also had devoted much of their lives during the past three years to developing the program, decided it was necessary that they somehow become directly involved in the legislative process, not simply as cheerleaders but as active participants defending their own interests in the Plan. These activists were a diverse lot including the Coastal coordinator of the establishment Sierra Club, Joe Edmiston, a group of teenagers from the bay area energized by the encouragement to participate in Commission business as well as many others some of whose activities on behalf of local community, social justice and environmental concerns eventually led to distinguished careers in politics, finance, government and business.

We evolved over time a few basic overriding strategies and precepts upon which we would move from the planning and administrative process of the Coastal Commission to the legislative wars. Among these precepts were:

1. The need to have our own model legislation that reflected the Plan precisely, so that all would know not only the specific provisions that interested them, but everything else and how it all fit together. In other words these mostly novice citizen lobbyists would become, not simply interested supporters appearing at hearings with signs and slogans, but participants pushing their own particular interests as well as their common ideals. They would flood the halls of the Capitol and be as knowledgeable in the process and the specifics of the legislation as any of the legislators, legislative staff or their opponents and often more so.

2. An informal rapid communications among those involved, rapidly apprising them of everything that could affect the process was created. The informal network among the activists that already existed and had existed for a while formed its basis. The Commission staff increased their direct participation and often kept the rest informed of fast changing events.

3. The placement of a senior member of the staff in a position in the State Capitol that allowed that person to take an active and daily role in the negotiations and control the drafting of any amendments to the bill.

As for the model legislation, I persuaded the executive director to allocate funding to a husband and wife lawyer team to draft a prototype bill. The staff instructed them to include as much as possible of each and every provision in the Coastal Plan. Bill Boyd, a member of the Commissions senior staff, was chosen to work with them to assure the final product met our goals. Although the resulting draft effectively reflected the provisions contained in the governance element of the Coastal Plan that I had written, the Executive Director and Chief Planner had managed to eliminate the substantive policies elements and replace him with vague references to the Coastal Plan document. A meeting among the environmentalists and the Executive Director to discuss the draft was met with the strong objection, by Joe Edmiston and others to the absence of the Plan’s substantive policies, and resulted in the inclusion of what would ultimately become Chapter 3 in the final bill.

Meanwhile I had agreed to leave the Commission staff and try to find a way to work into the legislative process. I was the likely choice since, I wanted to do something different, approached political conflict as war by other means, and most of the staff welcomed relief from my mercurial and often overbearing management style. So I joined Smith.

As it turned out the Democratic leadership and John Zierold chose the liberal warhorse, but diffident State Senator, Anthony Beilenson. He and his able, but inexperienced assistant, Gail Osherenko, consented essentially to insert the staffs model bill into the proposed legislation.

Meanwhile, Smith, Zierold and I agreed to work a minor piece of environmental legislation through the Senate so that, should the main legislation fail, it could be resuscitated in the other house thereby keeping it alive. This was not an unusual parliamentary ploy for major legislation. It allowed a bill defeated in a committee of one house to be revived, moved through the more obliging chamber and brought back to the entire membership of the original chamber for “concurrence” in the other chambers amendments thereby avoiding the recalcitrant committee and hopefully increasing the legislation’s chances for passage.

The defeated legislation was amended into Smith’s bill that had already passed the Senate and was awaiting action in the appropriate Assembly committees.

The first thing everyone involved agreed was that the legislation required a principal co-author who was a powerful member of the Assembly. Assemblyman Charles (Charlie) Warren was chosen. Smith and I, who had hoped the Speaker of the Assembly McCarthy would agree to be co-author were not overly enthusiastic about this. Warren, although a powerful member of the Assembly was considered by most as somewhat of a loose-cannon with touches of megalomania. His aide on coastal matters was the afore-mentioned Peter Douglas. Smith, members of the senior staff as well as many within the environmental community and I feared that Warren and Douglas would attempt to wrest control of the bill and weaken it. Fortunately, both were also generally considered a bit lazy.

As the previous bill moved through the Senate prior to its defeat, Osherenko and I attempted to neutralize Douglas by assigning him the job of editing the amendments that Osherenko or I had negotiated. Again Bill Boyd was selected to work with him to make sure that what we had won in negotiations was not lost in the drafting.

The first order of business was for the two principal authors to meet and agree on the provisions of the bill that would appear in the first committee. A day or two before the meeting Smith and I met to develop our negotiating strategy for that meeting. We had learned that the main thrust of Warren and Douglas’ expected demands was directed to what most of us considered would be emasculation of the legislation by among other things:

1. removing all jurisdiction regarding Coastal Agriculture,

2. eliminating the substantive policies and replacing them with the “coastal essence,” and

3. reversing some of the hard-won agreements with several interest groups, such as the League of California Cities, that had in response to the agreement removed their opposition to the legislation releasing several legislators to vote for it.

(Also see note below)

Now before proceeding, some comments on a few of the negotiation tactics we had developed and implemented to move the bill along. They were:

1. To negotiate with each interest group opposed (Both public and private), separately and technically. (Almost every significant interest group had a staff member assigned to the technical negotiations. For example, the ever-present and indefatigable Bill Boyd was assigned to the League of California Cities.)

2. To try to focus the discussions on procedural issues and away from substantive ones.

3. To use the complexity of the bill and our superior knowledge to our advantage.

Smith and I discussed our approach to the coming negotiations with Warren and Douglas. In regard to the Coastal Agricultural policies and jurisdiction, the coastal zone boundary had been proposed to be extended many, many miles inland of the Coastal Zone that had been created by the initiative. Within that zone, essentially Commission planning and not permit authority would apply. We had always considered this to be one of the most vulnerable provisions in the Plan. Nevertheless we were committed to obtaining a substantial offset were we to be forced to surrender it. Now Smith and I were presented with two supposed environmentalists, Warren and Douglas who, despite the fact that throughout the movement of the predecessor legislation through the Senate the Coastal Agriculture provisions resisted attack, insisted on its unilateral surrender in a private meeting.

Smith and I assumed that this demand was a function of Warren’s ego. He was the author of another piece of legislation whose goal was to protect California’s Agriculture from urban encroachment. We were prepared to argue that, the provision in the proposed Coastal Act had not been under severe attack by any group with which we could obtain a global settlement, and that passage of protection of coastal agriculture could help and not hinder his legislation, especially should his bill include subsuming Coastal Zone agriculture into the less severe state-wide agriculture protection legislation (And we suggested this option to him at our meeting). Nevertheless we assumed that Warren wanted no competition for the title of “Protector of California’s Agriculture,” and that would be the price of his support.

As for the settlements we had eked out with the League of Cities and others, that Douglas apparently was so opposed to, what we had negotiated, in keeping with our strategy, was in our opinion essentially procedural relief and not a substantive weakening of the legislation. Also, although we tended to be dubious about the standard economic model that said that development would move from areas with more stringent regulation to those areas less restrictive, if it were correct, movement of development pressure from undeveloped areas into already developed ones was a staple of environmental planning. Douglas appeared not to understand this.

Nevertheless, we were confident the accommodation would be proposed again in the first committee hearing, so agreeing with Douglas at the meeting had no adverse consequences that we could see.

As for the substantive provisions of the proposed legislation we would stand firm for their retention as payment for the other two concessions.

That evening, I prepared on a yellow legal tablet a list of inconsequential demands, should the discussion require additional give and take, but we considered them all give-a-ways should the meeting go as we expected.

In fact they did go as suspected. Douglas came in with an extensive memorandum justifying their positions. After presenting his conclusions, he and his memorandum were mostly ignored. Warren seemed to lose interest in prolonging the discussions once we agreed to his demands on the agriculture policies and appeared to be eager to move things along and avoid arguing over some the technical proposals in Douglas memo. Following our feigned unhappy acceptance or the demand to eliminate the League of Cities accommodation, he rapidly agreed, over Douglas’ objection, to retain the substantive policies and the meeting rapidly ended. Douglas was requested to memorialize the results of the meeting which he did with his usual penchant for self-aggrandizement.

The legislation containing the agreed upon amendments then went into the hearing process before the two Assembly Committees where, as we intended, the League of Cities amendment was re-proposed and Smith accepted it without objection. Thereafter the most significant changes to the legislation occurred during a marathon 13 hour hearing in front of the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means. At this hearing, the official maps delineating the significantly expanded Coastal Zone were displayed along the back wall of the Committee room. Having declined an opportunity to review the maps in detail, the Committee directed those with issues regarding the jurisdictional maps meet with Zierold and the ever-present Bill Boyd and try to work them out. This resulted in an orgy or fluttering maps and flying magic markers and Zierold and Boyd negotiated almost every inch of the jurisdictional line during those 13 hours. In keeping with our standard practice Boyd’s superior knowledge and our approach of giving nothing without getting something in return, the final maps had for the most part surrendered some inland urban areas in return for massive extension of jurisdiction in some rural counties. When offered an opportunity to review the final maps the Committee demurred, and so the legislation passed out of the Committee and through the Assembly. No significant changes occurred until after being brought back to the Senate floor it languished until the last moment intervention of then Governor Jerry Brown.

Note: Douglas while working as consultant to the assembly natural resources committee during this period shepherded hearings in that committee that emasculated the Commissions authority over developments conducted by other agencies of the State explaining that it was politically expedient to do so in one fell swoop and not continue the agency by agency negotiations the Commission staff was already conducting with promising results. For example Osherenko and I in negotiations with the Energy Commission represented by Richard Maullin an extremely disagreeable man whose arrogance far exceeded his abilities, we agreed to give up the Commissions permit by permit, in return for the ability of the Commission to designate areas where power plants could not be sited. In my opinion a sensible compromise given the complexity of power plant permitting addresses many issues outside of the Coastal Commission’s preview. This was however not Douglas position. He held the curious position that one can best save the coast by surrendering it. In any event due to the hard work of Boyd and other Commission staff members we were able to retain most of the accommodations that we had previously negotiated.

* The California Coastal Program had three parts:

1. Funding for the State’s parks and wildlife agencies to purchase those lands where no development should occur. This was accomplished by the legislature placing a bond act on the ballot, that was passed by the people, to fund this acquisitions.

2. The creation of a coastal environmental restoration and public access agency called the Coastal Conservancy.

3. Passage of the California Coastal Act containing the policies by which future development in the coastal zone would be regulated.

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES AND JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Removed for rehabilitation.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. “The Six Steps” that Fox employs to create national controversies:

STEP 1: Conservative activists introduce the lie.
STEP 2: Fox News devotes massive coverage to the story.
STEP 3: Fox attacks other outlets for ignoring the controversy.
STEP 4: Mainstream outlets begin reporting on the story.
STEP 5: Media critics, pundits praise Fox News’s coverage.
STEP 6: The story falls apart once the damage has been done.
From the Fox Effect.David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt.

2. Pat Robertson says oral sex is ok:

In an appearance on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson claimed oral sex is a sin only if the people engaging in it feel it is so.

Good for you Pat. Now does this also apply to contraception and voting for Democrats?

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“There are two sustainable ways to make money in finance: find people with risks that need to be carried and match them with people with unused risk-bearing capacity, or find people with such risks and match them with people who are clueless but who have money. Are we sure that most of the growth in finance stems from a rising share of financial professionals who undertake the former rather than the latter?”
Brad De Long

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Cold Tits 0001. (March 13, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

There is some good news. It seems that Bill Geyer may survive. According to Naida he is breathing on his own again and is conscious but will still need some dialysis for a while. Unfortunately he is unable to walk and will need to remain in a skilled nursing facility.

As for me, I feel more and more inadequate in dealing with a growing seven-year-old. I never believed I had much of an aptitude for parenting.

On the other hand the warm weather during the last few days has brought out the spring colors in the neighborhood.

B. 2012 Predictions:

In December I made a bunch of predictions for 2012 that I sent to a few of you. Now with the first quarter of the year almost compete, I thought I would see how those conjectures are doing. In my previous post, I discussed my predictions regarding the American Presidential election and control of Congress. Here are a few more:

1. US Economy:

December prediction: Experiences a mild rebound. Among other reasons because:

a. As money floods into US treasuries on account of the perceived lack of “safe” alternatives, it alleviates pressure to deal immediately with public and private debt allowing for some minor stimulus actions by the administration, such as;
b. encouraging an escalation of inflation both “natural” and government induced, and;
c. there may be a slight temporary improvement in trade balance.

The economic upturn will reverse by years end (but not in time to effect the presidential race) and the nation should sink into another recession, because:
a. the European crises will get worse and the US administration no longer has a political reason to prop it up ,
b. the value of the dollar will rise eliminating any balance of trade benefits and
c. inflation will surpass deficits as the focus of Republican wrath.

March update: None. The mild upturn the nation currently is experiencing has been stronger that expected. No reason to alter downturn prediction has appeared.

2. Europe:

December prediction: The area’s financial system will limp along until about early February due to money flooding into the banking sector from the UCB and others that staves off immediate collapse. The collapse nevertheless occurs but in relatively slow motion as the technocrats, who created the problem in the first place and are now in almost absolute charge, begin to realize their error and start to act. There, however, is no reason to believe it will not be too little and too late. American intervention contributes to slowing the collapse. Nevertheless, the European financial system and economy eventually collapses. As evidence of this Gordon T. Long, in a report called Collateral Contagion, lifts a hitherto little known part of the veil:

“There are approximately $55 trillion of banking assets in the EU. This compares to only $13 trillion in the US. Bank assets in the EU are 4 times as large as in the US.
In the US, debt held by the bank is smaller because retail deposits are a primary source of funds. EU banks use wholesale lending and, as a consequence, the debt held by banks is close to 80% versus less than 20% by US banks.
Wholesale bank lending in the EU approximates $30 trillion versus only $3 trillion in the US, a 10 X differential.
Wholesale lending is fundamentally borrowing from money market funds and other very short-term, unsecured instruments. The banks borrow short and lend long. It all works until short-term money gets scarce or expensive.
Both have occurred in the EU and this recently placed Dexia into bankruptcy, forcing it to be taken over by the Belgian and French governments. The unsecured bond market fundamentally closed in the EU in Q3 2011, as fears mounted that an EU solution was not forthcoming.
Assuming $30 trillion of loans is spread over three years, EU banks have a requirement for $800 billion a month of rollover financing for wholesale lending outstanding.”

March update: No change. Prediction remains spot on. The Greek bailout is no bailout at all, only an attempt to slow the financial debacle, while newly imposed stimulus policies (imposed by the very people who delayed them in the first place) are given time to work on the general economy. The effectiveness of the intervention may force me to alter my prediction.

(to be continued)

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

My most recent discussion of my observations of events during legislative deliberations on the Coastal Act are undergoing final edits.

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Site renovation.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLEs:
See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2012:

First ever actual photograph of atoms vibrating within a molecule.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Pookie’s platform includes a minimum of $600 million over the next 4 years in budgetary savings by immediately ending the following welfare programs:

1. Oil and Gas Tax Subsidies.

There appears to be no conceivable impact on the nation’s oil and gas supply by removing these subsidies. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $80 billion.

2. Deferment of Taxes on Income of US controlled Corporations Abroad.

This subsidy seems to have little public benefit and only encourages offshoring of American jobs. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $200 billion.

3. Accelerated Depreciation on Equipment:

This is most often used by companies to avoid taxation entirely. It should only be allowed (as it was originally) as part of temporary stimulus legislation to encourage companies to purchase equipment during recessions. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $140 billion.

4. Deduction for Domestic Manufacturing:

This deduction is simply a direct subsidy to companies. It is welfare pure and simple and has no place in the tax code. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $75 billion.

5. LIFO (Last in First Out) Accounting:

This is simply a method to hide true profits. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $25 billion

6. Agribusiness Welfare:

Another unnecessary welfare program. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $25 billion.

7. Allow Government to Negotiate Prices for Medicare:

A direct subsidy to providers. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $75 billion.

8. Annual tax break for drug companies direct to consumer advertising:

Why should we pay for drug company marketing to us? Estimated savings over next 4 years: $20 billion.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If you have two guys on stage and one guy says ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”
Roger Ailes President of Fox News (1988)

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 22 Cold Tits 0001 (March 8, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Hayden’s seventh birthday is upon us, so my experiences of the week have been bent to conform to his expectations. Not that that is not the normal situation, but birthdays make it even more so. Running about buying presents, cakes and associated accouterments required by the child and the society we muddle within, takes up most of my time.

At the entrance to the subdivision in El Dorado Hills stand two large boulders. On these boulders, local residents paint various messages usually regarding either birthday’s, new teen age love affairs or now and then Girl Scout cookie sales. In keeping with my commitment to periodically share in the traditional rituals of whatever culture I may temporarily reside in, a few afternoons ago I drove up to the rocks and illegal spray cans in hand painted one of them:

It reads, Happy Birthday Hayden, 7 on 7.

I have had no further update regarding Bill Geyer’s condition.

B. 2012 Predictions:

In December I made a bunch of predictions for 2012 that I sent to a few of you. Now with the first quarter of the year almost compete, I thought I would see how those conjectures are doing:

Although as I mentioned the God Train may have left the station, it does not mean that waiting for its successor, even if futile, cannot be fun. My proposed name for 2012 is The Year the End Began. I decided however discussing how 2012 does that may be a little too depressing so I decided to make a few guesses about things that may happen during the year. Here is what I think:

a. American Presidential Election:

December prediction:

The winner of the election will be a man; most likely Obama since the Republican candidate, probably Mitt, will be unelectable because of, in Mitts case, a lack of enthusiasm from the Republican base (matched only by the lack of enthusiasm by the Democratic progressive base for Obama) and by the existence of an inevitable conservative third-party candidate. Among the other announced Republican candidates, no one has a chance to upset the incumbent. Obama can energize his base by choosing someone like Hillary as his running mate. This trial balloon went up this week. If Obama was not such a wuss, he would pursue this option vigorously, but not until it becomes clearer who his opponent will be.

March Update:

No change. Although a brokered Republican convention remains possible, I do not believe it will happen and Romney with be the Republican standard-bearer and will most likely lose the general election provided the economy remains relatively intact. As for Hillary as VP it is too early to tell. On the Republican side, the most logical VP candidate is Mark Rubio, young, hispanic, relatively unknown and from a must win Republican state, Florida. A third-party candidate remains a distinct possibility. Buddy Roemer is already the announced candidate for an internet based third-party.

b. Control of Congress:

December prediction:

Neither party. The Republicans barely hold on to their control of the house while the Democratic majority in the Senate is reduced to one. Gridlock continues until the 2014 elections.

March update:

No change. But strong Demo gains in both houses possible.

(to be continued)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A few months ago, in “This and that…” and later in my blog, “Trenz Pruca’s Journal,” I commented on Naomi Wolf’s observation that a certain portion of the nation’s younger generation appears intentionally choosing to be less mobile and unmotivated to pursue the high intensity jobs that past generations aspired to. I pointed out that this trend may be exacerbated by the increasing use of mobile communication over the past decade or two. Perhaps a major portion of what we purchase, I surmised, is intended for travel to and meeting with other people. Things like automobiles, clothing, cosmetics and the like, for the most part, are intended to facilitate face to face meetings between people. With mobile electronic communication, at least to those who rely upon them (mostly the young who grew up using them for their juvenile socialization needs), such travel and meeting oriented purchases are less necessary, and the employment requirements to acquire the money to obtain them less pressing.

Such shifts in social goals need not be great in order to have a significant effect on the nation’s economy. As I pointed out a mere 3% of potential purchasers eschewing a second car could be enough to eliminate growth in the automotive industry for that year.

Some evidence that this shift already is occurring is provided by the chart I have recently come across that indicates Vehicle Miles Driven in America has declined for the past 7 years and the pace of the decline is quickening.

While the recession accounts for some of the decline, it began prior to the beginning of the rescission (as it did in 1980) but more importantly it has continued and even accelerated following the recession’s end.

If this chart is a harbinger of the future, just think about what it may mean for the future, on jobs, highway construction, automobile manufacturing, climate change, the textile industry and on and on.

What is curious to me is that few economists, commentators or financial pundits that I know of appears to have even glanced at the phenomena much less commented on it except as an artifact of the recent recession. Perhaps they think it is irrelevant.

Before the advent of the highly mobile society in the 1920s economics was the provenance of a few academic scholars. Since its inception the industry has grown such that every mid-sized institution worth its salt, has a house economist (as well as a lawyer and accountant, two other growth industries over the past 80 years). Could it be that they have really been studying the wrong thing all along?

The Adam Smith’s of the world in the 18th Century attempted to generalize the workings of traders and brokers meeting in a few coffee houses in London. Their musings were found useful but inadequate to describe the industrial economies of the 19th Century and by the Twentieth Century re-evaluated again. But were they not simply attempting to generalize the workings of trade in an agrarian society, the dynamics of industrialization and most recently the transportation based economy? In every case they proved to be somewhat satisfactory for describing what lay in front of them, but wholly inadequate in either predicting or describing the transition to another economic paradigm? In other words, perhaps the title of Macro-economics their practitioners assumed for their trade was never very Macro at all, but just a poorly written operating manual for a soon to be obsolete machine.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES, THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Site under repair.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

This is an island in the Tasmanian Sea:

This is what lives on that island:

(Not the guy, although he does look a bit frightening himself)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Let’s grow GDP faster than we grow debt.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

(Now to be fair, were this to be entitled “Dem. Congressperson,” the only changes I would see would be:

1. The Clown Parade replaced by a photo of an S&M float in the SF Gay Freedom Day parade.

2. Instead of the passing of money, a picture of the leader of the mob of town’s people off to set fire to Frankenstein’s castle.

3. “What I think I do,” would be the same photo as in #2.
4. Although I believe the final photograph applies in general equally well to elected officials in either party, I will leave it to the readers to come up with something they consider more accurate for Democrats. I personally tend to like this )

TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S CHART:

(Wow, no wonder every guy was busy ramming sharpened stakes into each others backside. If you kill the other guy you get to keep his women. It was good to be a guy in biblical times. I can understand now why guys like Santorum and the Divines would like to get back to those times. On the other hand, Jesus seemed to suggest, forget the sticks, hang out with harlots and a bunch of gay guys, cover everyone with oil and then lay hands on each other. That sounds pretty good too. I must admit my day-dreams seem to be very Christian. “Get it on with Jesus.” I like that. Maybe I will start going to church again. Perhaps I missed something the first time around. Back then the priest in confession would ask if I masturbated. I did not know what the word ment since “jerking off” was the common phrase among my peers. I thought masturbate had something to do with school so I always answered, “no Father, not yet but soon I hope.”)

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. (16 Cold Tits 0001) MARCH 5, 2012

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

For the past week or so I have spent my time baby sitting Hayden and preparing for his birthday on the 7th of March. The rain and bitter cold has effected me greatly, robbing me of what little energy my aging body still possesses. Dick in whose house we are living has taken on most of the heavy lifting of food preparation and the like while I have concentrated on getting Hayden off to school and picking him up in the afternoon.

Nikki arrived on March 1 and stayed until Sunday.

I recently learned that Bill Geyer is back in the Hospital as a result of another heart attack complicated by kidney failure and septic shock. Naida, his wife, indicated that his chances of surviving do not look good.

I am at that age where the loss of friends and family becomes a sadly regular feature of life. I am especially affected by Bill’s struggles, not just because he had been a friend and a mentor, but because of what he is. Bill is the kindest and most considerate person I have ever known. I hope for his quick and complete recovery, but if not, wherever he goes will be a better place for having him there.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES: THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES: and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

On Vacation

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

a. Lets listen to the public for a change and end welfare for the oil companies.

b. Lets try to balance out priorities a little better.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

a. The Bible Speaks: On environmental protection.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)

“Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?” (Ezekiel 34:17-18)

“The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants. Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land.” (Leviticus 25:23-24)

“You must keep my decrees and my laws…. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” (Leviticus 18:26, 28)
“You shall not pollute the land in which you live…. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I also dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the Israelites.” (Numbers 35:33-34)

“If you besiege a town for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you must not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them. Although you may take food from them, you must not cut them down. Are trees in the field human beings that they should come under siege from you?” (Deuteronomy 20:19)

“I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination.” (Jeremiah 2:7)

It is interesting how easy it is to use or misuse the bible to justify or condemn just about anything. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why our founding fathers were so adamant about separating church and state.

b. S**t Santorum says:

“In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —”
— AP Interview, April 7, 2003

Wow, Thanks for clearing that up Rick.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“[I]deals come to life in dozens of political transactions every day. Some of those transactions aren’t pretty. You can understand this and try to work with this knowledge, or you can look away. But ignoring politics will not make it stop. It will simply go on without you—and sooner or later will happen to you.”
–Richard Brookhiser, James Madison

Perhaps one of the more insightful things ever said by one of our founding fathers. Nevertheless, I am unsure what “ignoring politics” means any more. Liberals and conservatives bitch about how awful politics and politicians are and how turned off they are by the politicians antics. Often, they believe they actually participate by sending cartoons or slogans throughout the email (like I do) or unverified screeds as alas too many of my more conservative friends do. Perhaps that is all that can be expected.

Rather than voting, campaigning or even running for office, so many of us have “deputized” so-called activists (from the right or the left) or media pundits or moneyed interests to speak for us. Instead of direct representative democracy (if it ever existed) our elected representatives are actually these “deputies” to whom we have delegated our futures. Interestingly enough these “deputies” are not the rich, nor the poor, often neither liberal nor conservatives, but members of what I like to call the “Parasite” community; lobbyists, consultants, political commentators lawyers and the like whose income depends not only on the largess of those that pay them, but their ability to persuade their paymasters of the need for ever greater use of their services.

Yes, of course most of them work for so-called moneyed interests or for well-funded conservative causes, but what else can one expect when one allows the creation of a morally ambiguous fee based institution to mediate between various public interests.

Do not blame the rich, nor the workers they at best are merely the instigators and at worst costumers of the services marked to them. Once created, like any parasite it grows sucking off the life force of its hosts until they both die. Strangely enough, with each victory the parasite community brings to their wealthy hosts, they may very well be hastening the demise of both.

Isn’t it time we examine this community to see if it provides any real benefit at all. Are businesses really advantaged by the huge expense represented by this community? I would think that in many cases, given the financial returns received or many businesses would be better off tasking their engineering and marketing departments to find ways to achieve competitive advantage in the changed environment than paying a small fortune for some intermediary to battle some perceived threat to their bottom line.

Oh yes, many of them have achieved unbelievable returns over the past decade or two but how much of those returns were diverted into the pockets of their advisors and so-called middlemen. In fact, studies show that the rich have not benefited in terms of wealth or income increases anywhere as much as the leaders of the parasite community. Even worse these so-called “advisers” may very well have “advised” their clients themselves right up to the edge of the abyss.

Recently Democratic Senator Max Baucus is reported to have “warned” the denizens of “K Street,” one of the major haunts of this parasite community (another is Wall Street) against encouraging their clients to contribute to the Republican Party; echoing the warnings of Republican Congressional leaders when they were in power to the same community. At first I thought this tit for tat was unseemly. Upon reflection however perhaps it is a good thing. If the employers of the parasite community recognize they would be better off directly petitioning their government than funding political party based lobbying company, maybe the K Street mob will begin to shrivel up and we all will be better off.

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012 | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. (15 Cold Tits 0001) February 29, 2012.

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA: THE CHARBONO CHRONICLES.

Every once in a while, one feels as though he has stepped off of H. G. Wells time machine and bumped into himself in another age. No, it is not like running into dark-haired, swarthy skinned chthonic creatures snacking on clueless blond blue-eyed babes and their androgynous curly-headed boyfriends (although it often seems like that). It is more like meeting the you you never knew.

It all began with entering the Cafe Internationale with its intermittent hint of freshly lit joints floating through the air and the funky sounds of the “Jug Band” as background for some light flirting with someone whom I was convinced had slipped into my bed one stoned night 40 years or so ago.

Then a few evenings later at my sister’s home on the bluff above the clashing waves of the Pacific Ocean in the tiny picturesque town of Mendocino, I took another voyage into my past.

My father’s obsession for most of his life was to take, or assemble, family photographic images and organize them (mostly, if truth be known, organize) obsessively in one way or another. My sister had acquired them and now in a converted water tower on her property that serves as a guest house, much of one room is devoted to the collection.

Although the collection itself includes films and photographs, its bulk is made up of perhaps a hundred boxes of slides (after all it had been the golden age of slide photography), meticulously arranged and labeled in the circular holders that fit into the ubiquitous slide projector of the time. My sister chose five or six from the horde at random and we sat down to review them.

The images were all from the mid sixties to the early seventies. The first thing I noticed (preoccupied as I am with myself) was that I was much better looking that I ever thought I was. My own self-image at the time, as I recall, was of a sallow young man with an enormous clown like nose, great baggy eyes and a slack and sagging jaw. Now, although that may be very much what I in my emerging decrepitude look like now, I certainly did not look like that then. The young man I saw then was actually somewhat handsome in a minor movie extra sort of way. I was skinny though. I did not simply lack the beefy look of modern fashion, but had the emaciated look of the depression years. I was very very skinny, skinnier than Fred Astaire.

Among the almost forgotten influences of my late teen and early adult years were Margaret and Tony Pannicci, or “Panneech” as we referred to them, and Ruby and Arnold Maurizio.

Margaret Panneech was one of those loud hyperactive people who often dominate their environment and everyone around them. The Paneeches owned two homes on a large single lot in Yonkers NY. One of which they lived in and one which my parents rented. She suffered from what appeared to be a bi-polar disorder, diagnosed at the time as female hysteria and treated with massive overdoses of various medicines, primarily steroids leaving her moon-faced and jovially divorced from reality. Tony on the other hand appeared to me much more reserved in a slightly spooky way. My sister and I spent some time discussing whether or not Paneech was having an affair with our mother given the excessive amount of time he spent lurking around our house “fixing things.” My sister suspected he may have and I thought he was simply a hopeless voyeur.

Ruby and Arnold were to some extent fashion icons to my sister and I. Not because of any slavish devotion to current fashion trends but for their unapologetic obsession with large, clunky, sparkling jewelry and loud flashy colors. They had a daughter, Judy, they feared would not get married because she was both overweight and dressed in a more subdued manner than that favored by her parents. One day however she lost some weight, put on some Day-Glo colored garments, rhinestone jewelry and multi toned silk scarves and brought home a young man who, to everyone delight, she eventually married.

The slides also chronicled family trips to Italy and family vacations in the Catskills that loiter on in the mind as more amusing than they actually were at the time.

The following day, and still wrapped in a lingering dream like fog inhabited by the screaming ghosts of a smiling Paneech carrying a jar of happy pills and the bouffant teased raven haired Ruby, rhinestone sparkling and encased in a scarlet black and Chartreuse gown, I drove with Mary and George up the coast to visit a winery in the tiny town of Westport. Along the way, I pointed out projects I had worked on and told interminable stories about them, especially the brilliance of my analysis and effectiveness of my actions. Whether incessant pressured speech is one of the effects not speaking to anyone during the months I reside in Thailand, or merely to keep the ghosts at bay, I do not know.

We arrived at the winery, perched above one of the most magnificent wave battered coasts I have ever seen. Perhaps 50 yards or so off shore the St. Andreas fault runs through a cleft 90 feet or so deep before it dips below the Gorda plate and disappears, marking the point where the Pacific Ocean swells unhindered by a coastal shelf batter the continent.

We walked into the winery tasting room where behind a row of planks on wine barrels the winery’s owner stood serving the dozen or so visitors sips of the winery’s products. Looking down at the tasting list I read the word that made my heart stop: CHARBONO.

CHARBONO, a wine varietal that I thought died about the same time the denizens of Cafe Internationale departed the Bay Area and disappeared into the mists of history. Although at one time a somewhat common varietal in Italy and California, following prohibition it had been reduced to the provence of a single winery Inglenook in Napa County where it had been a staple of their line. When Francis Ford Coppola purchased the winery with his profits from “The Godfather,” he bulldozed the vineyard in front of the winery to enhance his view not knowing it contained perhaps the last Charbono wines in the world.

Sally, the owner, who looked like the mature Fara Fawcett in unruly windblown hair explained that a few years ago she discovered the aged and diseased vines of the last three or four Charbono vines in the world, had them restored by the scientists at UC Davis and now has about 80 or so acres of the variety under cultivation. (For more on Charbono see Charbono Appreciation Society)

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Extreme privation strikes The Street:

Recent reports in the American press have highlighted the extraordinary hardships forced upon Wall Street bankers as the impact of their diminished bonuses sink it. The Business Insider compiled some of the most heart rendering:

Hans Kullberg, a trader at hedge fund Falcon Management Corp: Had to turn down a trip to see a friend judge a wet t-shirt contest at Mardi Gras because it was not the “most financially prudent thing to do.”

Andrew Schiff, director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc.: “I can’t imagine what I’m going to do…. I’m crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don’t have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand.” He said he wants “a room for each kid, three bedrooms, maybe four… Imagine four bedrooms. You have the luxury of a guest room, how crazy is that?”

Wall Street headhunter Daniel Arbeeny: Recently, he drove to Fairway Market in Brooklyn’s Red Hook to buy discounted salmon for $5.99 a pound. He also now scans supermarket ads for the cheapest price on his favorite cereal, Wheat Chex.

M. Todd Henderson, a University of Chicago law professor who wrote two years ago his family was barely getting by on $250,000 a year: “Yes, terminal diseases are worse than getting the flu…. But you suffer when you get the flu.”

Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron: “People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress… Could you imagine what it’s like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?”

Hedge fund manager Richard Scheiner: Remarked that Wall Streeters don’t usually save, but he and his wife certainly do! By the way, he also “spends about $500 a month to park one of his two Audis in a garage and at least $7,500 a year each for memberships at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester and a gun club in upstate New York. A labradoodle named Zelda and a rescued bichon frise, Duke, cost $17,000 a year, including food, health care, boarding and a daily dog-walker who charges $17 each per outing.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/bankers-describe-in-chilling-detail-the-anguish-they-suffer-when-they-dont-get-their-bonuses-2012-2#ixzz1nnQacY6L

(I understand the stress. Really I do.)

2. Religion in America:

Ed and Lisa Young, founders of Texas-based Fellowship Church, recently spent 24 hours in bed on the church roof and streamed themselves discussing sex live on the Internet to encourage married couples to see firsthand the power of a healthy sex life as prescribed in their new book, “Sexperiment.”

Two days after their book, Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse, was released, the Youngs took part in a 24-hour “bed-in.” The book encourages married couples to have sex for seven straight days – a challenge that made headlines in 2008 when Pastor Young first introduced it to his church – with the promise that the “amazing results” will last far beyond the week.

“Tragically, culture has kicked the bed out of church and God out of the bed,” says Ed Young, who has been “happily married” to Lisa for almost 30 years. “It’s time to bring God back in the bed and put the bed back in the church. That’s what this bed-in is all about.”

(This is a religion I can get behind…so to speak. I always found that seven straight days of sex is amazing in itself what ever the results are.)

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES, THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES, and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed while I attend to other things.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1942, February 22:

British Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris, newly appointed head of Bomber Command:

“The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naïve theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.”

2012, February:

According to a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):

The wealthiest Americans have collected the bulk of the past three decades’ income gains. The share of national income of the richest 1% more than doubled between 1980 and 2008: from 8% to 18%. The richest 1% now makes an average US$1.3 million of after-tax income (compared to US$17,700 for the poorest 20% of US citizens). During the same time, the top marginal income tax rate dropped from 70% in 1981 to 35% in 2010.

The rising incomes of executives and finance professionals account for much of the rising share of top income recipients. Moreover, people who achieve such a high income status tend to stay there: only 25% drop out of the richest 1% in the US, compared to some 40% in Australia and Norway, for instance.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

2. The real reason why local governments often have to raise taxes or revenue or go bankrupt:

Case study: “Free roads’ are a myth”:

A group of high-value lake properties petition the city to take over their road. They agree to pay the entire cost to build the road — a little more than $25,000 per lot — in exchange for the city agreeing to assume the maintenance. As one city official said, “A free road!”

Question: How much is the repair cost estimated to be after one life cycle and how does that compare to the amount of revenue from these properties over that same period?

Answer: It will cost an estimated $154,000 to fix the road in 25 years, but the city will only collect $79,000 over that period for road repair. To make the numbers balance, an immediate 25% tax increase is necessary along with annual increases of 3% with all of the added revenue going for road maintenance.
(See Strong Towns for more)

3. : Testosterone Chronicles (Sometimes referred to as “Male chutzpah”):

A lawyer for Mr. Strauss-Kahn (Disgraced former head of the IMF) appeared to confirm that he had attended the events containing naked women, saying that his client would not have been aware if the women who entertained him were prostitutes.

“He could easily not have known, because as you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman.”

(I agree. I never could tell the difference.)

4. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

In a prior post I referred to Tom Friedman and a “Well Known Conservative Pundit.” Ruth indicated that she thought that he actually was a so-so liberal pundit. If that is the case, than I stand corrected and withdraw his criticism of the current Republican Party, since liberals, being brainwashed by their theology, are incapable of understanding the truth.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. Try to parody this:

Minister Patrick Wooden a well-known conservative religious leader and supporter of Republican candidates:

“The God of the Bible made the human sperm, the God of the Bible designed it and it was not designed to be emptied into an area that is filled with feces, there is nothing for it to germinate with, it will most certainly mean the extinction of the human race. My belief is that if the medical community would just step forward and just would share with the American people what happens to the male anus, the problems that homosexuals have with their rectums, the damage that is done, the operations that are needed to sew up their bodies if you will, and how many of the men don’t even give these stitches time to heal before they are back out there practicing that wicked behavior. Some are bleeders, men who are not turned off by ingesting the feces of other men.”

Also he claimed that gay men, “have to wear a diaper or a butt plug just to be able to contain their bowels.”

(No Republican candidate, as far as I know, has criticized his remarks as they did the minister that stated that as a black person he could not be thankful for what America had given him. On the other hand, in speaking for “God the Proctologist,” the Reverend Wooden could be admired for his liberal like concern for the health of members of the homosexual community.)

2. On the other hand he claims to be a Republican:

A congressional candidate running as a Republican in the upcoming Illinois primary claims the “Holocaust never happened.”

Arthur Jones, 64, a Lyons, IL, insurance salesman who organizes family friendly, neo-Nazi events around Adolf Hitler’s birthday, hopes to be the Republican candidate chosen to run against Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Holocaust is nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews,” Jones said. “It’s the blackest lie in history. Millions of dollars are being made by Jews telling this tale of woe and misfortune in books, movies, plays and TV.”

“The more survivors, the more lies that are told.”

(I suppose the reason why no other Republican has yet to reject his assertion is Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment, “Speak no ill of another Republican.”)

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“I do not write this in any way to excuse myself. I ought to have known. My advisers ought to have known and I ought to have been told, and I ought to have asked. The reason I had not asked about this matter, amid the thousands of questions I put, was that the possibility of Singapore having no landward defenses no more entered into my mind than that of a battleship being launched without a bottom.”
Winston Churchill: The Hinge of Fate

“Rick Santorum says kids who go to college are snobs. His program is Every Child Left Behind.”
David Letterman.

TODAY’S CHART:

(The good and the bad: renewable energy [excluding nuclear] contribution to total energy use in the EU increased by about one-third over what it was 10 years ago while Hydrocarbon based energy use nevertheless increased by over 35% in line with the 35% increase in total energy use. Since Nuclear and Hydro sources remained static, the renewable growth came out of their share of growth. In other words, renewables have had no effect on fossil fuel growth but are simply replacing nuclear and hydro and non-fossil fuel sources of energy. My conclusion: at this time nothing appears to be capable of stopping or replacing fossil fuel energy growth and therefore priority should be given to the equally futile task of preparing to deal with the effects of climate change.)

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. (1 Cold Tits 0001) February 15, 2012

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Odds and ends:

(Yesterday was one of the two free days in my new calendar during which one can do whatever they want. I hope you enjoyed yourself.)

The day before yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I trust it all worked out for you.

It rained as I wrote this, so I spent the day in my room and worked a bit. I have now completed the entries of “This and that…” from January through March 2010 into my blog of the same name. They can be viewed at “This and that….”

A few days ago my grandson Aaron cooked dinner. He barbecued several different kind of meat. It was quite good. He was proud of himself.

Here is a photograph of the Villa in Umbria that we are considering renting for the family vacation during spring of 2013. What do you think? It is located a few miles from a little village with the quaint name of, Bastardo. The town grew around an inn and stabling station in the 17th or 18th centuries, and was once known as Osteria del Bastardo, or “Bastard’s Inn.” For some reason the village’s residents are reputed to be quite proud of that name.

News from Thailand:

As I mentioned in a previous post, notwithstanding capturing a muslim terrorist and finding thousands of tons of explosives in BKK, the Thai government furiously condemned the US travel advisory to her citizens traveling in Thailand. The Thai’s steadfastly maintained that there is no evidence of terrorist activity aimed at tourists in the country.

Yesterday in BKK, an Iranian man carrying hand grenades tried to flag down a taxi following the detonation of explosives in the man’s lodging, leaving him injured and bloody. The Taxi driver refused, the Iranian threw a hand grenade at him which bounced off the car exploded and blew off the throwers legs.

Darwin is at work again.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

In my last post I mentioned my current infatuation with the stand up comic appearing on late night cable TV named Louis (not the Fat Louis but the bald one with a fringe of red hair). I thought it would be amusing to some of you especially those lacking the pleasure of late night US cable TV if I relate one of the episodes.

It seems Louis had gotten a job appearing in the lounge of the Trump casino in Atlantic City. His act consisted primarily in warning the customers who tire of his act and walk out, not to gamble and lose their money in the casino, insulting “The Trump” and telling his audience to fuck off. Later the casino manager read him its policies prohibiting such behavior and insisted he agree to avoid it in the future or be fired. He refused and resigned.

That evening he attended the performance of the ancient (she must be approaching 100 years old by now), widow humped, marble faced comedienne, Joan Rivers, headlining in the casino night club. He went backstage after the performance to tell her how much he enjoyed her show. She invited him to “hang out.” They went to her suite in the casino hotel for drinks and to talk. When Joan learned that he had quit his job, she went off on a riff about how people in their business did not quit and went on at length about her own career ending with the question, “Do you know how many blow-jobs I had to give to get where I am?” Finally in response to the crone’s panegyrics about their profession, he became overcome with passion and tried to jump her aged bones. She resists him, arguing that she is old enough to be his great-grandmother. She later, however, relents and leads him off to the bedroom warning him not to tell her daughter because, “She still believes her mom is a virgin,” and informing him that she is up for anything but, “sado.”

Could Seinfeld top that?

_________________________
Now I owe everyone an apology. Louis who goes by the moniker Louis C. K. is more well-known than I thought. He just won the Grammy for “Best Comedy Album” beating out Weird Al Yankovic (who may be outrageous but also is definitely not funny). Obviously living in the jungles of Thailand has severely limited my exposure to modern American culture.

Apparently Louis recently self published a new album on the internet and made $500,000. He rewarded each person who paid him five dollars to download the album with the following personal message:

“Hi. This is LOuie. It seriously is me. Im even going to leave the O stuipdly capatalized because who would pay an intern to do that?? Okay so you bought the thing with my fat face on it and you clicked the button that said i could email you. And i know that now you are thinking “aw shit. Why’d i let this guy into my life this way?” [sic].

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.

1. In the Beginning: an oft told story (continued).

The first meeting of the California State Coastal Commission.

The meeting was to be held in Southern California. Despite living in the State for almost three years, I had never been to Los Angeles, or for that matter south of Big Sur, so I looked forward to the trip almost as much as to the meeting.

Joe Bodovitz and I flew on PSA. As we passed over the LA basin, I looked out of the window and saw something puzzling. I could see the grid streets running off into the horizon and the freeways, but diagonally crossing the northernmost section of the basin from the ocean almost to the mountains was something large and grey, like a giant freeway with no cars.

“What is that?” I asked Joe.

“The Los Angeles River,” he replied.

I was stunned. Coming from the Northeast where the rivers were broad, even the smallest brooks had water running through them as well as vegetation littering their banks until they disappeared under some urban detritus, a cement river was beyond imagination. I sat back and thought, perhaps things were the same back east, but the great northeastern forest hid the ravages of human occupation like polite conversation masked the violence of normal economic pillage. Here, I thought, nothing was hidden, rape was out in the open. No one needed to hide behind a veneer of civilization or the abstractions of financial paper. I thought it was cool.

I do not remember the conduct of the meeting too much except that whenever a new agenda item began, Joe would inquire of me in a whisper to tell him what it was about. As I whispered back, something wonderful occurred. I could hear my words come out of Joes mouth literally as I spoke them, but transformed into things of elegance and beauty. I was stunned. There are many talents abroad in the world, but this I thought was transcendental. To be able to instantly transform bureaucratic dross into poetry, to me ranked right up there with creating sublime music from pieces of thin over-varnished maple, cat gut and horsehair.

The Commissioners themselves were pretty much as one would expect representatives of the establishment would be. A basically relatively self-satisfied lot with almost no particular axes to grind other than to be cognizant of and responsive to the wishes of their appointing authorities and otherwise act in a public-spirited, but not too spirited, manner. Except for Jeff Frautschy, a scientist from Scripps Institute that seemed to have almost a monopoly on those making a living from studying coastal processes and teaching them to those hoping to also achieve tenure at the Institute, who I always suspected saw himself as the guardian of that monopoly. Ellen Stern Harris was another Commissioner who slightly varied from the norm. As far as I could tell at the time, she seemed to be a wealthy matron from LA’s West Side who occupied herself by playing at politics and pursuing whatever causes were dear to her heart, in this case the coastal environment. She represented that species of upper middle class cause oriented women that were beginning to transform the Democratic Party.

The unquestioned leader of the Commission was Mel Lane, publisher of Sunset Magazine, the quintessential California magazine for those hoping to acquire enough money to make their homes and gardens pretty enough to photograph and to vacation at elegant pseudo-rustic resorts like the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. (to be continued)

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES:

1. Chronicles:

The soldiers nosed about waiting for word from the Queen on the creatures request. The healer moved closer, rubbed her body against the creature’s, nosed it to make it more comfortable and then moved a short way off.

“What is your name,” Gladys IV asked gruffly. Gladys IV was one of the larger females and one of the leading contenders to replace their aging Queen once she dies of grows too feeble to reproduce. She was also the captain of the Queen’s Own Guard.

“Gorys XIV,” he whispered.

By now every member of Barrow Burrow sensed the alien smell of the intruder and all wondered if this marked the beginning of an attack by a marauding clan looking to take over the tunnels.

The soldiers cautiously had surrounded Gorys to inhibit either his escape or his movement deeper into the burrow. Other soldiers had cautiously nipped in and out of the breach checking for predators or to see whether Gorys’ had come alone or was accompanied by a band of marauders.

Workers had begun squeezing into this stretch of tunnel, climbing over or crawling under the others as they began to go about their business of closing the breech.

Gladys IV discerned the tremor and the subtle eddies of tunnel breezes indicating someone rushing through the tunnel towards them, isolating them from all the other breezes, tremors and smells that surrounded her. She recognized the distinctive odor of Glabtorix II the Queens eldest consort and recognized how agitated the Queen must be to risk him rather than one of the other workers.

Glabtorix II squeezed by the mass of seething soldiers and workers and without a glance at Gladys IV said to Gorys, “What do you want?”

“The Queen, the Queen, danger, I will only speak with the Queen,” Gory’s wheezed.

Glabtorix II stared for a moment, scratched the ground to inform the Queen, than waited a moment more and said.

“Bring it along then. Carefully. Gladys, take your cohort back to guard the Queen. Others will transport it.”

2.Heterocephalus G awards: Awarded to those who most contribute to paving the way for the rise of The Naked Mole Rat.

To Calvin Breisner, creator of the Cornwall Alliance and a self-declared “expert” adviser on environmental maters to conservative and right-wing religious organizations for opposing the new animated film, “The Lorax” about a tiny creature created by “Dr. Seuss” who “speaks for the trees” and fights environmental degradation. According to Breisner:

“What you’ve got there is the mixing of taxpayer dollars into the promotion of a clear ideology that has a particular religious flavor to it,” the Cornwall Alliance spokesman concludes. “And frankly, I think that this is a violation of the separation of church and state.”

Way to go Cal.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR: Chapter, Vince gets a surprise (continued).

Light is not the fastest thing in the universe. It is the operation of the mind when faced with the conflict between ones rational mind and emotions in situations like that now faced by Vince. Often in these cases the pressure is so great both ones mind and emotions shut down as they did with Vince at the restaurant earlier in the evening. In the moment between realizing what it was that he saw and Isabella’s almost imperceptible shrug and lowering of her eyes in preparation to bending down to retrieve her discarded pajama bottoms, he experienced something comparable to the Lincoln-Douglas debates over his soul. His militant liberalism went to war with his long suppressed adolescent fears; the strident demands of childhood with the social mores of adulthood while some bizarre chivalric ideals lay ready to ambush all to assuage his overwhelming panic.

Before she could get beyond whispering, “I expected as much,” he had crossed over to her, wrapped his arms around her shoulder and said, “I wanted you from the moment I saw you come into my office. An now, I have you and a little bit more.”

He prayed she could not hear the screams of the disintegrating pieces of his psyche.

The next morning he awoke in her bed. She was gone but a tray containing hot coffee and a bagel with lox and cream cheese lay on the table. He guessed Lina must have just brought it in. He did not move but let his mind wander over the images of the most amazing, frightening and disturbing night of his life.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

19th Century:

Some late 19th-century authorities and physicians believed very sincerely that any woman who was interested in having a man perform oral sex on her was a sadist, and any man who complied was dangerously passive and submissive. Performing oral sex on women, they believed, was a “gateway drug” that led inevitably to ever more depraved acts of submission, and could possibly drag men all the way down to what they saw as the bottom of the heap, making them into the kind of men who provided oral sex to other men.

20th Century:

Though men and women have engaged in various forms of non-intercourse sexual activity since time immemorial, the idea that there was a necessary opening act to sexual intercourse called “foreplay” is something we owe to Sigmund Freud and a handful of other psychologists and medical types around the turn of the 20th century.

Today:

Never mind the question of whether there’s such a thing as distinctively “gay genes” or “gay brains”; we don’t even know if there’s such a thing as straight ones. Physical and biomedical science have yet to define or even confirm the empirical existence of heterosexuality… no one’s ever even tried.

This means that scientific research being conducted on the question of what makes people gay is being done without a properly characterized control to compare with. That’s bad science.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

The wealthiest Americans have collected the bulk of the past three decades’ income gains. The share of national income of the richest 1% more than doubled between 1980 and 2008: from 8% to 18%. The richest 1% now makes an average US$1.3 million of after-tax income (compared to US$17,700 for the poorest 20% of US citizens). During the same time, the top marginal income tax rate dropped from 70% in 1981 to 35% in 2010. This is not only perceived as unfair and a harbinger of social unrest but may have exacerbated the effects of those perceptions and fears by diminishing the potential for sustained growth as shown in the following chart:

2. The real reason why local governments often have to raise taxes or revenue or go bankrupt (Hint, it is not from spending on social programs, education or public security):

The first generation of suburbia was built on savings and investment, but the second was built and maintained using tons of borrowed money – we are now in the third cycle.

(The above chart applies to countries also. What we build and pay for with debt [whether public or private] generally has not included accounting for replacement costs or operation and maintenance beyond the infrastructure’s estimated life cycle, which as a rule is less than the payback period on the bonds used to build it in the first place. This would be like borrowing for your weeks food agreeing to pay it back in installments over two weeks, then borrowing the following weeks food on the same terms hoping that somehow the nourishment can be converted into increased earnings. The syndrome compulsive gamblers suffer resembles this.)

“POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT”

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

“President Obama is for income equality. That’s socialism. It’s worse yet, it’s Marxism.”
— Des Moines Register, December 20, 2011

TODAY’S QUOTES:

1. “The Intuit shall inherit the earth.”
Peter Grennel

2. “There is no ‘Tree of Life,’ life more resembles a cancerous tuber.”
Collaboration with PG.

3. “The pride of man makes him love to domineer, and nothing mortifies him so much as to be obliged to condescend to persuade his inferiors.”
Adam Smith “Wealth of Nations”

4. “Spinoza was the first to argue that the Bible is not literally the word of God but rather a work of human literature; that “true religion” has nothing to do with theology, liturgical ceremonies, or sectarian dogma but consists only in a simple moral rule: love your neighbor; and that ecclesiastic authorities should have no role whatsoever in the governance of a modern state.”
–Steven Nadler, A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Scandalous Treatise

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

1.

2.

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. ( 26 Mopey 0001) February 12, 2012

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN SAN FRANCISCO:

I begun to search the City for quiet cafe’s that offer free wi-fi connection, located two; Mama’s in the Excelsior district on Mission Street and; Cinqe Terre on Van Ness near Pine. Both are old style coffee houses, slightly run down and thankfully lacking the insistent Bohemianism of similar places or the efficient spanking industrialism of SB and its wannabes. Mama’s claims some connection to the arts and three or for evenings a month offers poetry readings and the like, while during the day it caters to a few latino locals who periodically drop in. Cinqe Terre, on the other hand, is owned by an Italian immigrant and offers a number of vaguely italian sandwiches and a few deserts imported from Italy.

My evening television fare at Jason’s house had been broadened from the usual diet of reality shows and movies with WWII sized body counts, to include something called Louis to which I am becoming addicted. Louis is a stand up comic who headlines at a basement comedy club in NY’s Greenwich Village. His claim to fame is that his brand of stand-up is even less funny than Jerry Seinfeld’s. It fact it is relentlessly unfunny. He produces short videos of his adventures for cable TV (sort of more interesting, amusing and visual version of “This and that…”) which are also unfunny but almost rise to poignant. It is sort of what we used to call humor (like the humor that used to appear in New Yorker magazine which was unfunny too).

My ex daughter-in-law and I went to dinner at my sister and her husband’s house in the Berkley Hills in order to discuss our planned family trip to Italy next spring. My sister, who works on education initiatives for a high-tech company described some of the innovations in social media being developed. Several posts ago, I mentioned the potential economic effects of our inevitable move from a physically mobile society to an electronically mobile one. What she described seemed likely to take us a long way closer. All in all we spent a pleasant evening, mostly discussing family history and swapping those stories one or another of us had not heard before and many that we had.

The day before yesterday, I moved from my son Jason’s apartment to my daughter-in-law’s home where I have use of the bedroom during her and her husband’s one week jaunt to Paris and then on to Venice to experience Carnavale and frozen body parts. Attending Carnavale being one of those things I imagine Anne envisions as an early start on her bucket list.

Today, I walked along Cortland Street the main drag of the slowly gentrifying Bernal Hights neighborhood to have lunch at the local overpriced sandwich shop. Along the way I purchased a discounted copy of Jonathan Franzen’s semi-autobiographical work “The Discomfort Zone”(2006) and began reading it as I wolfed down a hot pastrami sandwich and washed it down with a glass of ginger lemonade. Franzen is one of that new breed of writers (like Bolano) that believes modern fiction is essentially the author’s memoir.

Like most modern fiction deemed “serious” ever since the 1950s, it deals with resigned acceptance of alienation. That is why I stopped reading serious fiction in favor of genre, like mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I hate reading about resigned acceptance of alienation. To me alienation should be approached with a sense of the absurdity of the mental derangement that so often prompts it or with pure fury at the injustice that may have engendered it.

Anyway, he does come up with a few quotes worth repeating. As you know I am obsessed with collecting quotes. Sort of like Don Neuwirth who used to carry a notebook everywhere with him in which he copied things he heard or read that appealed to him; much like collecting stamps. I, on the other hand, always feel an unstoppable compulsion to move those quotes immediately from my possession and, welcome or not, into the consciousness of others.

In writing about his flight from his childhood home in St. Louis close to the nations geographic and demographic center to its fringes on its coasts Franzen observes:

“…so the country as a whole has fled the center economically, ending up in a system in which the wealthiest one percent of the population takes in sixteen percent of total income [up from eight percent in 1975]. This is a great time to be an American CEO, a tough time to be the CEO’s lowest paid worker. A great time to be Wal-Mart, a tough time to be in Wal-Mart’s way, a great time to be an incumbent extremist, a tough time to be a moderate challenger. Fabulous to be a defense contractor, shitty to be a reservist, excellent to have tenure at Princeton, grueling to be an adjunct at Queens College; outstanding to manage a pension fund, lousy to rely on one; better than ever to be bestselling, harder than ever to be mid-list; phenomenal to win a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament, a drag to be a video-poker addict.”

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.

1. In the Beginning: an oft told story

Off to join the Crusade (continued).

Now the question Bodovitz addressed to me could be interpreted in two ways; was I an accomplished writer or was I literate. Choosing the later so as not to begin the relationship with a flat-out lie, I responded, “Quite well actually.”

Two days later I found myself sitting in one of the empty and not quite fully constructed offices, drafting the Commission’s interim regulations, agenda for its initial meeting and appeal forms. I had been hired as a graduate legal assistant, a classification that fell outside the normal civil service hiring procedures and for which I qualified by having spent at least two years in law school.

I no longer recall if the first appeals of projects approved by the regional commissions set up by the initiative were heard at the initial State Commission meeting or at a later one. I will assume that it was later because I cannot see how it could have been the first meeting since we had not adopted the interim regulations containing appeal procedures yet. Also, although I drafted the appeal form, I do not recall involvement in development of the coastal development permit application forms and so will assume they had been developed by the regional commission staff.

My theory of writing regulations was based upon the reality that since everyone games whatever they perceive limits their objectives anyway, simplicity and directness were best. It later became obvious to me that most entities, public or private, adopt procedures and regulations primarily to benefit the staff that administers them. That is, to use the regulations to shield them from making specific difficult decisions or to design them to reduce workload responsibilities (e.g., research).

The initial regulations were only few pages long and directed at how to simply get the project application into the Commissions hands, basic time lines and the few special rules for the conduct of hearings required by the governing law and not included in Robert’s Rules of Order.

There also had been no forms drafted yet for appeals of approval of those claiming to be exempt from the Commissions jurisdiction. I tried to keep them to one page or two, limiting, in the case of appeals, the information required to basic items, such as the identity of the appellant and the project, trusting the regional commissions file to provide the starting point for any staff analysis. In other words I wanted to make it as easy as possible to get the things into our hot hands. I did not want things going away because someone, applicant or concerned citizen believed the process appeared to be too daunting. To me this approach was not just an exercise in governmental simplification and responsiveness but was also a means of control.

As so, we began, as did I and moved inevitably toward the first meeting of the State Commission.

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES:

1. Chronicles:

To the citizen’s of Barrow Burrow, perception of their world differed substantially from that of those species that relied upon the dictatorship of sight; on unobstructed straight line transmission of information through lenticular organizers into the neural apparatus governing the essential awareness necessary for the survival of most living things. Those living in Barrow Burrow and those in other burrows “saw” instead, a web of impressions unaffected by those mere physical impediments that obstruct one’s line of sight; much like those Polynesians “saw” the islands beyond the horizon.

Everyone in Barrow Burrow, “saw” almost everything, the rushing of the soldiers through the tunnels, the workers already digging cross tunnels so that the breached area could be cordoned off and filled without interruption to the burrow network, and the creature lying there barely moving.

Arriving at the breech, the first soldier nosed toward the intruder sniffing and poking it.

“Help me to your queen it pleaded weakly. I have a message from the northern burrow runs. You are in danger.”

2.Heterocephalus G awards: Awarded to those who most contribute to paving the way for the rise of The Naked Mole Rat.

To Rick Santorum for having said on the Rush Limbaugh Show, on June 8, 2011:

“There’s a variety of factors that contribute to the earth warming and cooling, and to me this is an opportunity for the left to create — it’s a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the earth is gonna cool and warm.”

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR: Chapter, Vince gets a surprise (continued).

Offended at her rejection, Vince blurted out, “What don’t I understand? The weird little war, you and Russell have me involved in?”

“No, not that, although you involved yourself. It’s just… our relationship… you do not understand,” she said her eyes though maintaining the implacable level almost expressionless gaze seemed to soften along with her voice.

The hormonal, intellectual and emotional tripartite war that fogs rational sense compelled him to persist in his assault. “What do you mean,” his voice rising? “This body-guard thing, is that it? Another man, maybe? Whats going on?”

She stood for a moment her face tightened, than softened as if she were debating with herself and reached a decision. She turned, put down the drinks, walked to the dimmer switch on the wall, turned down the lights to what Vince interpreted as a romantic glow and returned to stand, expressionless a few feet away from him.

He started to move toward her, stopped as she held out her hand palm out vertical to the ground.

Without taking her eyes off of his she removed her robe and let it slip to the ground. She slowly, mechanically unbuttoned her pajama top and dropped that to the ground also.

He could see her almost too perfect breasts partly shadowed in the diminished light.

Not moving her head or her eyes, she loosened her pajama bottoms allowing them to fall and lie bunched at her feet.

Vince had been virtually mesmerized by her stare. He now removed his eyes from hers and allowed them to begin their descent taking in her body. He was hard as he passed his gaze over her breast and nipples. He could feel his breathing quicken as he continued down, then stopped, froze. His breath stopped, the blood rushed away and he shrunk. There was something else.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2012: February.

CHEERS to February! For the shortest month, it sure packs a lot of goodies in it. Highlights: More daylight, Super Bowl Sunday (Patriots by 3. Hundred.), Waitangi Day in New Zealand, Heritage Day in Canada, Valentine’s Day, Cordova Ice Worm Day, Mardi Gras, blessed comic relief at the CPAC convention, George & Abe’s awesome mattress sale, Black History Month, Charles Dickens Day, the Oscars, and tomorrow is Groundhog Day. Plus there’s only one Republican debate this month. And best of all, if you make it through the first 28 days you get the 29th FREE! Now that’s what I call FAB-uary!

–From Bill in Portland Maine.

13th Century AD:

Rabbits first introduced into Ireland.

1969-2009 wage decline:

According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/michael-snyder-economic-collapse-2012-1#ixzz1lGGTZuaJ

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. You may not like paying taxes, but shouldn’t those with the greatest share of income and wealth pay their fair share.

2. This is not change we should live with:

The United States has the fourth-highest inequality level in the OECD, after Chile, Mexico and Turkey. Inequality among working-age people has risen steadily since 1980, in total by 25%. In 2008, the average income of the top 10% of Americans was 114 000 USD, nearly 15 times higher than that of the bottom 10%, who had an average income of 7 800 USD. This is up from 12 to 1 in the mid 1990s, and 10 to 1 in the mid 1980s.

“POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT”

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

And so it continues:

The Conservative Political Action Conference at which all the major Republican presidential contenders will speak, as well and prominent Republican members of Congress is co-sponsored by several organizations including “Youth for Western Civilization” whose founder, Marcus Epstein, was arrested and pled guilty to a hate crime after karate chopping a black woman on a street while calling her a “nigger,” and who is reputed to have strong ties to European Neo-Fascist organizations (according to People for the American Way).

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Brain Candy:

<

“There are two types of Republicans: millionaires and suckers.”

(Phil T Duck)

“Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.”
Terry Pratchett

“There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”
–Leonard Cohen

“By evening’s end, they had melted into an indistinguishable mass of privatizing, tax-cutting opponents of Sharia law. ”
–NYT on 2nd Republican debate

“If corporations are people, then I want to see some birth certificates and talk to their parents.”
(Onomastic)

“Newt’s not a conservative. It’s just that conservatives assume that someone so mean and hateful has to be one of their true believers and not just an awful person.”
(Inland)

“Got Social Security? Thank a Democrat! ”
(Fury)

“Dear Congressman West: Check your watch — it’s been 15 minutes.”
(here4tehbeer)

“On the Internet, nobody knows if you’re a dog… but everybody knows if you’re a jackass.”
(stevemb)

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

My mom at 94 in Mendocino taken by my sister. When after posing mom and taking the picture, my sister showed her the resulting photograph and inquired if she liked it, our mom responded, “My sandwich got cold.”

On the subject of moms, this was sent to me by Phillip:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. (24 Mopey 0001) February 9, 2012

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

During the train ride from Sacramento to San Francisco, I continued to work on my comments to the draft Seismic Safety Commission report. Once I realized that the consultants failed to review existing California disaster recovery programs to determine if the state already offered post event recovery assistance to business, I began to do the research myself.

I spent the night at my son Jason’s apartment. It had been my granddaughter Amanda’s birthday a few days ago and I had brought her some presents and was rewarded with a big hug.

The next day, I had lunch with Peter in a deep dish Chicago style pizza place that had just opened in Noe Valley. Later we watched the first half of the Superbowl, at first in the bar in which years ago I was a partner (perhaps my only investment that ever made money) and later a few doors away where we watched the game and listened to the Sunday Live Jazz performance featuring Pete Voukavich. For some reason at about half time, I began feeling exhausted so I returned to Jason’s apartment to rest and watch the rest of the game. The NY Giants won in the last few minutes as they seem to have done in each of their previous six games.

In the evenings, I spend much of my time being introduced to the puzzling wonders of reality television, including scenes of crazed cooks attempting to make the bizarre tasty; tattooed men and skinny girls in what appears to be moderately insane and dangerous activities including the gastronomic pleasure of swallowing things like live cockroaches and; moronic bearded men usually from the Southeast portion of the US (including Texas) killing anything that moves usually, but not necessarily, with a shotgun and then cooking (or not) and eating it. There appears to be a direct connection in the American psyche between violence and food with at best a brief side-trip into sex and wealth.

In between these bouts of visual lunacy and mayhem, Jason and I talk. For the first time in our lives we tried to avoid the father-son communication barriers. We told each other things we had never shared before. He mentioned how devastated, as an eight year old, he was when we learned of Jeanne’s death. “I wanted her to be my mother,” he said and began to cry. He recalled how brave and kind she was. He told about how difficult it was to be sent to an all black school and having to fight and defeat the schools biggest bullies to survive. And much much more I never knew. He recounted some of the things he had done as a child that enraged me at the time and admitted they were intentional. For what reason? To get my attention? A cry of loneliness and desperation perhaps?

At night lying in bed, I thought about how much I have missed out on; how much the tensions between fathers and sons drain out of both lives.

Today, it rained slightly. Perhaps this means that winter is finally beginning. In the Bay area, winter is usually marked by almost daily drizzles beginning in about October and ending at the end of March or so. This year like much of the rest of the world we are experiencing a year without winter.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.

In the Beginning: an oft told story.

Off to join the crusade.

I rarely ever apply for anything. I assume that I will be turned down and am unwilling to endure the self loathing that follows. I did not apply for either college or law school but rather showed up in the dean’s office the day before registration and talked my way into one of unfilled slots.

So I went directly to some State office that managed the civil service exam process and asked them what I had to do to get hired by the Coastal Commission. They told me that I did not qualify even for an interview since the application criteria limited employment to experienced “planners” only. They explained that they were looking for landscape architects or urban planners.

Now at that time I knew very little about planners of any kind. I guess they must have existed in NY but I could not recall ever meeting one and assumed it was something California-ish. Now, a landscape planner or architect I surmised had something to do with flowers and trees in parks, sort of what “the Olmsted” did. An urban planner, that was something else again. I, of course, was aware of those who had the authority and political power to tear down large areas of major cities in order to impose their esthetic, military or dynastic objectives on the community. People like Pope Sixtus insisting he and the other worthy Romans of the Baroque Age have unobstructed views of monuments of their choosing up and down the central city’s thoroughfares; or, Baron Haussmann executing Napoleon III’s obsession with grandeur; or even L’enfant’s proposal for the development of the vacant land designated to become the nations capital. All had the power, will and national wealth behind them to do what they will, but what did that have to do about stopping some motel developer from peeing on John’s garden of stunted trees and flesh eating plants?

I was pretty annoyed, not only at being rejected, something I had learned to expect, but also because I could not even get an interview to talk my way in. It appeared to me to be quite silly to so restrict who gets hired. It seemed destined to have little to do about preserving the coast or the environment and more to do about producing a coffee table book about it. And, certainly almost nothing to do with protecting the “Jughandle Creek Ecological Staircase” from ruin.

So the day the Commission was slated to commence operations, (I think they were to begin on March 1, 1973, or February, I do not remember which) I found myself standing in front of the building in which their new offices were located preparing myself to make my pitch.

At that time San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, Market Street, was torn up to construct the tunnels that would carry the new regional transit rail line (BART) through the City as well as several of the City’s trolley lines in hope that, by removing most public transportation from the main thoroughfare servicing the commercial hub of the City and adding some landscaping along the sidewalk, the street would somehow evolve into the Champs Elysees of California; a dream that was destined to fail, lacking the will, power, unlimited funding or imagination necessary.

The area in front of the California Coastal Commission (as the new governmental entity created by the initiative to carry out its objectives was called) had been torn up as part of the beautification portion of the Market Street renovation. Sickly looking Sycamores, not all that much larger than John’s pygmies and certainly no more attractive, stood forlornly in their burlap root sacks every 30 feet or so waiting to be buried in the unforgiving soil beneath the holes in the sidewalk opened to receive them.

This area of the City at that time could best be described as downtrodden commercial. The building itself was a small nondescript two story office building whose previous tenant had fallen on the dreaded hard times. The Commission’s offices were located on the second floor.

As I pushed through the door and entered the office, I observed that the tenant improvements were far from complete. The walls of the future individual offices were just metal stripping still awaiting sheet-rock. The occupants were clearly visible through the spaces.

There were just three people working there at that time. In one office sat an older gentleman whose name I no longer remember and who I eventually learned had been a naval officer and also had worked in state government and supposedly knew a lot about the ins and outs of the movement of paper and forms among the various governmental entities upon which, whatever governmental effectiveness one expected of an agency, stands or falls. A tall, rather imposing and efficient looking middle aged woman (I have forgotten her name also), who told me she was the private secretary to the Executive Director. She had relocated with him from his previous position with an agency that earlier had been created to do in the Bay of San Francisco things similar to what the initiative proposed along California’s coast.

Through the walls I could see the third person, the Executive Director himself, Joe Bodovitz, a man I, at that time, knew nothing about other than his name as revealed in a name plate sitting in its holder on the secretary’s desk. His office was tiny and irregular. He had black framed glasses, was slender, wore a striped white shirt and a yellow tie.

I walked into his office and decided to get right to it and I said something like:

“The personnel people tell me that it will take about a month or so to get any of your permanent employees hired. You have to begin meetings and promulgating regulations before they show up. You and your secretary alone will have a hard time doing that. I used to be a practicing attorney in New York, perhaps I can help until then.”

Then he did something that surprised me, but which I learned later was a common habit of his, he grabbed the bottom of his tie and began running it through his fingers. After a moment or so he inquired, “Can you write?”
(to be continued)

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES:

1. Chronicles:

To those working in the tunnels nearby it was no more than a slight lightening of the comforting gloom followed by the tremors of the earth giving way and something living falling and heavily striking the tunnel floor soon followed by the stifling wisps of oxygen rich air and the stench of an alien presence. As the tremors reverberated through the burrow, all work ceased as each citizen stopped what they were doing and turned towards the source of the tremors that they each felt climb out of the burrow walls, through the hairs of the sensitive down covering their bodies. All chatter ceased.

Like the Polynesian navigators of another time lying silently at the bottom of their dugout canoes, eyes closed, feeling the subtle shifts of the oceans swells until a picture emerged in their minds of islands and reefs far beyond the horizon, each resident of the burrow sensed the scene playing out in the far off tunnel. Then the chatter began again, now centered on the event and the burrow’s reaction. This was followed by the shuffling of hundreds of feet; the age old signal of danger.

The Queen, looked up from the lessons she was giving to her latest brood, then heaved her great bulk out of the royal chamber and began shouting to her soldiers, pushing them with her great head until phalanxes of soldiers from throughout the burrow began to move toward the breech.

She stopped, felt with every sense she had. Above the chatter and shuffling she could feel that the creature whose heavy breathing and weak heart beat was not a Rufus dragon or another terror out to ravage the community, but seemed like one of the people, alien but recognizable nonetheless. She butted one of the soldiers rushing by to a standstill and instructed him to tell the others that if it is not a predator to let her know what it is before doing anything.

2. H. Glaber fellow travelers:

E.B. Kim and others who unravelled the Naked Mole Rat’s gene sequencing.

According to Nature Magazine, the gene sequences revealed:

“…unique genome features and molecular adaptations consistent with cancer resistance, poikilothermy, hairlessness and insensitivity to low oxygen, and altered visual function, circadian rhythms and taste sensing. This information provides insights into the naked mole rat’s exceptional longevity and ability to live in hostile conditions, in the dark and at low oxygen. The extreme traits of the naked mole rat, together with the reported genome and transcriptome information, offer opportunities for understanding aging and advancing other areas of biological and biomedical research.”

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR: Chapter, Vince gets a surprise (continued).

The cooling water in the bath woke him up. He looked around, a bit dazed and stared a moment puzzled at the mug balanced at the edge of the bathtub. Somehow he had finished drinking the liquid in it. Although deep down the chill from the water made his body ache, he felt somewhat more relaxed and calm than when he got into the tub however long ago.

He walked to the shower stall, rinsed himself off lingering in the hot water until it restored the warmth to his bones. Then he moved to the sink, searched around, found mouthwash and a deodorant stick, but no shaving paraphernalia. He gargled and applied the deodorant, put on his robe, walked out of the bathroom through the bedroom and down the short hall into the main room. There he found Isabella sitting on one of the sofa’s in front of the faux gas fireplace reading what looked like a report of some kind.

Her hair was hidden beneath a turban like thing and she had changed into satin beige pajamas and a matching thigh length robe. She looked stunning to him and he sensed movement in his groin as he stood there and silently watched her.

As though she sensed his presence, she suddenly looked up, smiled and said, “Oh there you are, finally. I was afraid you had drowned. I was about to go in and check on you.”

She smiled warmly.

“No, I guess I fell asleep. Sorry it took so long.”

Her smile widened and her normally cold placid eyes he believed showed a little warmth and sympathy. He remained standing where he was.

“I hope Lina’s drink did you some good. It is supposed to calm one down. She and I concocted it after an assignment.”

“She…” he got out.

“Yes, she and her husband were partners with me in some operations in the Philippines.”

“Oh,… yes it seemed to work,” he said deflating slightly as he was reminded about his performance earlier in the evening. “Look I am really sorry for…” He only got that far before she broke in.

“Don’t bother even thinking about it. My sphincter lets go almost every time things get hairy,” she laughed. “It is what they do. It’s a pretty weak muscle. Hard to strengthen.”

“Yeah, but I panicked, you didn’t.”

She got up asked, “Do you want a drink?”

“Mineral water, if you have it.”

As she moved to the low cabinet that contained a wet bar, she continued, “Everyone panics, we are trained to hide it to gain time. We were lucky tonight.”

She opened the cabinet poured two glasses of Pellegrino sparkling mineral water into glasses added some ice then turned and walked towards him. “Strange though, they seemed inept, almost amateurish.”

“I wouldn’t know,” he said dryly.

She chuckled and held out a glass to him.

He didn’t know why, but he suddenly moved toward her, put his arms around her waist, pulled her against him and kissed her. Her hands being otherwise occupied, she pushed against him with her forearms, stopped, kissed him back hungrily, then shoved him away.

“Stop,” she said, “you have no idea about how things are.”

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2012: Racism, conservatism and intelligence?

A study, published in Psychological Science, showed that people who score low on IQ tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative politics in adulthood.

2012: Global warming is a socialist plot.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Give us back our money you welfare cheats.

2. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Ruth pointed out that Bloom’s Day occurs on June 16 and not in September (see my previous post). I do not know where September came from. I arrived in Europe on that trip sometime between late June or July. I stand before you repentant.

“POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT”

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

We’ve seen this before department:

“Jewish activity collectively, throughout history, is best understood as an elaborate and highly successful group competitive strategy directed against neighboring peoples and host societies. The objective has been control of economic resources and political power. One example: overwhelming Jewish support for non-traditional immigration, which has the effect of weakening America’s historic white majority.”
Kevin MacDonald, VDARE.com, Nov. 14, 2006

(VDARE is a White Nationalist website, run by Peter Brimelow, which frequently publishes the works of anti-Semitic and racist writers and is named after Virginia Dare, who is believed to be the first child of English parents born in the Americas. Brimelow, an immigrant from Great Britain, expresses his fear of the loss of America’s white majority, blames non-white immigrants for social and economic problems and urges the Republican Party to give up on minority voters and focus on winning the white vote. He also said that a New York City subway is the same as an Immigration and Naturalization Service waiting room, “an underworld that is not just teeming but also almost entirely colored.”

Brimelow is a featured panelist at this years American Conservative Union’s Political Action Conference at which Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, McConnell and Bachman are scheduled to address the delegates. Will any of them denounce the anti-semitism and racism? Will any of them refuse to appear at an event that features a racist anti-semite? Don’t bet on it.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

1. “People know what the news is. You’re not coming to cable news for news anymore. You’re coming for either validation of your opinion or you’re looking to find out what the other side is saying. It is analogous to the debates that break out on peoples’ Facebook walls. It’s almost like we’re social media, live. They’re just talking to each other. They’re just posting.”
Mr. Domal, [the vice president for eastern ad sales at Fox News].

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/fox-news-people-dont-watch-cable-news-to-get-news-2011-12#ixzz1hmmP4DcW

2. “Political figures who talk a lot about liberty and freedom invariably turn out to mean the freedom to not pay taxes and discriminate based on race; freedom to hold different ideas and express them, not so much.”
—Paul Krugman

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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