Today’s factoid: THE TRUE STORY OF MOCK DUCK
1900. Mock Duck leader of the Four Brothers and Hip Sing Tongs begins a gang war with Tom Lee’s much larger On Leong Tong over Mock Duck’s demand for 30% of Tom Lee’s gambling revenue in New York’s Chinatown.
1904 November 4 – Hip Sing Tong leader Mock Duck is wounded in a gunfight by three On Leong hatchet men near his Pell Street home.
(Apparently Mock Duck, when in a gunfight would squat down, close his eyes and fire off his two guns until he ran out of ammunition.)
1908 August 15 – The Tong war becomes even more violent after Low Hee Tong, a member of the Four Brothers Tong, purchases a rival Tong slave girl Bow Kum who is later murdered.
(you may want to click on Bow Kum above and read about her tragic story).
December 30 – Ah Hoon, a comedian
(apparently to his regret, the chinese version of Don Rickles)
and member of the On Leong Tong, is killed in his home by rival Hip Song members.
1912. Mock Duck is convicted of running a policy game and sentenced to imprisonment at Sing Sing Prison.
1913. A peace agreement is signed, with the exception of the Four Brothers, ending the gang war between the On Leongs, Hip Sings, and the Kim Lan Wui Saw Tongs.
1918. Tong leader Mock Duck, upon his release from Sing Sing Prison retires from crime.
1924. The gang war between the On Leong and Hip Sing Tongs begins again after several members of the On Leongs defect to the Hip Sings with a large amount of money.
1941. Mock Duck dies in bed of natural causes.
“And as to sexual desire, my body’s need is satisfied by what comes first to hand.”
Antisthenes, from The Economist by Xenophon.
Today’s news from Thailand:
The Bangkok Post reports that a pregnant Thai women went into a Thai hospital, where the baby was successfully delivered. Unfortunately, about 5 days after the delivery it was discovered that a nurse mistakenly stitched up the woman’s anus. The stitches were then removed, the woman relieved and an investigation begun.
Today’s medical chart:
I am not sure if this chart was intended to be posted on the examination room wall or used as a reference for some psychologist.
In reading it over I realized that I have succeeded in accomplishing everything listed on the chart often multiple times, except for Jail Term (unless nights in the drunk tank count) and Pregnancy for which I am unqualified. I wonder if one adds up the score from this chart and it totals more than 1000 will he or she win something, like two weeks in the rest home of your choice or a years supply of Valium?
Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:
I spoke with Hayden for only the second time since he arrived in Sacramento. He sounded in good spirits. He was quite excited that, “Uncle Mask,” the owner of the house that he is living in, broke his ankle while walking the dogs. He also told me that he spends a lot of time picking his nose, but he hasn’t found any treasure yet.
The monsoon rains are still with us. They have honored us with their presence for the last three days, forcing me back into my apartment to watch reruns of old Simone Signoret movies on the french channel.
So far the responses to my request for advice on which work in progress I should begin with to send you as an attachment have been all over the lot. The irrepressible and always reliable eight ball in the corner pocket Shotz Man replied:
the petrillo email survey
Please mark by coloring red (BOLD) the selection(s) of which of the below you wish to be in effect
0 keep me on the list so that I may receive a copy of all of the petrillo emails.
0 keep me on the list so that I may receive all of the petrillo emails except the one’s asking for money.
0 keep me on the list for emails that contains only the tales of pookie;and maybe petey.
0 keep me off the list that contains gross descriptions of politicians, thai food, the man on the street, and fat german female tourists, fully closed or (worse) semi-nude.
0 keep me on the list for anything pornographic involving animals.
0 keep me on the list for anything about petrillo being arrested for being an american friend of the red shirts, or for that matter, shorts.
0 keep me off the list for anything that mentions “cuz I”, “irwin”, “schatzman”, or, “the master of written disguise”.
0 keep me off the list that contains an email from Nigeria asking for money.
Nevertheless, surprisingly I received strong support for beginning these attachments with excerpts from my political blog posts. My first attachment, therefore, is a discussion entitled “Populism and Fred Harris.” I originally published it back in April of this year. I thought it was the most polished and least controversial thing I could begin with.
I will follow that in my next email with some of the initial chapters of my mystery novel work in progress.
Populism and Fred Harris
This is my first attempt to write a diary for this venue. While I have made a living writing on behalf of my clients or for publication, it is normal for one to be timid and uncertain when attempting to enter a new arena and so it has been for me. After drafting and discarding several attempts to write what would appear to me to be a fitting and informative discussion, I turned to divert myself from escalating frustration by straightening out the papers that had accumulated over the years in various boxes and drawers. While doing so I discovered, The Fred Harris Campaign Handbook. It is probably the only remaining copy in existence.
For those not as old as me and for those who may have forgotten or missed it completely, Fred Harris briefly ran for President of the United States during the primaries of 1972 and 1976. In 1976, Jim Hightower was his national campaign manager and I was a volunteer on the California campaign tasked with preparing a handbook for his efforts in the California primary. The handbook was a collection of selections from the writings and speeches of Fred Harris arranged by topic so that campaign workers could respond to inquires about the candidate in his own words.
After rereading the contents of that long ago document from a now forgotten campaign, I realized how much of what Fred had to say remained relevant now despite the subsequent destruction of the historical American political consensus by the Californian and Texan presidential administrations. So I thought I would begin my diaries by examining some of the issues we face today in the light of what Fred Harris had to say about them 34 years ago.
But first a little about Fred Harris. Fred had been an US Senator from Oklahoma when that state still had a strong progressive populist tradition. Although he started out as a classic liberal, he eventually classified himself, and was in turn identified by the media, as a populist.
Populism deserves a diary of its own. It is a word often used in political discourse, but lacking a clear referent, is more a space filler than informative. For the purpose of this diary I believe it is probably sufficient to view Populism as a response by the populace of that time to specific perceived threats to their liberty and economic well-being. Beyond dealing with those threats populism has little more to say.
What differentiates populism from the more ideological based political philosophies such as liberal, conservative, progressive, reactionary and libertarian is just that, ideology. Populism usually focuses on the current threats and has no ideology beyond dealing with them. It freely borrows responses to those threats from the proscriptions suggested by the more ideological political movements without acknowledgment of their philosophical underpinnings.
There are I believe at least two main types of Populist that I shall call Liberal/Progressive Populists and Conservative/ Libertarian Populists. Liberal/Progressive Populists tend to see the immediate threats to be from government as well as other large organizations, usually corporations or financial institutions. They often believe that government shorn of its threatening aspects can and should control the ravenous appetites of the other institutions.The Conservative/Libertarian Populist sees the current threat emanating primarily from government alone and may be relieved by the elimination of those specific governmental activities they object to. Fred clearly was the former and not the latter.
Let’s turn then to what Fred had to say in 1976 regarding an issue recently front and center of the political debate, health care.
“If you step north of the Canadian border, you have free medical care. No deductibles or co-insurance, no limits on hospital stays or how many times you see your doctor. When that system went into effect twelve years ago, there were those who said the hospitals would be hopelessly overcrowded. Not so, as people are getting preventive care, and as they’re entitled to care without having to be sick enough to go to the hospital.
If you step back across that boundary to the south, you find in this country-the richest country in the world the best medical care in the world for rich people, and awfully sorry medical care for a lot of people. We rank seventeenth among nations in infant mortality, which is a euphemism that means, ‘Your baby’s dead’. We don’t have to put up with that.
We ought to have a universal health care system, paid for out of the federal treasury, rather than an insurance system that might be regressive. There should be much more emphasis on group medical practice and preventive care. And a great more emphasis on paramedical personnel.”
(Fred Harris Campaign Handbook)
“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” (citation unnecessary). It has been 34 years since Fred’s proposal and although we have gotten a pretty good start on health insurance reform, we are still awaiting health care reform.
Fred goes on, in the continuation of the above quote, to address the baleful influence of doctor dominated institutions on attempts to make fairer and more effective the delivery of health care in the United States. In 1976 health care, for good or ill, was controlled primarily by doctors or doctor dominated institutions. It was those institutions such as the AMA that successfully resisted health care reform at the time.
In 1976, the Reagan and Bush fire sale of American institutions to Wall Street, insurance companies, energy corporations and the defense industries had not yet begun but once started, it effectively wrested the United States health care system from the hands of doctors and other medical delivery personnel and placed it in the willing hands of accountants, investment advisors and bankers.
It is interesting to note that Obama’s strategy of allying with the doctor and medical community was probably a major factor in achieving the level of reform that was obtained with the passage of the recent health reform legislation.
My next post shall examine Fred’s positions on Wall Street, a subject that makes the blood of all true populists quicken.
(This article first appeared in Daily Kos April 24 2010)