July 2011 through September 2011

Third quarter 2011

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. September 28, 2011


48 percent of Congress members are millionaires while only 1 percent of all Americans are millionaires.
55 members of Congress have an average wealth of $10 million and 8 members have an average wealth of $100+ million.
During the worst part of the recession 2008-2009, the median wealth of a congressional member rose $125K.
The median wealth of a House member is $700,000+, while the median wealth for a senator was over $2 million.
5 of the 6 Republican members of the new Super Committee for the Budget are millionaires.

Most of these congressional millionaires are opposed to Obama’s millionaire’s tax proposal. Who still believes we elect our legislators to represent us?


Times are Hard: One of the law firms that I had been associated with puts out a newsletter for its in-house attorneys and alumni. Its latest edition listed 72 job listings for attorney’s around the country.


Recently, I had dinner with my friend Peter Grennel at Bacco’s an Italian restaurant in Noe Valley, a SF neighborhood in which I used to live and in which Peter still does. We spent much of the dinner discussing the pleasure we received from reading Naida West’s California trilogy. He also sadly informed me of the demise of the Noe Valley Mystery Book Store, a neighborhood institution. It, alas, lost its lease due to rising rents.

I travelled to Sacramento to a few days with Hayden. He seemed in good spirits and not as jumpy. That may be due somewhat to SWAC’s medications. She seemed much less frenzied than usual. She did not once express to me a need immediately to move to somewhere else or to complain about her incompatibility with her son. Nevertheless, upon my arrival she immediately departed for obviously more interesting environment than that afforded by a six-year-old.

I took Hayden to play in his first basketball game. He joined a team of six-year olds called the Warriors that play in a local community league. He had no concept of the sport. Before beginning the game, his coach told him to keep his hands in the air while guarding his man. He spent most of the game running back and forth up and down the court with his hands over his head. It appeared his favorite part of the game was falling on the floor and wrestling for a loose ball. I later found out the game was televised on the local public access system. The Warriors tied their opponents, a team of seven-year olds. Go Warriors!

Hayden and I also had dinner with my friends Norbert and Stevie and got the latest news about things coastal and California State politics. I learned that Peter Douglas has resigned as Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission for health reasons. My liberal conscience and my chthonic emotions are warring over the nature of any comments I may have, so I will make none.

After spending about 5 days in Sacramento, I returned to SF. I travelled by train from Sacramento to Emeryville where I caught a bus to take me across the Bay Bridge into The City. It was a pleasant trip.

San Francisco was enjoying that agreeable sunny weather that seems to exist only in The City, in which one could wear either a t-shirt without feeling cold or an over-coat without breaking into a sweat.

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


Chapter wherever we left off last:

Vince stared into Isabella’s eyes reflected in the make-up mirror.

“So,” he said slowly, “even if I were to agree with your dramatic conclusion, which I don’t, what could we do about it? It is the authors story after all.”

“We can try to change it,” she responded.

Vince broke out laughing with a laugh that was somewhere between mirth and nervousness.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said after finishing his show of feigned amusement. “It is the author’s story. The characters can do nothing about it. They only can play their part.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” she replied seriously. “Characters often make the story and the author respond to where the logic of his character leads. Even this author said that he was disappointed in his character Ike. He expected more of him.”

“I do not think that he ment quite what you think he ment, but,” he added thoughtfully, “I admit that I am intrigued somewhat by your suggestion. How do you propose we do this probably impossible thing.”

“Well, I do not really know for sure,” she said, “but we can start by after each scene you and I going over it to try to figure out what the hell is really is going on or what’s actually in the author’s mind, or even if he doesn’t know himself we can try to understand what could happen. We would be sort of like helping the Author along if you will…for our own benefit of course.”


a. I didn’t know that:

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach on to the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or “The Upper Crust”.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of ”Holding a Wake”.

b. The Difference Between a Traditional Conservative and a Modern Conservative:

A traditional conservative accepts that religious beliefs have no place in American government but morality does. The modern conservative insists that religious beliefs control governmental policies, but morality is optional.

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:
“As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”
Song of Solomon 2:3

Solomon you rascal!

d. What Adam Smith (considered by some as the “father” of Capitalism) Really Said:

“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations [Book V, Chapter II, Part II, Article 1, pp. 906-07 ]

My god! Was Adam Smith actually a socialist?

e. Profiles in Presidential Courage:

“I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, the faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith. For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man’s ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves.”
John F Kennedy

It is truly tragic that in the two decades after President Kennedy’s assassination the political approach to carry out these uplifting sentiments were altered by his own party to no longer indicate a commitment to society’s progress toward rough economic justice and fairness for all the nation’s citizens, but instead to require a restricted focus on identity politics directed to benefit only those who rightly or wrongly claimed to have not shared in the nation’s largesse. It became an approach directed at pitting the poor and the disadvantaged against the poor and disadvantaged along racial, ethnic, and gender lines while the privileged and secure sat by, clucking their tongues at brutish intransigence of those who had the most to lose.


“[T]he Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire.”
~ Obi-Wan Kenobe

“[W]e’re living in a Dark Age of macroeconomics.”
~ Paul Krugman

If Paul Krugman is Obi-wan Kenobi then Milton Friedman is Darth Vader. If then one considers Barak Obama as Luke Skywalker, then Milton Friedman would be Barak Obama’s father. That explains everything.


Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. September 23, 2011


A Child Shall Lead Them: Recently a 13-year-old boy has discovered a means of making solar cells 20 to 50 percent more efficient by altering the normal design for solar arrays to that of a spiral as found in the usual arrangement of branches in trees.


My last view of Bangkok as I winged away to return to the US was of the gathering clouds of the monsoon rains that quickly obscured the city below. The adventures of Princess LuckyGirl, Thaksin the Terrible, Cheeky Cherlerm and Abhsit the Unready have already begun to fade from my consciousness, as The Little Masseuse, who accompanied me to the airport, faded from my sight as I passed through security and customs into the boarding area.

I arrived in San Francisco last night at about 8pm and was pickedup by my daughter-in-law Anne and my grandson Anthony. The flight was remarkably unremarkable. I spent the time that I was not asleepwatching the video of the first 12 episodes of The Game of Thrones that I enjoyed very much. Like many others, I have read the novels over the years and became convinced the author has not the slightest idea about how he was going to resolve the many plot lines that he unleashed in his novels, a number of which seemed to just peter out. Like many of the aficionados of the work I was furious at his refusal to complete the set, promising to deliver the concluding book than failing to do so year after year until coterminous with production of the first book in the HBO mini-series, he published an over 1000 page tome, that I have not yet read but which I understand still does not tie everything up. I assume he hopes the mini-series lasts a decade or more.

First Impressions:

Sleeping: Last night I enjoyed a good sleep, on a soft bed, covered with a warm blanket and the windows open. In Thailand I sleep on a rock hard bed (as do most Thais) without covers (usually starkers) since the temperature in BKK even during the coldest part of the night rarely drops below 80 degrees and even the AC, if it exists and is working, rarely drops the temperature below 77. If I set the AC below that temperature, the Little Masseuse starts shivering and covering herself up with multiple blankets. When I explained that Americans prefer to sleep with the temperature in the high 60’s and in SF at least, I prefer it even cooler, she shuddered.

Dressing: Putting on more clothing than a light shirt and shorts (which, except for questions of modesty, in BKK is still too much clothing for me at least and I suspect most Westerners) was delightful.

English: Bernal Heights, San Francisco

English: Bernal Heights, San Francisco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walking: Today I walked the over six miles from Bernal Heights where I am staying to Downtown and then on to lunch in North Beach. I tell you this, not because I am proud of walking that far, but because the last time I was in the city I could not conceive of walking that far in one trip. It is one of the benefits of my exercise regime of the past two months that I can now spend hours doing something that a sensible human being would take minutes to do by riding in a car or a bus. I would never walk that far in BKK, first because it is too hot and second because Thais believe walking from place to place is a sign of low-class.

Banking: One purpose of my trip this morning was to get to my bank and withdraw my money before the Franchise Tax Board (California’s tax storm troopers) took it to pay my back taxes. Last time I was in the US and travelled to Italy I decided not to remove the pension funds the day of their deposit but to wait until I had returned to Italy. Sure enough, the FTB looted my account. This was especially bad for me since they effectively took my savings for the year as well.

Hats: The second purpose was to buy a Panama hat to replace the one destroyed by the little masseuse. She had complained that my existing Panama had begun to look and smell bad, a criticism I could somewhat agree with. So, one day while I was out, she decided to wash it in the washing machine and then scrub it with strong soap and a brush. When I returned she presented me with a mat of very clean Ecuadorian straw. When I complained that not only was I fond of the hat but that it was expensive, she replied, “Expensive maybe, but not very strong.”

Anyway, I had purchased that hat on Union Street during my last visit to the City. As I walked past the shop, the hat spoke to me, so I just had to go in and buy it no matter its impact on my budget. This morning I searched again for the shop and after I found it I told the shop girl, that I had travelled all the way here from Asia to replace the hat that spoke to me. She smiled, took my money and hustled me quickly out the door.

beatniks in the summer of 1969

beatniks in the summer of 1969 (Photo credit: Martin Pulaski)

Lunch: After banking and before buying my hat I walked to North Beach to eat lunch. For those unfamiliar with SF, North Beach is the so-called Italian neighborhood, home of overpriced generally mediocre italian restaurants and the ghosts of Beatniks past (Kerouac, Cassidy, Burroughs et al.) Two of my favorite places were closed. Franchetti’s which not only serves some of the best Southern Italian cooking in the area, but the husband and wife who run it and do the cooking came from a little town near Avellino in the mountains outside of Naples, not more than a mile from the town from which my grandfather emigrated. Panta Rai is the other restaurant. Its food, while acceptable, is not so good. What I like about the place, however, is that when I lived in the neighborhood, I got to know the waiters and owners. And, the owner always hired beautiful young Russian student waitresses who flirted with me. Also, I like to eat at the sidewalk tables since, as any italian knows, dining al fresco improves the taste of the food. In addition, the location ofthe place is at the Green St. and Columbus Street intersection, the busiest in the neighborhood. Another reasons why italians enjoy eating al fresco is that it is much more interesting to watch the world go by while eating, than simply sitting in a room with other diners burying their faces in the food.

Anyway, unfortunately, I ended up eating mediocre Spaghetti Bolognese at a sidewalk table at another near-by establishment.


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


Delayed because the author is busy traveling.


a. I Didn’t Know That:

In the old days in Europe, people cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight, then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: ”Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot, nine days old”.

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over they would hang up their bacon, to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “Bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around talking and “chew the fat”.

b. What Adam Smith (Considered by Some as the “Father” of Capitalism) Really Said:

“Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favor of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favor of the masters.”
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, [Book I, Chapter X, Part II, p. 164]

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“But it is dominion that we are after. Not just a voice.

It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.

It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.

It is dominion we are after.

World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less.”
D. James Kennedy one of the theological progenitors of Rick Perry’s fundamentalist brain trust.
d. The Difference Between a Traditional Conservative and a Modern Conservative:

A traditional conservative believes that government is necessary but that its costs and efficiency are what matters. A modern conservative believes government is the problem.

e. Today’s Screed:

Some of you who have read these posts (and although I write these primarily for my amusement, I am pleased some of you do) have wondered about my fixation with religion in my posts over the past few months, often quoting unsympathetically from the Good Book and modern christian divines and at other times posting tidbits about the notorious personal lives of various religious leaders throughout the ages. One reader asked if I were a communist atheist. Communist I will leave for another time, atheist, hardly.

To me atheism and religion both represent the same syndrome, a fixation on what they do not and never can know. The organizing principle of most religions are based not on any morality but on exclusion (I’m saved but you’re not), except for something like Buddhism who’s organizing principle seems to be “I don’t give a shit what you believe because it doesn’t matter anyway.” Atheists, although generally a fiercely independent and curmudgeonly bunch, are equally affected, especially when they get together, as we experienced in, say, Soviet Russia where they practiced merely a less virulent form of intolerance.

No, what fascinates me is the penchant of these religious elites to blithely ignore the horror of their own history and their so-called sacred writings in their mad rush to control (Dominion, if you must) the fruits of society.

I find it frighteningly amusing to observe, certainly in the case of modern fundamental christianity, their leaders alliance with capitalism and its ideology (Atheists appear to mostly prefer communism). Their goal seems to be to expropriate the fruits of liberal democracy and capitalism without having to participate in the risks of the market, work hard, increase productivity and all the other requirements of a free enterprise economy. The purpose of the religious élite has always been to secure for themselves a by on what the rest of us have to do to survive.

(Have you noticed the tendency among most politicians to ape the religious élite more than their industrial padrones. They, especially those of a conservative bent, frantically seek to make money without working, while at the same time their voices thrash with emotion in anger at some of those whose labor affords them this option to live on the dole, who instead, taking the pols and religious élite as role models, attempt to get something for nothing.

I say send them all into the tomato or cotton fields to work alongside some illegal aliens and learn something about real life. Lets have our own “great leap forward,” except that instead of sending our intellectual elites out to enjoy the pleasures of rural and industrial toil we send out our conservative religious and political brethren (and perhaps a few of those classical economists who argue with a straight face, unemployment does not exist). It could not have any worse impact on our economy than that inflicted on it by our own brand of parasites; the politicians, bankers, fundamentalist preachers, lawyers and economists.)
f. Trolley Test iii:

Now let us look at the 5 woebegone people on the track facing the onslaught of the out of control trolley car.

Would your answer to the questions in the last to posts be the same if those five people were:
1. Illegal aliens, Mexicans fleeing from the border patrol.
2. Nuns
3. Children between the ages of 3 and 8 years of age.
4. Ghetto teenagers decked out in their colors or whatever else it is that the use today.
5. Your children or other members of your family.

White obviously this test cannot be validly used for scientific analysis lacking controls, priming and the other techniques required by this type of scientific study, I have used it to explore my own biases and morals. I have found in my case not only do my morals and ethics sadly range from situational to essentially nonexistent, but that without a doubt I would be so fearful and indecisive that I know that I would be unable to act relegating 5 people to their certain death.

But what about the default option, the one that says these five people are somewhere they should not be, whether through intent, mistake or ill-fortune they should not be there so what happens to them is not my fault? I should feel neither guilt for their misfortune nor take it upon myself to weigh their lives against any other. If I was the motorman and could not stop, it is their problem and not mine to play God.

On the other hand what about if they were my children or family members? What then?


“Now the Jedi are all but extinct.”
~ Obi-Wan Kenobe


Rick Perry patron of illegal immigration?

Or, do immigrants work harder than indigenous white Americans? In the early part of the last century, a group of Italian immigrants in Louisiana, in the largest mass hanging in American history, were lynched because, in part, they were willing to work harder for lower wages than native rednecks. In this case, hanging them raised the cost of labor for employers, sort of like raising the minimum wage.

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. September 19, 2011


The US Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will cost more than $2 billion to repair the damage to the nation’s levees, dams and riverbanks caused by this year’s excessive flooding, a sum that dwarfs $150 million it currently has to make such repairs and that doesn’t account for damage from Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee.


1. Fair and Balanced Update: In my last post, I speculated about the reason behind the Media assault on the new Administration of Princess LuckyGirl as well as her party’s rapid implementation of some of its policies (especially on amnesty for Princess LuckyGirl‘s elder brother, the fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin the Terrible). I guessed it had something to do with possible  military co-option by the new government.

An article in today’s english language press (definitely not on the front page), reported that recent poll results showed an overwhelming majority (over 80%) of Thais opposed another military coup under any circumstances. In a related story, interviews, with a number of members of the military general staff have elicited the opinion from most of them that the previous military coup was a mistake and damaged the Thai economy. In still another associated story, the Yellow Shirts, the citizen group whose protests against the Thaksin associated government brought about the military coup and who strongly supported the Military’s war with Cambodia announced they intended to stay out of politics for a while.

It sounds as though the return of Thaksin the Terrible is imminent and people are beginning to line up to get on his good side.

2. Political Gibberish: Meanwhile, the man himself, Thaksin the Terrible, is spending a leisurely week in Cambodia, Thailand’s neighbor and recent opponent in a comic war over ownership of a temple in a disputed area along the countries’ border. He is there ostensibly to play golf and give a few lectures to a business conference. The newspapers published a photograph of him hugging “his good friend,” the prime minister of Cambodia, Thailand’s enemy only two months ago. When interviewed by the press during his sojourn and asked whether if he did return to Thailand would he reenter politics and assume the Prime Minister’s job, he responded with a string of political gibberish of which even I could make no sense.

3. Amnesty: It was also announced today, by the governmental agency responsible for making such announcements, that according to Thai law, anyone over 60 years of age convicted of a crime that requires incarceration for less than 3 years qualifies to petition the King for amnesty. Thaksin the Terrible, is 63 years old and has been sentenced to serve two years in prison.

Have we seen this movie before?


Although I remain mostly in bed treating my illness, I still must bustle about to prepare for my return to California on Wednesday, September 24. Regrettably, a lot of what I had hoped to get done before departure will not get done.

The flooding in Thailand moves ever closer to Bangkok and is expected to arrive in the next few days. Bangkok like New Orléans is a city located for the most part below sea level. In the next decade, as a result of rising sea levels and increased precipitation it will face its own city altering catastrophic floods like New Orléans did. But unlike New Orléans, allowed to flood for political reasons, Bangkok being the capital city will struggle to divert the onslaught of the waters through massive public-works projects already under weigh or in planning. Technical exchanges with Holland and other countries to try to address the problem have increased recently.

While the public-works projects will have a beneficial effect on the Thai economy, I am dubious about their efficacy given the area’s geography and the speed and extent of sea level rise and climate change. I would be surprised if by 2050 Bangkok as we know it will even exist. But, alas, I will undoubtedly not be around to experience the accuracy of my prediction.

While lying awake one night unable to sleep due to the aches and miseries associated with my current malady and unwilling to watch another Steven Seagal movie or Thai soap, I turned on my Mac and reread the “This and thats” that I have written over the past few months. Usually when I finish a post and send it out, I generally find myself embarrassed and disgusted with what I imagine is the poor grammar, infantile emotions, self-indulgence, foolish assertions and many other things contained in it. While my rereading of the posts did not disabuse me of those feelings, I have to admit I enjoyed looking through them again. I was especially amused coming across some of my long forgotten obsessions. For those of you who may have actually read them, you have my sympathy.


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


“What do you mean,” said the Vince character in response to Isabella’s expression of concern?

“Well, the way I see it, it is like your character said when we met at Ike’s house, what we have here is simply a third-rate business screw up, so what’s the big deal?”

“Go on,” Vince encouraged. “I still don’t see what you’re so concerned about.”

“These type of business failures and frauds happen every day, but people don’t go running around committing suicide, killing people or setting up fall guys.”

“Well, maybe the Brethren are publicity shy.”

“Maybe,” she continued. “But their involvement is easily dismissed publicly as only another case of some abused and defrauded investors. No, it is something more, something bigger that if it came out would threaten everything,”

“So, I still don’t see what you’re so upset about. This is a thriller. The author, if he knows what he is doing, would want a conspiracy, the bigger the better.”

“No, no that’s not it,” she exclaimed, her voice rising. “What’s our role, your role?”

“I’m the reluctant but courageous hero who after many harrowing adventures prevails over the forces of darkness,” he responds smugly. “And you, why you’re my doxy,” he adds with a smile and leans forward to peer more closely at his face in the makeup mirror.

“That would work,” she responds derisively, “if you knew something that threatens them, whoever they are, which you don’t. Or they think you know something, which you don’t . Or you could stumble over something which you won’t because everyone knows the only reason you were brought into this novel was to die.”


a. I Didn’t Know That:

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the floor of most homes was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “dirt poor.”

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a “thresh-hold.”

By the way, this common use of dirt and thresh flooring is also the reason why we in the West, unlike in the East, customarily remain wearing shoes when entering a house.

b. What Adam Smith (considered by some as the “father” of Capitalism) Really Said:

“When masters combine together in order to reduce the wages of their workmen, they commonly enter into a private bond or agreement, not to give more than a certain wage under a certain penalty. Were the workmen to enter into a contrary combination of the same kind, not to accept of a certain wage under a certain penalty, the law would punish them very severely; and if it dealt impartially, it would treat the masters in the same manner.”
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations [Book I, Chapter X, Part II, p. 164].

c. From God’s Mouth to Your Ears:

“… I believe God was waiting for the biblical government of the Church to come into place under apostles and prophets. But this happened in 2001, when, at least according to my estimates, the Second Apostolic Age began. What more? I now think that in order for us to be able to handle the wealth responsibly, we need to recognize, identify, affirm, and encourage the ministry of the apostles in the six non-Religion mountains. They may or may not want to use the term `apostle’ but they will function in Kingdom-based leadership roles characterized by supernaturally empowered wisdom and authority. We have more work to do here.”
C. Peter Wagner (an ardent Rick Perry supporter), The Reformers Pledge.

Is he implying that  George Bush’s election ushered in the Second Apostolic Age? Why that would make good old George the modern Moses! Poor George, he gets blamed for everything. Hmm, is there somewhere one can go to sign up for one of those apostleships?

d. Profiles in Presidential Courage:

“As for the other six and a half billions of the deficit we did not just spend money; we spent it for something. America got something for what we spent—conservation of human resources through CCC camps and through work relief; conservation of natural resources of water, soil and forest; billions for security and a better life. While many who criticize today were selling America short, we were investing in the future of America.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936.

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

The Hamer people in Ethiopia have a formal rite of passage for boys before they can formally marry. They must run naked over a row of cows four times. In the Brazilian Amazon, the Satere-Mawe tribe have a more painful–and dangerous–manhood ritual. Boys must wear a glove woven with bullet ants twenty times.

f. The Trolley Test II:

Let us assume that in the example given in my last post, instead of the option of switching to an alternative track to avoid the trolley killing the five people on the track, you are on a bridge above the track, beside you stands a fat man. You know that the fat man, if he fell on the tracks, would stop the trolley and save the five people. Would you throw him off?

Now right here I must stop and admit I have a problem. Describing this person as a “Fat” man would, because of my liberal leanings force me to hesitate while I examine whether or not my progressive values are offended by the stereotype, causing me, in true liberal fashion, to do nothing resulting in the inevitable death of five people.

Now in order to avoid the sticky emotional problem of physically touching the person you intend to kill, assume the fat man is suspended in a basket above the tracks to be released to fall upon the tracks and stop the Trolley by you pressing a button.

1. Would you press the button now?
2. Would your answer be the same if the person in the basket was:
a. Adolf Hitler (or if you need a person in being, say Moammar Gaddafi),
b. Mother Theresa or Albert Einstein (or, Suu Kyi),
c. Michelle Bachman, (or the Republican of your choice)
d. Barak Obama (or Michael Moore or some other liberal you find obnoxious)
e. A young pregnant woman,
f. A child or,
e. One of your close relatives or friends?
3. Would you throw yourself off that bridge instead of any one of the above?

“Everything we’re seeing [the current financial crisis] makes sense if you think of the right as representing the interests of rentiers, of creditors who have claims from the past — bonds, loans, cash — as opposed to people actually trying to make a living through producing stuff. Deflation is hell for workers and business owners, but it’s heaven for creditors.”


“You must unlearn what you have learned.”

Before and after September 11.

Do you think Osama bin Laden achieved his goal to destroy America’s economic might?

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by3Th. September 17, 2011


1. Small Not Only Is Not Beautiful, It May Be Illegal: The Australian Classification Board has banned several adult films from distribution because, in their opinion, although the actress’ were all over 18 years old their smaller breasts made them appear to be under 18.

2. Outsourcing For Dummies: The Project On Government Oversight found that the federal government pays private contractors on average 1.83 times more than it pays its own employees for the same work, according to the group’s study released yesterday.

Do you think the workers get the difference? Do defense industry and homeland security contractors argue for smaller government?

3. Honor Your Ancestors: If you are non-African, 1-6% of your genome is Neanderthal.


1. Fair and Balanced: A few days ago, the english language newspaper The Bangkok Post did something I had not seen it do during my entire time in visiting Thailand, irrespective or coup or calamity. It devoted its entire first page to an editorial. Of course anything deserving of such coverage would prompt someone like me who searches the news for bits of humor to read the entire editorial closely.

The editorial appeared intended to warn the nation that the administration of the newly elected government of Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl, that has been in power for all of two weeks or so, is leading the nation to perdition because its summary removal of the existing chief of police is a harbinger of how this government intends to operate.

Now, it was not questions of accuracy or significance that gave me pause after reading the editorial, but why now launch such a furious attack?

It could be, as proven by the Republican Party in the US, immediate and constant challenge to the newly elected party is good politics.

I, however, wondered if it was not something else. In examining the few actions of the newly elected government it is clear that in most cases they intend to act with dispatch in implementing certain policies (including allowing the fugitive ex-prime minister and Princess LuckyGirl‘s elder brother Thaksin the Terrible (3T) to return to Thailand) and replacing many of the prior governments holdovers with their own retainers. The sole exception appears to be the military, the army in particular. It was 3T‘s attempt to replace the existing command with his supporters that prompted the coup that ultimately removed him from office. This time it appears to be the policy to avoid any threat to the Army General Staff’s prerogatives until at least they retire in a year or two. As a result there has been very little grumbling heard from Army headquarters about the new administration.

Could the opposition, sensing reticence from the institution that brought them to power several times in the past few decades, be attempting to somehow strengthen the resolve of the Generals to oppose their old enemy, 3T by persuading them that strong public opposition to the new administration is building? Stay tuned. We should know where the Army stands as soon as it appears 3T may be granted amnesty. I cannot believe that 3T, before proceeding as vigorously as he has for amnesty in the near future, has not made some accommodation with the only institution that can bring him down. It would not be the first time in recent Thai history that the military has changed sides to protect their interests.

2. See You Later Crocodile: Due to the recent flooding, dozens of Crocodiles have escaped the Crocodile Farm near Pattaya, Thailand.


I have come down with the dreaded summer cold that has laid me up for a few days. As a result except for a dinner with the Bad David, I have remained generally close to home. This has forced me to watch the Star Movie Channel, (the only english language channel I have), another Murdoch venture, that shows some of worst movies made. The last few days they appear to holding a Steven Seagal festival. Seagal has put on a lot of weight since his early movies featuring him killing everything in sight. He still kills everything in sight, but now he has become a fat man to go with his fat head.

My Italian grandmother used to tell me that she thought heroes in American cinema were not heroes at all but psychotic serial killers. I responded that they were not, they were just Republicans. (OK, not all Republicans. Nevertheless you have to admit that most male cinema action heroes are proudly and publicly Republican. Democrat action heroes tend to be restricted to women and Matt Damon.)

Did you ever wonder why it is that in America a sex worker is not considered a good role model while the actors in these glorification of mayhem are looked upon as models of moral rectitude and suitable for elected office?

My grandma wondered about that also.


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


“Who are we,” the Isabella character exclaimed? “Or more accurately, why are we?”

“Huh,” the Vince character responded. “What are you talking about?”

“What are we doing in this story? It’s not about us at all.”

“Of course it is about us. We are the main protagonists.”

“Look at it this way. The story is about a business deal gone bad, not your or my emotional or physical reaction to it or even our involvement. We appear to be minor characters observing and not a party to whatever is going on.

“You mean like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet?”

“Sort of…and you know what happened to them?”

“They died.”

“That’s just it. I have the feeling we are being set up by the author, to be… well, removed.”


a. I Didn’t Know That:

Houses in Europe during the Middle Ages had thatched roofs, thick straw piled high, with no wood underneath. The roof was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slide and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

b. What Adam Smith Really Said:

Our merchants and master-manufacturers complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price, and thereby lessening the sale of their goods both at home and abroad. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.”
[Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations,Book I, Chapter IX, p. 113]

Actually what the merchant’s and master-manufacturers did do was to fund into being an entire profession called Economics to persuade you that their gains and profits are for your benefit.

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

Some of the milder and saner statements by Ministers featured in Rick Perry’s recent prayer extravaganza:

Democratic Party is controlled by a ‘demonic structure.'”

“Violent overthrow of the US government must remain ‘on the table.'”

“God is punishing the African-American community for supporting gay rights, reproductive freedom and the Democratic Party.”

Statue of Liberty is a “demonic idol” and that homosexuality is “a plot cooked up by the Illuminati to control the world’s population.”
d. Profiles in Presidential Courage:

Eisenhower Republican Administration before the Party went looney-toons:

From a Life Magazine article from 1954 where President Eisenhower’s top economists discussed their plans for a slowing economy. Here’s how they were thinking about dealing with it:

“Anti-depression planning by the Administration includes plenty of stop-gap measures just in case the experts prove wrong and the expected moderate decline turns into full-scale recession. On the shelf are $15 billion of public-works projects [that’s about $100 billion today] already blueprinted and approved by Congress, which can quickly be set in motion. Plans have been made to speed up state and local public-works projects, if need be by buying up their bond issues. The “tight money” policy, which has already been liberalized, would quickly be switched to fast expansion of credit by decreasing Federal Reserve margins, resuming the price-pegging of government bonds, and stimulating installment buying. Taxes would be cut still more, the building industry would get special inducements to expand. The Republicans say they will spend money faster than the New Deal if they have to.”

Do you mean the Obama stimulus program was really a Republican idea? Is Obama in fact an Eisenhower Republican in disguise?

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

“However, if acutely raised steroids were to persist for several weeks or even increase as volatility rises, they might have cognitive and behavioral consequences, specifically by shifting risk preferences or disturbing the neural basis for rational choice. Research into how this may happen is in its infancy, but recent work in neuroscience and economics has shown how various brain regions, such as the amygdala, the anterior insula, and the nucleus accumbens, encode decisions and behaviors that deviate from rational choice. It has been suggested that, if these brain regions are over-activated, then investors will display the irrational behavior often observed in real markets.”
“Endogenous Steroids and Financial Risk Taking on a London Trading Floor,”

Will this mean that neoclassical economists will now consent to replace the now discredited “rational market” theory with the “Testosterone Market” theory?

f. The Trolley Test I:

There is a standard experiment in psychological literature to test ones moral principles and it goes like this:

Assume you are a conductor of a trolley and you see five people on the track ahead of you but you know you will be unable to stop in time to avoid striking and killing them. Assume also that you can switch on to another track and avoid hitting them. Unfortunately, in this latter case you will strike and kill a single person.
1. What will you do?
2. Will your answer be the same if:
a. The individual on the track switched to is a women,
b. A child, or
c. Someone you know?
3. Did you really think you would be able to make this decision within the clearly short time you have to make it or will you be so paralyzed by this moral dilemma that you will be unable to decide, thus killing five people by your indecision.
4. Which decision would make you feel least guilty afterwards?

Note: I have varied the questions a bit from the standard experiment.


Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r meny, by 3Th. September 14, 2011


1941, September 1: Yellow Star: A decree, promulgated on this date, provided badges to be issued to Jews within Germany as well as occupied and incorporated Poland. This badge was the yellow Star of David with the word “Jude” (“Jew”) and worn on the left side of one’s chest.

Never again!


Guns or Deep Fried Insects: A few says ago the newly elected Prime Minister of Thailand, Princess LuckyGirl, spoke at a conference, regarding countries defense policies, attended by the students and faculty of the nation’s five élite military schools . She urged the conference to consider the country’s need for rural economic development and technological improvement to compete in the modern world. (She avoided any mention of her party’s policy to seek amnesty for her brother the deposed exiled fugitive ex-Prime Minister, Thaksin the Terrible.)

The students responded that what they really wanted was more guns and more modern armaments.

Free and Fair Elections: The english language newspapers in Thailand report that a number of political canvassers employed by losing candidates have fled the country in fear for their lives. It seems the losing candidates, seeking the return of the money paid to the canvassers to buy votes, have retained hit men to handle the collection.

What a concept! Losing candidates getting their money back from their campaign consultants.

The Public Trough: The current average pay for a university educated civil servant in Thailand is about US $300 a month. A proposal to raise it to US $500 a month is claimed would cause national economic calamity.

$300 a month pay for someone with a university education! The sex trade pays better. Did you know that Thailand has the best educated prostitutes in the world? That’s OK, I guess. The Sex trade in the US pays way better that teaching.

Either-Or: The opinion pages of the english language press in Thailand are criticizing the new administration, that has been authorized to begin operations about two weeks ago, for proceeding too quickly to carry out their agenda. Those same opinion pages and sometimes the same writers have also claimed that the new administration is proceeding too slowly in acting on their campaign pledges.

The newly elected Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl has been rumored to exclaim in frustration, “What’s a poor girl to do?

Cheeky Chalerm: The Deputy Thai Prime Minister, Chalerm, whose outspoken comments about people and policies delighted the Thai press corp, has been labeled by that same press as “impolite” for his outspokenness.

Did you ever wonder why, “Politeness,” is not a desirable trait in an American politician?


Anyone who has spent any significant time living in another culture eventually discovers that no matter how much they enjoy and love their adopted society and its people there remains a few things they cannot stand and can never understand about the alien culture in which they have chosen to live. Among the many of the latter I have found, is the tendency of the Thais to view the farang (foreigner) as little more than a mobile ATM. I know that the Thais are not unique in this and in fact this tendency is universal. Nevertheless, one seems always to expect that they are immune or at least resistant to it.

My special bane is Thai taxi drivers. It is not so much their attempts to gouge me that troubles me, but why it bothers me so much. After all, if a supposedly prestigious institution like the Bank of America can happily rip off a nation of homeowners, why would a poor Thai taxi driver barely making a minimum wage so infuriate me?

For example today, I had to go to the Thai immigration office to get a re-entry stamp added to my passport so that my visa would not lapse as a result of my upcoming visit to the US. After furiously negotiating with the Taxi driver over an exorbitant flat fee or use of the meter, I began to fuss and fume when I felt he was going the long way in order to increase the charges on the meter, the little Masseuse turned to me and asked, “Do you have to get there by a certain time?”

“No” I said.

“Then why are you giving yourself a headache?”

When I pointed out my concern about running up the fare she said, “Mai pen rai,” the Thai version of “be cool”. She explained the situation to the Taxi driver, who agreed to stop and let us out without paying. After a bit of a wait took another taxi.

Another trait of the Thais that has come to frustrate and annoy me is their refusal to admit to a foreigner that they do not know the directions to a place. Again, today’s trip to the immigration office required that we travel to the new Thai government center, at a place inconvenient to any public transit whatsoever. In my mania about Taxi fare gouging, I had come prepared with a map from the internet precisely showing the location of the building, among the many in the huge center, that the immigration office was situated in. The map also had a photograph of the building itself.

When we arrived at the center both the little Masseuse and the taxi driver insisted that the map was wrong and the driver proceeded drive to the opposite end of the center. Once there, we asked the guard if the building before us was the immigration office. The guard assured us it was. We got out of the Taxi and walked into the building. Security informed us that this in fact was not the immigration office but that it was located in the building next door. When we arrived at that building, it appeared to be a military installation. The guard at the gate said that it was not the immigration office either but directed us to a third building. At that building we were told that it also was not what we were looking for and the person we asked directed us with absolute assurance to another building altogether. Finally we located the motorbike station where one of the drivers claimed he knew what we were looking for. We rode on the back of the motorbikes all the way across the center to the building located precisely where indicated on the map and which I had pointed out from the taxi as we passed it on the tollway.

Now any of you who have read this far may wonder why I wrote all this. Well, actually this week is International Bitch and Moan (IBM) week. So feel free to expose your recent experiences with life’s minor annoyances on the social communications network of you choice.


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


New chapter:

“Yarggggghhhh!” screamed the Isabella character as she ran into the characters dressing room. “That’s it! That’s fucking it! That’s his idea of adding female characters, one bull dyke in a shrink-wrapped police uniform?…”


“Police, sheriff whatever. …And, one frozen popsicle French tart?”



“Belgian, she’s a Belgian, Walloon actually , French-speaking Belgians.”

“Who gives a shit, Belgian or loony, who cares? Is that the best he can do to add woman characters to the story? And he keeps adding fat men”

“Actually,” said the Vince character, “Big Flo is better described as husky, not fat.”

She looked at him and wrinkled up her nose as though something smelled bad, then grinned and asked, “Well, how was she?”


“The frozen French popsicle.”

“How should I know? First we were in bed. Then I wake up in her hotel room. Fiction authors do that you know, avoid describing the specific mechanics of the sex act itself… except for porn authors. Just once in my career in fiction, I would like my author to recount the simple give and take, so to speak, so that I can get to experience it. Maybe when you and I get to do it, he’ll do that.”

“Fat chance of that. I doubt if he knows himself. Besides, I am now your damned bodyguard not your bed mate.”

“Well, it could be like that movie where Costner plays the bodyguard to the singer and gets it on with her. Anyway, whats up? You seem out of sorts. Are you having your period?”

“Ohhh! that is such a man thing, always bringing that up to explain a woman’s moods.”

“Well,” he said grinning?

“How should I know? Most authors don’t write about that either, at least what the women really feels…only the jokes. …But something doesn’t add up” she continued.

“What do you mean?”


a. I didn’t know that:

Up until the 1500s or so in Europe, Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

b. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“Nearly half of Muslims in the US say that they think of themselves first as Muslims rather than Americans. Now that’s a problem. It’s not a problem when a Christian says that. For the Christian to say, “I am a Christian first and an American second,” that’s what we all ought to say. Our ultimate allegiance is not to country, not to the Constitution, it’s to God and the Scripture. If you have to make a choice between the two, we must obey God rather than man.

But when a Christian says, “I’m a Christian first and an American second,” the fact that he is a Christian first, he’s got devotion and allegiance to Jesus Christ means he’s going to be a better American. He’s going to be an asset to his country, he’s going to love his country, he’s going to become more fervent in his patriotism. His love for his country and for its traditions are going to deepen because those traditions are rooted in the soil of the Judeo-Christian tradition.”
Dominionist preacher Byron Fischer.

Wow! Should Muslim’s wear badges? Atheists? What about Jews, Catholics and Buddhists, can they be real Americans? It is so difficult knowing what to believe these days.

c. Testosterone Chronicles:

Then and now:


The following was sent by my grandson, Anthony, though Facebook. While I believe it is not original with him (Pac-Man was way before his time), I send it on because I think it is clever and because, alas, in his case I suspect it is true.

“Me, behave? Seriously? As a child I saw Tarzan almost naked, Cinderella arrived home after midnight, Pinocchio told lies, Aladdin was a thief, Batman drove over 200 miles an hour, Snow White lived in a house with 7 men, Popeye smoked a pipe and had tattoos, Pac-Man ran around to digital music while eating pills that enhanced his performance, and Shaggy and Scooby were mystery loving hippies that always had the munchies. The fault is not mine! “


I guess this edition of “This and that…” is a family affair. Today’s chart was provided by my daughter Jessica and pretty accurately graphically expresses how our economy got to where it is today:

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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


2010: The Arizona legislature passed a law mandating arrest and incarceration of suspected illegal aliens. The law was actually drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative business group that drafts “model” legislation on behalf of its corporate sponsors. The draft legislation in question was written for the private prison lobby, which sensed a growth opportunity in imprisoning more people.

Hooray for democracy. Prisons, the new American growth industry. I suspect soon people will be clamoring to get into prisons since they will be the only social safety net available for the previously middle class.


Dog days: In Indonesia, seven dogs starved of food and water for two weeks killed and ate their owner after he returned home from vacation.

Welcome home boss. Does this signal a paradigm shift from a, “Dog eat dog world” to a “Dog eat man” one?

Skytrain or cattle train: It seems that the ex-pat community in Bangkok is up in arms over the increased ridership and resulting overcrowding of their favorite transit choice for avoiding Bangkok traffic, the elevated light rail system that bisects the city. Some have even threatened to go back to riding in Taxis.

Oh, the hardship.

Fusion steak: A Thai company has introduced its first flagship fusion steak restaurant in Bangkok and plans to open 30 more.

What’s a “fusion steak?” Should I be pleased with this culinary event?

Red Curse: The Red Shirts plan to perform a rite that they believe will reverse the effects of a curse they made during the prior administration against the previous government and its leader Abhsit the Unready because it was not intended ” to curse this (current) government and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra” (Princess LuckyGirl).


It is early evening here in Bangkok as I write this while listening to the nightly monsoon storm raging over the city.

Preparing to leave to return to the US for a few months has affected me with a bad case of approach avoidance. I do not know if it is because I am beginning to find travel in general burdensome or because I am anxious about the unsettled nature of my plans when I arrive,

On a more positive note, next week both Bill and “The Bad David,” arrive in Bangkok for a few days. I look forward to visiting with them.


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


(chapter whatever continued)

“I doubt whether the firm is of great interest to the Feds. Oh, they may want some of the involved partners to testify, but I think they are after different game. Our attorney affectionately referred to as “The First” agrees. Oh, there may be some PR fallout but our PR firm, Cantor Associates should be able to handle it. My bigger problem is the impact of the cost of all this on the firm’s finances…that and the fact that I have been informed that I am in some sort of physical danger.”

“What sort of physical danger,” said Arabella leaning closer across the table?

“Oh, are you concerned about my personal welfare?”

“We can discuss my personal interests later, right now I want to know everything you can tell me.”


The following morning Vince awoke with Arabella standing by the bed fully dressed and gripping the handle of her roll-abroad suitcase.

“I have to run to catch my flight,” she said. “You can sleep in until check out time. The room is paid for.”

Rising on one elbow he said, “ah, I enjoyed last night and did…”

“Yes, I enjoyed it too. And if you are wondering how you were,” she said with a smile. “Well, not as good as our pool boy in Nice, but relative to some of your partners, their ego’s are bigger than their penises.”

“Well, thanks. I guess you were pretty good yourself.”

“Yes,” she said with a wink. “Your ego is much smaller than theirs” she added as she strode out the door followed by the pillow Vince flung after her.


a. I didn’t know that:

In the 1500s in Europe, most people got married in June, because they took their yearly bath in May and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were just beginning to stink, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

b. What Adam Smith really said:

“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”
[Adam Smith. The wealth of Nations, Book III, Chapter IV, p. 444]

c. Profiles of Presidential Courage:

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
President Eisenhower, 1954.

I am sorry Ike, but their numbers are no longer negligible. They have taken over your Party.

d. Welfare reform:
2 trillion dollars in Federal Government debt can be eliminated by throwing many of today’s welfare queens off the public dole. Here’s how:

By cutting the following welfare benefits the Federal Government can reduce its debt burden by two trillion dollars by 2015 and get those welfare queens out of the public trough. (I bet you did not know that you were paying for these.)
1. End Oil and Big Gas Tax Breaks.
2011-2015 savings: $80 billion (Taxpayers for Common Sense).
Large Oil Companies have made almost $855 billion in profits in the past decade. There is no need to give such a profitable industry a tax break. The tax breaks do not increase energy supply.

2. End Deferral of Taxes on Income of U.S.-Controlled Corporations Abroad
2011-2015 savings: $199 billion (Citizen for Tax Justice estimate).
Encourages off-shoring of work and capital.

3. End Accelerated Depreciation on Equipment
2011-2015 savings: $141 billion (CTJ estimate).
Accelerated depreciation can result in a very low, or even negative, tax rate on profits from a particular investment.

4. End Deduction for Domestic Manufacturing
2011-2015 savings: $76.7 billion (CTJ estimate).
Provides virtually no benefit to the economy and is blatant corporate welfare.

5. End Last-In, First-Out Accounting (LIFO)
2011-2015 savings: $24.2 billion (CTJ estimate).
Corporations use LIFO to hide their true profits.

6. Cut Subsidies to Agribusiness
2011-2020 savings: $52 billion (Taxpayers for Common Sense).
Small farms are disappearing while agri-business racks up huge profits—with corporate welfare support.

7. Permit Government to Negotiate Drug Prices for Medicare.
Savings 2012-2021: $157.9 billion. (Congressional Progressive Caucus).
Barring government involvement is an indirect corporate subsidy.

8. End Tax Breaks For Drug Companies.
2011-2020 savings: $50 billion (estimated based on figures from Rep. Jerrold Nadler).
Stops a $5 billion-a year annual tax break for direct-to-consumer advertising. We should pay for drug companies to market to us?

9. Enact A Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee.
2012-2021 Savings: $70.9 billion (Congressional Progressive Caucus).
Imposed on largest banks as a repayment of corporate welfare extended via bank bailouts for financial crisis precipitated by banks.

10. Enact a Derivatives and Speculation Tax.
2012-2022 savings: $650 billion (Congressional Progressive Caucus).
Wall Street receives indirect corporate welfare/subsidies via a regulatory system and infrastructure investment for which it pays virtually nothing. A very tiny transactions tax will end the corporate welfare.

11. Cut Military Budget
2011-2020 Savings: $550 billion (Sustainable Defense Task Force).
According to the Task Force, weapons research, development, and procurement activities…“now routinely cost taxpayers over $200 billion a year. Procurement costs are up 110% in real terms since 2000. Setting aside war-related expenditures, DoD “peacetime” spending on research, development, and procurement has increased 75% in real terms.” These cuts focus only on the Task Force’s suggested cuts that reasonably have a “corporate welfare” component, primarily weapons systems that don’t work and/or aren’t needed to fight an enemy that does not exist.


“Do we believe the whole elite of science is in a conspiracy? At some point in the development of a scientific truth, contrarians risk becoming flat earthers.”
Jeremy Grantham


(Hmm, the blue line on the chart alas, can probably double as Obama’s job approval ratings.)

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3 Th. September 8,2011


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


2008: The US Federal Reserve in its efforts to stave off a depression during 2008s financial crisis, loaned $1.2 trillion to an assortment of US and foreign banks, an amount “more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the US for the decade through 2010.”

Interestingly, that $1.2 trillion according to Bloomberg, is “about the same amount US homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages.” Nevertheless, it’s the “Wall Street aristocracy,” as Bloomberg labels them in a bit of welcome class warfare, that got the massive bailouts.

Mama, don’t let your children grow up to be cowboys, tell them to become bankers instead.


a. Chief of Police – Musical Chairs: It seems the existing Secretary General of the National Security Council who is due to be replaced by the disgraced Chief of Police, himself superseded by an ex in-law of the fugitive ex Prime Minister of Thailand, Thaksin the Terrible, is furious at this turn of events. As well he should be since he in turn will be transferred to an “inactive position.” in the office of the new Prime Minister, who herself is the younger sister of Thaksin the Terrible. The inactive position apparently is one in which one gets paid but has nothing to do. The soon to be replaced Secretary General said that he would prefer to be transferred to the position of permanent secretary of another ministry so that he would have something to do beside coming into the office now and then to collect his pay check. Princess LuckyGirl‘s Deputy said that it would be inappropriate for the Secretary General to be transferred into an “active” position in the new government, since before he became Secretary General he was in charge of the agency responsible for putting members of the party of the new government in jail.

Members of the opposition party including Abhsit the Unready, the recently defeated Prime Minister but still head of his party, said it was unfair to hold the Secretary General’s prior position against him since he was, “Only doing his job.”

Princess LuckyGirl, upon hearing about the soon to be transferred ministers threat indicated that she would be open to meeting with him if she could spare the time from her busy schedule of running the country. She added that, in any event transfers of officials are the responsibility of the appropriate cabinet secretaries. The next day the cabinet met and transferred the disgruntled bureaucrat anyway.

It should be noted that the incoming Chief of Police has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University in the US.

I hope this now ends this whole sordid business.

b. Red Comedians: Yoswaris Chuklom also known as red comedian Jeng Dokjic was made assistant secretary to the Interior Ministry.

I do not know what this means, but I guess everyone could use a good laugh now and then.

c. Passport follies: The United Kingdom which recently privatized its passport and visa offices world-wide no longer provides passport renewals for its citizens in Thailand and other countries.

Hooray for privatization.

d. Gambling with the story: Given the brouhaha over illegal gambling, one of the recipients of my “This and that…” posts has pointed out that during the period when the predecessor of Princess LuckyGirl‘s party was in power, before it was removed by judicial decision or coup, I do not remember which, the prime minister at the time, who was not Princess LuckyGirl‘s elder brother Thaksin the Terrible (3T) proposed legalization of gambling, (restricting the number of casino’s in BKK to five). He announced that he intends to give the Thai people their right to gamble if it is the last thing he did. Gambling was not legalized. He soon died of cancer.

Rumor has it the casino’s were to be awarded to 3T or friends of 3T or relatives or whatever.

e. Red Villages: The newspapers report that several hundred “red villages,” villages populated by “Red Shirt” members have been created in Northern Thailand.

What does this mean? Are they like new subdivisions? Why would anyone move there?


The afternoon Monsoon rains still drench the country flooding much of it.

During the Monsoon season, a series of low pressure areas stabilize just north of Thailand and I guess most of South Asia. The lows act on the atmosphere like lower elevation does on water. The warm wet air from the Indian ocean flows over South Asia toward the low pressure areas and drops its moisture as it rises into the mountains. Climate change models conflict as to whether we will see increased rains or movement of the stationary lows producing increasing drought. I suspect seasonal variation simply will be accentuated with more precipitation from the warmer ocean evaporation during the Monsoons and even greater heat and less rainfall during the dry season in the interior.

I continue to plan to come back to the US at the end of this month. It seems that my return through Italy and the East Coast has been cancelled, so I will fly directly from Bangkok to either LA or SF. I have no idea where I will be staying since I have not been made a party to Hayden’s schedule.


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


Conjecture,” Vince opined. “It is all conjecture. I do not know if I was asked to return because of any perceived abilities I may have or some more nefarious reasons. I have heard both theories. And, while I admit the latter is probably more reasonable, I haven’t the slights idea what the nefarious plot could be — although there have been several bizarre alternatives seriously suggested. For example, does this all have something to do with the reason Sam took his life and his wife died in what to some is a suspicious accident? Or, does it have something to do with “Red Star” or a shadowy group referred to as “The Brethren?”

“Red Star, “interjected The Great One. “That’s the little fraud Sam and the management committee pulled on the rest of the partners, that I and others were furious about and why I tried to get the lot of them thrown out and a new committee elected, but then you came along and simply dispensed with the existing committee. A lot of us believe that you were brought aboard simply to stifle our little rebellion.”

“Do you?”

“Well, to some extent. Not in so many words or even consciously. Let’s face it Vince, you may see yourself as spokesmen for the downtrodden and talk a good game, but no one knows if you have any administrative skills whatsoever. You remind me a bit of Hamlet. You cannot act unless you are sure beyond a doubt.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence. But even Hamlet once he was sure, acted decisively.”

“Yes, and everyone died. That’s what worries me.” She hesitated a moment then continued, “But, Red Star, is there more there than just stealing some profits from the other partners? There’s a rumor that the Federal Government is investigating.”


a. Where did that come from?

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery. If you had to do this to survive you were “PISS POOR,” but worse than that were the really poor folk, who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot, they “DIDN’T HAVE A POT TO PISS IN” and were the lowest of the low.
The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

b. Department of, “I could not resist passing this on”:

It was reported last week by the Military Times that Marines are no longer allowed to fart in Afghanistan, as this is considered very offensive by the Afghan people.

For those of you interested in gaseous digestive residue, attached is one of America’s founding fathers’ take on the matter:

“Permit me then humbly to propose one of that sort for your consideration, and through you, if you approve it, for the serious Enquiry of learned Physicians, Chemists, etc. of this enlightened Age.

“It is universally well known, That in digesting our common Food, there is created or produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great Quantity of Wind.

“That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the Atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid Smell that accompanies it.

“That all well-bred People therefore, to avoid giving such Offence, forcibly restrain the Efforts of Nature to discharge that Wind.

“That so retained contrary to Nature, it not only gives frequently great present Pain, but occasions future Disease, such as habitual Cholics, Ruptures, Tympanies, &c., often destructive of the Constitution, & sometimes of Life itself.

“Were it not for the odiously Offensive smell accompanying such Escapes, polite People would probably be under no more Restraint in discharging such Wind in Company, than they are spitting, or in blowing their Noses.

“My Prize Question therefore should be, To discover some Drug wholesome and not disagreeable, to be mixed with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the Natural Discharges, of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreeable as Perfumes.

“That this is not a chimerical Project, and altogether impossible, may appear from these Considerations. That we already have some Knowledge of Means capable of Varying that Smell. He that dines on stale Flesh, especially with much addition of Onions, shall be able to afford a Stink that no Company can tolerate; while he that has lived for some Time on Vegetables only, shall have that Breath so pure as to be insensible to the most delicate Noses; and if he can manage so as to avoid the Report, he may any where give Vent to his Griefs, unnoticed. But as there are many to whom an entire Vegetable Diet would be inconvenient, and as a little Quick-Lime thrown into a Jakes will correct the amazing Quantity of fetid air arising from the vast mass of putrid Matter contained in such Places, and render it rather pleasing to the Smell, who knows but that a little Powder of Lime (or some other thing equivalent) taken in our Food, or perhaps a Glass of Limewater drank at Dinner, may have the same Effect on the Air produced in and issuing from our Bowels? This is worth the Experiment.

“Certain it is also that we have the Power of changing by slight Means the Smell of another Discharge, that of our Water. A few Stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreeable Odour; and a Pill of Turpentine no bigger than a Pea, shall bestow on it the pleasing Smell of Violets. And why should it be thought more impossible in Nature, to find Means of making a Perfume of our Wind than of our Water?

“For the Encouragement of this Enquiry (from the immortal Honour to be reasonably expected by the Inventor), let it be reasonably considered of how small Importance of Mankind, or to how small a Part of Mankind have been useful those Discoveries in Science that have heretofore made Philosophers famous. Are there twenty Men in Europe at this Day, the happier, or even the easier, for any Knowledge they have picked out of Aristotle? What comfort can the Vortices of Descartes give to a Man who has Whirlwinds in his Bowels? The Knowledge of Newton’s Mutual Attraction of the Particles of Matter, can it afford Ease to him who is racked by their mutual Repulsion, and the cruel Distensions it occasions? The Pleasure arising to a few Philosophers, from seeing, a few Times in their Life, the Threads of Light untwisted, and separated by the Newtonian Prism into seven Colours, can it be compared with the Ease and Comfort every Man living might feel seven times a Day, by discharging freely the Wind from his Bowels? Especially if it be converted into a Perfume: For the Pleasures of one Sense being little inferior to those of another, instead of pleasing the Sight he might delight the Smell of those about him, & make Numbers happy, which to a benevolent Mind must afford infinite Satisfaction. The generous Soul, who now endeavours to find out whether the Friends he entertains like best Claret or Burgundy, Champagne or Madeira, would then enquire also whether they chose Musk or Lilly, Rose or Bergamot, and provide accordingly. And surely such a Liberty of Expressing one’s Scent-iments , and pleasing one another, is of infinitely more Importance to human Happiness than that Liberty of the Press, or of abusing one another, which the English are so ready to fight & die for.

“In short, this Invention, if compleated, would be, as Bacon expresses it, bringing Philosophy home to Men’s Business and Bosoms. And I cannot but conclude, that in Comparison therewith, for universal and continual Utility, the Science of the Philosophers abovementioned, even with the Addition, Gentlemen, of your “Figure quelconque” and the Figures inscribed in it, are, all together, scarcely worth a FARThing.”

Ben Franklin, presentation to the Royal Collage.

c. What Adam Smith really said:

“The government of an exclusive company of merchants is, perhaps, the worst of all governments for any country whatever.”
Adam Smith. The Wealth of Nations Book IV, Chapter VII, Part II, p. 615]

d. Testosterone Chronicles:

“A few years of big profits from risky derivative bets drove Wall Street traders crazy from testosterone poisoning. So it’s not really alpha males who blew up the global economy, it’s just a bunch of guys who overdosed on naturally produced steroids.”
Andrew Leonard, How Testosterone Poisoning Wrecked the Economy, SALON 5/19/2009.


Barbara Stanwyck: “We’re both rotten!”

Fred MacMurray: “Yeah – only you’re a little more rotten.”
Double Indemnity (1944)


Is God punishing Texas? It’s about time.

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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


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


2011: Since 9/11, the expensive and time-consuming screening now routine for passengers at US airport boarding gates has detected plenty of knives, loaded guns and other contraband, but it has never identified a terrorist who was about to board a plane.

Also since 2002, 75 billion dollars per year has been spent on domestic security, setting up sophisticated radio networks, upgrading emergency medical response equipment, installing surveillance cameras and bomb-proof walls, and outfitting airport screeners to detect an ever-evolving list of mobile explosives. Over 32 billion dollars alone have been spent in Homeland Security grants, much on Hollywood-style tactical gear, often with little or no connection between risk and outlay . During that time 14 Americans have died in about three dozen instances of Islāmic extremist terrorist plots targeted at the US, outside war zones — most of them involving one or two home-grown plotters.

So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?

Gay muslims

Gay muslims (Photo credit: hebedesign)

It has been estimated that the number of people worldwide, outside of war zones, killed by Muslim-type terrorists is basically the same number of those who die in a bathtub each year.

Shouldn’t we also spend 75 billion dollars per year to improve bathtub safety? Is someone less dead from a fall in a bathtub than being shot by a Muslim or shot by an irate husband for that matter. Of course if we don’t stop the Muslims they will soon kill us all and take away our freedoms, while bathtubs are just that, bathtubs. But, what about irate husbands?

Hmm, I think if I could choose, my first choice would be to be shot by an irate husband, in second place to die in the bathtub. Clearly my least favorite way to die of the three is to be shot by a Muslim. So I guess there you have it, I support spending 75 billion taxpayer dollars a year to protect me from being shot by a Muslim, but not a penny to protect me from irate husbands or to fix my defective bathtub.


1. Cabinet meetings: The Bangkok Post reported that Princess Luckygirl, the newly elected Prime Minister of Thailand runs her cabinet meetings like a corporate board meeting. She requires the cabinet ministers to make the presentations themselves and answer questions without assistance of their staff; allows no additions to the agenda  that have not been accepted into the agenda more that 4 hours before the meeting; and once an agenda item is completed, allows no revisiting of the issue. Apparently this has cut cabinet meeting time in half.

2. Chief of Police: The new administration asked the holdover national chief of police  to resign after it was revealed that illegal gambling casinos and other illegal and immoral activities, some actually operated by the police themselves, were occurring in the nation’s capital city, Bangkok right under the nose of the current chief. The discredited police chief is to be punished by appointment as permanent Secretary of the nation’s Tourism Department (sounds reasonable). His replacement is reported to be the ex husband of a cousin to the wife of the deposed fugitive prime minister Thaksin the Terrible. The new appointee’s only experience outside of family politics seems to be as an officer in the police internal affairs unit.

The reaction of the opposition to this has been swift and consists of two salient points. The first, posed in the english language newspapers, claims that it is unfair to fire the existing chief on the assumption that he must have known of the illegal activities since the new administration supervising the police must have known about it also and did nothing about it. Unfortunately for this argument, the new government has actually been in office for only about a week.

The second argument posits that if they are going to replace an experienced officer like the present chief if should be someone with more experience than an ex in law to the deposed Prime Minister. This argument has been put forth by several commentators including the defeated prime minister Abhsit the Unready. Unfortunately for Abhsit, when he appointed the now disgraced (but soon to be rehabilitated as tourism chief), chief of police about a year ago, he was asked what experience his chosen candidate had that recommended him for the post over any other candidate, he acknowledged that he did not know of any.

3. Chief of Police Update: Since I wrote 2 above (yesterday) the Current chief of Police has sent a letter to Prime Minister Princess Luckygirl resigning as police chief and requesting a transfer to the position of, Secretary-general of National Security Council and not as the permanent secretary of the Department of Tourism as I previously reported. (Wow! how’s that for falling on your feet?). In his resignation letter he stated that he was doing this of his own free will and has not been forced to seek the transfer.

Princess Luckygirl’s Deputy, commenting on replacement of the current police chief with deposed fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin the Terrible’s ex-wife’s elder brother (not as I reported above the ex-husband or the wife’s cousin — it is difficult to keep all these family relationships straight) stated, “Police General Wichean (the departing chief) looks like an academic, while a drunk can get sober just by looking at Police General Priewpan (the anointed chief). So who do you think I should use?”
This comment is all the more confusing when one realizes that existing chief is short and stocky, looking like he could stand in for Edward G. Robinson while the anointed one looks like the second coming of Mr. Rogers.

So, what do you think this all means?


A kathoey dancing

A kathoey dancing (Photo credit: thaths)

4. DODT Thailand Style: The Defense Ministry is expected to formally change the term for transsexuals and transvestite (Katoey in Thailand) in conscription records from “permanent mental disorder” to “gender identity disorder.” Also, a Thai court recently prohibited applying the term “mental illness” to a Katoey who has not yet had a sex change operation, because the judge reasoned he could still come to his senses and change his mind. After a sex change operation, since a change of heart is proscribed, a Katoey can still be referred to as “mentally ill.”


Delayed because the onset of the monsoon rains has flooded Pookie with ennui.

However, I have decided to use this space to introduce the replacement for the next few posts of the “Eponymous Laws” section of “Pepe’s Potpourri” with “Where did that Come From?” a history of some common english phrases and idioms.

I am ending the Eponymous Laws section because I have run out of E-laws for which I had a smarmy, smug response that I self-righteously assumed would amuse everyone as much as they amused me.

The new section was prompted by a listing of interesting, I guess they could be called, etymologies, recently sent to me by one of the recipients of these posts who I sometimes refer to herein as Density. Now and then, I have also received similar items from others, especially Ruth.

Now some may wonder why, if I thought they were so good, I did not simply forward them en-masse instead of dribbling them out one by one over several months. Well, I thought about doing that, but then I recalled that my fiend Cordt sent me a listing of Groucho’s greatest bon-mots that I forwarded on to all and more as one does in this e-mail age, (soon, if it hasn’t already, to be replaced by the social networking age). I realized I was dissatisfied with that and recognized a benefit (slight though it may be) to limited character communication. When one has only to review one item, one must first decide to read it. Then if one so decides and actually reads it one usually attempts to understand it. And if one understands it one must decide whether one agrees with it or not and finally whether one likes it at all.

In the case of a list of items one usually skims them all looking for which one likes the best, making simple entertainment the highest quality recognized.

In other words, I was unhappy with my lesser level of influence over the reader’s attention provided by the list approach.

With that as an introduction, I can now get to the initial item.

But first a word about Groucho. Now I know it may sound unbelievable to many of you but for those under 40 years old, Groucho Marx may be virtually forgotten and I doubt if any of my grand children reading this have any idea who he is.

Well, to me Groucho Marx is the greatest philosopher of the 20th Century.

“Wait a minute,” some of you may exclaim. “Groucho was a comedian, not a philosopher.”

To which, by way of response, I direct your attention the Greeks of classical antiquity. To these progenitors of many “Western” cultural and intellectual beliefs, comedy and tragedy were just two ways of expressing truth. In the radical dualism of which the ancient Greeks were so fond, humanity’s experience was of only two types; either all your hopes and dreams turn to shit or, if you survive, they still are shit but you can laugh at them. There is nothing more in the cards for humanity except terminal boredom.

Before Groucho, the worlds greatest comedian was Machiavelli, who I have sometimes quoted in these posts. Before him, in my opinion the world’s greatest comedian was Socrates. Plato was a fascist jerk and Aristotle a woolly headed liberal.

Now some of you may say whoa,” Aristotle a liberal?” “How can that be, over the years some of the most autocratic people and institutions (like the Catholic Church) relied upon Aristotle to crush the human spirit?

As Leo Rosten said, “A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they’re dead.” There is nothing so liberal that a few centuries later a conservative could not find useful to beat away challenges to his prerequisites. For example nearly 50 years after Marx, that arch-conservative Lenin saw in Communism something with which he could beat up a group of doddering superstitious autocrats and take over their empire (and while he was at it crushing the inept liberal Mensheviks along the way). Later Stalin had Trotsky killed to make sure Marx received the same treatment that Spencer gave Darwin.

Why do modern conservatives reject Darwinism when Spencer and his “survival of the fittest” did so much to make him their favorite scientist through most of the last century? I guess they found God. He is after all the ultimate survivor. As one supporter of conservative causes has written, “Jesus was against the minimum wage,” and the Bible “absolutely condemned” the estate tax, and opposed the progressive income tax also. This, of course, leads me back to Groucho and his immortal line, “I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll make an exception.”

On to Density 1.

There is an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch, London , which used to have a gallows adjacent to it. Prisoners were taken to the gallows (after a fair trial of course) to be hanged

The horse-drawn dray, carting the prisoner, was accompanied by an armed guard, who would stop the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if he would like ”ONE LAST DRINK.”

If he said YES, it was referred to as ONE FOR THE ROAD.

If he declined, that prisoner was ON THE WAGON.

So there you go… More bleeding history.


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


Also delayed due to the above mentioned deluge of lethargy.


a. Where did that come from?

Please see above, “Pookie’s Adventures in Thailand.” For those of you who waded through all that above, I have a bonus story told to me by Ruth Galanter. It comes from Australia, so let’s put some ‘strine’ on the barbie, shall we?

It seems that at some point the inmates of the penal colony that was Australia decided that they wanted to improve their image in the world so that they would no longer appear to be what they were, criminals. They discovered that it was fashionable in certain circles to adopt the appearance of being civilized to cover the rough edges, so to speak. They decided that this was a good idea and they would do so too.

The first thing civilized thing they did was to start killing the aboriginal inhabitants that they were sharing their country with or driving them off the land that they, the civilizers, wanted for themselves. The second civilized thing they did was for a few of them to become as rich as Midas by destroying as much or the land as they could and where necessary killing anyone who stood in the way. The third civilized thing they introduced was gambling venues at which these new rich could flaunt their money. Since gambling casinos were considered immoral at the time, the most civilized gambling activity they could consider was horse racing.

Soon a lot of money was spent to find the fastest horse of them all so that someone could boast that he owned it. At one time that horse was named Favor.

Now, there is a comb or brush used to remove tangles or burrs from a horses coat. It is called a currying comb or brush. Now I assume at the time people were lined up for the chance to brush the famous horse much like groupies lined up at a Rolling Stone concert for a chance to be shagged by Keith Richards. And that’s were we get the expression to “Curry Favor.” ——- No. to brush the horse, not get shagged by Keith Richards, that’s called something else.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

Remember, if you have to ask, “Who won the class war?” the correct answer is, “Not you.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land — of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ. It is to reinstitute the authority of God’s Word as supreme over all judgments, over all legislation, over all declarations, constitutions, and confederations.”
D. James Kennedy, “Changing Of The Guard”

I bet Jimmy never bathed his goat in mother’s milk.

d. Testosterone Chronicles:

Men don’t read fiction — men account for less than 20 percent of all fiction sales.

What is worse in the last decade 1 in 4 people in the US have not read a book at all.

Yes but, LMAO.


“Things that Really Matter in 2011 and Beyond (in one person’s view) for Investments and Real Life
Resources running out, putting strong but intermittent pressure on commodity prices
Global warming causing destabilized weather patterns, adding to agricultural price pressures
Declining American educational standards relative to competitors
Extraordinary income disparities and a lack of progress of American hourly wages
Everything else.”
Jeremy Grantham former Chairman and now Chief Investment Strategist of Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo (GMO), which has more than US $107 billion in assets under management as of December 2009.


Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. August 30, 2011


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


1 Million BC: A homo erectus skull from Daka, Ethiopia, from this time was identified in 2001 as an ancestor to all modern humans.

As Hayden asked me after I tried to explain things like this, “Was this before or after God died?”


Political quotes of the day:

a. Thaksin the Terrible: The deposed fugitive ex-prime minister, inching ever closed to his Thai homeland, said from his hotel in Japan, “I have no immediate plan to return to my country.”

b. Abhist the Unready: The defeated former Prime Minister of Thailand in speaking about the spread of “red villages”, villages set up by supporters of the current government, declared, “It is not necessary to divide the Thai people in this manner.” Moments later in objecting to the proposed review of the Constitution by the new government he exclaimed, “The group against this may be ready to take to the streets again.”

c. Yingluck, Princess LuckyGirl: The newly elected Prime Minister, sister of Thaksin the Terrible and opponent of Abhist the Unready was heard to mumble, “My Government is determined to rebuild solidarity and national reconciliation.”

She generally says that and little else in answer to any question.


1967 U.S. postage stamp honoring Henry David T...

1967 U.S. postage stamp honoring Henry David Thoreau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Henry David Thoreau decided that it would be a good thing to take Horace Greeley‘s advice to, “Go West Young Man.” However, our Henry being the imaginative sort decided that instead of fording rivers, climbing mountains and crossing deserts to get to some fabulous place like California, to confine his westward migration to a few mile walk from his home to his cabin on the shores of a small nearby lake. There he was able to spend his mornings allowing his mind to wander as it will and be back home for lunch. It the afternoon he would return to his not so remote and not so rustic cabin and further indulge himself in the conceit that his perceptions of the natural world around his retreat revealed to his mind and imagination all of the wonders that others experience in old Californy or wherever.

After about a year or so, tiring of the rigors of the remote country life, Henry then took a rowboat trip up the stream affectionately called the Connecticut River and dreamed he was traveling down the Mississippi. Among his other adventures, our Henry travelled for a while in remote Cape Cod where he met a man who had seen George Washington riding his horse and recalled something or other about the attractiveness of George’s leg.

Now I write this, not to make fun of Henry, but as an explanation as to why I have always viewed him as a role model. Day dreams can be adventures too.

My tale of my morning walk to through my Bangkok neighborhood to the health club and back is intended to elicit similar transcendental impressions as old Henry experienced in his New England perambulations. Alas, I am not Henry. I cannot write as well as he, nor are my impressions as…well transcendental. (Henry during his boat trip marveled at the humanity of a man standing on a bridge as his boat passed under, spitting in our Henry’s face.) In fact as often as not, I can find nothing particularly interesting memorable or romantic about what I see, hear or otherwise experience. Sometimes a dirty, boring street is just that, a dirty boring street.

So it is with Today’s Photograph which shows, well, a dirty boring street. It is the street that I turn  on to after leaving my cul-de-sac and before arriving at Soi Nana, the neighborhood main drag. There are two hotels and a cement wall that comprise the visual horizon and little else. The man with the blue shirt standing on the right, (or another similarly attired) is always there, day or night. I haven’t the slightest idea why. Sometimes a motorbike, or taxi or the Boss Suites Tuk-tuk goes by. Now and then a ying (young woman) who works nearby passes, going to or from work; outside of that nothing.

Oh once I saw an injured bird hopping about on the street. I did not touch it since I have an aversion to touching small living things other than dogs and cats and some humans. Large animals I have no aversion to and can be persuaded to touch a horse or even an elephant. Other large animals are ok too except bears. I am pathologically afraid of bears. I did touch one however, once.

I was walking along one of the seedier parts of Istanbul when a couple of Russian Gypsies came along leading a bear on a rope that led to a ring in the bear’s nose. I was allowed, for a price, to pet the bear. I paid and did so. It made me sad. The sight of the creäture who so terrorized my nighttime dreams as the personification of arbitrary and unlimited power reduced to such a state repulsed me. I still have terrifying dreams of ursine ravening. I used to run away as the beast bursts from shadows, but now I turn and apologise for the ring and the rope.


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


He sat in a small booth with a tiny table in the darkened dinning room of the outrageously expensive restaurant waiting for the Great One, Arrogant Bella to arrive. He wondered if any of the other diners or any of the wait staff was one of the “agents” that Russel promised would provide him protection. “What a joke,” he thought. He still could not believe Russel’s warning. He wondered is Isabella was on the job too, lurking somewhere outside or in the shadows. It was all so grotesquely absurd he though and began to chuckle to himself when he became aware of Arabella La Grande’s entrance into the restaurant and purposeful stride toward his table. Tall and slender with a gallic nose and short mannish hair just beginning to become dusted with grey, she wore a dark business suit with a skirt and a white ruffled blouse. He began to rise, but she curtly motioned him to remain seating.

“It is good to see you again Vincent,” she said while smartly snapping oped the napkin and placed it on her lap.

“I’m as well as can be expected under the circumstances,” he responded. “How are you, and how is Alec?” Alec being Arabella’s husband.

She looked at him for what seemed like a long time with those expressionless grey eyes of hers and finally said, “I’m fine. He is fine. Everyone is fine. But I am not here to talk about domestic bliss.”

“I expected as much. So why are you here?” Vince said through clenched teeth.

“Ah, good,” she said. “Let’s order first and then get down to it shall we. I am famished.”

“Good idea,” he said, “but if you’re hungry, this is not the place, the portions are too small for even a mouse to feel full.”

She smiled frostily and examined the menu.

After ordering and the arrival of the first glass of wine, he leaned back in his booth and said to her, “So?”

She leaned forward her eyes boring into his. “How are you doing, Vince?”

He cocked an eyebrow.

“No,” she responded to his expression. “I am not interested in you emotional well-being,” she continued with an almost girlish giggle. “How, and more to the point what are you doing with the firm? You know I was the logical choice to succeed Sam.”

She hesitated awaiting his response, but Vince knew this game and remained silent. She continued, “You’re a bright guy Vince, we all know that , but you are neither a manager or leader. Why you? No, one on the management committee is talking. They refer me to David. All David tells me is that, under the circumstances they thought you would do a good job. That’s Bullshit.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Vince interjected.

“Ha,” she laughed. “You know what I mean. Something is going on and I need to know what it is. I have my own career to think of.”
(To be continued)


a. Eponymous laws:

Zipf’s law — In linguistics, the observation that the frequency of use of the nth most frequently used word in any natural language is approximately inversely proportional to n, or, more simply, that a few words are used very often, but many or most are used rarely. Named after George Kingsley Zipf (1902–1950), whose statistical work research led to the observation.

In other words, all languages end up only with the equivalent to the english word “fuck”. Zipf this George; get a life.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“As with most essential freedoms, preventing those who wish to curtail the fundamental rights of others is a more important role of government than encouraging the exercise of those rights. Exercising our rights are our individual jobs, protecting us from those who would abridge our rights is the duty we collectively give to government. If “government is not the guarantor of Freedom then it is a tyranny.

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“Now what do you do? What do all of us do? We get ready to take dominion! We get ready to take dominion! It is all going to be ours–I’m talking about all of it. Everything that you would say is a good part of the secular world. Every means of communication, the news, the television, the radio, the cinema, the arts, the government, the finance–it’s going to be ours! God’s going to give it to His people. We should prepare to reign and rule with Jesus Christ.”
Pat Robertson

d. Profiles in Presidential Courage and Traitors to their Class:

1. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936

“Let me warn you and let me warn the nation against the smooth evasion that says ‘of course we believe these things. We believe in Social Security, we believe in work for the unemployed, we believe in saving homes, cross our hearts and hope to die. We believe in all these things but we do not like the way the present administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us, we will do all of them, we will do more of them, we will do them better and most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything,'”

What has changed in 70 years except the scope of the danger?

2. From Warren Buffett, Another Traitor to his Class:

“Let’s just say, Charlie, that you and I agreed that after we left the studio here we were going to go out to a track near here and I was going to get at one end with my car and you were going to get at the other end and there’s this line down the middle and whichever one flinches loses his net worth to the other guy. Do you want to play?
Whether you want to play depends on how crazy you think I am….So what do we do?
Right as the engines start I throw out my steering wheel. Now you believe me, right?
Well, Boehner didn’t throw out the steering wheel, McConnell didn’t throw out the steering wheel, but a group behind them said, “Throw out the steering wheel, Mr. Speaker, and make those people realize that we’re not going to agree to anything unless we get our way.”
And if you have a sane person dealing with somebody that you feel may be insane by that point when they throw out the steering wheel you feel they’re insane.”
e. Testosterone Chronicles:

“Testosterone may therefore underlie a financial variant of the ‘winner’ effect, in which a previous win in the markets leads to… increased (and eventually irrational) risk taking in the next round of trading. This effect, even if confined to a small number of people, could cause financial markets to deviate from the predictions of rational choice theory.”
Taken from a study entitled, “Endogenous Steroids and Financial Risk Taking…” by Coates and Herbert.

Participation in high-reward, high-stress occupations like derivatives trading warps your brain chemistry. People with unbalanced brain chemistry make bad decisions. Every time Wall Street bubbles over, it becomes a factory for producing hopped-up-on-steroids madmen who think they are chasing woolly mammoths, but are actually stabbing themselves in the kidneys.


“…Vicksburg is the key. Here is the Red River, which will supply the Confederacy with cattle and corn to feed their armies. There are the Arkansas and White Rivers which can supply cattle and hogs by the thousand. From Vicksburg these supplies can be distributed by rail all over the Confederacy….Let us get Vicksburg and all that country is ours. The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pockets….”
A. Lincoln

Another profile in presidential courage.


“I don’t need bodyguards. I’m from the South Bronx.”
Al Pacino



Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. August 28, 2011


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


2011: Asia accounts for over 60% of the world population with almost 3.8 billion people. China and India together have about 40 percent.


1. The Adventures of Thaksin the Terrible: Recently during his trip to Japan that has caused a major political row, the exiled fugitive ex Prime Minister of Thailand and brother of the newly elected Prime Minister announced that he had no immediate plans to return to Thailand. “I want to relax and enjoy my life,” he said. Of his involvement in his sister’s new administration he did however acknowledge, “If they need any advice, they just call me.”

2. Division of Labor in Thailand: If it does not require a uniform or  operation of heavy machinery, it is woman’s work.

3. The New Government Takes Over: Under Thai law a newly elected government cannot officially take over until it has presented its plan for governing to the legislature. Usually this plan is little more than the warmed over platitudes and its presentation as uncontroversial as raising the debt limit has been in the United States. But perhaps taking a page from the Republican Party’s political book that nothing is so inconsequential as to become and opportunity to hold the nation at ransom in an effort to bring down the opposition party, the opposition Democrats used the presentation to turn the initial act of the new government into turmoil. However, unlike the supine Democratic Party in the United States, newly installed Pheu Thai Party, fought back and ultimately terminated debate when things appeared to be getting out of hand. The press was upset.


Upon leaving my apartment and the cul-de-sac on which it sits and continuing my daily morning walk to and from the health club, I often pass by local residents going about their business. Today’s Photograph below shows a group of local children playing, as they do the world over, in the mostly traffic free streets of cul-de-sacs. Ok I admit it is more a dead-end street than the refined little stub streets ending in circles that grace the traditional American subdivision to which the marketing departments of the development industry has given it its Frenchified name, so sue me.

Anyway, the photograph shows a very ornate gate shielding one of the few private homes that still exist in Bangkok’s built up urban areas. To the left of the gate and behind the wall shielding the building are two aviaries containing several large raucous birds. Thais seem to prefer birds as pets to the cats and dogs we so famously coddle in the West.

The cinder-block wall with the green plastic sheet on top at the extreme right of the photograph, shields a dozen or so corrugated metal two-story windowless shacks in which, I guess, live the Cambodian and Burmese workers on  construction of the high-rise condominiums steadily marching down the sois from Sukhumvit. I assume the shacks do not have running water because I noticed that in the compound there are two large cement containers separate from the shacks into which water runs and at which I have seen residents bathing and washing clothing.

In the evening some of the residents stand on the steps to the second floor of the shacks smoking, talking or just looking off into the distance. The little masseuse has warned me not to stare at them as I walk by because it could elicit a challenge.

I always wondered about that when I was growing up in my own US East Coast version of a slum. To look someone in the eyes as you passed usually got you a, “Who you looking at?” challenge forcing you either to apologize, run away or accept the challenge. Why the hell couldn’t you look at someone? I thought looking someone in the eye communicated trustworthiness, honesty or blatant fraud. As Naida describes in her wonderful books the Native Americans of California believed it impolite to look directly at someone when speaking to them, which got a lot of them killed. I guess a lot of cultures, especially among the poor have that taboo.

Anyway when as a young boy or teenager when challenged that way I was always too frightened to simply say something clever in response, concerned it would cause the confrontation to escalate. Apology was out of the question since it usually only encouraged them to become more aggressive. I could not run away for fear of embarrassment and that I would be too slow to make a successful escape. And just standing there seemed stupid. So I usually moved toward my challenger preferring to take my thrashing sooner rather than later. To my surprise more often than not that would cause my antagonist to begin talking and my fear if immediate doom would dissipate. But not always, sometimes I would get my ass kicked.

See, this is what I mean when I said in my previous “This and that…” simply the mundane of ones every day surroundings can lead to splendid voyages of the imagination or pitiful reminisces. Here, I just travelled back in time to the terrors of my youth in the slums of New York and I had not even reached the end of the cul-de-sac or the dead-end, whatever.

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


This post has gotten too long so I decided to skip this issue of “Red Star”.


a. Eponymous laws:

Wike’s law of low odd primes — “If the number of experimental treatments is a low odd prime number, then the experimental design is unbalanced and partially confounded.” (Wike, 1973, pp. 192-193).

Wow! That’s good to know. Thank you.

b. From God‘s Mouth to your ears:


Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were three sets of commandments that God supposedly gave to Moses:

A) The first time Moses came down from Mount Sinai with commandments, he merely recited a list (Exodus 20:2-17), which is the version most churches today erroneously call the “Ten Commandments,” although they were not engraved on stone tablets and not called “the ten commandments.”

B) The first set of stone tablets was given to Moses at a subsequent trip up the mountain (Exodus 31:18). In this story, Moses petulantly destroyed those tablets when he saw the people worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:19).

C) So he went back for a replacement. God told Moses: “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” (Exodus 34:1) Here is what was on the replacement tablets (from Exodus 34:14-26):

1) Thou shalt worship no other God.
2) Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
3) The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep.
4) Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
5) Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks.
6) Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the Lord God.
7) Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
8) Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning.
9) The first of the firstfruits of thy land shalt thou bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
10) Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

Keep this in mind next time you are tempted to boil a goat. This list differs, obviously, from the one in Exodus 20 (was God’s memory faulty?), but it is only this list that is called the “Ten Commandments”: “And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” (Exodus 34:28)

c. Testosterone Chronicles:

Recent psychological studies have shown that threats to ones manhood causes significant anxiety in men. On the other hand these same studies indicate that women couldn’t care less if their gender is threatened.


“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” 
– Nassim Taleb



Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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