October 2011 through December 2011

Fourth quarter 2011

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3Th. November 29, 2011

“The super-rich have not paid their dues to society in recent years, and more and more of us now know it. The average personal income tax rate on the wealthy was far lower than that paid by middle-income earners. In emerging markets, capital gains and withholding tax on dividends are tax-exempt. In other words, the new breed of super-rich paid no personal tax.”
Hassan Heikal, The “super-rich” chief executive of EFG Hermes, the premier investment bank in the Middle East.(See Hassan Heikal’s Proposal, below.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. Fox News Viewers:

Fox News viewers are less informed than people who don’t watch any news, according to a new poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University. This isn’t the first study that has found that Fox News viewers more misinformed in comparison to others. Last year, a study from the University of Maryland found that Fox News viewers were more likely to believe false information about politics.

2. First Century AD:

a. Public baths were a fundamental part of Roman culture and daily life. At the end of the workday, men of all ages and social classes would convene at the local baths to converse, discuss business, and relax. The baths also provided areas to exercise and plays sports as well as buy food.

b. Despite the extreme violence, gladiator fighting was one of the most popular forms of public entertainment in first century Rome. While most gladiators were criminals, slaves, or prisoners or war, successful contestants usually achieved great fame and fortune. These men in armor who battled wild animals and other human challengers for sport were celebrated in frescoes and mosaics throughout the Roman world.

c. Like gladiator contests, chariot racing was a dangerous and bloody sport that often resulted in the death of drivers or horses. But that only made the event more popular. Almost 200,000 devoted fans would come out to watch the chariot races that took place in Circus Maximus, considered the oldest stadium in Rome.

3. Today (Who is our enemy?):

Counterfeit electronic parts, installed on military equipment manufactured by Boeing, L-3, and Raytheon, are currently in use on aircraft flying missions in Afghan combat zones.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

It is good to return to a place where the politics are real; that is simply corrupt and self-serving and the fate of the world does not hang on anything they do or not do.

Contrast this with the situation in the US where the fate of the world may really impacted by what we do or do not do. Here we have a half-crazed Australian media mogul and a few fat so-called pundits (who failed at every job they ever previously attempted), trying to persuade a large number of Americans that they would be better off if their nation were lead by the least informed criminally insane person who could be persuaded to appear on a television series that could be entitled, “I may be dumb but not as much as you.” On the other hand, the only alternative to this is represented by a group with the political acumen and moral fortitude of a dying grasshopper. Presiding over this we have a leader whose primary claim to fame is that he appears much tougher on thugs in foreign lands, than on those domestic thugs running free about a mile up Pennsylvania Avenue from where he currently resides.

Compare this with the following:

While attending a formal affair, the home of a former governmental minister was attacked by a fairly large gang, who tied-up the domestic help and robbed the of money in the ministers bedroom. They seemed to know where the money was located and took nothing else of value. The minister claimed that he had been robbed of 1.5 million dollars. When some of the thieves were arrested they were found to have on them 6 million dollars taken from the ministers house. When asked about this, the minister responded that he did not know he had so much. It was later learned that perhaps up to 30 million had been stolen. Also, the robbers had told the domestic staff as they were tying them up that they were sent by their “Boss,” to retrieve the money paid to the minister that was supposed to be used to bribe other officials but had not been so used. Later information surfaced that the minister’s associates recently had been busy buying several homes in a posh section of London.

The new government has announced that they will look into the matter. The police have announced that the arrest of the remaining thieves is imminent.

It is expected that except perhaps for the thieves themselves, no one will be prosecuted, the police will retain most of whatever funds are recovered and the whole matter will soon disappear from the news, if it has not done so already.

Now that’s politics as it should be.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have returned to Bangkok after a long uneventful flight. The movies offered were especially uninteresting and I could not sleep so I spent a lot of time prowling around the cabin, locking myself in the lavatory experimenting with the various scents and lotions they have in there while staring at myself in the mirror and sitting watching the little airplane crawl slowly across the map on the tiny television screen supplied with my seat.

After I arrived, I went to my apartment in a taxi driven by a retired police officer with a married daughter living somewhere in Sacramento. At my apartment, I napped until the Little Masseuse arrived and administered to my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

The following morning, I received a shock. The tiny restaurant that I used to spend most of my time in eating various meals and playing with my computer is no longer in operation. It has been sold to an uncommunicative Thai who removed the WiFi as well as the American menu. I went instead to the place I often eat my dinner and had breakfast. The restaurant is on the first floor of what appears to be a short-time hotel and inexpensive guest house. In the evening the small outdoor bar is tended by two attractive ladyboys. Although free wi-fi internet connection is provided, no electrical outlets are apparent in the dining room, so my internet adventures are limited to my computer’s battery life.

After breakfast, I returned to my apartment, took a nap and waited there because the Little Masseuse gets off work at 3 PM. The next day I went to the health club and swam for about an hour. I was pretty much blissfully unaware of actually swimming. It felt like I was stoned.

On my last day in SF, I left my son Jason’s house where I had been staying, hugged my granddaughter Amanda and went to have an early dinner with Peter Grennel at Coppola’s restaurant on the first floor of the building on Columbus Avenue that houses his Zoetrope Studios and drank a liter of house red wine from his vineyard in the Napa Valley, shared a pretty good anti-pasta and ate an excellent interpretation of spaghetti Carbonaro. As usual Peter and I engaged in a thoroughly delightful and humorous conversation about the various pleasures of growing old.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Something about fans and fecal matter:

Vince arrived at the building that housed the same expensive, dark restaurant that he had brought LaGrande to. He had a more that vague hope that the evening would end much as that one did. He was early and a bit nervous. He checked around the street to see if he could spot his various shadows. He could not, but he assumed they were there. Somehow tonight that comforted him.

As he rode up in the elevator he tried to piece together how he was implementing his strategy but gave up before arriving at the floor upon which the restaurant was located, admitting to himself that he hadn’t the slightest idea what he was doing. He was ok with that.

He asked the maitre’d to be seated at the table in the darkened corner of the dining room, barely visible to the other diners. Although it was a little too near the doors to the kitchen, he felt that its remoteness was more romantic. He waited fidgeting with his tie, the napkin and the utensils. He ordered a glass of 2004 Cakebread Chardonnay and waited some more, sipping the wine instead of playing with the place settings. He began to sweat.

At exactly the precise moment they agreed upon, Isabella emerged from the elevator and swept across the floor toward him. She was wearing a bias cut simmering silver mini dress. It appeared as though someone had taken a bolt of the material and draped it from one shoulder, under the other arm leaving that shoulder bare and back to where it began. The lower edge of the strip of fabric dipped to mid-thigh on the same side as the bare shoulder and swept upward passing no more than two inches bellow her crotch before continuing half way up the opposite hip then dropping down again to barely cover her rump and returning to the partially covered thigh. It was ever so slightly loose along her waist but low and tight like spandex across her mostly exposed and bulging breasts and her ample hips. She carried a smallish purse in the same fabric on a strap slung over one shoulder. Her stiletto heels were the same color of the double strand of black pearls that gleamed darkly from around her neck. She looked like nothing else that the most beautiful bar girl imaginable inhabiting the dives of Bangkok.

As she neared her table Vince got an enormous boner forcing him to rise from his seat only part way and shake her hand slightly bent over. He was embarrassed as he sat down again. She assumed the seat opposite him, a slight smile on her face but the same calm expressionless eyes as always.

As she settled in, never taking her eyes from his, she said, “Just what the fuck do you think you are doing.” (To be continued.)

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

A. The Newtster as seen through a Conservative’s eyes:

Conservative columnist George Will on Sunday roundly criticized Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as “the classic rental politician.”

“Gingrich’s is an amazingly efficient candidacy in that it embodies everything that is disagreeable about modern Washington. He’s the classic rental politician,” Will said during a roundtable discussion on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.”

B. The Republican candidate excluded from the flavor of the week debates because he is too sane comments on the Occupy movement:

“They look different, they smell different. The Occupy movement is a little scruffy, but I can remember scruffy kids that turned the nation around on civil rights. I can remember scruffy kids that turned America around on the Vietnam War, We ought to listen to these kids.”
Buddy Roemer. We ought to listen to Buddy also.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

VACUUM DECAY

If the Earth exists in a region of space known as a false vacuüm, it could collapse into a lower-energy state at any point. This collapse would grow at the speed of light and our atoms would not hold together in the ensuing wave of intense energy — everything would be torn apart.

Danger sign: There would be no signs. It could happen half way through this…

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

“It shouldn’t be surprising that the Democratic Party of even President Obama’s re=election team  would campaign against Wall Street in his cycle. However the bigger concern should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies – and might start running against them too.

Well known Wall Street companies stand at the nexus of were OWS protestors and the Tea Party overlap on angered populism. Both the radical left and the radical right are channelling broader frustration about the state of the economy and share a mutual anger over TARP and other perceived bailouts. The combination has the potential to be explosive later in the year when media reports cover the next round of bonuses and contrast it with stories of millions of Americans making do with less this Christmas”

Memo from DC lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranfor (which has had close ties with John Boehner) written to the American Bankers Association proposing an ambitious project to monitor and undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as sympathetic politicians. (In fairness to the Bankers they rejected the proposal. However, whether they rejected the proposal because they disagree with it or because its contents were publicly revealed is not yet clear.)

Holy cow, imagine if OWS and the Tea Party realize they have same enemy, not just government but who it is that effectively controls government as well. The enemy of Wall Street is not Socialism, it is Populism.

It is interesting to note, instead of suggesting that because millions of Americans are suffering, perhaps good PR if not common sense or simple morality would argue they go light on the bonus crap, they [the authors of the proposal] decide on a holy war to sabotage populist anger. Why would they believe the Bankers would even contemplate such a proposal? How did this happen? See Moyers speech below.

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s speech to Citizens United:

“How did this happen?

You know the story, because it begins the very same year that you began your public advocacy and I began my public journalism. 1971 was a seminal year.

On March 29 of that year, Ralph Nader bought ads in 13 publications and sent out letters asking people if they would invest their talents, skills, and yes, their lives, in working for the public interest. The seed sprouted swiftly that spring: By the end of May over 60,000 Americans responded, and Public Citizen was born.

But something else was also happening. Five months later, on August 23, 1971, a corporate lawyer named Lewis Powell – a board member of the death-dealing tobacco giant Philip Morris and a future Justice of the United States Supreme Court – sent a confidential memorandum to his friends at the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. We look back on it now as a call to arms for class war waged from the top down.

… Powell imagined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a council of war. Since business executives had “little stomach for hard-nose contest with their critics” and “little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical debate,” they should create new think tanks, legal foundations, and front groups of every stripe. It would take years, but these groups could, he said, be aligned into a united front (that) would only come about through “careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and united organizations.”

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the new American Lexicon):

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

What this means is blame it on the lawyers, but not those lawyers who represent Wall Street or large corporations since, of course, nothing they do is “frivolous,” but only those attorney’s who take on cases of ordinary citizens suing Wall Street or large corporations because as we all know, unlike Wall Street and large corporations, anything the ordinary citizen does that may adversely affect those corporations is frivolous, probably dishonest and socialist.

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

In an analysis of the range of findings of the emotional differences between men and women in situations that could affect social decision-making (some of which I have included in precious posts), the authors opine that on the whole, women seem more empathetic and more focused on the collective good. This is broadly consistent with the suggestion by at least one of the researchers that women are more likely than men to base moral decision on a care orientation, whereas men gravitate more towards principles.

This is why I previously wrote:

“For at least 10,000 years or so virtually every political system, economic system and religion has been designed by men for men. There is no natural or divine law that requires any of these structures be designed in the way that they have been. During those same 10,000 years every justification of those structures have been developed by men to benefit men.”Trenz Pruca’s Journal.

Would it not now be appropriate for men to just step aside and turn the whole sorry mess we have made of things over to women? I doubt very much that they could do worse than we men have.

f. Barry Goldwater, American, tells it like it is:

“I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?

And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.”
~Barry Goldwater

g. Hassan Heikal’s Proposal:

“We should impose a one-off global wealth tax of ten to 20 per cent on individuals with a net worth in excess of $10m, with tax receipts going to their country of citizenship.
The aggregate wealth of those individuals — that is those with net worth in excess of $10m — is approximately $50,000bn. Paradoxically they — or I should say, “we” — represent fewer than one in 10,000 of the world’s population.

The global proceeds of what I call the “Tahrir Square tax” would be, if levied at 10 per cent, approximately $5,000bn. Europe should receive $1,500bn, more than enough to deal with the European public debt crisis. It would bring down eurozone public debt, excluding that of Germany and France, to below 50 per cent of gross domestic product.[emphasis added]”

h. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

It has been pointed out to me that recently my politically oriented comments appear to have been one-sided and that in fairness I should balance out my opinions by attacks on the other side. Now despite my experience that people who urge that are usually those who refuse to give and inch on their side of the argument and hope you will be foolish enough to do what they propose. Sadly, in the political realm, the Democrats, like Charlie Brown and the football, always seem to fall for it. Since I have been accused of being a Liberal and a slavish supporter of the Democratic Party, to appease the critics I will fall for it too.

I promise:

1. when the Democrats decide, at the behest of the media, to stage a series of debates, ostensibly to identify who is qualified to occupy the most powerful office in the world, and then the best they can do is to parade a group of ignorant clowns before the public week after week to the horror of even the most ardent but thoughtful conservative and who weekly embarrass themselves and this nation before the world, I will devote all my time to ridiculing them and not once mention the “other Party” for as long as they are at it.

2. were the Democrats as a group actually to begin to unite behind the ravings of some ideologues [as the GOP has with Norquist and the like] and hold the Country hostage [like the GOP did twice most recently as a result their anti-tax pledge], until say, a dictatorship of the proletariat was established, I promise I would be equally upset and attack them without let-up even if someone accuses me of blind partisanship.

3. should the majority of the Democrats in Congress as well as those running for the Presidency of the US believe that some religious group or groups have some God-granted right to control their votes in Congress or the actions and policies of the President, I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.” (Haven’t I heard something like this somewhere before?)

TODAY’S CHART:

Note: The Republican congressional delegation opposes the extension of the payroll tax cut on deficit grounds while at the same time stand firm in insisting on the continuation of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Who’s working for you baby? Slight though it may be, there is a difference between the Parties, if one could call the Democrats a Party and not just a collection of non-Republicans.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Has the use of casual violence against assembly and free speech become the new norm? Some have suggested that the Occupy protestors should be thankful the violence is not as severe as that suffered by those in the ‘Arab Spring’ uprising. That is like saying at least our torture is not as bad as their torture.

TODAY’S POSTER:

BOLSHEVIK POSTER: “Bloody Sunday.” Artist unknown (1925).

That I show this poster, does it make me a Communist or worse a Bolshevik?

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

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3Th, November 26, 2011

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

I bet every one of the “senior managers” voted for and contributed to the Tory party. On the other hand, I would not be surprised if the Broadmoor patients voted Labor. [They probably contributed no money to Labor, however]

TODAY’S FACTOID:

A. The First Century AD:

1. Prior to the first century, most of what was written could be found on scrolls of parchment. But once the AD era started, the practice of stringing together wooden tablets into a “codex” began. The precursor to the book as we know it today, the codex became popular once it was co-opted by a new religious group — called the Christians — for their holy book: the Bible.

2. There are still variations in prices between urban and rural areas today, but nothing like it was in the first century. For example, fruit was three to six times more expensive in Jerusalem than in the rural areas surrounding it. Livestock was also costlier in the city, and doves (for sacrifices) were sold at a premium.

3. There were some strange jobs in the first century world. You could work as a camel driver, pigeon contest organizer, and dog dung collector. The list of jobs that were looked down upon by the general public included the shepherd, “the dealer in products from the sabbatical year,” butchers, and doctors.

B. Sir Isaac Newton:

Newton believed doomsday would be in the 21 Century, calculated from clues in the Bible.

C. Who is our enemy:

1957: Samuel Cummings and his US company Interarms, in a transaction sanctioned by the CIA, supplied weapons to the forces of Fidel Castro in Cuba.

Ah, the wonders of privatization and outsourcing. Wait this was during a Republican administration. They would never sell arms to an enemy and a Communist one no less. This factoid is clearly a liberal plant.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

New American Art Form:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I have returned to SF for the Thanksgiving Holiday to spend it with as many of my family members as I can. I leave for Thailand Saturday morning. I arrived early Wednesday and since I am now living life as a homeless vagrant, I spent the morning in a downtown Starbucks waiting for my son to get off work so that I could spend the evening at his apartment.

There was a bit of an incident yesterday. Hayden had cut his finger (paper cut) earlier that day as we toured the local Toy’s R Us making a shopping list for Santa Claus. That evening before Hayden and I left for our dinner with Norbert and Stevie Dall, he took a bath. While bathing, apparently he got soapy water into the cut and it started to sting, providing him the opportunity to whine and cry in hopes of garnering some attention and comfort. It failed. SWAC upon hearing him assumed he had injured himself while playing in the tub and ah.. strongly remonstrated with him for being careless. He, frightened and insulted at the false accusation, denied he had hurt himself in youthful exuberance while in his bath. This led to an ever increasingly loud argument and even more crying from the boy. By the time I had intervened, he had suffered a nasty scratch on his shoulder where SWAC had grabbed him in her fury. After quieting things down, he and I set off for dinner. I tried to explain to him it was not his fault and that both of them had a misunderstanding. He said, “No,” he said. “It was all my fault. She said it was and therefore it was. She doesn’t like me.”

The morning before he and I spent a few delightful hours at Bill and Naida’s ranch next to the Cosumnes River in the middle of Rancho Marietta. Hayden and Naida visited Acorn, the pony he is so fond of, and they fed him. I talked with Bill who is recovering from open heart surgery and peppered him with questions about it. Later we all went for walk along the river. Naida mentioned that she was thinking of writing a prequel to her magnificent historical trilogy. It would be set at the time that the first people entered the Cosumnes River Valley. She also mentioned she had discovered new information about Perry McCoon’s (the evil bastard of her novels) death. She may include the new information in a revised version of the novels for e-book publication. Again, if you have not had the opportunity to read her novels, I urge you to do so. You will not be disappointed.

I returned to SF by train and spent the night at my son Jason’s apartment where I watched a seemingly unending run of reality shows on TV. Since I have not seen much US TV for the past 18 months, this came as a revelation to me. My son explained that reality shows are the new popular entertainment for the masses.

They are not the reality shows I was used to. You know a group of half-naked people in a jungle screwing each other literally and figuratively. Instead, for example, my son is fascinated by cooking shows, not some chef showing you his or her favorite recipes, but bizarre competitions among cooks; like competitions using strange combinations of ingredients (octopus, tortillas, kumquats and marshmallows) with which the featured cooks have to create something edible.

Jason explained to me that the cooks on these shows generally are all media stars in the foodie society, each owning their own string of restaurants, sharing appearances on each others cooking shows and running their own foodie empires. I could not help thinking that perhaps there should be an “Occupy” of these cooking moguls who control so much of our taste buds (octopus and marshmallow?)..

We also watched shows featuring realtors and home remodelers and I sat through shows featuring u-tube type video snippets of people and animals doing generally stupid things. I topped it all off by watching the most recent Shrek before falling asleep. I liked Shrek.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Another interlude.

“Ha,” squealed the Isabella character. “Hitting on the dyke. You must really be hard up.”

“Bisexual,” responded the Vince character softly while staring into the make-up mirror.

“Huh!”

“Bisexual, she is bisexual,” he repeated.

“Whatever,” she laughed.

“Tonight,” he said with a smile looking at her through the mirror.

“What’s tonight?”

“Our date is tonight. I am sure we get it on.”

“You wish,” she responded. “I’m your bodyguard, remember.”

“I see he killed off David. Good thing, I never liked the guy,”she continued. “When do you think he will get around to offing us?”

“We do not know if he is dead. We only know he did not cross the street. He could have been picked up by someone or have changed his mind about his dinner appointment or lying wounded in the gutter. He could show up again, like Charlie Bowman.”

“That seems stupid,” she opined and pouted.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

DEATH BY EUPHORIA

Many of us use drugs such as caffeine or nicotine every day. Our increased understanding of physiology brings new drugs that can lift mood, improve alertness or keep you awake for days. How long before we use so many drugs we are no longer in control? Perhaps the end of society will not come with a bang, but fade away in a haze.

Danger sign: Drugs would get too cheap to meter, but you might be too doped up to notice.

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

1. inequality:

2. Waste in Defense Procurement:

According to Dina Razor, investigative journalist:

For decades, the DoD has decided what each new weapon will cost by looking at what historically similar weapons “did cost” in the past. So, if you decide to buy a new fighter plane, you look at what the previous plane cost as the baseline, and then add on more for all the new advances and gadgets you plan to put on the new plane. This has been disastrous because all of the contractor’s fraud, waste and fat that were tolerated in the past plane’s costs by the ever-appeasing DoD bureaucracy now become the baseline for the new plane. This makes every generation of weapon more and more unaffordable as the waste and fraud from generations before is rolled over to the new weapon. The result is that the bloated costs are expanded exponentially and we have fewer and fewer weapons for more and more money …

(In other words, military contractors and DOD contracting procedures are not making you safer, but they are making you poorer.)

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s speech to Citizens United:

” I was one of the poorest white kids in town, but in many respects I was the equal of my friend who was the daughter of the richest man in town. I went to good public schools, had use of a good public library, played sand-lot baseball in a good public park, and traveled far on good public roads with good public facilities to a good public university. Because these public goods were there for us, I never thought of myself as poor. When I began to piece the story together years later, I came to realize that people like the Moyers had been included in the American deal: “We, the People” included us. It’s heartbreaking to see what has become of that bargain.”

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the new American Lexicon):

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

Hmm, do Conservatives really like “international” more than “foreign?” 

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

• Women were twice as generous in a game that involved dividing $10 with a stranger (Eckel and Grossman).

Write your amusing and clever comments here _______________________.

f. Barry Goldwater, American:

“You don’t need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.”
~Barry Goldwater

g. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Recently, I have been criticized by some readers of these posts. They seem to believe that I have been urging radical redistribution of wealth or shudder, Communism by publishing such things as charts showing various inequalities in income and wealth, excerpts from Bill Moyers’ speech to Citizens United and quotes from such militant socialists as Dwight Eisenhower and Barry Goldberg. I assume that some of those who so criticize me can be included within that class defined by both Political Parties as Low Information Voters and unfortunately often mistake fact for opinion. As Low-information Voters, they flood the internet and my inbox with drivel usually written by conservative PR firms and that is often inaccurate, un-referenced, bizarre or usually all three. (I am amazed at how upset they get when I quote one of their own who, in periodic fits of self-awareness that sometimes strikes even the most hypocritical, express even the slightest criticism of the right’s madness.

Nevertheless, I noticed that among the changes that I have made to my posts over the past month or two has been to expand the “Pookie for President” section to include quotes by and comments on the current candidates for the GOP nomination for President. Since I assume that most readers give up reading after one or two sections anyway, I decided to spare those of my readers whose sensitivities are offended by my quoting the actual words of those whom they may believe alone represent the American heartland, by moving that section to later in the post.

Anyway, I am returning to Thailand for a while, and the obsession of the media with the minutia of American political dispute is thankfully absent, and the rich vein of humor contained therein, diminished. I now must settle upon writing about, Thaksin the Terrible, Abhsit the Unready, Princess Lucky Girl, the dastardly Military General Staff and Benetton inspired T-shirts of many different colors

Americans wrap themselves in the American Flag. Thais change the color of their T-shirts. After all, fashion is politics.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

A. Republicans, in an email blasted around by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), identified “twenty wasteful spending programs” that they have proposed cutting in the new federal spending bill released this week. The GOP claims that it’s using the bill to “make hard but necessary cuts to help reduce the nation’s deficit.”

However, all 20 of the programs combined cost less than the tax loophole that allows corporate jet owners to write off the cost of their jet over five years (as opposed to seven years for a commercial passenger jet).

B. “He’s a fat, repulsive pig! I hate to be so harsh. You go out in the woods and find a piece of old, dead wood, you lift it up and underneath there’s a bunch of bugs crawling around and white stuff … that’s Newt Gingrich.”
Conservative talk show host Don Imus on this weeks flavor GOP candidate for President of the United States.

(Liberals, unfortunately, shy away from using such colorful language.)

C. Megyn Kelly, Faux News anchor person (apparently hired for her looks rather than her brains) recently insisted that pepper spray is “a food product, essentially”

I understand that a diet of pepper spray has been demonstrated to increase ones IQ up to 10 points. You should try it Megyn (does she really spell her name like this?), it may increase your IQ to as high as 80.

The blog TPM reports, One thrilled “customer” notes, “I used to have to exert my gray matter or work my mouth to keep people from saying anything I didn’t want to hear. Now I just shake and aim Defense Technology’s 56895 MK-9 Stream Pepper Spray, and half the time I don’t even need to depress the trigger! My teens and my dog all go silent when I merely lift the can–no more claims that I’ve suppressed free speech when they quake in fear and CHOOSE to be silent! Not just for intimidating students–it works on crabby old people, too!”

OMG, she must be planning to use it on me next; after all I am a COP (Crabby Old Person)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Harald had this stone erected in memory of Gorm his father and Thyra his mother—that Harald who won all Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christian”
Translation of a rune on Gorm the Old’s grave erected by Harald in 958AD.

TODAY’S CHART:

Why, when cutting budget deficits are all the rage with the GOP, are they still supporting subsidies to the oil and gas industries? Does any one believe those industries cannot turn a profit without taxpayer money? Shouldn’t they get a dose of free market economics for a change? Why do self-styled Conservatives complain so loudly about a poor person who cheats on welfare and is silent when an energy company steals billions in taxpayer dollars? Now you may believe they so because the energy industry does so much for our economy we should look the other way when faced with their rampant thuggery, however, I suspect that if you believe that it is more often because a lot of people are paid to make sure you do.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S POSTER:

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

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

Evidence abounds that large inequalities undermine community life, reduces trust among citizens, and increases violence. In one major study from data collected over 30 years [by the epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in their book: The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger] the most consistent predictor of mental illness, infant mortality, educational achievements, teenage births, homicides, and incarceration, is economic inequality. And as Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow has written, “Vast inequalities of income weakens a society’s sense of mutual concern…The sense that we are all members of the social order is vital to the meaning of civilization.”
Bill Moyers

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

“Here is a surefire way to cut $7.1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. Do nothing.


That’s right. If Congress simply fails to act between now and Jan. 1, 2013, the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush expire, $1.2 trillion in additional budget cuts go through under the terms of last summer’s debt-ceiling deal, and a variety of other tax cuts also go away.

Knowing this, are you still sure that a “failure” by the congressional supercommittee to reach a deal would be such a disaster?”
EJ Dionne:

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Facts from the first century AD:

1. Women rarely had economic independence. A woman’s wages would always go directly to her father or husband, depending on her marital status. Legally, women weren’t allowed to file for divorce, while men could ask for a “writ of renouncement.” On the other hand, men had to be sure to buy back their wives if they were captured.

2. Considered the world’s oldest surviving ancient census, the Han dynasty wanted to count its people to determine revenues and military strength in each region. Even in the first century, China accounted for a huge portion of the world’s overall population. China’s census in 2 AD counted 57,671,400 people.

3. Vending machines were invented in the first century in the city of Alexandria. But first century citizens weren’t buying potato chips or soda: they were buying holy water. “When a coin was dropped into a slot, its weight would pull a cork out of a spigot and the machine would dispense a trickle of holy water.”

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

Education and income in the US:

Happiness in America:

According to a recent study, no matter what else you do, you need at least $70,000 per year in household income to be truly happy. Interestingly, more than that does not make you more happy.

The current economic crisis in Europe:

Pookie says that it does not really exist. It is little more than an attempt by German bankers to control Europe and beyond. What Hitler could not accomplish by force of arms, Merkle, with assistance from Mario Draghi head of ECB, may be forcing the social destruction of most other European nations for the benefit of German banks. This would leave those impoverished nations little or no option but to turn to these same banks for the financing of any attempts at recovery. If they succeed the German banks would achieve what OWS only dreamed of, the eventual collapse of Wall Street, while the financial capital of the world drifts to Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg.

Happiness, Part II:

On the other hand, studies have also shown that about 40 percent of happiness comes from the things we choose to do, like exercising, setting goals and building friendships. Only about 10 percent of our happiness is based on circumstances like age, race, gender—and, perhaps surprisingly, financial status.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Hayden has no school for the week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. He will be traveling to Napa for Thanksgiving Dinner at some winery and I will be returning to SF to visit with family and friends.

On Saturday, November 25 I will fly from SF to Thailand. I perhaps I will travel to Italy for the holidays and return to either Thailand or the US in early January.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: David’s Journey.

David Kitchen exited the building in which his firm had its offices. It was about 7 PM and evening was shading into night. He was headed for dinner with Charlie Bowman at Kokkari a nearby Greek restaurant frequented by the downtown business and political set.

The summertime fogs that prompted a now deceased local gossip columnist to term it as the “Cool grey City of Love,” had not been evident much this past decade, perhaps due to global warming, leaving the sky clear but still heavy with moisture. The wet air rising off the water surrounding the City on three sides made the City’s lights sparkle like the far off stars.

As he headed toward his dinner appointment he wondered what had possessed him to want to tell Vince of all people about Red Star and everything else. He had always prided himself on never taking a precipitous action that would put him at a disadvantage. His whole career was based on it, carefully maneuvering clients, partners and even wives in doing what was best for David. Now he panicked and put himself in jeopardy. He regretted his decision to inform Vince but was relieved it was not to happen until tomorrow. He will tell Vince some other story a fantasy that would leave the fool even more confused. Yes, that’s what he would do. No need to tell Charlie about this.

He crossed the darkened mini park that stood between his office building and a group of rent controlled apartments that separated him from the restaurant. Looking up into the blackening trees he wondered about the parrots, the one time pets of a number of City residents who had escaped their confinement or had been released by their captors weary of the drudgery of upkeep. They banded together as a flock as parrots do in the wild and took up residence on nearby Telegraph Hill. There was even a book written and a documentary made about them.

During certain times of the year in the late afternoons the flock would leave their Telegraph Hill rookery and gather at the top of one of the trees setting up a raucous chatter as they did for whatever reason Parrots did that. Ugly squawking he always thought.

He recalled that before the earthquake that brought down the Embarcadero Freeway there was a pedestrian bridge connecting the little park to the mezzanine parks that encircled the development nearby. Under that bridge a homeless man lived. Every morning as he and Vince would walk by he would accost them by asking for a dollar in return for him telling them a joke. They would pay and usually, as he remembered them, the jokes were quite amusing. Vince referred to the man as, “The Troll under the Bridge.” He wondered now about what happened to the Troll.

He exited the park and stood for a moment on the sidewalk looking back at his office building. Its lights shone with the ragged edges that the far-sighted observe when not fitted without corrective lenses. Perhaps its time for me to get my eyes examined he thought.

He then turned stepped off the curb to cross the street. He never reached the other side.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation”(Thailand’s “Daily Onion“):

From the Phuket News: Among the illicit drugs collected in a raid in Phuket were items such as “Waman penis enlarging tablet”; “Kamagra oral jelly (in banana, apple and blackcurrant flavours)”; and, perhaps the winner for creativity, an item known as “Night fire heartily burnable by lady’s intense emotion”.

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

1. Fairness, fairness, fairness:

2. Fairness, fairness, fairness, part II:


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

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s speech to Citizens United:

“The historian Gordon Wood won the Pulitzer Prize for his book on The Radicalism of the American Revolution: If you haven’t read it, now’s the time. Wood says that our nation discovered its greatness “by creating a prosperous free society belonging to obscure people with their workaday concerns and their pecuniary pursuits of happiness.” This democracy, he said, changed the lives “of hitherto neglected and despised masses of common laboring people.”

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the new American Lexicon):

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

Did you really believe that, “Energy Independence” had to do with anything more than drilling for more black goop? On the other hand did you really think it had anything at all to do with “energy independence?”

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

• Women tend to be more egalitarian than men, and men are more likely to be either completely selfless or selfish (James Andreoni and Lise Vesterlund).

f. The Words of Barry Goldwater, another American Patriot:

“It’s time America realized that there is no gay exemption in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence.”
~Barry Goldwater

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Life is short. Have an affair.”
Ashley Madison

“The secret to happiness, is to lower your expectations.”
Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s business partner.

That’s easy for him to say.

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


Riot Police at Oakland “Occupy” Rally. Stunning when you realize that the main official complaint about the encampment is its poor sanitary conditions. Instead of deploying heavily armed police, why not deploy sanitation workers? It would be better for everyone concerned. And that is after all what the “Occupy” movement is all about; government making decisions benefiting everyone and not just the fortunate few.

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 20, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. Parody this:


According to news reports this weeks leader of the pack vying for the GOP nomination to run for President, Newt Gingrich, was said to be paid at least $1.6 million by Freddie Mac. Paul Krugman observed:

“The thing I think people find hard to wrap their minds around is the following non-contradiction:
Freddie Mac was a deeply corrupt institution
Freddie and Fannie did not cause the financial crisis

These are not opposing statements. Those of us attacking the Big Lie about the financial crisis are not defending Freddie.

That said, as a believer in the importance of the humanities, I do have to appreciate Freddie’s appreciation for the uses of historians. At least, that’s what Gingrich says he was paid for.”

In fact, it turns out that according to former Freddie Mac officials familiar with his work in 2006 Gingrich was asked to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it.

As usual, the Newtster not only was not hired to do what he said he was hired to do, and he failed at doing what he was hired to do, but he also pocketed a cool $1.6 million in the process. Newt is my idol. I only hope I can do on my own campaign one-tenth as well as Newt.

2. And this:

JOURNAL SENTINEL: Would you favor a military strike against Iran to stop that country from developing a nuclear capability?
HERMAN CAIN (leading candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States): That is not a practical, top-tier alternative and here’s why. If you look at the topography of Iran. Where are you going to strike? It’s very mountainous. That’s what makes it very difficult.

The Cain Doctrine: The US shall not bomb bumpy countries. Hmm…maybe Herman should stick to knowing nothing foreign policy.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1.

Remember this has nothing to do with climate change. This has all happened before, like when an asteroid crashed into the earth there was a lot of storms, right. Besides even if something is going on, we had nothing to do with it. It is God’s will, or caused by Obama, Muslims or Mexicans. Everything will work out if we only had less regulation, criminalize abortion and bomb Iran. See, we are environmentalists too, everything is connected.

2. WTF:

Andrea Jones is a transsexual woman from Tennessee who took a letter from the surgeon who performed her orchiectomy to a state DMV office in Morristown in order to have the gender marker on her driver’s license changed. She was denied.

Logically, if the state was not going to consider her legally a woman, then Andrea was legally a man, she reasoned…so when she exited the office into the parking lot, she removed her shirt.

“If I was a male, I had the right to, when I stepped out the door, take off my shirt.”
–Andrea Jones

She was arrested for indecent exposure.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

ITALY:

According to news reports, the new Italian Cabinet contains no “politicians,” instead it is made up of bankers, businessmen and diplomats, the very people who brought on the financial crisis.

This is supposed to be an improvement? I would think picking people at random off the streets of Rome would do a better job.

US:

It has been reported that there is only a 29 day supply of cooking oil in the US.

A few months ago the same situation in Thailand almost brought down the government.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I went to SF to have dinner with Terry and Sally Goggin. They asked me to say no more about it and so I shall not except that I enjoyed myself and the steak was delicious.

Upon my return to Sacramento, SWAC picked me up at the train station. On the drive back to the house she mentioned that she had attended Hayden’s Thanksgiving play at school, a rare occurrence. She also told me how proud she was of his performance, a first as far as I can recall.

Autumn has fled taking its colors with it. Winter sits brooding on the Central Valley. The clouds are piled high upon the mountain tops of the Sierras to the East. The warmth has been scoured from the valley by the flood of cold air descending from the peaks.

The clouds fill the eastern sky and overhead with great balls of fluff while the sky remains blue in the West. The edges of the clouds facing the descending western sun blaze white, their lee and undersides, black and threatening.

The wind has stripped many of the trees of their color leaving them grey and stark and the ground littered with brown arboreal detritus.

It has begun to rain, a light rain. It is time for me to crawl into bed and bury myself under the covers and contemplate the coming darkness. But by tomorrow, I will wake and remember that springtime is sure to return. I hope.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMOIRS:

A few days ago, I read a news reportibg that Sharon Stone‘s  signing to play Linda Lovelace’s mother in an up coming biopic  called, “Lovelace.”

Linda Lovelace for President

Linda Lovelace for President (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Linda Lovelace (originally Linda Boreman) was my first wife’s younger sister, so I obviously knew her mother well. Sharon Stone is not who I would have chosen to play her. On the basis of physical appearance, personality and hair style, the Kathy Bates of “Misery” would be more appropriate.

Linda’s mom, following the all too frequent and normal indiscretions of a teenager of the time, found herself unmarried, with a child and, it being the 1940s, with little hope of finding a husband as she was during those dark days considered “damaged goods.” However, as luck, pluck or whatever would have it, she found someone who did marry her, and had two additional children, my ex-wife Jeanne and Linda. As was not unusual during those times and in that social strata, Linda’s mom then became a religious fanatic and often beat her daughters for exhibiting the slightest evidence of sexuality, all to no avail with any of the three sisters.

Linda’s dad was a tall man, a gentle giant, 6’7″ or so and looked a little like Liam Nielsen with a weak chin. I liked him a lot. He was a kind, humorous inoffensive man. My mom referred to him as the most ineffectual man she had ever met. That is saying something given my Mom’s long marriage to my father who, love him as I did, nevertheless topped my list for that particular classification.

Linda’s dad drank a lot. In fact he drank rather steadily and as far as I can recall was drunk more often that he was sober, a sweet, funny, black out kind of drunk.

He also had a bad back, a disk problem of some sort in his lower back. One afternoon we came into the house and found him on his knees on the floor with his face pressed into the sofa. At first we thought him  drunk, having found him like this several times before. We usually just left him alone like that to sleep it off. It was only when we heard a groan and a muffled cry for help that we realized that he had thrown out his back and we quickly called for an ambulance.

Linda’s dad was a NY City police patrolman. He joined the force for the sole purpose of putting in his 20 years or so and retire to live in Florida. His career was notable for his never having received a promotion or a commendation. Its other highlights were that he never took a bribe, never unholstered his gun and never issued a ticket of any kind. As a result, his superiors regularly assigned him to the worst beats and saddled him with the worst shifts (e.g., 3 AM to 11 AM) imaginable where he continued to steadfastly refuse to notice any crimes committed in his vicinity whatsoever.

Perhaps it was his incorruptibility or his stoic refusal to notice the criminality around him that prompted the station captain, once a month, to choose him to drive him around to the businesses within his precinct to collect that months graft payments.

Linda herself was, for the most part, a friendly, attractive, empty-headed teenager, the kind that used to be called a valley girl here in California.

When she was about 16 years old, her father retired and promptly moved the family which now consisted only of himself, his wife and Linda, to Florida, the older two girls having married and were busy raising families of their own. They settled on a town called Opa-Laka in a home he had purchased years ago in preparation for retirement. Opa-laka originally was basically a retirement community for NYCPD patrolmen but over the years has degenerated into one of the Miami areas worst slums.

Within a few months Linda was thrown out of the home by her parents and returned to NY to live with her sister and me, our two babies, Jason and Jennifer, and our neurotic dog in our large home in Yorktown Heights on the uppermost reaches of Westchester County.

I remember that time fondly, especially because it was during her stay that Linda gave me my first toke of Marijuana, for which I will always be grateful to her.

Linda was also affectionate. Every evening as her sister and I lay in bed, before retiring into he own bedroom, she would come in to give us a goodnight Kiss and hug, wearing see through bikini pajamas. (I wonder if that will make it into the movie.)

Another notable thing about Linda was that she was utterly unable to answer a question without including a large dose of fantasy. Although she did this at times to deceive, she also did it when deception was not an issue. For example, if you came upon her eating a bowl of ice cream and you asked her if she was enjoying it, she would launch into an often quick-witted response denying she was eating ice cream at all.

Another thing about her was that she was a clever, enterprising and successful shopper, amassing closets full of the latest fashions and accessories, all without paying a cent for them.

At that time I was a trial lawyer in NYC of some local repute having accumulated one of the longest consecutive string or victories in jury trials in NY up until that time. It was not that I was a particularly good lawyer, I was not, I couldn’t recognize a rule of evidence if it punched me in my nose. But it seemed my particular brand of opinionated, didactic certainty made juries believe I knew what I was talking about and that I actually believed whatever crap I was saying. My goal in life at the time was to become like one of the great trial lawyers of the past and die of cirrhosis of the liver before I was 40.

I was a lousy husband, often uncommunicative, angry and during trial entirely preoccupied. I was also a black out drunk. After each victory I would eat a big meal, drink until I blacked out and disappear for days at a time, eventually waking up, still dressed in my three-piece black pin striped Brooks Brothers suit, Homburg hat and grey leather gloves in places like the men’s room in Grand Central Station lying on the floor in my own vomit.

On News Year’s Day morning, when Jennifer was about 9 months old, I was awakened by the screams of my wife coming from the nursery. “My baby, my baby, something has happened to my baby,” she screamed over and over. I rushed into the baby’s room. Jennifer was dead, a crib death I was later told.

She was splotched all purple and red where the blood had pooled. Her body stiff and cold as I hopelessly tried to blow life into that tiny body, until the ambulance arrived and the emergency crew pulled me away and out of the bedroom.

About two weeks after the funeral, my wife left me taking the other child, Jason with her. Three months later, my life having collapsed around me, I left for Europe with Jason.

I was a traditional sort of person at that time in my life, Catholic, Republican, ruthless and often drunk. As such, I believed that a child should be with his mother. Unfortunately after discovering the child with cigarette burns over most of his body, a judge awarded me custody.

I resumed my legal career working for an American law firm in Rome, practicing international tax and corporate law, areas I know nothing about and was awful at.

Jason lived in a small mountain village with my great-aunt. He thrived there. When he walked through the town people would call out to him and wave as though he was a celebrity.

When I decided to return to the US, I took him with me. I regret that decision more than almost any other decision in my life. I was not a competent father, nevertheless I removed him from a stable environment where an entire village loved him and resettled him into a life where he was often alone or left with an almost virtual stranger while I strove to save the coast or otherwise engage in whatever self-indulgence appealed to me at the time.

I have never been able to shake the guilt I feel at his current unhappiness. What is worse, I seem to be able to deal with it only by ignoring it.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

BANGNA – The massive flooding crisis in central Thailand came to an abrupt end when all flood-related problems were solved virtually overnight by the opening of a new IKEA branch in the Bangkok suburb of Bangna.
The long-anticipated home furnishings and accessories store proved to be a surprisingly well-stocked source of everything that was in short supply in flood-ravaged provinces, including an apparently endless supply of “DRYCK” drinking water, “RIS” rice in 20-kilo bags, and small, navigable boats made of MDF and easily assembled using just a hex-key tool and the provided, easy-to-read instructions.
“The government promised me a boat but never delivered,” said Maneewat Poravitboonsern, a shop owner from Nakhon Sawan whose house has been flooded since early October. “But after I took the free shuttle to IKEA, I found a boat on sale there. It works great,” he added, referring to the “VATTERNOSK” 3-man boat he bought for only Bt999.

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

1. See Moyers’ quote in c. below.

2. The most important chart of all:

We pay more taxes and they get more of the subsidies. And, the Republican candidates think this is good for us. Just think about it, if the top 5 industries on the chart received no subsidies and paid the same taxes as the rest of us, much of the federal budget deficit could be eliminated. Why can we not have a simple fair tax system?

c. Excerpts from a Bill Moyers (America’s last surviving patriot) speech to Citizens United:

“Evidence abounds that large inequalities undermine community life, reduces trust among citizens, and increases violence. In one major study from data collected over 30 years [by the epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in their book: The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger] the most consistent predictor of mental illness, infant mortality, educational achievements, teenage births, homicides, and incarceration, is economic inequality. And as Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow has written, “Vast inequalities of income weakens a society’s sense of mutual concern…The sense that we are all members of the social order is vital to the meaning of civilization.”

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the new American Lexicon):

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

Damn, I thought illegal aliens were what one called Mexicans and undocumented workers referred to everyone else.

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

• When looking at pictures of immoral acts, women’s judgments of severity correlate with higher levels of activation in emotion centers of the brain, suggesting concern for victims, whereas men show higher activation in areas that might involve deployment of principles (Carla Harenski and collaborators).

What this seems to me to mean, if one can generalize it to a gender based approach to public policy, is:
“For men, first punish the guilty and for women, first protect the innocent.” 

f. The Words of Barry Goldwater, another American Patriot:

“Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives.”
~Barry Goldwater
TODAY’S DEFINITION:

Plutonomy:
Noun. An economy that is driven by or that disproportionately benefits wealthy people, or one where the creation of wealth is the principal goal.
[Blend of pluto-(wealth) and economy.]
TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 17, 2011

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

I swear I do not make these things up. The latest from the quickly fading GOP flavor of the week, Herman Cain:

“I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy. Just thought I’d throw that out,” Herman Cain said to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter while on his campaign bus on Monday, the afternoon after his interview with the paper’s editorial board. “I want to talk to commanders on the ground. Because you run for president (people say) you need to have the answer. No, you don’t! No, you don’t! That’s not good decision-making.”

This weeks flavor, the much married, yacht loving Newtster said this in 1983:

“It is in the interest of the Republican Party and Ronald Reagan to invent new black Republicans, so to speak.”

Does this mean that Herman Cain was originally Newt’s Black or Reagan’s but is now Ann Coulter‘s?

Has the GOP become the ABM (Anybody But Mitt) Party?

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Facts from the first century AD:

1. With an estimated population between 800,000 and 1 million residents, Rome was the largest and most powerful city by the year 1 AD. Much of what we know about civilization in this ancient era comes from history recorded during Rome’s reign.

2. Give or take a whole bunch. It would be impossible to know anything close to the real number, but estimates have put the global population during the first century in the 200 million range. The most populated areas were the communities based around the Ganges, Tigris, Yangtze, Nile and Po rivers.

3. Jewish girls could be married as early as 12 years and a day. Though to be fair, it was more common to wait until they reached 12 and a half. In those days, marriage took place in two stages. The formal betrothal would first be agreed upon between the husband and the girl’s father. Several months to a year later, the girl would move into her new husband’s house. It wasn’t until they started living together that the marriage became official.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I am now in Sacramento . It appears that I am the designated nanny for a few days. Hopefully this will give me a chance to visit with the Geyers and the Dalls who have consistently proven to be friends whose kindness I could never repay. In the meantime, I occupy myself by playing with Hayden and my computer.

The fall colors are out here and they are magnificent this year. Not the overwhelming lush riot of colors one experiences in western Massachusetts or eastern NY, but exceptionally dramatic nevertheless. It appears that the landscape plans for subdivisions around here were chosen to feature trees with spectacular fall colors.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.)

Meg, picked up her cruiser in the parking garage under Vince’s building and drove out on her way to meet Fat Al to begin coordinating with him as they had agreed during a brief telephone conversation in Vince’s office. A late-model, dark blue Toyota Corolla followed.

Vince, meanwhile, feeling satisfied he had stirred the pot enough for one day, decided to go home and get ready for dinner with Isabella. He decided that since it was a nice sunny day he would walk the few blocks to his apartment. As he walked he tried to spot the agents Russell had promised to provide for his safety; minders or watchers, he could never remember which, that LeCarre assured were what they were referred to by M-15 or 16, he could not remember that either. I wonder what we call them here, he thought as he walked along. He couldn’t spot anything or anyone minding or watching him. Probably not there, he mused. Just another shuck and jive in whatever game they were playing. He felt a little bad about what he was doing. Attorneys were trained not to be rash but to may sure they had worked out all the angles before acting or advising a client to act. Well, he never thought of himself as that good of an attorney anyway. He recalled an old girlfriend who had called him impetuous. He was not sure if he liked it then and not sure if he liked in now. But, he thought if it were just spy vs spy they all deserve the little run around he was giving them and if it were not and he were in danger, he might as well force the issue and face it now when he was somewhat prepared; if anyone could be prepared for something like this.

Nevertheless disregarding caution, he inevitably drifted into ruminating on his upcoming dinner with Isabella, fantasizing taking her to bed, plotting how to accomplish that. And so he continued on blissfully unaware of anything except his own daydreams.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation”(Thailand’s “Daily Onion”):

THAILAND/BURMA BORDER – Thailand’s Bt20-billion human trafficking industry is experiencing a major drop in production due to the flood crisis, human traffickers reported this week.
“This crisis has hit our business hard, at both the supply and distribution end,” said Thanh Huendoc, who manages a large Burmese-Thai trafficking syndicate. “We’re looking at huge losses this year.”

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

1. ” Occupy” poster:

2. From “The Economist”:

“A growing body of evidence suggests that the meritocratic ideal is in trouble in America. Income inequality is growing to levels not seen since the (first) Gilded Age. But social mobility is not increasing at anything like the same pace….Everywhere you look in modern America – in the Hollywood Hills or the canyons of Wall Street, in the Nashville recording studios or the clapboard houses of Cambridge, Massachusetts – you see elites mastering the art of perpetuating themselves. America is increasingly looking like imperial Britain, with dynastic ties proliferating, social circles interlocking, mechanisms of social exclusion strengthening, and a gap widening between the people who make decisions and shape the culture and the vast majority of working stiffs.”

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s speech to Citizens United:

“How could it be? How could this happen in the country whose framers spoke of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the same breath as political equality? Democracy wasn’t meant to produce a class-ridden society. When that son of French aristocracy Alexander de Tocqueville traveled through the bustling young America of the 1830s, nothing struck him with greater force than “the equality of conditions.” Tocqueville knew first-hand the vast divisions between the wealth and poverty of Europe, where kings and feudal lords took what they wanted and left peasants the crumbs. But Americans, he wrote, “seemed to be remarkably equal economically.” “Some were richer, some were poorer, but within a comparative narrow band. Moreover, individuals had opportunities to better their economic circumstances over the course of a lifetime, and just about everyone [except of course slaves and Indians] seemed to be striving for that goal.” Tocqueville looked closely, and said: “I easily perceive the enormous influence that this primary fact exercises on the workings of the society.”
d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the new American Lexicon):

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

You see we must never let them really know what we are about. God knows we would NEVER want to have to defend shipping jobs overseas and God forbid government should decide to stop the practice. As you can see by the repetitive emphasis on the Almighty that this is obviously God’s will.

Also, rhyming is important to Republicans, otherwise they could not remember what they were told to do

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

• When men watch wrongdoers getting punished, there is activation in reward centers of their brains, whereas women’s brains show activation in pain centers, suggesting that they feel empathy for suffering even when it is deserved (Tania Singer and collaborators).

Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bakadesuyo/~3/bea6srN06Qs/do-women-and-men-have-different-moral-values#ixzz1dEZVO7XD

Does this mean that women are genetically predisposed to liberalism? No wonder God considers them the lesser sex.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

I have recently been reminded that there is ugliness in politics and questioned as to whether or not good people should ignore it (the politics and the ugliness). To which I can only point to Plato who, in one of his few cogent moments, reminded us, “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” I would think Plato’s warning applies to “good people” also.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar.”
~Barry Goldwater

Imagine, if Barry were running for president today he would be considered the liberal-socialist candidate.

TODAY’S CHART:

Why would anyone want to own a piece of South Texas? Is this another one per-center plot? Does the 40% own the mineral rights? Probably not, I’m sure the one per-centers would hold on to them along with the water rights. So what it all comes down to is, 40% of the American people own nothing but a few acres of worthless property somewhere in Texas. Unfortunately, they probably voted for Rick Perry for Governor and he rewarded them by promoting a law allowing him to sell their miserable speck of land to the one per-centers using the 40%’s own money. Well, I guess, the 40% can always move to Mexico.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


Another example of finding beauty and optimism amidst tragedy.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 15, 2011

“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”
~Barry Goldwater

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Parody this:

Jacques Chirac ex-Prime Minister of France recounts that in a telephone call to him when he was France’s Prime Minister, the United States President George W. Bush appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”… Chirac says he was boggled by Bush’s call and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.”… [T]he puzzled French leader didn’t comply with Bush’s request. Instead, his staff asked Thomas Romer, a theologian at the University of Lausanne, to analyze the weird appeal…
Another example why parody of current Republican candidates is impossible:

Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.) said she would add former presidents Ronald Reagan, James Garfield and Calvin Coolidge to Mount Rushmore Tuesday in an ABC News/Yahoo! interview Tuesday.

I cannot even make a smart assed comment about this.

God can’t make up his mind:

Herman Cain announced that God asked him to run for president.

Is there anyone on the Republican ticket God did not ask to run? Does this mean that God is not omnipotent, cannot make up his mind or just likes practical jokes? Then again it was God himself who asked Pookie to run.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

I know what you’re thinking; that’s not a factoid. I just couldn’t resist, especially because of the Sponge Bob Square Pants part. Here’s to Tyron and his mom. One of them would make a good running mate on Pookie’s ticket, don’t you think?

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

Thailand, is the most Buddhist country on earth with almost 94% of the country’s 65 million people self-identifying as Buddhist. There are 34,000 Buddhist monasteries and over 300,000 monks residing in the country.

Climate: A common argument against global warming is that the climate has always varied. Temperatures rise sometimes and this is perfectly natural is the usual line.

However, Svante Björck, a climate researcher at Lund University in Sweden, has now shown that global warming, i.e., simultaneous warming events in the northern and southern hemispheres, have not occurred in the past 20,000 years, which is as far back as it is possible to analyze with sufficient precision to compare with modern developments. The study goes 14,000 years further back in time than previous studies have done. “What is happening today is unique from a historical geological perspective,” he says
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

So, I returned to SF and spent the next day in one long nap broken only by a telephone call from SWAC asking me to travel to Sacramento to drive her and Hayden to San Francisco for the weekend. According to several sources, SWAC’s past has caught up to her. An old friend of hers apparently called up several of her new friends and spilled the beans so to speak, as a result her new friends have grown cool and accused her of being a bad mother. She has decided to depart Sacto in high dudgeon to come to SF in order to explore circumstances here. My job is to take care of the boy while she attends to business. Hayden, of course would once again be uprooted from home and school should she decide to move again.

Hayden, my granddaughter Amanda and I spent two days giggling a lot.

My daughter arrived in SF this weekend to visit her grandmother in LA who had a mild stroke. She and I had lunch on Sunday. After lunch we went to a Peet’s Coffee for coffee and conversation. I was startled by several insights that she had, that I had not thought of before. While talking about people’s self-image of things like sexuality, race and the rest, she mentioned Sesame Street. I always saw the show as fun and a bit preachy. She pointed out that to her and she assumed others of her generation, the colors and the various roles of the characters communicated that it was not your color, where you lived or your gender and the like that make you who you are, but what you do. It is not whether you are green and live in a garbage can that identifies you but whether you are a grouch or not (Although it could be argued that being green and living in a garbage can would make most people grouchy). If she were right in would make Sesame Street highly subversive. No wonder the conservatives are so obsessed with closing down Public Television.

She then mentioned that prior to her generation (children of the baby boom and the denizens of the 60’s) so-called normal family life, which no matter how dysfunctional, formed the basis of ones personality, and that your other experiences in life (like watching Sesame Street) affected that to a greater or lesser degree. But, her generation was perhaps the first in the West where a significant percentage of children experienced something different from previous generations, so-called, normal family life. As a result, she and she assumed many of her generation, lacking that tradition, perverse or not, often relied on the media, such as in her case Sesame Street, to create that core value system or image of morality upon which the rest of their personality accreted. I then thought about the circumstances of children today, like Hayden growing up on Sponge Bob Square Pants and viewing a gullible, happy-go-lucky yellow sponge who uses his nose as a flute and exists primarily on hamburgers and ice cream as their image of normality.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed while the author tries to resolve a plot crisis. The novel characters have rebelled and have occupied his brain to protest his use of only one percent of it with which to write the story. They believe that it is a plot by the one percent against rational plotting.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

BANGKOK – Freshly appointed Defense Minister General Yuthasak Sasiprapha created another stir for the new Pheu Thai government this week with a controversial promise that this year’s transfer of senior military commanders would be based on merit. In a radical break from tradition that has no precedent in Thailand’s military history, Yuthasak declared that promotions should be based on ability and seniority rather than an individual’s network of school-class contacts.

b. Real Headlines and Ads:

HEADLINE: “CHILDREN NOT LIKELY TO INHERIT INFERTILITY”

NEWSPAPER STORY: “Another would-be juror said he had alcohol problems and was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover officer. ‘I should have known something was up,’ he said. ‘She had all her teeth.'”

HEADLINE: “ACT FOR ALL WOULD BETTER REFLECT IOWA DEMOGRAPHICS…Roughly 61% of Iowa graduating seniors passed the ACT last year. Of that total, roughly 62% of the students were white, 37% Hispanic, 34% African-American, and 37% American Indian.”

AD FOR “CLUB SARATOGA”: “ATTENTION: OUR AD REQUESTING POLE DANCERS DID NOT MEAN DANCERS OF POLISH DESCENT”

c. Bill Moyers, American Patriot:

“We hold elections, knowing they are unlikely to produce the policies favored by the majority of Americans. We speak, we write, we advocate — and those in power turn deaf ears and blind eyes to our deepest aspirations. We petition, plead, and even pray — yet the earth that is our commons, which should be passed on in good condition to coming generations, continues to be despoiled. We invoke the strain in our national DNA that attests to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as the product of political equality — yet private wealth multiplies as public goods are beggared. And the property qualifications for federal office that the framers of the Constitution expressly feared as an unseemly “veneration for wealth” are now openly in force; the common denominator of public office, even for our judges, is a common deference to cash.”

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

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

So you thought you were getting a free market economy, when all you ended up with is damn Globalization.

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

1. If you are among the 99%:

“…you pick up a disproportionate share of America’s tax bill. You pay higher prices for a broad range of products from peanuts to prescriptions. You pay taxes that others in a similar situation have been excused from paying. You’re compelled to abide by laws while others are granted immunity from them. You must pay debts that you incur while others do not. You’re barred from writing off on your tax returns some of the money spent on necessities while others deduct the cost of their entertainment. You must run your business by one set of rules, while the government creates another set for your competitors… In contrast the fortunate few who contribute to the right politicians and hire the right lobbyists enjoy all the benefits of their special status. Make a bad business deal; the government bails them out. If they want to hire workers at below market wages, the government provides the means to do so. If they want more time to pay their debts, the government gives them an extension. If they want immunity from certain laws, the government gives it. If they want to ignore rules their competition must comply with, the government gives it approval. If they want to kill legislation that is intended for the public, it gets killed.”
TIME MAGAZINE

Time Magazine published this? You have got to be kidding.

2. Sign and an “Occupy” rally of an ex marine who served in Iraq:

“5 of my friends are dead
1 of my friends is missing his arm
1 of my friends killed himself
I’ve been blown up 2x by roadside bombs
Hearing fireworks makes me nervous
I can’t sleep at night

All so bankers and war profiteers could get richer

I am the 99%”

3. Welfare Queens:

The top five recipients of federal corporate tax breaks—Chevron Corp, Bank of America, ExxonMobil, General Electric, and Boeing—gave $78.7 million to state political campaigns and another $45.3 million to federal campaigns from 1999 through 2010.This number does not include the untold millions these same corporations have spent on public relations, lobbying and consultants to manipulate public policy for their own benefit.

Bill De Blasio, of the New York City Public Advocates office, pointed out that these same five corporations benefited from $3.7 billion in corporate tax breaks in 2009, paid $0 in 2009 federal taxes, and in 2010 enjoyed a combined profit of $77.16 billion. Slightly more than $8.9 million went to political party committees, favoring Republicans 3–to–1 ($6.6 million compared to $2.3 million given to Democrats).

In other words you and I are paying these corporations our tax dollars to enable them to accumulate even more of our tax dollars. Makes you want to go out in the streets and protest doesn’t it?

Think about this, these same corporations through the Republican Party and a number of Democrats want you to believe that the source of all America’s fiscal problems is caused by a few Mexicans swimming across the Rio Grande, some black unwed mothers, teachers unions, health insurance reform and a women’s rights to choose. What is most appalling is the number of emails floating through the internet gleefully passed on, as though it was revealed truth, parroting this misdirection and often created by those funded by the same corporate institutions so eagerly ripping us off.

f. Testosterone Chronicles:

• Numerous studies have found that women are more likely than men to reciprocate acts of kindness (reviewed by Rachel Croson and Uri Gneezy).

Screw you Rachel and Uri. I will have you know that men are kinder to their guns, beer and dogs than women are. We also think we are kind to (and admittedly, at times a little frightened by) large female breasts; vaginas, not so much.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Today, however, we have to say that a state is a human community that [successfully] claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. Note that, “territory” is one of the characteristics of the state.
Specifically, at the present time, the right to use physical force is ascribed to other institutions or to individuals only to the extent to which the state permits it. The state is considered the sole source of the “right” to use violence.”
Max Weber

In other words, government kills to save you the effort.

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


TODAY’S CHART:


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

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

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

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

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

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

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

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

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

2. Thailand:

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

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

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

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

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

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.)

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

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

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Classified ads:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HEADLINE:
MISSIPPI’S LITERACY PROGRAM SHOWS IMPROVEMENT”

c. What the Occupy protesters really want:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

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

This is not a joke.

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

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH II:

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

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

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

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

(Image unavailable at this time).

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

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

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

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

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

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

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

B. Impeach Obama:

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

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN LOS ANGELES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.):

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

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

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

c. What “Occupy” really is about:

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

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

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

e. Profiles in presidential courage:

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

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

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 5, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

 

WikiWorld comic based on the article "Ann...

WikiWorld comic based on the article “Ann Coulter” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OMG, Ann Coulter again proves that parody of the far right is impossible:

“I mean that’s why our blacks are so much better than their blacks. To become a black Republican you don’t just roll into it, you’re not just going with the flow. You have fought against probably your family, probably your neighbors, you have thought everything out. And that’s why we have very impressive blacks in our party.”

This as opposed to Obama, who Coulter says, “is half black, and is not a descendant of the blacks that suffered these Jim Crow laws…I am not contesting that he was born in America or anything, but he is the son of a Kenyan not the son of American blacks that went through the American experience.”

What will the Tea Party do now with their assumption that Obama was a black non-citizen has been demolished by Mr. Coulter’s claim Obama is really a white American citizen? Do you all agree that your blacks and better than their blacks? Are Republican blacks better at house cleaning than Democratic blacks? Would Lincoln still agree black people remain property? Does Mr. Coulter have her own blacks or are they just owned by the Party? So many questions, so few answers.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Researchers from the University of Virginia report that women driving cars are much more likely than male drivers to be seriously injured in a crash even when both groups wear seat belts.

And no, it has nothing to do with driving proficiency. It does have something to do with relative upper body strength especially in the neck.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

America home of the brave: “There is no way for us, as militiamen, to save this country, to save Georgia, without doing something that’s highly, highly illegal: murder,”
“When it comes time to saving the Constitution, that means some people have got to die.”
Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, Ga., American Patriot and senior citizen who along with 3 others was arrested by the FBI for planning attacks on Police stations government buildings and employees of the IRS.

He was not a Muslim. Should the building of the houses of worship of whatever denomination they belong to be banned? Should all old men be profiled as possible terrorists? Come to think of it that would probably be a good idea, especially after they lose their Social Security and Medicare.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN LOS ANGELES:

Following the Day of the Dead party, I spent the next day in bed arising only to check my emails, eat some stuffed peppers and stare out of the window at the grocery store across the street.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

The most recent chapter of The Adventures of Pookie and Gun Girl has been posted.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.):

“Perhaps she suspects something more than an accident,” said Ray smiling broadly.

“Why would she do that? There’s nothing to suggest it was anything else. Besides what is it to her? It’s just another automobile death on Devil’s Slide. Anyway, why does she want to talk to me again? I have already told her I know nothing.”

“Maybe, she thinks you know more than you are telling her, or maybe she thinks there is something that you know, that you don’t think important but that she can figure out being a detective and all.”

Vince just stared at him.

After Ray left Vince took Ike’s call. Ike related the substance of his conversation with the US Attorney. After listening in silence, Vince said, “Good, but tell him that I would prefer to make any statements here in my office and not at the DOJ office. That would probably take a day or two to negotiate and something may happen in the meantime.”

Then Ike told him about his conversation with Russell.

Vince felt both his anger and elation arise at the same time.

“I thought that old bastard was playing his own game at my expense.”

After discussing procedures, tactics and strategies for a while, Vince hung up. He was still fuming at Russell’s threats when Nina put through to him a call from David Kitchen.

“David,” he said before Kitchen could speak. “If this is about the election, I am not about to change my mind.”

“No,” Kitchen responded, “it’s not about that specifically. You and I have to talk soon. There are some things about all this that you are not aware of. Things that may put you and me and the firm in danger. When can we meet?”

This got Vince’s attention and he sat upright in his chair.

“I am expecting the sheriff in a few moments to talk to me about Stephanie’s death, so we may only have a few moments.”

“Stephanie and Sam’s death may have something to do with what I have to tell you.”

“Well then,” said Vince, “it is better that I don’t know until after I meet with her. How about tomorrow, say at 11 AM?”

“OK, but not in your office. How about at Harrington’s, I’ll reserve a booth?”

After the call with David, Vince had difficulty controlling his emotions fear and excitement warred within him.

Finally he picked up the phone to call Fat Al, but before he could speak, Nina came into his office and said, “I am sorry to bother you Vince but there is a policewoman her to speak with you and I thought you would want to know right away.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation“:

Tourist Child Terrified Of Thai Women With Colored Contact Lenses

Eight-year-old Australian boy refusing to come out of family’s hotel bathroom

PHUKET – A young visitor to the Kingdom has been irrevocably emotionally scarred by his repeated encounter with local women wearing colored contact lenses, sources report.

Dylan Mussberg, aged 8, from Vancouver, has been holed up in his family’s hotel room at the Phuket Sheraton since 8am this morning, refusing to unlock the bathroom door until his parents, Marty and Vanessa Mussberg, promise him that they won’t make him go out to “where the werewolves are.”

According to child psychologist Dr Morgan West, a specialist in colored-contact related child traumas, the proliferation of oddly colored irises is especially damaging to first-time visitors to Asia. “A caucasian woman with obviously fake eye color is merely gaudy and cheap-looking,” she said. “But an Asian woman wearing them doesn’t even look human. Children are very intuitive when they see something that’s just wrong.”

b. Real Headlines and Ads:

CLASSIFIEDS: CARS FOR SALE: “2003 PONTIAC VIBERATOR ONE OWNER, POWER MOON, CD” “’97 FORD MUSTARD”’99 FORD EXPLODER XLS. LOADED.”

AD: “SMOKE AND FIRE ALARM/WITH SILENCER”

CLASSIFIED: “PUPPIES FREE TO GOOD HOME. MOTHER GERMAN SHEPHERD, FATHER ALSO A DOG.”

AD: “HIBERIA INN BACK TO SCHOOL SPECIAL! FREE BIC PEN WITH SECOND MARTINI”

HEADLINE: “Senior Luncheon will no longer include lunch”

c. What Occupy Wall Street is all About:

1. Who gets heard:

What is interesting about this chart in not simply the disparity between the primary contending interests struggling with each other for influence over distribution of the nations largess, but the sheer scope [1.5 billion dollars] of the industry [lobbying and influence peddling] with its own interests not necessarily aligned with that of their clients.

The chart also highlights the extent of the corruption within the political system itself. If those Wall Street and corporate titans who benefit from the tax breaks, contracts and subsidies granted to them supposedly on behalf of us, the 99%, are in reality merely welfare queens in expensive suits, then what are those politicians to be called who sell their integrity from the shadows in the halls of government?

2. Where most governmental waste and fraud is found (and surprisingly it is not in operations, teachers salaries, unemployment payments or welfare). It is in governmental contracting to private enterprise, primarily for defense.

An August report, prepared after a three-year study of contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, estimated that between $30 billion and $60 billion has been lost to waste and fraud so far in those conflicts, representing 15 to 30 percent of all that Washington has spent on contractor-provided security, civil reconstruction, training, and other nation-building work.

The commission warned that additional billions may be lost in the years ahead if Defense Department and State Department contracting authorities let remaining management problems fester or fail to safeguard contractor programs and projects that remain uncompleted.

Note: The DOD acknowledges the problems identified above. Their suggested solution is for Congress to allocate more funds to the department so that they can hire additional auditors.

3. Victory:

Bank of America is dropping its controversial $5 debit card fee, Bloomberg reported citing a bank spokesperson.

4. Action: Occupy Oakland’s General Assembly did something that is likely to catch on with occupations across the country. They voted to encourage the occupation of foreclosed properties across their city. After all, the bursting of the property bubble is part of why they’re on the streets right now.
d. How To Talk Like A Republican (New American Lexicon):

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

Don’t you feel better believing you have some control over your retirement benefits rather than some inept faceless bureaucrats? Did you ever stop to consider who is it that wants you to think that way?

e. Profiles in presidential courage:

Today Goldwater would be viewed as a liberal. The tragedy is that the modern Democratic Party is little more than the reincarnation of the 1950s Republican Party of Eisenhower and Goldwater.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

I apologize for getting so much of the facts regarding Dominic Petrillo, as portrayed in Sheldon’s book, wrong. However I think that, “beg” may be too strong a word. I remember it more as a “suggestion.”

Also, while I appreciate Stevie’s kind defense, I admit that there have been meetings at which my adversaries have offered similar opinions, sometimes to my face.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“We are not who we think we are. We narrate out lives, shading every last detail, and even changing the script retrospectively, depending on the event, most of the time subconsciously. The storyteller never stops, except perhaps in deep sleep.”
Doctor Michael S. Gazzaniga, Neuroscientist.

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

This ant that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 4. 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

A blast from the past: The following is a Daily Factoid I posted way back in September 2010 that I thought might amuse some:

Myrceugenia correifolia is a species of evergreen woody flowering shrub native to South America belonging to the Myrtle family, Myrtaceae. The common name of this plant is Petrillo.

Why any plant should have a so-called common name “Petrillo” I have no f***ing idea. Why not Schatzman for example? Besides, I resent the appellation “common.” There is nothing common about a Petrillo; weird or strange perhaps, but common, never.

Nevertheless, you may be interested to know that one notable characteristic of the noble Myrtle family is that the phloem is located on both sides of the xylem, not just outside as in most other plants.

Chew on that for a while.

While on the subject of things Petrillo, as you may recall in a previous email I introduced most of you to the notorious murdering Petrillo brothers. Recently, I also learned that someone named Dominick “The Gap” Petrillo introduced Joe Valacci to the Cosa Nostra.

As coincidence will have it, Dominic Petrillo is also the name of a character in one of Sheldon Seigal’s books. Sheldon tells me that he modeled the character in part on me. Dominic is a fairly despicable individual. I seem to remember he ends up killing himself.

Sheldon is not the only well-known author to include an unflattering description of me in his novel.

In “Roses are Red,” James Patterson‘s protagonists attempting to solve a series of baffling bank robberies go through files of hate mail from the banks that were robbed. One letter in particular draws their attention. The man who wrote it lived nearby. The man’s name is Joseph Petrillo. Petrillo wrote a hate letter every week for the last two years. Petrillo also was a former security guard who was laid off by Citibank. The letters were intelligent and well written. They go to see Petrillo who shoots at them. Once back up arrives they burst in, but find Petrillo had blown his head off. ( “sic transit gloria”).

For those with some interest in the matter or in strained coincidences, my daughter briefly dated James Patterson’s son. I understand it was a relationship that she would just as soon forget.

Oh well, as long as I am on a roll with Petrillo and mayhem, I may as well add one particularly gruesome and tragic story.

On September 25, 2009, Annie Morrell Petrillo, daughter of slain newspaper heiress Anne Scripps Douglas leaped to her death from the same bridge her stepfather Scott Douglas jumped to his death from on January 1, 1994, after murdering his wife. According to a witness, she stopped her car on the Tappan Zee Bridge and got out and jumped. A suicide note was found and its contents released on the ABC show 20/20 in 2010. Family friends stated that Annie never got over the senseless tragedy of her mother’s murder and she had been hospitalized several times for depression. At the time of Annie’s death, she was finalizing a divorce from Petrillo and that also may have contributed to her despair. (Knowing the Petrillo clan as well as I do, her marriage into our esteemed family I am sure was more than a contributing factor in Annie’s death. Just ask my mother.)

Just in case you have gotten the impression that the Petrillo clan is only associated with death, dying and violence, I will have you know that apparently we also like music (and of course sex).

It seems that the Grand Prince of Tuscany Ferdinando de Medici (1663-1713), also known as the “Orpheus Prince,” principal delight, aside from music, was in intimate liaisons and affairs, often with men. These included someone named (you guessed it) Petrillo. Petrillo was a musician (male), famous for his beauty. The oversexed prince also had an affair with a Venetian castrato by the name of Cecchino (I could be wrong, but I think Cecchino means either “little garbonzo bean” or “Frankie”).

Now there may be a gay Petrillo or two, but a castrato, never.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

Thailand: The Thai protective amulet industry is worth about 300 million USD per year. There are thousands of articles in popular amulet collector’s magazines about the value and beauty of these small objects. There is a regular section in the popular Thai language newspaper, Thai Rath, called “Sanam Phra” which features new amulets on the market, stories of their production and occasionally a miracle story about how an amulet saved a person from drowning or helped her business. Some amulets have sold for as much as 1.75 million USD. However, there are many amulets that cost as little as 10 cents. These amulets, albeit rarely, can be made more powerful with the addition of “corpse fluid” (nam man phrai) from aborted fetuses or freshly deceased adults.

America: Researchers returning from an expedition to the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific, the deepest part of the ocean, report they found the largest single cell organism ever discovered. The organism four inches long, lives under the crushing pressure of the water in the deepest and darkest part of the ocean, and it does not live there alone.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN LOS ANGELES:

See Today’s Photograph for a view of LA from space. The Verdugo hills where I am staying now are those hills in the upper center left of the photograph below the large mountain range at the top. Torrance, where Monty lives, is located just behind the low range of hills by the water on the Pales Verde peninsula in the bottom center of the photograph.

So, here I am in La Canada eating breakfast at a café called “Hill Street,” Monty having dropped me off here after we got lost on our drive this morning to Glendale where I was going to spend the next few days. Fortunately, I found a bus that stopped directly across the street from the café and deposited me a block away from my destination. The bus had some sort of senior discount that allowed me to ride for free. Instead of the usual denizens of public transit I find in SF, the bus rapidly filled up with relatively well dressed seniors. Glendale, is America’s own little Armenia. There are perhaps more Armenians here than in the capital of Armenia itself, another example of the melting pot producing stew and not sauce.

After I arrived, I was immediately put to work shelling Tamarind, followed by squeezing limes for the Margaritas to be served at the Day of the Dead party this evening. Then I took a nap.

After my nap we travelled around downtown Glendale looking for Marigolds.

That evening the guests arrived all were Armenian except a distinguished physician of mexican descent and me, the Sicilian rhapsody. Mostly the guests conversed in a mix of Arminian and English. We drank Tamarind Margaritas, the first taste of which was like some horrid medicine, but immediately thereafter grew on you until it became delightful and habit-forming.

Against one wall in the living room a Day of the Dead altar was erected, containing skulls, the marigolds, candles and photographs or mementos of the departed.

Among the guests was an artist and the owner of the gallery in which his works are exhibited. There was also an author on Armenian matters and local talk show host on the Armenian television station. He was bald, rotund and sported a beard that would make Trotsky proud.

I had an interesting discussion with a child psychiatrist and his wife a medical anthropologist who had set up a foundation to oppose infant scarification (circumcision), cesarean births and support breast-feeding and the removal of infants from cribs and into their parents beds.

In the discussion with the psychiatrist, I learned that the Armenian nation that existed in eastern Anatolia for several thousand years until it was destroyed in the Armenian genocide during the early part of the 20th Century, being surrounded by muslim and other societies that practiced ritual circumcision and sought to impose them on the Armenians, steadfastly resisted, having the tips of their wieners chopped off.

Think about it, for thousands of years people have fought and killed one another over whether the bit if skin covering the end of the penis should remain intact, and the battle still is not over.

Another guest was introduced to me as an anarchist. With his flowing white beard and his ponytailed white hair he reminded me more of a rabbi than an anarchist.

Toward the end of the evening the psychiatrist and his wife and the physician got into a heated discussion regarding circumcision and childhood development. The physician said something that interested me, that since Roe v Wade, the number of abortions and the number of immigrants into the US have balanced each other and this was because it was recognized that labor was necessary for a healthy economy and a political decision was made to balance the loss of future laborers from abortion through immigration. While I felt the latter part of his assertion was bullshit, I wanted to find out if indeed abortions matched immigration.

So the next day, I researched the issue and found that, in fact, abortions almost tripled the number of immigrants. In addition, a fact that should surely fuel the paranoiac inclinations of my old classmate Pat Buchanan, the number of abortions by white women were in itself larger that the number of immigrants and except for abortions among black women which almost matched immigration, the abortion numbers among what ever the political classifications we score things by today was miniscule.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Cancelled today because Vince is befuddled, Isabella pissed off, Meg obsessed, Ike depressed and the author reduced to suffering alternating fits of annoyance and anxiety.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation”:

b. Real Headlines and Ads:

AD FOR BOTTLE CHILLER: “Chill wines. Good for cars!” (PICTURE OF CHILLER NEXT TO DRIVER)

HEALTH FOOD STORE BROCHURE: “Herb Of The Month: Treats loss of memory and male importance”

NEWSPAPER LOST AND FOUND: “PLEASE HELP. FOUND. WHITE CAT STUCK IN TREE. CAN’T GET DOWN. NEED HELP URGENTLY”

FOR SALE: “MANNEQUIN. LOWER HALF LIKE NEW, USED ONCE OR TWICE. $55 OR BEST OFFER”

c. What Occupy really wants:

Weaponized Keynesians: Those who believe, “the government does not create jobs when it funds the building of bridges or important research or retrains workers, but when it builds airplanes that are never going to be used in combat, that is of course economic salvation.” (Barney Frank)

John Maynard Keynes noted the curious “preference for wholly ‘wasteful’ forms of loan expenditure rather than for partly wasteful forms, which, because they are not wholly wasteful, tend to be judged on strict ‘business’ principles.” Spend money on some useful goal, like the promotion of new energy sources, and people start screaming, “Solyndra! Waste!” Spend money on a weapons system we don’t need, and those voices are silent, because nobody expects F-22s to be a good business proposition.

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

Frank Luntz, Republican Party consultant in a strategy memorandum sent out to Party insiders said:

“Sometimes it is not what you say that matters but what you don’t say. Other times a single word or phrase can undermine or destroy the credibility of a paragraph or entire presentation. This memo was originally prepared exclusively for Congressional spouses because they are your eyes and ears, a one-person reality check and truth squad combined. However, by popular demand, I have included and expanded that document because effectively communicating the New American Lexicon requires you to STOP saying words and phrases that undermine your ability to educate the American people.”

This new section of Pepe’s Potpourri will contain some of Luntz recommendations.

If you ever thought that you were able to reason your way to your own political convictions, this series will disabuse you of that conceit. What you thought you knew and believed is little more than clever cynical conditioning.

e. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Recently I wrote that Monty fought in the Middleweight division during Sugar Ray Robinson’s reign. In fact his career began as Robinson’s was ending. I apologize for the error.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If you don’t start thinking about finance in this way–don’t start by classifying those who trade into savers, borrowers, risk-bearers, risk-shedders, principals, agents, gamblers, and marks–you do not, I think, have any chance of conducting a serious analyses of modern finance.”
Brad DeLong

Perhaps, my favorite description of what the world of finance is all about.

TODAY’S CHART:

In other words, only about 17% of the federal Budget is discretionary spending. A little over 20% is spent on defense. The remainder is spent on mandatory payments; entitlements, interest and safety net programs. Allowing the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy to expire and cut defend spending by 20% would over the next 10 years save more that 2.2 trillion dollars and amount greater than that the so-called super Congress is required to make. So why, if it is so simple is it not done? That’s easy, the Republicans in Congress, with the assistance of some Democrats, refuse to either raise taxes or make significant cuts in weapons procurement [see Weaponized Keynesians above.]

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

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