2010: According to a report from the US Department of Justice, the US has the highest incidence of violent crimes in the world. Every year one out of every four persons in the US is a victim of crime. In 2009 an estimated 4.3 million violent crimes, 15.6 million property crimes and 133,000 personal thefts were reported against US residents 12 and over. The violent crime rate was 17.1 victimizations per 1000 persons. (American soldiers stationed in some war zones seem safer than the average American in many of their own neighborhoods)
The US also ranks first in the world in the number of privately owned guns (90 million guns in a population of 300 million). An average of 12,000 gun murders per year in also the among highest total of civilian gun deaths in the world. (Thank God for the second amendment, could you imagine what the total carnage would be were Americans stripped of their arms.)
I can only assume his mayhem and slaughter are caused primarily by those non-american hoards illegally flooding across our border, and the liberal coddling of the criminal classes. Either that or we Americans are the most violent barbaric people on the face of the earth.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:
a. More about subs:
The Thai Defense Minister has suggested to the Thai Navy that instead of buying six used submarines from Germany for 7.7 billion baht that they purchase instead two submarines of the same design from Korea for 40 billion baht. The Navy indicates that it will accept the alternative if the submarines are new.
Now if six submarines were necessary to protect the Thai homeland, why would only two, more expensive submarines of the same design, provide the same level of protection?
b. Election insults:
The Thai government has accused 18 opposition Red Shirts of insulting the monarchy, a crime under Thai law. The King in statements over the years has repeatedly stated that he is not above criticism and that criticism can only help him to be a better King. Under Thai law the Thai King has no say on whether or not he believes he has been insulted.
c. More about Songkran:
In Bangkok, home to innumerable sex clubs, nudie bars and the most vibrant sex tourism industry in the world, three teenage girls were fined for obscenity for dancing topless in the street before a crowd of Songkran revelers. It was claimed the girls demeaned the great Songkran festival. The same festival, by the way, celebrated by mass inebriation and indiscriminate assault by water gun.
As a result of the official reaction against lewdness in the streets of the capitol, the culture minister ordered the removal from the ministry’s website a painting by a notable Thai artist of three topless women dressed in ancient Thai costumes welcoming in the new year. The Culture Minister observed “Sometimes art and obscenity overlap” and wryly added, “Perhaps we have to buy bras to cover up [several well known public sculptures] to prevent obscenity.”
Thailand appears to be getting more and more like the US every day.
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
Since I recommenced posting into my blog the daily number of “hits” have increased dramatically, from about 3 per day to about 20 per day. True, most of the “hits” are advertisements for things like costume jewelry and “Broccoli,” but to those of us with weaker egos, any recognition is acceptable.
I have returned to Bangkok from PbS to resume my baby sitting duties only to discover that a six year old Thai girl has been added to the household at least temporarily. She is the daughter of one of the women who used to work at AVA. SWAC thought that it would be good for Hayden to stay with a friend and bond these last few weeks before being wrenched away into a new environment.
Actually, I find I enjoy having the both of them around. The mischief of one child can often be tiresome and repetitive, but the mischief of two I find endlessly unpredictable and amusing.
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Seamus Arroyo Cohen proved to be a relatively short man built like a bowling ball on legs. Vince could see that it was not simply fat that filled out his trunk. The way he walked and the stability of his mass indicated a relative air of strength, if not fitness. Rising above that rotund mass, seemingly without the aid of a neck, was a rather small head complete with well groomed full head of dark brown hair and a similarly tinted meticulously trimmed full beard. He was wearing an elegant if somewhat dated grey three piece suit. All in all he appeared to Vince to resemble a character out of an Edwardian movie, lacking only the frock coat and walking stick.
He walked briskly over to where Vince was sitting, sat himself down offered his hand and said in a voice no louder than a whisper, “Mr. Biondi, it is a pleasure meeting you.”
“Ah… how did you know it was me,” Vince inquired, startled.
“You are the only one in this particular Starbuck’s that looked like a troubled, big firm lawyer. Besides, there are only three other customers in here, two are women and the third is a young man hunched over his computer, who does not appear to be more than 25 years old. It did not require the deductive reasoning capability of a Sherlock Holmes to ascertain that you were the person I came here to meet. Excuse me for a moment.”
He then gracefully heaved his bulk back out of the chair and went to the counter to order a Grande Cafe Americano.
Vince smiled as he watched this strange, soft spoken man wait patiently for his order.
When he reseated himself at the table with his coffee Vince said, “Thank you, Mr. Cohen, for agreeing to meet on such short notice.”
“Please, you can call me ‘Ike.'”
“Yes,” he said in that same soft voice, “at the Department of Justice no one liked calling me Seamus, or Cohen, much less Arroyo, so at first they started calling me Sam. I never liked the name Sam and told them so and for some reason they switched to Ike. I actually liked the name Ike and so Ike I became.”
“Well then, Ike it is. I’m called Vince, most of the time. Let’s get down to business shall we?”
From the ensuing conversation and what he had been able to gather from his conversation with Mike Daily, Ike had been one of the brightest stars in the Department of Justice’s While Collar Crime division in Washington DC, when suddenly he quit, moved out to San Francisco a little over two years ago and bought the victorian that he remodeled it to his tastes. He now spends his time attending to his world renown Korean celadon pottery collection, taking lessons of the Sarod at Ali Akbar Kahn’s institute in Marin County, learning to play the banjo and attempting to grow orchids in a hot house on the top floor of his home. His basement he fitted out into a law office. He did not look for nor accept many cases, only those that interested him. He retained a part time legal secretary (according to Mike a women of unusual beauty and physical endowments) and an intern provided by the local law schools whom he could and would mentor. A Korean man and wife who lived in a unit at the back of the house and provided domestic help.
Vince explained his concerns. He began with the reasons he originally left the firm, why he thought he accepted the offer to return, what he has found here; Sam’s death, his secret room, Charlie’s involvement at the time of Sam’s death and the disappearance of the files, the Red Star matter and the involvement of firm management, the visit from the FBI and his discomfort with the First’s responsiveness to Vince’s inquiry. All and all he told him everything he could think of, except about Isabella. He was not sure why he left her out but he did.
“What I would like to retain you to do Ike, is to represent me primarily on the Red Star matter. We will begin there. I’d like you to review the files and use your knowledge and connections with the DOJ to find out what if anything is going on and then advise me as to what actions I should take.” (continued)
a. For Dr. Seuss’ aficionados upon reaching the age of 70:
b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/) :
“Wherever you have supply meeting a demand you will have someone trying to make a profit by making it not so.”
“After all, what is your host’s purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they’d have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi.”