Posts Tagged With: Durban

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:
1. Education matters:

A study, published through the National Bureau of Economic Research, collected data including interviews with charter school principals and teachers, student surveys, lesson plans, and video observations. It shows that input measures associated with a traditional resource-based model of education — class size, per pupil expenditure, fraction of teachers with no teaching certification, and fraction of teachers with an advanced degree — are not positively correlated with school effectiveness. Instead the factors that were meaningful are frequent teacher feedback, data driven instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and a relentless focus on academic achievement — explains almost half of the variation in school effectiveness. Moreover, these variables continue to be statistically important after accounting for alternative models of schooling, and a host of other explanatory variables, and are predictive in a different sample of schools.

2. 2011:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Thai political adventures:

Thaksin the Terrible, the exiled fugitive ex-Prime Minister of Thailand and brother to the current Prime Minister, Princess LuckyGirl, has secretly received a Thai passport. This has dominated local media and has generated calls by the opposition party for  impeachment of LuckyGirl.

2. Floods:

More people died in the one day of flooding in the Philippines, than died in the two months of flooding in Thailand.

3. Christmas:

The sale of Christmas trees in Thailand (a Buddhist country) have skyrocket this year.

4. The Flying Ladyboys:

This past year PC air (that is not a joke), a regional Thai airline, announced it was hiring ladyboys as flight attendants. Among its initial hires, the airline proclaimed, was “Thailand’s most beautiful transvestite.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I am generally up and about. My cough has receded to a sometime thing. I still find myself quite fatigued. I hope that clears up as I get back into my daily exercise regime.

Yesterday I went to see the some of Bangkok’s Christmas decorations. Yes, Thailand (at least the commercial sector), a 96 percent Buddhist country, celebrates Christmas with a fervor that would make Faux News proud. The Central Department store boasts the worlds tallest Christmas tree. Tinkling lights, Santa Claus and peppermint candy canes are everywhere. Carolers, not the 4 or 5 person groups dressed in 19 Century outfits that we see in the US but full choirs, belt out nearly recognizable western carols. But no crèche. Damn the ACLU.

I also attended a Thai-Korea friendship festival put on in the plaza in front of one of the City’s largest department stores. There were, Taekwando exhibitions, singing and dancing, incomprehensible award ceremonies and a fascinating troop that painted large canvasses as they danced.

On the way home, I bought a Thai crêpe from one of the sidewalk food vendors.

Sidewalk food vendors in BKK and far more ubiquitous than Sabrett Hot-dog venders in downtown Manhattan and much more varied. From fried insect specialties to full meals, just about everything is available to eat on the streets of BKK. There are even guides to the best street foods in the city as well as the best Thai street food recipes.

BKK street food is some of the most varied in the world. Although, I have not yet tasted anything sublime (for example the perfect cannoli that I have searched for the world over and found something close to in Venerio’s on the lower east side of NY), it has often been quite tasty. The risk of potential food poisoning is substantially reduced by avoiding ice in your drinks, assuring everything is well cooked and avoiding fresh fruits and vegetables unless the skin is removed in front of you or it comes from something with a thick, inedible rind. On the other hand, what is one or two days a year of puking your guts out and wishing you were dead compared to  excitement of culinary adventure.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The recent international climate change conference in Durban, South Africa has concluded with an insipid agreement by the attending countries that they will continue to work together on the problem. Of course, even that is probably a lie, since the fact they were not willing to work together at the conference is a good indication that they have no intention of doing so after it ends.

Apparently a number of consultant, advisors and commentators at the conference cautioned against doing anything because it could cause economic stress and advised that future technological advances could perhaps resolve the problem. This is a little like saying, when faced with a Tsunami, do not try to seek safety, because perhaps a rescue is being organized and you can avoid all the effort and risks associated with scurrying about trying to escape.

Add to this some interesting facts I came across a few days ago, if they are believable. The current value of the oil reserves held by oil companies and producers totals more than the total GDP of all but the four or five largest economies in the world. What conceivable reason would cause them to give up that wealth before it is sold and converted into profits? What entity, public or private, is large enough and powerful enough to resist being bought out or off or outright attacked if it places that treasure in jeopardy?

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Escape without dignity.

Isabella dragged Vince across the dining room toward the doors leading into the kitchen. She thrust him against the wall, hard, pushed open one door with her foot, and with her gun pointed straight up toward the ceiling just like in the movies, gingerly peered inside. The shock of the impact from her shoving him into the wall hastened the return of Vince’s senses. Along with that came realization of the precariousness of his situation. Before he could act on this dawning awareness and probably panic again, she grabbed his arm, pulled him through the door, pushed him ahead of her and yelled, “Go, go, go, go!”

With the return of his reason, Vince’s male pride also swarmed into his consciousness, almost overwhelming it. He felt furious at her shouting and pushing him around. But before he could react, she shouted “down” and spun around to get off two shots back at the door they just passed through.

That was enough. Vince, wounded pride forgotten, replaced by self-preservation, hunched over bending himself almost in half, scrambled toward the door at the back in the kitchen, as fast as that contorted posture allowed. He stumbled through the door and on to the stairwell landing. Isabella, followed on his heels, shouting “downstairs, go!” Vince flew down the stairs, lost his footing and clumsily fell against the wall.

Isabella grabbed his arm again and by alternating pushing and shoving him managed to drive them both down the next two flights.

On the third landing they hesitated. He to catch his breath and she to check into the stairwell below and above her. Above the door appeared to open. She fired another couple of shot. The door slammed shut again. Leaning back against the wall, she extracted a magazine from her magic purse, ejected the now empty one and slammed in the new.

Then they were off again down the stairs until they arrived at the bottom, a small alcove with two doors. One marked with the word “Lobby” in large red letters, the other obviously leading to the alley at the side of the building.

“Which one,” Vince shouted reduced once again to near hysterics as he heard the thud from the footfalls of their pursuers racing down the stairs above them? (to be continued)

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. The impossibility of parody:

“It doesn’t matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”
~Newt Gingrich, telling us we should do as he says, regardless of what he actually does.

2. Buddy Roemer on China:

China’s protectionist trade practices and human rights violations are an abomination, and as president he would retaliate so fast it would make Chinese heads spin while potentially igniting a global trade war. Roemer’s “fair trade” policies would be very specific: tit for tat retaliation for unfair trade practices. “If your goods come into this country, and they’re made by children or by prisoners, they will not be allowed in.”

3. David Frum Republican Party consultant and conservative political commentator explains Faux News:

“But the thought leaders on talk radio and Fox do more than shape opinion. Backed by their own wing of the book-publishing industry and supported by think tanks that increasingly function as public-relations agencies, conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. IQ matters too:

a. Levels:

 

b. Signs you are smarter than average:

“…new findings, from a landmark study published [June 2007], showed that eldest children had a slight but significant edge in IQ — an average of three points over the closest sibling and it found that the difference was not because of biological factors but the psychological interplay of parents and children.”
The New York Times

I am the eldest child in my family, both my sister and brother are smarter than I am, was that because I did not get along with my mother?

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

a. It is time that we as a nation begin growing back together again.

 
b. It is time to start listening to those who founded our nation again:

I find it fascinating how much John Adams and the CEO of Goldman Sachs look alike.

3. The defining characteristics of Fascism:

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each. Here are the first 5:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution…

4. The Adam Smith on why we sympathize with the rich and hesitate to tax them overly much:

Smith attempted to explain why, despite the fact that we have a moral obligation to tax our superrich at the peak of the Laffer Curve: to tax them so heavily that we raise the most possible money from them — to the point beyond which their diversion of energy and enterprise into tax avoidance and sheltering would mean that any extra taxes would not raise but reduce revenue, we in society feel it is wrong to so tax their incomes. In the case of the hard-working rich (as opposed to inherited wealth), he posited that we sympathize with the type of person who:

“devotes himself forever to the pursuit of wealth and greatness….With the most unrelenting industry he labors night and day….serves those whom he hates, and is obsequious to those whom he despises….[I]n the last dregs of life, his body wasted with toil and diseases, his mind galled and ruffled by the memory of a thousand injuries and disappointments….he begins at last to find that wealth and greatness are mere trinkets of frivolous utility…. Power and riches….keep off the summer shower, not the winter storm, but leave him always as much, and sometimes more exposed than before, to anxiety, to fear, and to sorrow; to diseases, to danger, and to death…”
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

According to economist Brad deLong, we don’t wish to disrupt the perfect felicity of the lifestyles of the rich and famous; and we don’t wish to add to the burdens of those who have spent their most precious possession — their time and energy — pursuing baubles. These two arguments are not consistent, but that does not matter. They both have a purchase on our thinking. Unlike today’s public-finance economists, Smith understood that we are not rational utilitarian calculators. Indeed, that is why we have collectively done a very bad job so far in dealing with the enormous rise in inequality between the industrial middle class and the plutocratic superrich that we have witnessed.

5. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Some of you have commented that the personal calendars I sent to you appear very complicated. I suspect that was because I did not have the proper application and had to use a financial template to display a yearly calendar instead of the normal monthly one. That and that I also inserted the corresponding Gregorian Calendar dates for reference I am afraid made it confusing. In fact, your personal calendar is much less confusing then the Gregorian one you are currently using. In your personal calendar, you have only two months with different days ( eight 28 day months and four 35 day ones) with the Gregorian Calendar you have at least 3 (one of 38 days, 4 of 30 and 7 of 31). Also, every month in the Gregorian Calendar more of less differs from every other month in the year. Not so with your personal calendar. In addition, every day in your new calendar falls on the same day of the week each month forever. Thus if you were born on the 15th day of the 10th month it would always fall on a Monday.

I have attached a more recognizable graphic of the two calendars.

The first 3 months of the standard Gregorian Calendar :

Graphics not available at this time…..

 

And since there are only two different months in your personal calendar, I have been able to show the entire year with just two attachments.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Christopher Hitchens maintained his resolve and did not turn, he did not repent, he died an unrepentant and defiant atheist. That would mean today, if the Scriptures mean anything, that he is in Hell today.

But here’s my point, the point I was making earlier is that if he is, if Christopher Hitchens is, in fact, in Hell, he’s there because God loves him. Not because God hates him but because God loves him. And I explained what I mean by that. What I mean by that is that God loves us enough to, in the end, give us what we insist on having. If we are determined to have our own way then God, in the end, is going to give us what we insist on having, because that’s what you do for people you love.”
Bryan Fischer – conservative fundamentalist minister.

Huh – Let’s see if I got this right : God sends us to Hell because he loves us and wants us to have what we most want. Therefore Hell means getting everything you want. Heaven then must be where you get nothing you want. I always expected as much.

TODAY’S CHART:

Finally something that explains the difference that I can understand.

Alas, If truth be known, both my menu and french fries preferences are decidedly conservative.:

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S FACEBOOK POST:

Repentance is definitely needed indeed!

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


I hope you all had a Merry Christmas too.

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

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. How deep are your political beliefs mommy?

Republicans could be hurting their general election chances by calling for mass deportations of undocumented immigrants and vowing not to reform the system until the border is secured, a pollster and a Republican strategist said on Tuesday and advised them to abandon those proposals.

2. Recent twitter post from “The Onion”:

Rumors Of Extramarital Affair End Campaign Of Presidential Candidate Who Didn’t Know China Has Nuclear Weapons.

3. Buddy Roemer, Populist Republican Candidate for President:

According to Roemer, The Dodd-Frank financial reform law is “a disgrace” because it formalizes the concept that mega banks like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are “too big to fail,” regardless of whether they pursue reckless or unscrupulous practices. “The taxpayers will not support any more bailouts,” he says. “That’s [the view of] Occupy Wall Street. That’s the Tea Party. That’s Buddy Roemer. It’s America, and if the bank is too big to fail, then the bank ought to be disbanded.”

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

1. 2011:

According to the WMO in its annual report on climate trends and extreme weather events, unveiled at UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa, this year caps a decade that ties the record as the hottest ever measured.

“Our science is solid and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement, adding that policy-makers should take note of the findings.

“Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached new highs and are very rapidly approaching levels consistent with a 2 to 2.4 Celsius rise in average global temperatures.”

Scientists believe that any rise above the 2.0 threshold could trigger far-reaching and irreversible changes on Earth over land and in the seas.

The 2002-2011 period equals 2001-2010 as the warmest decade since 1850, the report said.

2. November 30, 1941:

Einsatzgruppen shoots 10,000 Jews from Riga in the Rumbola Forest.

Lest we forget

3. How to live longer, get a cat.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute in Minneapolis found that cats, by nature, alleviate stress and anxiety, potentially reducing the risk of heart attack in humans by 30%. It’s not just the felines’ unconditional love that helps cat owners stave off stress-related cardiovascular diseases. A cat’s purr actually produces vibrations at frequencies that have been known to help with pain relief, bone and muscle growth, and wound healing.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. America: a public dialogue.

“You don’t own me. I pay your salary. I work for the private sector and you work for the taxpayer.”
Historian Dr. Douglas Brinkley to Representative Don Young (R. Alaska) at a congressional committee hearing in response to Congressman Young telling Brinkley, “I’ll call you anything I want to call you when you sit in that chair… You just be quiet,” when Brinkley attempted to correct the honorable Congressman’s pronunciation of his name: ”

2. America: From the HP Psychometer (Bat-shit Crazy).


Every year we hope it’ll be the last we hear of Black Friday shoppers trampling one another to death over cheap electronics, but sadly 2011 was no different from previous years. Not only did Target shoppers haphazardly step over a 61-year-old man who had collapsed and later died, but one Wal-Mart shopper thought it appropriate to pepper spray nearly 20 people in the face, while another group of shoppers fought like animals over $2 waffle makers and yet another group stampeded an Urban Outfitters. We’re sure there are more we could share, but our faith in humanity is already at dangerous new lows.

3. Thailand and Yingluck’s boots:

After failure of a no confidence motion for her government’s handling of the flooding in Thailand and the release of a poll showing that Prime Minister Young and Lucky‘s popularity actually increased, the press has begun to suggest that the mud does not cling to her boots. Like Ronald Reagan she seems to be another Teflon political leader whose popularity rises no matter what happens in their countries or what mistakes their administrations make.

4. Parking in Thailand:

“He parked in my driveway,”
Statement by a retired Thai Army Major General explaining why he shot, kicked and stomped on a Bangkok Post news photographer.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The epic floods are slowly dissipating and all over the country cadres of people are out with brooms signaling the beginning the massive cleanup. Business leaders are busy telling everyone how optimistic they are about making money from the reconstruction. The Travel industry has rushed to market the concept that the floods never happened. Various so-called visionaries have proposed a host of generally impractical remedies for minimizing future flooding while the construction and engineering industry and a few large landowners are pushing several super public works projects including a 200 mile long canal along the eastern part of Bangkok to divert water around the city and into the Gulf. Meanwhile the politicians have begun squabbling over fault.

Two things have struck me when I consider the floods and their aftermath. Well, many things actually, but two I feel like mentioning.

The first is that at the beginning or the monsoon season, I mentioned in these posts that while watching the evening weather shows here in Thailand I noticed a series of stationary low pressure areas remaining motionless north of the Mekong River. I assumed at the time that the stationary lows were a normal pattern of the monsoons season since they obviously sucked the warm moist air from the high pressure ridges in the Indian ocean. This warm moist air would pass over the highlands of South and Southeast Asia where, as it rose above the mountains, it would lose its ability to hold as much moisture which would then fall as rain eventually ending as run off in the Mekong River or in the tributaries to the Chao Phraya.

After the first two or so storms, I noticed that the line of lows had, in South East Asia at least, moved south of the Mekong and now sat right on top of the highlands. I did not think much about it at the time, but after reading about the blame game, I realized that Thailand has two major drainages, the Mekong draining toward the Pacific ocean and the Chao Phraya drainage through Bangkok to the Gulf of Thailand. Once the lows moved south that ment that instead of being carried away by two drainages, now the entire rainfall from the remaining 3 or 4 major monsoon storms had to drain through central Thailand. I would think someone should have noticed that at the time and warned the authorities.

The second thing of note is that the King, who for all extent and purpose is the primary water policy expert in Thailand, in the 1990s warned the country that the lowlands around eastern Bangkok was the essential flood plain and had to be kept clear so that flood waters could flow to the sea without damaging the existing built up areas. Ignoring the King’s warning the business and political establishment saw eastern Bangkok as a growth area and proceeded to eliminate the flood plain with massive industrial estates and the new international airport. As a result the water denied free movement through the flood plain spread out into the City.

Now they want to tax the people of Thailand to build a massive canal so that even more of the flood plain can be developed. And you know what? Thailand may not have a choice, as usual.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMOIRS:

There was a time, twenty years or so ago that I frequently found myself in New Orleans. I often attended conferences there or otherwise occupied myself on things coastal; consulting and so forth. I liked the City and southern Louisiana a lot and would often extend my stay or return for vacations alone or with my family. I was particularly fond of the misty romantic bayou area in Cajun Country; the Bayou Teche of James Lee Burke and the “Evangeline” area. I used to wander around the Bayous, staring at the water and the Spanish moss encrusted trees and watching the alligators stalk the nutrias. Sometimes I would stop in a local restaurants and devour cajun cuisine or search for places to listen to the music, Zydeco and Jazz.

In New Orleans, through our mutual involvement in environmental issues, I became friends with a someone who lived in a large deteriorating mansion in the Garden District. He was a descendant of a man who, just prior to the Civil War, “cornered” the cotton market for two days and thereby made enough money so that at least 5 generations of his heirs could avoid real work. I do not know what cornering a market actually means, but it appeared to be the “hedge fund” equivalent of the time. I do know that like the derivatives of our time, cornering a market has little if any socially redeeming purpose. In this case it produced no jobs, no products and no wealth for anyone but him and his descendants and can probably be considered just slightly above outright theft on almost any moral scale. Anyway, my friend shared with me a capsule history, from the point of view of each generation’s education, of his family and most of the anglos descended from those that inhabited the district before the Civil War.

The initial settlers in the Garden District were generally uneducated but had become wealthy the good old fashion American way, they stole from someone else. They sent their children to Oxford and Cambridge. They in turn sent their children to Harvard and Yale. The third generation went to Tulane and the fourth to LSU. As the trust funds ran out, the most recent generation, if they attended any institution of higher learning at all, attended New Orleans Junior College.

My friend’s tale got me to thinking about whether other American groups experienced a similar progression through the generations as did the citizens of New Orleans Garden District.

It immediately struck me that the American experience was truly unique in the world and it usually cycled more or less over three generations.

The first generation were most often immigrants who usually migrated from poverty into very slightly less poverty. By poverty I mean the deadly combination of the absence of material resources and constant fear due to the precariousness of their existence. These immigrants were rarely educated, but, sometimes as a result of hard work, luck or simple persistence, some became wealthy, a few fabulously so while others managed to make do and provide their families with an upper lower class or middle class living that they could not aspire to in their previous homeland. Others, perhaps even the majority failed miserably and passed on their poverty to their children.

The children of this first generation who had succeeded in moving out of meanest poverty, often sought to enter the artistic or mandarin class, doctors, lawyers, accountants business managers, investment advisers, academics, teachers, government workers.

By the third generation some found themselves comfortable simply maintaining their middle class status while others unfortunately seemed to fall back into the ranks of the poor but with a difference; a marked reduction in fear and helplessness. By this time they are acclimated to their society and so have become more confident in their survival as well as their acceptance. These latter descended to lower paid positions, such as in social service and the arts. Finally a few simply became, well bums and by bums I mean those who accept the meanest absence of resources while also remaining free of the fear and desperation that marks true poverty.

Now of course, the reason for the above tortured analysis was to lead back to me and my own story or worse, to a rationalization of some of the circumstances in my life.

My grandfather Joe was the archetype for the first generation. Leaving the dire poverty of the mountains above Naples, he found in America a precarious existence admittedly better to some degree than what he left behind. Through, hard work, luck, a bit of thuggery and a lot sharp dealing he achieved great wealth, beyond his wildest dreams. Alas, all that came crashing down when he lost everything in the Great Depression.

My father, during my grandfathers years of prosperity, hoped to enter the Mandarin class as an attorney until the economic hard times threw him back into the lowest class where he spent his life as an untrained laborer as though he not his father were the immigrant. His children in turn now became the second generation desiring careers in the arts (my sister and brother) or the Mandarin class (me). But if truth be known, I always secretly yearned to represent my grandfathers third generation and revert to living fearlessly poor, to become a bum. I have achieved that blessed state twice in my life. First when I relocated from the East Coast to SF and became a committed hippy and now, living a poor but happy life in Thailand.

There, aren’t you glad you read through all this, including the questionable analysis, and blatant self-indulgence and finally arrived here at the end. I am.
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Something about fans and fecal matter (cont.):

Vince’s smile evaporated. “What do you mean?” he responded, beginning to feel the anger rising within him from her challenge as well as the almost certain knowledge that he knew the answer?

“Agreeing to talk to the US Attorney for one thing.”

“Why should that bother you? They’re your people and both you and Russell know I do not know anything significant.”

“Don’t be coy,” she responded moving her eyes from his and toward the waiter approaching the table. “You wanted to stir things up.”

“You do not know what you’re doing,” she added just before the waiter arrived and asked her if she would like something to drink.
.
She declined. He asked if they were ready to order. She stared at him for a surprisingly long time before answering him and responding for both of them that they were not. She continued staring at his back as he receded into the kitchen then turned back to Vince and continued, “And if I know about it, so does everyone else.”

“Ha,” he exclaimed smugly, “you think there is a leak in the US Attorney’s Office?”

She shook her head, “No in yours.”

Bullshit, unless they were listening in on my telephone call there couldn’t be. Not about this. I don’t think Ike would say anything.”

“There is little that goes on in your office that we do not know about, and if we do then someone else can also. Your office has been bugged and not only by the US government at least not the agencies that we are aware of. Now let’s look at our menu and order before the waiter get’s even more nervous than he is already, shall we?”

“You bugged my office? What right do you have to do that,” he demanded as he glanced through the menu of only two pages with limited expensive options descried more like one would describe a piece of art rather than food?

“Someone else did too? How do you know,” he asked trying not to plead?

“More than one we guess,” she responded putting down the Menu.

The waiter suddenly appeared at the table. Vince wondered for a moment how he knew so quickly they were ready to order .

They ordered. She asked for some sparkling mineral water to accompany her meal. He chose a glass of Kendal-Jackson Cabernet that he always liked that he noticed they were serving by the glass. As the waiter turned to return to the kitchen with their order Isabella noted her place setting was missing her salad fork and asked him to bring her a replacement.

After he left, Vince feeling uncomfortable with how the conversation was going decided to lighten things up and asked, “If you are my body guard where is your gun? You look great, but it doesn’t look like you can hide a gun somewhere under that outfit and the purse looks to small.”

“The purse is a gun,” she responded glancing down at it shimmering on the table by he right hand.

“Oh, a James Bond thing,” he tried to joke. It sounded lame even to him. (to be continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

END of TIME

What if time itself somehow came to a finish because of the laws of physics? In 2007, Spanish scientists proposed an alternative explanation for the mysterious dark energy that accounts for 75% of the mass of the universe and acts as a sort of anti-gravity, pushing galaxies apart. They proposed that the effects we observe are due to time slowing down as it leaked away from our universe.

Danger sign: It could be happening right now. We would never know.

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

1. A society that cares for the well being of their children.

2. End government redistribution of national income growth to the wealthiest few families.

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

“By then his document (Lewis Powell’s memorandum to the corporate elites mentioned in my previous post in which he called upon them to mount a campaign to distort the national economic consensus in order to benefit themselves) had circulated widely in corporate suites. Within two years the board of the US Chamber of Commerce formed a task force of 40 business executives — from US Steel, GE, GM, Phillips Petroleum, 3M, Amway, and ABC and CBS (two media companies, we should note). Their assignment was to coordinate the crusade, put Powell’s recommendations into effect, and push the corporate agenda. Powell had set in motion a revolt of the rich. As the historian Kim Phillips-Fein subsequently wrote, “Many who read the memo cited it afterward as inspiration for their political choices.”

Those choices came soon. The National Association of Manufacturers announced it was moving its main offices from New York to Washington. In 1971, only 175 firms had registered lobbyists in the capital; by 1982, nearly twenty-five hundred did. Corporate PACs increased from under 300 in 1976 to over twelve hundred by the middle of the l980s. From Powell’s impetus came the Business Roundtable, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Manhattan Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy (precursor to what we now know as Americans for Prosperity) and other organizations united in pushing back against political equality and shared prosperity.* They triggered an economic transformation that would in time touch every aspect of our lives.

Powell’s memo was delivered to the US Chamber of Commerce at its headquarters across from the White House on land that was formerly the home of Daniel Webster. That couldn’t have been more appropriate. History was coming full circle at 1615 H Street. Webster is remembered largely as the most eloquent orator in America during his years as Senator from Massachusetts and Secretary of State under three presidents in the years leading up to the Civil War. He was also the leading spokesman for banking and industry nabobs who funded his extravagant tastes in wine, boats, and mistresses. Some of them came to his relief when he couldn’t cover his debts wholly from bribes or the sale of diplomatic posts for personal gain. Webster apparently regarded the merchants and bankers of Boston’s State Street Corporation – one of the country’s first financial holding companies — very much as George W. Bush regarded the high rollers he called “my base.” The great orator even sent a famous letter to financiers requesting retainers from them that he might better serve them. The historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. wondered how the American people could follow Webster “through hell or high water when he would not lead unless someone made up a purse for him.”

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:

Luntz is now advising Republicans to refrain from using the word “Capitalism” because it is in bad repute. For more of his advice to Republicans on how to mislead the populace about what they are really up to see:http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/12/01/380121/luntz-gop-occupy-wall-street-capitalism-is-immoral/

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“This book is about the second half of that story, the demarche, and the political ideas—variously called conservative, reactionary, revanchist, counterrevolutionary—that grow out of and give rise to it. These ideas, which occupy the right side of the political spectrum, are forged in battle. They always have been, at least since they first emerged as formal ideologies during the French Revolution, battles between social groups rather than nations; roughly speaking, between those with more power and those with less…”
–Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind : Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


Remember, Goldman Sachs and these guys not only brought you the economic crisis they profited from it. Now they have been chosen to get us out of it, and I guess make a profit off it, whether or not they succeed. Trusting these guys with the economy is like trusting Tony Soprano with your wallet.

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

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