Posts Tagged With: Newt Gingrich

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

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL.

Attached is my Holiday gift to you. Your own personal calendar with which you can replace the Gregorian version if you have a mind to.

You can name your own months and days of the week if you want. It cinsists of 12 months of either 28 or 35 days (I got the Idea from Social Security. You may not know it but they pay you on a schedule of one 35 day month for every two 28 day months. That is why on certain months you feel you have run out of money a week before the next check is supposed to arrive.)

You can name the months whatever you wish, I did using the many things people have called me over the years. The days of the week always fall on the same days every month. I have included the regular calendar days for reference and a copy of my personal version. I am writing this on Tuesday Joseph 3, 0001. Christmas falls on Thursday Joseph 5, 0001. (Oh and the world ends on Sunday, Joseph 1, 0002.)

I know it is silly, but what else can an old retired guy do while he is spending a few days in a sick-bed? There is only so much time one can spend on the internet without going bonkers and I think I passed that about 3 months ago.

Have fun and enjoy your holidays.

Your Personal Non-Gregorian Calendar:

Image not available at this time

Pookie’s:

Image not available at this time.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. What Anne Coulter might say if she were running for President:

“Give the park police more ammo.”
~Newt Gingrich, responding to a reporter who asked what to do about the homeless a few days after the police shot a homeless man in front of the White House.

No, I have not yet found a Democrat or a Liberal politician or commentator advocating shooting those whom they disagree with or dislike. I seek your help in locating one. Perhaps I could point to the Obama administration killing bin Laden and many of the al Qaeda leadership as the functional equivalent.

2. The Buddy Roemer Republican alternative:

Politics has been completely corrupted by “Super PACs” and other special interest money, and the worst offender is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who received $1.8 million from Freddie Mac, the troubled government sponsored mortgage giant, for providing dubious strategic advice. “I want as president a woman or a man who is clean, who has the power to lead and who tells the truth,” Roemer says. “Newt does not fit those characteristics.”

3. David Frum Republican Party consultant explains Faux News Think:

“The business model of the conservative media is built on two elements: provoking the audience into a fever of indignation (to keep them watching) and fomenting mistrust of all other information sources (so that they never change the channel). As a commercial proposition, this model has worked brilliantly in the Obama era. As journalism, not so much.”

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

1. 5000 BC until now:

If you ask me this is all too much light. Can’t we have a little more darkness? Does that make me an Atheist?

2. 2001 to 2012:

$1.26 Trillion – Total amount appropriated by Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of Fiscal Year 2011 (September 30, 2011), — $797.3 billion for Iraq and $459.8 billion for Afghanistan. See NPP’s “Cost of War” Counters.

$7.6 Trillion – The total amount spent on “security” by the US government since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, (through the end of Fiscal Year 2011). See NPP’s analysis “US Security Spending Since 9/11.”

3. 2011: Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered  “low-income” or impoverished.

4. 1941, December 18:

Heinrich Himmler‘s notes on his meeting with Adolf Hitler:
Jewish Question / to be exterminated like the partisans.

The banality of evil

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

My schedule seems to be changing once again. I will not be coming to the US until mid-January.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Has anyone realized that the sudden reversal of the Republican House Leadership to the compromise legislation extending the payroll tax cut for most Americans may have been because they recognized that they made a political mistake on the Keystone amendment? No, they have not decided to oppose the pipeline and signed up for the Sierra Club. But, after collecting whatever industry contributions they could for introducing the amendment shortening the decision time for approval to three months, they have become aware that it positions Obama, at the very commencement of his reelection campaign,  able now to collect campaign contributions from this same industry who now may hope they will sway his decision with the money. Currently under the amendment, Obama is empowered to play coy with the industry forcing them to disgorge even more in contributions into his campaign while leaving him the freedom to decide the fate of the project based on how it benefits his reelection or god forbid on the merits. No wonder they have gone bat-shit crazy. Their unpalatable options appear to be:

a. Hold hearings, collect more money from the industry, insisting the legislation includes actual approval of the pipeline, then allow the bill to fail blaming Administration or Democratic inflexibility. They will have collected contributions a second time and denied them to the administration, but it would give Obama a campaign issue.

b. Hold hearings, collect more money, somehow putting off the decision on the pipeline until after the election, pissing off their contributors (but they have already collected the money twice) thereby denying Obama both a campaign issue and potential contributions.

c. Cave and allow the contributions to drift in Obama’s favor and hope for the best while planning a strategy to reverse the political fall-out when the package comes back to Congress in March. This is the least appetizing but realistically the only reasonable alternative. They cannot refuse the tax-cut in March without giving the Dem’s a huge issue with which to campaign on against the Demos in November. Look for them to try to fashion a poison pill (one that includes gifts for large contributors) when the extension bill emerges.

I suspect a lot of midnight oil is being burned in the speaker’s office to find another alternative. This may be either Boehner’s finest hour, or if he fails, his fall as disgruntled members of his own party seek to replace him. Of course, he could be gambling upon Obama and the Democrats caving (as they seem to always do) on the issue and agree to the approval of the pipeline in return for preserving the tax cuts.

And for those of you who did not think politics works this way, spend a year or two in any democratic legislature in the world and find out for yourself.

***This morning I read that the Republican House Leadership caved. If that is true, then can Boehner’s remain leader for long? What will be the poison pill? Will it work? Stay tuned.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed for the holidays.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

TRANSHUMANISM

What if biological and technological enhancements took humans to a level where they radically surpassed anything we know today? “Post-humans” might consist of artificial intelligences based on the thoughts and memories of ancient humans, who uploaded themselves into a computer and exist only as digital information on super fast computer networks. Their physical bodies might be gone but they could access and store endless information and share their thoughts and feelings immediately and unambiguously with other digital humans.

Danger sign: You are outcompeted, mentally and physically, by a cyborg.

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

1. Return to a marginal tax rate that more reflects the share of wealth and income in the country.

 

As far as I can tell, this chart points out that in the past 40 years or so the only President exhibiting any political courage on the issue was George H. W. Bush, and look what happened to him.

2. End militarization of the Federal budget:


c. Signs you are smarter than average:

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa found atheism is linked to higher IQs.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/signs-you-are-smart-2011-12#you-dont-believe-in-god-4#ixzz1grepe8vq

d. Commentary:

The religious right and Christians in general should remember that Jesus judged only two groups harshly: religious leaders who were hypocrites and those who profited off the sacred. For everyone else he urged compassion.
e. Testosterone Chronicles:

The survey of 1,031 participants revealed that 42% of women believe that sex is important to their overall health, but 66% are engaging in sexual activity once a week or less often.

The new research demonstrates that most people don’t really understand the physical health benefits of having a regular, active sex life. In fact, an active sex life could decrease stress, strengthen pelvic floor muscles, increase immune system function and burn calories.

Although some people do understand these health benefits, most probably don’t know that a regular sex life can also have the youthful effects of a very expensive anti-aging cream.

“Women who had sex at least four times a week were scored as looking up to 10 years younger than their actual age,” the author of the report says. “While pleasure and intimacy with your partner should be a primary motivation to have sex, the health and wellness benefits are a big bonus.”

And where does one find that lusty, youthful looking and probably happy lady?

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing. They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage–the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine–for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing–but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.”
~Harry S. Truman

What this quote tells me is that it is plausible that the present incumbent President may be neither a Liberal nor a Democrat and that in the 2012 election for President the Democrats may not run a liberal candidate but will support the moderate Republican they currently have.

TODAY’S CHART:


TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

I understand the words. I do not understand the photograph. I assume the words are Rachel Maddow’s but did she choose the photograph? If so why? If not why again?

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 18, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. For those concerned for my supposed one-sided posting of Republican failures and follies while ignoring Obama’s, I discovered the following:

See, libs do criticize libs

2. Why parody is impossible:

“If the Soviet empire still existed, I’d be terrified. The fact is, we can afford a fairly ignorant presidency now.”
~Newt Gingrich, saying that it’s okay for the President to be “fairly” ignorant.
3. Let’s give the American people a chance to hear Buddy Roemer in the Republican nomination for President debates:

Romney’s better [than Gingrich], but he’s bought. I saw Mitt Romney when he was running for the United States Senate …. He talked about PACs, about special interest money, and about how he was different from Ted Kennedy. Bullshit. With three [presidential] Super PACs, he already has received four $1-million checks.”

“These [Republicans] are decent people, They can play a role in turning America around. I would ask them to lead. I would ask them to stand up. Stop what they’re doing …. Tell their party, my party: Let’s stop being the party of big checks.”
Buddy Roemer

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. 2011 Food costs:

I do not know what this chart signifies other than good news for restaurants.

B. 2011 Black Friday:

On a recent front page of USA Today, the main headline read “Guns were a big seller on Black Friday.” According to the article, sales of firearms hit record numbers on the day after Thanksgiving, with a surge in FBI background checks by 129,166 new buyers — “smashing the single-day, all-time high by 32 percent, according to bureau records.”

Unfortunately, there are many in the US who are more proud of this than they would be about reports of any general upturn economic activity or jobs.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Teflon Prime Minister:

Recently when questioned by the press whether her planned reorganization of the military could lead to a military coup similar to that that toppled her brother Thaksin the Terrible when he attempted a similar reorganization, Prime Minister Princess Lucky Girl responded with her standard answer to questions regarding the impact of her policies: “I am confident I am working my best for the people who trust me and I will do my best for Thailand. I believe that I have this intention. I must seek fair treatment from everyone.”

When asked what her intentions actually were she replied that she did not want to discuss the issue for the time being as she was focusing on working with all parties to relieve the people’s hardships.

2. The benefits of Teflon:

Only a day or two after the above appeared in the newspapers Prime Minister Princess Lucky Girl that the senior General and head of the Army would retain his position until retirement. I assume this agreement covers the other members of his military school class. Any “reorganization” appears limited to the lower ranks replacing those now scheduled to accede to the senior positions by those who support the Thaksin the Terrible/Princess Lucky Girl administration.

Prior to the election, I wrote in these posts that I suspected that Thaksin the Terrible would make a deal of this type. After all, the prior coup was instituted following the failed attempt to cashier these same officers and replace them with members of Thaksin the Terrible‘s military class. Right after the election I guessed that the opposition party’s suspicions that such a deal was in the making, launched a series of almost hysterical media and political attacks on the incoming government that appeared more geared to influence the military general staff than the populace as a whole. Apparently, with this most recent announcement my speculation appears to have been correct. What this means is, barring a string of absolutely stupid political actions, the current government will sit in power for a while and Thaksin the Terrible will return from exile in triumph. Given the overweening size of his ego and the impact of his success on it, I would guess he goes back into government. It would be a foolish thing for him to do.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Alas, I have been struck down by illness and have remained in my bed for the past few days trying to treat it with antibiotics, throat lozenges, liquids and sleep. I still feel miserable.

While so engaged in self medication and self-pity, I received phone calls from SWAC and from Nikki urging me to fly off to Italy for the holidays at Vittorio’s farm and then return to the US to resume my nanny duties until Hayden is once again abandoned to his fate. While, health permitting, I am leaning toward going, much depends on whether I can make all the arrangement within the next few days.

As I lie here in bed, I am watching on television an amazing fireworks display that is taking place in Pattaya (the outskirts of hell) in honor of the kings birthday. There are about 15 separate countries participating in a competition. It has been explained to me that each country contributed to the fireworks demonstrations accompanied by music. There were three presentations that I saw each lasting about 15-20 minutes. The Japanese presentation, an US led display and one more. About 20 years ago, my daughter and I attended the fireworks exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of  erection of the Statue of Liberty in NY harbor. That was by far the most impressive show of pyrotechnics I have ever seen until this one. I think the American led display won first prize.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Recently I read a short opinion piece by Naomi Wolf in the Bangkok Post in which she mentioned that she had noticed a trend by some young adults for the most part, to choose to live a lower impact lifestyle. This was not the quasi-religious back to nature life styles movement favored by the Hippies, nor was it the life of hopeless desperation that gripped much of the Nation in the 1930s. It seems that here a number of the modern descendants of those prior movements are simply deciding on a simpler way of life because the alternative, even if accessible, is no longer as desirable. An ideal life based almost exclusively upon greed is being found wanting.

The impact of this change in goals, as she pointed out could be momentous. It does not take many people to decide, for example, that they do not need a second car for its reverberations for good or ill  felt throughout society. In that example, the failure of the automotive industry to grow at a rate equivalent to population growth, replacement and a little more, would have severe consequences to the economy that cannot be remedied by lower prices or financing.

What Ms Wolf did not mention that some of those entering their most economically productive years are the members of the social network, mobile entertainment and information generation. Their life style choices could exacerbate the economic and social impacts of the trend she writes about.

For example, our transportation, fashion, entertainment, adult and a host of other choices often require our traveling somewhere, frequently with the hope to impress those we meet along the way with our abilities, success or whatever else is important to our sense of self-worth. Conspicuous consumption of even some of the wealthiest among us may become less a function of acquisition of physical things then it is now. (Why two Ferraris when you do not need to alter your location for most of your social or business needs?) Some of us for instance may decide that public transportation, although longer in trip duration and often lacking in comfort is mitigated by the fact that your mobile, work, entertainment and social needs must be somewhat curtailed during your drive should you choose to do so.

It would not require more than a few of us to make these choices for it to rock the economy in ways that standard financial theory is unable to manage, based as it is on production and finance, causing the economy to contract and perhaps collapse.

Strange as it may seem, it may be that this social change more than technological invention or energy conservation that delay’s the impact of the hydrocarbon threat.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

RUNAWAY BLACK HOLE

Black holes are the most powerful gravitational objects in the universe, capable of tearing Earth into its constituent atoms. Even within a billion miles, a black hole could knock Earth out of the solar system, leaving our planet wandering through deep space without a source of energy.

Danger sign: Increased asteroid activity; the seasons get really extreme.

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

1. Limit the finance industry’s ability to funnel money from the masses to the ultra rich, through hedge funds which dominate all of the financial markets.
“What are hedge funds? They are funds that have a 1-5 million deposit minimum, cater to the mega-rich, and can invest in anything without regulatory restrictions, use leverage to pump up their exposure by 15x, and pretty much eat up a vast majority of the industry’s profits.”
Statement by a Wall Street Broker.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/’#ixzz1gUodSGWq

2. End the growing disparity in income gains between the very rich and everyone else.

3. Begin the reversal of the wealth disparities between and very wealthy and everyone else in American Society.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/’#ixzz1gJc79fcs

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

“Jefferson and Madison didn’t live to see reactionary justices fulfill their worst fears. In 1886 a conservative court conferred the divine gift of life on the Southern Pacific Railroad. Never mind that the Fourteenth Amendment declaring that no person should be deprived of “life, liberty or property without due process of law” was enacted to protect the rights of freed slaves. The Court decided to give the same rights of “personhood” to corporations that possessed neither a body to be kicked nor a soul to be damned. For over half a century the Court acted to protect the privileged. It gutted the Sherman Antitrust Act by finding a loophole for a sugar trust. It killed a New York State law limiting working hours. Likewise a ban against child labor. It wiped out a law that set minimum wages for women. And so on: one decision after another aimed at laws promoting the general welfare. The Roberts Court has picked up the mantle: Moneyed interests first, the public interest second, if at all.

The ink was hardly dry on the Citizens United decision when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce organized a covertly funded front and rained drones packed with cash into the 2010 campaigns. According to the Sunlight Foundation, corporate front groups spent $126 million in the fall of 2010 while hiding the identities of the donors. Another corporate cover group — the American Action Network – spent over $26 million of undisclosed corporate money in just six Senate races and 26 House elections. And Karl Rove’s groups – American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS – seized on Citizens United to raise and spend at least $38 million that NBC News said came from “a small circle of extremely wealthy Wall Street hedge fund and private equity moguls” — all determined to water down financial reforms designed to prevent another collapse of the financial system. Jim Hightower has said it well: Today’s proponents of corporate plutocracy “have simply elevated money itself above votes, establishing cold, hard cash as the real coin of political power.”

d. The chart that explains a lot:

I think that with the shrinkage of “safe” assets, those sitting on cash as a result of the bailouts and those pulling it out of the previously safe havens and looking for another refuge to park the funds will begin to overwhelm the remaining safe havens. All this money floating around has little demand for production of goods and services into which to put it to work. Unless someone starts putting money into less safe assets like those investments that increase production and jobs (on the come so to speak)), these safe havens may not be as safe in the long run as they appear today. It seems to confirm that the “Confidence Fairies” and “Bond Vigilantes” are wrong again. Until there is good old governmental pump priming and a moderate loosening of inflation goals, much more wealth will have to be wiped out or there is a belief that the safe havens are not a safe as for example productive assets, before things begin looking better, if ever they do.

It all can be thought of a borrowing from labor and from production in order to maintain the rental value of money, until labor and production recover. It cannot work. Labor, production and consumption create the rental value of profits and natural asset rents.

e. Profile in Presidential courage:

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

My sincerest apologies for posting this, but I could not resist:

TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S CHART:

This chart is highly misleading since it fails to show the fall in the growth of government during those prior administrations committed to slowing its growth and therefore I suspected it was prepared by a liberal front group. Unfortunately, I checked on the growth figures for the prior administrations and they all showed an ongoing increase in the number of governmental employees.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

Actually Jesus is a liberal Democrat and not a socialist. He fed the multitude by creating the food out of nothing. If he were a Socialist he would have used the money he took from the money changers in the temple to pay for the food. If he were a Republican he would have created the food out of nothing, given it to the money changers, and told the multitude that they should ask the money changers for jobs instead of sitting there on the grass looking for handouts.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Because there is more to be frightened by today.

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

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. Political leaders then and now:

Then:

“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

Now:

“The problem is that sexual activity with people who you are in close quarters with who happen to be of the same sex is different than being open about your sexuality … They’re in close quarters, they live with people, they obviously shower with people.”
Rick Santorum

2. Democrat behaves badly:

In the past few days John Corzine ex-Democratic Senator and former Democratic Governor of New Jersey in testimony before an US Senate committee investigating his conduct as CEO of a company involved in perhaps the largest bankruptcy in the US since ENRON, claimed he ” did not know” what was happening in the company.

For those accusing me of one-sidedness, I pledge that should Corzine eventually run for the presidency of the US, I shall ridicule him with the same vigor as I did the candidate that said he did not need to know anything about foreign policy to be president because he will have people to do that sort of thing, and the candidate who, at the time he announced his candidacy, when questioned about immoral and corrupt personal and professional life, promised that he “learned his lesson” and would not do it again.

No, not good enough? What you really want is for me to criticize President Obama and Nancy Pelosi directly? Ok here goes—-Both of them have demonstrated the same fortitude and courage in opposing the thugs in the leadership of the opposing party as Neville Chamberlin did with the thugs at Munich.*

Happy now?

* For those of you who do not know who Chamberlin is and what happened in Munich, I suggest reading the Wikipedia account at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement.

By the way, this item confirms the validity of Godwin’s Law

3. Another Republican decides something is very wrong with his Party’s leadership:

“Basically we’re still stuck in the situation we were three years ago and we haven’t made any progress at all except that our problems are much worse because of political reasons, because we now have a crazy party in charge of one of the Houses of our Congress and they won’t allow anything to happen because it’s in their vested interest to make things worse,” Bartlett explained in his typically exasperated way. “Plus they have a theory that is completely nuts…. I’m very depressed. […] The most we can hope for is that a complete crazy person like Newt Gingrich gets the Republican nomination, the Republicans lose so badly that they lose control of the House and don’t get control of the Senate and then maybe in a year we can finally talk about doing something rational. […]”
Reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett

Is it unfair and one-sided to quote a Republican leader who criticizes his party in language no Democrat elected official could or would dare use? Do I also have to find a Democrat critical of his own Party to be fair? Or a Republican who blindly loves his Party? Would the possibility that the Democrat I chose could be more radical than the main-stream Democratic Party be considered fair? Is fairness really what is wanted here? Remember, the Faux News, network logo “Fair and Balanced” is not just a marketing slogan asserting that their news reporting meets that standard, but also implies the claim that all other news networks are both unfair and unbalanced. That means for example, if they (Faux) for some reason have an objection to the assertion that the world is round, they could consider it to be fair and balanced for them to maintain that in fact the world is flat.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. Education matters:

Even in the lowest paying industry, “Hospitality and Tourism,” the average difference in average yearly earnings between someone with only a high school diploma and someone with an advanced degree is almost double and over a 30 year career can total about $800,000 or more.

And, if there is a question about finding employment during hard times, employment opportunities increase significantly with education.

Even if a person is underemployed relative to his or her educational attainments, studies have shown that he or she will still earn more on average than those with less education.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. American are not as wealthy as they think:

Figures from Credit Suisse’s World Wealth Report show that the typical American is a lot poorer than generally believed. In the US the mean average wealth is only $53,000. Compared to the typical Japanese or European, the typical American is only half as rich. Half the people in the US have less than $53,000 net worth. You can imagine what the bottom 20% have.

The reason for this is that although their raw average individual wealth is higher (but less than Britain’s) it is skewed by the very very wealthy. The mean average wealth, the wealth of the average American is much much lower (it drops from about $250,000 to around $50,00).

What this means is that for the average American, they are quite poor compared to other developed nations and the country is no longer the land of opportunity.

This is a devastating and grim insight. It explains why so much of America seems, well, so poor. Because it is poor. People don’t have any money. They dress poorly. Eat poorly. Live poorly.

Compared to Britain and Europe, much of the difference can be explained by the housing bubble, and subsequent housing crash in America. If we remember correctly, the US housing stock was valued at about $20 trillion in ’07. It lost 33% of its value, putting a quarter of mortgaged houses underwater and wiping out about $7 trillion of “wealth.”

It should also be noted that the US Federal Government, through the Federal Reserve and TARP paid out over twice the amount homeowners lost in wealth to the banking industry ($15 Trillion) to save the banks from collapse. Is anyone asking why we did not give the Homeowners $7 trillion instead to buy down their mortgages and bail out both for one half the cost?

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

Prosecutor Offers ‘Uncle SMS’ Reduced Sentence In Exchange For Acting More Evil

3 Dec 2011 BANGKOK – Following the high-profile conviction of Ampon Tangnoppakul for allegedly sending lèse-majesté texts last year, government prosecutors have offered the 61-year old grandfather a new deal. Under the proposed agreement, Ampon’s sentence will be reduced from 20 to only 5 years if he agrees to act more evil between now and his incarceration.

“We are experiencing a lot of negative press coverage for this case,” explained a spokesperson for the DSI. “By acting like such a sympathetic character, Mr Ampon is doing irreparable harm to the entire system. We would like to therefore ask his co-operation in being less sympathetic, for which we are willing to reduce his sentence.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Yesterday was the last day of the week-long celebration of Kings birthday and the little masseuse and I went to the palace grounds for the evening. Unlike his birthday itself when there were almost a million people in attendance and the evening was occupied mostly with pomp and speeches, there were fewer people yesterday and the emphasis was on entertainment. The absence of the overwhelming masses allowed us to visit the several pavilions at the site that mostly contained photographs about the king’s reign and Thai history.

The entertainment began with a big band orchestra made up of either high school or college students and a number of singers, two of whom appeared  professionals and the rest students.

While most of the singers sang pop tunes in Thai, a young man, who clearly appeared terrorized to be performing, sang a pretty good blues tune. Its minor cords seemed to require a lot of effort from him. He later sang a fine rendition of “My Way” in english but he blew the last note and seemed to die right there on the stage. I felt like crying for him. He did not come our for the finale.

A group of musicians followed playing traditional Thai instruments mostly hooked up to amplifiers and included two heroic drummers who banged on their drums with what seemed like every part of their body except their penis, and I am not so sure about that. They were followed by a team of traditional Thai dancers equally divided between young women in traditional costumes and tall thin young men dressed in attire that looked like it came out of the late middle ages in Italy. Although they appeared to be tall thin young men, in Thailand you can never tell. This was followed with a dance that looked like a Thai boxing match between monkeys (they had furry tails) and young men. There was a lot of jumping about and pushing each other. Finally, just before we left, we watched a dance with the long sticks (I am sure many of you have seen a version of it) where some of the dancers rhythmically strike two long sticks together and the other dancers jump in and out of without getting their ankles broken.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Old man memories; Donald Lundy:

Sometime between about second grade and junior high school, I lived in a village in New York, called Tuckahoe. The village  nestled in a wide spot in the valley carved by the Bronx River. In the village resided a collection of poor people, mostly italians and blacks along with a few middle class jews. We lived there because the high income towns that surrounded us restricted individuals of those three ethnic groups from living there. A number of Tuckahoe residents however worked in those other towns as gardeners, domestics and the like. Others worked in the industrial plants in nearby Yonkers while the remainder mostly occupied themselves with the shops and business that serviced the residents of the village.

Like most low-income areas of that time, the village had an industrial past. The vast marble quarries that attracted the italian immigrants had by the late forties and early fifties played out leaving the village a relatively impoverished residential enclave surrounded by great wealth.

Immediately after school we kids ,would run and play in the streets until dinner time and then again after dinner until bedtime. My parents insisted I return home before dark and go to bed shortly thereafter where I jealously listened to the other children, playing in the streets near my home well into the night.

Several of the village boys in my age group,including me, as boys tend to do, began to spend most of our play time together and began to envision ourselves as a gang much like that in the “Our Gang” comedies that were popular short features shown with the double features that on Saturday mornings we watched in the local movie house referred to as The Itch.

As we grew older, we modeled our gang on Leo Gorcey and the Dead End Kids. In fact the leader of our group, Peter Cirrincione, referred to as “sir rinse” even adopted Gorcey’s walk. I guess I would have been the good-looking skinny sullen guy in the movies who was always somewhat alienated from the group. Unlike some of the other characters like Huntz Hall, the actor who played my part often changed during the decade or so that their movies were popular.

Like that character, I was always a bit moody, aloof and estranged. I could never simply follow whatever “sir rinse” wanted to do and so would go off on my own a lot. At that time I was quite small for my age, quick to take offense and so I fought a lot. Also because I preferred to spend my time reading, I appeared arrogant often correcting things the others would say. In other words, I was a bit of an asshole. (To be continued.)

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Something about the fan and feces (cont.)

She grimaced and pulled the purse closer to her as though she feared that Vince would pick it up and play with it.

“Damn it Isabella, did you expect me to stand idly by and do nothing?” he said.

No,” she responded curtly, “but I expected you would think about the others you may have put in danger'”

That silenced him. He really hadn’t thought of anyone else. Now he wondered if Ike or Fat Al were at risk; or anyone else. Still he was not convinced that this was much more than government security paranoia.

Nevertheless, he blurted out, “I apologize, I did not think about that. It was inconceivable to me that my office would be bugged.”

“What else didn’t you think of,” she said sarcastically?

“I did not think I would find myself as attracted to you as I am,” he let slip and immediately regretted it.

Her eyes widened and she gazed at him until the door to the kitchen opened disgorging a waiter pushing a small food cart and her eyes slid over to study him.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

GEOMAGNETIC REVERSAL

The Earth’s magnetic field provides a shield against harmful radiation from our sun that could rip through DNA and overload the world’s electrical systems. Every so often, Earth’s north and south poles switch positions and, during the transition, the magnetic field will weaken or disappear for many years. The last known transition happened almost 780,000 years ago and it is likely to happen again.

Danger sign: Electronics stop working.

b. Profiles in Presidential courage:
“A few years after World War II, a child who was born into poverty had a slightly better than 50-50 chance of becoming middle class as an adult. By 1980, that chance fell to around 40%. And if the trend of rising inequality over the last few decades continues, it’s estimated that a child born today will only have a 1 in 3 chance of making it to the middle class.

It’s heartbreaking enough that there are millions of working families in this country who are now forced to take their children to food banks for a decent meal. But the idea that those children might not have a chance to climb out of that situation and back into the middle class, no matter how hard they work? That’s inexcusable. It’s wrong. It flies in the face of everything we stand for…”
Barack Obama in Ossawatomie, Kansas.

Recently someone told me that Obama doesn’t really believe this but is just saying it to get votes and that when he proposes laws and programs to address poverty, unemployment and inequality he is also doing it to be re-elected. Hmmm, I think I can live with that kind of hypocrisy, don’t you?

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

“But if you want to see the story pulled together in one compelling narrative, read this — perhaps the best book on politics of the last two years: Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class. Two accomplished political scientists wrote it: Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson – the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of political science, who wanted to know how America had turned into a society starkly divided into winners and losers.

Mystified by what happened to the notion of “shared prosperity” that marked the years after World War II; puzzled that over the last generation more and more wealth has gone to the rich and superrich, while middle-class and working people are left barely hanging on; vexed that hedge-fund managers pulling down billions can pay a lower tax rate than their pedicurists, manicurists, cleaning ladies and chauffeurs; curious as to why politicians keep slashing taxes on the very rich even as they grow richer, and how corporations keep being handed huge tax breaks and subsidies even as they fire hundreds of thousands of workers; troubled that the heart of the American Dream – upward mobility — seems to have stopped beating; astounded that the United States now leads in the competition for the gold medal for inequality; and dumbfounded that all this could happen in a democracy whose politicians are supposed to serve the greatest good for the greatest number, and must regularly face the judgment of citizens at the polls if they haven’t done so;

Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson wanted to find out “how our economy stopped working to provide prosperity and security for the broad middle class.” They wanted to know: “Who dunnit?”

They found the culprit: “It’s the politics, stupid!” Tracing the clues back to that, “unseen revolution” of the 1970s — the revolt triggered by Lewis Powell, fired up by William Simon, and fueled by rich corporations and wealthy individuals — they found that, ‘Step by step and debate by debate America’s public officials have rewritten the rules of American politics and the American economy in ways that have benefitted the few at the expense of the many.”

There you have it: they bought off the gatekeepers, got inside, and gamed the system. And when the fix was in, they let loose the animal spirits, turning our economy into a feast for predators. And they won — as the rich and powerful got richer and more powerful — they not only bought the government, they “saddled Americans with greater debt, tore new holes in the safety net, and imposed broad financial risks on workers, investors, and taxpayers.” Until – write Hacker and Pierson – “The United States is looking more and more like the capitalist oligarchies of Brazil, Mexico, and Russia where most of the wealth is concentrated at the top while the bottom grows larger and larger with everyone in between just barely getting by.”

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

I assume we all remember how effectively, “the right to choose” was used during the debate on Obamacare. I also assume those of us who used that phrase thought we used it because it was factually accurate and not cynical political manipulation. But then, I guess both sides resorted to “cynical political manipulation.” They did didn’t they, or does someone cynically want us to believe that?

e. The difference between Americans and Europeans :

Americans are more likely to believe in unilateral military intervention.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:
“This and that…” is written for my own enjoyment. I send it on hoping that those of you who actually read it enjoy it also. If not you are free to erase or avoid reading those sections that you find objectionable.

Not too long ago, one of you objected that a graphic sex scene in my mystery novel since might be read by the teenagers who are on my mailing list and requested that if I could not refrain from that in the future, I at least warn her so she can do whatever she thinks appropriate on her end. I am ok with that and will try to honor the request. (By the way, in the next few chapters of the so called Mystery Novel, there will be a considerable amount of gratuitous violence, obscene language and a little kinky sex. You may want to be prepared.)

More recently, in response to my increased coverage of Republicans during their debates and the news coming out of the Occupy protest, I find myself accused of a one sided hatred of Republicans. I am embarrassed that I actually responded to that. I am even more ashamed that I unknowingly had been subjected to what I call “Faux News Think,” and fell into the trap.

“Faux News Think,” as I should have realized, is a method of political discourse that anyone who had taken Rhetoric 101 would recognize. It is a gussied up version of school yard debate techniques, that demands that one side explain themselves while the other never has to do so. The genius of it is that Faux News and those that developed it, whether knowingly or unknowingly, managed to inculcate it into enough of the population that some believe they thought it up themselves and it is reasonable and natural.

I am thinking of writing an article about it. In my next Post I will explain what it is in some detail.

TODAY’S CHART:


TODAY’S CARTOON:

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

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