Posts Tagged With: Predictions

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 31 Capt. Coast 0008 (May 10, 2019)

 
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“War is for defending ideals, not exercising them.”
Bancroft, Josiah. The Hod King (The Books of Babel). Orbit.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GEORGE.

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 
This morning I woke up and bleary-eyed looked into the mirror. I was surprised by what I saw there — something I haven’t seen for about five months. There on my upper lip hair was growing. I felt mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, now that my Chemotherapy has ended, this bit of fuzz on my upper lip signified my hair might be growing back and that is good. On the other hand, it means that I will have to begin shaving again and getting haircuts — Or, I could just let everything grow out. More decisions.

After the Barr testimony before the Senate a day or two ago, I get the impression that the White House is under siege again. The question I have is, why is He Who Is Not My President so frightened of having the Mueller report, his taxes, and business records released? It is difficult to imagine that his opposition to their release is simply a question of principle.

Also, is it just my imagination or does He Who Is Not My President seem to vociferously attack every potential Democratic opponent he may meet in the 2020 Presidential election except Bernie Sanders?

The weekend has arrived and so has Nikki. The weather is sunny and warm. The azaleas are still blooming. Naida busily works on volume two of her memoir. I sit here at my computer wondering what I will do today knowing full well I have ignored or forgotten things I should be doing. That is one of the aspects of arriving at the age of decrepitude, doing things are less important than having pleasant thoughts.

I drove up into the now once again Golden Hills and parked at the skatepark. Nikki met me there and we gossiped while waiting for Hayden and the scooter gang to show up. A large contingent of the gang soon arrived, including HRM, Jake, Caleb and a host of others. I imagined them all on motorcycles roaring into a tiny town in the foothills somewhere like something from a biker flick of the 60s. I shuddered and put the image out of my mind.

After a long time spent meeting and greeting all the adolescents on scooters that descended on us, HRM, Jake, Caleb and I piled into the car Nikki was driving and went off in search of a pizza. Milano’s, H and my favorite pizza place, seems to have closed permanently (sob). We found another place nearby, ordered the pizza and returned to Dick’s house. The adolescents disappeared into the basement to devour their pizza and play video games. Nikki and I retired to the back deck to sit in sun, eat ours, and continue our gossip session. After exhausting the scuttlebutt and gobbling down a few slices of pizza, I left and returned to the Enchanted Forest.

On the drive back, I couldn’t shake the feeling that somehow I am failing HRM and that I simply am unable to give him the counsel, guidance, security, and friendship that he needs and deserves. Of the three children I have contributed to raising, I believe that somehow my efforts to guide them to happy and successful lives were horribly inadequate. It’s just another load of guilt we add to the pack on our backs that gets heavier and heavier as we grow older. Sometimes I think it is the crushing weight of accumulated guilt and failure that kills us in the end.

The weekend brought with it relief from my fit of melancholy. Perhaps it is because I keep lengthening my walks — you know, boosting my serotonin or dopamine or whatever. Perhaps it is because Naida wrote me a lovely poem — no one has ever done that for me before. Perhaps, it is because I was amused by attending a meeting at the clubhouse to meet those running for the Nepenthe HOC board — it seemed most of the people there favored the election of “anyone but the incumbents.” Of the pressing issues discussed, everyone seemed to agree they all hated leaf blowers. Naida suggested they be banned as they had been in LA.

Last night, Naida gave me a marvelous ring. It was made by one of her uncles, a prominent leader in the Methodist church. Naida said that when he was not doing minister things he would often wander into the desert looking for gemstones that he would bring home and, in a workshop in his basement, fashion them into jewelry. He made the ring from silver that he fashioned into lacework in which he set a remarkable opal he had found somewhere in the desert. The stone itself flashes through the spectrum from brilliant turquoise to a spectacular fiery red when light shines on it. I love it.
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I have noticed, after reading the last few T&T posts, my life has become dreadfully dull. Not traveling, wrestling with a crisis, or suffering through a real or imagined emotional or physical disaster makes retelling the day to day plod of an old man’s life tedious. After all, how many ways can one describe spending his days, reading the newspaper, checking his email and watching old movies on television? On the other hand, except for these fits of boredom and impatience, I am quite content and happy with my life as a grumpy old man starring at the end of his existence. It could be worse. I could be an adolescent again or I could be working in the Trump White House.

Today I drove back into the Golden Hills, picked up HRM and Big Tall Long Haired Jake at the Skate Park and drove them to the house where I left them after imparting to them today’s words of wisdom. “Remember.” I told them, “always keep on truckin.”

The next day HRM called me and asked me to pick him and Jake up again after school. I did. This time, after a brief stop at Dick’s house, I drove them to Caleb’s house in order for Caleb to give Jake his birthday present since it was Jake’s fifteenth birthday today. I then drove them back to Dick’s house where they picked up their bicycles and pedaled off to practice with the EDH mountain bicycling team.

 

 

B. OFF AGAIN TO THE BIG ENDIVE BY THE BAY:
Another beautiful sunny day. While Sacramento is no Paradise, here in the Enchanted Forest nestled between that city’s slurbs and a gentle curve of the picturesque American River this morning broke as close to that as can be and still not be considered a dream. Alas, we spent the morning rushing around preparing to leave for the foggy Great Endive by the Bay for my immunotherapy infusion. That preparation included getting Boo-boo settled with the dog-sitter. He wasn’t happy.
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That night at Peter and Barrie’s house where we spent the night, Barrie prepared a delightful meal that featured pasta with a sauce of garlic, butter, parsley, lemon, and topped with asparagus. It was accompanied by chilled Prosecco. (It has only been in the last few years that drinkable prosecco has been imported from Italy.)

They had invited a friend to join us for dinner. He was an aspiring author and wanted to discuss with Naida his literary ambitions and get her advice on publishing. He hoped to publish several works including a play about the travails of a man named Thomas White who had homes in San Francisco, Mexico and Thailand. He was accused by several alleged victims (boys) of having who sex with them when they were underage. He was tracked down in Thailand extradited to Mexico where he was tried, convicted and jailed. After spending almost seven years in jail White learned that the attorney who represented the alleged victims and reaped several millions of dollars in payoffs, he along with his accomplice as well as one of the underaged youths were convicted in California of murdering the target of another scam. The alleged young victim also confessed to lying about sexual contact with White. With the new evidence, he was released from jail but died soon afterward.

We had an enjoyable evening listening to the discussion of things literary and the pitfalls of publication. Over dinner, we all told stories. Peter told several about the early days of the Coastal Conservancy. I could not remember much about the things that he talked about although I was a major actor in the drama or more appropriate comedy. It seems my memory lately resembles a ragged lace curtain blowing in the breeze — more holes than substance.

I told the story of the developer who had been stymied by Denise, my wife at the time, in his plans to build a large spec house in our neighborhood and who had shot and killed his two investor threatening to withdraw their financing for the development. He then, gun in hand, jumped into his car and drove up into the Twin Peaks area, presumably to do to Denise and I what he had done to his investors. At the corner down from our house, I guess he thought better of the idea or perhaps he was stricken with guilt and decided to shoot himself rather than us.

As we finished dinner, Hiromi and my granddaughter Amanda showed up bringing dessert, a wonderfully light cake and strawberries dipped in chocolate.
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The next morning, we drove to the hospital for my immunotherapy treatment. The nurse explained that the immunotherapy was intended to halt reactivation of the cancerous cells that still remain in the tumor. Most of the time, however, was spent with the nurse and Naida discussing books and book clubs.

After the treatment, we drove home directly.

 

 

 

MOPEY’S MEMORIES:

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES: The depressing state of the American airline industry; two days in Orvieto; and a bunch of Giacomini’s.
June 2011

The following morning we left for LAX and our flight to Italy.

The depressing state of the American airline industry is additional evidence that the terrorists won. It was not the taking down of buildings, the killing of Americans or airplanes falling from the sky that was the goal of their attacks, but the subtle certainty of their understanding of the American psyche was their actual weapon. Their focus was to destroy the American economy by knowing precisely the reaction of America’s conservative elite’s thirst for power and profit. And we fell into the trap. Instead of making ourselves even stronger economically at home we wasted American treasure and dollars in unnecessary wars in the deserts of the middle east until we rewarded our attackers their victory, destruction of our economy. I consider the architects of our response nothing less than cynical traitors who wrapped themselves in the flag for personal benefit and power.

The American sad state of Airline travel is small but significant evidence of the extent of the terrorist success.

Anyway, following an especially uncomfortable flight, I arrived at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport with swollen legs, aching back and a foul temper. We were met by Nikki, who had arrived from Chicago a few hours earlier.

After about two hours of trying to secure a rent-a-car for our trip to Milan during which we experienced the full fury of Italian efficiency, we set off.

Within minutes it became obvious that we were not going to make the 4 or so hour drive to Milan that evening as both SWAC and I began to complain to Nikki of our various discomforts. At my suggestion, we agreed to spend the night in Orvieto a small hilltop city not far off the Autostrada.

As we entered the town, SWAC became quite excited. She thought she recognized the town as the site of George Clooney’s escapades in the movie “The American” or some such.

We located a pleasant B&B called “Las Palmas,” dropped off our luggage and set off in search of dinner which we found at an attractive restaurant a few doors away. Following a very enjoyable meal and the downing of two liters of local red and white wines among the three of us, we stumbled back to our respective rooms and to sleep.

The next morning we checked out of the B & B and set off in search of the Duomo as well as to hunt for the locations of scenes in the film that SWAC might recall.

Orvieto’s Duomo is an interesting church with a large Romanesque interior and Italian gothic façade decorated with large Bas-reliefs, statues, and glittering mosaics. On the piers, about 30 feet high are carved a series of Bas-reliefs depicting biblical stories from the Old and New Testament that along with the view from the city walls are the towns glory.

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The Facade of the Duomo in Orvieto

 

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Orvieto

 

Orvieto like many of the hill towns in this part of Italy specialize in a type of pottery called Faience. Each town promotes in a slightly different design on the pottery and ever since Faience pottery became beloved of collectors, each town has developed its own pottery “artist.” In Orvieto, the renowned artist is the daughter of the owner of a pottery shop on the Plaza del Duomo called Giacomini.
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Giacomini’s

For those with knowledge and experience with the California Coastal Commission, yes they are the relatives of the late beloved suspender wearing, rotund, ex-Marin County Supervisor and Coastal Commissioner, Gary Giacomini sometimes also referred to as “Farmer Brown”.

Gary was an ardent environmentalist as long as it did not interfere with his and his family’s economic and political ambitions.

I spent about a half an hour swapping “Gary” stories with the family before we departed to search for the supposed locations of scenes from the movie, take photographs and return to the Autostrada to complete our journey to Milan.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

 
The following was posted in T&T in 2011 before Faux News became the all-encompassing mouthpiece for the radical right it is today. It is interesting to note, however, that in eight years many of the pundits mentioned are still with us and would probably be ranked in the same categories were this poll to be taken again today. Of course, Russ Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, and a few others deserve a category of their own — Deplorables will do.

2011: “Are Talking Heads Blowing Hot Air”:

Students at Hamilton College sampled the predictions of 26 individuals who wrote columns in major newspapers and/or appeared on the three major Sunday television news shows (Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and This Week) over a 16 month period from September 2007 to December 2008. They used a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being “will not happen,” 5 being “will absolutely happen”) to rate each prediction the pundits made, and then they evaluated each prediction for whether or not it came true.

What did they find? Basically, if you want to be almost as accurate as the pundits they studied, all you have to do is a) root through the cushions of your couch, b) find a coin, and c) start flipping it. Boom! You are now pretty close to being a political genius. Only nine of the 26 pundits surveyed proved more reliable than a coin flip.

Using the students’ statistical methodology, the 26 pundits were broken down into three categories: “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Here’s how they break down:

THE GOOD: Paul Krugman, New York Times (highest scorer); Maureen Dowd, New York Times; Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania Governor; Chuck Schumer, New York Senator; Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader; Kathleen Parker, Washington Post and TownHall.com; David Brooks, New York Times; Eugene Robinson, Washington Post; Hank Paulson, former Secretary of the Treasury

THE BAD: Howard Wolfson, counselor to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor/Fox News host; Newt Gingrich, eternal Presidential candidate; John Kerry, Massachusetts Senator; Bob Herbert, New York Times; Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC; Thomas Friedman, New York Times, David Broder, Washington Post (deceased); Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune; Nicholas Kristof, New York Times; Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State

THE UGLY: George Will, Washington Post/This Week; Sam Donaldson, ABC News; Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Senator; Carl Levin, Michigan Senator; Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Senator; Cal Thomas, Chicago Tribune (lowest scorer)

In their executive summary, the students note:

“We discovered that a few factors impacted a prediction’s accuracy. The first is whether or not the prediction is a conditional; conditional predictions were more likely to not come true. The second was partisanship; liberals were more likely than conservatives to predict correctly. The final significant factor in a prediction’s outcome was having a law degree; lawyers predicted incorrectly more often.”

As for the factor of partisanship, it certainly didn’t help pundits if their predictions were primarily based on who they happened to be carrying a torch for in the 2008 election — Lieberman and Graham, obviously, did poorly in this regard. The students noted that “[p]artisanship had an impact on predictions even when removing political predictions about the Presidential, Vice Presidential, House, and Senate elections,” but I still imagine that this particular script may have flipped if the period of study was the sixteen-month period between September 2009 and December 2010.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

A. Terry Pratchett on Top:

“Wen the Eternally Surprised.”

“Why was he eternally surprised?” And they are told: ‘Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.’”
Pratchett, Terry. Thief of Time: A Novel of Discworld (p. 31). HarperCollins.

 

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations
Trickle down economics is an enviable thing. It affords those who promote it the appearance of concern for the people — with no responsibility for delivering anything to them.

 
C. Today’s Poem:

Good Morning

In slow rhythm I awoke in a bundle
of comfort and peace made of arms and legs
and torsos in sync with your low-pitched
intake of breath from our air-pool, forehead
snug against cheek, and then our exhale moans
through my chest while somewhere deep
in our bundle a spark flares to another beat.

I love you tells only half what I feel
when you are the other half of me.
N.W.

 

 

D. Joey’s Mystery Novel:
My partially completed unfinished novel, Dominion, can be found at, https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/dominion-an-unfinished-and-never-published-novel/. Below is one of the draft chapters in which the main protagonist, Vince Biondi, is confronted by San Mateo County Sheriff Megs Polan.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL: “Dominion.” When Vince Meets Megs.

Chapter whatever:

Vince took into the office washroom the overnight suitcase he always kept available in his office in case he had to make a sudden short business trip or pulled an all-nighter like this one. He washed as best he could, shaved, changed his clothing and returned to his office just as Ray arrived to accompany him to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office. Ray had obviously been called by Ike and was dressed in what for him passed for business attire, pearl button earrings, a military-style camouflage jacket, matching camouflage pants and neon green Crocs on his feet.

When they arrived at the Sheriff’s office, they were immediately ushered into the office of Sheriff Megan (Megs) Polan, former beauty queen, bodybuilding champion and a rising star in local Republican politics. Vince and Ray sat in chairs across the hygienically clean desk behind which Megs sat enthroned like a medieval duchess. Her still super toned body so filled out her tan uniform that it looked painted on. She had curly auburn hair that hung down to her shoulders and the steely blue eyes of either a stone cold killer or paranoid schizophrenic. She did not rise to greet them or speak but leaned across her desk and pushed a transparent evidence bag containing a small piece of paper towards them. As she bent forward, Vince caught a glimpse of cleavage struggling to escape the casually unbuttoned shirt. He also noticed the large black pistol riding high on her hip. Vince disconcerted that he found himself turned on, covered his embarrassment by dropping his eyes to the proffered evidence bag and studying its contents.

Inside the bag was a piece of paper torn from a small spiral bound notebook and on it, written in a shaky hand, was the message, “If anything should happen to me, call Vincent Biondi,” along with Vince’s personal mobile phone number.

“So Mr. Biondi,” Megs intoned in her surprisingly whiskey edged voice, “what can you tell me about this note and what may have happened to Mrs. Stephanie Coign last night?”

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

“Or an amicable pair,” said Sam. “Sorry?” “In math, that’s what we call two numbers each of which is equal to the sum of the divisors of the other. The smallest ones, 220 and 284, were regarded by the Pythagoreans as symbols of true friendship.”
Hill, Reginald. The Stranger House (p. 191). HarperCollins.

Consider telling your bestie, “I am 220 to your 284.” How long do you think your friendship will last? The Pythagoreans were always a pretty strange group. On the other hand, closer to our time, even Albert Einstein can appear somewhat otherworldly:

“We are slowed down sound and light waves, a walking bundle of frequencies tuned into the cosmos. We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.”
Albert Einstein

Try telling that to your bestie.

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Categories: April through June 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 5 Joey 0001 (March 28, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

This is the third or fourth time I have revised this paragraph.

We each view our own experiences as unique but that does not mean they are appreciably different from the experiences of others. For whatever the psychological reasons, we apply great significance to our own experiences that, as any fiction writer I am sure would be happy to point out, when all is said and done are not all that significant. Nevertheless they are ours and we cling to them as if they affirm our personal existence.

I left El Dorado Hills it sadness believing my time and relationship with Hayden may be ending, and uncertain as to whether it makes a difference to either of us beyond the time it takes us to focus on other things. I will write more about what happened these past few weeks in a later post when time and distance hopefully brings some objectivity to my thoughts and feelings.

I got as far as Sacramento and the welcome sympathy and kindness from Stevie and Norbert Dall. I stayed the night there. The next morning I set off by train to spend the day with my sister Mary Anne and her husband George. Mary Anne and I are working together to produce a business plan for a new type of social network. At least it takes my mind off recent events.

I had Lunch at MoMo’s across the street from the Giant’s Stadium with Bill Gates and Mary and George. Bill had just returned from Thailand.

Then a night at my son Jason’s where I hugged my granddaughter Amanda who has a cold and was forced to watch hours and hours of “reality” television and now I am off to Mendocino for a few days before returning to Thailand.

B. 2012 (DECEMBER 2011) PREDICTIONS AND MARCH UPDATE:

China:

December predictions: Barely avoids social and economic collapse. Major areas of unrest in the smaller industrial cities and along the edges of the desert inhabited by ethnic minorities.

March update: Too early to know if accurate, but nothing I have seen seems to indicate that it is not. In fact predictions of an impending economic collapse in China has become a recent staple of the financial press. I believe, if there is to be a China crisis, it will not become apparent until late summer and if it does occur, could throw the American presidential election into turmoil depending upon the severity of its impact on the domestic economy. I would guess it would not be too severe immediately since in the short run it would just cause a temporary rise in prices as American companies search for other suppliers.

India:

December prediction: Proudly marches off into the future, its economy flourishing, until by years end it stumbles under the weight of its own corruption.

March update: Prediction remains valid.

South America:

December prediction: Brazil, Argentina and Chile (the ABC powers) are a bright spot in the world economy and remain so throughout the year.

March update: Prediction remains unchanged.

Science and Technology:

December prediction: The first clear evidence that something is amiss with standard physical theory will emerge. War among physicists breaks out over preservation of the theory in the face of observation and the absence of an alternative theory (This is a repeat of what occurred in Galileo’s time) Medicine. Drugs and treatments to halt certain types of cancer hit the market and begin to proliferate.

March update: Prediction remains unchanged. In physics, the initial claims of a particle observed to be traveling faster that the speed of light, if substantiated, would do it. Meanwhile it is becoming increasingly evident that the fact that the vast majority of the universe falls out of traditional equations as “Dark” matter and energy hangs like the legendary Greek’s sword over the profession.

Technology and the internet:

December prediction: I made no prediction in December.

March update: I suspect that by autumn, the social and economic effects of social networks and mobile communication devices will begin to move from the ranks of idle speculation (such as mine) into the realm of “serious” study where vast amounts of time and ink will be expended attempting to fit it within standard social and economic theory (not to mention political ideology) and there it shall languish until its effects have effectively been completed whereupon someone will more or less accurately describe the situation and claim it is a new theory of almost everything.

From a product perspective, most development will be directed to making mobile more useful for high volume and professional users.

Robots will become the rage in business, allowing things like warehousing and assembly to be returned to America from foreign low-cost jurisdictions to further replace American jobs while construction of the robots moves offshore to fill in some of the foreign jobs lost.

Arts and Entertainment:

December Prediction: Lady GaGa follows Madonna into a luxurious semi-retirement. The music industry continues to contract. The Art market collapses.

March update: Prediction remains valid. New “serious art” if such a distinction is at all viable anymore, becomes an application for ones mobile phone.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES,THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Under examination for possible cosmetic surgery.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2012:

1. Today, only 55.3 percent of all Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 have jobs.
2. In the United States today, there are 240 million working age people. Only about 140 million of them are working.
3. According to CareerBuilder, only 23 percent of American companies plan to hire more employees in 2012.
4. Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.
5. According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in “the fretful zone just above it”.
6. According to that same article in the New York Times, 34 percent of all elderly Americans are living in poverty or “near poverty”, and 39 percent of all children in America are living in poverty or “near poverty”.
7. In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger. Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.
8. Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.
9. The total value of household real estate in the U.S. has declined from $22.7 trillion in 2006 to $16.2 trillion today. Most of that wealth has been lost by the middle class.
10. Many formerly great manufacturing cities are turning into ghost towns. Since 1950, the population of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has declined by more than 50 percent. In Dayton, Ohio 18.9 percent of all houses now stand empty.

Read more: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/30-statistics-that-show-that-the-middle-class-is-dying-right-in-front-of-our-eyes-as-we-enter-2012#ixzz1pfpGZedV

The most significant take away from the above dolorous statistics and the most predictive of the future of American society is the sudden and calamitous reversal of traditional American expectations that each generation is expected to enjoy greater economic and material success than the prior generation.

To step away from examining the political and economic causes of that reversal, hopefully without ignoring or diminishing them, it may be worthwhile speculating on whether or not there are other contributing or exacerbating causes.

One possible and I guess one can call a positive influence on this seeming slide is the emergence in our economy and society of the pervasive and ubiquitous impact of mobile communication and social networking. To look at it in one way, those most proficient in using the devices, have the potential to provide for pennies almost all ones needs except food and shelter. If that is even remotely so, what remains of the incentive to work hard and achieve material success, if such success is directed in part to acquiring those things necessary to travel to and impress others or to entertain oneself? And in terms of personal satisfaction, proficiency in manipulating the device may be adequate for many and if truth be known more personally rewarding than what was available for most people only a generation ago.

So, if I am right that access to basic food, basic shelter and inexpensive mobile communication devices and applications may satisfy an increasing number of the emerging generation, who grows the food, who delivers it, who builds the shelters and the devices? Robots? Perhaps that is why Amazon purchased Kiva Robots. What happens to the economy if a sizable portion of the population chooses to travel less, buy less clothing or cosmetics and the like?

And what sort of world is being created? Do those without food and shelter take it by force from those who have, like they did thousands of years ago? Who fights to preserve this rudimentary lifestyle? Does the industrial economy continue to contract and along with it the metaphor for work credit, money, find less and less upon which to, well, work so that gambling appears as valid a use for it as any? And what is the purpose of education? Are these new people, lazy parasites for opting out as they may do? If so, what do you make them do instead, work on the farms?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. More jobs.

2. More fairness in income growth:

It just proves that poor people are lazy and rich people are not because according to standard economic theory if they really worked as hard as they should have, instead of the minimum wage rising from about $6 an hour to $7.50 an hour the market would have raised the minimum wage to $23 an hour. That’s the magic of the invisible hand at work.

B. Guess which is the fastest growing immigrant population in the US today? (Hint, If you guessed Latino you would be wrong.)

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S QUOTES:

1. “Our climate is changing, human activity is helping to drive the change, and the costs of these extreme weather events are going to keep ballooning unless we break through our political paralysis, and bring down emissions that are warming our planet. If we continue on this path, extreme weather is certain to cause more homes and businesses to be uninsurable in the private insurance market, leaving the costs to taxpayers or individuals.”
Cynthia McHale, the insurance program director at Ceres

2. “Today, when we produce more food than ever before, more than one in ten people on Earth are hungry. The hunger of 800 million happens at the same time as another historical first: that they are outnumbered by the one billion people on this planet who are overweight.”
Raj Patel. Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 33 Cold Tits 0001 (March 20, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Much has happened over the past few days; too much to cover and still too unsettled for this post. I guess it would be safe to say that, “This and That…” appears to be coming to an end. What began with my departure from the United States to attempt to assume the care of a bewildered little boy seems to be becoming resolved with that same bewildered but now two and a half-year older little boy leaping into an unknown future. Should that be the case, it appears to me as good a place as any to end this record.

When I began “This and that…” almost two and one half years ago I thought of it as merely a travelogue and tales of my missteps and foibles as I settled into retirement in another country and culture. Something with which to amuse myself and a few friends and family.

Recently I have begun posting them into a blog and adding excerpts from my Diary and email exchanges with those of you who read them and chose to comment. Although I have entered a year or so of posts, I have completed entering everything, the posts, Diaries and comments, on only the first quarter of 2010. In rereading it, I find myself somewhat disturbed, because I, as I see them for the first time all together, am meeting someone I did not know. Someone who I think even less of than I did. The Posts recorded my somewhat self-centered and self-indulgent adventures intending to be slightly amusing and to some extent artificial. The Diary entries, reveal an even lesser person, perhaps even more self-indulgent and erratic. The exchanges of comments, show, in my opinion an insensitivity on my part that at times revolts me.

Much of modern art often called serious by some, whether by those who benefit from the artists production of by artists themselves in their eternal struggle to break from the past and garner success of their own, has become not too much more than the so-called artists infatuation with his or her own experiences, assuming therein exists novelty. Alas, there is no novelty only recognition. As a society that no longer needs to move from cocooned comfort and travel the world like Burton or Stanley for physical or mental adventure, we now look within and wonder if we are different, unique and find too often we are not. In fact, we are less, less unique and less interesting than we feared. Does that make us feel better? Perhaps it is a cultural thing, the descent of Western man (and it is definitely both western and men) from their Procrustean cross into their all too soon to be despoiled grave.

B. 2012 Predictions and March update:

War:

December Prediction: The Near East:The chaos in Iraq, Syria and Egypt will require Turkey, Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia to act. International solutions will not succeed until Iran is neutralized. By the end of January, there may be a confrontation over the Straits of Hormuz. There currently is no reason for either Russia or China to join in any military action, so the US, Britain, Israel and a few other non-muslim nations will take the lead (with the tacit support of Turkey and Saudi Arabia). At about the same time, Turkey will probably move into Syria and northern Iraq to protect their interests. Iraq splits into three countries. These will be the first of the climate wars to begin in and around the desertifying areas of the globe. The Middle East: The war in Afghanistan winds down as the US and other interested parties realize what would be empire builders over the ages have learned, that there is nothing in Afghanistan worth fighting for and attention focuses where it should have been all along in Pakistan. Pakistan, declines into an anarchic failed state and economic basket case as the mujahideen elements of the military take over by years end.

March update: Near-east: Correct predictions: 1. Israel, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have begun to react. 2. Straights of Hormuz confrontation has occurred and died down mostly because of the American clever show of force. 3. Turkish troops have beer reported moving into Syria. Middle East: Correct prediction: Afghanistan war winds down, Pakistan problems increase. All the predictions remain on track.

New issue: Iranian nuclear program: Expect US (including almost all of the worlds nations including Russia and China) to try to resist Israel’s insistence on attacking Iran in response to Iran’s claim of a breakthrough in its nuclear program. Expect Russia and China to pressure Iran to return to bargaining table to further politically isolate Israel. Meanwhile, political pressure on Obama administration to support Israel will increase. Expect Obama to rally the international community, especially Turkey (who envisions an increased role in the near east now that its aspiration for acceptance into the EU has been stymied [For many reasons]). It is not very good politics for Israel to play sides in the American election. Increasing evidence of Obama’s potential victory will either compel them to accede to another round of futile negotiations or they will act precipitously and risk another indecisive military result. Expect Obama’s pro-Israel rhetoric to rise, for Bibi’s home consumption.

Since the above new issue was written a few weeks ago, Obama’s rhetoric has risen to the occasion and the recent joint announcement that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon signifies Obama’s strategy seems to have worked on Israel. Probably Bibi came to his senses regarding his hope to use the US election to his advantage.

Academy Awards:

December prediction: I haven’t any idea.

March update: I still am not sure who won what.

Social:

December prediction: Living frugally will become in. Surplus funds that were invested in financial instruments will begin to be used to purchase tangible usable assets that can be owned free and clear and used. Although this will exacerbate the financial crisis, it can reduce some of its extreme social impacts. Most of those who considered themselves rich will be less so (but not as much as the poor and middle class, but they do not count) because intrinsic value of money and financial instruments are eroding. This erosion will not be reflected immediately by inflation as much as an absence or things to buy while the money is parked and interest is almost non-existent.

March update: While living frugally seems to becoming the norm. The increased purchase of personal assets have not yet become apparent. Many of those who considered themselves rich have become less so. The super-rich have regained much of their lost wealth. No-one else has done so. Nevertheless, expect some increase in inflation as the administration attempts to deal with public and private debt, having been denied most other tools by Republicans in Congress.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

In process.

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Perhaps this is where they should end. The Naked Mole Rats awakening to the breach in their secure tunnel universe are forced to confront their destiny as the “successors.” While Vince must confront the relativity of identity in a world that may have changed more than he can imagine. Then again maybe not.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Shouldn’t we worry about this?

Or this?

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

“No man demands what he desires; each man demands what he fancies he can get. Soon people forget what the man really wanted first; and after a successful and vigorous political life, he forgets it himself. The whole is an extravagant riot of second bests, a pandemonium of pis-aller. Now this sort of pliability does not merely prevent any heroic consistency, it also prevents any really practical compromise. One can only find the middle distance between two points if the two points will stand still. We may make an arrangement between two litigants who cannot both get what they want; but not if they will not even tell us what they want.”
CHESTERSON

“Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies.”
Barry Goldwater.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“From our industry’s perspective, the footprints of climate change are around us and the trend of increasing damage to property and threat to lives is clear,”
Franklin Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America.

If the insurance industry now believes climate change to be true, than I guess that means it must be. In fact, the whole climate change denial thing can probably be summed up in the leading climate change denier in the US Senate, Senator James Inhofe’s statement,

“I was actually on your side of this issue [climate change supporter] when I was chairing that committee and I first heard about this. I thought it must be true until I found out what it cost.”

Ah yes, as always, truth or falsity or whether we live or die is a question of cost.


TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 30 Cold Tits 0001 (March 15, 2012)


TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

So, last night, at bed time, I continued telling the series of stories to Hayden that I had begun about two years ago. The stories concerned the adventures of Danny (Hayden’s alter ego) and his trusty pony Acorn (who Hayden now and then rides whenever we visit Bill and Naida’s ranch).

Danny was resting at an oasis in the desert following his besting of “The Old Man Under the Mountain.” With him were his two friends; “The Black Knight,” a gorilla (Whose alter ego cuddly toy shares my bed) who is “The World’s Strongest Knight” and rides a white horse with brown spots like a cow and is called appropriately “White-brownie or Brown-whitey,” and; “The White Knight Who Used to be ‘The Old Man who Dressed Like a Beggar’ and was The Worlds Most Powerful Magician,” until Danny, in the throne room of the Green Castle, defeated him in a duel of magic aided by “The Monster Who Lives in the Closet and Who Now Lives in Acorn’s Saddlebags,” and turned him into a mouse. In order for Danny and The Black Knight to escape from the dungeon of the “Old Man Under the Mountain,” Danny, again with the aid of “The Monster who lives in the Closet but Now Lives in Acorn’s Saddlebags” turned him from a mouse into a young handsome human except with less magical power so that his full name now became, “The White Knight Who Used to be an Old Man Dressed Like a Beggar and the Worlds Most Powerful Magician Until he was Turned into a Mouse and Then into A Young Man who was Not a so Powerful Magician.” The White Knight rode a black horse named, “Blackie.”

They had just finished dinner and were drinking their milk while staring into the campfire when a troop of musicians and actors who were camping nearby came by and offered to put on a performance for the famous Knights.

The knights agreed that they would enjoy that and the chief musician tuned up his Lute and began his song by introducing his main protagonist a skinny boy of indeterminate age named “Heimlich.” Heimlich lived in a not so great but good enough castle in a dreary country somewhere that was always foggy. Heimlich was sad because his father, who was called Pruneberry the King of the Castle (and, if truth be known, King of little else) had just died. In addition almost before the body became cold or whatever it is body’s become after its inhabitant dies, his mother Natasha Dewlap married Heimlich’s uncle, Julius Caesar (we both thought that was a very funny name).

Anyway, Heimlich and his friend (who strangely did not have a name but it could just as well been something as ridiculous and Guildenstern or Rosencrantz or even Miracle Max) one evening, for some unknown reason, decided to go the cemetery to visit the site where Pruneberry was buried. Along the way they came upon a pile of bones and a skull. Heimlich thought the skull reminded him of “Mortimer” his old kindergarten teacher.

Anyway Heimlich’s friend decided to return home after they discovered the bones because he was a sensible lad and was creeped out by the bones and Heimlich’s weirdness. Heimlich went on by himself.

When Heimlich arrived at the gravesite, a Ghost popped out and said, “Heimlich I am your father, Pruneberry and I was killed by Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar who put poison up my nose while I was asleep.”

At this point Hayden asked me “How can a ghost speak after he died?”

“A keen observation,” I acknowledged. “That is why Heimlich did not believe him and went back home.”

The next morning, as coincidence and fairy tales have it, a group of traveling actors came by the castle and asked Heimlich if he would like to have them perform a play. Maybe, Heimlich, thought, if they perform Pruneberry’s death like the Ghost told it in front of Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar one of them would be reminded and say something like, “Say that looks familiar,” and Heimlich would then know what the Ghost said perhaps could have been true.

And so, the traveling players put on the show and at just the right moment, Julius Caesar turned to Natasha Dewlap and said, “Say Natty does this look familiar to you?” At which point Heimlich became furious and drove Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar out of the castle where they were forced to live in a tent and sell apples and rutabagas to passers-by.

Hayden then asked me, “What are rutabagas?” I said, “I did not know.”

Heimlich, thereafter spent every day alone in the little castle in that dismal country with his furry white cat named “Snowy,” looking out of his window and down upon Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar trying to sell their apples and rutabaga to passers-by, except for once a year when the troop of actors came by and they had a party. The End.

I then told Hayden that the actors would perform another tale that I would tell him about tomorrow (I was already working on a children’s version of King Lear). But, Hayden asked me if Danny was ever going to go back home to visit his mom who lived in the cottage by the “Deep Dark Wood,” before setting out on another adventure. He thought it would be a good idea if he did.

I told him that Danny told the musicians that he would not listen to the story because he needed to get a good nights sleep so that tomorrow he would be well rested for his trip back through the “Deep Dark Wood” to visit his mom.

B. 2012 Predictions:

In December I made a bunch of predictions for 2012 that I sent to a few of you. Now with the first quarter of the year almost compete, I thought I would see how those conjectures are doing. In my previous post, I discussed my predictions regarding the American Presidential election, Control of Congress, US Economy and Europe. Here are a few more:

Stocks:

December prediction: Do not buy Bank stocks: Here’s a little overview of the year-to-date performance of some of the major global banking stocks on December 29, 2011, before the opening bell: BofA:-60.38%; Citi: -44.76%; Goldman Sachs: -46.41%; JP Morgan: -23.03%;Morgan Stanley:-45.24%; RBS: -50%; Barclay’s: -34.32%; Lloyds: -63.02%; UBS: -29.33%; Deutsche Bank:-28,55%; Crédit Agricole: -56.04%;BNP Paribas: -37.67%; Société Générale: -59.57%

These are just some of the Too Big To Fail institutions. And while your governments have enough faith in them — or so they want you to believe — to prop them up with trillions of dollars of your money, investors are fleeing them, even if they can expect them to be propped up further.

That doesn’t just say something about confidence in the individual banks, it shouts loud and clear from the rooftops on confidence in the banking system as a whole, and indeed on governments’ ability to continue bailing them out. In other words: bailouts don’t build confidence, they are taken as a sign that trouble’s on the way. There is little evidence they will reverse this trend in the short to medium term.

In fact, as a small investor, avoid stocks altogether.

March update: Despite general bull market over past few months, prediction remains the same for Bank stocks. Also, continuing volatility of the market still makes it a scary place for small investors. The recent bull market advance will continue in fits and starts through the summer campaign season as the administration tries to quiet any market turmoil. Thereafter all bets are off.

Medical Insurance Industry:

December prediction: By mid year the large private insurance companies will determine whether or not they can expect to escape the profit-to-care ratio caps in Obamacare (the only part of it that matters to them). If not (and I predict that neither Romney nor Obama will substantially change that) the trickle of companies fleeing the industry today will become a flood. Unlike some prognosticators, I do not believe it will ultimately lead to a single payer system. Instead, real insurance people, rather than financiers, will take over much smaller companies and live within the profit constraints, enjoying limited competition and spending their lobby dollars strengthening their market control position and slowly chipping away at the profit constraints.

March update: Prediction correct except the Investor owned companies have already begun preparing to depart. In the long run expect the industry to be dominated mutual policy owner controlled companies or various non profits alongside the government organized options provided for under Obamacare.

Campaign contributions:

December prediction: The loss of campaign contributions from insurance companies hysteria about Obamacare could be a disaster for the Republican Party reducing a major campaign donation source. It will force them to rely even more on their other major sources, the natural resource industries, a much reduced financial services industry and the military industries. The associated parasite industry (economists, lawyers, lobbyists, consultants, think tanks) dependent on their largess will also shrink further diminishing the Party’s coffers as they, following a brief desperate period of trying to salvage their gravy train, come to their senses and put their money into finding new sources of revenue in which to ply their doleful trades.

March update: Prediction wrong. New sources, represented by super-pac’s have more than replaced any loss. However, the suggestion that the Republican financial base is shrinking in terms of number of interest groups remains valid.

Super Bowl:

December prediction: Patriots v Saints. The Saints defeat the Packers then overcome the Niners in the NFC championship game and go on to beat the Patriots in a surprisingly low scoring game, 28-24.

March update: Actual,Patriots v Giants, Giants win an even lower scoring game 21-17.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

The following is a rough draft of a portion of my impressionistic observations accumulated during my involvement in coastal matters. I would appreciate any feed back you may think appropriate since I will probably publish it in a blog or two.

On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.

The 1976 California Coastal Program in the Legislature: Sheep in wolf’s clothing or the art of the dealing.

In early 1976 the California State Senate, Resources Committee rejected SB 1579 containing the most controversial portion of the California Coastal Program*, the proposed regulatory regime intended to govern development in California’s 1500 mile long Coastal Zone.

Following that defeat the environmental leaders intimately involved in the legislation (Including John Zierold, lobbyist for the powerful Sierra Club) settled upon a minor piece of legislation, authored by a little known freshman Senator, Jerry Smith a Democrat from pro-environment suburban Santa Clara County, that had already passed through the State Senate in which to resuscitate the coastal protection legislative efforts (SB 1277).

SB 1577 had failed in the State Senate primarily because of the opposition of several liberal Democratic Senators including David Roberti, a powerful Democratic State Senator from Los Angeles. Their public rational included their fear that regulation of the coastline would cause escalating land costs creating an enclave for the rich and freezing out the poor and middle class from living and enjoying the coast. In fact, their position depended to a great extent on the fierce opposition to coastal regulation by the building trades unions, strong campaign contributors to the Democratic Party.

Roberti had demanded additional protections for low and moderate housing within the Coastal Zone as his price for voting for the bill. Several of the leaders of citizen groups that supported Coastal Protection legislation, but who also believed that the legislation was deficient in this regard, worked with members of the Coastal commission’s Senior Staff to prepare the requisite amendments which were then given to Roberti. He offered the amendments in committee and Beilenson accepted them. Roberti voted against the bill anyway sending it down to defeat.

Interestingly, Peter Douglas, a consultant to the assembly Natural Resources Committee angrily opposed the amendments, insisting “social issues don’t belong in environmental legislation.” Mel Lane the Chairman of the Coastal Commission echoed this opinion and furiously accused one of the citizen leaders of, “Killing my Coastal Act.”

A few months previously, I had left my position as Chief Counsel to the Coastal Commission to join Smith. I became Chief Consultant to the Select Committee on Land Use Management Organizations, created by the Senate Rules Committee at Smith’s request in order to enhance his environmental credentials. Also with my appointment, Smith hoped to improve his chances to play a significant role in the Coastal Program legislative process that would otherwise be denied him because of his lack of seniority.

Almost a year prior, the California Coastal Commission adopted the California Coastal Plan completing a three-year process begun by a 1972 citizen passed initiative called “Proposition 20” that set up the Coastal Commissions in order to create a plan to govern development of California’s 1500 mile coastline. Following the adoption of the Plan several members of the senior staff were concerned that most of the Coastal Commissioners believed their job was done and now the future of Coastal Protection was solely in the hands of the California State Legislature. Those concerned staff believed, however, that such a hands-off approach would inevitably lead to the defeat or emasculation of the Plan in the hurly-burley of power politics in which he with the most money at risk often prevails. Most of the senior staff were experienced enough to recognize that complex and controversial matters such as the Coastal Program, in the legislative context, tended to be dealt with as a series of broad compromises and tradeoffs among those with the greatest economic interests at stake. The hands off attitude of the Commissioners, they believed, would leave the program to which they had dedicated three years of their lives without a knowledgable advocate in the private negotiations where most legislative activity gets done.

In addition, the staff recognized that the only legislative staff member in Sacramento that one could point to as having an interest in the passage of coastal protection legislation was a man who appeared to them to be so limited in knowledge and competence that he rarely was entrusted with much beyond observing and reporting on the Commission’s activities.

During the three-year coastal planning process, the much of staffs experience with this legislative aide amounted to little more than receiving periodic warnings from him of political catastrophe should the staff actually attempted to protect a resource that offended one or another of the capitol’s more aggressive legislators. In addition, the staff had the clear impression that his goal was to eliminate most of what was in the plan and replace it with what he called the “coastal essence,” that reminded most of them more of a noxious odor than a regulatory program. It had been said that Peter Douglas (the same person who would later so vociferously oppose the inclusion of social issues into coastal protection legislation) had never met a political objection so small for which he would not be willing to surrender someone else’s interests.

To make matters worse, the Chairman of the Commission, its Executive Director and Chief Planner as well as the aforementioned Douglas favored a simple bill that would continue the Commission as it was with watered down authority and jurisdictional reach containing vague references to the Coastal Plan that the public had labored to fashion trough innumerable hearings over the previous three years.

As a result, these members of the Commission Staff along with those community based so-called citizen advocates who also had devoted much of their lives during the past three years to developing the program, decided it was necessary that they somehow become directly involved in the legislative process, not simply as cheerleaders but as active participants defending their own interests in the Plan. These activists were a diverse lot including the Coastal coordinator of the establishment Sierra Club, Joe Edmiston, a group of teenagers from the bay area energized by the encouragement to participate in Commission business as well as many others some of whose activities on behalf of local community, social justice and environmental concerns eventually led to distinguished careers in politics, finance, government and business.

We evolved over time a few basic overriding strategies and precepts upon which we would move from the planning and administrative process of the Coastal Commission to the legislative wars. Among these precepts were:

1. The need to have our own model legislation that reflected the Plan precisely, so that all would know not only the specific provisions that interested them, but everything else and how it all fit together. In other words these mostly novice citizen lobbyists would become, not simply interested supporters appearing at hearings with signs and slogans, but participants pushing their own particular interests as well as their common ideals. They would flood the halls of the Capitol and be as knowledgeable in the process and the specifics of the legislation as any of the legislators, legislative staff or their opponents and often more so.

2. An informal rapid communications among those involved, rapidly apprising them of everything that could affect the process was created. The informal network among the activists that already existed and had existed for a while formed its basis. The Commission staff increased their direct participation and often kept the rest informed of fast changing events.

3. The placement of a senior member of the staff in a position in the State Capitol that allowed that person to take an active and daily role in the negotiations and control the drafting of any amendments to the bill.

As for the model legislation, I persuaded the executive director to allocate funding to a husband and wife lawyer team to draft a prototype bill. The staff instructed them to include as much as possible of each and every provision in the Coastal Plan. Bill Boyd, a member of the Commissions senior staff, was chosen to work with them to assure the final product met our goals. Although the resulting draft effectively reflected the provisions contained in the governance element of the Coastal Plan that I had written, the Executive Director and Chief Planner had managed to eliminate the substantive policies elements and replace him with vague references to the Coastal Plan document. A meeting among the environmentalists and the Executive Director to discuss the draft was met with the strong objection, by Joe Edmiston and others to the absence of the Plan’s substantive policies, and resulted in the inclusion of what would ultimately become Chapter 3 in the final bill.

Meanwhile I had agreed to leave the Commission staff and try to find a way to work into the legislative process. I was the likely choice since, I wanted to do something different, approached political conflict as war by other means, and most of the staff welcomed relief from my mercurial and often overbearing management style. So I joined Smith.

As it turned out the Democratic leadership and John Zierold chose the liberal warhorse, but diffident State Senator, Anthony Beilenson. He and his able, but inexperienced assistant, Gail Osherenko, consented essentially to insert the staffs model bill into the proposed legislation.

Meanwhile, Smith, Zierold and I agreed to work a minor piece of environmental legislation through the Senate so that, should the main legislation fail, it could be resuscitated in the other house thereby keeping it alive. This was not an unusual parliamentary ploy for major legislation. It allowed a bill defeated in a committee of one house to be revived, moved through the more obliging chamber and brought back to the entire membership of the original chamber for “concurrence” in the other chambers amendments thereby avoiding the recalcitrant committee and hopefully increasing the legislation’s chances for passage.

The defeated legislation was amended into Smith’s bill that had already passed the Senate and was awaiting action in the appropriate Assembly committees.

The first thing everyone involved agreed was that the legislation required a principal co-author who was a powerful member of the Assembly. Assemblyman Charles (Charlie) Warren was chosen. Smith and I, who had hoped the Speaker of the Assembly McCarthy would agree to be co-author were not overly enthusiastic about this. Warren, although a powerful member of the Assembly was considered by most as somewhat of a loose-cannon with touches of megalomania. His aide on coastal matters was the afore-mentioned Peter Douglas. Smith, members of the senior staff as well as many within the environmental community and I feared that Warren and Douglas would attempt to wrest control of the bill and weaken it. Fortunately, both were also generally considered a bit lazy.

As the previous bill moved through the Senate prior to its defeat, Osherenko and I attempted to neutralize Douglas by assigning him the job of editing the amendments that Osherenko or I had negotiated. Again Bill Boyd was selected to work with him to make sure that what we had won in negotiations was not lost in the drafting.

The first order of business was for the two principal authors to meet and agree on the provisions of the bill that would appear in the first committee. A day or two before the meeting Smith and I met to develop our negotiating strategy for that meeting. We had learned that the main thrust of Warren and Douglas’ expected demands was directed to what most of us considered would be emasculation of the legislation by among other things:

1. removing all jurisdiction regarding Coastal Agriculture,

2. eliminating the substantive policies and replacing them with the “coastal essence,” and

3. reversing some of the hard-won agreements with several interest groups, such as the League of California Cities, that had in response to the agreement removed their opposition to the legislation releasing several legislators to vote for it.

(Also see note below)

Now before proceeding, some comments on a few of the negotiation tactics we had developed and implemented to move the bill along. They were:

1. To negotiate with each interest group opposed (Both public and private), separately and technically. (Almost every significant interest group had a staff member assigned to the technical negotiations. For example, the ever-present and indefatigable Bill Boyd was assigned to the League of California Cities.)

2. To try to focus the discussions on procedural issues and away from substantive ones.

3. To use the complexity of the bill and our superior knowledge to our advantage.

Smith and I discussed our approach to the coming negotiations with Warren and Douglas. In regard to the Coastal Agricultural policies and jurisdiction, the coastal zone boundary had been proposed to be extended many, many miles inland of the Coastal Zone that had been created by the initiative. Within that zone, essentially Commission planning and not permit authority would apply. We had always considered this to be one of the most vulnerable provisions in the Plan. Nevertheless we were committed to obtaining a substantial offset were we to be forced to surrender it. Now Smith and I were presented with two supposed environmentalists, Warren and Douglas who, despite the fact that throughout the movement of the predecessor legislation through the Senate the Coastal Agriculture provisions resisted attack, insisted on its unilateral surrender in a private meeting.

Smith and I assumed that this demand was a function of Warren’s ego. He was the author of another piece of legislation whose goal was to protect California’s Agriculture from urban encroachment. We were prepared to argue that, the provision in the proposed Coastal Act had not been under severe attack by any group with which we could obtain a global settlement, and that passage of protection of coastal agriculture could help and not hinder his legislation, especially should his bill include subsuming Coastal Zone agriculture into the less severe state-wide agriculture protection legislation (And we suggested this option to him at our meeting). Nevertheless we assumed that Warren wanted no competition for the title of “Protector of California’s Agriculture,” and that would be the price of his support.

As for the settlements we had eked out with the League of Cities and others, that Douglas apparently was so opposed to, what we had negotiated, in keeping with our strategy, was in our opinion essentially procedural relief and not a substantive weakening of the legislation. Also, although we tended to be dubious about the standard economic model that said that development would move from areas with more stringent regulation to those areas less restrictive, if it were correct, movement of development pressure from undeveloped areas into already developed ones was a staple of environmental planning. Douglas appeared not to understand this.

Nevertheless, we were confident the accommodation would be proposed again in the first committee hearing, so agreeing with Douglas at the meeting had no adverse consequences that we could see.

As for the substantive provisions of the proposed legislation we would stand firm for their retention as payment for the other two concessions.

That evening, I prepared on a yellow legal tablet a list of inconsequential demands, should the discussion require additional give and take, but we considered them all give-a-ways should the meeting go as we expected.

In fact they did go as suspected. Douglas came in with an extensive memorandum justifying their positions. After presenting his conclusions, he and his memorandum were mostly ignored. Warren seemed to lose interest in prolonging the discussions once we agreed to his demands on the agriculture policies and appeared to be eager to move things along and avoid arguing over some the technical proposals in Douglas memo. Following our feigned unhappy acceptance or the demand to eliminate the League of Cities accommodation, he rapidly agreed, over Douglas’ objection, to retain the substantive policies and the meeting rapidly ended. Douglas was requested to memorialize the results of the meeting which he did with his usual penchant for self-aggrandizement.

The legislation containing the agreed upon amendments then went into the hearing process before the two Assembly Committees where, as we intended, the League of Cities amendment was re-proposed and Smith accepted it without objection. Thereafter the most significant changes to the legislation occurred during a marathon 13 hour hearing in front of the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means. At this hearing, the official maps delineating the significantly expanded Coastal Zone were displayed along the back wall of the Committee room. Having declined an opportunity to review the maps in detail, the Committee directed those with issues regarding the jurisdictional maps meet with Zierold and the ever-present Bill Boyd and try to work them out. This resulted in an orgy or fluttering maps and flying magic markers and Zierold and Boyd negotiated almost every inch of the jurisdictional line during those 13 hours. In keeping with our standard practice Boyd’s superior knowledge and our approach of giving nothing without getting something in return, the final maps had for the most part surrendered some inland urban areas in return for massive extension of jurisdiction in some rural counties. When offered an opportunity to review the final maps the Committee demurred, and so the legislation passed out of the Committee and through the Assembly. No significant changes occurred until after being brought back to the Senate floor it languished until the last moment intervention of then Governor Jerry Brown.

Note: Douglas while working as consultant to the assembly natural resources committee during this period shepherded hearings in that committee that emasculated the Commissions authority over developments conducted by other agencies of the State explaining that it was politically expedient to do so in one fell swoop and not continue the agency by agency negotiations the Commission staff was already conducting with promising results. For example Osherenko and I in negotiations with the Energy Commission represented by Richard Maullin an extremely disagreeable man whose arrogance far exceeded his abilities, we agreed to give up the Commissions permit by permit, in return for the ability of the Commission to designate areas where power plants could not be sited. In my opinion a sensible compromise given the complexity of power plant permitting addresses many issues outside of the Coastal Commission’s preview. This was however not Douglas position. He held the curious position that one can best save the coast by surrendering it. In any event due to the hard work of Boyd and other Commission staff members we were able to retain most of the accommodations that we had previously negotiated.

* The California Coastal Program had three parts:

1. Funding for the State’s parks and wildlife agencies to purchase those lands where no development should occur. This was accomplished by the legislature placing a bond act on the ballot, that was passed by the people, to fund this acquisitions.

2. The creation of a coastal environmental restoration and public access agency called the Coastal Conservancy.

3. Passage of the California Coastal Act containing the policies by which future development in the coastal zone would be regulated.

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES AND JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Removed for rehabilitation.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. “The Six Steps” that Fox employs to create national controversies:

STEP 1: Conservative activists introduce the lie.
STEP 2: Fox News devotes massive coverage to the story.
STEP 3: Fox attacks other outlets for ignoring the controversy.
STEP 4: Mainstream outlets begin reporting on the story.
STEP 5: Media critics, pundits praise Fox News’s coverage.
STEP 6: The story falls apart once the damage has been done.
From the Fox Effect.David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt.

2. Pat Robertson says oral sex is ok:

In an appearance on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson claimed oral sex is a sin only if the people engaging in it feel it is so.

Good for you Pat. Now does this also apply to contraception and voting for Democrats?

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“There are two sustainable ways to make money in finance: find people with risks that need to be carried and match them with people with unused risk-bearing capacity, or find people with such risks and match them with people who are clueless but who have money. Are we sure that most of the growth in finance stems from a rising share of financial professionals who undertake the former rather than the latter?”
Brad De Long

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Cold Tits 0001. (March 13, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

There is some good news. It seems that Bill Geyer may survive. According to Naida he is breathing on his own again and is conscious but will still need some dialysis for a while. Unfortunately he is unable to walk and will need to remain in a skilled nursing facility.

As for me, I feel more and more inadequate in dealing with a growing seven-year-old. I never believed I had much of an aptitude for parenting.

On the other hand the warm weather during the last few days has brought out the spring colors in the neighborhood.

B. 2012 Predictions:

In December I made a bunch of predictions for 2012 that I sent to a few of you. Now with the first quarter of the year almost compete, I thought I would see how those conjectures are doing. In my previous post, I discussed my predictions regarding the American Presidential election and control of Congress. Here are a few more:

1. US Economy:

December prediction: Experiences a mild rebound. Among other reasons because:

a. As money floods into US treasuries on account of the perceived lack of “safe” alternatives, it alleviates pressure to deal immediately with public and private debt allowing for some minor stimulus actions by the administration, such as;
b. encouraging an escalation of inflation both “natural” and government induced, and;
c. there may be a slight temporary improvement in trade balance.

The economic upturn will reverse by years end (but not in time to effect the presidential race) and the nation should sink into another recession, because:
a. the European crises will get worse and the US administration no longer has a political reason to prop it up ,
b. the value of the dollar will rise eliminating any balance of trade benefits and
c. inflation will surpass deficits as the focus of Republican wrath.

March update: None. The mild upturn the nation currently is experiencing has been stronger that expected. No reason to alter downturn prediction has appeared.

2. Europe:

December prediction: The area’s financial system will limp along until about early February due to money flooding into the banking sector from the UCB and others that staves off immediate collapse. The collapse nevertheless occurs but in relatively slow motion as the technocrats, who created the problem in the first place and are now in almost absolute charge, begin to realize their error and start to act. There, however, is no reason to believe it will not be too little and too late. American intervention contributes to slowing the collapse. Nevertheless, the European financial system and economy eventually collapses. As evidence of this Gordon T. Long, in a report called Collateral Contagion, lifts a hitherto little known part of the veil:

“There are approximately $55 trillion of banking assets in the EU. This compares to only $13 trillion in the US. Bank assets in the EU are 4 times as large as in the US.
In the US, debt held by the bank is smaller because retail deposits are a primary source of funds. EU banks use wholesale lending and, as a consequence, the debt held by banks is close to 80% versus less than 20% by US banks.
Wholesale bank lending in the EU approximates $30 trillion versus only $3 trillion in the US, a 10 X differential.
Wholesale lending is fundamentally borrowing from money market funds and other very short-term, unsecured instruments. The banks borrow short and lend long. It all works until short-term money gets scarce or expensive.
Both have occurred in the EU and this recently placed Dexia into bankruptcy, forcing it to be taken over by the Belgian and French governments. The unsecured bond market fundamentally closed in the EU in Q3 2011, as fears mounted that an EU solution was not forthcoming.
Assuming $30 trillion of loans is spread over three years, EU banks have a requirement for $800 billion a month of rollover financing for wholesale lending outstanding.”

March update: No change. Prediction remains spot on. The Greek bailout is no bailout at all, only an attempt to slow the financial debacle, while newly imposed stimulus policies (imposed by the very people who delayed them in the first place) are given time to work on the general economy. The effectiveness of the intervention may force me to alter my prediction.

(to be continued)

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

My most recent discussion of my observations of events during legislative deliberations on the Coastal Act are undergoing final edits.

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Site renovation.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLEs:
See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2012:

First ever actual photograph of atoms vibrating within a molecule.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Pookie’s platform includes a minimum of $600 million over the next 4 years in budgetary savings by immediately ending the following welfare programs:

1. Oil and Gas Tax Subsidies.

There appears to be no conceivable impact on the nation’s oil and gas supply by removing these subsidies. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $80 billion.

2. Deferment of Taxes on Income of US controlled Corporations Abroad.

This subsidy seems to have little public benefit and only encourages offshoring of American jobs. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $200 billion.

3. Accelerated Depreciation on Equipment:

This is most often used by companies to avoid taxation entirely. It should only be allowed (as it was originally) as part of temporary stimulus legislation to encourage companies to purchase equipment during recessions. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $140 billion.

4. Deduction for Domestic Manufacturing:

This deduction is simply a direct subsidy to companies. It is welfare pure and simple and has no place in the tax code. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $75 billion.

5. LIFO (Last in First Out) Accounting:

This is simply a method to hide true profits. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $25 billion

6. Agribusiness Welfare:

Another unnecessary welfare program. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $25 billion.

7. Allow Government to Negotiate Prices for Medicare:

A direct subsidy to providers. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $75 billion.

8. Annual tax break for drug companies direct to consumer advertising:

Why should we pay for drug company marketing to us? Estimated savings over next 4 years: $20 billion.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If you have two guys on stage and one guy says ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”
Roger Ailes President of Fox News (1988)

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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