Posts Tagged With: President

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Joe 0001 (July 18,2012)

 

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Today I am announcing  termination of my candidacy for President of the United States. This section of “This and that…” will also end.

I am ending my campaign because the candidacies of the truly insane have, well,… gone into the toilet, leaving me the difficult task of thinking up parodies rather than simply reproducing the candidates own public statements.

Also, as I have mentioned previously, I am one of the few people who actually likes, Mendacious Mitt. For someone completely lacking a public personality, he has managed to become the medias dream candidate by basically refusing to do things. Some pundits have criticized his refusals as bad strategy, but I, on the other hand, suspect that it may be brilliant.

Imagine if during his acceptance speech after garnering the nomination at the Republican convention he refuses to run for president. The free press coverage would dwarf what he could buy no matter how large the campaign contributions made by those 10 wealthy men into his independent expenditure funds.

This section will be hereafter replaced by:

POOKIE’S PUERILE EPIGRAMS:

1. Consciousness is nothing more than post hoc rationalization.

2. Humans are not rational animals, but rationalizing ones.

3. Consciousness is what one tells oneself to keep away the darkness.

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

This weekend I returned to “Paradise by the Sea” (Jomtien Beach) to visit with Bill who was spending a few days in “The Outskirts of Hell” (Pattaya) about two miles from “Paradise by the Sea.” He had just returned from a brief trip to Malaysia scoping out business opportunities there and unwinding somewhere between the gates of paradise and the portals of hell from the rigors of Muslim Puritanism.

I met him and Ray at the “Oval Table” where about a year ago the Geriatric Knights set off on their adventures. Three of the original five Knights were there, Density, Harvey and Giufa. Horace who prefers to be called Jerome we would met up with that evening. Spy was off knight erranting somewhere south of Outremer searching for the Grail or a stray yoni or two which were hard to find where he was at.

We decided to dub Ray into the club (The Rub a Dub Club?). We could not decide on a suitable heraldic name for him. We were stuck between “Omar the Tent Maker” and “Sinbad the Sailor.” I decided to compromise on “Sinbad the Tent Maker.”

Alas, Angelina-Tai, Selma-moo, Princess Oy and the other houri had long ago departed for other caravansaries, and soon so did we.

I checked into the guest house on Jomtien Beach Road Soi 3 where I stayed the last time I was there, napped and waited for LM.

That evening we met Bill, Mike and Ray for dinner at a restaurant on the Walking Street. After dinner we went to a nearby go-go bar where Ray was to meet with the ex-owner to discuss business opportunities in Pattaya. The ex-owners claim to fame was that he managed to sell his failing go-go bar to someone else and now passes himself off as an expert in doing business in Thailand.

The tiny club consisted of a row of booths surrounding a small stage upon which about 10 poles reaching to the ceiling were set. A selection of slightly overweight women, naked from the waist up, one hand on a pole, moved their bodies in a desultory fashion to some over loud 20-year-old rock music while staring boredly at themselves in the mirrors that covered the walls behind the booths. We were the only customers.

We then went to a place called the Windmill a few steps away from the go-go place. Here the joint was packed. It featured various fully naked women performing simulated sex acts and others, equally naked, jumping in and out of Jacuzzis, while various old over-weight men with wallets out were peeling off notes from wads of Thai money and handing it to other naked women whose bodies were pressed against them.

For those who picture the Outskirt’s of Hell as a simply an aging white male sexist paradise you could not be further from the truth. Unlike God, who seems to prefer well muscled male mesomorphs, Lucifer is nothing if not an equal opportunity corrupter. Within the Outskirts of Hell there are alley’s devoted to transsexual (Be all that you can be) clubs, lesbian sex clubs and the standard run of the mill gay bars.

You can also shop for souvenirs and buy the sex enhancement medication of your choice at the many establishments specializing in selling those products. And of course restaurants by the ton located on the land or on boat anchored offshore. Food, sexual indulgence and gross corruption are never too far apart.

After a few minutes of observation, LM and I excused ourselves and returned to the hotel.

The next morning LM and I took the ferry to Koh Larn one of the several islands in the Bay of Thailand located off Pattaya and Jomtien Beach. It contains a small village and several tiny beaches adjacent to which one can enjoy lunch for about twice the price of similar fare on the mainland and stare at the high-rises lining the shore across the straight.

We ate lunch at a tiny place by a beach of strange maroon and lemon yellow stones. We were the only customers. After lunch we returned to Pattaya and continued on back to BKK and our apartment.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

“House Republicans have now voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 33 times. Every time they take this vote, it’s time they could be spending on other issues. Other issues like, for instance, what they would do instead of the Affordable Care Act. But though they’ve found the time to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act on 33 separate occasions, they have voted to replace the Affordable Care Act exactly … never.”
(Ezra Klein)

What is it that one calls those who perform the same futile act over and over again?

Ha, I got you there. The correct answer is Republicans.

C. OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THAILAND:

1. A Thai comments on his society:

Arglit Boonyai, the highly respected and sometimes brilliant columnist for The Bangkok Post, Thailand’s most respected english daily newspaper recently wrote:

Thailand – and I am trying to be fair here — is as honest as a North Korean press release on famine. We steal, we cheat, we lie, we treat people with a lower social status badly, we’re racist, the list goes on and on. For years we successfully hid all that behind the famous Thai smile and the ‘mai pen rai’ attitude. And by gosh and by golly, most of those suckers fell for it.

2. Thai Beauty:

The most beautiful women in Thailand are men.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

What the hell happened in 1980 to cause this sudden horrendous orgy of incarcerating Americans?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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


As free spending “liberals,” “Occupy” backers should support the Republican approach to Federal financing over the Democratic.

B. Fun with the Mormons:

Baptism for the dead, vicarious baptism or proxy baptism is a religious practice of baptizing a living person on behalf of an individual who is dead; the living person is acting as the deceased person’s proxy. It has been practiced since 1840 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where it is also called temple baptism because it is performed only in dedicated temples.

In the practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a living person, acting as proxy, is baptized by immersion on behalf of a deceased person of the same gender. The baptism ritual is as follows: after calling the living proxy by name, the person performing the baptism says, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you for and on behalf of [full name of deceased person], who is dead, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” The proxy is then immersed briefly in the water. Baptism for the dead is a distinctive ordinance of the church and is based on the belief that baptism is a required ordinance for entry into the Kingdom of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vicariously baptizes people regardless of race, sex, or creed. This includes both victims and perpetrators of genocide. Some Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and their supporters have objected to this practice.

This means that black people and gays can become Mormons after they die. Oh, happy day.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S CHART:


Not only is this chart graphically confusing, but misleading. Republicans have never maintained that they are about jobs. They have always maintained they were about economic growth and smaller government. The fact that similar charts on the economic growth and the size of the Federal government would show that during Democratic administrations the economy grew faster and the size of government smaller then during Republican administrations is irrelevant.

What this chart and others like it do show however, is that during the administration of that “Great Satan” to both Republicans and Liberal Democrats, Bill Clinton, by whatever measure of success one chooses, we seem to have done better than under any other President in recent memory, Republican or Democratic .

Let’s bring back “The Big Gut,” (not a typo). Politics was more interesting and fun then. The problem with the current presidential campaign is that neither candidate can be referred to as a, “Happy Warrior.”

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

 

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 23 Shadow 0001 (July 13, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Bill Gates and Ray arrived from Pattaya where they had spent the past week scoping out business opportunities. We spent a few hours rummaging through Bangkok’s riotous Chinatown markets, looking for things that could be resold in the US. Some, like decorative mobile phone covers, apparently have a mark-up value ten times greater than the Thai purchase price. Bee, one of the first employees at AVA when Bill, Dick and I opened it some 13 years ago, accompanied us and served as an interpreter.

After leaving AVA Bee married a man from the piedmont region of North Carolina who had a string of carts selling inexpensive jewelry in several shopping centers in North and South Carolina. She had worked for her husband as a buyer in Thailand for a while. She was here in Bangkok visiting family and seeing her daughter off to college in BKK.

Later that evening, Bill, Bee, LM and I had dinner at the “Fish Market” restaurant that we always liked so much. We reminisced.

LM and I went to the movies to see “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer.” We shouldn’t have.

After a short trip to Malaysia, Bill and Ray returned to Pattaya. I hope to join them for a day or two.

Resurrection:

Today, while walking back to my apartment I discovered the “dead man” I commented on at length a few post ago, lying comatose and spread-eagled at the base of the steps to the Nana Skytrain station, thus reducing my guilt ridden ethical quandary to another example of simple self-indulgence. Had I found the cop I was looking for at the time, while I am sure he would not have laughed in my face, I expect he would have smiled the way Thais do, assured me he would do something about it and after I left, utterly ignored it.

Unless it is some student art project using an embalmed cadaver, obviously he had not died where last I had seem him, although he could actually be dead now, but I think not. As I thought about my inert friend, I suspected that he must be able to raise some money, enough to feed himself and to support his evident alcohol (coconut milk beer?) or drug habit. He probably was not a trust fund baby and I was relatively certain he did not beg. So he must work at something. If so, that raises him from the realm of what some consider pure parasites (trust fund babies and those needing the assistance of others). I reasoned that he probably, stole, defrauded tourists or gleaned from garbage cans, thereby raising enough money to be able to lie insensate in the sun, sort of like the Wall Street barons lying on the beach or by the pools of their estates, equally comatose on the more expensive drugs of their choice; alcohol, cocaine, tranquilizers and steroids.

But wait you say, you cannot compare what they, the Wall Street barons, do with someone who defraud tourists, steals and makes a living off the refuse of others? If you believe that they are not comparable, then I suggest that you plan a stop at your local moral service station and have your ethical dip-stick checked. You are probably running low on your ethical conscience level.

Travel:

My travel Schedule firmed up a bit. I depart BKK for LA July 30. I will be staying with Monty and hopefully spending some time with Ruth, Ben and Greg. I leave LA by train to San José on the 5th of August and see Gates. On the 6th I will arrive in SF and visit with my son and grandchildren as well as my sister and her family. I leave on the 10th with Grenell for some Ragout and Charbono with Sally in the Benioff Zone returning to SF by mid week. After that I hope visit with friends in SF and spend some time with Hayden, the Dalls and Geyers in Sacto. Toward the end of September, I plan to depart for Florida, Washington, New York and Maine, before returning to Thailand by way of Italy.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Trumped:

I recently read where Donald Trump attended my alma mater, Fordham University, but he received no degree. So did “Captain Kangaroo,” but he graduated. I take from this that, “Captain Kangaroo” was smarter than Trump. But everyone already knew that.

2. Do your trust these men:

In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.

Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it, according to Labaton Sucharow. And 30 percent said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.
(Huffington Post-Reuters Report)

3. Non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report on Taxes:

Americans paid the lowest tax rates in 30 years to the federal government in 2009, due in part to tax cuts obtained by President Obama to combat the Great Recession, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

However the Wall Street Journal points out that the average tax rate for the top 1%—those with average incomes of about $1.2 million—rose to 28.9% from 28.1% a year earlier…

Wow, a whole .2% increase in taxes. How they must be suffering. That explains why they will spend a billion dollars to defeat the man. Clearly the rest of us do not understand the unfairness of it all.

C. OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THAILAND.

1. Perhaps the most amazing talent of the Thais is the ability of Thai women to maneuver flawlessly along the despicably decrepit sidewalks of Bangkok in spiked heels.

2. If it is overcast and rainy, Thais consider it a good day.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Chinese Taoism, cunnilingus is revered as a spiritually fulfilling practice that is believed to enhance longevity

Once again the East gets it right. The older I get… no I am not going there.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Does anyone have any idea what this chart is about?

B. God; one of the guys:

“As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from the nations that are round about you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property.”
Leviticus 25:44

Leviticus also seems to say that if guys get it on with guys, they should be put to death. Why would God consider it ok for gay guys to have slaves but not sleep with another guy? I wonder if God thought it was acceptable for guys to sleep with the slaves of either sex, but not with a non-slave of the same sex. I am pretty sure some of the slave-owning patriarchs did, didn’t everyone? Perhaps it was not necessary for slaves to “increase and multiply.”

By the way, did you notice that the sly old God did not prohibit women sleeping with women? Perhaps like most guys He liked to watch.

C. Fun with the Mormons:

The temple garment (or the Garment of the Holy Priesthood, or informally, the garment or garments) in some denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement, is a set of sacred underclothing worn by adult adherents who have taken part in a ritual ceremony known as washing and anointing ordinance, usually in a temple as part of the Endowment ceremony. Anti-Mormon activists have publicly displayed or defaced temple garments to show their opposition to the LDS Church.

According to generally accepted Mormon doctrine, the marks in the garments are sacred symbols (Buerger 2002, p. 58). One proposed element of the symbolism, according to early Mormon leaders, was a link to the “Compass and the Square,” the symbols of freemasonry (Morgan 1827, pp. 22-23), to which Joseph Smith (creator of Mormonism) had been initiated about seven weeks before his introduction of the Endowment ceremony.

Adherents of this practice consider them to be sacred and may be offended by public discussion of the garments.(Listverse)

I agree. I would not want someone making fun of my underwear.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

This is a cheap shot. People with wealthy parents are not necessarily parasites. He could have lived off his inheritance, instead Mitt chose to increase the “talents” given to him by making sure others had none. That was a cheap shot too. I apologize. I actually am one of the few on either side of the political spectrum who actually likes Mitt. I like the fact that he can continue to smile no matter what he is saying. He reminds me of a polished used car salesman. There I go again. I really am sorry.

Actually neither of men running for the highest office in the land impresses me as strong enough to resist the gathering storm rising up against us and eventually against them. The fabric of an American consensus has been ripped apart on every issue. We no longer (if we ever did) differ on emphasis or direction, but contest every issue raised as if there is no common understanding between us.

Left to their own devices, and not pushed by the needs of politics, from a policy standpoint they, Obama and Romney, probably are not hugely dissimilar (1960s liberal Republicans). However, I suspect that by inclination and by commitment and frankly by choice of party, Obama will prove to be more steadfast.

We are, after all, faced not with a single crisis or even a succession of crises.

We are faced instead with a series of system collapses each making the others more severe. Yet, the resolution of one requires the resolution of the others.

The liquidity crises reflects the collapse of demand and thus in turn eroding the value of the all too abundant liquid assets. Currently the plan is to move the unused assets around from one ginned up speculation to another until something happens that will remove the threat to their value.

The employment crisis represents in part a collapse of resource growth that will not be corrected merely by rebuilding outdated infrastructure. Helpful though that may be, it does not appreciably improve productivity. It only slows its deterioration. It probably cannot be improved anyway, at least not by any options available to us that we know of. Shipping jobs overseas is at best a short term solution.

A war will not be among the answers to the current economic crisis. It will only make it more grievous.

The environment is collapsing in that it no longer is an esthetic/conservation issue corrected by preservation. Nor is it making us sick in ways that can be remedied simply by removing the source danger. Today the environment has begun to turn deadly to individuals, humanity and most life forms. It cannot be resolved by more production furnishing surplus resources that enable us to preserve what is important. Nor is it adequate to remedy the specific activity that makes us sick. These solutions only make it worse.

World comity, which had been steadily increasing since WWII also is in danger of collapse and nations and their internal politics demand that they turn inward and protect themselves from the economic, social and environmental maelström that threatens to engulf them. But while that may be good internal politics it is probably disastrous policy (Germany is a good example. While Merkle’s policies may be good for her re-election, they are disasters for Germany in the long run).

The impacts of coming migrations caused by global warming can at best be delayed in hopes that a long-term solution evolves. But from where is this miracle to come? In almost none of these integrated world wide collapses is there a concerted effort to deal with either the specific collapse or the effects of them upon each other.

On the economy, the approach appears to be to hold on and reduce our efforts and expectations, whether short or long term, and hope something happens like it did once or twice in the past.

On the social level, while a huge number of efforts are underweigh, they are a drop in the bucket from what is required and anyway they tend to address results and not causes.

Dealing with the rapidly evolving homicidal environment is left not to a concerted effort to combat it as though we were in a war but to vague hopes that something will happen at some point in the future that will save us.

If Roosevelt and Churchill listened to those who preached a similar religion then, we all will be speaking German or Japanese today (Except for Jews, Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals and a host of others (most likely Russians and blacks) who would all be dead).

TODAY’S QUOTE:

1. Charles Bukowski

2. Peter Grenell, July 1 2012 (11 Shadow, 0001)

“… the origin of Hells Kitchen? Before Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, there was Indigestion on Ninth.”

TODAY’S CHART:

What I do not understand about this chart, is that all 100,000 people must die eventually, so what is it that the remaining 999,400 die of? And, If only 600 out of 100,000 die each year then some people must live forever. [Actually what it tells us is simply that at some point in the future there will be a massive die off of the old]

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: July through September 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 31 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 15, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. Waiting for the Queen

Last week Thailand celebrated the Buddha’s enlightenment (or perhaps it was the King’s birthday or Buddha’s, I never did catch which). In addition to celebrations scheduled throughout the country, a ceremony was planned for the large park area in front of the palace compound in BKK. LM persuaded me to accompany her to watch it.

After the almost one hour ride on the inexpensive but non-air-conditioned number 2 bus, we arrived at the site with thousand’s of others. We found a place alongside a large open area surrounded by temporary pavilions where we thought we would have a good view of the proceedings. In the center of the enclosed open space in front of us, a large stepped pyramid structure, all red and gold, had been constructed. LM said we were waiting for the Queen.

Facing the pyramid was a gold throne that I assumed was there for the Queen to sit in during the usually interminably long official buddhist ceremonies. Although the various pavilions had chairs in them, there were no others in the enclosure. Neither were there chairs for the spectators. Most people kneeled or sat on the ground. I don’t do kneeling or sitting on the ground, so I stood at the back of the crowd in front of one of the pavilions. The general public was not allowed into the pavilions.

Although there were a few people in suits and uniforms with mobile phones pressed to their ears scurrying around within the enclosure, the first organized group to arrive were a few dozen or so military or police, all spiffy in their brown starched and pressed uniforms. Each had hand guns by their side. They took up positions around the periphery of the open space facing the crowd. They soon were followed by a lot of people in white uniforms, many of which sported gold braid. These people milled about aimlessly, now and then bowing and weiing to each other. Then the band arrived, they had white uniforms also, only the conductor had braid, however. It was red. They marched around a bit but did not play music. Their instruments were all silver, unlike American bands that often mix gold and silver-colored ones.

Next to arrive was a squad of soldiers dressed in white wearing white metal helmets with gold spikes rising out of the top. They carried rifles. You know that it is a serious ceremony when guys with gold spikes rising from the tops or their head arrive carrying guns. Their job seemed to require them to be placed by their officers around the grounds in teams of two and to remain standing there without moving a muscle no matter what happens. Their fortitude was demonstrated when one or another of their officers would march up close behind each trooper and goose him. The statue soldiers did not flinch. I watched this in amazement for a while, until I realized that they were not goosing them but grasping the bottom of the troopers jacket and pulling it down to remove wrinkles.

I never understood why many of the worlds militaries maintain squads of similar types of statute soldiers. If anything happens are they still required to stand immobile? Why not use real statues?

After this, every few minutes or so, a limousine would drive up and disgorge a white uniformed person with lots and lots of gold braid. From among them, Princess LuckyGirl the current Prime Minister and sister to the deposed, exiled, fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin the Terrible, with her entourage emerged to a smattering of applause. She also had a white uniform, but I did not see any gold braid. She is not really a Princess and her name is not LuckyGirl. I just call her Princess because she is the sister of the man who actually runs the country from exile. Her real name is Yingluck. Ying in Thai refers to a young person, usually female and luck is well,…luck, and after all, she could be considered very lucky being born rich and then elected Prime Minister without ever holding a real job before.

She appears to be a tall woman towering over most of the men clustered around her. Either that or she just likes to be surrounded by short men. Better to see what is going on; probably a good idea for a Prime Minister, especially in Thailand.

After about 10 limousines let out their passengers, we stood waiting for the Queen and watched as thunderstorms moved across Bangkok toward where we were assembled. The thunderstorms arrived before the Queen and pelted us with their fury. Many spectators wisely brought umbrellas. I had not. Along with several other of the unprepared, I sought refuge beneath the banner attached to the side of the nearest pavilion.

When the rains let up a bit, the Queen arrived in a large gold limousine that seemed to be a cross between a sedan and a SUV. Following her vehicle were about 10 bright red limos. I do not know why they followed her, who was in them or why they were all red. Since the rain prompted the removal of the outdoor chair or throne, they ignored the pyramid and drove directly to a pavilion at the back of the enclosure and stopped. There then seemed to be a lot of rushing about and bowing and more weiing. Apparently, the Queen, unseen to me and most of the other spectators, disappeared into the pavilion and out of the rain.

I signaled to LM that it was time to go. Since the ceremony would be hidden from view, I believed there was no more to see and besides I was wet and tired. We made our way through the throng to the exit only to find it gated and guarded by some of the sidearm wielding, brown shirted soldiers who told us we could not leave until after the Queen does.

This upset me very much. Here I was drenched, 72 years old, exhausted from standing with nowhere to rest and trapped like a member of the band on the deck of the Titanic. I began to panic. LM recognizing my distress, dragged me back to where we had spent the last hour in the rain and tried to calm me down by suggesting that I sit on the sopping wet ground until I felt better. Meanwhile a very short Thai woman sidled up to me and attempted to pick my pocket and one of the brown shirts insisted that I remove my hat out of respect to the Queen who I could not see and now was convinced had never arrived. (To be continued, perhaps)

2. Hayden

SWAC said that Hayden arrives in Thailand for summer holidays on June 12. After that I am not sure about the schedule except that at the end of July or early August I am planning to accompany Hayden to Italy and then back to the US. I hope to be able to stop off on the East Coast for a few days to see my daughter and go for a ride on Terry’s sailboat.

Since I wrote the above paragraph, Hayden arrived in BKK and I reprised my nanny duties. After one day, despite the apparent success of my exercise regime in restoring some sense of vigor to my aging body, I was exhausted. SWAC agreed to relieve me and keep him with her for the evening at AVA. I am sure it will be more interesting for him, music, noise, pretty, sweet-smelling young women hugging him whenever he walks by. It could be worse.

My current travel schedule is to depart for Italy about July 15 and remain there for two weeks. SWAC and LM if she decides to travel with me will go to Sacile and Tamil just north of Venice at stay at the farm where Hayden and I spent a month together. Nikki, Hayden and I plan to travel to Naples and then by boat to Sicily for a week; I to visit relatives in Cannicatti outside of Agrigento and Nikki friends in Catania. None of this will probably happen but I like to write about it anyway.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Gaga over Rolex:

During her stay in Thailand for a performance, Lady Gaga tweeted that she, “Might buy a fake Rolex.” The Thai agency in charge of dealing with counterfeit goods, demanded an apology and threatened to launch a campaign against her appearance for insulting Thailand and interfering with their effectiveness in their fight against piracy. They also logged an official complaint with the US government.

When faced with almost universal ridicule based on the common knowledge that fake Rolex’s and just about any other brand of anything are blatantly sold by Thai’s on every main street in BKK, the agency proved that their effectiveness battling the illicit trade by promptly and publicly busting a dealer who openly sold fake watches for over 5 years. As expected, the dealer was a foreigner. The thousands of Thai purveyors in counterfeit products continue on without fear of official interference.

2. Your morning coffee:

In Singapore, a maid mixed her menstrual blood into her employers morning coffee in hopes that it would make him treat her better. When the employer discovered this, he had the maid arrested for assault.

(I do not see what he is complaining about, all that extra iron I am sure made him feel better. It was free too.)

3. So Gay:

Also in Singapore a man named Gay was accused of sexually harassing a woman.

This passes for news in Singapore.

4. It may or may not be difficult to comprehend:

In Thailand applicants for an entry-level job with the police department paying all of $250 per month, paid up to$10,000 each to a gang to provide them with the answers on the entrance exam.

According to the news reports, the exam takers received the answers relayed from gang members to radio receivers hidden “deep” within their private parts.

I still do not understand either why or how. Perhaps the East is even more inscrutable than we ever imagined.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Every once in a while I believe it is worth returning to contemplate Tomyris and the Massegetae.

“Now listen to me and I will advise you for your good: give me back my son and get out of my country with your forces intact, and be content with your triumph over one-third of the Massagetae. If you refuse, I swear by the sun our master to give you more blood than you can drink, for all your gluttony.”

This was Tomyris Warrior Queen of the Massegetae’s response to Cyrus the Great, Emperor of Persia, conqueror of the greatest empire of the ancient world and leader of the largest and most technologically advanced army of the time, after he demanded that Tomyris and the Massegetae surrender to him. Cyrus refused Tomyris’ advice. So, she personally led the charge of her forces that destroyed his army. After her victory, she searched the battlefield herself until she found Cyrus’ body, then she cut off his head and made his skull into her favorite goblet.

This leads me to conclude that one should never mess with a woman named Tomyris, or for that matter a Massegetae who some ancient historians believe became the Huns. I heard that there is a biker gang in South Dakota named the Massegetae whose leader is a six-foot six-inch transsexual named Tomyris. One is well advised to avoid visiting Mt. Rushmore.

For those interested in learning more about the Massegetae, this is what the ancient Greek historian Herodotus had to say about them:

“In their dress and mode of living the Massagetae resemble the Scythians. They fight both on horseback and on foot, neither method is strange to them: they use bows and lances, but their favorite weapon is the battle-axe. Their arms are all either of gold or brass. For their spear-points, and arrow-heads, and for their battle-axes, they make use of brass; for head-gear, belts, and girdles, of gold. So too with the caparison of their horses, they give them breastplates of brass, but employ gold about the reins, the bit, and the cheek-plates. They use neither iron nor silver, having none in their country; but they have brass and gold in abundance.”

“The following are some of their customs; – Each man has but one wife, yet all the wives are held in common; for this is a custom of the Massagetae and not of the Scythians, as the Greeks wrongly say. Human life does not come to its natural close with this people; but when a man grows very old, all his kinsfolk collect together and offer him up in sacrifice; offering at the same time some cattle also. After the sacrifice they boil the flesh and feast on it; and those who thus end their days are reckoned the happiest. If a man dies of disease they do not eat him, but bury him in the ground, bewailing his ill-fortune that he did not come to be sacrificed. They sow no grain, but live on their herds, and on fish, of which there is great plenty in the Jaxartes. Milk is what they chiefly drink. The only god they worship is the sun, and to him they offer the horse in sacrifice; under the notion of giving to the swiftest of the gods the swiftest of all mortal creatures.”

I have a few concerns and questions about the Massegetae life-style:
1. How does one have one wife held in common? Does it mean that you can only sleep with one woman each night?
2. How old do you have to be before they come for you and boil you up with a cow or two? Brisket of Pookie?
3. How pissed off with your lot in life would you be if you were forced to live on beef, fish, sour milk and a grandfather or grandmother now and then? Enough to want to go and beat the shit out of someone, I would imagine. 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Graphic unavailable at this time.

 

After almost 100 years of fighting against the will of the people, the wealthy near their goal. Only Obama stands in their way. I doubt whether that will prove to be much of a barrier.

B. Terry Petrillo on her 94th birthday:

Terry accompanied by her daughter MaryAnn.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Your elected representatives at work for you:

For this you elect them and pay them too.

By the way, who started the rumor that Republicans opposed big government? Republicans seem mostly to want to get government out of the corporate board room and into the bedroom [not yours of course, I am sure you would never do anything to require them to go there].

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Free government cannot long endure if property is largely in a few hands and large masses of people are unable to earn homes, education, and a support in old age.”
Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States.

Hayes, a Nineteenth Century gentleman and Republican President of the United States, would be called a socialist today by FauxNews, Tea Party advocates and members of the current Republican Party. I guess you can include Hayes along with Reagan, Eisenhower, T. R. , and Lincoln as Republican Presidents that would be shocked at how far their Party has fallen from the path they believed they had set for it.

TODAY’S CHART:

 

Q. What do woman want? A. How about being listened to once in a while.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Photograph of the Amazon the “Lungs of the Planet,” provided by Phillip who, bless his heart, has an eye for beauty despite his fervent belief that private enterprise has the inherent right to inflict black lung disease on the earth’s respiratory organs.
Note: look closely at the upper right side of the photograph. Is that a shadow or is a jaguar sitting on the rock?

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | 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

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

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Facts from the first century AD:

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

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

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

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

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

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.)

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

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

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

1. ” Occupy” poster:

2. From “The Economist”:

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

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

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

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

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

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

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

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

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

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

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

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

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

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

TODAY’S CHART:

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

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


Another example of finding beauty and optimism amidst tragedy.

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

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

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

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

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

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

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

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

2. Thailand:

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

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

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

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

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

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.)

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

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

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Classified ads:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HEADLINE:
MISSIPPI’S LITERACY PROGRAM SHOWS IMPROVEMENT”

c. What the Occupy protesters really want:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

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

This is not a joke.

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

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH II:

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

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Jo-Jo, 0001 (May 28, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

LOUIS I

From when I was about 8 years old and until I was in my early 20s I had a close friend named Louis (pronounced in the French manner Louie), Louis Maiello.

Where Winnie (Winston Churchill of “This and that…” a few weeks back) was destined for success based on name, ancestry, looks, capability, wealth and a host of other things, Louis definitely was not. It was not just the name and family background that separated them. Where Winnie was tall, athletic, manly looking and white, Louis was small, smaller than I was, skinny and pretty, almost effeminate looking with long eyelashes and coal-black eyes. He also definitely was not blessed with that chalky pink tinged alabaster complexion with throbbing blue veins that marked one as a member of the “white” race at that time. (The white race then usually being limited to Anglo-Germanic-Nordic ancestry. Celts had been recently admitted to the club and Slavs confused things. Jews were not really white. They were Jews, and along with southern Europeans, Turks, arabs and others had just began knocking at the door clamoring for membership.) Louie was that deep dark dusky color with a flash of gold buried deeply beneath the dirt that ranked us at the bottom of the racial hierarchy, along with blacks, Puerto Ricans and Sephardim (Mexicans were not an obsession at the time where I lived on the East coast).

As an aside: As a child the white pink, blue-veined people who lived in up scale suburbs of Westchester County, NY frightened me. Those blue veins throbbing beneath that dead looking white skin always made me think of zombies or vampires. I wonder if those nordic masters of the universe had or have now any idea of how ugly they appeared to many of us. Ironically the worst and most frightening of them was an Italian. He ran the Italian operation of one of my American clients I represented when I lived in Rome. He was a Colonna; a member of the Colonna family who along with the even older Orsini family had run Rome and the Papacy for 1200 years. My client was the first person from either family in those 1200 years to take a job. “Just like one of those upstart Colonnas,” an Orsini was rumored to have sniffed. Anyway, I guess as a side effect of a millennium of inbreeding, all color had left his face but a deathly pasty white pallor. Those ghastly throbbing blue veins remained. He resembles more a cadaver than something living. He was also one of the most despicable human beings I have ever met. That has something to do with breeding also I guess.

Anyway, Louis was not pre-destined for success. At 8 he was thrown out of his house by his sadistic father and forced to live on the streets or on the largess of relatives and friends. For some reason, many of the adults I knew would warn me to stay away from him because he was a bad influence. I did not understand that. He wasn’t mean or violent, in fact just the opposite. Not that he was a do-gooder or anything like that. He preferred leaving people alone, just as he preferred for them to leave him alone.

Nevertheless, many of the bigger boys would bully him mercilessly. He would not often fight back against the bullies, preferring the strategy of avoid and escape to confrontation.

Perhaps that is why we became friends. Although I always fought back and often lost, Louie, nevertheless was sort of a kindred spirit; befriending him probably filled my own need for acceptance. Not that I was ostracized and shunned like him, but I seemed to inhabit the fringes of my childhood social sets and pushing my way into their center required a greater commitment that I thought the rewards warranted.

Although he was pretty looking, he was not effeminate and was of all of us the one who had the earliest and most prolific sexual experiences. He was very successful at it and with that his reputation among the other neighborhood boys climbed a bit as he grew older. It was said of him, that Louie could get laid in a nunnery. I on the other hand, much to my chagrin, was truly a late bloomer.

Anyway, in our late teens, I went off to college and law school and Louie, as a lot of the dispossessed people from the East coast at that time did, decamped for California. He wanted to become and actor.

He returned a year or so later and moved into a basement flat in Greenwich Village; one of the ubiquitous flats of the type that covered NYC at that time; one room below the street, unwalled in toilet in the kitchen area, no hot water, exposed tub with a piece of plywood covering it that served for the dinning table and all the rats and cockroaches one could desire.

He was living with a woman who appeared stoned all the time. Actually I did not know what being stoned all the time ment or looked like since it was still a few years before the rise of hippiedom when we learned all about it. At that time, she seemed to me, seductive. That sort of dreamy look and half-smile that flitted across her face in response to anything I said and the uninhibited movements of her body I interpreted as erotic interest rather that drug induced lethargy. I spent one night at the apartment. Louie had gone to sleep. I thought for sure I would lose my virginity that night and out of nervousness I talked… and talked until she fell asleep and I had to wait another year or so for that highly anti-climatic event we experience only once in our lives.

Louie had succeeded in becoming a movie actor of sorts in Hollywood and had appeared in a movie. He told me about what he and others had to do to get a part in a movie in Hollywood; how he had to give blow jobs and more to the producers to get the part. While he was telling me this, I noticed that it was the only time I had ever seen Louie angry or ashamed. His eyes filmed over if fear, embarrassment or self-disgust I could not tell. Perhaps he was stoned also.

Nevertheless, I envied him. I had already given up my dreams for a life in theater, unwilling and perhaps frightened that I would be unable to do the things and suffer the humiliations required to even get a chance to perform.

The movie he appeared in was a biker flic that was Jack Nicholson’s first starring role. Louie played a skinny sex-crazed hanger-on. A role he was well suited for.

Anyway, after that I sadly lost touch with Louie. He had taken the stage name of James Oliver. I would periodically search the internet for some information about him, but without luck. I assumed that he must have died of AIDs or some other form of STD.

Last week I obsessed again about why so few people respond to my Facebook posts. Previously I assumed that the posts were simply boring, so I started sharing posts that others sent to me. I believed that if they received a lot of comments on their posts, by sharing with my other “friends” I would get a similar response. Alas, no. I thought there were only two reasons for this. The first I refused to contemplate and the second was that I had too few friends. So, I went searching for more friends. I decided to click on the village where I grew up, Tuckahoe, to see if I could find a few members of my old gang who I could, for old times sake, con into reading one or two of my posts.

I was both pleased and surprised to find, James Oliver alive and well living as a 70-year-old artist in Taos New Mexico. According to a news report accompanying his profile, he continued his “Hollywood” life style becoming one of John Lennon’s favorite carousing pals, and had actually made it into one or two of Lennon’s biographies.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Fakes:

In Thailand police report they have just raided a factory making fake Nescafe.

Isn’t that a little like busting a factory making fakes of fake works of art?

2. Immigration:

In Australia, a nation of 23 million people living in a country larger in area than the US (300 million people), a majority of the descendants of immigrants believe that the country is over-populated and that future immigration should be restricted more than it is now and that any of the select few immigrants allowed (generally rich people) should have to speak “Strain” (unless of course they are very rich).

The original aboriginal settlers on the continent agreed and encouraged the new immigrants leave also. The new immigrants, however, refused to move. “Where will we go,” they cried? “Back to England? We would have to learn the language.”

3. Fake Drugs:

It is being reported that fake malaria fighting drugs are flooding the market.

Conservative economists are expected to argue that increased regulation and policing of the pharmaceutical industry is unnecessary since the magic of the market will take care of the problem. Once the people are all dead from malaria, there would no longer be a market for the fake drugs.

In case you think I am exaggerating, it is only within the last two years that one of the leaders of the Friedman free market brand of economists, Alan Greenspan, acknowledged that perhaps an exception to their free market solves all position could be made for limited government involvement in matters affecting public health [but obviously not so much involvement as to include the insurance reform of Obamacare].

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Wow! I used to think (thanks to the emails from my right thinking friends) only poor, blacks, Mexicans and illegal aliens were the lazy scammers off the largess of the nation’s taxpayers. Now I find out that the middle class American family is also. What is this country coming to? The next thing you know they also will be looking to the American taxpayer for help subsidizing their indolent lifestyles. Why is it that only the husband and wife have jobs? They should send their kids out to work also. Why is it that it seems the only Americans who are not shiftless bloodsuckers siphoning the economic life blood out of the rest of us are either wealthy or gay?

B. A big problem in America:

Two scary charts:

STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. We are not producing enough STEM workers to maintain the productivity and innovation necessary for the growth of our economy. The only source of STEM workers able to meet our needs is through immigration of both students and qualified workers. Why haven’t we done so? Because opposition by people like some of those who send me mass produced emails insisting on closing our borders, who probably could not get into a good STEM education program themselves, and their even less intelligent Republican cohorts in Congress (and yes it is the Republicans and Conservatives) will not rest until they have destroyed the nation and the economy leaving the detritus to be picked over by Wall Street Bankers, Oil company execs, red necks in pick-up trucks and fundamentalist preachers. Instead of closing off our borders, how about if we collect this bunch of haters of the country and ship them off to Australia.

Think about it for a moment: we now have studies that show these Faux News aficionados are even less knowledgable and intelligent than those who refuse to learn anything at all and that intelligence of elected officials appear to decrease as they become mere conservative.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT

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

Pookie believes that yellow snow is one of the foundations upon which our nation was built. The Pilgrims during the winter peed in the snow. If it was good enough for them then, it is good enough for us now.

VOTE FOR POOKIE. HE PROMISES THAT IF ELECTED ALL OF YOU CAN GO PEE IN THE SNOW.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

The core competences of high finance are supposed to be (a) assessing risk, and (b) matching people with risks to be carried with people with the risk-bearing capacity to carry them.

Robert Waldmann has a different view:
Limits to Arbitrage Bites Again: I think their core competencies are (a) finding fools for counterparties and (b) evading regulations/disguising gambling as hedging.

Regulatory arbitrage, and persuading those who do not understand risks that they should bear them–those are not socially-valuable activities.”
DeLong

(Please see my post in Daily Kos containing my discussion about Krugman’s observation.)

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

I think this photograph is a fake. They claim the creature is called a “flying fox.” It appears that its wings are too small and its musculature too puny for it to be able to fly. Nevertheless, it is another one of those things that can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night screaming, along with say… nuclear catastrophe, out of control vaginas and President Santorum.

BONUS PHOTOGRAPH:

To make up for the prior photograph, we go from the unworldly to out of this world:

A photograph of the martian landscape.

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 7 Jo-Jo 0001 (May 23, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

After almost two weeks of trying I managed to get through to Hayden by phone. He seems to be doing well. On the other hand, the news is not so good from my children, grand children, siblings, parents, their past present and future significant others as well as their friends and mine.

The young children silently suffer holes blown in their vulnerable expectation of security, by those who, whether through inadvertence, negligence or intention, are responsible for their well-being and safety.

The teenagers, experiencing the horrid hurricane of adolescence roaring through those same holes stumble through their lives on the verge of self-destruction.

As for the adults, our successes or failures are not as much all our own fault as we often believe, the success or failures of our care givers, the sometimes unseen and often violent changing tides of society, those who bear us ill will, or intentionally or inadvertently cause us harm, all bear a share.

Yet, whether we succeed or fail depends, I believe, on how well we observe the proscriptions of, in my mind, America’s two greatest philosophers. Rosanna Rosanna Dana sagely opined, “It’s always something.” And, indeed it is. And, Scarlett O’Hara, sadly watching the manly back of the probably gay Rhett Butler disappear into the distance past the newly freed ex-slaves singing happily while plucking the sticky cotton balls from the resisting bushes, correctly observed, “Tomorrow is another day.” It certainly will be. The chances are better than even that the sun will rise in the morning and set in the afternoon.
_________________________
I am closing in on re-publishing these “This and that…” posts into my blog of the same name (Here) along with the appropriate entries from my journal and email correspondence. I am beginning to be as pleased the with the results as I am embarrassed by what they reveal about me; but I have mentioned that before.

I look at it as one of those things people devote extensive time and energy to for their own amusement; sort of like my father with his slide photographs, or Simon Rodia with his Watts towers or millions of other people. It is not so much a hobby as an avocation.

When I re-read the entries I am struck as much by what I have avoided as by what I have included. While, as expected of someone my age, I often go on about memories of childhood, but I make only slight mention of my time living in Italy or my hippy years in San Francisco; a lot about college but almost nothing about law school although that can be expected since I found law school to be a time of intellectual death.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Justice pays:

In the Philippines the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court whose salary is about $900 per month and who has no other known sources of income was impeached after it was discovered that he had secreted approximately 29 million dollars in various bank accounts over the past decade. The Justice claims that the number is grossly inflated. (Thank you Gary)

2. On the other hand sometimes Justice cannot be bought when it ought to be:

In Thailand the Constitutional Court has disqualified a legislator from serving in the legislature for violating the law requiring a legislator to vote in the election in which he is running, even though the legislator was in jail at the time and the court rejected his request that he be allowed to vote.

The Court defended its decision by pointing out, “The Law is the Law. He did not vote, so he could not serve.”

3.Legal Fees

The Legislature of South Africa is debating legislation that would lower legal fees in an attempt to make legal services more affordable.

They simply do not understand lawyers. Our stock in trade is figuring out how to make our fees without regard to law, morality or the interests of our clients.

4. Censorship must die:

The censorship on a character smoking a cigare...

The censorship on a character smoking a cigarette from One Piece in Thai TV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently the Thai censors banned a movie retelling of Macbeth called Shakespeare Must Die on the grounds that it was offensive since its subject matter was regicide. This prompted a columnist in The Bangkok Post, Roger Crutchley to point out that among the many attempts of censorship in Thailand that had gone awry, in 2003 the Thai ministry of culture decided to ban 18 songs on the grounds they were offensive. The ban including one song entitled Big Flabby Buttocks and another that had been around for about twenty years. The result of the ban was that the sales of all 18 songs including Big Flabby Buttocks skyrocketed.

My sense of having failed in life has been immeasurably increased by never having listened to a rendition of “Big Flabby Buttocks.” Perhaps I can find it on iTunes.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. 2012:

According to a new study by Fairleigh Dickinson University, Fox viewers are the least knowledgeable audience of any outlet, and they know even less about politics and current events than people who watch no news at all.

B. 2012:

Congress now speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did just seven years ago, with the most conservative members of Congress speaking on average at the lowest grade level, according to a new Sunlight Foundation analysis of the Congressional Record.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

But look at this chart closely; The Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary and Poland all have socialized medicine and their costs for medical care are significantly less than in the US. They go to the doctor more than we do. Yet, they still have a lower life expectancy than we do. That proves America has the best health care system in the world.

Also, in those dens of rampant socialism, the UK and Canada, some people have to wait in the doctor’s office for a while before the doctor sees them. I know that is true. I saw it on Fox News.

Also, in Mexico, that paragon of free enterprise, not only do they have the lowest costs for medical care but their life expectancy, despite the best efforts of the local drug lords, is increasing. The Mexican experience also indicates  superiority of the US medical delivery system since, according to some of my email correspondents, at least 98% percent of the Mexican population is in the process of illegally swimming across the Rio Grande so that they can pay up to 10 times more for health care in the US and will still pay more than they do in Mexico even if, as they all inevitably do, they fraudulently work their way on to the American welfare rolls.

B. E.L. Doctorow: “Primer on Unexceptionalism.”

PHASE FOUR

If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, decide that the police of any and all cities and towns and villages have the absolute authority to strip-search any person whom they, for whatever reason, put under arrest.

With this ruling, the reduction of America to unexceptionalism is complete.

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksban...

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2008 at a press conference at the Swedish Academy of Science in Stockholm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

C. Paul Krugman regarding the failure of Economics as a valid social science and of economists as advisors on public policy:

“Economics in the Crisis: The best you can say about economic policy in this slump is that we have for the most part avoided a full repeat of the Great Depression…. [A]ll of that, I think, can be attributed to the financial rescue of 2008-2009 and automatic stabilizers…. And I blame economists, who were incoherent in our hour of need. Far from contributing useful guidance, many members of my profession threw up dust, fostered confusion, and actually degraded the quality of the discussion. And this mattered. The political scientist Henry Farrell has carefully studied policy responses in the crisis, and has found that the near-consensus of economists that the banks must be rescued, and the semi-consensus in favor of stimulus in the initial months (mainly because the freshwater economists were caught by surprise, and took time to mobilize) was crucial in driving initial policy. The profession’s descent into uninformed quarreling undid all that, and left us where we are today.

And this is a terrible thing for those who want to think of economics as useful…. It’s in times of crisis, when practical experience suddenly proves useless and events are beyond anyone’s normal experience, that we need professors with their models to light the path forward. And when the moment came, we failed…”

Finally even Krugman acknowledges what I and many others have been suggesting:

On Economics as a Science:

In Science. a physical theory that is logically consistent may be considered truth only until falsified. In Economics, a sociological theory that is logically inconsistent is often considered true even when falsified.

On Supply and Demand:

There is no such things and supply and demand because they are both infinitely manipulatable.

Wherever you have supply meeting a demand you will have someone trying to make a profit by making it not so.

On Markets:

There is no such thing as a free market. There is always a transaction cost.

Those who manage the transactions ultimately make all the money.

A market is something that one goes into to buy groceries and usually has a prefix affixed to it like “super”. Everything else is a casino.

On Free Enterprise:

The goal of every business enterprise is not to maximize profit but to separate risk from reward.

The most important goal for any democratic government should be to avoid removing risk from enterprise. Yet it currently appears that the only function of government is to shield enterprise from risk.

On Scoundrels:

The last refuge of scoundrels is not patriotism but the claim that no one could see it coming.

Most wealthy individuals are scoundrels, only very few admit it and they usually are already in jail.

D. The Sky is Falling:

“It is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.

The NY Times liberals seek to destroy the American family of the 1950s, as symbolized by Ozzie and Harriet. The TV characters were happy, self-sufficient, autonomous, law-abiding, honorable, patriotic, hard-working, and otherwise embodied qualities that made America great. In other words, the show promoted values that NY Times liberals despise.

Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.”
The Eagle Forum Blog…

This was written in response to the New York Times report that for the first time births from non-european ancestry parents have exceeded those whose ancestry is european. Although I am concerned about the implicit racism of a news organization like the “Times” dividing up American children by the color of their skin and the absurdity of using the government’s classification system that among other things considers a spanish surname as a race, the far right never ceases to amaze me for the level of their sheer mendacity and ignorance.

Repeat after me: We are all descended from Immigrants. Children Born in this Country are not Immigrants, they are Citizens.

E. There is Something about a Penis:

I do not know why but recently there have been a spate of penis focused news stories. Perhaps it is a side effect of Global Warming or caused by the Republican Party’s obsession with it (I guess you can call it a fixation on the their Member’s members.) Anyway, here are three:

1. When writing about dicks one usually begins with the French:

There is a great bit of levity among Arab television news readers because the new French Prime Minister Ayrault’s name when pronounced sounds the same as the Arab word for penis.

I do not understand why Arabs consider this funny, after all President Nixon was quite proud to be a dick and most Americans did not find that a laughing matter.

2. No matter how slight, it is no laughing matter:

In Thailand a worker killed a worker with a machete after being taunted for having a small penis.

I think is was Darwin who pointed out that ones chances of surviving to breed are greatly diminished by disparaging the size of someone junk when that other person is carrying a machete.

3. And certainly dangerous to argue over:

In Sri Lanka, a man arguingwith his wife over whether or not she would give him money to buy booze had his penis bitten off by her.

I have a lot of questions about this item; among which is what sort of argument could it be where one of the parties has the other’s dick in his or her mouth? Or, how stupid do you have to be to allow someone during an argument to get his or her sharp teeth close to your member. I believe Darwin commented on this also.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Pookie has had more wives than Newt but less that Mitt’s grandpa. Does this mean Pookie should quit the race now, or is it OK if he makes it up after he gets elected?

Pookie promises that he will be the first president to marry several times while living in the White House. Perhaps he could marry someone new every week. That would demonstrate his deep commitment to the institution of marriage.

Pookie says, if having one family is a good thing, obviously more is better.

Elect Pookie, he promises to have as many families as he can. He promises not to discriminate. His mates will include men, women and even Rick Santorum’s dog. The White House is the people’s house and also where the President lives. A good president should have as many Americans living there as possible.

Note: During the nomination proceedings, I have refrained from commenting much on Mitt Romney, instead I focused on the clowns and crazies that ran against him. In my opinion Mitt is not that bad; mendacious perhaps and often clueless, but he was not too bad a governor of Massachusetts. I do, however, believe that he has provided no evidence that he has the strength to resist the gathering storm of intolerance on the Republican right in an unholy alliance with the anti-democratic forces that have become increasingly prominent on Wall Street and in the natural resource industries, that will inevitably overwhelm the Party and drown out even the nation’s most conservative voices of reason.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“THERE’S NO EXAMPLE IN EUROPE, YET, WHERE THE BOND MARKET HAS REWARDED AUSTERITY”
JOE WIESENTHAL

“When the effect somebody has is destructive enough the cause becomes a theoretical curiosity.
Edward St.Aubyn, “Bad News”

TODAY’S CHART:

Ironically, I suspect most likely it will be the insurance industry that leads the charge against Climate Change denial. Conservative economists will then probably claim this as proof that free enterprise works, overlooking that the insurance companies will probably be looking to government to relieve them of the burdens and risks of underwriting catastrophic insurance. The private market will then lobby for a government take over, claiming that whatever market they are in will collapse unless they can acquire the appropriate insurance at what to them is an affordable [read government subsidized] cost.

The Republican Party will suddenly support a national insurance program to reduce corporate financial risk. Faux News will denounce as Un-American those liberals who object to taxpayer funds subsidizing corporations instead of insurance reform to provide the average citizen with health care. What will the Supreme Court do then? Scalia and Roberts will probably put forth the argument that only corporations are individuals for purposes of the Constitution and that the Commerce Clause was meant to help corporations and not to provide for regulation of commerce that benefits the now non-individual individuals.

TODAY’S SNARK:

So that is what went on in Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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