Posts Tagged With: Protests

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Pepe 0003 (October 26, 2014)

“You and I can argue issues all day and it won’t affect our friendship, but the minute I question your motives you will never forgive me.”
Dwight David Eisenhower (“who saw the world as a place almost without evil” – Quigley)
TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. STUNNING PHOTOGRAPH BY IRENE SNYDER PROVIDED BY CORDT HOLLAND
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B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:

This morning after breakfast as I walked through the tunnel to get to the health club, I saw a mêlée occurring at one of the small dark bars (really just a plank with stools and open to the alley) that line the passageway. At least six or seven people were milling around grabbing and shoving each other while a slightly larger number stood about watching, shouting and holding back others. This was a lot of people swarming about in a space no larger than a small hotel room. And, it was only 9AM in the morning.

Now I assume most people, especially an alter like me, would either not proceed until things quieted down or find another way to get to their destination. I instead waded right in to get a closer look at the action. I did not consider it either foolish or irresponsible.

Twenty years or so ago while visiting Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas with Dick McCarthy and Sylvia Earle the oceanographer and one time director of NOAA, a TV camera located under a dock picked up a Barracuda feeding frenzy and displayed it on the TV where we were having dinner. Sylvia immediately stood up, and said, “I’ve never experienced a Barracuda feeding frenzy before. I have to see it up close.” She then ran from the bar and jumped into the water in the midst of the crazed fish. Now, that I think is foolish and irresponsible. Walking into bar where a bunch of drunken Thai women are swinging broken beer bottles at each other was a walk in the park by comparison.

Anyway, it seems that one woman had gotten very drunk and another woman, who may have worked in the bar, accused her of stealing some money. The drunk went after her with a broken beer bottle. In breaking the bottle a shard flew across the room striking on the forehead a farang sitting at the bar opening a large cut that bled profusely. Several other people seemed to be reluctantly trying to separate the fighters or perhaps even joining in on one side or another. Apparently the drunk girl was a Burmese migrant which added to the resentment of the Thais. Another bar girl was attempting to persuade two more not to intervene against the Burmese woman.

I pushed my way through everyone and walked on knowing that, as usual with bar fights, if it has gone on this long its dénouement would be undramatic. Fatigue would soon reduce the fury to name calling and then the regrets begin – but no tears. There are rarely tears in bar fights.
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Speaking of tears, there have been a number of studies that indicate that women cry more readily than men. I doubt that. Certainly here in Thailand women don’t cry. They pretend to at times, but that is something else.

When I was a child living on the streets, homeless or in rat infested basements, I never recall my mother crying or for that matter any of the other women we knew in similar circumstances. The men, including my father, cried in frustration, despair and in self-hate for their failures, but never the women, even those who were beaten. Only the loss of a child could bring tears to their eyes.
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Spent part of the day wandering around BKK with the Old Sailor/Deep Sea Diver. We met a friend of his, a historian from Australia named Glenn who published several books about economic history and is an acquaintance of Chris Moore, the mystery writer. We met at coffee shop in a shopping center on Asoke Road where he was buying out of date food to bring home for dinner. Writing academic books on economic history does not pay much. Later over lunch, the Old Sailor told me the history of one of the beach front bars I used to drink at in St. Thomas fifty years ago. Then it rained, so I went home and took a nap.
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A sidewalk food vendor in front of my apartment.

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Pookie looking good in his new shirt of many colors.

C. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

About Protests, Power and Oligarchy

An article from the NY times reprinted in The Bangkok Post, reported that the Chinese government met with the wealthy Hong Kong oligarchy to urge them to refrain from comments about Hong Kong’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying’s attempts to deal with the ongoing protests. Apparently the oligarchs are concerned that Leung was too autocratic — not to the students, but to them. In other words, Leung refused to do whatever it was the oligarchs wanted. They also were worried that Leung was someone who exhibited “a streak of economic populism who might some day raise taxes to pay for greater social spending” — This in a Communist country no less.

Leung for his part announced yesterday that he opposed fully open elections because the poor would predominate and skew “politics and policy towards poor people.” I am sure this pleased the oligarchs very much prompting Li Ka-shing, Asia’s richest man who makes most of his money off of the people of Hong Kong to state, “I sincerely urge everyone not let today’s passion become tomorrow’s regret. I earnestly urge everyone to return home immediately to your families.”

Hong Kong has the highest discrepancy in income and wealth between the very rich and everyone else in all of Asia.

We should also remember that in democratic Athens, the oligarchs were fully prepared to betray democracy and their country to their enemies in order to install an autocratic government run by them. Oligarchs have no country other than the one that best protects their wealth and political power. You can wave the flag all you want, but if you move your wealth to another country simply to increase your profits you’re no patriot.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

From Trenz Pruca:

“Economics is a philosophy for supplying parasites with an operating system that provides the most efficient means of devouring its host.”

Note: Parasites usually do not kill their hosts because they have a natural intelligence that makes them too clever to do so. Humanity on the other hand has little natural intelligence left. Evolution has replaced it with symbolic intelligence that enabled it to master its environment by using and thinking with symbols. Humanity’s species intelligence is generally dictated by who has power over its symbols. Those with the most power over humanity’s symbols usually care more about maintaining that power than about the health of their species host.

DAILY FACTOID:

I thought I would post here for your amusement one of my favorite, silly Daily Factoids from T&T about two years ago:

“2000 years: For 2000 years, 666 has been the number of the dreaded anti-Christ. An unlucky number for many, even the European parliament leaves seat number 666 vacant. The number is from the book of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible. However, in 2005, a translation of the very earliest known copy of the Book of Revelation clearly shows it to be 616, not 666! The 1,700 year old copy was recovered from the city of Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt, and deciphered by a paleographical research team from the University Of Birmingham, UK. The team was led by Professor David Parker. (Listverse)

Note: According to Wikipedia, area code 616 is the area code for the Grand Rapids and Grand Haven Michigan metropolitan areas, which includes Kent, Ionia and Ottawa counties, and parts of neighboring counties.

(Beware of people from Michigan)


Also, Earth-616 is the name used to identify the primary continuity in which most Marvel Comics titles take place.

(Beware of Spiderman!)

Finally, 616 is the 25th member of the [H-A-X-Z Sequence], coming after 265, 351, 465 (it is the sum of the first two of these). 616 is a polygonal number in four different ways: it is a heptagonal number, as well as 13-, 31- and 104-gonal.

It is also the sum of the squares of the factorials of 2,3,4. i.e.. (2!)^2 + (3!)^2 + (4!)^2 = 4+36+576=616.

The Roman numeral for 616, DCXVI, has exactly one occurrence of all symbols except for L whose value is less than 1000 (D=500, C=100, X=10, V=5, I=1)

(Beware of anyone who knows and understands this!)

Today: 75 percent of Japanese women own vibrators. The global average is only 47 percent.

No wonder the Japanese birth rate is falling. This also may explain the last place finish by the Japanese in the sexual frequency Olympics. I understand that 616 is the model number of the most popular vibrator in Tokyo.

(Beware of Japanese women! They are just not that into you.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

They want our wealth back.
original

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Quigley on the conservative backlash to change in America’s security and its international role.

“On the whole, the neo-isolationist discontent was a revolt of the ignorant against the informed or educated, of the nineteenth century against the insoluble problems of the twentieth, of the Midwest of Tom Sawyer against the cosmopolitan East of J. P. Morgan and Company, of old Siwash against Harvard, of the Chicago Tribune against the Washington Post or The New York Times, of simple absolutes against complex relativisms, of immediate final solutions against long-range partial alleviations, of frontier activism against European thought, a rejection, out of hand, of all the complexities of life which had arisen since 1915 in favor of a nostalgic return to the simplicities of 1905, and above all a desire to get back to the inexpensive, thoughtless, and irresponsible international security of 1880.”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.

“On the whole, the neo-isolationist discontent was a revolt of the ignorant against the informed or educated, of the nineteenth century against the insoluble problems of the twentieth, of the Midwest of Tom Sawyer against the cosmopolitan East of J. P. Morgan and Company, of old Siwash against Harvard, of the Chicago Tribune against the Washington Post or The New York Times, of simple absolutes against complex relativisms, of immediate final solutions against long-range partial alleviations, of frontier activism against European thought, a rejection, out of hand, of all the complexities of life which had arisen since 1915 in favor of a nostalgic return to the simplicities of 1905, and above all a desire to get back to the inexpensive, thoughtless, and irresponsible international security of 1880.”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.

Note: those interested in back issues of This and that…. they can be found at: josephpetrillo.wordpress.com

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Categories: October through December 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Papa Joe 0003 (October 10, 2013)

“In my dealings with others, I always try to treat them better in person than I treat them in my mind.”
Trenz Pruca

Happy Birthday Aaron and Anthony
TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:

Today was the first day I felt well since I arrived. I got up believing that things could not be better – a bad sign since by definition everything from that moment on had to be worse.

I sprang from my bed and began to exercise vigorously before the mirror. I have a theory that the more ridiculous your exercise movements appear, the better they are for you. Since I was exercising starkers that morning, they appeared ridiculous indeed. (Note: “starkers” means stark raving mad or stark naked or both.)

I left the apartment and headed off to breakfast. The sun was shining and sky was a clear blue. It was just warm enough to encourage a thin-film of sweat, not the mind numbing heat of a Bangkok afternoon.
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Street scene along the way to the health club.

As I walked along Soi Nana, I saw an ambulance pull over with – Heart Attack Emergency Response Unit – painted on its sides. It seemed that they were lost. One of the technicians leaned out of the window to ask directions from two passers-by. Each gave a different route. A lengthy discussion ensued. I listened for a while and then moved on leaving them to eventually find their way to the, I am sure, now deceased heart attack victim.

After breakfast, I went to the health club and paid the exorbitant $50 fee for one month’s membership in the decrepit facility. I complained and requested a discount. They refused but offered me free use of a locker for the month provided I supply my own lock.

After my swim, I walked with the old sailor/deep-sea diver back to his hotel which was on the way to my apartment. We talked about drugs and alcohol, their benefits and drawbacks. I found out that he had not been to the airport to see anyone off, but to meet me on my arrival. He said he knew how it was for someone to arrive alone at an airport after a long flight with no one to meet him.

I then continued on to my apartment and took a nap.

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On the fourth floor of the building in the photo is my apartment. It’s not much but I call it home. Under the small tree every evening one or two families, with infants in hammocks, roll out reed mats and have dinner together. I makes me very happy to see them.

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After breakfast at Foodland, on my way to the health club, I usually walk through a very dark alleyway I refer to as “The Tunnel.” It is about four feet wide with shops on each side and extends and entire block. Since my last visit here, several of the massage parlors, pachinko shops and the like have been converted to tiny bars. These bars are open and lively at 8 AM. Light in the alley is provided by the opening at each end, some dim fluorescence here and there and a few colored lights on the beer advertisements in the bars. As I walk through, I can barely make out the outline’s of women’s shapes and their teeth when they smile. The men, mostly westerners, eye me warily as though I may be a threat or something.

Oh, and of course there are the bodies – usually one or two – not dead I think, but sleeping or sleeping it off. They allow me to indulge in my Augustinian arrogance. You know, “There but for…”, well not Grace or God certainly. How about, “there but for the invisible hand and the vagaries of fortune go I.” That great invisible hand and luck could just as well exalt me to physical comfort and existential anguish, or drop me unconscious in the gutter. All praise the hand of the Lord.

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Most people walking past The Tunnel would think it dangerous, I imagine. But I have been walking through here for years now and the only things that have happened to me have been, now or then receiving a slap on the back by a guy inviting me for a drink or a woman emerging from the darkness, pressing her body against mine and saying “Welcome mister” or, “Hello Pa Pa.”

With a smile I politely turn them down — not because I have an ethical or moral objection to what they are offering but because underneath it all, I’m a snob.

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This is the entrance to Foodland. Inside is a supermarket, pharmacy and bank. Also, it contains a small counter service café where I eat my breakfast most days. For the price, I consider it one of BKK’s best restaurants.

As long as I am doing show and tell on my regular eating establishments, the following photo shows the sidewalk café where I often eat lunch.
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And this is where I eat dinner a lot. The waitress is a ladyboy with the body of a NFL linebacker who entwines orchids in her thick black hair and wears rhinestone encrusted platform high-heels.
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During my walks I often encounter the feral urban fauna of the City. Pigeons of course, but rarely on the street, too dangerous. I can, however, hear them cooing in the trees. Those little brown birds found in most cities flock around, wrens, starlings or something. Yeates would know. The ones in BKK look a bit greasy. The house next door to my apt has several large aviaries by the road containing Parrots that make a racket at certain times of the day.
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The mangy soi dogs don’t approach you as dogs usually do looking for a handout or a sniff of your crotch, but silently slink away if you pass too close to them. Cats, mean looking creatures, peek out at you from dark places or sun themselves on tiny unreachable ledges. Then, of course, there are the rats that scurry beneath your feet from crevice to hole as you walk by. Despite their meekness, I suspect the rats are the most sociable of the lot. They are certainly the most numerous.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

“One of the benefits of traveling to other societies is that we are free to apply our prejudices when we observe their culture.”
Trenz Pruca

1. Food exports

Today the Bangkok Post reported that Thailand has become the world’s greatest exporter of insects for food with most of it going to the US. Thailand has over 20,000 “insect” farms.

Among the many questions I have is, who is buying this food? I have not seen packages of Genuine Imported Thai Insects on the shelves of Safeway or Raley’s — Whole Foods perhaps?

Another question is why do we have to import insects? Don’t we have enough of our own? Do Thai insects taste better than American ones?

2. Tourist murder solved?

A few weeks ago two tourists were killed in Thailand. There were no suspects. About two days ago the Thai tourist industry announced that violence against tourist hurts the industry. Yesterday the Thai police continued their remarkable success in solving all high-profile crimes by announcing they apprehended the murderers of the two tourists – two Burmese immigrant teenagers who confessed to the crime.

And yes, not even the Thais believe it.

3. Hell, a Family Resort.

The newspapers today also reported that the City Fathers of Pattaya (sometimes referred to as “The Outskirts of Hell”) announced their intention to turn the City into a “family resort” notwithstanding its reputation for sex of all varieties, crime and corruption. Pattaya is owned by the Thai counterparts to the same type of organization that created Sin City in the Nevada desert and now also wants to convert it to a Family Resort. Pattaya which experiences the mostly unreported death of a westerner or tourist almost every week is mobbed up from the soles of the jack-boots of the lowest policeman to the toupee adorning the mayor’s head.

Of course I exaggerate, Pattaya cops do not wear jack-boots and I haven’t the slightest idea if the mayor even owns a toupee.

4. Eye of the beholder.

The military has set up a committee to draft a new Constitution for Thailand, a central element of which would attempt to eliminate corruption. By law the members of the committee have to disclose their wealth. To probably no ones surprise, among the wealthiest and by far the largest in number of millionaires on the committee are the generals appointed to sit on it. How you might ask does a public employee, which generals are, become millionaires while on the job?

Since, they are not required to disclose the sources of their income, one can be reasonably sure that whatever the regulations to control official corruption may be, they will not apply to the military. I am sure the generals believe that the sources of their wealth are natural, the result or operation of a gracious and beneficent invisible hand, and therefore necessary for a healthy national economy.
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“In most periods of human history, exploitation of natural resources to satisfy human needs could be achieved with less expenditure of energy and with less danger, even in less desirable territories. In other words, war has never been a rational solution for obtaining resources to satisfy man’s material needs. …
…But of course, men have never been rational. They are fully capable of believing anything and of adopting any kind of social organization or social goals, so that warfare became at least a minor part of life in most societies.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Me standing before the entrance to the site of the Temple of Diana in Nemi, Italy (1997). I had spent almost 30 years, on and off, searching for it and found it on this trip when Ruth pointed it out the first time we passed by. Of course, as usual in Italy, the site was closed that day and no explanation given.

Categories: October through December 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 15 Joe 0001 (July 31, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Instead of my usual daily schedule of Health club, food consumption, playing with my computer, watching Thai soaps, eating and sleeping, my schedule these last few days has gotten frantic.

I am in the middle of preparing for my trip including obtaining re-entry permits and airline tickets; acquiring and packing the under $2 gifts for my family and closest friends consisting of fake watches, cheap jewelry, and inexpensive scarves that will rarely be worn but that I am sure the recipients of such largess will treasure for ever.

Before I depart, I need to find places to stay and to arrange for lunches and the like during my travels around the US.

In addition, I am trying to finish up the annoyingly delayed draft business plan my sister and I have been working on these last few months.

I am also in the throes of the administrative details of my first paid blogging assignment and trying to get a draft of the article completed before I leave.

The custody battle has heated up too. I am working with the attorney to defend against the claim. The law is simple, no matter who the father may be or how unsuitable the mother may appear, if she was married to someone else at the time the child was born, the putative father has no rights except perhaps the right to the obligation to pay child support. However, since everyone is in such a tizzy (how long has it been since someone has used that word in a sentence) over the putative fathers allegations about the mothers lifestyle and child rearing skills, I have to spend hours on the phone (international calls no less) trying to get everyone focused on what really needs to be done.

All this, and the GOOD/BAD David returns to town tomorrow from Qatar. Not that I view enjoying a lunch or dinner with the genial gentleman from South Dakota as an additional distraction, but I fear my preoccupation with these other things may stunt our scintillating conversations about puerile sex in all its manifestations.

David and I may consider spending a day at the Oval Table in the Outskirts of Hell with Ray who may still be around.

Alas, since I have written the previous two paragraphs, it has become clear that David is delayed somewhere on the sands of the Arabian Peninsula and we will not make our visit to the oval table with Sinbad the Tentmaker.

Thai Soap Opera update:

It has been a while since I updated the status of the several soaps I watch while eating dinner in my apartment.

One of my favorites ended a few weeks ago. It concerned a young man who wore a cowboy hat and covered his face with a scarf when he would be up and about beating up other people for some reason. His nemesis was also a young man who could pass for the masked man’s twin. They would periodically battle because each thought the other was the bad guy. After many weeks of this, the real bad guy turned out to be the guy with the mustache who not only had a gang but had magic powers as well. Mustache could defeat each of the young men alone. So the two young men joined forces for the ultimate showdown with him.

Now unlike US melodrama where such confrontations are resolved in a blaze of gunfire, explosions and car chases, the low-budget Thai soaps are limited to climatic battles with hands, feet, at times swords and very bad special effects . After two full episodes where the young men are fairly well trashed by the mustache, they manage to combine their much weaker magic powers and destroy the source of the mustache’s magic powers and thoroughly beat him up. They were unable to kill him however, so they staked him out in the middle of a field so that the vultures could eat him alive; which they did in living color while I was eating my dinner.

In the following final episode the masked man put his cowboy hat and scarf into a trunk and with the girl who had on and off rejected him, stood somewhere in the country-side with his counterpart and his counterpart’s often imperiled girl friend and they all smiled at each other for a long time.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. The essence of politics in Thailand:

It has now become abundantly clear that the only issue in Thai politics is whether deposed, exiled, fugitive ex-Prime Minister and brother of the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl, Thaksin the Terrible will be allowed to return to Thailand without facing arrest. Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl‘s administration appears capable of passing any legislation it wants as long as it does not make it easier for the ex-prime minister to return.

2. Did he or did he not dodge:

Ex-Prime Minister Abhsit the Unready, is under investigation by civil authorities for dodging the draft way back when. The chief of the armed forces says that such an investigation is unnecessary since the armed forces had already cleared him in an inquiry into the matter while he was serving as Prime Minister.

In response, Abhsit the Unready has sued someone for defamation.

3. Defamation as free speech.

Under Thailand’s defamation law, truth is not an absolute defense.

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS:

In Thailand, like in most tropical countries, unless you live above the fifth floor of a modern condominium building, you soon become desensitized to tiny creatures crawling about your body, especially at nighttime.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The top five recipients of federal corporate tax breaks—Chevron Corp, Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, and Boeing—gave $78.7 million to state political campaigns and another $45.3 million to federal campaigns from 1999 through 2010.This number does not include the untold millions these same corporations have spent on public relations, lobbying and consultants to manipulate public policy for their own benefit.

Bill De Blasio, of the New York City Public Advocates office, pointed out that these same five corporations benefited from $3.7 billion in corporate tax breaks in 2009, paid $0 in 2009 federal taxes, and in 2010 enjoyed a combined profit of $77.16 billion. Slightly more than $8.9 million went to political party committees, favoring Republicans 3–to–1 ($6.6 million compared to $2.3 million given to Democrats).

In other words you and I are paying these corporations our tax dollars to enable them to accumulate even more of our tax dollars. Makes you want to go out in the streets and protest doesn’t it?

Think about this; these same corporations mostly through the Republican Party but also with the support of a number of Democrats want you to believe that the source of all America’s fiscal problems is caused by a few Mexicans swimming across the Rio Grande, some black unwed mothers, teachers unions, health insurance reform and a women’s rights to choose. What is most appalling is the number of emails floating through the internet gleefully passed on, as though it was revealed truth, parroting this misdirection that are often created by those funded by the same corporate institutions so eagerly ripping us off.

(A lot of this was written by someone other than me, but I have forgotten who.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Don’t confuse me with the facts, I have a war to fight:

1917: David Lloyd George, who was the British prime minister during the WWI Passchendaele campaign, wrote in his memoirs:

“[Before the battle of Passchendaele] the Tanks Corps Staff prepared maps to show how a bombardment which obliterated the drainage would inevitably lead to a series of pools, and they located the exact spots where the waters would gather. The only reply was a peremptory order that they were to ‘Send no more of these ridiculous maps.’ Maps must conform to plans and not plans to maps. Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies.”
Chris Hedges

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

Tomorrow is what one hopes will be better than yesterday. If it is not, then it is today.

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

1. Why not deal with the budget deficit sensibly?

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(It is not as though we are faced by an armed and dangerous Soviet Union spending itself into bankruptcy in a futile attempt to match us militarily. Do we need to spend ourselves into bankruptcy also in order to defend ourselves from a few ill equipped terrorist? How about if we just spend as much as all the other countries combined? I would think that would still keep us safe from armed invasion while also having the benefit of paying off the national debt.)

2. Why not deal with the budget deficit sensibly?
gop-reid-taxplans

One must keep in mind that both plans maintain the existing middle class tax cuts. The Democratic Plan would allow the rates on the wealthiest Americans to return to what they were during the Clinton era when we last had a budget surplus.

The first thing to note however is that the Republican tax plan would remove the Obama stimulus tax cut for the middle class and effectively apply it to the wealthy. Therefor the middle class actually will experience a rise in their taxes.

The second, is that since the first about $5 million in value of an estate is already exempt from taxation, the Republican plan adds additional tax relief for the very wealthy that is not available to anyone else.

The Republican tax plan not only maintains the tax relief for the wealthy that had a lot to do with turning a budget surplus from the Clinton years into a deficit, but it actually increases tax relief for the wealthy while reducing it for the middle class.

By providing so much tax relief to the wealthiest Americans, the Republican plan increases the national debt so substantially that governmental expenditures cuts cannot balance it without eliminating almost all current governmental programs including national defense or by engaging in massive inflation of the economy.

The Republican proposal is premised exclusively on the belief that those who are most benefited by their plan will invest and spend in America the money they save from paying taxes thereby boosting the economy and raising tax revenues. This has not worked in the past.

As usual, those who publicly support the Republican plan and who are not generally included in the class that are rewarded by it, are nevertheless most often those who receive financial benefit from those actually directly advantaged by the plan.

C. Testosterone Chronicles:

Sex adds years to your life. Researchers at Queens University in Belfast followed about 1,000 middle-aged men over 10 years and found that males with a high frequency of orgasms lived twice as long as those who did not experience pleasure.

(I love science.)
TODAY’S QUOTE:
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TODAY’S CHART:

America-is-violent-graph
This chart shows violence in America (basically assault) relative to other countries. While it reached rates as much as 5 times more than the most violent of other countries, the divergence is decreasing. To put this in perspective between 1975 to 1990 Americans were killing more of their own citizens per year than there were annual deaths of combatants in any war during that time. Since that time, Americans still kill more Americans per year than Americans die in all its wars and all acts of terrorism against Americans combined.

Interestingly, the decreasing rate of violent assaults in the US directly matches increasing rates of abortion availability. On the other hand the original rise in the rate of violent crimes exactly matches the entry of the baby boom generation into adulthood and falls as the pass on into middle age. So what does this all mean? The soldiers returning from WW II should have had better access to birth control and abortion. If they had the world would be in a much better place than it is now. History will probably consider the baby boom generation as the greatest calamity to infect earth since it coalesced out of cosmic dust.

Another point to ponder regarding the violent behavior of the modern American; during the past two decades Americans have killed more non-Americans than any and all other countries in the world have killed non-nationals. Admittedly some countries are as good as we are at killing their own citizens, such as in the Sudan, Rwanda, the Congo and now in Syria. But none are as effective as us in killing each other in random violence or by public execution.

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

XmaTq

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 6 Shadow 0002 (June 26,2013)

 

“destiny doesn’t do home visits,”
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz . The Prisoner of Heaven (Cemetery of Forgotten Books) (p. 204).

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:

Sometimes it feels like Thailand is more a prison than a refuge. I rarely get to talk to anyone anymore beyond necessary exchanges with people in stores and restaurants. LM speaks rudimentary english and I virtually no Thai so I spend most of my day reading bad novels. Some travel might help but I do not that much anymore. It has become too expensive and tiring. I could start hanging out in some of the local bars again. Unfortunately, they have become bad novels themselves. In addition to returning to Thailand for visa reasons, I had expected to spend the time baby-sitting Hayden. Alas, I am competing with the bright lights and excitement of the city and he has found many more ways to entertain himself than hanging out with a wheezy old ex-lawyer.

**********
Almost every morning for the past year or so during my swim at the health club another man did his laps alongside me. He appears to be a few years younger than me. He never smiles. For that matter neither do I. He breast strokes up and down the pool close to one of the sides. I swim more in the middle. He wears sunglasses as he swims. I have on goggles. We swim in silence. After finishing his swim, for the rest of the morning he lies on one of the lounges in the sun. I usually return to the locker room after about a five or ten minute rest. We have never spoken or acknowledged each others presence. I always thought of him as a lonely old man.

About a week ago when I arrived at the pool, I noticed him talking to another man, a guest at the hotel. The guest was accompanied by two Thai women who seemed to wait on him. Overhearing him speaking I guessed this other man was Irish. For about five days, whenever I went to swim, I saw the two of them standing in the water at the shallow end of the pool in animated conversation. My co-swimmer no longer swam his laps. He seemed happy and smiled a lot. Observing this, I thought perhaps that is what I am missing here. I need a friend. Someone to talk to and laugh with.

Bonding with another person may be, next to breathing and eating, a person’s most basic need. Some may think bonding has something to do with sex. You know, here in this case there are two guys happily spending time in each other’s company. Is there some overt or latent sexuality manifesting itself here? Actually, who cares how or with whom someone messages his or her sexual organs (except a few Republican Legislators and a a lot of priests, ministers and mullahs) or for that matter whether or not a person does it at all?

Yesterday he was back swimming laps. His Irish friend had left.

**********

This morning I woke up feeling as good as I have felt since January. It rained very hard last night, washing the ever-present pollution from the air. The air itself was thick and warm like on a pleasant summer day. The walk to the health club added to my sense of well-being. Most of he ladies and ladyboys of the morning I passed as I strolled along smiled and waved at me instead of calling out the irritating “massage?”, “Short Time?”. I expected that my swim itself would exhaust me and along with the coating of my lungs from the pollution as the incessant BKK traffic heated up eventually dampen my mood. By then the heat of the day would have grown too oppressive for life also. I assumed I would eventually stumble exhausted and depressed back to my apartment and crawl into bed.

That did not happen. I still felt good when I left the hotel. I decided to walk to Terminal 21, the seven or so floor shopping center nearby, to get a hard to come by ice cream soda. Each floor of the shopping center is named for a city, like Istanbul, Paris or Tokyo. San Francisco has two floors with a cable car teetering over the escalator and a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge spanning the open area between the two floors. The Swenson’s Ice Cream shop is located on one of the SF floors between the aisles designated Jackson and Ashbury.

After downing my drink I walked back home. The extra half mile to Terminal 21 and back did however tire me out. So I took a nap anyway.

**********

I Want to see what now has become my new favorite movie, The Sapphires, a low budget film that takes place in the late 1960’s. It is not great as movies go but it certainly brought tears to these old eyes. I am sure it means more to those like me who experienced that era. And also, I fell in love with Gail (Deborah Mailman) too.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. A murder most foul.
For the past week or so, the discovery of sensational murder and the political speculation surrounding it has gripped the media here in Thailand.

A billionaire (Thai baht) Thai business man was reported to have disappeared. The man had been convicted of and served time for fraud and for promoting ponzi-like schemes. He also was a vocal critic of another convicted felon, the ex-Prime Minister of Thailand who I have referred to in the past as Thaksin the Terrible. Thaksin the Terrible moreover is a fugitive, living in exile and also the brother of the current Prime Minister, Princess LuckyGirl.

Within a day of the billionaire scumbag’s reported disappearance, his driver was arrested. The driver immediately confessed that he murdered the tycoon in order to steal $150,000 that the victim had just withdrawn from his account. In Thai fashion, a massive media event was held starring the confessed killer surrounded by what looked like a thousand cops. The suspect led the hoards of police and trailing reporters and cameramen to the spot where the body was buried. There along with several other men he implicated, he re-enacted the gruesome crime for all the world to see.

As could be expected, the political party out of power led by the military coup installed previous prime minister Abhisit the Unready (and some think the Incapable), members of his party, and the attorney for the deceased scumbag all have suggested that somehow, Thaksin the Terrible, was behind the murder.

Now normally allegations of conspiracy like this I find as believable as Rambo movies. However, there may be more here than meets the eye or perhaps even less. The confessed murderer, obviously someone so dumb as to believe that as the last person to have seen the deceased before he went missing the police somehow would not immediately suspect him, nevertheless had the presence of mind to remove and destroy all the disks in the security cameras. In addition, he carefully arranged for co-conspirators to wait in the car to help him carry the body out of the house and bury it many miles away. Also, how the driver, a slender young man was able to single-handedly subdue and strangle a seemingly fit sixty year old has not been clearly explained. The re-enactment in front of the press was notably unconvincing. Finally, the deceased withdrew the $150,000 from his account only a few hours before he disappeared. No one seems to know why.

2. Voting:

The Thai constitution prohibits Buddhist monks and other religious officials from voting in national elections. It seems like a good idea to me.
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Note: the following continues my series about four governmental agencies that I had some role in developing.

A. The State of New York’s Mental Health Information Service (1965):

6. Problems and insights.

b. Problems raised by the psychiatric process.

I divided in my mind the patients brought before the intake panel into three categories. The first and by far the largest were the elderly poor suffering severe dementia who were found the night before abandoned and unable to care for themselves. In 1965 these elderly poor were immediately shipped out to spend the remainder of their lives in the massive state hospital complexes. The elderly, given their long term hospitalization, were gradually overwhelming the hospitals abilities to provide beds for treatment of anyone else.

In 1965 also Medicare passed in the Congress and was signed into law. We did not know it then, but ultimately it had a great deal to do with resolving the crisis. Medicare provided funds that allowed these same elderly to now be treated in private medical facilities. It effect Medicare transferred the cost of treating the elderly poor from State and local budgets to the Federal budgets and the care from public to private institutions.

MHIS was not set up to deal with this category of patient. Also, it was extremely rare that a receiving hospital, given the lack of beds, would not discharge an elderly patient still capable of expressing a desire to leave the hospital.

There was little I could do, other that urge the hospital’s social services staff to redouble their efforts to find family members who may wish to undertake care of the patient.

The second category were those patients I chose to call the “uninteresting.” They were those suffering symptoms that made them unresponsive, such as catatonics and those hallucinating visions of Jesus or angels and the like or other obsessive behaviors coupled with communication difficulties such as those caused by language, education or cultural impediments.

The third Category I called the “interesting group.” It was the smallest group.These patients were most often were suffering from some manifestation of a classical psychiatric category (sexual deviation or obsession, use of “crazy” behavior to protect their real crazy behavior [like believing they were someone actually else usually someone famous] and the like). These patients tended to be more educated, articulate and almost inevitably of trans-mountain, middle european, germanic or eastern european descent.

Since the receiving hospital was also a teaching hospital, those chosen to be admitted into that hospital received by far the best treatment and had the highest chance of a quick recovery. Inevitably those chosen to be admitted to the wards in the teaching hospital were from the “interesting group.” And, there was my problem. The quality of treatment was being apportioned, whether intentional or not, on racial, ethnic and other cultural grounds. The poor latinos often manifested their problems through visions of Christ standing at the foot of their bed. With Jesus in the room they rarely had interest in anything else and thus were sent to the state hospitals to be left mostly alone with their savior until he decided he, like the psychiatrists, had more rewarding things to do elsewhere.

Although it was not within the scope of my duties, I made it my goal to sensitize the medical administrative personnel the importance of exposing their students to the full range of pathologies thereby opening the better treatment programs to a broader range of ethnic and social groups. By the time I left the job, I felt satisfied that I had succeeded with this.

Patients in the interesting group were the also ones most likely to object to and request hearings on their incarceration. This prompted me to institute changes in the MHIS operating procedures to encourage more direct communication between MHIS personnel and patients on the wards.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Philip Marlowe: Oh, Eddie, you don’t have anybody watching me, do you? Tailing me in a gray Plymouth coupe, maybe?
Eddie Mars: No, why should I?
Philip Marlowe: Well, I can’t imagine, unless you’re worried about where I am all the time.
Eddie Mars: I don’t like you that well.

Chapter: 19

We arrived at IHOP about 10 minutes late. Martin Vihn had not yet arrived. I took a seat at a booth against the back wall and sat down facing the entrance. Joe slipped into the seat opposite me. A window was on my left through which I watched a man assemble a sidewalk stand. The waitress brought the menus. Joe got right down to studying it. I watched the man struggle with some pipes that held up an awning over his stand while I thought about my upcoming meeting with Vihn. My usual bouts with fear and uncertainty slithered through my mind like minks in heat. The worst part was wondering about what people, like Mavis or Fat Al would say if I was wrong and died. I imagined something like, “What on earth possessed him to take such a risk.” Last night I thought I had good and compelling reasons, but now I realized they were mere rationalizations for whatever was so deeply imbedded in my psyche that impelled me to act as I did.

Nothing new in that, I have become convinced most of the reasons we tell ourselves that we need to do something have little to do with why we do whatever it is we end up doing. They are merely a handy thing, whenever we are successful, to tell ourselves and others. You know, “I knew what I was doing all along.”

Joe brought me out of my musings. “I’m having the Belgian waffles. What about you?”

“I’ll probably have the blueberry short stack and fried eggs. For some reason I always get the same thing when I come here.”

Martin Vihn entered the restaurant followed by two of the young men I had seen before. One was dressed like Joe in tee-shirt and windbreaker. The other had on a dark hoodie. Martin had on a dark blue jacket over a white button down shirt and jeans. He came over to our table.

“Sorry I’m late. Traffic and parking”

Joe slid out from his seat. Said, “I’ll sit with Vinnie and Chang.” He walked over to the table where the other two young men who accompanied Vihn sat. Vu’s arrival prompted a lot of laughing and fist bumping.
Martin nodded to him and sat in the seat Joe vacated. The waitress arrived and we ordered. She then went over to the table where Joe and the others sat.

“Any word from the police on the cause of Clarence’s death?”, he asked.

“The autopsy scheduled for later this morning. The cops are being close-mouthed.”

“How do you think he died?”

“I’m not paid to guess.”

Martin rarely raises his voice but his anger blazed out of his eyes like campfire embers poked with a stick. “I’m paying you and if it is your opinion I want than then it is your opinion I’ll get.”

“He could have been walking along the shore reciting poetry tripped and fallen into the bay and drowned. I doubt whether it makes much or a difference to anyone how he died, even to the murderer, if he was murdered.”

“Why do you say that?”

“I can’t see you shipping drugs or anything else illegal this way. By reputation, you’ve been able to bring thing like that into the States with no problems in the past. There’s too many better ways. Dropping packages into the water offshore at night, trans-shipping through Alaska. Even if you were to do something like this, certainly not through the Port of Oakland. There are other less watched small ports like Eureka and Redwood City. So, I can’t figure you for something like a dope deal in this case. So, I ask myself, although he is such a prick I am sure a lot of people would like him dead, why would anyone involved in this case kill Clarence? Then there is the hiring of me. It can’t be all that important to hire a second rate shamus like me.” I stopped there and stared at him.

Martin’s silence lasted a long time as he stared at me. Our orders arrived before he answered and we began eating. After swallowing his first bite, Martin sat back and said:

“Look, whatever you think I may also be mixed up in, I am also a legitimate business man. I invested in a business to import into America furniture made in south east asia. Now the man who talked me into the investment and was supposed to manage the business is gone along with he merchandise.”

“But even so, two containers of furniture could not have been valuable enough for all your interest, not to mention knocking off Reilly if in fact he was killed.”

“You figured it out already. You’re cheap. I only spent $1000 dollars so far.”

“What about Joe?”

Vihn looked down at the table for a while. “He’s my brother’s son. I care about him. He refuses to go to college and is too interested in the wrong part of the family business. I thought following you around a while would help to get him interested in something else. That was a spur of the moment thing, I’m afraid.

“So you hired me as a babysitter?”

“A thousand dollars a month is pretty cheap for baby sitting these days,”
he said with a smile.

We ate our breakfasts in silence. Over coffee I assured him, I will try to find out how Reilly died and what happened to the furniture.

I then asked, “What’s Lilly’s role in this?”

“She’s my lawyer.”

“Nothing else.”

“It’s none of your business.”

I smiled, got up, collected Joe and left Vihn to pay the check.

On the way back to the car, I called Mavis. Told her that I would come by that afternoon and that we were going to attend Reilly’s wake.

For some reason the thought of Mavis, death and my current role got me ruminating about God and humor, God’s humor to be precise.

Humans are a fascinating species. I am convinced God created us because he or she (I refuse to take sides on the issue of God’s gender — although the Good Humor Man of my youth was always male) found presiding over the rest of the universe dreadfully dull and craved some amusement. While growing up I always thought that God was the Good Humor man. Every afternoon the Good Humor man rang his bells in front of my house. The sound of those bells filled me with hope. Would your God do as much for you?

I was pulled from my reveries by Joe shouting “Boss, boss!’

I stared at him as the world around me came into focus.

“Is there something wrong? You were talking on the phone and then you just stopped staring off at nothing. Are you OK? You thinking about the case? ”

“Yeah. I’m OK. Rule whatever number… in private investigations there are no cases only assignments. And your current assignment is to find us some ice cream and drive me to Crissy Field.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Biblical Family Values:

“Look, I have two daughters, virgins both of them. Let me bring them out to you and you could do what you like with them. But do nothing to these men because they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
11. Genesis 19:8

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

Pill v Condom

The pill is almost exclusively a birth control device. A condom is primarily protection against STD. It also protects against conception.

The Pill is used by women to prevent unwanted conception freeing them to enjoy other aspects of their life. A condom allows a man to resist STD and avoid the bother of child support payments.

The Pill liberates women. Condoms do the same for men.

Condoms are sold over the counter in almost every drugstore in America. Women need a doctor’s prescription to buy the Pill.

Certain Republican and conservative legislators have proposed legislation making it more difficult for woman to learn about and to purchase the Pill. There has been no legislation proposed that I know of that requires a man to get a prescription to buy a condom or that prohibits anyone from teaching him how to put on a rubber.

C. What Shakespeare should have written:

“The quality of mercy isn’t worth as much as it used to.”
Trenz Pruca

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Banks always win.

The mere hint that the US Federal Reserve may at some unknown time in the future take actions that may cause a minuscule rise in the interest rates on US federal debt, caused equities markets around the world to crash as investors removed their money for possible reinvestment in the US treasury paper. As a result the exchange rates on many countries plunged in relation to the dollar.

In Thailand the exchange rate increased from 28 baht to the dollar to about 32 to the dollar (almost 10%) putting pressure on the liquidity of the Thai banks. The banks were unperturbed. In retaliation or in order to maintain the lifestyles of its managers, they reduced the amount of money that can be withdrawn at an ATM using an American issued credit or debit card from about $700 per transaction to $350 per transaction and increased the fee for the transaction from $5 per transaction to $6. Thus increasing their fee revenue for a $700 transaction almost 150%.

Of course my more conservative ex-pat friends probably will blame it all on Obama because I surmise they believe Banks being the private guardians of capitalism and free enterprise (their free exercise not yours) can be trusted to voluntarily act in the public interest when not subject to government interference especially when that government is run by a black, non-citizen socialist.

They have a point, not about black, non citizen, socialists but about government interference in this case. If the Bush administration had just let all the banks fail in 2008 and plunge the world into a depression rivaling the crash of 1929, the banks would have gone out of business and much of the financial industry splattered on the cement of Wall Street, leaving the rest of us free to try to figure out how to get most of us back to work and not worry about whether some bankers kid can afford the tuition at Amherst.

Yes, the black, non citizen, socialist ultimately went along with it. Proving thereby not only is he a true American political leader, and ardent Capitalist but a Democrat as well. Alas, he is only half-black.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I read an article once that said that when women have a conversation, they’re communicating on five levels. They follow the conversation that they’re actually having, the conversation that is specifically being avoided, the tone being applied to the overt conversation, the buried conversation that is being covered only in subtext, and finally the other person’s body language. That is, on many levels, astounding to me. I mean, that’s like having a freaking superpower. When I, and most other people with a Y chromosome, have a conversation, we’re having a conversation.”
Butcher, Jim (2012-11-27). Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files (pp. 346-347).
TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN1371

Harley Haystack Hayden (H’s new self chosen name) at the health club pool.

 

Categories: April 1213 through June 1213 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:
1. Education matters:

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

2. 2011:

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

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Thai political adventures:

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

2. Floods:

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

3. Christmas:

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

4. The Flying Ladyboys:

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

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

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

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

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

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

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

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

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

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

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

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Escape without dignity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. The impossibility of parody:

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

2. Buddy Roemer on China:

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. IQ matters too:

a. Levels:

 

b. Signs you are smarter than average:

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The defining characteristics of Fascism:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

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

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

The first 3 months of the standard Gregorian Calendar :

Graphics not available at this time…..

 

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

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

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

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

TODAY’S CHART:

Finally something that explains the difference that I can understand.

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

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S FACEBOOK POST:

Repentance is definitely needed indeed!

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


I hope you all had a Merry Christmas too.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 2, 2011

Historically, Populism like most mass movements scours up both the worst and the best in a society as it scrapes across its depths. It is prompted by a deep mistrust of a community’s most powerful individuals and institutions who, its adherents believe, have misused and mishandled the trust they had been granted, violated the social contract if you will. As the indefatigable realist Machiavelli pointed out; on the broad areas of public policy the general populace is almost always more reliable than the élite.
Trenz Pruca

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1.


2. Ann Coulter to a gathering of gay conservatives:

“Marriage is not a civil right — you’re not black.”

1. is written by Borowitz to mock Gingrich’s post Clintonian* morality, 2. is not a joke.

*Shouldn’t we be thankful to Bill Clinton for his successful efforts to liberate adulterous politicians so that they are now free to come out of the closet and unashamedly run for political office?

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. First Century AD:

a. Early terrorists, known as Sicarii or “dagger-men” were an extremist group that opposed Roman leadership over the Jews and wanted to take back Jerusalem. The Sicarii were famous for using small daggers and stealth tactics to murder their enemies in crowded places before slipping away.

b. Most men and women in Ancient Rome wore a basic undergarment called a tunic, which they belted at the waist. The length and design of the tunic distinguished the wearer’s social status. Elite Romans wore longer tunics with stripes, whereas slaves and manual laborers generally wore tunics that came above the knee and allowed freer movement. Only male citizens were allowed to wear the togas. These draped over the body on top of the tunic.

c. Only about 75% of babies in the first century AD survived their first year; half of all children died before the age of 10. It was also up to the father to decide whether or not the family would keep a newborn baby. If the baby was deformed or the family could not afford to keep it, the baby would be abandoned in the street where someone might take it in as a slave or servant.

2. September 1986 (Who is our enemy?):

James Atwood, an American with strong CIA links and Gerhard Mertins, a former senior Nazi officer and arms trader company executive, supplied weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras as part of the Iran-Contra affair. Iran-Contra was the highly controversial and illegal arrangement whereby the US sold weapons to Iran – then run by the hard-line Islāmic regime of Ayatollah Khomeini and subject to a global arms embargo — and used the proceeds to fund right-wing Nicaraguan rebels who were fighting to overthrow the left-wing Sandinista government.

Ah, the wonders of outsourcing; do we really want to privatize National Defense?

3. Japan Inc. How they do it:

A 92-year-old japanese blue chip company falsified financial statements for two decades, possibly with  cooperation from auditors, to hide over $1 billion in losses, which weren’t uncovered until the company’s first-ever foreign CEO took a second look at the accounting.

Is that how it is done on Wall Street too?

4. Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports #156:
“A major Jewish action took place on November 23, 1941, after the Jewish population, on the previous day, had been requested by means of posters to assemble. In all, 1,538 Jews were shot. Their clothing was handed over to the mayor of Poltava who gave special priority to ethnic Germans when distributing it.”

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. To pee or not to pee:

The Nation, the tabloid option of the two main english language newspapers in Thailand noted that during Prime Minister Princess Lucky Girl’s absence due to an attack of food poisoning, a cabinet meeting was held chaired by the First Deputy Prime Minister. When the First Deputy Prime Minister stepped out to take a pee (as reported), he handed the gavel over to Cheeky Chalerm until his return. Since Cheeky Chalerm is the Third Deputy Prime Minister, the Thai and English language media erupted with rumor and speculation as to why the First Deputy Prime Minister did not pass the gavel to the Second Deputy Prime Minister who also attended the Cabinet meeting. The weight of opinion is that it signifies Cheeky Chalerm‘s move against his competitors (and no I do not know how many deputy prime ministers there are in the Thai Government).

I have it on good authority that Obama does not allow pee breaks during Cabinet meetings, thereby pissing [so to speak] everyone off and shortening the meetings considerably.

2. A hero by any other name:

The media in Thailand has tried to focus attention on some of the many heroes who acted with valor during the recent crisis. Recently they zeroed in on a policeman who had waded through the rising waters pushing a small boat containing a matronly woman until it reached a place that allowed the woman to step out on to dry land. When the woman offered a gratuity to the policeman he refused. Even when she tried to leave the money behind in the boat the policeman surreptitiously slipped the tip back into the woman’s purse.

Now I applaud the cop who did his duty and undoubtedly deserves commendation as do many others who behaved selflessly during this crisis. However I simply wish to note that it appears the press in this case may be implying that in Thailand a policeman refusing a gratuity truly is a newsworthy event. It would be as newsworthy as a Wall Street investment banker refusing his fee because the investors in the instruments he was peddling lost their money.

3. Good US economic news for a change:

ADP JOBS REPORT SMASHES EXPECTATIONS AT 206K: Analysts were expecting 130K new jobs, but instead ADP just reported that there were 206K new private payrolls added in November. Also the previous month was revised up from 110K to 130K. Combine that with the big global coördinated intervention among the world’s central banks, and you’ve got the brew for a gigantic rally today. S&P futures are up 2.7%…

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Having finally shook the effects of jet lag, one day, I set out to accomplish a number of things. Due to my absence from the country, I had forgotten the rule that in Thailand a westerner can accomplish no more than one significant thing per day (if that much). I had planned to visit the Italian consulate to obtain the visa application forms for the Little Masseuse, do some banking at the Bangkok Bank branch near the health club on Sukhumvit Soi 11 and have a long lunch with a very attractive young woman.

Actually the attractive young lady is my most recent wife of five tears or so. Although we had not seen each other for well over a year, we have spoken over the phone now and then. Before leaving on my most recent trip to the US, she called to croon about her affection for me and how much she wanted to get together with me again and asked me to bring her back a bottle of DKNY perfume. Now you need to understand that when I first met her she was a beautiful 18-year-old and when I last saw her 10 years or so later she was a beautiful 28-year-old woman. 10 years or so ago, I was a relatively vigorous old man with some financial resources. Now a decade later, I am a very old man, virtually penniless and well I guess you could call it, performance deficient.

So I thought why would this still attractive woman want to get back with me again? This is Thailand after all, my age and physical capabilities are irrelevant but my absence of financial resources and prospects are an insurmountable obstacle. So what is she after? Being a muslim married to an infidel and burdened with an illegitimate child, I assume her remarriage prospects among men of her faith is nil. It could be she wants to use her marriage to me as a way to emigrate to the US, but that seems far-fetched. She has several times these past two years suggested we meet but whenever we agree to do so, at the last-minute she cancels or doesn’t show up.

Nevertheless when two days ago she telephoned and asked to meet, curiosity, as always, got the better of good sense and so I agreed to have lunch with her.

Before setting out for the bank, I called to confirm. She said she was too ill.

When I got to the bank I found it did not open until 11AM so I waited. It took about an hour to transact my simple business resulting in me being unable to get to the consulate before it closed for the day. So, satisfied at having accomplished my one thing for the day, I headed back to my apartment for a nap.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Editor’s note: Now I know you are wondering what has Isabella’s shorts all in a knot and eager to know if Vince scores, but I am afraid this edition of “This and that…” has gotten too long so you will just have to wait a few days.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Differences between Americans and Western Europeans (according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project (via Patrick.net))

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

1.

Image unavailable at this time.

2. See c. below.

3. The Occupy protestors are forcibly suppressed while:

Banks have illegally foreclosed on nearly 5,000 military members according to the US Comptroller of the Currency.

I get it, the Bankers have jobs while the protestors supposedly do not.–No? Then because the Bankers wears suits? Cologne? Are true American Patriots?

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s (America’s last true patriot) speech to Citizens United:

“…on August 23, 1971, a corporate lawyer named Lewis Powell – a board member of the death-dealing tobacco giant Philip Morris and a future Justice of the United States Supreme Court – sent a confidential memorandum to his friends at the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. We look back on it now as a call to arms for class war waged from the top down. ”

Let’s recall the context: [By 1971 as a result of citizen activism and resulting legislation by both parties] Big Business was being forced to clean up its act. It was bad enough to corporate interests that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal had sustained its momentum through Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson. Suddenly this young lawyer named Ralph Nader arrived on the scene, arousing consumers with articles, speeches, and above all, an expose of the automobile industry, Unsafe at Any Speed. Young activists flocked to work with him on health, environmental, and economic concerns. Congress was moved to act. Even Republicans signed on. In l970 President Richard Nixon put his signature on the National Environmental Policy Act and named a White House Council to promote environmental quality. A few months later millions of Americans turned out for Earth Day. Nixon then agreed to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Congress acted swiftly to pass tough new amendments to the Clean Air Act and the EPA announced the first air pollution standards. There were new regulations directed at lead paint and pesticides. Corporations were no longer getting away with murder.

And Lewis Powell was shocked — shocked! — at what he called “an attack on the American free enterprise system.” Not just from a few “extremists of the left,” he said, but also from “perfectly respectable elements of society,” including the media, politicians, and leading intellectuals. Fight back, and fight back hard, he urged his compatriots. Build a movement. Set speakers loose across the country. Take on prominent institutions of public opinion — especially the universities, the media, and the courts. Keep television programs under “constant surveillance.” And above all, recognize that political power must be “assiduously (sic) cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination” and “without embarrassment.”

Powell imagined the US Chamber of Commerce as a council of war. Since business executives had “little stomach for hard-nose contest with their critics” and “little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical debate,” they should create new think tanks, legal foundations, and front groups of every stripe. It would take years, but these groups could, he said, be aligned into a united front (that) would only come about through “careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and united organizations.”

You have to admit it was a brilliant strategy. Although Powell may not have seen it at the time, he was pointing America toward plutocracy, where political power is derived from the wealthy and controlled by the wealthy to protect their wealth. As the only countervailing power to private greed and power, democracy could no longer be tolerated.

While Nader’s recruitment of citizens to champion democracy was open for all to see — depended, in fact, on public participation – Powell’s memo was for certain eyes only, those with the means and will to answer his call to arms. The public wouldn’t learn of the memo until after Nixon appointed Powell to the Supreme Court and the enterprising reporter Jack Anderson obtained a copy, writing that it may have been the reason for Powell’s appointment.”

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:

Although all lawyers have a lot to apologize for, from my experience the ordinary citizen has far more to fear from the “Corporate Lawyer” than the “Personal Injury Lawyer,” but then Corporate Lawyers probably on the whole vote and contribute much more to the Republican Party than to the Democrats.

e. Strange Apocalypses:

STRANGELETS

Quantum mechanics contains lots of frightening possibilities. Among them is a particle called a strangelet that can transform any other particle into a copy of itself. In just a few hours, a small chunk of these could turn a planet into a featureless mass of strangelets. Everything that planet was would be no more.

Danger sign: Everything around you starts cooking, releasing heat.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

I have mentioned that at times I have received criticisms of some things I may have posted here. I also mentioned that I receive many, many emails containing things I do not agree with and even find their content objectionable (but not the porn – that’s a man thing). I would like to make clear that I am not signaling in any way those posts should stop. God no, I enjoy each one. I also find that they encourage me and provide me with content. In addition, I find, as anyone should, that criticism is sometimes beneficial, . While I may not agree with the comments they often highlight gaps or seeming bias in my thinking. So please keep them coming.

g. Testosterone Chronicles:

Sex adds years to your life. Researchers at Queens University in Belfast followed about 1,000 middle-aged men over 10 years and found that males with a high frequency of orgasms lived twice as long as those who did not experience pleasure.

I love science.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“we want a virgin to do a hooker’s job.”
Lori Klein, an Arizona State Senator and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s Arizona state chairman defending her candidate.

TODAY’S CHART:

Is it because the continuation of the Payroll Tax Cut benefits the rich so little that the GOP opposes it, or is it just because Obama supports it? Oh, in case some believe that the GOP opposition to continuing the tax cut is because of its budgetary implications, forget it. Continuation of the Bush Tax cut for those in the highest income bracket (the very wealthy) has a much greater impact on the budget deficit.

TODAY’S MAP:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


TODAY’S POSTER:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. September 19, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

The US Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will cost more than $2 billion to repair the damage to the nation’s levees, dams and riverbanks caused by this year’s excessive flooding, a sum that dwarfs $150 million it currently has to make such repairs and that doesn’t account for damage from Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Fair and Balanced Update: In my last post, I speculated about the reason behind the Media assault on the new Administration of Princess LuckyGirl as well as her party’s rapid implementation of some of its policies (especially on amnesty for Princess LuckyGirl‘s elder brother, the fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin the Terrible). I guessed it had something to do with possible  military co-option by the new government.

An article in today’s english language press (definitely not on the front page), reported that recent poll results showed an overwhelming majority (over 80%) of Thais opposed another military coup under any circumstances. In a related story, interviews, with a number of members of the military general staff have elicited the opinion from most of them that the previous military coup was a mistake and damaged the Thai economy. In still another associated story, the Yellow Shirts, the citizen group whose protests against the Thaksin associated government brought about the military coup and who strongly supported the Military’s war with Cambodia announced they intended to stay out of politics for a while.

It sounds as though the return of Thaksin the Terrible is imminent and people are beginning to line up to get on his good side.

2. Political Gibberish: Meanwhile, the man himself, Thaksin the Terrible, is spending a leisurely week in Cambodia, Thailand’s neighbor and recent opponent in a comic war over ownership of a temple in a disputed area along the countries’ border. He is there ostensibly to play golf and give a few lectures to a business conference. The newspapers published a photograph of him hugging “his good friend,” the prime minister of Cambodia, Thailand’s enemy only two months ago. When interviewed by the press during his sojourn and asked whether if he did return to Thailand would he reenter politics and assume the Prime Minister’s job, he responded with a string of political gibberish of which even I could make no sense.

3. Amnesty: It was also announced today, by the governmental agency responsible for making such announcements, that according to Thai law, anyone over 60 years of age convicted of a crime that requires incarceration for less than 3 years qualifies to petition the King for amnesty. Thaksin the Terrible, is 63 years old and has been sentenced to serve two years in prison.

Have we seen this movie before?

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Although I remain mostly in bed treating my illness, I still must bustle about to prepare for my return to California on Wednesday, September 24. Regrettably, a lot of what I had hoped to get done before departure will not get done.

The flooding in Thailand moves ever closer to Bangkok and is expected to arrive in the next few days. Bangkok like New Orléans is a city located for the most part below sea level. In the next decade, as a result of rising sea levels and increased precipitation it will face its own city altering catastrophic floods like New Orléans did. But unlike New Orléans, allowed to flood for political reasons, Bangkok being the capital city will struggle to divert the onslaught of the waters through massive public-works projects already under weigh or in planning. Technical exchanges with Holland and other countries to try to address the problem have increased recently.

While the public-works projects will have a beneficial effect on the Thai economy, I am dubious about their efficacy given the area’s geography and the speed and extent of sea level rise and climate change. I would be surprised if by 2050 Bangkok as we know it will even exist. But, alas, I will undoubtedly not be around to experience the accuracy of my prediction.

While lying awake one night unable to sleep due to the aches and miseries associated with my current malady and unwilling to watch another Steven Seagal movie or Thai soap, I turned on my Mac and reread the “This and thats” that I have written over the past few months. Usually when I finish a post and send it out, I generally find myself embarrassed and disgusted with what I imagine is the poor grammar, infantile emotions, self-indulgence, foolish assertions and many other things contained in it. While my rereading of the posts did not disabuse me of those feelings, I have to admit I enjoyed looking through them again. I was especially amused coming across some of my long forgotten obsessions. For those of you who may have actually read them, you have my sympathy.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

“What do you mean,” said the Vince character in response to Isabella’s expression of concern?

“Well, the way I see it, it is like your character said when we met at Ike’s house, what we have here is simply a third-rate business screw up, so what’s the big deal?”

“Go on,” Vince encouraged. “I still don’t see what you’re so concerned about.”

“These type of business failures and frauds happen every day, but people don’t go running around committing suicide, killing people or setting up fall guys.”

“Well, maybe the Brethren are publicity shy.”

“Maybe,” she continued. “But their involvement is easily dismissed publicly as only another case of some abused and defrauded investors. No, it is something more, something bigger that if it came out would threaten everything,”

“So, I still don’t see what you’re so upset about. This is a thriller. The author, if he knows what he is doing, would want a conspiracy, the bigger the better.”

“No, no that’s not it,” she exclaimed, her voice rising. “What’s our role, your role?”

“I’m the reluctant but courageous hero who after many harrowing adventures prevails over the forces of darkness,” he responds smugly. “And you, why you’re my doxy,” he adds with a smile and leans forward to peer more closely at his face in the makeup mirror.

“That would work,” she responds derisively, “if you knew something that threatens them, whoever they are, which you don’t. Or they think you know something, which you don’t . Or you could stumble over something which you won’t because everyone knows the only reason you were brought into this novel was to die.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I Didn’t Know That:

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the floor of most homes was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “dirt poor.”

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a “thresh-hold.”

By the way, this common use of dirt and thresh flooring is also the reason why we in the West, unlike in the East, customarily remain wearing shoes when entering a house.

b. What Adam Smith (considered by some as the “father” of Capitalism) Really Said:

“When masters combine together in order to reduce the wages of their workmen, they commonly enter into a private bond or agreement, not to give more than a certain wage under a certain penalty. Were the workmen to enter into a contrary combination of the same kind, not to accept of a certain wage under a certain penalty, the law would punish them very severely; and if it dealt impartially, it would treat the masters in the same manner.”
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations [Book I, Chapter X, Part II, p. 164].

c. From God’s Mouth to Your Ears:

“… I believe God was waiting for the biblical government of the Church to come into place under apostles and prophets. But this happened in 2001, when, at least according to my estimates, the Second Apostolic Age began. What more? I now think that in order for us to be able to handle the wealth responsibly, we need to recognize, identify, affirm, and encourage the ministry of the apostles in the six non-Religion mountains. They may or may not want to use the term `apostle’ but they will function in Kingdom-based leadership roles characterized by supernaturally empowered wisdom and authority. We have more work to do here.”
C. Peter Wagner (an ardent Rick Perry supporter), The Reformers Pledge.

Is he implying that  George Bush’s election ushered in the Second Apostolic Age? Why that would make good old George the modern Moses! Poor George, he gets blamed for everything. Hmm, is there somewhere one can go to sign up for one of those apostleships?

d. Profiles in Presidential Courage:

“As for the other six and a half billions of the deficit we did not just spend money; we spent it for something. America got something for what we spent—conservation of human resources through CCC camps and through work relief; conservation of natural resources of water, soil and forest; billions for security and a better life. While many who criticize today were selling America short, we were investing in the future of America.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936.

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

The Hamer people in Ethiopia have a formal rite of passage for boys before they can formally marry. They must run naked over a row of cows four times. In the Brazilian Amazon, the Satere-Mawe tribe have a more painful–and dangerous–manhood ritual. Boys must wear a glove woven with bullet ants twenty times.

f. The Trolley Test II:

Let us assume that in the example given in my last post, instead of the option of switching to an alternative track to avoid the trolley killing the five people on the track, you are on a bridge above the track, beside you stands a fat man. You know that the fat man, if he fell on the tracks, would stop the trolley and save the five people. Would you throw him off?

Now right here I must stop and admit I have a problem. Describing this person as a “Fat” man would, because of my liberal leanings force me to hesitate while I examine whether or not my progressive values are offended by the stereotype, causing me, in true liberal fashion, to do nothing resulting in the inevitable death of five people.

Now in order to avoid the sticky emotional problem of physically touching the person you intend to kill, assume the fat man is suspended in a basket above the tracks to be released to fall upon the tracks and stop the Trolley by you pressing a button.

1. Would you press the button now?
2. Would your answer be the same if the person in the basket was:
a. Adolf Hitler (or if you need a person in being, say Moammar Gaddafi),
b. Mother Theresa or Albert Einstein (or, Suu Kyi),
c. Michelle Bachman, (or the Republican of your choice)
d. Barak Obama (or Michael Moore or some other liberal you find obnoxious)
e. A young pregnant woman,
f. A child or,
e. One of your close relatives or friends?
3. Would you throw yourself off that bridge instead of any one of the above?
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Everything we’re seeing [the current financial crisis] makes sense if you think of the right as representing the interests of rentiers, of creditors who have claims from the past — bonds, loans, cash — as opposed to people actually trying to make a living through producing stuff. Deflation is hell for workers and business owners, but it’s heaven for creditors.”
Kuttner.

BONUS QUOTE:

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Yoda
TODAY’S CHART:

Before and after September 11.


Do you think Osama bin Laden achieved his goal to destroy America’s economic might?

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3 Th. September 8,2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2008: The US Federal Reserve in its efforts to stave off a depression during 2008s financial crisis, loaned $1.2 trillion to an assortment of US and foreign banks, an amount “more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the US for the decade through 2010.”

Interestingly, that $1.2 trillion according to Bloomberg, is “about the same amount US homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages.” Nevertheless, it’s the “Wall Street aristocracy,” as Bloomberg labels them in a bit of welcome class warfare, that got the massive bailouts.

Mama, don’t let your children grow up to be cowboys, tell them to become bankers instead.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. Chief of Police – Musical Chairs: It seems the existing Secretary General of the National Security Council who is due to be replaced by the disgraced Chief of Police, himself superseded by an ex in-law of the fugitive ex Prime Minister of Thailand, Thaksin the Terrible, is furious at this turn of events. As well he should be since he in turn will be transferred to an “inactive position.” in the office of the new Prime Minister, who herself is the younger sister of Thaksin the Terrible. The inactive position apparently is one in which one gets paid but has nothing to do. The soon to be replaced Secretary General said that he would prefer to be transferred to the position of permanent secretary of another ministry so that he would have something to do beside coming into the office now and then to collect his pay check. Princess LuckyGirl‘s Deputy said that it would be inappropriate for the Secretary General to be transferred into an “active” position in the new government, since before he became Secretary General he was in charge of the agency responsible for putting members of the party of the new government in jail.

Members of the opposition party including Abhsit the Unready, the recently defeated Prime Minister but still head of his party, said it was unfair to hold the Secretary General’s prior position against him since he was, “Only doing his job.”

Princess LuckyGirl, upon hearing about the soon to be transferred ministers threat indicated that she would be open to meeting with him if she could spare the time from her busy schedule of running the country. She added that, in any event transfers of officials are the responsibility of the appropriate cabinet secretaries. The next day the cabinet met and transferred the disgruntled bureaucrat anyway.

It should be noted that the incoming Chief of Police has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University in the US.

I hope this now ends this whole sordid business.

b. Red Comedians: Yoswaris Chuklom also known as red comedian Jeng Dokjic was made assistant secretary to the Interior Ministry.

I do not know what this means, but I guess everyone could use a good laugh now and then.

c. Passport follies: The United Kingdom which recently privatized its passport and visa offices world-wide no longer provides passport renewals for its citizens in Thailand and other countries.

Hooray for privatization.

d. Gambling with the story: Given the brouhaha over illegal gambling, one of the recipients of my “This and that…” posts has pointed out that during the period when the predecessor of Princess LuckyGirl‘s party was in power, before it was removed by judicial decision or coup, I do not remember which, the prime minister at the time, who was not Princess LuckyGirl‘s elder brother Thaksin the Terrible (3T) proposed legalization of gambling, (restricting the number of casino’s in BKK to five). He announced that he intends to give the Thai people their right to gamble if it is the last thing he did. Gambling was not legalized. He soon died of cancer.

Rumor has it the casino’s were to be awarded to 3T or friends of 3T or relatives or whatever.

e. Red Villages: The newspapers report that several hundred “red villages,” villages populated by “Red Shirt” members have been created in Northern Thailand.

What does this mean? Are they like new subdivisions? Why would anyone move there?

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The afternoon Monsoon rains still drench the country flooding much of it.

During the Monsoon season, a series of low pressure areas stabilize just north of Thailand and I guess most of South Asia. The lows act on the atmosphere like lower elevation does on water. The warm wet air from the Indian ocean flows over South Asia toward the low pressure areas and drops its moisture as it rises into the mountains. Climate change models conflict as to whether we will see increased rains or movement of the stationary lows producing increasing drought. I suspect seasonal variation simply will be accentuated with more precipitation from the warmer ocean evaporation during the Monsoons and even greater heat and less rainfall during the dry season in the interior.

I continue to plan to come back to the US at the end of this month. It seems that my return through Italy and the East Coast has been cancelled, so I will fly directly from Bangkok to either LA or SF. I have no idea where I will be staying since I have not been made a party to Hayden’s schedule.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Conjecture,” Vince opined. “It is all conjecture. I do not know if I was asked to return because of any perceived abilities I may have or some more nefarious reasons. I have heard both theories. And, while I admit the latter is probably more reasonable, I haven’t the slights idea what the nefarious plot could be — although there have been several bizarre alternatives seriously suggested. For example, does this all have something to do with the reason Sam took his life and his wife died in what to some is a suspicious accident? Or, does it have something to do with “Red Star” or a shadowy group referred to as “The Brethren?”

“Red Star, “interjected The Great One. “That’s the little fraud Sam and the management committee pulled on the rest of the partners, that I and others were furious about and why I tried to get the lot of them thrown out and a new committee elected, but then you came along and simply dispensed with the existing committee. A lot of us believe that you were brought aboard simply to stifle our little rebellion.”

“Do you?”

“Well, to some extent. Not in so many words or even consciously. Let’s face it Vince, you may see yourself as spokesmen for the downtrodden and talk a good game, but no one knows if you have any administrative skills whatsoever. You remind me a bit of Hamlet. You cannot act unless you are sure beyond a doubt.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence. But even Hamlet once he was sure, acted decisively.”

“Yes, and everyone died. That’s what worries me.” She hesitated a moment then continued, “But, Red Star, is there more there than just stealing some profits from the other partners? There’s a rumor that the Federal Government is investigating.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Where did that come from?

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery. If you had to do this to survive you were “PISS POOR,” but worse than that were the really poor folk, who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot, they “DIDN’T HAVE A POT TO PISS IN” and were the lowest of the low.
The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

b. Department of, “I could not resist passing this on”:

It was reported last week by the Military Times that Marines are no longer allowed to fart in Afghanistan, as this is considered very offensive by the Afghan people.

For those of you interested in gaseous digestive residue, attached is one of America’s founding fathers’ take on the matter:

“Permit me then humbly to propose one of that sort for your consideration, and through you, if you approve it, for the serious Enquiry of learned Physicians, Chemists, etc. of this enlightened Age.

“It is universally well known, That in digesting our common Food, there is created or produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great Quantity of Wind.

“That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the Atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid Smell that accompanies it.

“That all well-bred People therefore, to avoid giving such Offence, forcibly restrain the Efforts of Nature to discharge that Wind.

“That so retained contrary to Nature, it not only gives frequently great present Pain, but occasions future Disease, such as habitual Cholics, Ruptures, Tympanies, &c., often destructive of the Constitution, & sometimes of Life itself.

“Were it not for the odiously Offensive smell accompanying such Escapes, polite People would probably be under no more Restraint in discharging such Wind in Company, than they are spitting, or in blowing their Noses.

“My Prize Question therefore should be, To discover some Drug wholesome and not disagreeable, to be mixed with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the Natural Discharges, of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreeable as Perfumes.

“That this is not a chimerical Project, and altogether impossible, may appear from these Considerations. That we already have some Knowledge of Means capable of Varying that Smell. He that dines on stale Flesh, especially with much addition of Onions, shall be able to afford a Stink that no Company can tolerate; while he that has lived for some Time on Vegetables only, shall have that Breath so pure as to be insensible to the most delicate Noses; and if he can manage so as to avoid the Report, he may any where give Vent to his Griefs, unnoticed. But as there are many to whom an entire Vegetable Diet would be inconvenient, and as a little Quick-Lime thrown into a Jakes will correct the amazing Quantity of fetid air arising from the vast mass of putrid Matter contained in such Places, and render it rather pleasing to the Smell, who knows but that a little Powder of Lime (or some other thing equivalent) taken in our Food, or perhaps a Glass of Limewater drank at Dinner, may have the same Effect on the Air produced in and issuing from our Bowels? This is worth the Experiment.

“Certain it is also that we have the Power of changing by slight Means the Smell of another Discharge, that of our Water. A few Stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreeable Odour; and a Pill of Turpentine no bigger than a Pea, shall bestow on it the pleasing Smell of Violets. And why should it be thought more impossible in Nature, to find Means of making a Perfume of our Wind than of our Water?

“For the Encouragement of this Enquiry (from the immortal Honour to be reasonably expected by the Inventor), let it be reasonably considered of how small Importance of Mankind, or to how small a Part of Mankind have been useful those Discoveries in Science that have heretofore made Philosophers famous. Are there twenty Men in Europe at this Day, the happier, or even the easier, for any Knowledge they have picked out of Aristotle? What comfort can the Vortices of Descartes give to a Man who has Whirlwinds in his Bowels? The Knowledge of Newton’s Mutual Attraction of the Particles of Matter, can it afford Ease to him who is racked by their mutual Repulsion, and the cruel Distensions it occasions? The Pleasure arising to a few Philosophers, from seeing, a few Times in their Life, the Threads of Light untwisted, and separated by the Newtonian Prism into seven Colours, can it be compared with the Ease and Comfort every Man living might feel seven times a Day, by discharging freely the Wind from his Bowels? Especially if it be converted into a Perfume: For the Pleasures of one Sense being little inferior to those of another, instead of pleasing the Sight he might delight the Smell of those about him, & make Numbers happy, which to a benevolent Mind must afford infinite Satisfaction. The generous Soul, who now endeavours to find out whether the Friends he entertains like best Claret or Burgundy, Champagne or Madeira, would then enquire also whether they chose Musk or Lilly, Rose or Bergamot, and provide accordingly. And surely such a Liberty of Expressing one’s Scent-iments , and pleasing one another, is of infinitely more Importance to human Happiness than that Liberty of the Press, or of abusing one another, which the English are so ready to fight & die for.

“In short, this Invention, if compleated, would be, as Bacon expresses it, bringing Philosophy home to Men’s Business and Bosoms. And I cannot but conclude, that in Comparison therewith, for universal and continual Utility, the Science of the Philosophers abovementioned, even with the Addition, Gentlemen, of your “Figure quelconque” and the Figures inscribed in it, are, all together, scarcely worth a FARThing.”

Ben Franklin, presentation to the Royal Collage.

c. What Adam Smith really said:

“The government of an exclusive company of merchants is, perhaps, the worst of all governments for any country whatever.”
Adam Smith. The Wealth of Nations Book IV, Chapter VII, Part II, p. 615]

d. Testosterone Chronicles:

“A few years of big profits from risky derivative bets drove Wall Street traders crazy from testosterone poisoning. So it’s not really alpha males who blew up the global economy, it’s just a bunch of guys who overdosed on naturally produced steroids.”
Andrew Leonard, How Testosterone Poisoning Wrecked the Economy, SALON 5/19/2009.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Barbara Stanwyck: “We’re both rotten!”

Fred MacMurray: “Yeah – only you’re a little more rotten.”
Double Indemnity (1944)

TODAY’S CHART:

Is God punishing Texas? It’s about time.

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 1, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

When I abandoned the seven or eight containers of the stuff I had accumulated over the years before setting out with a single suitcase for Thailand, I was especially saddened about my loss of some things like artworks, collections, photographs and things like that. It was not the first time I had left everything behind and set out for a new life or to a new continent. All I could salvage were a few things that fit into an outside pocket of my suitcase; my daughters PhD thesis, a photograph or two, Fred Harris for President Handbook that I drafted during his presidential campaign in the mid 70s and two diaries from the early 60’s.

I do not know how these diaries survived my many migrations, but they did, always lying a few feet from my bed, unread and unopened but for a moment or two every decade or so. Last night I opened them again. I was looking for something I thought I had written in these diaries, but it was probably in a third diary that was lost in the latest move. The remaining two were paper back book sized, one with a red cover and one with brown. They dated from 1963 and 1964, my first two years in law school and mainly recorded my anxiety with school and my relationship with the woman who became my first wife. They are mostly embarrassing, at times amusing and now and then poignant. Since I have grown bored with most of the subjects I write about and after all, this whole thing is nothing more than a strange extended memoir, I decided to include some excerpts.

The first is a weather report dated Wednesday April 15, 1964:

“Today’s weather: It did not snow.”

On April 26, 1963, I recorded part of a letter written by a young english woman, Val, to her room-mate Maria who remained living in New York after Val returned to England. Val and Maria had worked one summer at my uncle’s restaurant on Cape Cod. I met them there and we became close friends. They moved to New York City where they roomed together until Val left.

“Joe was there with flowers. He more than anything else made me sad in leaving America. He personified all that was good and fun and enjoyable in America.”

I liked reading it then and I like reading it now.

March 20, 1964. I had recently begun clerking at the then prestigious Wall Street Law firm of White and Case, a firm that at that time I would be unable to join as an attorney after I graduated law school because of my ethnic background and religion and even if I could, I could never hope to become a partner. Thirty years later, the firm had become just another big law firm struggling to compete with hundreds of others, many larger and more effective and with fewer barriers to entry. They were struggling. By then, I had a sizable book of business and they begged me to join them as a partner.

“I met Mr. Mannix (a senior partner) at work today. He is very pleasant and made me feel very relaxed. He walks with a limp and has a daughter named “Dee-Dee.”
I feel miserable and lonely.
The Telephone Company is going to cut off my service.
My studies are going poorly.
I have no money left.
I took everything out on poor Jeanne (my then girlfriend and future first wife).
My feet smell.”

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. We are all “other” now:

A few days ago Nepal authorized the gender identification options on all official documents to include, Male, Female and Other.

Why do we need classifications for race, gender, nationality and the like? If you are an individual and other individuals have rights, you should also have the same rights as they do.

2. But you do not understand…:

A few months ago I mentioned the Thai Transportation Secretary whose house was burgled of over $600,000 dollars of unaccounted for cash (rumors circulated that the actual amount may have been more that 5 times what was reported). The minister originally claimed only about $100,000 was stolen. When it was revealed that it was much more than that, the minister explained that it was money his daughter received from her father in law as a wedding present that was in his possession for safe keeping. It was also revealed that his ministry recently awarded a substantial contract accompanied by rumors of large sums of lubrication (tea, in Thai) money received by unknown parties.

Well, the government now has seized the money (already in their possession) pending charges that the minister was “unusually wealthy.” The minister resigned his position following the governments action.

A law against “unusual wealth;” wouldn’t you like that here? Once a year those with sudden increases in wealth would be hauled before the court to explain how they did it. This could be a good thing; to really know how they did it. After all, we know from innumerable scientific studies that it has little to do with talent.

3. it is not over until…:

It was reported recently that property values in key cities of the world declined by and average of .4% this past quarter. This is the first decline since the 2008 economic collapse.

It is a pretty good indication that money or wealth continues to disappear from the world economy. The determined insistence of bond holders that their investment expectations not be diminished through inflation or default will inevitably see their expectations crushed by economic collapse. When will they understand? They made a bet. They lost. Accept it. Its time to start over.

4. And it is still not over…:

The general and now member of the Thai legislature that led the coup that ousted prime minister Thaksin the Terrible, exiled fugitive brother of the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl has introduced a bill that, in the name of national reconciliation, will offer unconditional amnesty to all parties involved in the coup and following several years of turmoil. The legislation would allow the exiled Prime Minister Thaksin the Terrible to return to Thailand with all changes and convictions dismissed and his confiscated fortune restored. Those that injured or killed during the Red Shirt protests last tear would also be exonerated. The leader of the opposition party and previous Prime Minister Abhsit the Unready would have all charges pending against him dropped also.

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 06

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abhsit the Unready and his party opposed the amnesty because it would allow Thaksin the Terrible to return to Thailand. The Red Shirts also oppose it because it would allow those accused of killing Red Shirt protestors during the demonstrations a few years ago to go free. Princess LuckyGirl, when asked about her position on the bill said that she had none since it is a legislative matter.

It sort of reminds one of the debt ceiling debate in the US, doesn’t it.

5. Finally…:

According to a report sent to me by Gary, there are more Facebook users in Bangkok than in any other city in the world. According to a BKK based social media commentator, “Facebook in Thailand for many people is the Internet.” “They watch videos, send messages and communicate with friends, play games. It replaces the browser.” He claims that Thais see Facebook as a utility and not as a trend.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. Bankers in religious history:

Scorn for moneymen has a long pedigree. Jesus expelled the money changers from the Temple. Timothy tells us that, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Muhammad banned usury. The Jews referred to interest as neshek—a bite. The Catholic church banned it in 1311. Dante consigned moneylenders to the seventh circle of hell—the one also populated by the inhabitants of Sodom and “other practisers of unnatural vice.”

An economics book used in some fundamentalist christian private high schools in the US holds that the Antichrist — a world ruler predicted in the New Testament — will one day control what is bought and sold.

Does this all mean that the CEO of Morgan Stanley, Jamie Dimon (Demon? Spell check says so.), could be the anti-christ and may practice “unnatural vice?”

B. Tax relief:

Out of the 3.9 million households that reported an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more in 2009, more than 10,000 households paid nothing in taxes, according to a new study from the Internal Revenue Service.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

A recent study of sexuality revealed that adults with Body Modifications (tattoos, piercing) have had their first intercourse statistically earlier and were more sexually active compared with controls. There were no statically significant differences in sexual orientation, sexual preferences, engaging in risky sexual behaviors, frequency of masturbation, and history of sexual abuse between the groups. In contrast, the frequency of sexual intercourse was statistically higher and oral sex was more likely to be a dominant sexual activity in adults with BM compared with controls. The multivariate logistic model revealed that adults with BM were four times less likely to participate in religious practices and twice more likely to have early sexual initiation.

(Source: “Tattoos, Piercing, and Sexual Behaviors in Young Adults” from The Journal of Sexual Medicine.)

What this tells us is that the tattooed guy in the picture below probably had sex before he was old enough to walk and hasn’t been to church since. On the other hand, the woman in the other picture who apparently has neither tattoos nor piercings is actually a Buddhist nun and a virgin.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

A. How Investing Turns Nice People Into Psychopaths, by Lynn Stout

“The problem with the homo economicus theory is that the purely rational, purely selfish person is a functional psychopath. If Economic Man cares nothing for ethics or others’ welfare, he will lie, cheat, steal, even murder, whenever it serves his material interests. Not surprisingly, although homo economicus is alive and well in many economics departments, many experts today prefer to embrace behavioral economics, which relies on data from experiments to see how real people really behave. Behavioral economics confirms something both important and reassuring. Most of us are not conscienceless psychopaths.”

B. by bjou:

“A ‘slut’ is just a sexually confident woman who sleeps with everyone but you.”

TODAY’S CHART:

The interesting thing about this chart is that it shows that almost the entire relative growth of the various sectors in the federal budget over the years is caused by the rise in Medicare and Medicaid costs. I am not sure what that means, although it probably the explosive rise in health care costs in general and Bush’s unfunded mandate for section D coverage had a lot to do with it. On this issue the political debate is between the Republican insistence on reducing benefits and the Democrat preference for controlling escalating medical costs.The Republicans have the political advantage on this issue because Doctors and drug companies make political contributions and the typical user of Medicare and Medicaid does not.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Some photographs from Gary of his friends in Pattaya (The Outskirts of Hell).

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. August 28, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: Asia accounts for over 60% of the world population with almost 3.8 billion people. China and India together have about 40 percent.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. The Adventures of Thaksin the Terrible: Recently during his trip to Japan that has caused a major political row, the exiled fugitive ex Prime Minister of Thailand and brother of the newly elected Prime Minister announced that he had no immediate plans to return to Thailand. “I want to relax and enjoy my life,” he said. Of his involvement in his sister’s new administration he did however acknowledge, “If they need any advice, they just call me.”

2. Division of Labor in Thailand: If it does not require a uniform or  operation of heavy machinery, it is woman’s work.

3. The New Government Takes Over: Under Thai law a newly elected government cannot officially take over until it has presented its plan for governing to the legislature. Usually this plan is little more than the warmed over platitudes and its presentation as uncontroversial as raising the debt limit has been in the United States. But perhaps taking a page from the Republican Party’s political book that nothing is so inconsequential as to become and opportunity to hold the nation at ransom in an effort to bring down the opposition party, the opposition Democrats used the presentation to turn the initial act of the new government into turmoil. However, unlike the supine Democratic Party in the United States, newly installed Pheu Thai Party, fought back and ultimately terminated debate when things appeared to be getting out of hand. The press was upset.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Upon leaving my apartment and the cul-de-sac on which it sits and continuing my daily morning walk to and from the health club, I often pass by local residents going about their business. Today’s Photograph below shows a group of local children playing, as they do the world over, in the mostly traffic free streets of cul-de-sacs. Ok I admit it is more a dead-end street than the refined little stub streets ending in circles that grace the traditional American subdivision to which the marketing departments of the development industry has given it its Frenchified name, so sue me.

Anyway, the photograph shows a very ornate gate shielding one of the few private homes that still exist in Bangkok’s built up urban areas. To the left of the gate and behind the wall shielding the building are two aviaries containing several large raucous birds. Thais seem to prefer birds as pets to the cats and dogs we so famously coddle in the West.

The cinder-block wall with the green plastic sheet on top at the extreme right of the photograph, shields a dozen or so corrugated metal two-story windowless shacks in which, I guess, live the Cambodian and Burmese workers on  construction of the high-rise condominiums steadily marching down the sois from Sukhumvit. I assume the shacks do not have running water because I noticed that in the compound there are two large cement containers separate from the shacks into which water runs and at which I have seen residents bathing and washing clothing.

In the evening some of the residents stand on the steps to the second floor of the shacks smoking, talking or just looking off into the distance. The little masseuse has warned me not to stare at them as I walk by because it could elicit a challenge.

I always wondered about that when I was growing up in my own US East Coast version of a slum. To look someone in the eyes as you passed usually got you a, “Who you looking at?” challenge forcing you either to apologize, run away or accept the challenge. Why the hell couldn’t you look at someone? I thought looking someone in the eye communicated trustworthiness, honesty or blatant fraud. As Naida describes in her wonderful books the Native Americans of California believed it impolite to look directly at someone when speaking to them, which got a lot of them killed. I guess a lot of cultures, especially among the poor have that taboo.

Anyway when as a young boy or teenager when challenged that way I was always too frightened to simply say something clever in response, concerned it would cause the confrontation to escalate. Apology was out of the question since it usually only encouraged them to become more aggressive. I could not run away for fear of embarrassment and that I would be too slow to make a successful escape. And just standing there seemed stupid. So I usually moved toward my challenger preferring to take my thrashing sooner rather than later. To my surprise more often than not that would cause my antagonist to begin talking and my fear if immediate doom would dissipate. But not always, sometimes I would get my ass kicked.

See, this is what I mean when I said in my previous “This and that…” simply the mundane of ones every day surroundings can lead to splendid voyages of the imagination or pitiful reminisces. Here, I just travelled back in time to the terrors of my youth in the slums of New York and I had not even reached the end of the cul-de-sac or the dead-end, whatever.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

This post has gotten too long so I decided to skip this issue of “Red Star”.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Wike’s law of low odd primes — “If the number of experimental treatments is a low odd prime number, then the experimental design is unbalanced and partially confounded.” (Wike, 1973, pp. 192-193).

Wow! That’s good to know. Thank you.

b. From God‘s Mouth to your ears:

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS:

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were three sets of commandments that God supposedly gave to Moses:

A) The first time Moses came down from Mount Sinai with commandments, he merely recited a list (Exodus 20:2-17), which is the version most churches today erroneously call the “Ten Commandments,” although they were not engraved on stone tablets and not called “the ten commandments.”

B) The first set of stone tablets was given to Moses at a subsequent trip up the mountain (Exodus 31:18). In this story, Moses petulantly destroyed those tablets when he saw the people worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:19).

C) So he went back for a replacement. God told Moses: “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” (Exodus 34:1) Here is what was on the replacement tablets (from Exodus 34:14-26):

1) Thou shalt worship no other God.
2) Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
3) The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep.
4) Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
5) Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks.
6) Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the Lord God.
7) Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
8) Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning.
9) The first of the firstfruits of thy land shalt thou bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
10) Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

Keep this in mind next time you are tempted to boil a goat. This list differs, obviously, from the one in Exodus 20 (was God’s memory faulty?), but it is only this list that is called the “Ten Commandments”: “And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” (Exodus 34:28)

c. Testosterone Chronicles:

Recent psychological studies have shown that threats to ones manhood causes significant anxiety in men. On the other hand these same studies indicate that women couldn’t care less if their gender is threatened.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” 
– Nassim Taleb

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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