Posts Tagged With: Thaksin

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Joe 0004 (July 31, 2015)

 

“You will never be the world. Other people will do as they will do and you will have to determine what you will do about that. That is your business.”
Cherryh, C. J. Tracker: A Foreigner Novel (Foreigner series) (p. 206). DAW.

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. A NIGHT IN AMMAN JORDAN:

I decided to fly to Bangkok on Royal Jordanian Airlines with a long stop-over in Amman because of the frisson of excitement in flying near a war zone, the price and the long layover that I thought would allow me to spend a few hours in the city, having dinner and viewing some of the sights. When I arrived the complications of finding my way through the airport, customs and transportation forced me to give up that plan. However, behind transfer desk a man informed told me that the airline allowed me to spend the layover at the local Marriott for free including a meal. “No tips,” he added. I surmised that that was an invitation for baksheesh discussions.

The hotel was about three or four miles from the airport and stood alone in the desert. The sun was still shining and I could see what I thought was the outskirts of Amman on the horizon. Everything else was low sand dunes traversed by a couple of roads. The desert had a slight floral scent that differed from the woody scent of the deserts in the American southwest. I had a first class room, a good meal a shower and a welcome sleep. I even enjoyed the baksheesh negotiations.

I took no photographs, alas. However knowing that some of you prefer the pictures to the writing, I have included a photo of Dubai from the air. Dubai was my alternative layover to Amman. I’m happy with my choice.
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Perhaps on my next trip, I will spend an extra day or two in Amman and visit Petra — another bucket list item.

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

My last few posts were more or less a travelogue in two to three sentence bites. No matter how I tried to alter the chronology or slip in irrelevant stories, the travel through a place or between places remained foremost.

Bangkok, however, is my home (at least one of them for the time being), and no matter how exotic it may or may not be, the place becomes mere background to my daily experiences. I eat, sleep, exercise and so on. Every now and then as I go about my day something I see or experience interests me, but rarely temples, art or ceremonies.
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For example, I took HRM to the Aquarium in the basement of the Paragon Shopping Center.
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Another day we went to a snow park.
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A few days ago I met at Donut World with the old sailor and his friend an economist for coffee, donuts, and talk. The economist had just had his prostate removed. We, despite the camaraderie, looked at each other through the frightened hollow eyes of those who finally realize the last roundup is near to hand.

The old sailor has been a professional deep sea diver, a sailor, a treasure hunter and perhaps a pirate. He keeps two dead bodies in his locker at the health club (at least their ashes which he, at the deceased’s request, spreads in their favorite bars and houses of ill repute around the world). HRM spent a pleasant morning looking at photographs of the old sailors career.

I have two new shirts now. One primarily white I consider my day and formal summer outfit. The other, a Tommy Bahama design given to me by Nikki who bought it in China, is my night and formal winter attire.
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I live by one of Bangkok’s major tourist attractions, Nana Plaza. At lot of things go on there that the government denies
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This is a photograph of Soi Nana. I live at the other end of the street. Nana Plaza is on the left.
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Looking in the opposite direction across Sukhumvit Road is Arab Town.
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It looks a lot like Soi Nana until you get close. A lot of Bangkok is like that.
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Sometimes I vary my walk to the Health Club by going down an alley.
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The health club has a new manager. He comes from Australia. He promises to make the place one of the premier health clubs in the city. In the meantime for the past three weeks, he cannot make up his mind as to whether members are to be allotted one or two towels per day.

On most days, I have breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, Foodland and then walk through the dark little alley to the health club. The alley now has a bar catering to Africans. It is loud and cramped. Not to be outdone the Burmese bar next door has turned up the volume of the music. Everyone is dancing as I try to squeeze through the gyrating bodies and grasping hands.
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When one is living in a place and retired like me, almost anything that breaks the routine I can find interesting. Today we spent five hours at a local university dental school mostly observing the wonderfully bizarre procedures that needed to be completed before I could have my teeth cleaned. After that, we had a foot massage. I then went back to the apartment and took a nap.
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At the university pointing at something.

Tomorrow I go to Paradise by the Sea one mile from the Outskirts of Hell for a reunion of the Geriatric Knights of the Oval Table at a place called Heaven or maybe not since Heaven was busted by the Thai cops a few weeks ago.

We stayed where we usually stay at a small hotel called “Bamboo” because of the bamboo plants in front of the place that have overgrown their planter pots. It was started a few years ago by a German Gay couple and seems to be the best-maintained hotel on the block. The Little Masseuse (now retired) managed to negotiate the price down from $30 a night to 20 by pleading that I was not a rich old American, but a poor sick old man. As proof, she argued that I must be poor for hanging out with an unattractive sixty plus year old lady like her instead of a beautiful 30-year-old. She still thought it was too much to pay for a room and urged my to stay at a place $8 cheaper where you had to sleep on the floor. I told her my current penury is not such that I must descend to that level of discomfort. She believes paying more than $1.50 for dinner is irresponsible.
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That night the Good/Bad David, Bill G., a young attorney from Bill’s firm who had never visited Thailand before, Dennis and I strolled along the Walking Street in the Outskirts of Hell where we ran into HRM, his mom, her latest financier, and their driver. I took HRM to the Muay Thai fights a little way along the street where one of his favorite fighters was performing.
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HRM scores a punch and a kick on the champion.

After seeing off HRM and his entourage, Bill and his crew and I visited one of his GoGo bars on Soi Six. I left early leaving the others enjoying themselves. I felt too depressed at my age and circumstances to get into the swing of things and was embarrassed. I need to up my dosage of happy pills.
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During the mornings at daybreak, we walk along the beach for exercise and to observe all the dead things and sodden plastic flotsam that littered the beach before the beach chair concessionaires swept the detritus back into the gulf. Many young Thais frolicked along the shore taking pictures of one another or jumping fully clothed into the waves. Thais prefer the beach before or after the sun makes it only suitable for western tourists to be out.
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Later we toured some of the competitors to Dennis and Bill’s clubs — not very exciting. If you are in the Pattaya-Jomtien Beach area, however, I urge you to visit “Heaven” at Soi 11 Kasetsin, Cosy Beach Pratamnak. Tell Tina who will greet you, that I sent you. The other place you may want to visit is Winchester. It is owned by Bill and Dennis.

One evening David, LM (now retired) and I had a pretty good pizza and cannelloni at an Italian restaurant in the Jomtien Complex that is also the gay area of Jomtien Beach. It is called “Da Nicola.” The owners were from the area of Sicily my family comes from. When they learned my family comes from Canicatti, they promptly declared that the best wine in Sicily comes from there.

Upon returning to Bangkok and resuming my life there, I saw that the dark alley containing the bars that I walk through after breakfast on my way to the Health Club has been mostly torn down. It was explained to me that it was done to make it better. I could not help but notice the section removed was the portion containing the bars catering to Africans and Burmese.
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One day the Thais celebrated the Prince’s birthday. Over the years, the much married royal seemed to be universally loathed. Rumors of the murder of his many mistresses and overall behavior abounded among the population of the country. But with the impending death of the much beloved King, the Prince’s birthday was a useful moment to rehabilitate him with a televised ceremony fit for a god which he did not attend but instead was represented by a 10 story photograph before which the great and near-great of the country sung his praises and lit an immense number of candles. In my apartment LM (now retired) lit a cantle and stood in front of the television reverently holding it in her hands for the entire hour-long ceremony.
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Dick arrived and HRM and I accompanied him to visit the aviary in the hotel that also encompasses the health club.
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And so my trip slowly cam to an end. A movie with HRM and LM (now retired), a delightful lunch with Gary, swimming almost every day, lots of naps and finally the struggle to pack and get to the airport.
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C. WHAT I THINK ABOUT WHEN I AM BORED:

I am a great supporter of gay marriage or marriage between members of the same sex even if they are not gay. I believe it is superior to so-called traditional marriage. Think about it. A woman and a man get married often because after a few days of passion they believe their affection will last forever and that this qualifies them to have and raise the next generation. What usually happens in short order, however, is they begin arguing over just about everything including how to raise the kids, while the kids usually have no idea why they are squabbling since most kids find their ordinary days just fine. In about 50% of the cases the loving parents divorce (or even worse not) and the kid grows fucked up anyway.

In my case, my parents argued all the time. I never could figure out why most of the time. After they argued, my father would get drunk for a while and my mom would find a reason to hit me with a wooden spoon (I was Italian-American after all). I think that is the cause of my problems with women. I always looked for a woman who could cook like my mother, wash and clean and now and then beat me with a wooden spoon. I could manage to connect with women quite willing to beat me with a symbolic wooden spoon, but they usually balked at the cooking and cleaning.

But I digress. Gay marriages need not run into this problem as much as traditional marriages do. After all, what’s marriage but a contract that sets out the economic rights and duties of the parties. This is important especially for those rich enough to afford a prenup but too stupid to get one.

Some believe marriage is necessary to procreate and raise children. In this age of rent a womb and the purchase of the hot semen of the body type and mental acuity of choice, procreation seems more a question of cost than who one procreates with.

I’ve always been wary of designer progeny. For example, imagine a bright guy with a lot of money but lacking in physical prowess and comely features. In the hopes that his children will be beautiful, athletic and bright, he searches for a zaftig beautiful woman athlete empty headed enough to marry him. But, it is probably just as likely the kids will be a scrawny idiot as anything else. It would be the same with the brilliant woman captain of industry who beds the ripped pool boy only to find that his mind was also ripped with muscle instead of neurons.

But I digress again. You see, men and women living together can never understand each other. They are like a separate species who in the long run irritate each other to the detriment of their children. That’s probably why so many of us are fucked-up.

Assume two guys, they do not even have to be gay but they are best buds, like the Thunder Buddies, Ted and John. They like to hang out together on the sofa watching football drinking beer, farting, and scratching their crotch. One day they decide to get married to each other in order to take advantage of retirement or death benefits and also raise some kids produced through some rent a womb internet site. They probably happily live together farting and scratching, rarely fighting while teaching their kids to joyfully fart, scratch and watch football. Or, on the gay queen end of the spectrum, the couple could raise their kids gleefully painting their toenails and applying perfect mascara or whatever else it is they are into.

As for two women marrying, even Thelma and Louise when they drove off that cliff could have benefited by a marriage license should one of them have survived the fall. Two women who marry could rent a stud and raise their children to paint their toenails and apply perfect mascara or whatever. Or on the bull dike end of the spectrum teach them to fart, scratch their crotch and watch football on television. They all probably will be content and so will the kids.

Of course, then we will be raising two types of people, those who like to paint their toenails and apply perfect mascara and those who like to fart and scratch their crotch. Unfortunately, I fear soon someone will start a new religion, or go on Fox News and argue it is bad for the nation that one group of happy tykes likes mascara and painted toenails and another farting and scratching and that marriage should be limited to one parent who likes one and another who likes the other so that the children can receive the full experience of being human.
D. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

The recent drought in Thailand has wrought havoc with the nations rice crop prompting the country’s Prime Minister to suggest the distressed farmers rely less on water-dependent crops like rice and plant more profitable crops that use less water, like a herb that he heard promotes male virility.

I few weeks later, this same worthy announced farmers were to be cut off from government controlled water supplies in favor of urban uses. He also announced the drought will end next month and the farmers who are not growing male virility herbs can again begin growing food for the nation. He later recommended that those who have water voluntarily share it with those who do not. He almost sounds like he is running for the US Republican Presidential nomination. I should be more careful, statements like the last one could get me arrested here.

Recently Wikileaks reported that Thailand was among the countries who purchased eavesdropping equipment allowing it to spy on its citizens. This same unelected but self-described democratically popular leader denied the report but added, that the nation’s citizens and others have nothing to fear if they are not doing something illegal. Something illegal includes criticism of the nations leaders or their actions.

The proposed new Thai Constitution would make it illegal and unconstitutional for legislators and the public to object to any project included in any five-year development plan established and adopted by a commission of non-elected political appointees.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Frank Capra, the famous Italian-American movie director, during WWII, directed a number of propaganda films for the United States Military under the general title of “Why we Fight.” Shortly after the war, he directed, on behalf of the US Signal Corps a short movie entitled, “Your Job in Germany,” in which he cautions American Servicemen about fraternization with the German populace in violation of international agreements among the victorious allies.

Now, I am not here to apologize for Capra’s rampant misguided conservatism or the “bitter and angry” anti-German tenor of the film, but given the recent events regarding the German government’s aggressive and implacable attitude on behalf of the German banking establishment against the ordinary people of Greece, even to the point of violating the fundamental doctrine of neo-liberal economics that both sides of a commercial agreement should bear the risks without governmental interference, perhaps another look at the film is warranted.

Capra, in the film, reminds us of Germany’s repeated aggressions — first in 1870 under “Otto von Bismarck,” then in 1914 under “Kaiser Wilhelm II,” and finally in 1939 under “Adolf Hitler.” Each time before the aggression commenced he points out through extensive flashbacks and newsreels the German people were portrayed as industrious, fun-loving, dancing and singing and full of good cheer. Well, once again the German people are happy and perhaps are singing and dancing also.

Capra was clearly wrong in attributing to the people as a whole responsibility for repeatedly following the siren call of their ruling classes, whether Junker, Nazi or modern Banker. Clearly those ruling classes appear to have learned by now that the road to lebensraum may not lie through the barrel of a gun but perhaps more effectively through one-sided agreements, enforced by non-elected international bureaucrats where the non-German, the non-Banker and the poor bear all the risks flowing from the failure of a commercial contract.

Arguments have been made that in the previous cases had the other great powers (or even one other) resisted the slide into a shooting war much pain and suffering could have been avoided. Alas, once again the shortsightedness of big power politics (for example, the US worry about Russia requires it to weigh allowing Germany free rein in Europe against the risk of losing their support for US policies confronting supposed Russia aggression) may only make things worse — until it is too late.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“I define democracy as majority rule and minority rights. Of these the second is more important than the first. There are many despotisms which have majority rule. Hitler held plebiscites in which he obtained over 92 percent of the vote, and most of the people who were qualified to vote did vote. I think that in China today a majority of the people support the government, but China is certainly not a democracy.”
THE MYTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
Carroll Quigley presentation to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces on August 17, 1972.

B. Xander’s Perceptions:

“It sickens and infuriates me to see the cynical hypocrisy of conservatives. And yesterday I heard that Social Security Disability payments could be cut 19% by the GOP-controlled Congress. The funding will run out next year, and there is an impasse between Democrats and the GOP. Obama has been all too willing to cave in on such negotiations, but if the 10.9 million people who will lose on average $190 a month — this, for people like me who HAVE no other income, no means of other support, and no ability to do so — if this happens right before the 2016 elections, the GOP could end up like the Whig Party . . . in the political graveyard with other assholes, like the Know Nothings (which the GOP should be called!).”

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

1. Government protection of investors.

“Government shielding of investors wealth from full liability for the actions of a corporation violates a fundamental tenet of neo-liberal economic theory and makes almost everything it rationalizes invalid. Until investors in commercial enterprises are forced to protect their wealth through the purchase of insurance as they did before the government created the state enterprises we call corporations, neo-liberal economic analysis is substantially flawed.”

2. Political Correctness.

“I think political correctness has gone too far. After all. what could be offensive about calling Jesus Christ a gay fish monger?”

D. Today’s Poem:

Endless daze, sweaty nights

Long night until morning,
Dream breasted, shadow stalked.
Arid lips salt sweated.
Laughter dreams and horror
Dawn faded long ago.
Dreamless sleep’s dark nightmare
Now haunts our withered days.

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: July through September 2015, Uncategorized | 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. 33 Pops 0001 (September 17, 2012)

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” 

Frederic Bastiat

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

After spending the night at my sister’s house in Berkley, we visited my mom and took her out for lunch in North Beach. This was the first time, despite her 94 years, that she appeared truly old, depressed and lonely.

The next two days I visited with my son and his family. I got my quarterly dose of reality TV. This time I watched something about living in Alaska. I got to see men (almost always men) trapping and killing animals; in this case beavers and a lynx. We got to see the lynx with its foot caught in a trap struggle to break free. After they dispatched the creature we were entertained by the hunters skinning and eating it. I fully understand the need of those living in remote areas to hunt and trap game, but how broadcasting the vicarious experience to overweight, indolent couch potatoes (like me) can be considered entertainment escapes me.

On the next day, I got to watch 22 overgrown men (always men) beat up on each other in an effort to push the inflated swine skin over an arbitrary chalk drawn line. Unlike the prior evening, I considered this great entertainment. As I am sure most of you already know the SF 49rs defeated the Green Bay Packers. Go Niners!

After the game I spent the rest of the afternoon in the park with Amanda my granddaughter.

Early Monday morning, I returned to Sacramento. While riding the J-Church to the train station, I contemplated my contribution to the transformation of the happy-go-lucky child that was my son into an angry and unhappy adult. So there I was that morning, just another old man sitting on the trolley before sunrise with tears in his eyes. Less so because of what has been and the pain it has caused but because we know that tomorrow will come and the tears if not forgotten will be added to the increasingly heavy burden of unresolved guilt.

The next day I bought a copy of the new novel about the Kennedy assassination by that Shakespeare of digression, Steven King. Never has a writer written so much so well about things that have nothing to do with the plot than King. He was far less verbose as a stoned alcoholic. Beware of writers in AA.

On the other hand Sheldon Siegel, a much less tiresome author has a new book out, The Terrorist Within. I look forward to reading it. As far as I know Sheldon is not in AA.

I spent the week back in Sacramento mostly as a chauffeur. When not driving various people around, I spent time preparing the responses to discovery requests in the custody litigation and finalizing the new post for the Smart&Connected blog.

At the end of the week my sister told me that she had met with a company that, on behalf of international organizations like The World Bank and various large foundations, advises and assists non-profits on social media issues. One of the managers knew about the Coastal Conservancy and had a very favorable opinion of it. Since I will be leaving California in about two weeks, I decided to spend the weekend following up on this. It will also give me an opportunity to visit with my family and Peter one last time before I depart.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Conservatives are right, Liberals control the media and everything else.

A study reported in Psychology Today, on which I commentated a few posts back, pointed out that in general conservatives are less intelligent than Liberals. It goes on to state:

Conservatives often complain that liberals control the media or the show business or the academia or some other social institutions. The Hypothesis explains why conservatives are correct in their complaints. Liberals do control the media, or the show business, or the academia, among other institutions, because, apart from a few areas in life (such as business) where countervailing circumstances may prevail, liberals control all institutions. They control the institutions because liberals are on average more intelligent than conservatives and thus they are more likely to attain the highest status in any area of (evolutionarily novel) modern life.

(OMG, the Right is…well, right. Life is a Left-wing conspiracy.)

2. “We will never have the élite, smart people on our side.”
Rick Santorum

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A few posts ago I wrote about the coming election as perhaps the last hurrah for the white male ascendency in American politics. Today in an article by Gary Younge quoted in Daily Kos, he confirms the situation (Note the quote by a Republican strategist that I underlined):

“This could be the final hurrah for what became known as Nixon’s southern strategy in what is shaping up to be the most racially polarized election ever. Black support for the Republican party literally cannot get any lower. A recent Wall Street Journal poll had 0% of African-Americans saying they intend to vote for Romney. At 32%, support among Latinos is higher but still remains pathetically low given what Republicans need to win (40%) and what they have had in the past — in 2004 George W. Bush won 44%. As a result, the party of Lincoln is increasingly dependent on just one section of the electorate — white people. To win, Romney needs 61% of the white vote from a white turnout of 74%. That’s a lot. In 2008, John McCain got 55% from the same turnout. “This is the last time anyone will try to do this,” one Republican strategist told the National Journal. And Republican consultant Ana Navarro told the Los Angeles Times: “Where his numbers are right now, we should be pressing the panic button.” […]”

(In my last post I quoted the following:

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among white males without college degree fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.”

I feel sad for these men; deluded by their history of ascendency over women of their class and other minorities, lied to by their political and religious leaders and misused by their employers, they have been misled to believe their ever so slight social standing was theirs by right and not earned by effort.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
why-have-we-developed-such-income-inequality-in-part-because-the-average-hourly-earnings-in-this-country-havent-grown-in-50-years.jpg
B. Electioneering:

“Obama ran on ‘change’ in 2008, but Mitt Romney represents a far more real and seismic shift in the American landscape. Romney is the frontman and apostle of an economic revolution, in which transactions are manufactured instead of products, wealth is generated without accompanying prosperity, and Cayman Islands partnerships are lovingly erected and nurtured while American communities fall apart. The entire purpose of the business model that Romney helped pioneer is to move money into the archipelago from the places outside it, using massive amounts of taxpayer-subsidized debt to enrich a handful of billionaires. It’s a vision of society that’s crazy, vicious and almost unbelievably selfish, yet it’s running for president, and it has a chance of winning.”
— Matt Taibbi, Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, Rolling Stone, August 29, 2012.

(Taibbi is a political polemicist who writes well. Although his basic facts are often correct, sometimes his rhetoric can be misleading. Romney may very well be considered a child of the conflict between manufacturers of transactions and manufacturers of products he was never a “pioneer.” The conflict, such as it is, has been going on for one hundred years or more.

The first break between the manufacturers of transactions, “transactionists” (In a broader context sometimes included among those referred to in classical economic literature as “rentiers”) and manufacturers of products occurred in the 1920s as they, the transactionists sought to obtain full partnership and ultimately dominate political and economic decision-making of society for their benefit. It brought on the Great Depression. Due to the New Deal’s emphasis on manufacturing, production and product development, the transactionists were reduced again to merely wealthy and fiscally conservative transaction managers for industrialists.

By the late 1970s and early 1980s they emerged again, but this time even the manufacturers of products were their enemies as they drove traditional manufacturing beyond our shores and persuaded the gullible and unwary that wealth accumulation does not require any products other than the transactions themselves.

Mitt was little more than a bench warmer on a very politically successful team.)

D. BOKONONISM – CALYPSOS:

The Fourteenth Calypso
When I was young
I was so gay and mean,
And I drank and chased the girls
Just like young St. Augustine.
Saint Augustine,
He got to be a saint.
So, if I get to be one, also,
Please. Mama, don’t you faint.

The Fifty-third Calypso
Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park,
And a lion-hunter
In the jungle dark,
And a Chinese dentist,
And a British queen–
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice–
So many different people
In the same device.

The Hundred-and-nineteenth Calypso
“Where’s my good old gang done gone?”
I heard a man say.
I whispered in that sad man’s ear,
“Your gang’s done gone away.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
TODAY’S CHART:
voting-infographic

(While this chart may contain interesting information, it is not very helpful. The presidential election, because of the electoral college system will be decided by the nature of the turnout primarily in Ohio. Without Ohio (and perhaps Florida) Romney probably cannot win . Obama on the other hand has a number of ways to put together 270 electoral votes required to prevail.

Control of Congress will depend more upon the number of women and minorities living in so-called competitive districts. If the district (or State) lacks minority voters in the percentages described the Republican will in most cases prevail.

Note: except for perhaps Florida the turnout percentage differences between men and women will remain constant. However the numbers of minorities varies greatly from district to district and state to state.)

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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Categories: July through September 2012 | 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. 31 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 15, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. Waiting for the Queen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Hayden

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

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

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

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Gaga over Rolex:

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

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

2. Your morning coffee:

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

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

3. So Gay:

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

This passes for news in Singapore.

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Graphic unavailable at this time.

 

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

B. Terry Petrillo on her 94th birthday:

Terry accompanied by her daughter MaryAnn.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Your elected representatives at work for you:

For this you elect them and pay them too.

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

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

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

TODAY’S CHART:

 

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

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

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

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. Political leaders then and now:

Then:

“It’s time America realized that there is no gay exemption in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence.”
~Barry Goldwater

Now:

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

2. Democrat behaves badly:

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

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

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

Happy now?

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. Education matters:

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

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

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

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. American are not as wealthy as they think:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

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

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

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

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

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Old man memories; Donald Lundy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

GEOMAGNETIC REVERSAL

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

Danger sign: Electronics stop working.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

e. The difference between Americans and Europeans :

Americans are more likely to believe in unilateral military intervention.

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S CHART:


TODAY’S CARTOON:

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

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. Theodore Roosevelt, Populist Republican President:

“The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows. That is what you fought for in the Civil War, and that is what we strive for now.”

2. David Frum, Republican political strategist attempting to save the party from itself.

“This past summer, the GOP nearly forced America to the verge of default just to score a point in a budget debate. In the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Depression, Republican politicians demand massive budget cuts and shrug off the concerns of the unemployed. In the face of evidence of dwindling upward mobility and long-stagnating middle-class wages, my party’s economic ideas sometimes seem to have shrunk to just one: more tax cuts for the very highest earners.”

3. Ruth Porat, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley, a member of the 1% urges and a Republican:

“The wealthiest can afford to pay more in taxes. That’s a part of the deal. That makes sense. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t agree with that. The wealth disparity between the lowest and the highest continues to expand, and that’s inappropriate.We cannot cut our way to greatness.”


TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

1. September 2011:,

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, more Americans than last year believe the world is warming and the change is likely influenced by the Republican presidential debates. The percentage of Americans who believe the Earth has been warming rose to 83 percent from 75 percent last year in the poll conducted Sept 8-12.

Now a new Pew poll provides further support for that finding. From 2009 to 2011, the percentage of moderate or liberal Republicans who say there is “solid evidence” the earth is warming jumped 22 percentage points, from 41% to 63% — 15 percentage points just since last year (from 48 to 63).

See, who said Republicans can’t learn? They simply might, however, be just a bit slow. Unfortunately, their elected officials seem a lot slower than their base.

2. Education matters:

Careers that require at least mid level skills or higher will grow faster.

3. China has 64 million empty apartments.


TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. Thailand, Flood Aftermath:

As the flood water recedes and the clean-up gets under-weigh, proposals for dealing with future flooding abound. Almost all, if not all, imply continued development of the flood plain, which the King warned against two decades ago. Each of these proposals seek to handle future water flow from storms similar to those recently experienced. Without getting into the impacts of climate change or the ongoing debate over whether the recent floods were 100 year or 1000 year floods and whether it is cost effective to size your infrastructure to handle something that only occurs every century, no proposal that I have seen so far accounts for future development of the flood plain, but instead ignores what it makes more possible.

For example, the channels, canals, drainage structures and retaining basins are all proposed to be sized to handle future flooding. But they also allow even more development in the flood plain that would overtime increase the amount of water the infrastructure must handle, undoubtedly overwhelming them. Developers are proposing projects in which cement walls built to a hight of a certain level of flooding (significantly less than that recently experienced) surround the homes. Since these would be built in the flood plain, the result would be higher and more sever flooding because the water would have less area to spread out into.

The only way to avoid this is either to prohibit future building in the flood plain, which is impossible, or require all structures be built, as they have been traditionally, on stilts leaving the ground level free for water flow and drainage. Any impervious surface necessary would have to be compensated for with something like a drainage ditch of equal size as that covered by the impervious layer and dug down to a depth of one or two meters and filled with permeable material so that future flood water can be held and drained into the subsoil. This won’t happen either.

2. Thailand, petrol:

Thailand has ordered the use of petrol (for cooking primarily) phased out in one year and  replaced by ethanol produced from sugar plants. The petrol companies support the move, so do the sugar growers.

3. Thailand, pardons:

In honor of the his birthday The King has pardoned 26,000 inmates, but not Thaksin the Terrible who nevertheless remains at large.

4. Thailand, cuisine:

The number of Mr Donut stores in Thailand are expected to double in five years.

5. America:

According to Felix Salmon, without the Fed and the Treasury, the shareholders of every single money-center bank and shadow bank in the United States would have gone bust. He adds that he does not understand why officials from the Fed and the Treasury keep telling him that the US couldn’t or shouldn’t have profited immensely from its TARP and other loans to banks. Somebody owns that equity value right now. It’s not the government. But when the chips were down it was the government that bore the risk. That’s what a lender of last resort does. That’s why Bagehot’s rule is to lend freely but at a penalty rate. The bankers should not profit from the fact that they were over leveraged, and compelled the government to act as a lender of last resort.

6. American weather disasters:

America suffered a record 12 weather disasters this year that each caused at least $1 billion in damage.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Today December 5 is the Birthday of The King of Thailand, King Bhumibol. It is the end of the seventh 12 year cycle of his life which makes it special. It is also poignant for many Thais because the precarious nature of The King‘s health may mean it is possibly his last birthday celebration.

Although the celebration lasts for about a week, on his birthday itself a grand festival was held near the palace with 100s of thousands of people attending, fireworks throughout the city, interminable speeches by politicians and endless chanting by 100s of monks. Also there was a short speech by the obviously very ill monarch where he asked everyone to behave themselves.

As Kings go, Bhumibol in my opinion, is one of the best. Not that Kingship is one of the better systems of governance. It is not, being essentially a reward to the original biker gang-leader who slaughtered and raped his way to the top to allow his mostly inept descendants to have a free ride while participating in elaborate ceremonies, eating things too rich to be good for them, dressing uncomfortably and every now and then putting someone they did not like to death in very horrible ways. As in everything, experience and expectation to the contrary, every now and then the system throws up an exemplary individual. King Bhumibol is one.

During most of Bhumibol‘s reign, major political power in the country was exercised by some of the strangest dictators known to history (One dictator even had the improbable name of “Weird”). Nevertheless, Bhumibol carved out an exemplary niche for himself. Rarely, if ever, during his reign have the other political powers in the country concerned themselves with anything other than the welfare of the small group that exercised control over the military and commercial resources of the country who resided primarily in the nation’s capitol, largest city and commercial center, Bangkok. Until recently Bhumibol was not only the spiritual leader of the country, but its conservationist, environmentalist, cultural preservationist, water policy czar and rural development maven. He established and managed the nations national park system, developed and promoted the nations folk art, designed its water and flood protection systems, instituted a means of promoting village products throughout the country and the world and much much more.

He appears to be a most humble man. Most Kingships and nobility systems depend upon a system of religious deification, preservation of dignity, elaborate rituals and cultivation of support from the most powerful and conservative institutions in the nation. Bhumibol understood this but maintained only the slightest interest it, only as much as necessary. On formal occasions the rituals or prostration and the like were observed and noted. During his visits around the country pursuing his interests such rituals disappeared. For example, when reviewing a flood control site he often would roll out his maps and plans on the hood or the nearest vehicle oblivious to the usual pomp that surrounds royal excursions.

He is a scientist and inventor with many patents to his name (mostly for water projects), musician and composer, sportsman (won a gold medal in sailing in the Asian Games on December 12th which has become National Sports Day in Thailand) and much more.

Nice going big guy. Happy Birthday.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Again I regret the post has gotten too long and as usual, the saga of Vince and Isabella loses out.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange apocalypses:

MEGA TSUNAMI

Geologists worry that a future volcanic eruption at La Palma in the Canary Islands might dislodge a chunk of rock twice the volume of the Isle of Man into the Atlantic Ocean, triggering waves a kilometer high that would move at the speed of a jumbo jet with catastrophic effects for the shores of the US, Europe, South America and Africa.

Danger sign: Half the world’s major cities are under water. All at once.

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

1.To end the lie that Americans are overtaxed.

The above chart suggests that those that believe US taxes are too high may wish to move somewhere else. Clearly they would be very unhappy in Denmark, Sweden, Italy or a number of other countries, but perhaps they would enjoy moving to Mexico. America, love it and support it by paying your taxes, or leave it. Haven’t I heard something like that before? [By the way, I do not pay taxes any more, so I left]

2. To end theft of our tax dollars and erosion of our military strength by defense contractors.
“In the 1980s, there were legislative efforts to make contractors keep data on any should cost [Alternative to grossly more expensive ‘did cost’ pricing for military hardware] they did and make it available to the DoD, but those standards, especially Military Standard 1567A were finally vaporized by 1995 [during Clinton administration] with the historical cost advocates winning full control of the pricing in the DoD… this has lead to paying more for less and less weapons — more bucks for less bang.”
Dina Razor

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

“No wonder the US Chamber of Commerce feels right as home with the landmark designation of its headquarters. 1615 H Street now masterminds the laundering of multi-millions of dollars raised from captains of industry and private wealth to finance — secretly — the political mercenaries who fight the class war in their behalf.

Even as the Chamber was doubling its membership and tripling its budget in response to Lewis Powell’s manifesto, the coalition got another powerful jolt of adrenalin from the wealthy right-winger who had served as Nixon’s secretary of the treasury, William Simon. His polemic entitled A Time for Truth argued that, “funds generated by business” must “rush by multimillions” into conservative causes to uproot the institutions and “the heretical strategy” [his term] of the New Deal. He called on “men of action in the capitalist world” to mount “a veritable crusade” against progressive America. Business Week magazine somberly explained that ,“…it will be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow the idea of doing with less so that big business can have move.”

I’m not making this up.

And so it came to pass; came to pass despite your heroic efforts and those of other kindred citizens; came to pass because those “men of action in the capitalist world” were not content with their wealth just to buy more homes, more cars, more planes, more vacations and more gizmos than anyone else. They were determined to buy more democracy than anyone else. And they succeeded beyond their own expectations. After their 40-year “veritable crusade” against our institutions, laws and regulations — against the ideas, norms and beliefs that helped to create America’s iconic middle class — the Gilded Age is back with a vengeance.”

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

e. The differences between Europeans and Americans:

f. Testosterone Chronicles:
1.

In an effort to be fair to both sides of the political divide I thought I would share this publicity photograph of my favorite political commentator.

Some of Apple Annie’s most endearing and courageous quotes:

“… just remember the lesson from my book: it just took a few shootings at Kent State to shut that down for good.”

“This is the first time they got bullets back… and that put an end to the protests pretty quickly.”

“I don’t really like to think of it as a murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester.”
(Dr Tiller was the head of an abortion clinic assassinated two decades ago by anti-abortion activists)

“I am personally opposed to shooting abortionists, but I don’t want to impose my moral values on others.”

Sounds a lot like man talk

2. Also to read about a real “Bad Ass” go to:
http://www.badassoftheweek.com/shrestha.html
TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S CHART:


“Extreme weather like the droughts in Russia, China and Brazil and the flooding in Pakistan and Australia [in 2010] have contributed to a level of food price volatility we haven’t seen since the oil crisis of 40 years ago. Unfortunately, this could be just a taste of things to come because in the next few decades the build-up of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere could greatly increase the risk of droughts, flooding, pest infestation and water scarcity for agriculture systems already under tremendous stress.” — John Beddington, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser (March 2011)


TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Because we will always have Paris.

TODAY’S POSTER:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

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

I bet every one of the “senior managers” voted for and contributed to the Tory party. On the other hand, I would not be surprised if the Broadmoor patients voted Labor. [They probably contributed no money to Labor, however]

TODAY’S FACTOID:

A. The First Century AD:

1. Prior to the first century, most of what was written could be found on scrolls of parchment. But once the AD era started, the practice of stringing together wooden tablets into a “codex” began. The precursor to the book as we know it today, the codex became popular once it was co-opted by a new religious group — called the Christians — for their holy book: the Bible.

2. There are still variations in prices between urban and rural areas today, but nothing like it was in the first century. For example, fruit was three to six times more expensive in Jerusalem than in the rural areas surrounding it. Livestock was also costlier in the city, and doves (for sacrifices) were sold at a premium.

3. There were some strange jobs in the first century world. You could work as a camel driver, pigeon contest organizer, and dog dung collector. The list of jobs that were looked down upon by the general public included the shepherd, “the dealer in products from the sabbatical year,” butchers, and doctors.

B. Sir Isaac Newton:

Newton believed doomsday would be in the 21 Century, calculated from clues in the Bible.

C. Who is our enemy:

1957: Samuel Cummings and his US company Interarms, in a transaction sanctioned by the CIA, supplied weapons to the forces of Fidel Castro in Cuba.

Ah, the wonders of privatization and outsourcing. Wait this was during a Republican administration. They would never sell arms to an enemy and a Communist one no less. This factoid is clearly a liberal plant.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

New American Art Form:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I have returned to SF for the Thanksgiving Holiday to spend it with as many of my family members as I can. I leave for Thailand Saturday morning. I arrived early Wednesday and since I am now living life as a homeless vagrant, I spent the morning in a downtown Starbucks waiting for my son to get off work so that I could spend the evening at his apartment.

There was a bit of an incident yesterday. Hayden had cut his finger (paper cut) earlier that day as we toured the local Toy’s R Us making a shopping list for Santa Claus. That evening before Hayden and I left for our dinner with Norbert and Stevie Dall, he took a bath. While bathing, apparently he got soapy water into the cut and it started to sting, providing him the opportunity to whine and cry in hopes of garnering some attention and comfort. It failed. SWAC upon hearing him assumed he had injured himself while playing in the tub and ah.. strongly remonstrated with him for being careless. He, frightened and insulted at the false accusation, denied he had hurt himself in youthful exuberance while in his bath. This led to an ever increasingly loud argument and even more crying from the boy. By the time I had intervened, he had suffered a nasty scratch on his shoulder where SWAC had grabbed him in her fury. After quieting things down, he and I set off for dinner. I tried to explain to him it was not his fault and that both of them had a misunderstanding. He said, “No,” he said. “It was all my fault. She said it was and therefore it was. She doesn’t like me.”

The morning before he and I spent a few delightful hours at Bill and Naida’s ranch next to the Cosumnes River in the middle of Rancho Marietta. Hayden and Naida visited Acorn, the pony he is so fond of, and they fed him. I talked with Bill who is recovering from open heart surgery and peppered him with questions about it. Later we all went for walk along the river. Naida mentioned that she was thinking of writing a prequel to her magnificent historical trilogy. It would be set at the time that the first people entered the Cosumnes River Valley. She also mentioned she had discovered new information about Perry McCoon’s (the evil bastard of her novels) death. She may include the new information in a revised version of the novels for e-book publication. Again, if you have not had the opportunity to read her novels, I urge you to do so. You will not be disappointed.

I returned to SF by train and spent the night at my son Jason’s apartment where I watched a seemingly unending run of reality shows on TV. Since I have not seen much US TV for the past 18 months, this came as a revelation to me. My son explained that reality shows are the new popular entertainment for the masses.

They are not the reality shows I was used to. You know a group of half-naked people in a jungle screwing each other literally and figuratively. Instead, for example, my son is fascinated by cooking shows, not some chef showing you his or her favorite recipes, but bizarre competitions among cooks; like competitions using strange combinations of ingredients (octopus, tortillas, kumquats and marshmallows) with which the featured cooks have to create something edible.

Jason explained to me that the cooks on these shows generally are all media stars in the foodie society, each owning their own string of restaurants, sharing appearances on each others cooking shows and running their own foodie empires. I could not help thinking that perhaps there should be an “Occupy” of these cooking moguls who control so much of our taste buds (octopus and marshmallow?)..

We also watched shows featuring realtors and home remodelers and I sat through shows featuring u-tube type video snippets of people and animals doing generally stupid things. I topped it all off by watching the most recent Shrek before falling asleep. I liked Shrek.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Another interlude.

“Ha,” squealed the Isabella character. “Hitting on the dyke. You must really be hard up.”

“Bisexual,” responded the Vince character softly while staring into the make-up mirror.

“Huh!”

“Bisexual, she is bisexual,” he repeated.

“Whatever,” she laughed.

“Tonight,” he said with a smile looking at her through the mirror.

“What’s tonight?”

“Our date is tonight. I am sure we get it on.”

“You wish,” she responded. “I’m your bodyguard, remember.”

“I see he killed off David. Good thing, I never liked the guy,”she continued. “When do you think he will get around to offing us?”

“We do not know if he is dead. We only know he did not cross the street. He could have been picked up by someone or have changed his mind about his dinner appointment or lying wounded in the gutter. He could show up again, like Charlie Bowman.”

“That seems stupid,” she opined and pouted.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

DEATH BY EUPHORIA

Many of us use drugs such as caffeine or nicotine every day. Our increased understanding of physiology brings new drugs that can lift mood, improve alertness or keep you awake for days. How long before we use so many drugs we are no longer in control? Perhaps the end of society will not come with a bang, but fade away in a haze.

Danger sign: Drugs would get too cheap to meter, but you might be too doped up to notice.

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

1. inequality:

2. Waste in Defense Procurement:

According to Dina Razor, investigative journalist:

For decades, the DoD has decided what each new weapon will cost by looking at what historically similar weapons “did cost” in the past. So, if you decide to buy a new fighter plane, you look at what the previous plane cost as the baseline, and then add on more for all the new advances and gadgets you plan to put on the new plane. This has been disastrous because all of the contractor’s fraud, waste and fat that were tolerated in the past plane’s costs by the ever-appeasing DoD bureaucracy now become the baseline for the new plane. This makes every generation of weapon more and more unaffordable as the waste and fraud from generations before is rolled over to the new weapon. The result is that the bloated costs are expanded exponentially and we have fewer and fewer weapons for more and more money …

(In other words, military contractors and DOD contracting procedures are not making you safer, but they are making you poorer.)

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

” I was one of the poorest white kids in town, but in many respects I was the equal of my friend who was the daughter of the richest man in town. I went to good public schools, had use of a good public library, played sand-lot baseball in a good public park, and traveled far on good public roads with good public facilities to a good public university. Because these public goods were there for us, I never thought of myself as poor. When I began to piece the story together years later, I came to realize that people like the Moyers had been included in the American deal: “We, the People” included us. It’s heartbreaking to see what has become of that bargain.”

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:

Hmm, do Conservatives really like “international” more than “foreign?” 

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

• Women were twice as generous in a game that involved dividing $10 with a stranger (Eckel and Grossman).

Write your amusing and clever comments here _______________________.

f. Barry Goldwater, American:

“You don’t need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.”
~Barry Goldwater

g. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Recently, I have been criticized by some readers of these posts. They seem to believe that I have been urging radical redistribution of wealth or shudder, Communism by publishing such things as charts showing various inequalities in income and wealth, excerpts from Bill Moyers’ speech to Citizens United and quotes from such militant socialists as Dwight Eisenhower and Barry Goldberg. I assume that some of those who so criticize me can be included within that class defined by both Political Parties as Low Information Voters and unfortunately often mistake fact for opinion. As Low-information Voters, they flood the internet and my inbox with drivel usually written by conservative PR firms and that is often inaccurate, un-referenced, bizarre or usually all three. (I am amazed at how upset they get when I quote one of their own who, in periodic fits of self-awareness that sometimes strikes even the most hypocritical, express even the slightest criticism of the right’s madness.

Nevertheless, I noticed that among the changes that I have made to my posts over the past month or two has been to expand the “Pookie for President” section to include quotes by and comments on the current candidates for the GOP nomination for President. Since I assume that most readers give up reading after one or two sections anyway, I decided to spare those of my readers whose sensitivities are offended by my quoting the actual words of those whom they may believe alone represent the American heartland, by moving that section to later in the post.

Anyway, I am returning to Thailand for a while, and the obsession of the media with the minutia of American political dispute is thankfully absent, and the rich vein of humor contained therein, diminished. I now must settle upon writing about, Thaksin the Terrible, Abhsit the Unready, Princess Lucky Girl, the dastardly Military General Staff and Benetton inspired T-shirts of many different colors

Americans wrap themselves in the American Flag. Thais change the color of their T-shirts. After all, fashion is politics.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

A. Republicans, in an email blasted around by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), identified “twenty wasteful spending programs” that they have proposed cutting in the new federal spending bill released this week. The GOP claims that it’s using the bill to “make hard but necessary cuts to help reduce the nation’s deficit.”

However, all 20 of the programs combined cost less than the tax loophole that allows corporate jet owners to write off the cost of their jet over five years (as opposed to seven years for a commercial passenger jet).

B. “He’s a fat, repulsive pig! I hate to be so harsh. You go out in the woods and find a piece of old, dead wood, you lift it up and underneath there’s a bunch of bugs crawling around and white stuff … that’s Newt Gingrich.”
Conservative talk show host Don Imus on this weeks flavor GOP candidate for President of the United States.

(Liberals, unfortunately, shy away from using such colorful language.)

C. Megyn Kelly, Faux News anchor person (apparently hired for her looks rather than her brains) recently insisted that pepper spray is “a food product, essentially”

I understand that a diet of pepper spray has been demonstrated to increase ones IQ up to 10 points. You should try it Megyn (does she really spell her name like this?), it may increase your IQ to as high as 80.

The blog TPM reports, One thrilled “customer” notes, “I used to have to exert my gray matter or work my mouth to keep people from saying anything I didn’t want to hear. Now I just shake and aim Defense Technology’s 56895 MK-9 Stream Pepper Spray, and half the time I don’t even need to depress the trigger! My teens and my dog all go silent when I merely lift the can–no more claims that I’ve suppressed free speech when they quake in fear and CHOOSE to be silent! Not just for intimidating students–it works on crabby old people, too!”

OMG, she must be planning to use it on me next; after all I am a COP (Crabby Old Person)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Harald had this stone erected in memory of Gorm his father and Thyra his mother—that Harald who won all Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christian”
Translation of a rune on Gorm the Old’s grave erected by Harald in 958AD.

TODAY’S CHART:

Why, when cutting budget deficits are all the rage with the GOP, are they still supporting subsidies to the oil and gas industries? Does any one believe those industries cannot turn a profit without taxpayer money? Shouldn’t they get a dose of free market economics for a change? Why do self-styled Conservatives complain so loudly about a poor person who cheats on welfare and is silent when an energy company steals billions in taxpayer dollars? Now you may believe they so because the energy industry does so much for our economy we should look the other way when faced with their rampant thuggery, however, I suspect that if you believe that it is more often because a lot of people are paid to make sure you do.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S POSTER:

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

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