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Hasty lessons from my visit to Thailand....

.... while I'm still transitioning in Boston on my way up to Maine, from (JFK (Taipei (Bangkok)) after my flight was cancelled! (Getting rerouted was a paper-based process; the highlight came when the incredibly conscientious trainee desk agent actually used a ruler and a pen to cross out inapplicable options on the voucher for my new flight, while their supervisor frequently consulted a small notebook full of handwritten notes. Then they gave me a hotel voucher and walked me to the hotel shuttle bus and performed a physical handoff; this last very different from America, where I'm guessing they'd hand you the voucher, period. "You're on your own, kid!" I was grateful, since by that time I was already stunned with exhaustion.) OK, trivial and not-so-trivial lessons while the experience is still fresh:

1) I'm 6'2"; most Thais are not, so me banging my head on stuff was the running gag. ("We look up to them. Because they're tall.") Sometimes, I'd bang on doorway -- pause to find diagram of the parts of a door -- headers, but more often on the -- pause, again -- handrails of BTS cars. It's a new experience for me to have to stand up straight so the blood stays pooled on the top of my skull. I'm not sure what lesson is involved here, except striving for good posture. Wear a hat? Don't cut my hair too short? Don't rush, especially for a subway seat? Don't be Lurch-like? Read below the fold...

mellon's picture

CIO report on privatization disasters shows that one of its main goals is looting.

In my blog post a few days ago about the unseen hand of the various 'free trade agreement' mandates to 'privatize everything' quietly strangling any "hope" of real "health care reform" in the USA, I had a lot to say about the 'FTA's' mandated forced irreversible privatizations of everything people need from and see as good about government, in secret, and the forces I see as driving it. Read below the fold...

Rangoon78's picture

'Welfare Queens'

In my inbox this morning I came across an email titled

Subject: Re: Benefits galore paid by us...

The email begins with:

Want to know what happened to "the work ethic?" Read on..

I get right-wing arguments via email from time to time. I try to read them to understand their mindset. I'm usually left saddened by the knowledge that a swath of Americans are persuaded that the real enemies are the 'welfare queens' and not Goldman Sachs and the politicians they own. Read below the fold...

danps's picture

Sunday Morning Music


Songs: Ohia - Farewell Transmission

Farewell Transmission by Songs: Ohia on Grooveshark

Jason Molina died last year of alcohol-related organ failure. He was 39.

The real truth about it is no one gets it right
The real truth about it is we're all supposed to try
There ain't no end to the sands I've been trying to cross
The real truth about it is my kind of life's no better off
If I've got the maps or if I'm lost
Read below the fold...

danps's picture

Coates, Chait and the Iraq war understanding of gratitude

A debate between the two writers reveals what might be a bit of a blind spot for one of them.

Cross posted from Pruning Shears. Read below the fold...

V. Arnold's picture

Russia prepares to attack the petro-dollar

It would appear Obama has finally done it; his economic sanctions against Russia has apparently been the catalyst for China and Russia to start selling gas and oil with regional currencies being used, not dollars.

Given that Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were both attempting the same scenario, it would also seem that Putin's maneuver could spark armed conflict.

This is by far the most dangerous time, IMO, in the last 2 decades.

I'm worried Obama won't blink and I'm pretty sure Putin won't. Read below the fold...

danps's picture

Saturday morning music

"Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy"

Naomi Wolf in the Guardian. Except the story is actually a lot worse than the headline:

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens. Read below the fold...

The Jobs Report For March 2014: After A Long Winter, The Economy Plays Some Catchup

The Brief Version

The usual seasonal spring rebuild in jobs was delayed a little this year due to the extended and severe winter. In March, some of this ground was recovered making it a particularly good month in seasonal terms. The labor force grew 600,000. This increase was comprised of a 956,000 rise in employment and a 356,000 drop in unemployment. What this means is that for each unemployed person who found work in March, two who were not counted in the labor force at all found work. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

Is the MSM Blackout on Inequality, Plutocracy, and Oligarchy Ending?

All of a sudden MSNBC cable commentators are talking about plutocracy and oligarchy. Surprisingly, the first occurrence of this I'm aware of was Chuck Todd, reacting on his Daily Rundown show to the spectacle of Republican candidates traveling to Vegas to seek funding from Sheldon Adelson and his group of hugely wealthy Jewish Republican donors. Todd began to explore the implications of that event. He seemed exercised, and more than the slightest bit upset, about its meaning for Democracy and used the words plutocracy and oligarchy. Andrea Mitchell also discussed it later and she, too, registered apparent dismay, while using the “p” and “o” words.

Chris Hayes has been on leave during this period, so we haven't heard from him about this. But Chris Matthews, the “oh so very slightly left-of-center insider” has been making very unfriendly noises about Adelson, the Kochs, and the Supremes, culminating today (April 3rd) with nasty references to plutocrats, oligarchs, and candidates, kissing oligarchs somewhere or other, on both his program and Al Sharpton's. Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: NEJM: ObamaCare delays "appear to exceed the traditional scope of the President's enforcement discretion"

Shorter: They're illegal.* The New England Journal of Medicine, the gold standard:

The Legality of Delaying Key Elements of the ACA
In the administration's view, the delays are a routine exercise of the executive branch's traditional discretion to choose when and how to enforce the law. As the Supreme Court noted in its 1985 decision in Heckler v. Chaney, 1 an executive agency “generally cannot act against each technical violation of the statute it is charged with enforcing.”

Read below the fold...

Start practicing this phrase: "Legitimacy crisis"

Here's an interesting Op-Ed from (of all places) the Providence Journal. Let me start at the end, with the author's qualifications:

David Carlin, a former majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate, is a professor of philosophy and sociology at Community College of Rhode Island.

So, not some goateed hipster doing posters at RISD (not that there's anything wrong with that) before going on to a career in design. This is the kind of guy who gives talks at Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. Here's what he had to say that's key: Read below the fold...

The 0.01% are even screwing the 1%

"Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl"

The Economist's view of 21st century statecraft. The context is the idea that what we see is the "resolution" of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: The vicious boot of the suburban-scale, two-bit, penny-ante Israeli empire on the neck of the suffering Palestinian people and their corrupt, comprador authorities, forever. This is it. This is as good as it gets.

Heck, the world is seeing more and more long-term low-level conflicts between rich, technologically advanced societies and poor, uneducated ones, all along the global borders between north and south. In a few decades, the watchtowers along the West Bank's separation wall may merge with the helicopters hovering over the US-Mexican border, the rubber bullets knocking African refugees off the barbed-wire fences in the Spanish enclave of Melilla, the South African police picking up Zimbabwean migrants and the Australian Navy ships dragging Indonesian boats back towards Sumatra. It will all look like one endless string of flashpoints, up and down the line.

Well, maybe. Read below the fold...

James Galbraith's incredibly lucid review of Piketty's book, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century"

There are the nut graphs IMSHO:

What is “capital”? To Karl Marx, it was a social, political, and legal category—the means of control of the means of production by the dominant class. Capital could be money, it could be machines; it could be fixed and it could be variable. But the essence of capital was neither physical nor financial. It was the power that capital gave to capitalists, namely the authority to make decisions and to extract surplus from the worker.

Read below the fold...


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