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Famous Four-Flushers
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:58 pm    Post subject: Famous Four-Flushers Reply with quote

WELCOME!
Famous Four-Flushers:

Quote:
The term four flushing traces its origins to the game of Poker during the 19th century. Four flushing originally referred to a person who would misrepresent that they had a flush - a poker hand comprised of five cards all of one suit (hearts, spades, clubs, or diamonds) - when they only had four cards of one suit. (From helpful Wikipedia Nov. 10/08)


The Superior Person's Third Book of Well-Bred Words
Hardcover
By Peter Bowler


Quote:
More Famous Quotations.





Quote:
Four-Flush n. A poker hand consisting of four cards of the same suit, the fifth being of another suit. This hand has no value at all in poker. When your opponent lays his cards down, showing a pair, if you quickly show yours, calling out "four flush" and sweeping the money off the table immediately, saying simultaneously "Who's next deal?" you just might get away with it. If you do, you will have become a four-flusher, or sneaky bluff artist. (-- p. 29).


The third in a ridiculous series on wonderful words by the author, who describes himself on a back page thus:

Quote:
Peter Bowler, our ageless author, has to his name several other published books - principally irreverent paperbacks which treat serious subjects such as death and religion with regrettable flippancy. He has also written a book about child development, but could find nothing funny in that. His most recent book is the 1998 novel Human Remains, a whodunnit in remarkably bad taste, even for him. Today these books are mostly, as the French say, introuvable, lending them an intrinsic attraction for those who cultivate the unattainable. What more is there to say? He lives with his patient and beautiful wife Diane in an idyllic sub-tropical coastal town, and hopes one day to rule the world.


Oh, let it be so!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
PokerPulse Award for the All Around Champion Four-Flusher - without question, arbitration panelists at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the unprecedented and deeply flawed reasoning that reduced Antigua's claim against the U.S. for remote gambling revenue losses valued at $3.4 billion to a mere $21 million.


The Final Four-part, Four-flusher Fantasy:
Putting the 'arbitrary' in arbitration

Quote:
More of the disappointing Dec. 21/07 arbitration report on America's infamous OUCH! case and subsequent issues / actions.

View PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Int'l Trade Law bookstore.



Quote:
... We feel unable to rely on the approach used by Antigua, as laid out in its methodology paper, in calculating the requested amount of countermeasures. At the same time, the approach put forward by the United States does not represent a convincing alternative either. 3.173 We, therefore, have no choice but to adopt our own approach. In so doing, we feel we are on shaky grounds solidly laid by the parties. The data is surrounded by a degree of uncertainty. (emphasis added) For most variables, the data consists of proxies for what needs to be measured, and observations are too few to allow for a proper econometric analysis. Certain data that we have requested and that, to some extent, could have remedied this situation has not been provided. On methodological questions, parties, in a number of respects, have retained their extreme positions and have failed to propose alternative solutions that would have taken into account the exchange of arguments.

3.174 Hence, we are left with preciously little information and guidance. Nevertheless, we will attempt to stay as closely to the approaches proposed by parties as possible and to make a maximum use of the limited information base we were given, in particular to carry out some sensitivity analysis in support of our main approach. We will broadly follow the spirit of Antigua's original approach, while making the necessary adjustments in light of our analysis above. We will proceed in four steps.

First, we will seek to establish a workable assumption about Antigua's revenues from remote gambling services exports to the United States. Second, we will adjust this time series for the apparent impact of competing suppliers. Third, we will determine a plausible share of betting services on *horseracing in Antigua's total revenues from remote gambling. Finally, we will take account of developments in US demand for gambling services on *horseracing. (pgs. 51-52)


Quote:
*Note: This is, alas, once again a reference to the old 'tweak the International Horseracing Act (IHA)' wheeze the U.S. has pressed ever since the report of the Appellate Body was released in 2005, a piece of work which unhelpfully muddied an otherwise clear second win for Antigua. (From Highlights of the Cross-Border Supply of Gambling and Betting Services Decision by the Arbitrator Dec. 21/07)


Merrily and with Christmas only days away, the panelists slashed from pgs. 52 through 55. God bless 'em everyone.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Yorker
Mgazine Subscription
The Financial Page
The Florentine
The man who taught rulers how to rule.
By Claudia Roth Pierpont
Sept. 15/08




Quote:
... Like most psychologists, Machiavelli was insatiably curious about the human mind. And no one he met impressed him more than Cesare Borgia, the son of the Spanish Pope Alexander VI, who was at the height of his power when, in 1502, he received Machiavelli in the ducal palace of Urbino—by candlelight, as legend has it, dressed all in black, already a figure of self-consciously theatrical menace. Borgia had recently conquered Urbino, along with a large swath of central Italy, by means of daring, speed, and treachery. (Machiavelli especially admired a maneuver in which Borgia had asked the Duke of Urbino to lend him his artillery to help take a nearby town, then turned on the undefended duchy and took it instead.) Machiavelli could not help but contrast Borgia’s stunning effectiveness with the frustratingly slow and prudent Florentine republic, which displayed the deficiencies as well as the virtues of the need for popular consensus, and he wrote excitedly to his bosses in the Palazzo della Signoria of the lessons offered by this majestic enemy. In the ruthless young warrior he saw a potential hero: a leader strong enough to expel the foreign armies and transform Italy from a poetic entity into a real one.

... He (Machiavelli) was experienced, he was (at forty-three) extremely vigorous, and during his many years of civil service he had shown himself a trustworthy man. “My poverty is evidence of my fidelity and virtue,” he confided to a friend. And he desperately needed a job. That spring, still unemployed, he retreated from the city to live with his wife and children on the family farm, near San Casciano, in taunting view of the tower of the Palazzo della Signoria. It was a sprawling and ramshackle place, and he was sadly out of his element, catching birds and playing cards; his worldly friends sent mocking regards to the chickens. But in the evening, approaching his study, he stripped off his muddy clothes and put on his ambassadorial attire. “Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients,” he wrote, in one of the most famous letters of the Renaissance, “where I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives for their actions, and they, out of their human kindness, answer me.” Livy, Cicero, Virgil, Tacitus: he wrote their answers down and, adding observations from the history he had witnessed, toward the end of 1513 he completed a little book about statecraft—a book of strictly practical matters, dealing with armies and fortresses, with ways of holding on to power—that he resolved would demonstrate his usefulness once and for all to Giuliano, since it discussed people and their actions “as they are in real truth, rather than as they are imagined.” Never before or since has a writer so clearly proved that the truth is a dangerous thing.

The Prince
The Essential Writings of Machiavelli
Hardcover
Translated By Peter Constantine




The Prince,” Machiavelli’s how-to guide for sovereigns, turned out to be “a scandal that Western political thought and practice has been gazing at in horror and in fascination since its first publication,” to quote from Albert Russell Ascoli’s introduction to Peter Constantine’s new translation (Modern Library; $8; also included in “The Essential Writings of Machiavelli”). Circulated in manuscript for years, the book was not published until 1532—nearly five years after Machiavelli’s death—and received its first significant critique within the decade, from an English cardinal who pronounced the author “an enemy of the human race.” Machiavelli stood accused of having inspired Henry VIII to defy papal authority and seize ecclesiastical power for the crown. Some thirty years later, in France, the book was blamed for inciting Queen Catherine de’ Medici to order the massacre of two thousand rebel Protestants. (There seems to have been little besides her family connection to warrant the Machiavellian association.) His notoriety grew, less through knowledge of the offending book than through the many lurid and often skewed attacks it prompted, with titles on the order of “Stratagems of Satan.” Wherever a sovereign usurped power from the church or the nobility, whenever ostentatious deceit or murderous force was used, Machiavelli was spied in the shadows, scribbling at his desk amid the olive groves, his quill dipped in a poison so potent that it threatened the power structures of Europe. (-- pgs. 88-89)


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Homegrown Democrat
A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America
Hardcover
By Garrison Keillor




Quote:
America is not a religious country, no matter how many Americans say they believe in God. I've been in religious countries and this is not one of them. There is no Sabbath, no fasting or prohibitions, every day is a feast day. You can buy liquor on Sunday almost anywhere, find pornography in any Marriott or Wal-Mart, say any ugly, profane thing on the radio or anywhere -- we're fat and sloppy and as disciplined as a battalion of cats, an impulsive, dreamy people walking around eating ice cream cones and eyeballing the girls' sweaters and dreaming of a big hit in the lottery. If God is looking for a nation to carry out His will on earth, it isn't this one. (From the chapter, Republicans I Have Known, at p. 211)


Go Vikings!

Quote:
Listen to the Prairie Home Companion pretty good radio show right here, right NOW. Don't miss the Four Flushers Waltz by Soupy Schindler and Bill Hinckley in Segment 4 of the Jan. 1/05 show.


A Prairie Home Companion
Entry at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival
DVD
Directed By Robert Altman
Featuring Garrison Keillor




Quote:
In sub-zero Berlin, the warmest welcome was for A Prairie Home Companion, Robert Altman's fictional take on Garrison Keillor's old-style radio show that has run on US public radio for 30 years. The film, the other Golden Bear favorite, has a stellar Altman ensemble including Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin as a country singing sister act, and an outstanding Kevin Kline as a bumbling Clouseau-style detective. The real surprise is script co-writer Keillor, who plays the dead-pan, pondering host who refuses to sentimentalize his final radio show before its theatre home is razed. Altman could have delivered another scabrous satire like M*A*S*H or The Player. Instead, the 80-year-old director delivers a gentle, warm-hearted celebration of what Meryl Streep called "the authentic voice of America." (From Playing politics in Berlin by Derek Scally in the Irish Times, Feb. 18/06, at p. 7 of The Arts)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Telegraph
British Corporate Media
US porn industry seeks multi-billion dollar bailout
Porn baron Larry Flynt is seeking a $5 billion bailout from Washington to rejuvenate the industry, which he says is suffering because of the economic downturn.
By Catherine Elsworth
Jan. 8/09


Quote:
More about porn and the devastating impact it's having on relationships today!


Quote:
The Hustler magazine founder has teamed up with fellow adult entertainment mogul Joe Francis, creator of the Girls Gone Wild video series, to approach Congress for the same kind of financial assistance recently approved for car manufacturers. The pair have asked the 111th Congress, which convened on Tuesday with the economy at the top of its agenda, "to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America" with a bailout. "Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation's most important businesses, (and) we feel we deserve the same consideration," Francis said in a statement. "In difficult economic times, Americans turn to entertainment for relief. More and more, the kind of entertainment they turn to is adult entertainment."

"The take here is that everyone and their mother want to be bailed out from the banks to the big three," Owen Moogan, a spokesman for Flynt, told CNN. "The porn industry has been hurt by the downturn like everyone else and they are going to ask for the $5 billion. Is it the most serious thing in the world? Is it going to make the lives of Americans better if it happens? It is not for them to determine." In an interview with entertainment news website TMZ, Francis admitted the move was more of a "precautionary measure" than an emergency rescue, "but as long as the government is handing out money, we want to be there to take it."

The pair acknowledge that although DVD sales and rentals have dropped 22 per cent over the past year, online traffic has continued to grow. "The 13-billion-dollar industry is in no fear of collapse," they say. "But why take chances?" Francis, who was last year freed from almost a year in jail after pleading no contest to child abuse and prostitution charges in a plea deal, told CNN they planned to deliver the request "to our congressmen and (Secretary of the Treasury Henry) Paulson" by the end of Wednesday.

"With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind," Flynt said in a statement. People were "too depressed to be sexually active", which was "very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such, but they cannot do without sex." He said the only way Congress could "rejuvenate" America's sexual appetite was "by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly." There was no response from Congress to the request


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
America's War on TERROR:

Inflated intel, baseless rumors ...

... the real weapon of mass destruction.


The New Yorker
Magazine Subscription
The Talk of the Town
Hearts and Brains
By Hendrik Herzberg
Nov. 6/06


Quote:
More on the 'frontloading' and 'political engineering' behind the U.S. decision to fight.

View an excerpt of the book, The $3 Trillion Iraq War.

More Stiglitz on the U.S. economic meltdown in five easy pieces.

More on what it will take to undo the damage caused by the Bush administration.





Quote:
There's a lively debate among historians over the question of whether the record of the forty-third President, compiled with the indispensable help of a complaisant Congress, is the worst in American history or merely the worst of the sixteen who managed to make it into (if not out of) a second full term. That the record is appalling is by now beyond serious dispute. It includes an unending deficit - this year, it's $260 billion - that has already added $1.5 trillion to the national debt; the subcontracting of environmental, energy, labor, and health care policymaking to corporate interests; repeated efforts to suppress scientific truth; a set of economic and fiscal policies that have slowed growth, spurred inequality, replenished the ranks of the poor and uninsured, and exacerbated the insecurities of the the middle class; and, on Capital Hill, a festival of bribery, some prosecutable (such as felonies that have put one prominent Republican member of Congress in prison, while another awaits sentencing), some not (such as the reported two-million-dollar salary conferred upon a Republican congressman who became the pharmaceutical industry's top lobbyist immediately after shepherding into law a bill forbidding the government to negotiate prices for prescription drugs).

In 2002 and 2004, the ruling party avoided retribution for offenses like these by exploiting the fear of terrorism. What is different this time is that the overwhelming failure of the Administration's Iraq gamble is now apparent to all. This war of choice has pointlessly drained American military strength, undermined what had originally appeared to be success in Afghanistan, handed the Iranian mullahs a strategic victory, immunized the North Korean regime from a forceful response to its nuclear defiance, and compromised American leadership of the democratic world. You can read all about it, not only in the government's own recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate, which reports that the Iraq war has intensified the danger of Islamist terrorism, but also in a shelf of books - a score or more of them, beginning two and a half years ago with Richard A. Clarke's Against All Enemies and continuing through Bob Woodward's State of Denial - that document the mendacity, incompetence, lawlessness, and ideological arrogance surrounding the origins and conduct of that war. (-- p. 45)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vanity Fair
Magazine Subscription
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit
By snatching his seven-year-old daughter from her mother's custody, after a bitter divorce, the man calling himself Clark Rockefeller blew the lid off a lifelong con game, which had culminated with his posing as a scion of the famous dynasty, Mark Seal learns how the 47-year-old impostor charmed his way into exclusive communities, clubs, and financial institutions - marrying a Harvard M.B.A.; working at Kidder, Peabody; and showing off an an extraordinary art collection - until his arrest brought him face-to-face with his past and with questions regarding the skeletal remains dug up in a California backyard.
January, 2009


Quote:
More of this Famous Four-Flusher.





Quote:
“He is a mystery man, a cipher,” a spinner of stories “literally so numerous and varied they are proving to be difficult to keep track of, even using a database,” said Assistant District Attorney Deakin during Rockefeller’s bail hearing. His trial for parental kidnapping is set to begin in March. Meanwhile, the Unsolved Cases Unit of the L.A. County sheriff’s homicide department recently conducted extensive soil analysis of the San Marino backyard where the bones believed to have been John Sohus’s were buried almost 24 years ago, hoping to find evidence to bring that case to a close. Thus far, Rockefeller has declined to meet with investigators regarding the Sohus case, and he still hasn’t satisfactorily answered the question asked by his ex-wife, “Who is he?” Not for Stephen Hrones (“He told me he’s Clark Rockefeller … and he was raised in New York”). Not in a jailhouse interview with the Today show (“I have a clear memory of once picking strawberries in Oregon,” he told Natalie Morales, who asked him about his childhood. “I remember clearly going to Mount Rushmore in the back of a woody wagon.… I believe it was a ‘68 Ford”). Not for The Boston Globe, whose reporters he met in jail wearing tasseled loafers with his prison scrubs (“Peppering his speech with verbal filigrees such as ‘quite so’ and ‘rather,’ he rambled on about the ‘five or six or seven’ languages that he speaks, the historical novel about the roots of Israeli statehood he is writing, and his work as a researcher of ‘anything from physics to social sciences,’” wrote one of the reporters). And not for police and F.B.I. investigators in a two-hour interrogation after his arrest (“He talks about his amnesia, and how he can’t remember certain things,” says Noreen Gleason. “For a sharp guy, he’s got a very sketchy memory,” adds Thomas Lee).

In early November, Rockefeller retained the firm of criminal-defense attorney Jeffrey Denner, who has this to say regarding his client: “There’s nothing about this case that takes it out of the ordinary range of a fairly straightforward parental-kidnapping allegation. As far as his being an alleged person of interest in a potential California criminal prosecution, we don’t believe for a second that it’s going to result in any criminal conviction or liability for him, and he absolutely denies any wrongdoing whatsoever in connection with his purported stay in California.” Asked about the various names his client has assumed over the last three decades, Denner says, “He’s certainly not the first immigrant who’s come to this country and Anglicized himself for purposes of adjustment to life here. Nor is there anything illegal about the use of aliases or other names per se, unless there is an indication they were used for some fraudulent purpose, which we do not believe is the case here.”

As for Sandra Boss, is she an innocent victim or a simple enabler? She insists through her spokesman that she is the former, the ultimate dupe in an elaborate web of lies, living for 12 years with a man she knew only as Clark Rockefeller. How could this high-powered Stanford graduate and Harvard M.B.A. not have known? How could she marry, and remain married to, a Rockefeller who had no identification, employment history, or visible means of support? She must now realize it was all a farce: the famous name, the distinguished career, the maniacal security, even the incredible collection of modern paintings that hung on her walls, which Rockefeller’s attorney Stephen Hrones now says are fakes—“derivatives, worthless basically.”

She’s doing her best to forget all that. She has a new life in London, and she wants to leave her former life behind, just as her ex-husband so often did. (-- pgs. 133-134)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vanity Fair
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Eloise Sheds a Tear
Israeli billionaire Isaac Tshuva and his C.E.O. Miki Naftali’s plan to put condominiums in the Plaza hotel hit a New York nerve. How dare they mess with the magical home of the Oak Bar, the Palm Court, and Eloise? Ultimately, the developers’ 181 apartments were nsapped up, sight unseen, for record prices – but their troubles were just beginning. Evgenia Peretz investigates the bitter accusations and lawsuits that are turning a fantasy into a nightmare.
January, 2009


Quote:
More Condominium Gambles.






Quote:
... With every hole they opened, ancient concrete came crumbling down. Steel beams were discovered in the most unexpected places. It wasn’t long before the project devolved into a change-order maelstrom. The walkouts, the lawsuits, and the finger-pointing began. (emphasis added)

The first to walk was F. W. Sims Inc., a Long Island air-conditioning company, which is now suing El-Ad, claiming it is owed $3.7 million for original contract work and change orders. “They didn’t finish the job!” says Naftali. “They claim that they will not finish the job unless we will pay them extra money.… So now you’re looking at yourself and you say, ‘O.K.—excuse my French—I’m in deep shit. He’s blackmailing me!’” An attorney for F. W. Sims says, “The only extra money F. W. Sims has sought is for the extra work that [El-Ad] directed it to perform.”

Next to go was the architectural firm the Philips Group, which had been hired to work on the retail space, and which has essentially charged the same thing as Sims. “They put people that didn’t know what they were doing!” counters Naftali. “And then, all of a sudden, they started to ask for change orders, O.K.? Hundreds of thousands of dollars when—hello?! You need to design for me. You didn’t design the space. This is not a kindergarten.… We have to pay millions of dollars to fix their mistakes? It doesn’t make sense.” El-Ad is now suing them, claiming it had to re-do TPG’s railings, badly installed lighting, “unsightly” ceiling drop, and a koi pond that was not properly waterproofed. TPG answers that the heap of unforeseen problems with the building was the responsibility of no one but El-Ad. ...

The lawsuits, the walk-offs, the phone calls from retail real-estate brokers and contractors wanting to know where their checks are, none of it could have happened at a worse time for El-Ad, which, like many real-estate developers, is being hit by the downturn in the economy. Construction of its Plaza Las Vegas casino-condominium-hotel-mall, the property for which El-Ad paid $1.2 billion, is now on hold until the spring of 2010. The Carlyle on Wilshire, El-Ad’s luxury condominium in Los Angeles, has sold only 10 units out of 78. (emphasis added) A year ago, El-Ad had a high bond rating with Standard & Poor’s Israeli partner Maalot. Four months ago, the rating was removed from Maalot’s Web site, reportedly at the request of El-Ad after Maalot added the company to its “watch list” for a possible downgrading. (El-Ad claims its rating is still AA.) Delek Group, the backbone of Tshuva’s fortune, has tumbled dramatically on the Israeli stock market. After all this, it seems like Naftali is hurting. “I invested my best three, four years trying to put [the Plaza] together, and believe me, I take it personally,” he says. “I go over there and I see many things that I’m not happy with, either the service or whatever. This is not still good—I take it really personally, because I want it to be perfect.”

Naftali deserves credit for doing some work that may not be so readily visible. The state of the building when El-Ad bought it “was horrible,” he says. “Sixty to 65 rooms were out of order because of water leaks. The Palm Court on a rainy day? They put buckets over there to collect the rain.” The company spent $30 million repairing the roof alone. ...

According to an inside source with knowledge of the materials used in the hotel rooms, instead of Italian marble for the bathroom floors and walls, El-Ad used low-density marble from China (about 50 cents a square foot). The crown moldings in the rooms aren’t actually wood or plaster; they’re fiberglass and run from $2 to $7 a foot. (High-end crown molding can cost $70 a foot, and real plaster molding many multiples of that.) The so-called mahogany closet is in fact just a thin layer of mahogany veneer over industrial particleboard. “The developer was looking for ways to save,” admits a designer with Gal Nauer Architects. The carpet in the hallway on the penthouse level was cut and cobbled together—a practice known as “patch-n-match.” (The interior designer of the renovation and hotel representatives stand by the materials used in the project.) (emphasis added)

Some of El-Ad’s other residential condominiums haven’t gotten high marks, either. According to Michael Chaney, the board president of 224 West 18th Street, an El-Ad condominium known as Campiellos, the residents have discovered sewage pipes held up by a stack of bricks, unprotected live electrical wires within walls, buckling oak floors, and guardrails too short and not up to New York City’s building code. (El-Ad says it is reviewing the problems at Campiellos.)

And so, when some of the new Plaza residents first laid eyes on their apartments, the reactions were like Extreme Makeover, Home Edition—only the total opposite. ...

For the other residents of the Plaza, the man now known as “the Russian in the penthouse” has become a lightning rod. On the one hand, many see his complaints as echoing their own, and are sympathetic. One unhappy resident, whose inability to ever see her apartment in advance has left her with what she considers a lemon, says that El-Ad’s behavior has been “diabolical.” “Look what they did to those Russian people.… Why didn’t they just say the penthouse is the [former] servants’ quarters?” The owner of the penthouse next to Vavilov’s, a hedge-fund manager, is suing El-Ad for essentially the same reason.

Was a pattern of concealment emerging? In early November, another lawsuit popped up—this one from the penthouse buyer at another El-Ad building, called the Grand Madison, on Fifth Avenue at Madison Square Park. The case was curiously similar to Vavilov’s, with the buyer claiming that he was led to believe the yet-to-be-built penthouse would have magnificent park views, and that what he got instead was a view of an “ugly and unsafe” eight-foot-eight-inch parapet wall surrounding the terrace. Like Vavilov, he claims he was never allowed to view his apartment, and the parapet did not appear on a floor plan. (El-Ad dismisses the case as “baseless” and copycat, and points out that, even though the buyer might not have been allowed to see the apartment, the parapet was there to begin with and could have been seen from the street.) (-- pgs. 123-126)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Condominium Gambles:

1823 East Georgia - low-rise, wood-frame - Vancouver East

Quote:
More new leakers in East Vancouver.

Going down big-time:
More on the devastating effects of a significantly cooler Vancouver real estate market in 2008-9
.


Quote:
Contractors barely visible behind full-surround scaffolding were at work even on a Saturday, repairing this recent sample of 'leaky condo syndrome' in Vancouver East. Wandering watchdogs noticed the all too familiar signs of still another construction disaster while attending an unremarkable farmer's market at the Wise Hall.

Quote:
Nevertheless, here's how ReMax realtor Dean Hooseman describes the complex in an ad we found online Jan. 20/09:

Located near trendy Commercial Drive area this affordable living in Vancouver is near all amenities and perfect for the lst time home buyer or investor. This one bedroom and den has laminate and ceramic tile flooring, recently painted, and has it's own private patio and entrance where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and the morning paper. Dogs and cats welcome. Prime location.

Not as revealing as one might expect post-Barrett Inquiries - two of them, in fact! No mention at all of the noisy reconstruction/restoration work ongoing even on a Saturday morning. No, yet according to the ad, a first-floor one-bedroom sold for $185,900. Hope the buyer has plenty left over for major repairs!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

COUNTRY LIFE
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Review Books
Be careful what you eat
Food manufacturers have been poisoning the public for thousands of years, but, as Leslie Geddes-Brown finds in this new book, there is hope for us yet.
Feb. 21/08




Quote:
... Since the first bread was baked, corn was mixed with chaff, bakers took shortcuts and retailers put their fingers on the scales. In 12,000 years, nothing has changed.

The systematic poisong of the public wasn't always deliberate or villainous. In Roman times, lead was added to wine just because it tasted better - when its poisonous nature wasn't understood. Likewise, children's sweets were colored with copper because they looked better (and sold better). Then and now, manufacturers were happy to deceive us with adulterations if it improved their profits. Romans added gypsum, lime and seawater to wine: Victorians put flour in mustard and alum in white bread; manufacturers today use false colors and hydrogenated fats, although they know them to be dangerous. ...

Several heroes emerge: the German Frederick Accum, who used chemistry to identify the food cheats; Arthur Hill Hassell, who found evidence of adulteration under the microscope; and Thomas Wakeley, founder of The Lancet, who named and shamed the cheats. More recently, Caroline Walker publicised counterfeit British food before dying of cancer of the colon (brought on, she thought, by bad food at her public school). (-- p. 99)


Quote:
Swindled
From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee - The Dark History of the Food Cheats
Hardcover
By Bee Wilson





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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harper's
Magazine Subscription
Notebook
Of Mohawks and Mavericks
By Garret Keizer
December, 2008




Quote:
I was just your average hockey mom.
—Sarah Palin

I have never gotten over the notion that the history of the United States begins with an act of masquerade. On the night of December 16, 1773, “a number of resolute men (dressed like Mohawks or Indians),” as later reported in the Boston Gazette, managed to dump some 90,000 pounds of East India Company tea into Boston Harbor. They did this, again as reported by the Gazette, “to save their country from the ruin which their enemies had plotted.” From a distance it is hard to say which disguise was the more outlandish, that of the local merchants got up as Hiawatha or that of a beverage tax got up as the tyrant’s scourge. To come even close you would have to dress up a million- dollar-a-month AIG booty bag as a “consulting fee.”

The Tea Party proved catalytic - one book devoted to the episode bears the title The Night the Revolution Began - and prophetic as well. Americans have been dressing up ever since: Ku Klux Klansmen costumed as ghosts, ghost-white college kids posing as homeboys and Rastas, corporate lawyers decked out in Stetsons and cowboy boots, Wall Street sharpies affecting the flabbergasted expressions of sucker-punched rubes. ("That thar" mortgage thingamajig done blew itself up"). Add an extra touch of fantasy to the makeup and you get Ronald Reagan as the savior of democracy and John McCain as the patron saint of reform. J. Edgar Hoover may never have stood so resolutely for the American way as in those legends that have him flinging a boa round his neck and prancing before his full-length mirror in drag.

Numerous studies have been written on the role of masking in traditional cultures, but they throw little light on the false-face societies of the United States. Probably no one theory could account for our every disguised, for Al Jolson in blackface and Rush Limbaugh as the aggrieved common man. I suspect that aside from the obvious explanations - the fun of dressing up, the benefits of anonymity as you hatchet open chests of tea - the main reason we mask ourselves is to hide from the claims of common life, which is to say, the claims that taxation in its purest form attempts to address. The partisan badge, the counterculture face paint, creates the illusion of membership in something less dull and burdensome than the whole human race. ... (-- p. 9)


Official and Confidential
The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover
Hardcover
By Anthony Summers




Quote:
Several accounts of Hoover, who was FBI chief from 1924 until his death in 1972, have hinted at his homosexuality but a new biography provides an eyewitness account of him dressed in black and red gowns, false eyelashes and a wig, taking part in orgies in New York's Plaza Hotel. In attendance, according to the account, were blond teenage boys who read the Bible and had sex with Hoover.

According to Anthony Summers, author of the new biography, Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J Edgar Hoover, the FBI boss was an active member of a homosexual group that included the lawyer Roy Cohn and the liquor baron Lewis Rosentiel.

Eyewitness of the Plaza orgies is Lewis Rosentiel's then wife, Susan, who claims she saw Hoover 'wearing a fluffy black dress, very fluffy, with flounces, and lace stockings and high heels and a black curly wig'. Cohn introduced him as Mary, she says.

In an excerpt of the biography in next week's Vanity Fair magazine she adds: 'It was obvious it wasn't a woman; you could see where he shaved. It was Hoover. You've never seen anything like it. I couldn't believe it, that I should see the head of the FBI dressed as a woman.' She says Hoover, Cohn and her husband had sex with the boys, one of whom read from the Bible.

Another time at the Plaza, Ms Rosentiel says she saw Hoover in a red dress with a black feather boa around his neck. 'He was dressed like a flapper.'

The wonder is that Hoover, whose stock-in-trade was blackmail, including tracking President John F Kennedy's sexual dalliances - should have risked being blackmailed himself by taking part in orgies at one of New York's most fashionable hotels, which was not exactly a 'safe house'. Also, Nicholas von Hoffman, a biographer of Roy Cohn, points out that Susan Rosentiel, disliked Cohn and other ex-FBI people close to him and one can never be sure of the motives of those in the Hoover- Cohn-Rosentiel group and who may now feel it is safe to speak out. It has long been rumoured that Hoover had an affair with his aide, Clyde Tolson, and all these sexual adventures, if true, put Hoover's FBI stewardship into a new historical perspective. (From FBI chief exposed as a secret transvestite: Peter Pringle reports from New York on new allegations that J Edgar Hoover attended orgies, wearing a fluffy black dress to one, and was blackmailed into protecting the Mafia by Peter Pringle in The Independent, Feb. 6/93)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the Ultimate High-Stakes Gamble:

At Blackwater Pond
Clothbound Audio CD
Poems by Mary Oliver featuring selections from in order House of Light, Dream Work, Why I Wake Early, House of Light, New and Selected Poems Vols. I and II, White Pine and Owls and Other Fantasies
Read in a slow, clear, sonorous and purposeful voice by the poet
A classic!


Quote:
View selections fromthe website, Poet Seers.

More of Oliver at the Roll & Shuffle.




Quote:
... As the world changes from the long winter into spring, and everything takes on a freshness and a spiritual meaning, just so poetry can quicken, enliven the interior world of the listener.

Much of the work of a poet is a mystery, but the last labor is clear; it is the deliverance of the poem. Often this happens through a manuscript or a book, but it can occur in a vocal way also. Has everyone at some time looked up the original meaning of performance? It means, says Webster, "to finish, to complete." The poem is meant to be given away, best of all by the spoken presentation of it; then the work is complete. Which makes performance sound, does it not, like part of the life-work of the poem, which I think it is. As if the poem itself had an independent life, or the endless possibility of its own life, in minds other than the poet's, which I think it has.

When I step onto a stage to read poems, the anticipation and even the hope of the audience is palpable. The people sitting quietly in the chairs - they have come not to rest, but to be awakened. They have come for some worthwhile news.

But, as I say, there are other ways to fall into the enchantment besides the live reading. I once read a story about an old couple in New York City; the wife kept house, and the husband went every day to the public library and read, and copied into a notebook, the poems of Keats. He had fallen under the spell of the English poet - these were the poems he loved, and would have written if he could have written poems at all. His wife in the evening read his notebook, and found the poems astonishing and, also, thinking her busband had written them himself in the solitude of the library, she could not believe she had such good fortune, to be married to such a man. (From Performance Notes included along with color photos of the poet in the woods probably near her home)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savage Spawn
Reflections on Violent Children
Paperback
By clinical psychologist/novelist Joseph Kellerman


Quote:
More of the book, including a few suggested cures.





Quote:
Fully one-third of Vancouver police calls today involve a person with mental health issues, and cops identify gaping holes in service.


Quote:
"Some [psychopaths]," Millar (psychiatrist Thomas Millar in his essay, The Age of Passion Man 1: Can J Psychiatry. 1982 Dec;27(8):679-82) writes, "manage to cling to the omnipotent illusions, but the price they pay is the loss of their humanity. A few, like [T.E.] Lawrence and Hitler, manage, for a brief span, to persuade the world to endorse their illusion of power ... but ultimately the game proves too real, and when the bloody facts can no longer be denied, the mask of omnipotence falls away, and the petulant child stands revealed."

Confronting creativity with morality and psychopathic rebelliousness with social liberation led Norman Mailer to predict that psychopaths would turn out to be the saviors of society. Mailer was as terribly wrong about that as he was when he worked hard to spring career criminal Jack Henry Abbott from prison. Shortly after his release, Abbott murdered an innocent man. Oops. What impressed Mailer were Abbott's writings, summarized in a thin book titled In the Belly of the Beast. A coolheaded review of this volume nearly two decades later reveal it to be a crude, nasty, sophomoric collection of self-justifying diatribes - prototypical psychopathy.

Muddled thinking about evil is by no means limited to the political left. Sex murderer Edgar Herbert Smith, sentenced to execution for raping and bludgeoning a 15-year-old girl to death with a baseball bat, was able to turn a phrase with some skill, and he conned William Buckley into thinking he was innocent. Buckley campaigned to get Smith promptly and viciously attacked another woman. Smith then admitted that he'd been guilty of the first murder. Oops again.

During the '50s, '60s and '70s, overly romantic notions of psychopathy within the so-called artistic community led to tremendous sympathy being directed toward criminals such as Caryl Chessman and Huey Newton. How sadly off target. Chessman was a cold-blooded serial rapist, and Newton was a violent thug and a drug pusher masquerading as a political reformer.

Perhaps the most horrifying example of good intentions paving the road to hell involved a charming fellow named Jack Unterweger, an Austrian career criminal. After being released from a life sentence in response to agitation from European literati who judged his poetry indicative of a soul made whole, Unterwegger quickly resumed his real career: murdering women at a rapid, relentless pace. Eleven women in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and th eUnited States were abused, raped, and strangled to death with their brassieres. Double oops. Sorry.

That's eleven victims the police know about, because if Unterweger was like other psychopathic criminals, he accomplished many more crimes than the ones for which he was arrested.

A lot more. In addition to unreported crimes, another factor exists to deflate crime rates: plea bargaining, which by compressing several offenses into one criminal charge presents an overly rosy view of the incidence of felonies. This applies even to the most violent offenses. One group of serial rapists studied by the FBI were convicted of an average of seven attacks but in fact committed an average of 28 rapes each. And those were only the known assaults. The actual number was most likely considerably higher. ...

... male psychopaths outnumber female psychopaths and because males are responsible for a very high proportion, probably 90 per cent or more, of violent crimes. (-- pgs. 28-30)


In the Belly of the Beast
Letters from Prison
Paperback
By Henry Abbott




Brief Against Death
Written by Edgar Smith on his Eleventh Year on Death Row
Introduction by right-wing sucker William F Buckley, Jr.
Paperback




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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

New York Times Magazine
Magazine Subscription
The Civil Heretic
How did Freeman Dyson, the world-renowned scientist and public intellectual, wind up opposing those who care most about global warming?
By Nicholas Dawidoff
March 26/09


Quote:
More Green Gambles at the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Climate Change.





Quote:
IT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO that Dyson began publicly stating his doubts about climate change. Speaking at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University, Dyson announced that “all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated.” Since then he has only heated up his misgivings, declaring in a 2007 interview with Salon.com that “the fact that the climate is getting warmer doesn’t scare me at all” and writing in an essay for The New York Review of Books, the left-leaning publication that is to gravitas what the Beagle was to Darwin, that climate change has become an “obsession” — the primary article of faith for “a worldwide secular religion” known as environmentalism. Among those he considers true believers, Dyson has been particularly dismissive of Al Gore, whom Dyson calls climate change’s “chief propagandist,” and James Hansen, the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and an adviser to Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth. Dyson accuses them of relying too heavily on computer-generated climate models that foresee a Grand Guignol of imminent world devastation as icecaps melt, oceans rise and storms and plagues sweep the earth, and he blames the pair’s “lousy science” for “distracting public attention” from “more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet.” ...

“The climate-studies people who work with models always tend to overestimate their models,” Dyson was saying. “They come to believe models are real and forget they are only models.” Dyson speaks in calm, clear tones that carry simultaneous evidence of his English childhood, the move to the United States after completing his university studies at Cambridge and more than 50 years of marriage to the German-born Imme, but his opinions can be barbed, especially when a conversation turns to climate change. Climate models, he says, take into account atmospheric motion and water levels but have no feeling for the chemistry and biology of sky, soil and trees. “The biologists have essentially been pushed aside,” he continues. “Al Gore’s just an opportunist. The person who is really responsible for this overestimate of global warming is Jim Hansen. He consistently exaggerates all the dangers.”

Dyson agrees with the prevailing view that there are rapidly rising carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere caused by human activity. To the planet, he suggests, the rising carbon may well be a MacGuffin, a striking yet ultimately benign occurrence in what Dyson says is still “a relatively cool period in the earth’s history.” The warming, he says, is not global but local, “making cold places warmer rather than making hot places hotter.” Far from expecting any drastic harmful consequences from these increased temperatures, he says the carbon may well be salubrious — a sign that “the climate is actually improving rather than getting worse,” because carbon acts as an ideal fertilizer promoting forest growth and crop yields. “Most of the evolution of life occurred on a planet substantially warmer than it is now,” he contends, “and substantially richer in carbon dioxide.” Dyson calls ocean acidification, which many scientists say is destroying the saltwater food chain, a genuine but probably exaggerated problem. Sea levels, he says, are rising steadily, but why this is and what dangers it might portend “cannot be predicted until we know much more about its causes.” ...

... Dyson has said that it all boils down to “a deeper disagreement about values” between those who think “nature knows best” and that “any gross human disruption of the natural environment is evil,” and “humanists,” like himself, who contend that protecting the existing biosphere is not as important as fighting more repugnant evils like war, poverty and unemployment. ...

Dyson has always been strongly opposed to the idea that there is any such thing as an optimal ecosystem — “life is always changing” — and he abhors the notion that men and women are something apart from nature, that “we must apologize for being human.” Humans, he says, have a duty to restructure nature for their survival.

All this may explain why the same man could write “we live on a shrinking and vulnerable planet which our lack of foresight is rapidly turning into a slum” and yet gently chide the sort of Americans who march against coal in Washington. Dyson has great affection for coal and for one big reason: It is so inexpensive that most of the world can afford it. “There’s a lot of truth to the statement Greens are people who never had to worry about their grocery bills,” he says. (“Many of these people are my friends,” he will also tell you.) To Dyson, “the move of the populations of China and India from poverty to middle-class prosperity should be the great historic achievement of the century. Without coal it cannot happen.” That said, Dyson sees coal as the interim kindling of progress. In “roughly 50 years,” he predicts, solar energy will become cheap and abundant, and “there are many good reasons for preferring it to coal.” (-- pgs. 35-37)


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A New York Life
Of Friends and Others
Hardcover
By the simply poisonous Brendan Gill


More others than friends, we'll wager ...

Quote:
More of Gill's poison pen.

More of Behan.

STILL MORE Behan.





Quote:
Meanwhile, Brendan's professional life was deteriorating. He had written The Quare Fellow and The Hostage in collaboration with Joan Littlewood, who took public credit only as the director but who had her just, if secret, share of the author's royalties. This collaboration was a source of embarrassment to Brendan, who wished to be seen as a genius in his own right. Bad enough to live with the often-voiced accusation that he had lifted the plot and emotional ambience of The Hostage from Frank O'Connor's short story 'Guest of the Nation;' worse to be thought a sort of literary grab bag, to be plucked from when he was more or less sober and ignored when he was drunk.

For years, Brendan worked with Littlewood on a play, Richard's Cork Leg. When their collaboration was dissolved by Brendan's envy and by his increasing inability to concentrate (one sorry factor feeding their other), Brendan turned with mounting desperation to selling the tatters of his talent here and there, to purchasers unworthy of them. The English editor who had patched together and rendered publishable Borstal Boy was brought over to the Chelsea to help wrest from Brendan, paragraph by paragraph and even sentence by sentence, a sufficient number of observations about his beloved New York City to make up a book. ... (-- p. 137


Yes, and get this:

Quote:
... Later in the morning, I went over to the hotel to pick up Brendan for a luncheon engagement in the Village, and he suddenly burst out, "Well, what do you know! Fat and ugly as I am, I succeeded this morning in ravishing a pretty young Irish virgin." ...

Neither Brendan nor Lydia had the least knack for discretion; soon enough the slovenly openness with which they conducted their affair (an openness emphasized by the narrow boundaries of the settings in which it took place: the Algonquin, Jim Downey's bar, and the like) caused it to become common knowledge, and Beatrice (Behan's wife), understandably indignant, had no choice but to retreat to Dublin. Unbeknownst to me at the time, she had had far more than Lydia to put up with in the course of the years of her marriage to Brendan; he was a bisexual who, in his recurrent, constantly accelerating bouts of drunkenness, chose companions in the lowest and most dangerous of gutters - that is, in actual gutters, where he would be beaten up, robbed of his money, and left unconscious.

Sometimes Brendan would invite unsavory companions back to the Algonquin, hoping to take them up to his room to sleep off drugs and drink, and would scandalize other guests in the hotel by making a noisy scene in the lobby when he wasn't permitted to do so. (-- p. 136)


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