Archive | August, 2013

I’ve flipped over NC

31 Aug

Japan’s upper-house election
Gloves off

Online electioneering reaches Japan
Jul 13th 2013 | TOKYO |From the print edition

Old-world warblers
AS THE orange van cruises central Tokyo, Kan Suzuki, a politician from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), scours the street for voters.
Leaning from the window, he blares out his name through the van’s loudspeakers, and a team of white-gloved ladies known as uguisu-jo, or
warbler girls, echoes him, waving starchily at a lone pensioner. Then Mr Suzuki retreats inside, to his iPad. For the first time in Japan, the law
now allows him to update his home page during an election campaign.

For years the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in office until 2009 and again from late last year, resisted changing outdated laws banning digital
campaigning. Its older politicians had not a clue about social media. Others feared negative smear campaigns or worried that a Barack
Obama-inspired internet machine could hand victories to the more technically minded DPJ. Until this election campaign—for the upper house of
the Diet, where half of the seats are up for grabs on July 21st—all online activity had to freeze just when candidates most wanted to reach

Shinzo Abe, prime minister since December, has changed all that. During the general election campaign he challenged opponents to debates
on Nico Nico Douga, a video-sharing website. To outline his bold ideas for monetary loosening, he took to Facebook. And in April he pressed
the LDP to pass a bill to allow online campaigning. The party has doled out iPads, arranged social-media tutorials and ordered its candidates,
old and young, to get online.

The party’s aim, says Takuya Hirai, its head of internet strategy, is to attract groups that have not usually supported the LDP, including the
young, who often shun politics altogether. A few hundred thousand have downloaded an LDP-commissioned game for smartphones featuring
a cartoon of Mr Abe. The aim is to bounce Mr Abe up into the clouds, as he changes from grey-suited politician into a caped superhero inspired
by a recent cover of The Economist.

Younger politicians, however, are underwhelmed by the digital push. The new law forbids the public from using e-mail or tweets to solicit
support for politicians. Nor may people forward e-mails or messages from candidates. Meanwhile, old forms of campaigning persist, notably the
loudspeaker vans, which a younger generation of politicians detests. Campaigning consists of repeating your name thousands of times a day.
Policy has nothing to do with it. Hideki Makihara of the LDP recalls that when he first ran for parliament, he tried to shout something about his
support for the plan of the then-prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, to privatise the postal system. The uguisu-jo told him it was pointless to go
into such detail from a moving vehicle. The loudspeakers only irritate voters, says Kotaro Tamura, a former LDP man who wishes the vans were

Still, the old ways have their uses. In the vans, it is hard for Japan’s gaffe-prone politicians to put their foot in it. Mr Hirai recently got into trouble
when Nico Nico Douga hosted a cross-party debate. “Shut it, old hag,” he could be seen writing when Mizuho Fukushima, the youngish female
head of the left-leaning Social Democratic Party, took the stage. There’s much to learn about the digital age.

blog comments

30 Aug

I feel terrible
Submitted on 2013/08/28 at 1:35 pm
I truly hope I didn’t mess up a potential reconciliation with your brother- that certainly wasn’t my intention. I guess that I assumed that what you posted here was simply a copy of what you had e-mailed to him. I didn’t really even consider that he would be reading your blog. I see from your sarcasm that you’re not too concerned about it, but I still hope that my comment didn’t kill the chance that your brother would reply. Maybe you can clarify for anyone who is interested how what you post here is copied or seen by others elsewhere?

a man among women
Submitted on 2013/08/26 at 5:24 pm
Nice move reaching out to your brother. I hope the two of you can connect, mend fences and move past your differences. I am interested, though, why you would be upset with your brother if he was the one behind the attempt to eff with your 2011 vacation, but you would give your mother a free pass if it turns out she was the one behind it. I’m also curious about the late notice of your son’s car accident. Although I’ve read your blog for the past few years, I don’t recall you ever elaborating on that situation. Did your family really not notify you in a timely manner? If that was the case, I can’t imagine why you would be okay with this. Even if you were the worst father in the world (and I have no cause to believe that was the case), you had the right as David’s father to be notified immediately- no matter how strained your relationship with your ex-wife and siblings were at that time. Anything less than immediate notice is unacceptable in my book. I find it reprehensible that this terrible news was kept from you.

a man among women
Submitted on 2013/08/24 at 8:18 pm | In reply to texastoest.
Well, I have to stand up and tell you how I can relate to that. One day in the spring of 1956, my parents packed we three children in our brand new 1957 Chevy to drive from Greenville, Texas to New York City from where we would ship said 1957 Chevy to Karachi Pakistan. We would fly, and meet our car at our destination. So, I, as the eldest of the children (I was almost 10) remember what that trip was like. I wonder how it compares with the subject Twohey family trip.

Twohey family to Ohio circa?
Submitted on 2013/08/24 at 7:41 pm
Hahaha! If NOT forever, it felt like forever, I’m sure.

Twohey family to Ohio circa?
Submitted on 2013/08/20 at 5:42 pm
Ever the diplomat.

Why not?
Submitted on 2013/08/17 at 4:40 pm
How frustrating. Please expound..

Egypt and political Islam
Submitted on 2013/08/16 at 2:11 am
After reading this, Sweetest Day doesn’t sound so stupid anymore…

a Ho-Chunk Thanksgiving
Submitted on 2013/08/15 at 4:13 am
Getting to meet you was awesome. Getting to be mentioned in your blog wasn’t better, but certainly pretty cool…

To reply: my mention of the word ” contribute” was not a reference to my poor gambling skills (as they sure are). It had a deeper meaning, that I will now explain, but that I am so happy you mentioned (and quite impressed by your mind to even have caught).

I hated “contributing” money to the tribe in such a fashion. I have always been horrified by the plight of the Native American. Thanksgiving, to me, for one, is such a depressing “holiday” once you strip away the turkey, the colorful turtlenecks, the pumpkin pie your aunt brought, huddling around the TV to watch “America’s Team” after watching “Detroit’s Finest” battling for a turkey with 8 legs, etc. Knowing how many Native Americans were slaughtered and tricked and god knows what else by settlers of “our” homeland is more than a bit unsettling to me and that makes eating that aforementioned slice of pumpkin pie very hard to swallow.

So, knowing that The Ho Chunk tribe’s consolation prize from our government is a small piece of land where they are allowed to subsidize their lives with dollars earned from gambling (illegal in most places, illegal for you and me to set up in our backyards), I always felt bad and I felt as if my “contribution” was hard to deal with. Even if they generate trillions of dollars, that won’t undo the past and when I used the word I did and just did yet again, it was more than tongue in cheek.

Kudos to you, TD, for picking up on those two little quotation marks. You asked me how you could retain people’s attention and keep them coming back to your blog. Maybe it’s by swimming laps in a pool, because that’s how you retained at least one loyal follower tonight…


Submitted on 2013/08/15 at 3:44 am
Super cool post. I wonder, too, what it takes to attract someone’s attention, and then hold it and have them continue to return, time after time (without using nudity or the lure of a free vacation, money, etc.). Traditional publications like Playboy or Publisher’s clearing House used the lowest common denominator back in the days of traditional media, so to speak, but I feel like that’s cheating. You could do that, too, should you choose, but the better question, in my opinion, is : how do I get and hold someone’s attention with creative and thoughtful insights and musings? Answer: high self confidence and patience. There are 24 hours in a day, 8 of which people spend sleeping (unless they have kids, which then cuts it down to half that time, but I digress),8 more working, and then 8 doing who knows what. Add in the fact that there are millions of sites out there competing for people’s eyes and minds, and the task seems insurmountable at best, impossible at worst.

That, my friend, is the challenge. From someone who has no Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media account (except for Linkdin, and I’m still not sure how that happened) on purpose, I am not sure i am the best person to give this advice, but then again, maybe I am?


that’s what it’s like to be me

North Carolina voting rights
Submitted on 2013/08/14 at 1:01 am
I am sorry to disagree but the voting rights act was the only thing stopping states like Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi, etc… From stopping low income and minority voters from voting. The new North Carolina law will likely prevent over 600,000 U.S. citizens from exercising their right to vote. These voter ID laws are supposedly being passed to stop “Voter Fraud” but no evidence exists anywhere that there is a voter fraud problem. In Pennsylvania when asked by a judge if there is any proof of a voter fraud problem the DA admitted no your we have no evidence of such a problem but we still need this law to prevent it from happening….. Why don’t we start passing other laws to prevent non-existent problems. For instance why do we not pass a law that prevents aliens from outer space eating at Burger King??? There is no evidence of that happening right now but it might in the future so let’s get the law on the books. We can also then allow BK employees from refusing service to anyone they think might be from outer space.

North Carolina voting rights
Submitted on 2013/08/11 at 4:55 pm
A warm heart is blessed. As your friend, I am happy you are blessed this morning.

my heart feels warm
Submitted on 2013/08/08 at 1:46 pm
I’m not going anywhere! This blog is a combination of entertainment, news, reality, poignant personal glimpses and occasionally a train wreck. I can’t look away!

Did Erika give me notice?
Submitted on 2013/08/08 at 2:11 am
I was mistaken thinking Erika was one of your family, Tom. Thank you for setting me straight. I’m happy you are a loyal reader, as I am, Erika. I enjoy your comments.

Did Erika give me notice?
Submitted on 2013/08/07 at 3:39 am
I, for one, am sad to see the Tom and Erika show end. It has been an interesting peephole into the family dynamics of others, way different from my own. I continue to read your blog, Tom, because your mental exercises fascinate me. And, I just love leaving comments, silly, and serious. I hope Erika continues to contribute.

I’m not Harry Potter
Submitted on 2013/08/06 at 8:39 pm
Never mind – too exotic.

Randi Richards 8/5
Hahahahahaha! I laughed myself silly at this blog post. I never intended to be a star….oooops, yes I did, I studied drama in school, I guess that speaks to my intent.
Gosh, Tom. I’m not the only one either. This is getting to be a group project, responding and advising you, young whipper snapper that you are. Get THAT in your next video.
Love ya, man — Randi

Emma Goldman

21 Aug

Emma Goldman May 5, 1901, Cleveland Memorial Hall.  Anarchist were opposed to bloodshed to achieve their ends, She told the crowd, “some believe that we should first obtain the force and let the intelligence and education come afterword.  Nothing could be more fallacious.  If we get the education and intelligence first among people the power will come to us without a struggle.”  But she next stated that it was understandable that anarchist carried out violent attacks.  Some men were so consumed with passion that they could not simply stand idle by and watch wrongs being committed. Book: Scott Miller The President and the Assissin

blog comments script

6 Aug

mamas don’t let you’re babies grow up to be cowboys
Submitted on 2013/08/05 at 8:14 pm
Tom- I’m interested as to why the death of your son led to you being basically excommunicated from your family. It’s been my experience that such a tragic situation normally has the exact opposite effect on a family. Instead of exclusion, normally family members would be going out of their way to include the wounded member. Was your ex-wife treated the same way? If not, it seems that your family chose sides when your first marriage ended and for some reason chose the non-blood relative to side with. Again- not typical behavior in my experience. For readers of your blog, I imagine that it would be interesting to hear the counter-argument to your side of the story. Not that you’re not being truthful- I don’t doubt that. I’d just be curious to hear the other side of the story. Hope you enjoy your vacation!

mamas don’t let you’re babies grow up to be cowboys
Submitted on 2013/08/05 at 5:13 pm
Yes, Tom. I have committed to work with you and Adam in this endeavor. Anything I can do to save others the bullying techniques of creditors and their cohorts is worth the effort. I was with Adam last night (not in the same room, don’t anybody get nervous) and he suggested you might share your pitch with me. Is it a possibility?

instant telemarketing satisfaction
Submitted on 2013/08/05 at 12:56 am
He said a lot to me today. I am one of the blessed.

Adam to grow his audience
Submitted on 2013/08/04 at 6:53 pm
We could help him. Adam, a daily publication would help.

healing time heals
Submitted on 2013/07/30 at 3:33 pm
I have felt your pain personally. I have brothers who have disassociated themselves from us. It hurt for awhile, but things do happen for a reason. It doesn’t bother me anymore. It’s their’ loss. I have a lot of people in my world that love me and care about me, .

What happened to your eye?
Submitted on 2013/07/28 at 4:58 am | In reply to Tom Doody.
I have similar exchanges with my family on a regular basis. But, I am, perhaps, more callous than you. I’ve been determined no one who doesn’t deserve to will see my tears….and they don’t. Feel privileged that I share them with you.

near Lincoln Tunnel y near Dallas to Missouri
Submitted on 2013/07/22 at 10:18 pm
This paragraph is genuinely a pleasant one it assists new internet viewers, who are
wishing for blogging.

Henry Ford: we effed up ur dream
Submitted on 2013/07/19 at 9:41 pm
Yahoooo! When are you going?

kind y patient to cousin, but sister?
Submitted on 2013/07/19 at 9:37 pm
As the granddaughter of the owner/operator of the Ford Automobile and Farm Implement dealership in Floresville, Texas (peanut capitol of the world, as an aside) until his death in 1954 I have been associated with the Ford Motor Company since before birth. I am here to attest to the effing up of Henry Ford’s dream. What was a giant of commerce has been reduced to a bad news story. It is too sad, that once AGAIN greed takes down another icon.

June Fortune magazine Amazon taxes
Submitted on 2013/07/14 at 11:33 pm
Dearest Tom,
Interesting you should run into this issue. It is one that has tickled my mind for some years. I finally realized I had no control, and dropped the issue. Those who promulgate these statutes and opinions do not hold exalted positions in my opinion. They are greedy, and look for ways to use the laws to line the pockets of whatever the entity for their own reelection, and self enrichment, nothing more. IMHO, these taxes charged across state lines are immaterial, and our politicians should concentrate on issues that affect the voters who elect them, not the commercial interests that compensate them under the table. You are totally correct, dumb rules.

complaint against Dr. Peter Lotfi
Submitted on 2013/07/07 at 5:07 pm
Infuriating, and dangerous. This lofty dude should be sued for malpractice. NEVER should a doctor disregard a patient’s questions about treatment. Not questioning is a possible path to worse problems. Keep the calls going.

complaint against Dr. Peter Lotfi
Submitted on 2013/07/07 at 3:51 pm
Thank you kindly! The “livid” woman sounds like the fellow from The Princess Bride. Inconceivable!
Submitted on 2013/07/05 at 5:25 pm
I will be coming with Cage to share some of that life with you. We will be living in New York.
I am on my way out to a jewelry store to have my ring size measured. This has got to be a dream.
Can Hanna plan a trip for you two to Dallas for the wedding? I haven’t talked to Cage about it, but I think Italy would be a great destination for a honeymoon.

NYC recreational day trip
Submitted on 2013/07/04 at 4:44 pm
Nods and smiles.

facebook NSA swipely
Submitted on 2013/07/03 at 3:59 pm
Yeah, I’ve been coming to the same confusion. There is further confusion in the thought of abandoning Facebook. What’s a girl to do?

new rich of Mumbai

5 Aug

Mumbai’s hungry high rollers
The wild brunch

The fight to fill the stomachs of Mumbai’s rich
Jul 6th 2013 | MUMBAI |From the print edition

IF YOUR thing is an infinite supply of langoustine and Veuve Clicquot served, to a piercing guitar solo, by a waiter who probably lives in a slum, then head to Mumbai. India’s financial capital has developed a mania for Sunday brunch. The magic formula is a gluttonous amount of food and drink for $40-80 a head, and a background of classic rock.

Luxury hotels and restaurants each have their own style and their own clientele. In the Marriott Hotel in Juhu, a filmi suburb where actors live, bandannas and boob-jobs are on display. At the new Shangri-La, bankers boast about how much face-time they get with Mukesh Ambani, an upholstered tycoon, while loading up on tuna nigiri-zushi.

The age of the brunch reflects rising numbers of wealthy folk. “People used to entertain at home, but things have become less conservative—money does wonders,” says a catering manager at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, standing by a cheese the size of a car wheel. It also reflects a dearth of things for the well-to-do to do. Mumbai has little green space, few shops and dire transport. The rich would not be seen dead on the foreshore promenades where anglers cast for mullet on the weekends when the council does not release sewage into the sea, or on the beaches where whizzing cricket balls, rubbish and tens of thousands of paddlers vie for space.

Mumbai’s sports clubs, with British colonial roots, used to be the ticket. But they are now the preserve of the hereditary rich. The members’ noticeboard of the poshest of the lot, the Willingdon Club, reads like a Who’s Who of the city’s industrial dynasties. For newly minted entrepreneurs and professionals, that leaves hotels and restaurants. They are anyway better for showing off. Men flash Rolexes as they reach for the dim sum. Women assembling salads are got up in enough luxury labels to float the French economy.

The number of five-star hotels in Mumbai has risen even as the growth in foreign visitors has slowed with India’s economy. Occupancy rates have fallen to 50-60% across the city. This has led to a culinary arms race as hoteliers fight to attract locals. Sushi bars are standard—one hotel chain is said to have a daily supply flight from Tokyo. Dessert counters look like Willy Wonka fantasies, with chocolate fountains and giant revolving ice-cream vats. Playing on nostalgia, most buffet spreads feature posh versions of pani-puri, a street snack that slum-dwellers buy for a few rupees. Live music is essential. Wilburn D’costa, a long-established guitarist at Indigo, a restaurant, says “Hotel California” and “Viva Las Vegas” are the favourites.

It is unimaginable luxury for the millions of Mumbaikars below the poverty line. Yet most hotels admit they lose money on brunch, even with special deals from champagne-makers. For the rich, the problem is their waistlines. Ferried about by chauffeurs and absolved from household chores by servants, they have become a corpulent race apart from their skinny compatriots. Perhaps they need to invent a new institution: the Sunday afternoon walk.

From the print edition: Asia