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Friday, October 14, 2016


Let us take stock of where we are today.  October 14 is the 287th day of 2016, with 78 days remaining.
  • Today in 1908 the Chicago Cubs defeated the  Detroit Tigers to win the World Series.  Well, can the 2016 version do it again and break a 108 year drought?
  • Theodore Roosevelt on this day in 1912 was shot by a mentally disturbed saloon keeper, and, with a .32-caliber bullet in his chest, carried out his scheduled speech.  Incidentally, this was a heck of presidential election year, for there were four serious candidates:  Republican and incumbent William Howard Taft, Teddy for the splinter Republican Bull Moose Party, Democrat Woodrow Wilson and Socialist Eugene Debs.  Wilson easily won because of the Republican split.  So if you think there are fireworks between Trump and Clinton, it can get a lot worse.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis reached a peak today in 1962.  The world could well be 54 years into our nuclear winter if the worst happened.  ISIS terrorists?  Donald Trump?  While the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has now added global warming to its worry list, really, the world is about the safest it has been in more than half a century.  Their Doomsday Clock historical graph:

Yesterday (scroll down to the next posting) I assumed that Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn would succeed King Bhumibol, for he is the oldest child and only son.  Well, there has been a delay in the process, and, as the country is ruled by the military, with the Privy Council now serving the monarchical role, some intrigue might be worthy of speculation.  President of the Privy Council, Prem Tinsulanonda (left), a former Army general, masterminded the coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is now living in Dubai.  The Crown Prince and the former PM were very close friends.

The oldest daughter, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya (left), went to MIT and UCLA.  While in Boston she married an American, and therefore is ineligible to become the first female Rama.  She divorced her husband and is now back home.  

Second daughter  Princes Maha Chakra Sirindhorn never got married, has a PhD and teaches at the Royal Military Academy.  She is close to the ruling officers and is beloved by the citizens.  Prince Vajiralongkorn, in contrast, has now been divorced three times and is a political liability.

She is not in the discussion, keeping a rather low profile, but third daughter, Princess Chulabhorn Walailak is 61 years old and divorced, but has a PhD in chemistry and was the first Asian to be invited to join Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry.  To the left she plays the guzheng (a Chinese zither) at China's Forbidden City.
Speaking of succession, the United Nations elected 67 year old Antonio Guterres of Portugal to be the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.  He served a 10-year term as UN Refugee Commissioner, a topic that is at the top of concerns in Europe and Middle East.  But this is not why he was selected.  The SG of the UN is usually a compromise candidate, as was Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who served a decade in that role.  Guterres takes office at the beginning of next year for a 5-year term, which almost surely will be doubled.

Hurricane Matthew has left North Carolina still partially under water, but all my friends in Florida have indicated to me that they did not have any serious problems.  Yet, it is estimated that the damage could amount to $10 billion, which would place Matthew right up there close to the top five.  Hurricane Nicole in the Atlantic is moving away, but in the West Pacific, Tropical Storm Sarika will roll over the Philippines as a Category 1, closer to Manila than I indicated yesterday, then, in the South China Sea, strengthen into a Category 2 and head for the southern part of Hainan:


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