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About kat

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  1. kat

    Hi Suegha:

    I am a bit of a graphics and editorial nerd. I'm well but a bit cold in Korea. I hope to visit LOS sometime this year. Will drop you a line when in town.

  2. suegha

    Where do you get these fantastic avatars and moving graphics. I love the latest ones!

    How are you kat?

  3. Amyji

    I hope you come back to Thaivisa and let us know how Thailand compares to Korea.

  4. kat

    Please Settle Debate About Bkk And Nyc

    Compstat was, and is, an excellent achievement. It was the contribution of William Bratton between 1994 and 1996 when Giuliani fired him. Why did Giuliani fire his outstanding chief of police? Because Bratton, not Giuliani, was featured on the cover of Time magazine. Very good point, Haddock. But my previous point about the crack cocaine epidemic as the significant factor in falling crime stats in the early 90s still stands. I liked your points about history, but there are many other facets of urban history and migration that are equally significant, especially after the reconstruction period. I don't think we are in disagreement, but I know Levitt's book just simply doesn't cover all of the factors well.
  5. kat

    Please Settle Debate About Bkk And Nyc

    I am very interested to hear the opinions of a NY urban planner on the subject, since it is your field of study while I have only a citizen's interest in the subject. You are correct that the explanation I posted came from the Freakonomics book. Although Leavitt originated the abortion explanation, he properly gave weight to the incarceration and enforcement issues. So the combination of those forces seems the most persuasive to me, much more so than the "broken windows" self-promotion of people like Kerik. However, I am very wary of your argument based on the supposed special physical effects of crack cocaine or of some unproven epidemiological theory of crime. It was arguments of this kind, that crack cocaine use was uniquely addictive and disposed the user to far greater levels of violence, that persuded Tip O'Neil and others in Congress to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 that imposed mandatory minimum sentences in drug cases and led to vast increase in incarceration rates for blacks and other minorities. The US Sentencing Commission confirmed in 1990 that the laws were disproportionately applied to blacks. Here's a quote: "The Commission found that the disparity in sentencing harshness between white and black offenders had increased (U.S. Sentencing Commission, 1991, p. 82). Congress and the Administration did nothing to address this problem. By 1995, no white person had been prosecuted in federal court under the 1986 crack mandatory minimums in Los Angeles and other major cities, although hundreds of blacks had been (Weikel, 1995). Another study by the U.S. Sentencing Commission (1995) found the 100-to-1 powder cocaine-crack cocaine variation seemed to have an invidious impact on black offenders. For example, 88.3 percent of the mandatory crack sentences were imposed on blacks in FY 1993." http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/stories/200...hatUshered.html It is not a matter of dispute, for example, that the majority of cocaine users (including both the crack and powder forms) are white while the majority of offenders who go to prison for cocaine use are not white. All of this was justified by pleading the special, pernicious effects of crack cocaine. It calls to mind the demon weed campaign against marijuana in the 30's, when its use was largely confined to the black population. Somehow it has always been all too easy for white America to find uniquely abhorrent the intoxicants favored by minorities. I would go further. In my opinion, there are three historic eras of the suppression and exploitation of black people in America: chattel slavery, the Jim Crow laws of legalized segregation from 1890 until the Civil Rights era of the 60's, and the selective enforcement of drug laws to achieve extraordinary levels of the judicial incarceration of black people. Each stage represents an ingenious and subtle triumph of racism over the evolution of law. By the way, what have you observed about urban planning in BKK? The development of mass transit is very encouraging especially since BKK lacks the street area ever to manage vehicular traffic acceptably. Unless they were to redevelop in the manner of Baron Haussman. It would be great if they are able to tackle air polution at some point. Hi Haddock: You bring up some very good points which I want to discuss. I don't have the time right now to discuss them at length, but I will continue later tonight. It will be fun, because you bring up the same points that are directly in my area of interest. We can continue if people don't mind a proper discussion without complaining that we are off topic. To briefly state my point, I understand your point about Tip O'Neil's racist laws that targeted low-income crack cocaine users over higher-income and largely white cocaine users in the 80s, but that doesn't change the characteristics of crack cocaine addiction, and the ravages of it in low-income communities. It only highlights the bias and fear in Congress toward one demographic over another. I have not even read your points about history yet, but that is a keen interest of mine so we will have fund discussing it later, I hope. As for planning in BKK, every planner I know including organizations that I have worked with in BKK agrees that there was never a planning tradition in the City to begin with, hence some of the particular issues that have arisen due to rapid development with non-existent planning. It is a mess, and some things will never be able to be improved, because of earlier negligence or apathy.
  6. kat

    Please Settle Debate About Bkk And Nyc

    Well, gee, as I explained in the case of New York crime in the late 80s/early 90s, a straight demographic/population analysis just doesn't cut it as an explanation, unless of course you are a bureaucrat from a distance who kneels before demographic census tracts, or an economist pop writer who has most likely never even stepped foot into an inner-city, high-crime neighborhood during the same period. There are young people and young offenders now in NYC, and in areas of concentrated poverty even more so, but nothing which can compare to the period in question. Don't get me wrong - there is plenty that can be planned and explained with demographic data, but it should work in tandem with and not as a replacement for data at the street level. In terms of comparisons between BKK and NYC, I agree that formal comparisons are not valid unless controlling for demographics in addition to a combination of other factors as well.
  7. kat

    Please Settle Debate About Bkk And Nyc

    I'm from the Bronx, New York, lived in Bangers for 4 years, and am an urban planner and dealt directly with Giuliani Administration, and the issues of the city. You are almost spot on, except that you quote almost verbatim the reasons for drop in NYC decline from Freakonomics. It's a good book, except that they couldn't possibly understand every detail of the city and drop in crime, because they weren't there, and there's only so much that census data tracks can tell you. It was not solely because of enforcement, incarceration or Roe vs. Wade. Any person who lived and grew up in high-crime areas of NYC throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, which I did, and then went on to work on those issues as an urban planner in high-crime neighborhoods, knows that the decrease in crack cocaine use was significant as early as 1990. Crack cocaine is a highly addictive drug with a euphoric high of only 15 minutes, in which after dopamine levels drop dramatically and each successive hit is less intense, so it creates highly manic, desperate, and dangerous crack heads. Like every new drug fad, the epidemic captures its core group of crack heads and then dies out, as they die off or are either incarcerated or fall into homelessness. As the demand grew and supply decreased because of large busts and removal of dealers and users, the street price increased and the amount of product for the money was less. You can see the same trajectory of drug fads with certain generations of heroin use of 70s and current meth use today. It had nothing to do with Roe vs. Wade or Giuliani! The mayoralty of Giuliani wasn't even until 1994, after the dramatic decline in crack cocaine had already been recorded. He certainly had the big realtors in his pocket, however, from the beginning. But, yes, I agree. I feel far more unsafe in Bangkok just crossing the street or getting into a taxi then I do in current New York. *Added: http://www.drugtext.org/library/articles/912514.htm The decline of crack use in New York City Drug policy or natural controls? 1990/91 (conclusion) There is reason to fear untutored experimentation with other drugs. The example of the 1964-72 heroin injectors is instructive. By l971, they had reached the same stage of frustration with heroin which crack smokers are today experiencing with crack. Veins had collapsed and there was not an intact one left into which to inject heroin, even if it had been offered free of charge. Craving treatment and care for health-related problems, heroin injectors were offered methadone. Soon though, unhappiness with methadone led to heavy drinking, and eventually, by 1979, to cocaine injecting (Drucker: 1986). In 1981, heroin-injectors-turned-cocaine-injectors-via-methadone complained that injecting cocaine was making them "freeze up": they believed that soon they would be too "frozen up" to bleed. Presently they began smoking cocaine - as freebase - and when this method of administering the drug proved acceptable to marijuana smokers (who were at the time suffering shortages of that drug), the first stage of the crack epidemic was set (Hamid 1990b). A critical juncture has been reached in the crack epidemic in low-income minority communities and in drug use in New York City. As crack use declines, it functions as a high risk factor for AIDS and violence related to its distribution may increase, as distributors compete for fewer sales, or as consumers commit more desperate acts to pay increased prices. The idea of a developmental cycle in drug epidemics incorporating distinct stages of inittiation, widespread diffusion peak, decline and stabilization is a reminder that the dangers and opportunities of the drug are different from stage to stage and should be met by policy sensitive to change.
  8. kat

    Hi Redrus:

    I don't think any beer is a sin, just a series of compromises! Even the cloistered monks had beer.

  9. Glad to hear you're on the bean.

    Having moved to Bangkok recently, I have become even harder to find ;)

  10. Hey SJ:

    I've had my coffee today so I'm ready to start some trouble. Now I just have to find you. ;)

  11. redrus

    Gluten free beer....hhhhmmm?

    Wasn't that a sin...?

  12. kat

    Myanmar/Burma Politics

    SJ, what I'm trying to tell you and what has been explained here is that the casual links have already been established, argued, researched, and reported. It is not a matter of A and B but A,B,C and D happening simultaneously outside of the pristine academic exercise of holding one constant for statistics class. The interviews have been given, the numbers tabulated, and the results are long in. The beans have been counted, categorized, boiled and eaten. The only thing that remains is a bunch of hot air from people who persist on academics when the real results have already come and gone. If you want logic, formulate an argument that you can win, instead of beating a dead horse with a statistics book.
  13. kat

    Myanmar/Burma Politics

    SJ, my dear, you're a bit of a bean counter there. I think that has to do with your Virgo sun, or is that Leo (both combine to be bad enough here ). The hypothesis testing has already happened. We have a South Africa before hand, and a S.A. afterwards. The numbers are out there. History is out there. After the combination of events already described, Mandela was released and Apartheid fell. Your side of the argument lost, and no amount of first-semester statistics is going to change that fact, and I'm 100% confident. As for Burma and The Sudan, it's a bit more complicated because they both have China and/or other European nations and Russia invested in energy prospects. People are trying to leverage mutual funds and pensions in the Sudan, but that comes with its own set of complications. So, it's not so straightforward, and as I said previously, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. But, it is also not acceptable to do nothing in the face of genocide, and there is your conundrum. I'm done here.
  14. kat

    Myanmar/Burma Politics

    I think you've mixed up your personal opinion with what has already been researched, substantiated, and widely discussed by experts in the field. The sequence of events called history and the numbers that are indeed out there trump your personal opinion, sorry SJ. Acknowledging South Africa's success does not inevitably make the same case for Burma because there are different political and economic climates at play. The Sudan and Burma are not part of a sizable market as the apartheid regime was, so the approach should be different. It is not a one-size fits all. However, the dismissal of S.A's success for the sake of argument is simply inaccurate. In the case of S.A., economic sanctions combined with public pressure and resistance DID work. Researchers and economists on the subject of South Africa agree that it was either some combination of public pressure on multinational corporations, including divestment and/or disinvestment, sympathy with the black resistance movement, individual boycotts of corporate products, international and political pressure, or all of the above. I think all of these factors combined to create a momentum in the mid-to- late 1980s that could not be achieved singularly with the UN resolutions in the 1960s, or the "constructive engagement" practices of the Sullivan Principles in the 1970s. It’s true that some researchers cannot agree on which were more significant in the 1980s: the divestment campaign, the boycott in Western countries of multinational products, the pressure on the IMF to stop loans to the regime in 1982, the 1984 decision of the U.S. Congress to stop foreign tax refunds to corporations in S.A., international solidarity with the internal struggle expressed through the above; however ALL agree that at least one or more combinations of these approaches in the 1980s was significant in ending the Apartheid regime. There is plenty of historic and academic research out there, but unfortunately a lot of it is unavailable as public access articles. I have posted a couple of links to some titles of good ones, and that's as good as I can do on the net. Citations are substantiated research and arguments, not personal opinions. http://www.jstor.org/pss/2706752 Divestment, Investment Sanctions, and Disinvestment: An Evaluation of Anti-Apartheid Policy Instruments William H. Kaempfer, James A. Lehman and Anton D. Lowenberg International Organization, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Summer, 1987), pp. 457-473 (article consists of 17 pages) Published by: The MIT Press http://pas.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/31/3/381 Monitoring Multinationals: Lessons from the Anti-Apartheid Era http://www.jstor.org/pss/3088196 Agency Conflict and Corporate Strategy: The Effect of Divestment on Corporate Value Peter Wright and Stephen P. Ferris Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Jan., 1997), pp. 77-83 (article consists of 7 pages) Published by: John Wiley & Sons http://www.springerlink.com/content/t2272730520484r3/ Exchange rate evidence on the effectiveness of United Nations policy