Thailand’s election officials confused by ladyboy ID photos

Thailand’s community of “ladyboys” have complained…they were being marginalized in next week’s general election because their ID card pictures were too confusing for polling officials.

It is the latest in a series of gripes among members of the Trans-Female Association of Thailand which groups transgenders and transsexuals known collectively as “katoeys” or “ladyboys.”

“We have a big problem when we use our identity cards in banks, schools, hospitals and now when we vote,” said Yollada Suanyoc, president of the 2,500-strong organization.

The picture may show a woman but it says ‘mister’ on the card. Or the picture may show a teenage boy and the person now looks like a woman.”

Everyone in Thailand has to carry a national ID card with them at all times from the age of 15. It is renewed every seven years.

Transgenders and transsexuals are accepted in Thailand more readily than in most other countries, with one new airline hiring only ladyboys as cabin crew. They are especially common in cosmetics shops and health stores and in bars in some of Bangkok’s racier entertainment districts.

“The government says if they change our title and sex, it’s going to make society confused,” she said. “The government worries that they won’t know about our past.”

As usual, it’s the stodgy bureaucrats in government who are confused at best, as likely to be stuck in the treacle of their own ignorance and misunderstanding.

Book industry balance continues to tilt towards the author

Every week, it seems there is more evidence that the balance of power in the book industry continues to tilt towards the author and away from the all-powerful publisher. One of the latest examples is John Green, who writes fiction for young adults from his home in Indianapolis, and whose latest novel has hit number one before it has even been published.

Green gives credit for this phenomenon to his Twitter and YouTube followers, but the real credit should go to him for being willing to not just use social media as a promotional tool the way some do, but to actually reach out and engage with his readers and fans.

As the Wall Street Journal describes it, Green simply posted the title of his new book — a story about two young cancer patients called “The Fault In Our Stars” on his Twitter account — where he has built up a following of more than a million fans — and on his Tumblr blog, as well as a community forum based around Green’s work called

He then offered to sign the entire first print run of the book, and later followed that up with a live YouTube show, in which he discussed his plans for the book and read from a chapter of the uncompleted novel.

The whole process started on Tuesday afternoon, and by that evening, the book had apparently hit the number one spot on both the Amazon list of bestsellers and the Barnes & Noble list.

Not surprisingly, this kind of word-of-mouth marketing multiplied by the force of social media has caused a lot of raised eyebrows in the industry. As one senior editor at publisher Harper Collins told the Journal:

Everyone is now focused on it, because when it works, it can be a runaway train

Obviously, not everyone is going to have the million-plus followers that Green has, or the devoted following on YouTube that he and his brother Hank have built up over years of doing what used to be called “vlogging” or video-blogging… The point is that no publisher or agent or industry had to create those things; the author did it himself with help from his fans.

RTFA. More information, more compartments of experience and method open up. How and why an author can seize more control over growing their fans, their market. Because the capability is there for writers. Because publishers aren’t especially willing or able to do the same.

Someone found a Maine official with a heart — homeless man released for charging cellphones on public electricity

Dangerous murals on Maine labor history – removed by Scrooge LePage

Prosecutors have declined to pursue charges against a homeless man in Maine who helped himself to an outdoor electrical outlet to charge a pair of cellphones.

Bangor police originally charged 23-year-old Shaun Fawster last weekend with theft of services after an officer caught him charging phones on an outlet hidden behind some flowers. He was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon after the officer found a folding knife tucked under his shirt.

But Susan J. Pope, assistant district attorney, said prosecutors declined to pursue the case.

Fawster, who’s a transient with no known address, couldn’t be reached for comment.

I don’t mind giving you a comment. With a state governed by a drudge who hates art that depicts working people as worthwhile human beings, with [a few] coppers who harass a homeless dude who stays North instead of heading South – it only took a day or two to find an assistant DA with her head screwed on straight enough to release the poor bugger.

Body goes unnoticed in public swimming pool — for days UPDATED

The body of a woman who apparently drowned in a state-run swimming pool in Massachusetts remained in the water unnoticed for two days until passersby finally alerted police…

No one reported seeing Marie Joseph, 36, between Sunday and late on Tuesday, when police were called to Veterans Memorial Swimming Pool in a park in southeastern Massachusetts where they found her in the water, Fall River Police Lt. Roger LaFleur said on Thursday.

“There were some individuals who were in the park and who noticed there was a body in the pool and subsequently called police,” LaFleur told Reuters.

Authorities said visitors to the recreational pool on Monday and Tuesday apparently didn’t notice Joseph’s body…

Joseph, a resident of Fall River, a city about 50 miles south of Boston, was last seen at the pool on Sunday. Her belongings were later found there, but she had not been reported missing, police said.

Police Chief Daniel Racine told a news conference Joseph may have had an accident on a water slide at the pool, citing a 9-year-old boy whom she had been taking care of on Sunday. The boy said Joseph accidentally went down the slide and landed on top of him, then went underwater and failed to resurface…


Health inspectors had visited the pool twice that week over complaints of the water being “murky” – and found nothing wrong.

Eeoough, eeoough!!

UPDATE: Three staffers have been fired for incompetence.

89-year-old woman smacks getaway car with her cane — makes purse snatchers easy to identify

Pennsylvania police say an 89-year-old woman used her cane to dent the car of two people who stole her friend’s purse, and authorities were able to track down the getaway car based in part on the cane’s imprint.

New Castle police Chief Thomas Sansone says the woman and her 82-year-old friend were accosted outside a pizza shop Sunday. Police say 27-year-old Jerry Brown Jr. grabbed the purse but couldn’t peel away before the 89-year-old banged the car’s trunk with her cane.

Police found the car, and, based on the description of the robber – and dents matching the cane – arrested Brown and 21-year-old Tatiana Vargas.

The two are jailed in Lawrence County on robbery charges and on warrants for unrelated crimes.

Since I own a couple of different canes I wonder what style and composition she used?

My wood cane is kind of lightweight; but, you could really whip it around like a sword if need be.

For my walks along the fenceline with Rally I have a steel cane. In case I manage to fall down the back meadow towards the bosque I’d probably need it to get up. That sucker weighs a ton and might could remove a fender from some gangbanger’s ride.

The worlds longest sea bridge opens over Jiaozhou Bay, China

Along with its massive high-speed rail network, China has officially surpassed the United States in yet another piece of transportation infrastructure: the world’s longest sea bridge.

The new bridge spans Jiaozhou Bay, on the southern coast of China’s Shandong Peninsula in northeastern China. At 26.4 miles long, it beats Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain Causeway — the previous world-record holder — by at least 2 miles, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Chinese workers toiled at marathon pace to build the bridge in four years, starting at each side and meeting in the middle. The structure has 5,200 pillars and cost at least $2.3 billion, according to Chinese state-run media.

The Guinness officials say the bridge is earthquake- and typhoon-proof, and designed to withstand the impact of a 300,000-ton vessel. It links the port city of Qingdao to the island of Huangdao, cutting drive time from 40 to 20 minutes, according to the state-run China Daily.

Click through to the article. There’s a short video with a helicopter view of the bridge.