Friday, April 28, 2006
Concerning the price of gasoline, that is.
And yet, the former oilman, and son and friend of other oilmen, as he's assuring the American people that he's really, truly going to take an good, deep look at oil company profits, honestly, he is, he can't resist also taking advantage of the opportunity to suspend provisions of the Clean Air Act.
Wait. That didn't surprise you, did it?
Oh, and also taking a swipe at "boutique fuels," a cleverly-named term for the various grades of fuel required by state and local governments in order to decrease auto emissions.
Here in California, emissions are a problem. I'm pretty sure other people in the world are concerned about it too.
So is our irrational demand for clean air the thing that's driving prices upward? Or could it be this? Or this? Or this?
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The book was crap, people!
Warmed-over goddessy putrid crap!
Oh sure, it was a page-turner. But the prose! Aaaaaeeegahhhh!
It was so bad it hurt my eyes to read it!
But it was on the best seller list for blah blah weeks you say, and besides everyone in the country has read this book and LOVED it! How can you be such a elitist snob?
How? Because I was burned before. Burned real bad.
Nothing like a celebrity divorce to dish up some buried dirt.
Snoop and his 30-man posse (hey, those pimp chalises are heavy, okay?) busted up a duty-free shop and battled with the police after those members of his entourage who did not posess first-class tickets were denied entry to the British Airways first-class lounge.
Display cases were smashed, and bottles of duty-free liquor were thrown at waiting airline passengers. Snoop and 5 others were arrested and later released on bail.
During the fracas, one of those arrested was heard to exclaim "This is how it goes down in LA."
I heard that, brother.
Who would have thought Bush would be the one to blow the lid off the whole "fair and balanced" deal?
While making the much anticipated announcement that Mr. Snow would be his spokesman, Mr. Bush acknowledged that "he sometimes has disagreed with me," a reference to recent columns Mr. Snow has written calling Mr. Bush's domestic policy "lackluster" and the president "something of an embarrassment" to his conservative backers.
"I asked him about those comments," Mr. Bush said in the White House briefing room, "and he said, 'You should have heard what I said about the other guy.' "
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
And the press played it for what BushCo insinuated that it was: a shake-up response to low poll numbers.
But was it? Or was it one more step in a slow disappearing act?
Because Rove, you know, has been called again to testify before a grand jury in the Plame case.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Americans rate atheists below "Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in 'sharing their vision of American society."
Atheists "are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public," and "offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years."
The study's lead researcher asserts that "today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society."
My favorite study results: "Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism."
Monday, April 24, 2006
The response at Raw Story has apparently been so strong, that the column now includes an editor’s warning at the beginning, begging people to judge the work on its merits, which I, for one, was only too happy to do. The editor also stresses the point that the author is not ripping on all atheists, only the, you know, “atheist whackjobs,” a group that I must now conclude includes me. (The editor later revised his comments on the site.)
Yeah, cheers. It’s not the first time I’ve enjoyed the whackjob moniker.
Below is an excerpt from her column. And then, in between her sentences, I say mean things. Hey, it’s what you come to me for, right?
Outrageous claim number 3: All religion is oppressive.Notice the wording of the above sentence. Atheist whackjobs believe that all religion is oppressive. How does she know this? Because she has a quote, below. But, read the wording of the quote:
According to The International Manifesto for Atheistic Humanism, for instance, "Religion is oppressive. The act of subjugating human will to "divine will" is oppressive. The practice of obeying clergy, of letting them make our decisions for us, is oppressive and irresponsible."Ah, so what she means, apparently, is that all religion is oppressive because the structure, the nature, the idea behind religion is inherently oppressive. Okay, I don’t really disagree with that.
This one flies in the face of the evidence. Yes, it's very easy to show many instances of oppression stemming from religion.
Yes, it is easy. Very very very very very very very easy.
Whoa. She goes off course here. I expected her to argue that those components that comprise an organized religion do not necessarily require that it oppress its believers. Instead, she argues that religious people do good things, sometimes. And those good things are based on their religious beliefs. That’s quite a different point, isn’t it?
However, it is also easy to show many instances in which political and social progress were spearheaded by religious individuals based on the teachings of their particular faiths.
No atheist, not even a whackjob like me, would argue that all religious people are evil all the time. Come on. Even Torquemada was nice sometimes, in fact, I hear he was quite fond of his cat.
She goes on:
Study the abolitionist movement or the civil rights movement and you will be hard pressed not to encounter the role of religion in these struggles for liberation.Yes, no doubt Christians have, at times, looked to Christ as an example of how to behave. If I’m not mistaken, this is one of the main points of Christianity, and considering that, it is a wonder they don’t attempt it more often. Christ, although probably fictitious (oops, just said the word “probably” – how very unwhackjobish of me!) is nevertheless a pretty good role model. Of course, those on the opposite sides of the abolitionist and civil rights movements rationalized their beliefs in the inferiority of African-Americans by quoting the Bible and citing their own Christian teachings as well. But never mind that.
Oh dear. Melinda, baby, are you sure you want to include THIS example of how religious people can do good things?
To go beyond Christianity, there is now a movement in Africa that teaches Muslim women how to read the Koran so that they can refute the false claim that that religion demands or even permits female genital mutilation.
Because, I’m not sure you’ve thought this one through all the way.
Because female genital mutilation pretty much wouldn’t exist with the Koranamaniacs, see?
Let’s move on.
Religion, like any system of belief, is subject to the often contradictory nature of humanity and the tides of history. It is one thing at this moment and in this place and something completely different in another time and place. Oppression or liberation (with a few exceptions) are in the application, not necessarily inherent in the system of belief itself.
Ah, she returns to what should have been her point. But here’s the only sentence she offers as her entire refutation of that Atheist manifesto thing:
For instance, communism may look fine on paper, but in the hands of the Russians post-revolution, it was used to support one of the most oppressive regimes in modern history.Communism looks fine on paper? Communism looks fine on paper?
Christ, I give up.
(Pharyngula link via Eschaton)
According to Drumheller, CIA Director George Tenet delivered the news about the Iraqi foreign minister at a high-level meeting at the White House, including the president, the vice president and Secretary of State Rice.
At that meeting, Drumheller says, "They were enthusiastic because they said, they were excited that we had a high-level penetration of Iraqis."
What did this high-level source tell him?
"He told us that they had no active weapons of mass destruction program," says Drumheller.
"So in the fall of 2002, before going to war, we had it on good authority from a source within Saddam's inner circle that he didn't have an active program for weapons of mass destruction?" Bradley asked.
"Yes," Drumheller replied. He says there was doubt in his mind at all.
"It directly contradicts, though, what the president and his staff were telling us," Bradley remarked.
"The policy was set," Drumheller says. "The war in Iraq was coming. And they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy."
Drumheller expected the White House to ask for more information from the Iraqi foreign minister.
But he says he was taken aback by what happened. "The group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they're no longer interested," Drumheller recalls. "And we said, 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said, 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change.'"
"And if I understand you correctly, when the White House learned that you had this source from the inner circle of Saddam Hussein, they were thrilled with that," Bradley asked.
"The first we heard, they were. Yes," Drumheller replied.
Once they learned what it was the source had to say — that Saddam Hussein did not have the capability to wage nuclear war or have an active WMD program, Drumheller says, "They stopped being interested in the intelligence."
Friday, April 21, 2006
This one purports to show various famous actors auditioning for the movie, and while it's not as good as the SNL/Kevin Spacey Star Wars audition bit, it does feature a kick-ass Walken impression. And what's more fun than a Walken impression, huh?
Thursday, April 20, 2006
1) like Ann Coulter, the beast feeds on attention, and
2) there's nothing really new going on there.
Flanagan is just Phyllis Schlafly with a slightly, and I do mean slightly, better hairdo.
See what I mean? Flanagan's just 10 years away from a total Schlafly 'do. Mark my words.
And Flanagan's schtick is very similar to Schlafly's as well: Mothers should stay home and raise their children, lest they be damaged. Women should let men be the boss at home, or society will crumble and Jesus will cry.
Case in point. Elle writer Laurie Abraham talks about her interview with Flanagan:
In writer Laurie Abraham's telling of their interview, Abraham arrived at Flanagan's house flustered; back home, her daughter's pet gerbil had just died. Flanagan at first sympathized. Then after their chat turned heated over the question of what's lost when a mother works, she reminded Abraham: "The gerbil's dead and you're here."
"You could hear me gasp on the tape," Abraham said in an interview.
When reminded of the exchange, Flanagan gazed into the middle distance and mused, "Yeah, that was funny."
Yeah, that was funny, bitch. You know what else is funny?
That you, just like Schlafly, are a working mother. You write for the Atlantic and the New Yorker. You're currently on a press junket for your new book, for fuck's sake.
If only you WERE a stay-at-home mom, then we wouldn't have to listen to your hypocritical bile.
So what I'd like to know is, when you were on the other side of the country from your home, doing the Colbert Report last night, who was taking care of your kids?
And did their gerbils survive the ordeal?
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
But if you really want to know why it's hard out there for a pimp, why not just rent Hustle and Flow?
Terrence Howard grabs you from the first second of the movie and just never fucking lets you go. Plus, that sure is one sweet-ass Caprice.
Hustle and Flow. Its trials are many, but its rewards are legion.
Girl #1: Oh my god! I just heard that Katie Holmes had her baby! Katie Holmes had her baby, everyone!
Girl #2: Xenu commands you to shut the fuck up while I'm on the phone with my dealer.
--6th Avenue & West 4th Street
The best part? One of the authors is Melvin "I heart secret bombings in Cambodia and Laos" Laird. Yes, the Melvin Laird who tried to excuse the fact that Nixon kept the bombings secret from Congress by characterizing it as an "oversight."
Laird: Shit, dude, did we just totally forget to tell Congress about bombing Cambodia and Laos??
Nixon: Dude! I was so going to tell them! But then the doorbell rang, and Checkers wouldn't stop barking...
Laird: I know dude, I spaced it too.
Laird also famously defended Nixon's lie that the neutrality of Cambodia and Laos had been respected by helpfully explaining that Nixon meant that no ground troops had been sent in.
See, bombs respect neutrality. Ground troops do not respect neutrality.
Any questions? No? Good.
So this guy is really an excellent choice to co-author an article that proposes that it is the generals still in the military, and not those who no longer report to their civilian bosses, who are more credible in their public opinions of those bosses.
Yes, one would think that a simple consideration of the relative motivations of those still employed and those not still employed might come to the conclusion that those military leaders no longer concerned about their jobs or their pensions might be just a tad more inclined to speak the truth. But apparently that kind of simple, non-twisted variety of logic is not Laird logic.
For an example of Laird logic, see the bombing vs. ground troops argument above.
Or for an more recent example of Laird logic, see this bit from his WaPo piece:
We do not advocate a silencing of debate on the war in Iraq. But care must be taken by those experienced officers who had their chance to speak up while on active duty. In speaking out now, they may think they are doing a service by adding to the reasoned debate. But the enemy does not understand or appreciate reasoned public debate. It is perceived as a sign of weakness and lack of resolve.
Hmm. Let's see if we can distill that down a bit:
We do not advocate a silencing of debate on the war in Iraq. So shut up.
See, it's not the fact that our president is pursuing war in Iraq that is killing our troops. It's those damn people who won't stop resisting the rightness and justness of our war! They're the ones that are killing our troops!
You can see that now, can't you? Good.
Physical requirements include bending and twisting, stonewalling, and poker face.
Those who are nickname-adverse need not apply.
Send resume and sample rationale for Iraqi war to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
No? Not yet?
How about now?
Oh, Annie. Annie, if you're hard up for ideas, I got a good one for Vanity Fair's upcoming issue featuring the interview with Rumsfeld:
(WWD via Scanner)
I have done that, from time to time, and it never fails to leave me fealing guilty and confused, even if I win. "
Especially coming from a paper whose level of credulousness was only surpassed by the NY Times's own neo-con ass pony.
Look, there's not a thinking person left anywhere who doesn't know in their heart that we were lied to, that we were played by the very people we entrusted to look after our interests.
And that 2500 servicemen and women, who pledged their lives to defend us from real threats to our safety, are now dead as a result.
It's been demonstrated that the war was inevitable, and only because our president wanted it that way. Clearly BushCo has a new world order in mind, and that order obviously requires America's very own middleast oil gusher.
And yet, the Post's David Finkel finds liberal blogger anger at the president so amusing, and definitely in a pathetic kind of way. It's funny, really, how upset we liberals get about that darn Bush administration and its foibles! Come on, we need to lighten up, and you know, we could also clean up our language too, huh?
What's with all the fucking expletives all the time?
We're just mad because the Republicans make jokes about us now.
You know it's true.
Look, there's been plenty of political scandals over the years, so settle down and cut the Bushies a break. Don't you remember the titillating "Petticoat Affair," or the intoxicating outrageousness of the "Whiskey Ring," or the balls-out impropriety that was "Teapot Dome?"
Sure, not a lot of people died in those scandals, but national politics, to say nothing of national commerce and...uh, teapots...or domes, or something, will never be the same.
So sit back and relax, liberals, and take a page from the Post: nothing you say makes any difference.
Monday, April 17, 2006
CHICAGO—Despite their impressive 4-2 start and the fact that their pitching and offense appears to be clicking on all cylinders, Cubs manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday that he has "no doubt" that his team will be able to turn things around in time to miss the playoffs.
"I know things look good right now, and you hate to see Cubs fans get encouraged early, but I'm certain that things will straighten themselves out and we'll be in third place by early May," Baker said at a press conference Wednesday. "With the talent and drive we lack, it's foolish to think that this team can continue playing at this rate all year."
"If it's September and we're still atop the division standings? Then we'll start panicking," Baker added.
In their disappointing series sweep of the rival Cardinals last weekend, the Cubs did all the little things right, winning ballgames with a combination of solid pitching, good defense, and timely hitting—fundamentals that Baker says his team will eventually ignore as the season goes on.
"The guys are in a bit of a groove right now, but they'll snap out of it," Baker said. "It's early yet. There's still plenty of time to get back off track and give the fans the kind of season they've come to know and expect."
Thursday, April 13, 2006
QUESTION: So was the President made aware of the fact --
SCOTT McCLELLAN: And are you all going to apologize?
QUESTION: Was the President made aware of the faxed field report?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Are you all going to apologize for that?
QUESTION: Was the President aware of the faxed field report?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Is that a correct statement?
QUESTION: Scott, was the President made aware of the field report that was faxed?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Jessica, I just told you, I've asked the intelligence community what they based this paper on. I can't tell you what they based their paper on. You have to. We're not an intelligence-gathering agency.
QUESTION: No, but was the field report faxed --
SCOTT McCLELLAN: The President made his comments based on this white paper that was publicly released by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is the arm of the -- which is an arm of the Pentagon --
QUESTION: -- President have access to material before it's declassified, so the question is, was he aware of this report on May 27th?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: I just told you -- you shouldn't make any assumptions, but you should go and ask the intelligence community what was this based on. I can't tell you what they based that on. They're the intelligence-gathering agency.
QUESTION: You can tell us if the President had this information. Did he have this information?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Jessica, this -- I just saw this report. I'll come back with more information if there is. But this is reckless reporting. And for you all to go on the air this morning and make such a charge is irresponsible.
QUESTION: But the President spoke very definitively --
SCOTT McCLELLAN: And I hope that ABC would apologize for it and make a correction on the air.
QUESTION: "We found" -- I'm quoting -- "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories." That's what he said. He didn't say, "The evidence that's coming in suggests." He didn't say that. He said it definitively.
SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, let me tell you -- here is the briefing from the CIA conference call they did with reporters: "We are highly confident that the coalition forces in Iraq have discovered a mobile biological production plant." That's from the intelligence community. This was a joint paper -- not just the CIA, but also the Defense Intelligence Agency. So it was their assessment at the time.And you all should go back and look at the time period, as well, and see what was said at that time period. This is rehashing an old issue, that's all it is. There were -- stories covered it at this time. I mean, The Washington Post, on the very day that the President was asked a question -- the President was responding to a question, first of all, when he was asked. The Washington Post, on that very day, was printing articles talking about this, and other papers, as well.
What is less clear is what his role really was in the 9/11 plot.
And to base his death sentence on the premise that if he hadn't lied about what he knew, then 3000 people wouldn't have died...
...well, you know the rest.
Where is one of those annoying phone calls asking me if I want to switch long distance carriers when I really need one?
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Thanks to Catmango
On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.
Pat Robertson: And then I prayed. And I said, "Lord, what's wrong with her?" I just prayed silently. And the Lord said, "Ask about her sex life." And--
Rita Braver: The-- the Lord said that to you?
Pat Robertson: Yes, He said that to me. And I said, "There's no way I'm going to ask a strange woman about her sex life." So I said-- (COUGHS) "Excuse me for-- being personal, but would you tell me about your marriage." She said, "Oh, I have a wonderful marriage." I said, "You do?" She (UNINTEL PHRASE), "A wonderful husband, wonderful marriage. It's just absolutely marvelous." I said, "You do?" She said, "Yes." So I prayed again. (LAUGHTER) I said, "Lord, what's the matter?" And she-- He said, "Ask her about her sex life."
Rita Braver: I-- it's hard to imagine the Lord--
Pat Robertson: The-- the--
Rita Braver: --saying this to you--
Pat Robertson: --the Lord say-- well He did.
Have fun kissing this guy's ass on the campaign trail, McCain. Yeah!
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Monday, April 10, 2006
Seymour Hersh writing for the New Yorker (see also War Room analysis):
A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”
One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”
That, and a desire for the sweet milk of punitive damages.
ATLANTA — Ruth Malhotra went to court last month for the right to be intolerant.
Malhotra says her Christian faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality. But the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she's a senior, bans speech that puts down others because of their sexual orientation.
Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression. So she's demanding that Georgia Tech revoke its tolerance policy.
With her lawsuit, the 22-year-old student joins a growing campaign to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment. The religious right aims to overturn a broad range of common tolerance programs: diversity training that promotes acceptance of gays and lesbians, speech codes that ban harsh words against homosexuality, anti-discrimination policies that require college clubs to open their membership to all.
And an excerpt on ectopic pregnancies and how they are treated:
A policy that criminalizes all abortions has a flip side. It appears to mandate that the full force of the medical team must tend toward saving the fetus under any circumstances. This notion can lead to some dangerous practices. Consider an ectopic pregnancy, a condition that occurs when a microscopic fertilized egg moves down the fallopian tube — which is no bigger around than a pencil — and gets stuck there (or sometimes in the abdomen). Unattended, the stuck fetus grows until the organ containing it ruptures. A simple operation can remove the fetus before the organ bursts. After a rupture, though, the situation can turn into a medical emergency.
According to Sara Valdés, the director of the Hospital de Maternidad, women coming to her hospital with ectopic pregnancies cannot be operated on until fetal death or a rupture of the fallopian tube. "That is our policy," Valdés told me. She was plainly in torment about the subject. "That is the law," she said. "The D.A.'s office told us that this was the law." Valdés estimated that her hospital treated more than a hundred ectopic pregnancies each year.
Above is a picture of the facility where Carla Climaco, 26, is spending her 30-year sentence. She had an abortion at 18 weeks, and was convicted of aggravated homicide.
In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture--who became career members of the military during those rough times--the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again.
From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat--al-Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Hear what it's like in El Salvador today for women, where the fetus is constitutionally protected from conception, and get a glimpse of the future the Christian right is trying to secure for us in the USA.
And check out the article by Jack Hitt in Sunday's NYT Magazine.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
And any surveillance of you and your family by the Secret Service.
And any future IRS audits of your tax returns.
Oh, and the hatemail from wingnuts. I am sorry for that too.
A man who identified himself as Harry Taylor rose at a forum here to tell Bush that he's never felt more ashamed of the leadership of his country.
He said Bush has asserted his right to tap phone calls without a warrant, to arrest people and hold them without charges and to revoke a woman's right to an abortion, among other things.
He was booed by the audience, but Bush interrupted and urged the audience to let Taylor finish.
"I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration," Taylor said, standing in a balcony seat and looking down at Bush on stage. "And I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and grace to be ashamed of yourself."
Bush defended the National Security Administration's surveillance program, saying he authorized the program to protect the country.
"You said would I apologize for that?" Bush told him. "The answer is absolutely not."
(thanks to JoshyP for the link)
The discovery in the desert of Egypt of the leather-bound papyrus manuscript, and now its translation, was announced by the National Geographic Society at a news conference in Washington. The 26-page Judas text is said to be a copy in Coptic, made around A. D. 300, of the original Gospel of Judas, written in Greek the century before.
The big scoop? Jesus was totally in on the whole betrayal kiss thing, and basically got Judas to act as his PR advance man.
Well, I'm sure there's going to be a lot of discussion in theological circles about the so-called revelations in this document, but come on, what is the big deal? Anyone who's ever seen Jesus Christ Superstar knows that Judas didn't want to be the one betrayin' Jesus, but Jesus told him that it was his place to do so, and Judas answered back that everytime he looked at him he didn't understand
The most revealing passages in the Judas manuscript begins, "The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week, three days before he celebrated Passover."
The account goes on to relate that Jesus refers to the other disciples, telling Judas "you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me." By that, scholars familiar with Gnostic thinking said, Jesus meant that by helping him get rid of his physical flesh, Judas will act to liberate the true spiritual self or divine being within Jesus.
Why he let the things he did get so out of hand
He'd a-managed better if he'd had it planned
Why'd he choose such a backward time in such a strange land?
Sexiest. Jew. Ever.
After reading this post he wrote about a female colleague, I found myself relieved that the author actually recognized what I found to be true when I waited tables: that it wasn't enough to be efficient, pleasant, and knowledgable, you had to be "friendly" in a way that male waiters never had to deal with. I can't tell you how many times, when I asked a table of men what I could get for them, they would say "How about a smile?"
God, it was infuriating.
I once took a poll of my male coworkers and asked them if they'd ever been requested to smile for a table. They looked at me like I was cah-razy.
I eventually found that the best way of dealing with it was just to put on a totally false persona and "act" for them. I found a southern accent worked really well. Guys found it very non-threatening, and I could even get away with asserting myself just a little bit more.
Because it sounds "cute" when you assert yourself with a southern accent, y'all!
Let me demonstrate for you the difference:
Me: (approaching a table of 2 guys) Here are your drinks, gentlemen. Have you seen our specials?
Guy #1: (chortles) Yes.
Me: Do you know what you'd like?
Guy #2: (laughing) What I'd like is not on the menu!
Guys, do not EVER make any version of the remark above to a waitress or bartender. Not ever. Never ever. Never. Believe me, she has heard it 10,000,000,000,000,000 times. And although it may amuse your doughy, dart throwin' former frat bros, it will cause the server to have contempt for you, and she will correctly ascertain that you are a lousy tipper as well as joke teller, and you will receive crummy service from that point on.
But I digress.
CUTE, SOUTHERN ME
Me: (approaching same table) Here are your drinks, gentlemen. Have you seen our specials?
Guy #1: (chortles) Yes.
Me: Do y'all know what you'd like?
Guy #2: (laughing) What I'd like is not on the menu!
Me: Aw, that is funny!
Guy #2: Well...you probably hear that joke a lot.
Me: I swear, I have never heard that before! That is just s'funny! Say it again.
Guy #2: No...
Me: Come on, say it again. I want to remember it so I can tell the guys in the kitchen.
Guy #1: Say it, dude.
Guy #2: What I'd like isn't on the menu!
Me: Oh my god, y'all. That is so funny.
Guy #2: I like you. I'm definitely tipping you at least 10%.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
When she answered the phone, she said, "Are calling me about the show, because I'm already watching it." I said yes and we both laughed. Then, in the background, I heard one of her friends yell "Loser!"
I said "I'm not a loser. I'm a dork."
But Ann went first, and set her tone for the entire evening. "It was fascinating being here for the demonstrations this weekend," she said with a snotty Darien sneer. "I guess that's why I didn't get clean towels in my hotel room this morning."
There was an audible gasp from the Jews. Ann continued: "I haven't seen so many agitated Mexicans since the World Cup Soccer Games were in L.A." As offended as the diners were, the waiters were pissed. Ann was actually dumb enough to drink her coffee afterwards.
Sen. McCain (R-Flip-Flopper) is pushing the JAWD line pretty hard recently, but maybe it wasn't such a good idea to push it in front of a room full of union leaders.
That's the venue where he chose to offer his opinion that Americans would not, say, stoop so low as to pick lettuce, not even for 50 bucks an hour.
Several people in the crowd begged to differ at that point.
Look, this whole idea that American workers are lazy and think that extreme manual labor is beneath them just really doesn't hold water.
I mean, what do you think those guys are doing down in those midwestern coal mines right before they collapse?
And what about these workers? And these? And these?
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
All I knew was that I wanted him back.
My dad came to visit me a couple of days later. I hadn't told him yet. After a few minutes in my apartment, he asked where my husband was, and I just suddenly and completely broke down. I couldn't stop sobbing, but I managed somehow to communicate what had happened.
This breakdown was really embarrassing for me, because 1) my family is not really very demonstrative emotionally, and I think I'd cried in front of my dad like, one other time in my adult life, and 2) I knew my dad didn't like my husband, and I was afraid he was going to judge my decision to marry him in the first place.
At some point, I managed to stop crying long enough to look at my Dad and say, "I know it's bad, but I want him back. I want him back."
This admission prompted another bout of loud sobbing from me.
Dad was quiet for some time. I eventually calmed down and sat with my head hung, looking at his shoes, waiting for him to speak.
Finally, he said "If you want to get him back, I think you should behave as if you are happy. Because that is when a person is the most attractive to others, when they are happy. And if it doesn't work...then maybe you will have learned how to be happy anyway."
Even in my heartbreak-addled state, I was amazed by the sheer brilliance of this advice.
And you know what? It absolutely worked. I pretended to be happy. I laughed with my friends. I smiled at strangers for no reason. Eventually, I forgot that I was pretending. And so when my husband finally came to me, wanting to be taken back, I told him no.
Because I was happy without him.
"I had no really close friend," he reveals in the April 9th edition of Parade magazine. "I was always the new kid with the wrong shoes, the wrong accent. I didn't have the friend to share things with and confide in."
I was desperate to belong to something. Anything.
Let's face it, I was ripe picking for whatever strange, cultish psuedo-religion might happen along and offer me a free personality test.
Tom reveals that his father was also someone he was unable to turn to. "He was a bully and a coward," he says frankly. "He was the person where, if something goes wrong, they kick you."
He was also the person where, if help was needed with grammar or sentence structure, they kick you again.
The headline-making celebrity says the poor treatment actually taught him a lot. "It was a great lesson in my life -- how he'd lull you in, make you feel safe and then, bang!" he says. "For me it was like, 'There's something wrong with this guy. Don't trust him. Be careful around him.' There's that anxiety."
Anxiety so intense that it compels me to way, way overeact to the most insignificant of betrayals, like someone spraying water in my face from a trick microphone as a joke.
Despite their tumultuous relationship, Tom says he did see his father one last time -- after a 10-year estrangement -- while he was terminally ill. "He was in the hospital dying of cancer, and he would only meet me on the basis that I didn't ask him anything about the past," he says. "When I saw him in pain, I thought, 'What a lonely life.' He was in his late 40s. It was sad."
This story explains why the only decent acting I ever did in my life was in that movie Magnolia, where I play a son estranged from his father, who is dying of cancer, and that I agree to meet with one last time.
Also, L. Ron Hubbard is my spiritual father anyway, so I didn't need that loser who never loved me or gave me the kind of emotional support that you need to develop into an adult without pathological control issues.
The A-lister also opens up about his battle with dyslexia and recalls how perplexing it was for him to receive the diagnosis."The school took me to a psychiatrist to get tested," he says. "They said, 'Oh, he's dyslexic.' I'm labeled. It instantly put me into confusion. It was an absolute affront to my dignity."And to someone like me, whose neglect as a child forced me into a worldview so simplistic that it borders on infantile, my only recourse was to condemn all psychiatrists everywhere as body thetan-riddled pawns of the evil overlord Xenu.
It made him determined to get to the bottom of the condition. "I remember thinking, 'I've got to figure this out. What's normal? Am I normal? Who's to say what's normal?' I didn't understand what 'normal' is. It still doesn't make sense.
And thanks to Scientology, it never will.
Monday, April 03, 2006
People who run everything can't complain that they're underdogs.
To whit, this week, there was a highly-attended conference in Washington called "The War on Christians." Because nothing quite says "I'm oppressed," like the opulent Regency Ballroom of the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
Ah, yes, whatever happened to that plucky little cult, Christianity? Oh, that's right, they're 80% of the American people, and have taken over all three branches of government, country music, public schools, the bestseller list, and until recently, Katie Holmes.
You know, Christians, I don't mind that you're part of a dress-up cult that hates sex and worships magic but the paranoia, that does scare me. Did you know that the Missouri legislature recently felt the need to propose a resolution declaring Christianity Missouri's majority religion. No kidding. Really, you mean people aren't saying, "Gosh, I'd like to go to Missouri, but...too Jewish."
In Savannah, recently, a children's book about a baby penguin who is raised by two male penguins was removed from the library for its homosexual overtones. Because you know penguins, in those tuxedos, with the dreamy eyes. Huge fags!
The Christian right are now officially the party of paranoia. Secularists are attacking Christmas! Gays are attacking marriage! Liberals are attacking values! White girls are being abducted at an alarming rate! You know, if you're going to be that paranoid all the time, just get high.
And the worst part is, the people bitching loudest about being persecuted for their Christianity aren't Christians at all. They're demagogues and conmen and scolds. And the only thing they worship is power. If you believe Jesus ever had a good word for war or torture or tax cuts for the rich, or raping the earth, or refusing water to dying migrants, then you might as well believe bunnies lay painted eggs. And Jesus - and Jesus never said a word about gay marriage. He was much too busy hanging out with 12 guys.
Now - now I know George Bush says Jesus Christ changed his heart. But believe me, Dick Cheney changed it back. The only thing Bush has in common with Jesus is they both went into their father's business and got crucified for it.
Thomas Jefferson called the type of Christian who trumpets his own belief in the divinity of Jesus rather than the morality of Jesus "pseudo-Christians." And that's who's running our country today. And since they thrive so much on turning water into "whining"—and get off on their endless pretend persecution, this Easter season, let's give them what they want. Let's go to the zoo, get some lions, and feed them Tom DeLay.
1. Guest worker policies don't work. Next.
2.Congress: We have a problem with too many illegal immigrants.
Me: Why do they come here?
Congress: Because our jobs pay better than jobs in Mexico.
Me: Is it illegal for American employers to hire illegal immigrants?
Congress: Why yes, it is.
Me: Do we ever bust them for doing it?
Congress: No, not really.
Me: Well, jeez, that might be a good place to start, huh?
3. I do not believe in "jobs Americans won't do." BULL-SHIT. First of all, I've worked in many restaurants and bars in my day, and every single one of them had illegal workers on the payroll. Every. Single. One. And not once did any place of employment I've ever worked in have one visit ever from immigration or labor officials. Never. Not once.
Employers hire illegal immigrants because they can, because law enforcement looks the other way. If the couldn't do this anymore, then they would be forced to hire Americans. And you know what? They'd find that, surprise, surprise, there are plenty of Americans who would be quite willing to do those jobs.
In unionized and large chain restaurants and hotels, for example, it is difficult to get away with hiring illegal workers. And so somehow they manage to find an American who is willing to make beds or chop vegetables for the wage they are offering.
How do they do it? How do they keep those workers from finding out they are doing jobs "Americans won't do"?
What we can't do, what would be clearly morally reprehensible, is to allow American employers to prosper by using illegal workers, and then deny those same workers health care, and schooling for their children, and driver's licenses, and all the other things that working people in America have the opportunity to get.