Sunday, September 29, 2013

Truest statement of the week

Do you think Obama's been judged by any rational standards? Has Guantanamo closed? Is a war over? Is anyone paying any attention to Iraq? Is he seriously talking about going into Syria? We are not doing so well in the 80 wars we are in right now, what the hell does he want to go into another one for. What's going on [with journalists]?

-- Seymour Hersh to Lisa O'Carroll,  "Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media" (Guardian).

Truest statement of the week II

It's pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama].

-- Seymour Hersh to Lisa O'Carroll,  "Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media" (Guardian).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

We thank them all. What did we come up with?

We went with Seymour Hersh . . .
For both truests.  In fact, we almost did three Truests.  If we had, he would have gotten all three.  May everyone listen to what he's saying.  Especially cheap whores like Ani Di Franco.
This was the last piece we wrote.  C.I. and I (Jim) led on this. 
Ava and C.I. wrote two TV pieces this week.  This one focuses on NBC's problems which include homophobia, sexism and promoting police torture.  This is a strong piece.

One of three short pieces this edition.  Dona always cries for them.  Noting that they break up the look of the site and that they are a nice balance for longer articles.  She's right.  We had three this edition.  Two looked at the White House ad for ObamaCare -- posted on the White House website.  This one pointed out that all the people featured are Anglo White.

Another short feature.  We've been doing Tweet of the Week for some time now.  Last week, it was noted that someone was copying us.  We're flattered.

I respond to Joel Wing.  The idiot Joel Wing.  By the way, our e-mail address is and my name is Jim if you're writing me.

Our last short feature.  This is also on the ObamaCare cartoon which feels the need to emphasize a man's cock and balls.  Can we get a TV-MA rating on this?

Ava and C.I. wrote two articles.  They were cheating and watching NBC on satellite -- to get the show the East Coast got because they were ready to start writing.  On the NBC feed, after SNL went off, this show came on.  Did it come on elsewhere?  Ava and C.I. couldn't even find a promotion of this Arcade Five TV special on the Arcade Five website.  But they watched it -- in a continual state of disbelief and felt someone had to report on it.

A friend of ours from college got screwed over by "Trash" (as Ava calls the woman).  This is important to us because it's our friend.  It's also important to us because we think the relationship was verbally abusive and could easily have crossed into physical abuse (and, honestly, we don't believe  Trash pushed our friend down the stairs -- breaking his finger -- by accident so we think it was already abusive).  Our friend's a guy.  Throughout, he was wondering what he was doing wrong.  We think this speaks to abusive relationships everywhere. 
Dona weighs in here on what Ty weighed in above.  Ava and Jess have already gone so I'll wrap up this feature on abusive Trash next week.  I was supposed to go this week but wanted to instead focus on Joel Wing.

Elaine's rightly pointed out ("So has C.I.," Jess just added) that the war on Syria is not gone.  It's still a dream of Barack and John's so we need to be paying attention to this.  Parker and Flounders have some strong points.

As does Mumia in our second repost from Workers World.

Mike and the gang wrote this.  We thank them for it.

And as Nanci Griffith's singing "We are leaving the harbor . . .," we wrap up a note.  The previous two weeks were heavy editions and people weren't in the mood.  Actually, that was true of 2 Sundays ago.  Last week was easier in many ways but Ava, Jess and C.I. were partying and not wanting to participate in 'a note.'  I barely got C.I. to participate in the feature that so unhinged Joel Wing.  :D

But we've got a note this week.  Next week, we plan to grab comics.  Had hoped to get to them this week but there wasn't time.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: The assassination of Ammar Jassam Theyabi

Ammar Jassam Theyabi National Iraqi News Agency reported a Ramadi sticky bombing claimed the life of "Ammar Theyabi, one of the organizers of the Anbar protests."  Alsumaria revealed that Ammar was crossing a bridge when the bomb went off.   Iraqi Spring MC states the attack bears the characteristics of one carried out by government intelligence agents.

If so, it wouldn't be the first time Nouri's forces had attacked and killed peaceful protesters.

But the world looks the other way.

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry publicly rage over a chemical attack in Syria that they clearly know nothing about and yet they say nothing of the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

And Barack Obama has, to this day, never said one word.  In May of 1970, the Kent State massacre ("Four dead in Ohio," as Neil Young wrote in the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young hit "Ohio") outraged a nation.  In 2013, most Americans were never informed what Nouri's forces did or that Nouri's forces killed 8 children.

What was it like to be there?  To be a peaceful protester who is suddenly attacked by government forces?  The US media hasn't shown in any interest in supplying the answer to that question.  But BRussells Tribunal did.  They carried an eye witness report:


I am Thamer Hussein Mousa from the village of Mansuriya in the district of Hawija. I am disabled. My left arm was amputated from the shoulder and my left leg amputated from the hip, my right leg is paralyzed due to a sciatic nerve injury, and I have lost sight in my left eye.
I have five daughters and one son. My son’s name is Mohammed Thamer. I am no different to any other Iraqi citizen. I love what is good for my people and would like to see an end to the injustice in my country.

When we heard about the peaceful protests in Al-Hawija, taking place at ‘dignity and honor square’, I began attending with my son to reclaim our usurped rights. We attended the protests every day, but last Friday the area of protest was besieged before my son and I could leave; just like all the other protestors there.

Food and drink were forbidden to be brought into the area….

On the day of the massacre (Tuesday 23 April 2013) we were caught by surprise when Al-Maliki forces started to raid the area. They began by spraying boiling water on the protestors, followed by heavy helicopter shelling. My little son stood beside me. We were both injured due to the shelling.

My son, who stood next to my wheelchair, refused to leave me alone. He told me that he was afraid and that we needed to get out of the area. We tried to leave. My son pushed my wheelchair and all around us, people were falling to the ground.

Shortly after that, two men dressed in military uniforms approached us. One of them spoke to us in Persian; therefore we didn’t understand what he said. His partner then translated. It was nothing but insults and curses. He then asked me “Handicapped, what do you want?” I did not reply. Finally I said to him, “Kill me, but please spare my son”. My son interrupted me and said, “No, kill me but spare my father”. Again I told him “Please, spare my son. His mother is waiting for him and I am just a tired, disabled man. Kill me, but please leave my son”. The man replied “No, I will kill your son first and then you. This will serve you as a lesson.” He then took my son and killed him right in front of my eyes. He fired bullets into his chest and then fired more rounds. I can’t recall anything after that. I lost consciousness and only woke up in the hospital, where I underwent surgery as my intestines were hanging out of my body as a result of the shot.

After all of what has happened to me and my little son – my only son, the son who I was waiting for to grow up so he could help me – after all that, I was surprised to hear Ali Ghaidan (Lieutenant General, Commander of all Iraqi Army Ground Forces) saying on television, “We killed terrorists” and displaying a list of names, among them my name: Thamer Hussein Mousa.

I ask you by the name of God, I appeal to everyone who has a shred of humanity. Is it reasonable to label me a terrorist while I am in this situation, with this arm, and with this paralyzed leg and a blind eye?

I ask you by the name of God, is it reasonable to label me a terrorist? I appeal to all civil society and human rights organizations, the League of Arab States and the Conference of Islamic States to consider my situation; all alone with my five baby daughters, with no one to support us but God. I was waiting for my son to grow up and he was killed in this horrifying way.
I hold Obama responsible for this act because he is the one who gave them these weapons. The weapons and aircrafts they used and fired upon us were American weapons. I also hold the United States of America responsible for this criminal act, above all, Obama.

Ammar Jassam Theyabi, a peaceful protester, a student leader, was assassinated in Iraq on Wednesday.  You didn't read his name in the few reports that made the news on Wednesday or the following day Thursday.  When Iraqis exercise their right to protest and are attacked and/or killed, the US media doesn't want to 'embarrass' Barack by reporting it.


Iraqi Spring MC published the photo of Ammar.  They remembered him.  He's one of many they've lost in their ongoing protests which passed the nine month Friday, September 20th.  You didn't hear about that from the US press either.

But grasp that this ongoing silence doesn't mean that the brave Iraqis who have stood up like Ammar, who continue to stand up despite Ammar's assassination, grasp that the silence from the US media about them does not mean that they are worthless.  They are strong.  They are brave.  It's the US media that's worthless.

TV: The sewer that is NBC

Tina Fey's 'triumphant' return to Saturday Night Live took place last night.  Sage Stossel (The Atlantic) struck us as giddy (and uninformed), Mike Ryan (Huffington Post) was a little more reasoned (but just as uninformed), and it only got worse from there.  The lack of awareness struck us as the real issue of the broadcast.

See, NBC has been airing public service announcements [PSAs] for so long, we half expect to come across a vintage one featuring Alf and McLean Stevenson taped on board Supertrain.

The More You Know is the PSA and NBC kicked it off in 1989 and they like to point out:

THE MORE YOU KNOW was honored with two National Education Association Awards for the Advancement of Learning Through Broadcasting. This honor marks the first time in the NEA's history that a television network ever won twice for the same effort.

Yeah, well maybe it's time for NBC to start returning those awards?


Especially the one they won in 2004:


BURBANK, Calif. -- October 4, 2004 -- NBC Universal, Bravo, and "The More You Know" campaign were honored at this year's 2004 LAMBDA Legal Liberty Awards on September 30 in Los Angeles.

LAMBDA Legal honors individuals and companies that deal with LGBT issues and promote diversity and tolerance. NBC Universal, Bravo, and "The More You Know" campaign were recognized for presenting diverse and positive portrayals of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community through programs such as "Will & Grace," "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," "Boy Meets Boy," and the numerous "The More Your Know" public service announcements that have focused on prejudice, diversity and tolerance.

Frances Berwick, Bravo Senior Vice President of Programming and Production and Emmy Award-winner, accepted the award on behalf of NBC Universal, Bravo, and "The More You Know" campaign. James Getzlaff, star of Bravo's hit "Boy Meets Boy," presented the award.

Yeah, that award especially needs to be returned. 

The PSAs?  They don't appear to have made a difference with TV critics who surely must have seen them and, even worse, it appears NBC employees missed the point as well.

In her monologue, Tina Fey barely managed to string together a few so-so jokes before expressing homophobia.  This took place when she brought the five men and one woman who joined the cast this episode on stage and made them dance, thrust their crotches and shake their asses, while she declared, "It's a right of passage that couldn't be gayer."

What did that 'comic' just say?

Wanda Sykes:  Please don't say that.  Say that something is "gay" when you mean that something is dumb or stupid. It's insulting.  It's like if I thought this pepper shaker was stupid and I said, "Man, this pepper shaker is so 16-year-old boy with a cheesy mustache."  Just sayin'.  When you say "that's so gay," do you realize what you say?  Knock if off.

That's a PSA Wanda did in 2008.  In 2013, in the debut show of the season, Saturday Night Live, in the opening monologue, thought "that couldn't be gayer" was appropriate and Tina Fey -- who has a long history of homophobia via the portrayals and 'jokes' on 30 Rock (click here and here for two pieces we wrote on that in 2011 and 2012) -- was just the host to deliver the line.

As Wanda said five years ago, knock it off.

It's not funny.

But it's amazing because we read 23 pieces on last night's show and not one reviewer mentioned the line, let alone called it out.  Shame on them.

They create the climate for homophobia to grow.

And NBC really needs to be called out.

Ironside premiers Wednesday.  We love Blair Underwood.  Love seeing him on TV.  He was great at Mr. Harris on The New Adventures of Old Christine and as President Elias Martinez on The Event.  We raised our eyebrows at the thought of a reboot of this crime drama but Blair in the lead role, the one Raymond Burr played in the 60s and 70s?  That might make the show worth watching.

And then we watched.

And were so appalled, we thought about not even mentioning it. 

Kicking off the new season with a review slamming a new show?

It just seemed . . . so very us.

And we've done it and we wanted to do something different.

But then 'liberal' Tina Fey shows up on SNL last night and she's spreading homophobia and it just seems like NBC can't get their act together anymore.

Maybe you noticed their line up this fall?  And how little women matter in it?

On Sundays, for example, you will see women.  You will see them shake that ass and shake their pom-poms as NBC airs football.  First, on Football Night in America, you will see Bob Costas . . . and seven other men offer analysis.  You will see no woman.

After that, you'll get NBC Sunday Night Football.  Bob Costas will be back for that one along with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Hines Ward, Scott Pioli and, yes, Michele Tafoya.  Tafoya is the sole woman.  So in the first half of it's football line up, NBC will feature 8 men and no women as hosts and commentators, and in the second half you'll get eight men and one woman.  Sunday nights on NBC, not worth watching.

Monday's is two hours of The Voice and the laughable James Spader vehicle known as The Blacklist.
(We'll be going to town on that bad show real soon.) The Voice is allegedly a woman's program (talk to NBC, not us, we're not making that claim).  A woman's show?  That must be why this year's judges are three men (Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton) and one woman (Christina Aguilera), right?

Tuesday is another hour of The Voice followed by the new sitcom About A Boy (Minnie Driver is one of two women in the cast of this male-dominated show about how women dampen men's spirits) and then more crap  entitled Growing Up Fisher.  Two episodes into the latter, you'll be praising Parker Posey for dumping the show when NBC picked it up.  You'll also be wondering why Jenna Elfman elected to then take the role.  If there's any justice, this will be the fourth failed sitcom Elfman will have been in since Dharma &  Greg.  She is one of two women in a cast of five. NBC closes out the night with Chicago Fire and its eleven main characters -- only three of which are women.

Continuing the anti-woman sentiment: Revolution on Wednesday.  They had a year to move beyond sexism.  They don't appear to have done so.  As Marcia's pointed out, the whole point of science fiction is reconfiguring the world.  Instead, the NBC series just offers tired roles of women as victims with the token young female of faux-action (rescued repeatedly).  You then get Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.  If you go to "about" on the show's website, you'll find the series stars Mariska Hargitay, Ice T, Dann Florek, Richard Belzer, Kelli Giddish, Danny Pino and Raul Esparza.  In other words, the show stars five men and two women?  Is this 1913 or 2013?

Thursday night may be when NBC really runs off viewers as it seeks to ensure that not one woman between the ages of 20 and 50 appear as a happy single woman.  'Wait, wait! There's the great Rashida Jones!"  Rashida is great but Parks and Recreation lost interest in her character at the start of last season and Rashida is leaving the show after the first eight episodes.  (Hate to break it to Parks, but when Rashida goes, so does the show.)  More importantly, she's really not single this season and we're not just referring to Ann's pregnancy.  Welcome to the Family follows.  It is a family sitcom.  Outside of The Cosby Show, NBC's never really had any success with those in some time.  Credit Mike Sikowitz and Jamie Tarses with the fact that this show looks like it was filmed this century.   Mary McCormack fans, prepare yourself, she's created a completely different character than any you've seen her play before.  (We mean that as high praise and we thought she was great in In Plain Sight.)  But this is one of four sitcoms.  It's followed by Sean Saves The World and the question there is: For whom?  Yes, Megan Hilty and Linda Lavin are in the cast.  Megan's strictly second banana.  (We're referring to her emphasis, not her talent.)  Lavin gets a little bit more to do.  There are six adults in the cast -- only two are women.  Again, whom is Sean saving the world for?  (Don't bring up the child actor.  We've been on the beat forever and, in 2005, once covered a child's acting abilities.  A friend then called us on that.  We've never reviewed child actors since.)  There are eight cast members of The Michael J. Fox Show.  Two are children.  (The actress playing Fox's daughter just turned 18 seven days ago.  We're calling her a child.)  That leaves three males, three females.  And Candice Bergen will be joining the cast as Fox's mother!  Yes, and NBC demanded that.  They also want Katie Finneran fired and her character (Fox's sister) written off the show.  (Her character, it should be noted, is the latest in TV's supporting characters of the female gender that date back to Rose Marie on The Dick Van Dyke Show -- man hungry and unable to interest any men.)  Closing out the night, the 'drama' Parenthood featuring six adult women and five adult men -- and the generic and sexist outlook of Ron Howard and Brian Glaser but, remember, no one's ever supposed to notice that.

Friday and Saturday, this fall, NBC takes the night off.

And a grateful nation screams, "Thank you for that!"

Why is it that we're the only critics noticing how adult actresses are being screwed over this season and that NBC is not offering one show fronted and led by a woman.  Not one.  There is, for instance, no The Justine Bateman Show.  But we do have The Michael J. Fox Show.  Three years ago, while the Water Cooler Set were frothing over the 'trend' where women were taking over TV (we wish!),  we were left to note that it was three sitcoms with female leads (see "TV: The perverts still drool over Shirley Temple").  It would be really nice if the other lazy asses could maybe stop joking at the Water Cooler and actually do their damn job.

In case they've forgotten, that job is to review TV.

NBC offers not one female led show this season.  It disappears women on nearly every night (most so on Sundays) and not one peep from the critics.

And are we really going to be the only TV critics in the country who are going to object to David Bianculli's sexist take on TV that he presented on Fresh Air (NPR) last week which name checked 9 men in television but couldn't mention one woman while supposedly reviewing TV this fall?  Eight minutes that segment went on (and on and on) and he couldn't mention one damn woman.

Why does TV often suck so bad?  Because of the men reviewing it.  Never forget that fact.

Fun fact, the original TV show Ironside kicked off in September 1967 (after a TV movie the previous March) starring Raymond Burr and three other actors -- two men and one woman.  Four years shy of fifty years later, Ironside returns with a cast of six -- and only one of them is a woman.

We're going a long way, baby -- a long way backwards.

Again, where the hell are the supposed TV critics?

It's not just the inability to put women on the screen that harms NBC and Ironside.

It's also the embrace of torture and abuse.

The series will open Wednesday night with Blair's character in the back of a car with a suspect.  Blair will taunt and insult the man and beat him up.

A police officer will object.

Blair will point to a little girl being pulled from the trunk as a result of his torture and abuse.

The objecting officer will fall silent.

We're embarrassed for Blair Underwood and we made that very clear to three friends with the show.  We found it outrageous that (a) this would happen to Ironside and (b) this is how NBC and the producers chose to portray an African-American male lead.

We are aware, aren't we, that Kerry Washington only just became the first African-American lead of  a successful hour long TV show, right?  (Scandal returns with new episodes during the last hour of prime time this Thursday on ABC.)  And yet this is how NBC chooses to present their highest profile Black character?

As a little thug who beats up suspects because he's too dumb to figure out how to interrogate them?  Because he's too stupid to know how to do police work?

We're getting really fed up with TV and its insistence on selling police brutality as normal, on showing police breaking the law as a good thing.

We really think it's time that these shows were pulled from television.

They exist to destroy our rights as citizens and to glorify official abuse.

There is nothing funny or entertaining about it.

NBC uses the PSAs to pretend they're contributing to tolerance and education.  But this season's just begun and NBC's already promoting sexism, homophobia and, yes, police brutality.  The More You Know indeed.

Where's the diversity?

Barack Obama is bi-racial.  Michelle Obama is African-American.  Supposedly, this meant something.

In fact, there have been hundreds of articles insisting this does mean something.

So could someone explain to us how that's possible when the White House has posted a cartoon video to promote ObamaCare.

white house

No, the problem is not, the wang.   We've already covered that.

The problem is the White House spent money on a cartoon of Americans signing up for ObamaCare and all the Americans are . . . Anglo White.  All seven of them.  Some might argue the couple in the left section of the screen are Asian-Americans.  If that was the intent, the cartoon is also racist because that doesn't look like Asian-Americans although it may look like a negative cartoon stereotype of Asian-Americans.

Tweet of the Week

Goes to Senator Mark Udall:

  • When surveillance is so broad no one knows its full extent, it protects neither liberty nor security:

  • Jim's World


    Among the e-mails last week was one from Joel Wing who appears to flit here and there like some giant gypsy moth.  What was on the blogger's mind?

    Joel Wing wrote:

    In an article about the recent KRG elections you wrote: "Jim: But back to Barzani.  The press, Joel Wing and so many others kept insisting that Barzani was passe, over, loathed, etc.  But his party got the most votes."

    Please provide an article and a link where I said that Barzani was passe please? Otherwise you don't know what you're talking about.

    Thank you
    Joel Wing
    Musings On Iraq blog

    That's so sweet.  I wanted to write back, "Bitch, let's meet up and I'll kick the s**t out of you."  But I'm trying to curb my aggressive tendencies being a new father and all -- plus, I was worried Little Joel would piss himself -- would die of electrocution as he pissed himself right by his surge protector.

    So instead, I decided to deal with him here.

    First up, Bitch, it's not my job to provide you with a damn thing.

    Second of all, when you e-mail about an article, you need to give the title or a link -- that's right little bitch, who's demanding I provide him with a link.

    Third of all, get a damn life.

    Do you Google yourself?

    You're more pathetic than I could've guessed.

    What got the bitch-boi's little thong up his crack was last week's "The KRG elections" -- look, Joel, a title and a link! It can be done.

    That was a conversation piece I did with C.I.    As I noted in our "A note to our readers,"  "We didn't have enough content so I caught C.I. on the phone at an Emmy after party and got her to agree to do 'The KRG Elections' piece with me. "

    I noted at the top of the KRG elections piece, "This is a gasbag piece.  I asked C.I. to join me for a conversation on the KRG elections and persuaded her by pointing out that (a) it would up the Iraq coverage and (b) we didn't have a lot of serious topics this week.  Consider this a rush transcript.  "

    You could tell it was me because "Jim:" came before the statement.  It's a transcript piece.  Too much for Joel to grasp.

    Bitch boi Joel is also a liar.  He's a cheap liar.

    This was a conversation piece.  Here's the point where I bring in the press:

    Jim: The press has said repeatedly that Massoud Barzani has overstepped his bounds, that he's unpopular, etc.  And you've argued differently for two years now.  If you were wrong, KDP wouldn't be in the lead.

    C.I.: I don't know where the nonsense on Barzani got started.  He's very popular.  The press has always insisted that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is popular. He's also a Kurd -- like Barzani -- and he heads what had been the other dominant party, the Patriotic Union Kurdistan.

    Jim: That's right.  Going into this election, it was a two party race.  The PUK and the KDP were the dominant political parties in the KRG -- like the Democrats and the Republicans in the US.  With the results of Saturday's elections, that has now changed.

    C.I.: Right.  Gorran is now one of the two dominant parties.

    Jim: But back to Barzani.  The press, Joel Wing and so many others kept insisting that Barzani was passe, over, loathed, etc.  But his party got the most votes.

    Learn to read, bitch-boi Joel.  These are the charges:  "The press has said repeatedly that Massoud Barzani has overstepped his bounds, that he's unpopular, etc.   The press, Joel Wing and so many others kept insisting that Barzani was passe, over, loathed, etc."

    Where do you fall into that?  With about a dozen posts but, bitch-boi, why don't you start with your post from last June:  "President Barzani Attempting To Manipulate Political System For A 3rd Term In Iraq’s Kurdistan."

    That is but one example, you filthy piece of trash.

    There are many more.

    It is not my job to read your awful writing.  I don't blame you for not wanting to read your own and trying to push it off on me, but I don't accept that task.

    I've answered your cheesy ass e-mail.

    So stop sniffing around my crotch.

    I have nothing for you.

    I get that the circle-jerk got lonely for you after your buddy Reider Visser went full on nuts in front of the world.

    But get this, Joel, I'm not your buddy, I'm not your brother and I sure ain't your daddy. 

    So go away with your tail between your legs before I make it really ugly.

    White House uses sex to sell ObamaCare

    The White House has posted a very bad 'cartoon' video about ObamaCare.

    And apparently to keep you up, they added something 'extra' -- can you spot it in the screen snap below?


    That's right.

    They drew the outline of the man's penis.  And balls.

    No, that's not his pants zipper.  That would look a bit different, wouldn't it.

    Leave it to Barack to hit the gutter to sell his gift to insurance companies that pretends to be universal health care.  What a proud moment for the father of two young girls.

    TV goes trippin'

    Were we tripping?

    Someone was intoning "Here comes the night time, the night time" as what appeared to be a Salvation Army conga line (costumed by Goodwill) was joined by a white rabbit and what appeared to be The Pillsbury Doughboy.

    Here comes the night time, the night time

    A man in a painted on raccoon mask was singing that as he headed up a flight of stairs with that white rabbit following him.  They passed Bill Hader who smiled and James Franco who was on the phone.

    The night time, the night time

    It was actually early morning and, in fairness, as Saturday Night Live wrapped up, she'd warned us, Tina Fey warned that it was about to get weird. She wasn't kidding. As a depressing season premiere of Saturday Night Live (no NSA spying skit, no Syria skit, Seth can't handle political -- please get him out the door quickly) came to an end, Tina thanked the guests and announced NBC  was giving the next 30 minutes to SNL musical guest Arcade Fire.

    There was Michael Cera, behind the bar, making drinks and saying that Arcade Fire "dreams of being Mumford &  Son."

    The 30 minutes were rated TV-PGL which we found a little much for a special that, even if it did go racy, would be over the heads of anyone watching.

    Tiny bananas, Cera was complaining, "We're listening to these tiny bananas" when they could be listening to Michael Buble instead.

    It went to commercial.  And then the theme song to Big Bud - Little Bud -- some TV sitcom -- began playing as Aziz Ansari (apparently "Little Bud") skipped around.

    Down on your knees
    begging you please . . .

    The band stopped performing songs to speak with astronauts  . . . Bill Hader and Zach Galifianakis.

    Bill Hader:  Hi, everybody, this is Captain Bill.

    Zach Galifianakis:  And I'm Captain Zach!

    Bill Hader:  And we're coming to you live from outer space which is zero gravity.

    Zach Galifianakis:  The music in here sounds bad.  I'm sure there it sounds good but the music up here is bad for some reason.

    Actually, the music of Aracde Fire sounded bad to us too.  Even on Saturday Night Live.  It was so bad, we wondered how they got booked on the season premiere.  Since 2004, they've had one top 20 hit and three more make it into the top 40.   The Go-Gos had to rake up two hits to get booked on the show back in the day (number 20 with "Our Lips Are Sealed" and number two with "We Got The Beat"). 

    Arcade Fire lacked the passion and style of The Go-Gos.  In fact, the lead singer looked like Lance Loud and his wife and backup singer looked like a young Marilyn Sokol (trying to send up Grace Slick).  It wasn't until the last song that the lead singer appeared to actually try singing (singing requires hitting different notes). 

    Is anyone as strange as a normal person
    Is anyone as crazy as a normal person

    It was the only song that worked.

    I think I'm cool enough
    But am I cool enough
    Am I cool enough
    For you?

    Before that, we got a trailer for a fake movie called FESTI.

    The show ended with a snippet of a scene from the fake sitcom Big Bud - Little Bud as Aziz Ansari ate tiny bananas.  Then the screen quickly swiped and we had a snippet of another show entitled Night On The Rim starring Michael Cera.

    Then it was all over.

    And as though no one had seen it.

    There was no mention of it in any of the SNL pieces we saw.  We went to NBC to stream the episode, lost any desire to see that crap again about 10 seconds in, so went to the end and there was Tina thanking people but she made no mention of the special coming up.  Did SNL post the dress rehearsal?

    It's apparently the show no one saw.

    We saw it and think there's been nothing on TV like it since 1976 when Paul Lynde invited K.I.S.S. onto his holiday special.

    Again, we're not fans of the band.  Who cares?  It was memorable television.  Those who saw it will be asking WTF? for years to come.  We'd recommend more attempts like this and suggest that this sort of craziness would actually build buzz and an audience.

    If you saw it, you know what we're talking about.

    Ty's Corner

    As many readers know, a very good friend of ours from college got screwed over by a piece of trash Ava's dubbed "Trash."  "Ava's POV" and "A call made by Jess" have already gone up with Ava and Jess sharing their take.  Jim was supposed to do his this edition but that fell through.  Dona's going to try to do a piece and I decided to try as well. 


    I was actually the first person who knew there was a problem.  I had driven in with our friend, who I'll call Juan.  We'd eaten at a great Chinese buffet -- which had sushi -- that was just up the street from the condo.  It was almost the end of July.  I wished him well as he went on his way while I hit the local comic book stores. 

    I was going to go back that night but couldn't get a rental car so I stayed over getting a hotel room.

    I called him around midnight, knowing he'd have the ringer off as usual and only pick up if he had his phone on him.

    He did and we talked for about thirty minutes before Trash came into the room.  I heard the TV change channels and then the volume blast.  I think Trash had hearing problems.

    So I'm waiting for Juan to say something but Trash is grilling him.

    What's your favorite movie?

    Who's the best director of all time?

    Do you know what the best film of all time is?

    Schindler's List.

    That's what she said.  He said, "Well, it's okay but I'm not sure about best.  I'd go with Some Like It Hot or Citizen Kane or Tootsie or -- "

    She exploded.

    Trash screamed that Schindler's List was the best film ever and that Steven Spielberg was the greatest director.

    "Well, he's very successful, but this is just a matter of personal taste and --"

    Juan didn't get another word out as the woman began screaming and ranting at him.

    After she stormed off, he spoke to me, "You still there?"

    Yeah, and you don't need to be.

    He said she was probably just too drunk.  She'd been drinking the whole evening.  One glass after another since he'd arrived at six because she was celebrating.

    I thought to myself, "No, because she's a drunk."

    One Sunday morning in August, I was on the phone with him. 

    I  don't know if Trash knew that and if that's when she chose to do her performances but she always was creating drama whenever I called.

    This Sunday, she popped in to ask what "the best song ever" was?

    She sounded dangerously drunk -- and on a Sunday morning.

    He took a pass.

    "As," she declared.  Didn't he love it, didn't everyone love it, it was the best song ever and it was by Stevie Wonder.

    Juan paused.  I was thinking, "Just say yes, just say yes!"

    He's too honest.

    "It's a really good song but some would say Stevie's 'Isn't She Lovely,' or 'You Are The Sunshine Of My Life,' or  'I Just Called To Say I Love You' or 'Superstition' are better songs --"

    In a howl that Black Canary couldn't match, Trash screamed "As" was the best song and that's why it was Stevie Wonder's biggest hit.


    "As" made it to 36 on Billboard's Top 40 and on Billboard's Soul chart.

    The songs Juan was naming?  Those were number one hits?  (Except for "Isn't She Lovely" which Stevie refused to allow to be released as a single.)

    The woman was insane and drunk all the time.

    I was on the phone with Juan when she declared Carrie Fisher was gay.

    I'm gay.  I'm aware that people have opinions and fantasies and that's fine.

    But she said Carrie was gay and that Carrie had come out as gay.


    (Carrie Fisher is not gay and has not announced she is.)

    Trash then, so drunk it only made sense in her mind, launched into a story about George Clooney, how he can't stay with one woman for very long because he's into beating up women and eventually even the women who love him get tired and end it.

    I'm not a fan of Clooney but, again, WTF?

    Everyone has their opinions and you may think I'm making too much of this.

    But I bring it up because of a screaming fit I overhead when I called him at another time.  She barged into whatever room he was in and didn't care that he was on the phone and started screaming that she didn't care who was gay, that she didn't care about those things, that she felt people should mind their own business, that she --

    When she was done, I asked him, "What the hell was that about?"

    'Nsync's Joey Fatone was on some cooking show (a celebrity competition) and Trash had insisted upon informing Juan that Fatone used to be in the Backstreet Boys and that he had come out as gay just a few years ago.

    By then, Juan had learned not to say anything but she started screaming at him about the look on his face.  So finally he said, Fatone was in 'Nsync and Lance Bass was the 'Nsync member who was gay.  She exploded.  He had left the room as she announced she was going to look it up and prove how "stupid" Juan was.

    But Juan was right.

    So she comes storming up to him insisting it didn't matter to her anyway.

    She thought she was so smart but she was stupid.

    My favorite story to tell is about Scrabble.

    Juan is dyslexic.  He's highly intelligent and has his masters but he's dyslexic.

    He had already beaten her at Monopoly a week prior.  She quit the game when she had no chance of winning.

    She nursed that anger for a week and then declared that it was time for Scrabble.

    Which she thought she'd win.  Easily over Juan.  Because he's dyslexic and also because she thought she was brilliant and that he was stupid.

    She's such a damn priss. 

    She puts down an X tile next to a vowel and dramatically declares, "You can challenge that but it's a real word.  Most people don't know it but it is a real word and I have ___ points as a result.  Again, you can challenge it, I'm sure you've never heard of it --"

    She was just so insulting.

    And Juan says, "Why would I challenge it?  We're both ethical people?  Why would either of us lie to win a board game?"

    And that pissed her off.

    But they continued playing and she had a bit of problem.

    See, dyslexic Juan, he was in the lead.  By his second play, he was in the lead a little.  By his fifth play, he was in the lead a lot. 

    He could lay down four and five tiles at a time.

    All the 'brilliant' Trash could do was lay down one tile each turn.

    Finally, she knocked the board (on purpose) scattering the tiles and insisted the game was over.

    She couldn't take losing.

    Another story I love to tell is about how she pretends she's related to the royal family.  Like Prince Harry's on the verge of turning down the throne and Queen Elizabeth's saying, "Who is the uneducated high school drop out who is missing teeth in America and claims she's related to us?  Yes, her! Bring her to me! Let's make her Queen of England!"

    To 'prove' this claim of a royal relationship, she'll show you her crown.  If she's drunk enough, she'll tell you a few minutes later how much she paid for it on Ebay.

    She communicates with the birds.  She'll tell you that too.  Don't ask her to prove it.  She'll tell you there are no birds around this area.  Well, first of all, there are.  Second of all, if there weren't, wouldn't her bird powers be able to summon them?

    Queen Trash once screamed at Juan for 10 minutes for a 'crime.'  He had set his 16 ounce bottle of Coke down on the carpet -- next to where he was sitting.  That, Trash declared, was "trashy."

    Only "trashy" people would ever set there drink down on the floor.

    I swear she made these rules up.

    But it was so hilarious when you stopped to think, for instance, that the rug by the front door smelled like cat pee because her cat James peed on it every day.  Or that she never washed a dish she could get her dog to lick instead.

    Or there was the time I saw her in public in those ugly yellow shorts and there was a huge s**t stain on the back of them -- on the inside -- that was visible as she walked her dog around snarling at him to do his business.

    There was the time she dropped beef on the floor, picked it up and popped it in the skillet apparently believing heat made it A-Okay despite the fact that she never swept, let alone mopped the kitchen floor -- the kitchen floor the cats and the dog crawled across twice daily to get to their bowls and, the cats, to one of their litter boxes.

    This is the woman who was an enemy of soap and water and you didn't want to be downwind of her.

    This is the woman who, when her cat James peed on the kitchen floor (one of at least five cats), she would grab a room deodorizer and spray that over it instead of cleaning the mess.  And he peed daily on the kitchen floor, usually in front of the stove, where she dropped the beef that day.

    Yet Juan, sitting on the floor in his bedroom, set his Coke on the floor next to him, and this upset the Social Maven that Trash apparently was?

    I remember one time when she was playing another best ever bit of drama, Juan told her, "I don't want to fight with you.  That's your opinion.  I'm glad you like ____.  It's not something I like but I'm happy you do."

    Oh, how she exploded.

    She insisted she was right, he was wrong and he needed to back it up immediately.

    She was a big, fat, bully (with missing front teeth).

    And what was the topic?

    Best TV show of all time?

    The best (quality wise) of all time, she insisted (so classy) was NCIS.

    She'd lay in bed all day watching that on USA or Ion or any other channel she could find it on. 


    The best show.

    She really is Trash.

    She has no taste.

    She can't stand it if someone has a different personal favorite.  Most of us with guilty pleasures label them personal favorites, we don't insist they are the all time best.  But then, Trash had to lie to herself or she'd never get out of bed, even when she had to go on a booze run.

    Here's another favorite story, Trash is thanking Chris for helping her at the booze store.  After she walks off, I ask for something and say "Chris" to be nice. 

    He explains he's not Chris.  Chris hasn't worked there in ten years.  He saw Trash when she came in three weeks ago and she won't stop calling him Chris even though he's told her it's not his name.

    Dona and Jim were hollering for me to come listen on Labor Day to Trash's tantrum.  That's when even Juan realized he had to get out.

    But I walk over to them and I'm listening in on their phone to her tirade.

    You know what it reminded me of?

    Liberal Arts.

    Have you seen the film?

    Josh Radnor wrote, directed and stars in it.  He plays a guy who goes back to his college and, among other things, ends up sleeping with a professor who had really meant something to him when he had her as a teacher.  After they sleep together, Allison Janney begins screaming at him and insulting him and he's trying to restore sanity and get her to calm down. 

    That's what it reminded me of.

    Only Trash, who I don't believe (royal descendent though she claims to be) made it through high school, isn't as smart or literate as Allison Janney's character.

    For the record, there was no sex between Juan and Trash.

    There wouldn't be.  See, Trash pretends she's straight but she's really a lesbian in love with Laura Linney and that awful Dances With Wolves actress.  I think that's why the gay issue sets her off so. She reminds me of this guy I was with briefly in my freshman year of college.  He wouldn't admit he was gay.  Even with me.  And we were doing 'gay stuff' with each other.  All the time.  He could (and did) blow me but would insist an hour later he wasn't gay -- or even bi.

    That's sort of like Trash.  And it probably doesn't help that everyone assumes she's a lesbian because of the way she looks -- short-short hair, 300 or so pound slung around in a manly manner as she walks, smoking her cigar, wearing men's clothes because she's too big for most women's clothes to fit, scratching at her crotch as she spits, she's sort of the stereotype of 'butch.'

    I said that to Juan and he said, "She's always talking about an ex-boyfriend." 

    Yes, that no one ever met and that was from decades ago. 

    In the end, it doesn't matter much -- like Trash herself, it doesn't matter much.

    She is a user who bled our friend dry and then had the nerve to scream and yell at him.  And his instinct?  "What did I do wrong?"

    We love Juan.  No one should go through what he did.  If you're going through it and you're asking, "What did I do wrong?" -- or "How can I fix this?" -- you're asking the wrong question.

    The only question you need to be asking is: "How do I get out of this?"

    And the answer is: "As quickly as possible."

    Juan's happy now.  He's not a part of Trash's drama.  The only way to stop being part of the drama and to find happiness was to leave.  He did the right thing.

    If you're involved in a similar situation, get the hell out. Immediately.

    Dear Trash (Dona)

    "Ava's POV" and "A call made by Jess" precede me.   For those who don't know, a friend of ours from college (undergrad days) got screwed over by this crazy woman.  We only found out about a few weeks into the life in hell.  In fact, I'll let you in on a secret.  We found out when we read Elaine's "Online therapy" in the middle of August.  We read it and thought, "That can't be . . ."  At which point, we called Elaine and she told us we needed to go visit him.  Which we did.  He got out of there (finally) the day Ava's piece went up.  We helped him move.  And we're so furious with the awful woman he lived with (whom Ava's dubbed "Trash"), that we're all taking our time to weigh in.  This was going to be Jim's week but he's got to do a Jim's World to respond to a 'journalist,' so I said I'd go this week.

    In the last week, Trash has e-mailed and called our friend repeatedly.  He asked me on Friday, "Should I take her call?"  I said no.  I think what he should do is write a letter and let me show you how it should go in my column.


    Dear Trash,

    I'm not sure why you're calling and e-mailing.

    Did you get kicked out already?  Probably shouldn't change the locks on a rental.  Landlords hate not having keys to get in.  Or maybe it was all those cats you forgot to tell the landlord you had?  Or maybe he found out that your 'little dog' wasn't 20 pounds but a 100 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback? Maybe the neighbors living below you got tired of all the cats landing on the ground or of your dog running through the apartment or barking all the time?  Or maybe, having signed a non-smoking lease, your decision to smoke your pack of cigars each day in your apartment -- despite complaints from the neighbors -- got you evicted? 

    If you got kicked out, I'm not surprised.  I feel sorry for your pets but not for you.

    I can't imagine, though, why you'd call me.

    You need a place to go?  You need money?

    If we accurately add everything up, you owe me $5,000.  Those were loans that began in July.  You swore it was a loan and that you'd pay me back when you got the money for selling your dead sister's condo.

    Now if I'd known then that you weren't planning on giving any of the money from the sale to your niece -- the only child of your dead sister -- I would have realized you were a thief then.

    Instead, I stupidly thought I could trust you.

    Remember Labor Day weekend?  When you threw your little stunt.  You didn't know it (because, as usual, you were fall down drunk) but I was on the phone when you pulled that stunt.  I was on the phone with my friends Dona and Jim who were telling me, "Pack everything up.  You can stay with us.  Get the hell out of there."

    And that was right before you staggered in and started screaming at me.

    I'm not sure how much your drunken ass remembers.

    But for the record, you screamed at me for not helping your 'friend' Reuben unpack and move your stuff.  First off, I had unpacked and moved a great deal of your stuff.  Second off, because of you I had a broken finger.  Third, you were paying your 'friend' Reuben a thousand dollars each day he came over to help you.   You owed me $5,000 that I never saw.  And I will never see again.  So excuse me if I walked out of that hell hole anytime there was someone to leave your drunken ass with.

    You then screamed that I had used and manipulated you.

    When I asked you to please stop screaming, you only got louder.

    I hadn't seen you in years.  Prior to moving in with you at the end of July, all I had 'done' to you was loan you $890.  The week I moved in, you explained you needed $400 for a deposit on our new place.  I didn't say, "I gave you $890 and you were supposed to take 400 out of that for the deposit."

    No, I went and got more money.  Which I did over and over through August. 

    Not a problem, you were going to pay me back.  You said you were keeping track.  Turns out the job you said you had?  You didn't.  You hadn't had a job in years.  You'd sponged off your sister and, I feared, you might be sponging off me.

    But you'd pay me back -- you said so.  You made a big deal of saying so.

    You even used my credit card, remember, when you were lying to the IRS?

    You needed some sort of a tax i.d.  I didn't get it at the time, why the bank wouldn't let you open an account (in your sister's name).  How they said you needed that tax i.d.

    And you had to have it right away.

    I was an idiot.

    I bought your lie that the IRS only issues one tax i.d. number each day -- around the entire world, they'll only issue one.  I caught on that you were lying when you told the bank the same thing and the banker shot me a "look at her lie" look.

    At any rate, you opened that account, deposited the check that the company had made out to your sister and you began to spend like crazy . . . on yourself.

    It was around this time that you gave me a gaudy watch to 'thank' me.  You explained it was expensive and special.  Dona took one look at it and told me you got it at The Dollar Store.  When I said no, she walked with me to the nearest dollar store.  Guess what we found?  That 'expensive' watch.  It cost less than 20 bucks.  It's in your closet.  I didn't want and didn't take it when I moved. 

    Somewhere in the above, I used you?

    Was it when you cried like a baby after the move to 'our' apartment?  The morning when you had to have coffee?  And your coffee makers weren't working?  Was it that morning when, to stop the drama, I went out and bought you a fifty dollar Mr. Coffee?

    Or maybe it was the night we moved in to 'our' apartment?

    Remember that?

    Your lazy ass couldn't pack your own crap up.  So the movers had to.  And it took forever.

    And I got there at eight p.m. and was immediately informed that the $400 an hour movers were taking longer than you'd planned.  So I needed to pay for three hours because you didn't have the money but, not to worry, you'd pay me back?

    Of course, it was five hours and not three but you always lied, didn't you?

    Yet there you were screaming at me like a crazy person.

    And as bad as I found it, Dona and Jim found it worse.  Dona told me later she was going to call 911 on you until you started talking about how, at 'our' place, my name wasn't on the lease.

    Yeah, 'to save money,' you'd decided to do that.  Save money?  I paid the deposit, I paid the rent, what did your fat ass pay for?

    At any rate we all -- Dona, Jim and I -- had the same thought.

    "This bitch wants me to get into a yelling match with her so she can call the cops and get me kicked out since I'm not on the lease.  At which point, she's got my keyboard, my DVDs and music, my tablet and clothes and I'm on the street with nothing."

    That's why I humored your drunken ass.  Dona would tell me later that's why she didn't call 911 to report you.

    You really were something to watch stagger around screaming.

    What do you weigh now?  320 pounds?

    When Dona saw you, she couldn't believe how much weight you'd put on.

    "The only thing that shocked me more was that she was wearing tank tops," Dona told me.  "I just couldn't believe tanks tops with all that pit hair.  She was so disgusting.  And when did she lose her front teeth?"

    Dona saw you one day while she was waiting for me.  You walked up to a woman with a dog.  The woman with a dog was smiling at you until you smiled back and she saw your missing teeth.  And then you were close enough that she got a whiff of you.

    You never bathed.

    What was that?  Two baths in August?

    And you would wear the same ratty black dress, whose skirt you'd cut, day after day unless you were going out (booze run) and then you'd put on those shorts and one of those awful tank tops.

    Your 'friend' Reuben.

    He hates you.  Your first clue should have been he only came over when you paid him. 

    Your 'friend' Ken?

    He's the cab driver you call and treat like dirt.  But think it's okay because you tip him.

    He's not your friend.  In fact, he told Jim and Dona a great deal about you.  Including that he sends out thank you cards to regular customers but doesn't to you because he really wishes you'd stop calling him.

    Not only is he not your friend, he doesn't want to be your cab driver.  It's because any time there's a 'conversation,' it has to be you, you, you.  Ken doesn't like you.  You're rude and you cut him off repeatedly.

    What about your 'good' 'friend' Bobby?

    When you were occupying your dead sister's condo, he came around.  To smoke your pot mainly.

    But then you moved.  In over a month's time, he never came by.  He never called.

    Maybe being drunk all day and sitting in bed -- well laying -- in your own filth while you watched really crappy TV confused you?

    You have no friends.

    I was still believing we were friends until your Labor Day weekend drunken rage.  That's when the warning everyone had given became clear.

    The next day, I was gone before your drunken ass woke up and I didn't come back until after ten thirty that night.  I wasn't looking for apartments in your city.  I was meeting Dona, Jim and Ty at the airport.

    And planning my escape.

    We didn't know what your crazy ass might do.

    That Saturday when I got the phone call about the apartment?

    There was no phone call about the apartment.

    That was a lie.  I left to get a U-Haul that I'd already booked days before. 

    Why the lie?

    You're a f**king drunk.  And you were threatening me.

    Until my stuff was out of the apartment, my name not being on the lease meant I could be locked out by you at any minute.

    I lied to ensure I got out with my stuff and I got out safely.

    I hated you at that point.

    As much as I hate you now.

    You are a thief who stole thousands from me. 

    How do you justify that in your sick, f**king brain.  Oh, wait, you saw ET in England, I forgot!  When you were four! And before ET was filmed!  You're special and the birds followed you to communicate with you!

    You're nuts and you're a drunk.

    Most of all, you are a thief.

    And watching you try to pretend you had class and intelligence?

    You're a f**king moron.

    You barely got out of high school.  You know nothing about the world.  You're an illiterate hick. 

    My favorite moment of you with your friend Reuben was when you were getting rid of 'your' books (after the move) that were really your sister's (you don't read).  You handed him one book, a tiny thing, and told him (from the title) that he'd enjoy it.  He flipped through it and was excited.  And you were happy -- or what passes for your happy.  Then he said, "Oh, look this book was published in 1907."

    At which point, you demanded the book back.

    You thought it might be worth something so you stabbed your 'friend' in the back.

    On the Saturday I began the escape?  Dona and Jim were over.  They drove me to the U-Haul.  They couldn't believe you'd paid anyone thousands to help you 'decorate' the house. 

    "Are there walls here?" Dona asked noting that you had put one picture after another up in every room to the point that there was no space left.  It didn't matter that they all clashed, not to you.

    "Is that a night stand on the bathroom wall over the toilet?"  Jim asked.

    Yes, that was another 'brilliant' design you and your 'friend' had.

    Everything looked trashy.

    "It looks," Dona observed, "like Goodwill threw up in here."

    And then they stumbled upon your adult diapers.

    I hadn't realized this was an issue for you. 

    You'd mentioned, once, an 'accident.'

    Dona explained it, "She drinks two bottles of wine a day and that other booze and then she's too drunk to make it to the bathroom so she just s**ts herself.  Hence the diapers." 

    And the smell.

    Jim was hungry and nosing around the fridge.

    He told me I shouldn't cook.  He told me that after he sampled a chicken dish and a beef dish.

    I told him I didn't cook that crap.

    You did.

    And you weren't happy unless the meat was burned to a crisp.

    At which point, Dona said, "Jim, just eat some vegetables.  Even fatty couldn't screw those up."

    But there were none.  'Fatty' cooked 'dinner.'  'Dinner' was a piece of chicken or a piece of beef.

    That was it.

    "Why," I asked them, "do you think I eat out all the time?  Before the move to 'our' apartment, at the condo, I used to go to this sushi place every day I could think of an excuse to leave.  She'd get so paranoid if I was going outside.  And that stupid dog can't stop barking when I try to leave."

    You were an awful cook.  And six weeks of 'lodging' for $5,000 should have included some good meals.

    There was the night we had Chinese.  You knew the perfect Chinese place, you insisted.  We had dinner for two.  It cost over $40 -- which I, of course, paid.  The food was awful.  You would later admit that you'd never ordered there before.  Overpriced and awful. 

    This is part of the reason that you're trash by the way.  Chinese food?  Hey, who doesn't love Chinese?

    Oops, you!

    You ordered enough fried rice to feed an army.  But you didn't order anything else and you hate egg rolls.  Chinese food, for you, is fried rice.

    You're like the trash that goes to a deli and orders something on white bread.

    You had no taste, you had no skill for decoration, you had no education, and you had no front teeth (upper or lower).  So it was hilarious whenever you attempted to put on airs.

    What I'm trying to say is that unless you're trying to pay me back all the money you owe me, stop calling?

    Hope you get all that you deserve,

    Not Your Friend

    John Parker and Sara Flounders on Syria (WW)

    Repost from Workers World:

    U.S. anti-war delegation witnesses Syria’s resistance to imperialism

    By on September 25, 2013
    Sept. 20 — With the U.S. government keeping both massive bombing and regime change “on the table” for Syria in mid-September, we from the International Action Center and others among the anti-war forces in the U.S. believed it important to organize a delegation to visit this small country now facing imperialist attack.

    Washington has coordinated a destabilization campaign against Syria for the last 30 months. The U.S., its NATO allies and the Gulf monarchies have flooded Syria with arms and mercenary fighters, while cultivating a vicious climate of sectarian violence.

    The IAC, together with Syrian Americans, organized a delegation as part of a continuing campaign to build resistance at home to the U.S. war against Syria. All participants plan to continue organizing mass protests and educational campaigns in the U.S. that counter the demonization of Syria and expose all the fraudulent war propaganda, as well as explain to the movement here what is at stake in Syria today.

    Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and former six-term Congressperson Cynthia McKinney led the delegation, which included Dedon Kamathi, of the All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party, and the two writers of this article. Johnny Achi, of the Los Angeles-based Arab Americans 4 Syria, met the group in Damascus.

    The trip took place at a turning point in the war. In the U.N. Security Council, at the G-20 meeting in Moscow, and even within the NATO countries and the British Parliament, U.S. imperialism’s most effective and persuasive representative, President Barack Obama, had failed to win support for another U.S. war. With a Congressional vote authorizing war looking shaky and the U.S. population massively opposing a new war, the attack was put on hold.

    Yet Secretary of State Kerry has said that the U.S. will increase arms deliveries to the more than 1,200 marauding bands of mercenaries that make up the opposition to the Syrian government. It was a crucial time to intensifying the global struggle movement opposing a new imperialist war.
    Following an international forum in Beirut, Lebanon, on Sept. 16, the delegation drove along the narrow, winding, two-or-three-lane highway through the mountains to Damascus. The road on the Lebanese side showed the impact of many past wars in Lebanon. On the Syrian side it became a well-lit, six-lane highway leading into Damascus. Except for the occasional thud of mortars, everything seemed calm and well functioning in a very modern urban center.

    But that is only part of a complex reality.

    A third of Syrians displaced

    Even a short visit to Syria revealed how the society has responded to the social crisis and mass displacement created by the war. More than one third of Syria’s 22.5 million people have been displaced by war. More than 5 million have been internally displaced, and another 2 million plus have fled to surrounding countries.

    A visit to a center for displaced people at a Damascus school showed the scale of the disruption of family life. Most classrooms throughout the building were divided in two to accommodate families of sometimes eight or ten members. Conditions were orderly and clean, but crowded. Placing displaced families in schools meant that students have to be relocated and doubled up.

    The proudest achievement of Syria is that schools reopened across the country in September, despite the war. In addition to offering emergency housing, the facility we visited provided a secure food source and medical care, plus classes so the children’s lives had structure and continuity. There were playgrounds and common areas.

    Syria has full literacy and the highest educational level in the region. Free education is guaranteed, including graduate studies and medical schools.

    We visited a classroom in the school’s basement where children were receiving new backpacks with school supplies. Printed on each bag was the slogan in Arabic: “Everyone has a right to education.” The children sat quietly and attentively at their desks. When their names were called, they came up and proudly received their gift.

    One shy child could hardly look at us without giggling and hiding her eyes, while another little girl looked us straight in the eye as if to demand we change this situation.

    Parents, teachers and many volunteers participate in running the center. They told us that despite the war the government remains committed to maintaining free health care and free education for all.
    U.S.-led sanctions against Syria have prevented deliveries of essential medicine for children. One father told us that his child, who was only knee-high, suffered from a growth-hormone deficiency that was treated with a drug provided free by the government, but it is now in short supply due to sanctions.

    The father said he had been displaced, with his whole family, in 1967 when the Israeli regime first occupied the Golan Heights.

    Families told us of the trauma created when the mercenary bands of  “rebels” kidnap and hold family members for ransom. While some kidnappings have a political goal, others are because family members are working abroad, especially in the Gulf region, the U.S. or Europe, and the goal is to extort money.

    Conditions in Aleppo

    Several Syrians described the horrendous conditions in the major industrial city of Aleppo near the Turkish border in the north. The “rebels” have held half of Aleppo for months. Both Aleppo and Damascus are considered among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Large parts of Old Aleppo, even sites 4,000 years old, have been destroyed in car bombings and lootings.
    Most of Aleppo’s population — nearly 3 million people before the war — are without electricity and means of communication. Potable water is in a crisis, and food has been scarce for months.

    Government forces hold the western part of the city. But even essential food convoys have faced sniper fire from opposition forces, which have proved unwilling to provide or incapable of organizing even the most basic social needs in the areas they hold, people told us. These gangs’ main activity is looting whole factories, communication towers, trucks, cars, museums, antiquities and anything else that can be quickly taken over the border to Turkey and sold. These mercenary bands even battle each other for plunder, equipment and funding.

    ‘Over our dead bodies’

    Syrian flags fly everywhere in Damascus, and they are sewn on clothing and headbands and appear as car decals. Women and men are trained to back up their patriotism in neighborhood defense units that patrol streets and marketplaces.

    At a military hospital we spoke to one retired man from a neighborhood defense unit recovering from a sniper wound. Most of the wounded were recovering from sniper attacks, a daily reality. The sophisticated weapons the U.S. supplies through Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan make sniper attacks a growing problem.

    The Syrian youth at the “Over Our Dead Bodies” encampment on Mount Qasioun outside Damascus brought the intense atmosphere of resistance to life. Mount Qasioun has a panoramic view of the entire sprawling city. On its peak are the city’s TV and communication towers.

    Israeli planes bombed Mount Qasioun in January and May, killing more than 100 people in May. When a massive U.S. bombardment seemed imminent in early September, hundreds of youths set up a human shield there, erecting tents and pledging to resist any imperialist attack on Syria. Hundreds of young people come every day to join the encampment.

    These youths posted pictures of our visit on Facebook before we had even left the mountain.

    Everywhere there was enormous interest in meeting anti-war activists from the U.S. The Syrians we met, whether in hospitals, displaced centers, markets or the mountain encampment, acted with enormous confidence that they would succeed in their efforts to defy U.S. domination and ruin. People from all walks of life explained what is at stake for them.

    They are confident that Syria is not isolated in the world or even in the U.S. Many people had contacts with the Syrian-American community  and had heard first hand of the demonstrations in New York’s Times Square, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and in large Syrian-American communities in Allentown, Pa., and Dearborn, Mich.

    Meeting President Bashar al-Assad

    For more than two years U.S. imperialism’s main demand is that President Bashar al-Assad’s government must step down. While Washington has had no problem backing the corrupt absolute monarchies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates; the monarchies in Jordan and Morocco; or the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, they claim President Assad lacks legitimacy and must step down.

    Washington has stopped every attempt to open negotiations by first demanding the Syrian government resign or be barred from participating. The focus of its attack on Syrian sovereinty is on the Assad government. The U.S. proposes instead a coalition cobbled together of U.S. and Saudi-funded mercenaries and sectarians.

    The anti-war movement must accept the responsibility of standing up to this U.S. assault on Syrian sovereignty. By having an opportunity to hear President Assad present his position, the delegation demonstrated resistance to imperialist demands that he leave office.

    Meeting with the delegation Sept. 18, President Assad said it was futile to try to push ideas through war. Instead, he said that if the U.S. would have spent just a tiny portion of its war funding on social or cultural programs in Syria, it would be far more persuasive.

    Assad called the opposition forces in Syria “paid mercenaries and sectarian religious jihadist forces,” who don’t want a secular Syria but a broken, divided country with one exclusive religious viewpoint. This would push Syria back into ancient history.

    President Assad said he was committed to keeping the progress being made in Syria and the secular nature of Syria that respects all religions and ethnicities. He emphasized that only through ideas, culture and education can you stop terrorism. Although Syria is committed to defending itself, he said that civilian deaths must be minimized and ideas cannot be changed through violence.

    Assad also said Syria was committed to the Russian-Syrian agreement to remove chemical weapons. He said it is important to remind the world that it was Syria that introduced a proposal to make the Middle East a chemical-free and weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone in 2003, but the United States opposed the proposal.

    Assad made it clear that Syria has never used chemical weapons but warned of the danger that the U.S. could still find a pretext for bombing and disrupt the present agreement. He said there is a lot of forgery on the Internet, and accusations made through social media can be easily doctored and falsehoods manufactured.

    In 2012 the Syrian constitution was changed, Assad said, to allow seven additional political parties to participate in elections. These parties will all receive guaranteed television time to campaign. The next elections are set for 2014 when he will also stand for election.

    Former Congressperson Dennis Kucinich conducted an interview with President Assad for Fox News on the previous day

    Meetings with religious leaders

    Our delegation met with the Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the highest Sunni Muslim religious leader, who stressed the importance of preserving the non-sectarian unity that has long been part of Syria’s tradition and history. He said he seeks to represent the interests of everyone in Syria: both Sunni and Shiite Muslim, Christian, Alawite, etc., and atheists. He said his goal is to promote unity of all nationalities and religions and to oppose Islamic forces that are exclusive to themselves.

    The Grand Mufti’s role, he stressed, is not to promote a religious state but to make sure society remains moral in terms of benefiting all humanity. He described how Washington refused to give him a visa to visit the U.S. to meet with religious leaders there and discuss the importance of non-sectarian unity. He also told us his son was assassinated because he would not join the sectarian religious forces.

    The Grand Mufti said he felt that President Assad’s government offers the best possibility of maintaining a secular state and of promoting ideas through culture and respect for education rather than violence, which he avoids as much as possible in this war to defend Syria.

    During our visit  to the oldest Christian church in Damascus, dating from the 2nd century, senior clerics underscored this message of unity and opposition to those who fight to exclude all religious groupings from Syria except their own.

    There are more than 2 million Christians in Syria, or 10 percent of the population, from many different denominations. The terrorist “rebel” forces have particularly targeted Christian churches and communities. In front of the Virgin Mary Cathedral hung a banner urging prayers for two archbishops, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and the Greek Archbishop of Aleppo, who were kidnapped in April somewhere between Aleppo and Antioch.

    International conference in Beirut

    Before entering Syria, the delegation participated in the Arab International Forum Against U.S. Aggression on Syria and for Resistance in Beirut. The forum aimed to demonstrate that many political movements and countries stand with Syria. Member of Parliment George Galloway from Britain, Ramsey Clark from the U.S., and ambassadors from Russia, Iran, Nicaragua, Syria and Lebanon addressed the opening session. Organizations in Lebanon and from across the Middle East and Europe also participated.

    To view Sara Flounders’ talk in two parts on her trip to Syria presented at a Sept. 20 Workers World forum, watch on YouTube:

    John Parker is the West Coast coordinator of the IAC and Sara Flounders is co-director of the IAC.

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