Sull'"Elogio dei riformisti" di Roberto Saviano        
1. Affinità e divergenze fra Saviano e noi. Considero Gomorra uno fra i libri letterariamente più importanti di questi anni nonché fra i capolavori del giornalismo d'inchiesta italiano. Ammiro e rispetto Roberto Saviano, anche se a volte non sono stato d'accordo con lui su alcune delle sue prese di posizione (ad es. sulla politica dei governi israeliani, oppure sugli scontri di piazza che hanno contrassegnato l'ultima fase del governo Berlusconi).

Ho trovato molto superficiale e semplicistico l'articolo di Saviano uscito su "La Repubblica" del 28 febbraio, dedicato all'elogio del riformismo.

Prendendo spunto da un recente libro di Alessandro Orsini sulla storia della sinistra italiana, libro che contrappone Turati a Gramsci, Saviano traccia una riga sulla lavagna, mettendo da una parte i riformisti e dall'altra i comunisti. I primi sarebbero pacati, realisti, tolleranti e liberali, i secondi sarebbero fanatici, violenti, malati di dogmatismo e d'ideologia.

Scrive Saviano: "i comunisti hanno educato generazioni di militanti a definire gli avversari politici dei pericolosi nemici, ad insultarli ed irriderli. Fa un certo effetto rileggere le parole con cui un intellettuale raffinato come Gramsci definiva un avversario, non importa quale: 'La sua personalità ha per noi, in confronto della storia, la stessa importanza di uno straccio mestruato'. Invitava i suoi lettori a ricorrere alle parolacce e all'insulto personale contro gli avversari che si lamentavano delle offese ricevute [...]. Arrivò persino a tessere l'elogio del 'cazzotto in faccia' contro i deputati liberali. I pugni, diceva, dovevano essere un 'programma politico' e non un episodio isolato".

Viceversa, sempre secondo Saviano:

"in quegli stessi anni Filippo Turati, dimenticato pensatore e leader del partito socialista, conduceva una tenacissima battaglia per educare al rispetto degli avversari politici nel tentativo di coniugare socialismo e liberalismo".


Questa contrapposizione fra estremisti e riformisti, dice Saviano, si protrae fino ad oggi:

"Naturalmente, oggi, nel Pd erede del Pci, non c'è più traccia di quel massimalismo verboso e violento, e anche il linguaggio della Sel di Vendola è molto meno acceso. Ma c'è invece, fuori dal Parlamento, una certa sinistra che vive di dogmi. Sono i sopravvissuti di un estremismo massimalista che sostiene di avere la verità unica tra le mani", sono quei "pacifisti talmente violenti da usare la pace come strumento di aggressione per chiunque la pensi diversamente". Eccetera.

Quindi tutto lineare, nello schema di Saviano. Tutto semplice. Riformisti, buoni, in parlamento; comunisti, fuori dal parlamento, cattivi. Chiaro, no?

E però, se si va a verificare nel dettaglio gli esempi storici addotti da Saviano, ecco che le cose si complicano.

2. Cosa c'era prima degli assorbenti. Vediamo ad esempio la prima frase "incriminata". Di un suo avversario politico ("non importa quale", dice Saviano), Gramsci scrisse: "La sua personalità ha per noi, in confronto della storia, la stessa importanza di uno straccio mestruato".

La similitudine usata da Gramsci, al nostro orecchio di contemporanei, suona senza dubbio molto sgradevole. Intollerabilmente sessista, fra l'altro. Proviamo però a collocarla nel suo contesto. La frase è tratta da un articolo di Gramsci, allora venticinquenne, pubblicato sull'edizione torinese dell'"Avanti!" il 19 aprile 1916. In quel periodo la redazione di Torino dell'"Avanti!", di cui Gramsci era giornalista, stava conducendo una campagna di stampa sugli sprechi e sulle ruberie di cui si erano resi responsabili i promotori dell'Esposizione Universale di Torino del 1911. Come spesso succede in Italia quando si tratta di "grandi opere", anche questa era stata accompagnata da malversazioni, che Gramsci e i giornalisti dell'"Avanti!" avevano puntualmente denunciato.

Fra i bersagli di questa campagna di stampa c'era il conte Delfino Orsi, che all'epoca faceva parte della direzione della "Gazzetta del Popolo", un giornale monarchico, filogovernativo e interventista. L'articolo di Gramsci del 19 aprile 1916 è appunto una risposta ad un altro giornalista che aveva accusato l'"Avanti!" di aver attaccato Delfino Orsi non per il ruolo di quest'ultimo nello scandalo dell'Esposizione Universale, bensì invece perché Orsi era "una delle più influenti figure dell'interventismo subalpino".

Teniamo sempre presente il contesto storico. In Italia, nel 1916, lo scontro politico fra governo e opposizione era polarizzato sul problema della guerra. Era soprattutto lo scontro fra interventisti e pacifisti. Era in corso la Prima guerra mondiale, un conflitto che oggi praticamente tutti gli storici valutano come un'orrenda ecatombe, una catastrofe che segnò l'inizio del declino della civiltà europea, e che, in Italia, aprì la via al fascismo. In Italia il bilancio della guerra fu di circa 680.000 morti e quasi 500.000 invalidi permanenti. Il Partito Socialista Italiano, nel quale all'epoca militavano sia Gramsci sia Turati, era su posizioni pacifiste, e si opponeva compattamente alla guerra. A favore della guerra erano invece i nazionalisti, i liberali e il Partito Socialista Riformista Italiano, composto perlopiù da riformisti, come Bonomi e Bissolati, che erano stati espulsi dal P.S.I. già nel 1912 per il loro appoggio alla guerra di Libia.

Tale era il contesto della polemica fra l'"Avanti!" di Gramsci da una parte, e la "Gazzetta del Popolo" di Delfino Orsi dall'altra.

Quando, nell'agosto 1917, a Torino la popolazione diede vita ad una rivolta spontanea contro la guerra e contro la mancanza di pane (rivolta che fu ovviamente repressa nel sangue, con circa 50 morti e 200 feriti fra gli operai e le loro famiglie), la "Gazzetta del Popolo" di Delfino Orsi fu tra gli organi di stampa che giustificarono la repressione.

Più tardi, coerentemente, Delfino Orsi fu deputato nel Parlamento fascista, ed era ancora tale quando morì nel 1929 (mentre Gramsci era in carcere). Il gerarca Federzoni, nel suo elogio funebre pronunciato alla Camera dei Deputati l'11 dicembre 1929, disse di Orsi fra l'altro: "egli poté rinverdire i fasti patriottici della Gazzetta del Popolo, levando ancora la gloriosa bandiera del Risorgimento per le nuove battaglie dell'intervento nella grande guerra, della difesa delle aspirazioni nazionali, della rivoluzione fascista".


Delfino Orsi era appunto l'uomo che Gramsci paragonò ad uno "straccio mestruato". Un epiteto certamente poco gentile. Ma possiamo veramente dire, con Saviano, che "non importa quale" individuo egli fosse, né in quale periodo storico fosse situata la polemica fra lui e Gramsci?

Che diremmo di un giornalista il quale scrivesse, di alcuni suoi concittadini (non importa quali, direbbe Saviano), che essi sono "vigliacchi, in realtà", un "manipolo di killer", "abbrutiti e strafatti", un "branco di assassini" che "vivono come bestie"? Sono insulti pesanti e hanno ben poco di mite e di liberale. Ma se collochiamo questi epiteti nel contesto dell'articolo da cui sono tratti, scopriamo che si riferiscono ad una banda di camorristi responsabili di svariati omicidi, e che l'autore del pezzo è Roberto Saviano ("la Repubblica", 22 settembre 2008). Dobbiamo condannare il giornalista per la sua eccessiva violenza verbale? O non dobbiamo piuttosto ritenere che l'indignazione di Saviano, seppure si esprima in termini poco urbani, sia alquanto giustificata dalle circostanze?

3. La nobile arte. Vediamo, ancora, un altro passo gramsciano cui si riferisce Roberto Saviano. Si tratta dell'articolo intitolato "Elogio del cazzotto", uscito sempre sull'"Avanti!" il 12 giugno 1916. L'episodio cui si riferiva Gramsci in questo articolo era il seguente. Dei deputati socialisti, come gesto dimostrativo, avevano lanciato nell'aula di Montecitorio alcune cartoline con l'effige di parlamentari russi che erano stati deportati in Siberia a causa della loro opposizione alla guerra (c'era ancora il regime assolutista dello zar, e la Russia era alleata in guerra con le potenze della Triplice Intesa, con l'Italia, e contro la Germania e l'Impero asburgico). Un deputato interventista, Giuseppe Bevione, in quell'occasione accusò i socialisti di essere al soldo del nemico. Ne nacque un tafferuglio, durante il quale il socialista Nino Mazzoni colpì Bevione con un pugno. Questo, nello specifico, fu il "cazzotto" cui si riferisce Gramscì nel suo articolo, scrivendo fra l'altro:

"Non siamo entusiastici ammiratori del diritto del pugno; eppure quei pugni vibrati robustamente sul ceffo di Bevione ci riempiono di giubilo e di ammirazione".

Anche qui: possiamo dire che sia davvero ininfluente collocare la citazione di Gramsci nel suo contesto?

4. Vota Antonio. Veniamo ora ad un'altra delle dicotomie che Roberto Saviano delinea nel suo pezzo: quella fra opposizione parlamentare Vs. opposizione extraparlamentare. La prima riformista e "buona", la seconda estremista e "cattiva". E confrontiamo questa dicotomia con un esempio storico.

Nel giugno 1924, dopo il rapimento di Giacomo Matteotti, i parlamentari dell'opposizione antifascista decisero di disertare le aule del Parlamento, dando così luogo a quella forma di protesta extraparlamentare che passò alla storia come "secessione dell'Aventino". Fra loro c'era Filippo Turati, assieme a tutti i socialisti riformisti. C'era anche la piccola pattuglia dei deputati comunisti, che però, nel novembre 1924, verificata l'inefficacia della protesta aventiniana, decisero di rientrare in Parlamento, dove rimasero a contrastare la maggioranza fascista, praticamente da soli, per altri due anni, fino a quando il partito comunista non fu messo fuori legge. (A che tipo di pacifica dialettica parlamentare fossero avvezzi i deputati fascisti lo si può vedere consultando la voce di Wikipedia dedicata a Francesco Misiano).

Quindi, ricapitolando. Nel 1925 abbiamo il socialista riformista Turati fuori dal parlamento. In parlamento c'è una maggioranza parlamentare "estremista" fascista e una minoranza comunista (parimenti "estremista" secondo Saviano) di cui Gramsci fa parte. Comunque si voglia giudicare la situazione, si tratta di un caso in cui la realtà storica si rivela più complessa dei rigidi schematismi delineati da Saviano.

5. Conclusione. Con tutto questo discorso non voglio dire, naturalmente, che la violenza verbale nella lotta politica va sempre bene, che è sempre giustificata. Sono d'accordo con Saviano nel condannare certe forme di settarismo inutile e controproducente (di cui è un esempio il giudizio su Turati espresso da un Togliatti al peggio del suo stalinismo, citato da Saviano nel suo articolo). Né intendo affrontare discorsi astratti sul punto se sia meglio la lotta extraparlamentare o quella parlamentare.

Dico che ogni situazione fa storia a sé, che occorre giudicare caso per caso, e che generalizzazioni astratte e astoriche, come quella proposta da Saviano nell'articolo in questione, non hanno alcun significato.
          Update (February 11, 2017) - '..ethical standards..' ('.. Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post..') (no replies)        
Update February 11, 2017: 'In an interview on Monday with E&E News, Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post, and from the way his criticisms were portrayed in the Mail on Sunday article.

“The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data,” he said, “but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was.”

Climate Home, a nonprofit site based in London that offers news and analysis, also weighed in on one of the central contentions of Mr. Rose’s article, that the publication of the NOAA paper had "duped” policy makers into adopting the Paris accord. The site contacted representatives to the talks from 10 countries; none said that the paper had any influence.'

- Henry Fountain, No Data Manipulation in 2015 Climate Study, Researchers Say, February 7, 2016


Update February 09, 2017: 'Dr Bates’ main complaint is that Dr Karl and his co-authors did not follow strict procedures required for NOAA’s ‘operational’ data. It is not yet clear whether Dr Karl should have subjected his research data to the same procedures. Dr Karl, who retired from NOAA in August 2016, has not yet had the opportunity to respond fully to Dr Bates’ allegations.'

- LSE: More fake news in ‘The Mail on Sunday’, February 5, 2017 (Wikipedia Bans Daily Mail As 'Unreliable' Source, February 08, 2017))


'..a failure to observe proper ethical standards..'

'Dr John Bates’s disclosures about the manipulation of data behind the ‘Pausebuster’ paper is the biggest scientific scandal since ‘Climategate’ in 2009 when, as this paper reported, thousands of leaked emails revealed scientists were trying to block access to data, and using a ‘trick’ to conceal embarrassing flaws in their claims about global warming.

Both scandals suggest a lack of transparency and, according to Dr Bates, a failure to observe proper ethical standards.

Because of NOAA ’s failure to ‘archive’ data used in the paper, its results can never be verified.

Like Climategate, this scandal is likely to reverberate around the world, and reignite some of science’s most hotly contested debates.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


'Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

..

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’ '


'Dr Bates retired from NOAA at the end of last year after a 40-year career in meteorology and climate science. As recently as 2014, the Obama administration awarded him a special gold medal for his work in setting new, supposedly binding standards ‘to produce and preserve climate data records’.

..

Less than two years earlier, a blockbuster report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which drew on the work of hundreds of scientists around the world, had found ‘a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years’. Explaining the pause became a key issue for climate science. It was seized on by global warming sceptics, because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had continued to rise.

..

In the weeks after the Pausebuster paper was published, Dr Bates conducted a one-man investigation into this. His findings were extraordinary. Not only had Mr Karl and his colleagues failed to follow any of the formal procedures required to approve and archive their data, they had used a ‘highly experimental early run’ of a programme that tried to combine two previously separate sets of records.

..

Dr Bates revealed that the failure to archive and make available fully documented data not only violated NOAA rules, but also those set down by Science. Before he retired last year, he continued to raise the issue internally. Then came the final bombshell. Dr Bates said: ‘I learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.’

The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.

..

Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’

NOAA not only failed, but it effectively mounted a cover-up when challenged over its data. After the paper was published, the US House of Representatives Science Committee launched an inquiry into its Pausebuster claims. NOAA refused to comply with subpoenas demanding internal emails from the committee chairman, the Texas Republican Lamar Smith, and falsely claimed that no one had raised concerns about the paper internally.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


Context '..conduct more meetings on ethics .. Respectful discussion of different points of view should be encouraged.' - John Bates

Climategate: Follow the Money - By Bret Stephens

Those Who Control the Past Control the Future, Climate Data Edition, February 5, 2017

'..Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct..'


'Trees are the best known ‘technology’ to cool our planet'

Focus Fusion - '..So, production reactors by 2020 or so.'

(Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Faraday - Tesla - 'The Accelerating Winds of Venus.' (Electric Universe - Solar Climate Change)


(The Electric Universe - Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Electric Fossils and Thundercrabs

(The Electric Universe) - '..weather systems .. an electric “wind” surrounds and often precedes an electric arc.'

(Thymology - Haptopraxeology) - '..entrepreneurship .. actions he will carry out and estimates the future effect of those actions..'


'...The peer review process is broken...' - '...don't have the "situational awareness"...'

On the Mail on Sunday article on Karl et al., 2015, February 5, 2017

          Side talk: Not your regular kpop songs        
When we talk about kpop, we often relate it to Girls Generation (SNSD), Super Junior (Suju), Big Bang, 2NE1, AOA, EXO and many more.

I have been into kpop for 10 years already and I have listened to various genre of music in the kpop industry. I believe some songs deserve more recognition. For this post I hope to be able to share or introduce fantastic songs that could spice up your playlist.

Lets start with one of my favourite album of all time:

Blue Brand is a hip-hop album project that compiled various hip-hop songs from by hip hop legends. Verbal Jint, Dynamic Duo, Supreme Team, Dok2, K.Will, and many more. The song lineup is simply fantastic. There are two volume to this album. The first volume was released in 2009 while volume two release in 2010. Below are some great songs you can find in the two volumes!

Kim Jin Pyo (feat Jan Di) - How to be cool when you breakup

Supreme Team (feat Soulman) - You're to blam

Supreme Team (feat Soulman) - Because of you

Supreme Team is a hip hop duo name Simon D. and E-Sans. Unfortunately, the group disbanded recently as E-Sans terminated his contract with Amoeba Culture. Also, E-sans is involved with a marijuana scandal. I really like their songs and they are pretty nice to listen to despite the long rapping. 

Here is another of my favourite song from one of Supreme Team album.

Supreme Team (feat Young Jun) - Then Then Then

Another artist you should check out it TETE (테테). His music is very relaxing and definitely worth listening during the nights and ranning days. I really like Floral ran by TETE especially the remix version. The remix version is an eargasm. Do change

테테 (TETE) - Floral Rain


Tete (테테) - Floral Rain (Acid Punk Dynamite Remix)

Lastly, I would like to introduce all of you to Standing Egg. Its a well known k-indie group but some of you may not be familiar with them. Nonetheless, do check out Farewell For You, Not Yet For Me by Standing Egg.


Standing Egg - Farewell For You, Not Yet For Me

Thats the end of this week side talk. What do all think of the songs I have recommended? Do leave your comments!





          Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

UPDATES:





  • Water Protector Legal Collective Files Suit for Excessive Force against Peaceful Protesters


  • Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields’ for Dakota Pipeline Protesters



  • Oceti Sakowin encampment on Oct. 6, 2016. The proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires.








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

    Cool Justice Editor's Note: OK to repost, courtesy of John Briggs and The Cool Justice Report.







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

    Native Americans from tribes across the country have gathered on the windswept plains of North Dakota to pray with Mother Earth to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from pumping 500,000 gallons of oil a day beneath the Missouri River. The natives know the pipeline will most certainly leak or break, as have most U.S. pipelines, fouling the water for the Great Sioux Nation and 18 million non-Natives downstream.

    The standoff -- which began in April -- continues as a new U.S. administration ascends to power with a president-elect who campaigned denying human-caused climate change and threatening the Paris Climate accords. This remains the overriding reality despite a mini walk back by Donald Trump pledging an open mind to The New York Times this week.

    Standing Rock illuminates the brazen alliance that has developed between corporate and government interests. Viewed from the front lines, the law has been turned into a fig leaf for repression and suppression. Only the discipline and spiritual clarity of the water protectors and the native elders has kept people from being killed or seriously injured since April when the movement began.

    The fused police-DAPL force is doing everything it can to incite a violent reaction from the resisters so as to crack down, clear the camps, imprison, or even gun down the natives. More than one commentator has found the atmosphere at Standing Rock similar to what led to the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 when 300 Sioux were murdered by government troops who mistook their prayerful Ghost Dance for a war dance.

    A great deal is at issue at Standing Rock. The Sioux and their numerous native and non-native allies face a militarized force whose composition tells us something dark about the complex façade that U.S. democracy has become and suggests the proto-fascist zombi lurking beneath. More deeply, Standing Rock also emblemizes a struggle that is taking place at this moment in human history between two distinct modes of human consciousness.

    One mode is the familiar anthropocentric (human-centered) consciousness that the dominant culture most of us were born into favors—a consciousness that assumes reality is a collection of objects to be extracted, owned, and branded. Humans are the focus of this consciousness, meaning that our concerns about climate change focus primarily on the fate of our own species.

    Distinct from this anthropocentric mind-set is a second, ancient and spiritual mode of awareness that understands that the earth and its landscapes are not objects; they are relationships, including the tangle of relationships that gave us birth. This ancient mode of consciousness is potential in everyone, but for most it has been buried beneath the piles of conceptual objects that we have come to believe constitute our reality.

    The Indigenous Peoples gathered at Standing Rock are guided by this ancient, holistic, earth-mind consciousness, and so they understand that humans are not the most valuable living objects on the planet: we are not in control of the planet; it is not our job to manage nature; rather, our sacred task is to work with Mother Earth and other beings as members of Earth’s family. If we don’t, Mother Earth will make us face this spiritual truth one way or another.

    Guided by their ancient, earth-mind awareness, Native Americans have taken up a role as “water protectors.” “Mni Wiconi, Water is Life” is the slogan of the Standing Rock movement.

    Every day scores of Sioux from North Dakota, South Dakota and nearby states, along with Paiute, Shoshoni, Diné, and a sampling of other Natives from the 300 or so tribes whose flags fly at the Standing Rock encampments set out to pipeline construction sites in a convoy to engage in “actions” on the “front lines.”

    There the protectors sing and pray in the face of physical harassment and arrests by heavily armed police fused with a corporate security force.

    DAPL and their overlord company, Energy Transfer Partners, have lavished campaign contributions on politicians in North Dakota and the U.S. Congress so that they could use the state’s eminent domain powers to force purchase of land for the pipeline all across North Dakota, beginning in the Bakken fields in the northwest corner of the state where the fracked crude oil is extracted. Similar eminent domain arrangements were achieved in other states through which the 1,200-mile line traverses before reaching a river port in Illinois. The company promised Congress and the public that the pipeline would carry oil for 100 percent domestic use only, but it is clear from reporting done by the website The Intercept that the oil will be sold on international markets.

  • Though Promised for Domestic Use, Dakota Access Pipeline May Fuel Oil Exports


  • The DAPL line, now virtually complete except for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the link that crosses under the Missouri River, passes just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The DAPL construction runs through sacred burial and archeological grounds that the Lakota people were given free access to by treaties with the U.S. Government in the 19th Century. In mounting their resistance to the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux have been turned into “trespassers on their own land.”

    In late August, the tribe’s lawyers filed a stop work petition in federal court detailing areas where sacred sites would be disturbed if construction continued on its planned trajectory. The federal judge routinely forwarded a copy of the filing to DAPL. Over Labor Day weekend, when the company would not have been expected to work, pipeline crews leapfrogged to the disputed sacred and preemptively bulldozed them under. Too late, the judge granted the Sioux an emergency restraining order, but, then in a curious move, allowed construction in some areas where sacred sites have been discovered. DAPL has ignored a request from the Obama administration not to work in buffer areas on either side of the river. No fines have been imposed for intentionally bulldozing the disputed sacred sites.

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


  • Burial ground at center of police confrontations is known historical site


  • In recent live-stream videos from the front lines, DAPL-police snipers can be seen perched on top of a sacred mound called Turtle Island, their high-powered rifle crosshairs trained on the water protectors who are standing in prayer in the frigid lake below.

    North Dakota wants the federal government to pick up the tab for the massive expenditures required to keep the Native Americans under their guns. Alternatively, the CEO of Energy Transfers, Kelcy Warren, has offered to pick up the millions-of-dollars tab.

  • ETP CEO Kelcy Warren Says They Have Offered to Pay Protest Related Expenses


  • Native media have documented that DAPL has already been supplying military-style equipment, drones, armored vehicles, riot gear, water canons, concussion grenades and other armaments. The tax-payer-funded and corporate-sponsored front lines phalanx is led by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which has local jurisdiction, reinforced by North Dakota State Troopers, North Dakota National Guard units, sheriffs and police from six nearby states—all interpenetrated by DAPL security (while the FBI lurks in the background). A contingent of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Sheriffs’ Deputies were recalled following protests back home. Residents in the state of Ohio are writing letters and calling legislators to express their distress that their law enforcement has been enlisted into this repressive force.

  • Hennepin Co. sheriff's deputies leave Standing Rock protest


  • Native media’s live stream videos show DAPL security teams in mirror-visor helmets and black ops body armor with no identification, mingling with the police, sometimes directing them when and who to mace or pepper spray. They point out media making video for arrest. The big fossil fuel company evidently has plenty of experience dealing with protestors around the world. In their blank, reflecting visors we can see the soulless Darth Vader face of the government-corporate proto-fascist state the U.S. is becoming.

    Of course, this struggle with the Wasi’chu (Lakota word for the white man, meaning literally “takes too much”) is an old story for Native-Americans. In the 18th and 19th centuries it took the form of the Sioux nations trying to hold back the tsunami of colonizers flooding into their ancestral lands, occupying and despoiling them. The big difference now is that the fire-power of the state (think Custer’s 7th Cavalry or present day militarized police) has been fused with vast profit centers dependent for their existence on plundering the earth in the name of energy-squandering lifestyle survival.

    The provocations the water protectors endure take many forms. There is the psychological pressure of constant surveillance: the heavy police presence on the roads around tribal and reservation lands, the DPLA helicopter and a small plane that circle constantly above the encampments; there is the Bureau of Indian Affairs station set up on a knoll to suck out data from the cell phones of anyone in the area. There is the pepper spraying and tasing of water protectors who are praying. There is the more recent blasting of the protectors with freezing water canons in sub zero weather. There is the constant threat of weapons pointed at them. One twitching trigger finger could set off a slaughter.

    The water protectors are unarmed. The resistance movement does not allow guns in the encampments. One day, at one of the front line actions, an armed man showed up with a pistol and began firing. Possibly he was paid by DAPL to create an incident. The Natives are aware of paid provocateurs or agitators passing through the camps, pulling dirty tricks, looking to start something. Antimedia reported about the man with the gun: “According to an official statement from the tribe, the man fired several shots from his gun before being peacefully apprehended by tribal police. Witnesses at the scene say he pointed his gun at several protesters. The man was clearly trying to provoke violence that could later be used to demonize protesters who have so far remained peaceful.”

    The news site added, “The Morton County Sheriff’s Department circulated a false report claiming the man was shot, presumably by protesters… [As images show], the man was not harmed. The Sheriff’s Department has since retracted that report. Anti-Media’s attempts to obtain clarifying comments from Morton County Sheriffs were ignored.”

  • Dakota Access Caught Infiltrating Protests to Incite Violence, Funding Trolls Online


  • On a hill overlooking Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the Standing Rock encampments, an old army tent houses the field office of the rotating teams of lawyers who come to Standing Rock to help out. They use donations made to the resistance to bail out protectors who have been arrested; they try to negotiate with the police so the protectors can be allowed to pray. The constant arrests on trumped-up charges are an ongoing harassment—people maced or beaten, violently thrown to the ground and zip-tied. Often activists are charged with trespass and “riot” on the Morton County Sheriff’s novel legal theory that if several people are arrested for trespass that must signify that they were engaged in a riot.

    All this naturally requires court time and money to defend, incarceration in usually unpleasant conditions, including dog kennels. (Though the white allies who are arrested seem to get better treatment.)

    Arrests are to be expected as a consequence of civil disobedience. But some arrests are directed at chilling speech. One lawyer who came to Standing Rock from the Oregon-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, an activist defense nonprofit primarily involved in climate protests, https://cldc.org/ told Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network that often after the day’s action was over, police would stop the last cars in the caravan. They would then make “snatch and grab” arrests, impounding the cars of people who had come to support the water protectors but had no expectation that they’d be arrested when the action was over and the police told them to leave. They have to pay heavy fines ($900) to get their cars back. She said the arrests and impoundment fines for their cars are unlawful. “The intention with those types of actions is to scare out-of-towners from being comfortable coming to these actions. So they’re trying to chill the rights of others to come and participate in these protests.”

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




  • The authorities regularly characterize the natives as terrorists, and local radio spreads false rumors of farm animals being slaughtered and stolen, reported vandalism—the kind of thing you would expect from psychologically projected homesteader fears about savage Indians of earlier centuries.

    Yes, Magazine on Oct. 31 reported: “The county sheriff is claiming the water protectors were violent and that police were stopping a riot. But hours of live video feed from people caught in the confrontation showed instead a military-style assault on unarmed people: police beating people with batons, police with assault rifles, chemical mace, guns firing rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, tasers.”

  • Why Police From 7 Different States Invaded a Standing Rock Camp—and Other Questions


  • The UN has sent human rights observers. According to Salon, Nov. 16, 2016: “The U.N. special rapporteur said that American law enforcement officials, private security firms and the North Dakota National Guard have used unjustified force against protesters.

    “ ‘This is a troubling response to people who are taking action to protect natural resources and ancestral territory in the face of profit-seeking activity,’ [Maina] Kiai [U.N. special rapporteur] said in his statement, which was issued by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and was endorsed by several other U.N. experts.

  • Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert


  • “At least 400 activists have been detained and often have been held in ‘inhuman and degrading conditions in detention,’ Kiai added. Some indigenous protesters have said they were treated like animals and even held in dog kennels.

  • Dakota pipeline protesters say they were detained in dog kennels; 268 arrested in week of police crackdown


  • “ ‘Marking people with numbers and detaining them in overcrowded cages, on the bare concrete floor, without being provided with medical care, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment,’ the U.N. expert said.

    “ ‘The excessive use of State security apparatus to suppress protest against corporate activities that are alleged to violate human rights is wrong,’ he continued, noting that it violates U.N. guidelines on business and human rights.

    “Amnesty International USA, which has repeatedly criticized authorities for not respecting the rights of protesters, issued another statement on Tuesday noting that U.S. authorities had put up roadblocks to prevent journalists and human rights observers from documenting the protests and the official response.”

  • U.N. experts call for halt in Dakota Access pipeline, blast “excessive force” against protesters


  • Living on Earth reporter Sandy Tolan reflected: “You know, at times I felt I was back reporting in the West Bank, and not the Northern Plains…”

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

    Compare the government response at Standing Rock with the response occasioned by Ammon Bundy and his gang of armed militants when they occupied Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for over a month in January 2016. Imagine if the Bundy gang had been pepper sprayed, beaten, hit with water cannon, tased. But the Bundy crew were taking over the refuge to proclaim their belief that public lands should be given free to the profit-making private ranching business. In other words, the Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians.

    The mainstream corporate media has largely ignored the stand-off at Standing Rock. Rallies have taken place around the world at places like Tokyo, Stockholm, and Auckland, but the sad truth is many foreigners have heard more about Standing Rock than Americans have. Not surprising. The news editors, working for corporate media conglomerates, choose what they believe we should know and what fits the larger corporate agenda, and so they devote massively more play to Brad Pitt, to the gossipy politics of who’s-on-first, and to whatever the latest glittering consumer thing is than they do to climate change and issues highlighted by the poor and the powerless, like Standing Rock. What coverage that does exist is usually cursory and misleading.

    Fortunately, alternative media have been on the scene and active at Standing Rock. As someone who taught journalism for more nearly 20 years, it has been refreshing for me to see what the alternative press is accomplishing.

    Amy Goodman of the webcast Democracy Now brought the prayer-resistance movement to national attention over the summer. She was arrested and charged with riot in absentia for her live reports of water protectors being set upon by dogs. The charge was later dismissed in court.

    Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network has done searching interviews and incisive commentary from the scene.

    But my absolute favorite news source at Standing Rock is Myron Dewey’s Digital Smoke Signals. Dewey does updates every day, which he posts on Facebook. I highly recommend anyone who has a Facebook account to “follow” him. I went to Standing Rock on Oct. 4-11 with two friends and I have since been able to keep up with developments on the ground through Dewey’s Facebook broadcasts. He posts live stream unedited clips that constitute what he calls an ongoing “documentation” of what is happening day-to-day at the movement.

    Here is Dewey at night standing on a hillside next to the Oceti Sakowin encampment. His face appears in the glow of his screen. Then he’s panning and zooming in on a large grassfire as he’s telling us about it. His finger appears in the screen and points out where the fire started. He says the helicopter which constantly circulates over the camp suddenly disappeared 20 minutes before they saw the first flames. He zooms to the area where he and the person he is with first spotted the fire. He says, “It looked like someone using a drip torch.” He says they called 911, but it’s been over an hour and the Morton County Fire Department hasn’t shown up. He tells the people in the camp, his audience, not to worry, though. It looks like the fire was started by DAPL employees to scare them or hurt them. But the Oceti Sakowin is full of Indians who supplement their income by wild-land firefighting, work that also benefits Mother Earth; he mentions that he is himself a “hotshot” firefighter [one of the elite crews]. He and his fellow firefighters can tell by the wind direction that the fire won’t harm the camp.

    Now here’s Dewey on a bright morning walking along the road by Oceti Sakowin. A young man appears on screen, and Dewey asks him who he is and why he’s here. He’s from the Paiute nation. “I’m here to protect the water,” he says. Dewey asks him to sing a Paiute song. The young man closes his eyes and sings.

    In another nighttime broadcast find we ourselves looking through a car windshield, headlights illuminating the highway, centerlines whizzing by. We hear voices talking in the backseat. The car drives on and on. We’re just watching the road. Then ahead is a police roadblock. The police van looms. Dewey gets out with his camera and calls over to the officers, asks them where they’re from, inquires about where the road blocks are, what are the open routes. At one level it’s a mundane exchange between a citizen and police, but you experience the edginess of the situation. More deeply, you feel the riskiness and pathos that is involved any human interaction. Dewey firmly exercises his right to have these protect-and-serve police respond to him civilly; he is cordial and respectful in a way that reinforces to them and to his viewers that he is after all not their enemy but a fellow human being. Dewey asks more questions and the lead officer says he doesn’t want to be filmed; Dewey offers to turn his camera away from them and onto himself. The distant officers disappear from the screen and Dewey’s face fills it. The contact officer walks nearer; we can hear his voice. Dewey can’t resist a joke, though. He asks the officer if he’s sure he doesn’t want to become famous by putting his face on Dewey’s screen? You realize these are just guys doing their job. Dewey understands that, but he also wants to educate them about the water protectors’ mission. He never misses an opportunity to educate his adversary, as well as his own people about the larger dimensions of the Standing Rock resistance. When he gets back in the car, someone in the back seat says “Let’s get out of here; this is enemy territory.” Dewey laughs, turning the car around, “It’s not enemy territory.”

    I believe you learn more about Standing Rock by watching Dewey’s unedited video than you ever could from watching any number of dramatically produced, commercially constricted reports on CNN, complete with the drumb-drumb latest crisis theme music.

    Dewey explains to his viewers that what they’re seeing is a “documentation” that’s not edited. “It’s not scripted. It’s not acted out.”

    After a month of watching Dewey’s daily reports I realize more fully than I ever have before how ghastly and vacuous mainstream news reporting is: a production where facts have been emptied of the humanity of real encounters, replaced by the shallow performances of reporters and news sources, slick, clichéd phrasing, behavior slotted into ready made categories, events analyzed and even predigested. The news about reality comes to us compartmentalized in trays like tasteless microwave dinners. Rarely is the reader or viewer allowed to simply experience the event unfolding through the reporter’s eyes or camera. The stories are crafted and slickly packaged. Their very polish and stimulating presentation sabotages their meaning and replaces it with a meaningless, artificial understanding.

    Note that I am not saying that the news these days is politically biased. Some obviously is, but the left or right bias charge is a serious red herring, a mis-direction. In fact, in mainstream media’s very effort to appear neutral and unbiased means events are chopped up and pieced together to fit the templates of a few hackneyed forms of storytelling: the winner-loser story, the conflict story, the individual overcoming obstacles story, the facing bad choices stories, he-said, she-said stories, scandal stories, hypocrisy stories. You’ve seen them all, repeatedly.

    Most of these templates come plated with a cynicism, skepticism, superiority, or sentimentality that grabs our attention by adding a dash of disgust. The current journalistic manner of telling stories reduces and dismisses the story in a way that sometimes makes the commercials and pop-up ads come as a relief. None of the common journalistic templates or attitude has much to do with real life as it’s lived in the moment. It’s not what people really experience in their lives. Instead, it’s how they’ve been conditioned to wrap up experience afterward in a dramatized way that leaches out the nuance, that leaves out the moment-to-moment uncertainty, or as the Lakota call it, the Wakan, the deep mystery of relationships that permeates every event. And that’s what Dewey’s broadcasts have in abundance. You get to see him interacting with the people who show up on his screen. You get to feel his humanity and the mystery of everyday relationships taking place at Standing Rock that he brings to light. It’s certainly not dramatic or melodramatic. It’s not interesting or stimulating in the usual way. It does seem really important.

    So when Dewey sits in his parked car and does an update video on “10 things to know about DAPL” (Nov. 18, 2016), there’s no editing and no script, meaning that you get to see him thinking through what those top 10 things might be. Some points he makes are incisive and comic, others not so much. But the not-so-much ones can lead you to thinking about gray areas, the imprecise observations we all make. He asks a guy who just got in the car to help out with his list and the guy, William Hawk Birdshead, goes immediately serious on him until Dewey says, “I was trying to keep it light.” So the Birdshead says, “Laughter is good medicine.” Suddenly they’re off. Dewey mimics the shifty-eyed look of the FBI guys lurking around the area and denying they are FBI, the DAPL security characters trying to look all steely and tough. We learn that in the encampments they say that “DAPL dresses up like Ninja Turtles.” You can tell that it’s DAPL undercover because those guys never drive rez cars, which are rusted and dented. Nobody is spared. Dewey describes the water protectors just arriving from California as dudes who’ve “got their animal spirits on… They’re all furred up. They’re coming in all mystical and crystals.” He and his buddy laugh, which Dewey says is laughter “in a good way,” because the whole thing going on at Standing Rock is deadly serious but you need laughter, because that’s good medicine for healing. And healing and praying are about “getting reconnected with the Earth.”

    This points to a major difference between anthropocentric prayer as most of us know it and earth-mind prayer. In the prayer that most people are familiar with, an individual seeks intercession for human needs with a transcendent being. The Native prayer is about healing not getting. The prayer is a community ceremony or song or ritual to maintain or restore the balance between and among beings, both animate and inanimate. Prayer is to all my relatives, all my relations, the birds, the water, the wind, the buffalo, my family, even those who oppose me as enemies. Mitakuye Oyasin is an important Lakota phrase that means “all my relations.” When you’re watching a Dewey update from Standing Rock you’re experiencing Mitakuye Oyasin in action. It’s newscasting as a kind of prayer, in the earth-mind sense. Whether he’s engaging in laughter or educating about the spiritual importance of water, you can see that what he’s getting at is healing relationships. Watching and listening, you get to be part of that healing.

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

    Our traveling companion for our visit to Standing Rock, Lakota elder Tiokasin Ghosthorse, also provides a good way to keep up with developments through the interviews he conducts for his weekly syndicated broadcast from WPKN in Bridgeport Conn. and WBAI in New York City. On Oct. 31, 2016, Tiokasin interviewed a young man who was seized on Oct. 27 when a frontline camp was destroyed by police. Trenton Joseph Castillas Bakeberg, in the bloodline of Crazy Horse, was praying in a sweat lodge when the militarized police swept through the camp. They yanked him out of the sweat lodge and arrested him. The young water protector told Tiokasin:

    “I pray that we’ll be able to keep a state of prayer and peace, as we have been… Although there’s some people on our side are more likely to tend toward violence. But there’s also people on our side to stop them. Don’t start a fight. That’s what it’s all about, keeping it peaceful because the elders told us in the beginning that all it takes is one single act of violence, one person attacking a police officer and they’ll unleash the fear on all of us. This wrath that we have with our military overseas, we’re beginning to see it now in the heart of our own country. All for the greed and the corporate interests of this government. They say we’re a democracy but it’s not showing anymore. The people didn’t want this pipeline, but this foreign entity that they call a corporation, Energy Transfers, is saying, we don’t care. We want this money. We need this for economic stability of the country and that somehow trumps the interests of our communities and our nation as a whole….We’re standing up to this corporate machine with prayer and love.”

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


  • Against a heavily armed, corporatized democracy designed to ensure that only powerful business and political elites rule the land and possess the wealth of its objects, the Native-American people at Standing Rock stand in defense of Mother Earth armed with songs, prayers, and an understanding that Earth’s objects are us, and we are them. They are our relatives. It seems better armament than most of us Wasi’shu possess. Webster defines fascism as “a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted.” It’s an incendiary word, and readers might think ill of me for introducing it here. Certainly we are not a fascist state yet. But for the prayer-resistance at Standing Rock, the clear alliance between corporate and government interests to quell their opposition under color of the law has a fascist flavor.

    It should not surprise anyone that the new US president reportedly holds stocks that directly fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and that the DAPL CEO Kelcy Warren gave the Trump campaign a substantial donation.

  • Trump's Personal Investments Ride on Completion of Dakota Access Pipeline


  • This is how the proto-fascism works. Ironically (or perhaps absurdly), Trump may have been elected by people hoping he would somehow counter the tightening grip of multinational corporations on their lives. One might wish for that to happen.

    At a deep level, Standing Rock may suggest that such absurdities as a Trump presidency occur because our mode of consciousness is impaired or inadequate to the situation it has created on our planet at this historical time. Too many of us have gone dead to the natural world we come from. Our obsessive anthropocentric mode of consciousness has reduced nature and reality at large to a bunch of things we have names for—things that feed our greed. Fortunately, many Indigenous people have retained an acute and ancient consciousness that we are those rocks and trees and clouds, and birds and water that we see outside our windows, and that restoring our relationships with them is incumbent on us.

    John Briggs is emeritus distinguished Professor of Writing and Aesthetics from Western Connecticut State University. He was the English Department’s journalism coordinator for 18 years and was one of the founders of Western’s Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process. He is the author of several well-known books on chaos theory, fractals and creativity. He lives in the hilltown of Granville, Mass., where served as a Selectman for five years and as reserve police officer for 10 years.


    When people at Standing Rock talk about the black snake they mean the pipeline, referring to an old Sioux legend about a black snake that will threaten the end of the world. The Lakota prophet Black Elk said that in the seventh generation, the Sioux tribes would unite to save the world.

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           Burn After Reading        

    Who’s Who
    What’s What

    In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors




    NEW BOOK:

    The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
    By WAYNE MADSEN
    ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9


    Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].

    EXCERPTS:

    From the Introduction


    One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.

    *

    An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

    “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

    "I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”

    *

    The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.

    *

    As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.

    SELECTED ENTRIES

    Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

    American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

    American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

    AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

    Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

    Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

    Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

    Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

    Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

    DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

    Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

    Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

    Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

    Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

    In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

    General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

    Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

    Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

    Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

    Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

    Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

    Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

    Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

    Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

    Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

    Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

    Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

    Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

    Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

    Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

    Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

    Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

    National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

    Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

    Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

    Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

    Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

    Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

    Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

    Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

    Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

    Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

    Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

    Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

    Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

    Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

    The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

    United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

    U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

    U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

    Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

    Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

    Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

    W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project



  •           Bogho-A-Lago        
    The big scandal this weekend: Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay pulled a hoax on a social-science journal by getting a deliberately nonsensical paper published there, and then crowed that this demonstrates the field of gender studies to be “crippled academically.” However, when people with a measure of sense examined B&L’s stunt, they found it to … Continue reading Bogho-A-Lago
              The Trump Administration's First Sex Scandal Has Now Produced a Child - Vanity Fair        

    Vanity Fair

    The Trump Administration's First Sex Scandal Has Now Produced a Child
    Vanity Fair
    The Trump administration has sparked a good deal of drama so far, but now this soap opera has just ramped up to Days of Our Lives proportions. Donald Trump's former communications director Jason Miller confirmed to Page Six on Wednesday that he is the ...

    and more »

              Ministrul JustiÅ£iei Tudorel Toader, PRIMA REACÅ¢IE în scandalul fiului său care a ocupat o poziÅ£ie universitară        
    Ministrul JustiÅ£iei Tudorel Toader a devenit È›inta criticilor, după ce fiul său, IonuÅ£ Alexandru Toader, a câştigat concursul pentru angajarea pe postul de asistent universitar la Facultatea de Drept din Iaşi. Toader Jr.
    Citește mai departe...
              CFR CLUJ - DINAMO 1-0. Derby cu scandal, gol controversat din penalty şi doi eliminaÅ£i. REZULTATE şi CLASAMENT        
    FormaÅ£ia CFR Cluj a învins, joi seară, pe teren propriu, cu scorul de 1-0 (1-0), echipa Dinamo, într-un meci din etapa a cincea a Ligii I, în care unicul gol a fost marcat dintr-un penalti controversat şi de la gazde au fost eliminaÅ£i Mario Camora
    Citește mai departe...
              England’s dire north-south health gap is a scandal that must end        
    The north-south divide in England needs fixing or the country risks more despair, premature death and political earthquakes, says James Bloodworth
              Amor retro en Wiiware        

    Para el jugón que ya peina canas, aquel que existía antes que discutiéramos si un juego es hardcore o casual, Wii debe ser el último bastión de la vieja escuela. Además de la consola virtual, en Wiiware mil y un regresos de viejos clásicos ( los Rebirth de Konami, el mismo Excitebike: World Rally que salió el pasado viernes ) pueblan el catálogo. Y poblarán. Como Blaster Master: Overdrive, una puesta al día del clásico de NES de 'dispara y corre' que luce escandalosamente bien por tan solo 1000 puntos. Y cuando no son viejas glorias son los homenajes los que ocupan su lugar. Gaijin Games ha publicado los primeros vídeos de Runner, el cuarto Bit Trip, dónde se puede comprobar su estilo de plataformas rápido, similar al reciente Tomena Sanner o Canabalt. También la esperada adaptación a Wiiware de Super Meat Boy tiene nuevos vídeos circulando por la red mostrando varios niveles del juego de pura jugabilidad clásica. Es imposible no enamorarse de lo retro.





































    Fuente (2 y 3)


              Bal caritabil pentru familii aflate în nevoie        
    Tv Sud şi Scandal de Gorj, alături de cei năpăstuiţi Bal caritabil pentru familii aflate în nevoie Tv Sud în parteneriat cu Scandal de Gorj organizează un bal caritabil de Crăciun.
              Unwise Passions: A True Story of a Remarkable Woman---and the First Great Scandal of Eighteenth-Century America        
    Unwise Passions: A True Story of a Remarkable Woman---and the First Great Scandal of Eighteenth-Century America
    author: Alan Pell Crawford
    name: Kristin
    average rating: 3.58
    book published: 2000
    rating: 3
    read at: 2010/01/09
    date added: 2010/01/09
    shelves:
    review:


               Weiner's weener         
    Weiner's weener

    Weiner's weener
    "Hey, Anothony Weiner, what the hell is this?!!!When I said send me a "head"shot...this isn't what I had in mind
    Submitted by: steviejayycomedy
    Regular
    Keywords: spoof parody comedy humor funny laughs anthony weiner politicians sex scandal democrat penis
    Views: 14,822


              EXCLUSIVE: 'Project Runway' Season 16 Trailer -- a Cheating Scandal Rocks the Runway!        
    Lifetime's design competition, hosted by Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, returns on Thursday, Aug. 17, at 8 p.m. ET.
              UM Journalism School Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary        
    A 100th anniversary celebration for the University of Montana’s Journalism School took place at the state capitol today. It was 1914 when Dean Arthur Stone set up tents for journalism classes on the Missoula campus because no classrooms were available for the program’s twelve students. By the mid-seventies, when the Watergate scandal turned reporters into heroes, enrollment hit three hundred students. Today the UM Journalism program counts several Pulitzer Prize winners among its alumni. At today’s ceremony in the state capitol, Governor Steve Bullock praised the reputation UM's Journalis school has earned. “You’ve set a model that’s contrary to the sensationalist trends in national media, that sets out to fear-monger and confuse. Instead you seek to clarify, to educate, and to engage," Bullock said. The ceremony not only paid tribute to the UM Journalism program, but also to some of Montana’s best-known reporters: Capitol correspondents Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, both Montana
              May 28, 2016 Stacy on the Right Hour 2        

    Krauthammer: "Not enough time" for Clintons to wait out the email scandal... plus, even Democrats are upset about Hillary's lies about her email server. 


              February 27, 2016 Stacy on the Right Hour 2        

    Parkway School District Sex Education Scandal


              Politicians and Water: The Murray Darling Basin Scandal Fallout        

    The ABC Four Corners program “Pumped” which was screened on 24th July has illustrated how important scrutiny of the establishment is to the rule of law in our democracy. It also illustrates why the ABC is under threat from many politicians and other powerful players who see any effective scrutiny of their operations as an intolerable threat to their way of doing business, a way that is against both the general community interest as well as the national interest.
    The outrage from the revelations of water theft and other illegality by big irrigators in the northern NSW area of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) has increased over the days since the program was screened.  Politicians have been left scrambling and forced to change tack following the strength of the reaction and the condemnation of the inadequacy of their initial responses.
    In NSW the Nationals Minister for Primary Industry, Niall Blair, was forced to change from an internal inquiry conducted by his department to an independent inquiry.  Blair was excessively optimistic in thinking that such an internal inquiry would be acceptable given that Four Corners had revealed a questionable relationship between Gavin Hanlon[1], his department’s Deputy Director General (Water), and big irrigators in the upper MDB.  In addition there was the important question of why the department had failed to act on departmental compliance officers’ reports of licence breaches and meter tampering. And there were questions about the role of the former water minister Kevin Humphries in dealing with the large irrigators.
    The NSW Opposition has also taken action referring both the former Nationals water minister Kevin Humphries (Member for Barwon) and a senior bureaucrat (presumably Gavin Hanlon) to ICAC.
    The Federal Government reaction was initially almost dismissive.  The Minister for Water Resources, Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce[2], as well as attempting to downplay the water theft by comparing it to cattle rustling, claimed that it was a matter for NSW and that there was no need for Federal Government involvement. Billions of dollars of taxpayer funds have been used to buy back water for environmental flows and instead of being used for this purpose this water has gone to the big irrigators in the upper Barwon-Darling.  Presumably the taxpayer funds had come from the Federal Government. This would surely make it a matter of very great interest to this government which, seeing it is so concerned about budget repair, would surely be appalled at the waste of billions of taxpayer dollars.
    Joyce’s totally inadequate initial response was compounded shortly afterwards with what he said in a speech to irrigators in a hotel at Shepparton, a speech which was recorded by one of those attending.
    Joyce said, "We have taken water, put it back into agriculture, so we could look after you and make sure we don't have the greenies running the show basically sending you out the back door, and that was a hard ask.”
    "A couple of nights ago on Four Corners, you know what that's all about? It's about them trying to take more water off you, trying to create a calamity. A calamity for which the solution is to take more water off you, shut more of your towns down."
    Even a dinosaur like Barnaby Joyce should have been aware that anyone carrying a smartphone has the capacity to secretly record what others are saying.  In the political sphere we have seen how damaging this can be in the cases of Christopher Pyne and One Nation’s James Ashby. The Shepparton recording has certainly damaged Joyce and has added volume to the calls for him to be sacked from the Water portfolio.  Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen as the Prime Minister has enough problems in his own party without alienating Joyce and the Nationals.
    By Sunday 30th the scandal became a matter that the Federal Government had to act upon despite Joyce’s earlier labelling it a state matter. The Federal solution was for the Murray Darling Basin Authority to carry out an independent basin-wide review into compliance with state-based regulations governing water use. The Authority is to report by 15th December 2017.  The Government saw this review as complementing the other investigations of the Four Corners allegations.
    However, this is a case of far too little too late.  The MDB Authority is scarcely a body able to conduct an independent review of what has obviously been happening under its watch.  Furthermore a cynic would see the reporting date of 15th December, just before the Christmas holiday season, as a typical government move to ensure that the review report would receive minimal attention and be forgotten about over the holiday break.
    The Federal Opposition, like its NSW state counterpart, has also taken action on the scandal.  It requested that the Auditor-General expand his current audit of the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.  The Auditor-General will now include how the federal department is monitoring the performance of NSW under the National Partnership Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the MDB relevant to the protection and use of environmental water.
    Unsurprisingly, the South Australian Government, which has long been concerned about the lack of water reaching the end of the Murray-Darling system, was outraged by the allegations.  It is calling for a judicial inquiry, a much stronger investigation than those arranged by NSW and the Federal Government.  SA senators from Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Party and the Conservatives have joined their state government in calling for a judicial inquiry.
    This scandal has a long way to run yet.  There are major questions to be answered about the National Party – both state and federally - and its relationship with the big irrigators and its apparent indifference to the needs of other irrigators further down the system.  There is also the question of its influence on the workings of the NSW Department of Agriculture.   And just what role has it had in limiting the effectiveness of – perhaps even of sabotaging - the Murray Darling Basin Plan?
    For both Federal and NSW state Liberal leaders there is the question about the advisability of having resource management portfolios in the hands of Nationals and of putting both Agriculture and Water in the same portfolio.  Each of these governments has a very poor environmental record.  What has been happening on the Barwon-Darling reinforces the view that keeping “in good” with the Nationals is far more important for the  Liberals than ensuring that environmental policies are in the best long-term interests of the state and nation.
    [1] Gavin Hanlon joined the NSW Department of Primary Industries in December 2014.  Prior to this he had been Managing Director of Goulburn Murray Water since 2011.
    [2] The water portfolio was removed from the Environment Department and allocated to Joyce as a result of the agreement with the Liberals in 2015  following  Malcolm Turnbull becoming Prime Minister.

    Hildegard
    Northern Rivers
    2ndAugust 2017

    Guest Speak is a North Coast Voices segment allowing serious or satirical comment from NSW Northern Rivers residents. Email northcoastvoices at gmail dot com dot au to submit comment for consideration.

              The Trouble With Water: not a good look for the National Party of Australia        


    On 1 June 2017 former NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water (23 April 2014 - 2 April 2015) and current Nationals MP for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, announced that he will retire at the next state election in March 2019.

    In the wake of the 24 July ABC “Four Corners” revelations of large-scale water theft under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, Humphries has been referred to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) by the Labor Opposition.

    Hot on the heels of this program came another announcement on 31 July 2017.

    Former NSW Minister for Primary Industries (3 April 2011 - 2 April 2015) with responsibility for lands & water and current Nationals MP for Cootamundra, Katrina Hodgkinson, announced her retirement effective mid to late August 2017.

    Hodgkinson denies any connection between her sudden retirement and those Four Corners revelations.

    However it should be noted that it was on the joint watch of Humphries and Hodgkinson that the position of NSW Water Commissioner responsible for the overall management of the State’s surface water and groundwater resources was axed and the NSW Office of Water was reformed as part of the Dept. of Primary Industry maintaining overall responsibility for accepting and assessing applications to change water access licences and operating the Water Access Licence Register.

    High volume water theft appears to have become easier on the watch of these two National Party politicians.

    All that would be needed for a trifecta of retiring state politicians associated with water resource policy would be for the current NSW Minister for Primary Industry, Minister for Regional Water and Nationals MLC, Niall Blair, to announce an unexpected desire to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests.

    Any further scandal surrounding the management water resources in the NSW section of the Murray-Darling Basin and this may well be a distinct possibility - or even more media coverage like this perhaps?

    The Daily Telegraph, 2 August 2017:

    A NATIONALS minister is pushing Cabinet colleagues to change irrigation laws to retrospectively justify a decision by his department to give a major political donor and cotton farmer more rights over the precious Barwon-Darling River.

    The Daily Telegraph can reveal that Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair is behind a push to alter an element of the Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan.

    It comes after his department in 2016 overruled what it called “minor” error in the law to grant extra irrigation rights to Brewarrina cotton farmer Peter Harris.

    A department briefing, seen by The Daily Telegraph, said the error was impacting on “some users wishing to trade between river sections covered by the plan”.

    The briefing was written shortly after Mr Harris was given extra rights.

    Mr Harris gave $10,000 to the National Party prior to the 2011 election in combined personal donations and those made by his company.

    Its understood an internal Coalition fight has broken out between Mr Blair and current Water Minister Gabrielle Upton , who is resisting the changes. The revelations come as several inquiries have been launched into the alleged water theft on an industrial scale of precious resources across the basin…….

    The Daily Telegraph has obtained another document showing that the retiring Ms Hodgkinson changed the water sharing plan to benefit irrigators after lobbying. She was water minister at the time.

    In a 2012 letter to lobbyist and cotton farmer Ian Cole, Ms Hodgkinson wrote: “Following consideration of a number of WSP (water sharing plan) matter raised with me, I ­requested the Office of Water to make several amendments which I believe now present a fair and equitable outcome for all.”

    The Minister for the Environment and Liberal MP for Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton's obvious reluctance may be due to her appreciation of a change in wind direction within the national electorate on the subject of Murray-Darling Basin water allocations.

    The present Deputy Prime Minister and Australian Water Minister, Barnaby Joyce, is also in a somewhat precarious position – less to do with his manifest inadequacy as a federal minister and more to do with his stated motives for seeking to add the water ministry to his portfolio responsibilities.

    Cartoonist David Rowe at Financial Review


              What have HMRC got to hide? About £90bn in lost tax.        
    Why are HMRC so reluctant to tell us how they work out their 'official' figure for the tax gap?

    The latest figure they released this week has it at £35bn. An astronomical figure I'm sure you'll agree - when you think that this is the amount that goes uncollected every year in taxes because of evasion, avoidance or HMRC just being too damned stretched to collect what's owed. However, if I was to tell you that tax experts at the tax justice network reckon this figure is grossly underestimated and that the real figure is actually ooh not just twice, not even just thrice but almost four times this figure then you get the picture.

    It's a pretty ugly picture when you think of all the cuts being made to public services in the name of reducing the deficit. There is over £120bn out there that our economy is losing out on, largely because of wealthy individuals and multinationals companies are exploiting the system and are being allowed to get away without paying their fair share.

    Bet who's right about the figure? Well, while the tax justice network have published how they arrived at their figure, it's difficult to say with any certainty how HMRC arrived at theirs' because they simply refuse to share their workings out. As any Maths teacher will tell you, it's important to show your workings to prove you haven't just arrived at your answer by mere chance or guess work.

    Until HMRC share their methodology, I'm inclined to believe the independent experts who've set out why HMRC have got the tax gap wrong. But whatever the true figure, the scandal of massive tax dodging by the wealthy while the rest of us are expected to tighten our belts so much we've run out of notches continues.
              a tiepido        
    osservazioni ed appunti sul post-voto:
    • è andata male, molto male, peggio di quanto ci si potesse immaginare;
    • 13,6 milioni di italiani preferiscono la speranza di un leader che offre improbabili tagli delle tasse (a quale prezzo? come nel 2005 col buco e i vari enti rimasti senza soldi?), nonostante il caso Mangano, tanto per ricordarlo...
    • altri 3 milioni di italiani hanno paura degli immigrati e/o apprezzano il federalismo fiscale; fin qui nulla di strano né di scandaloso; peccato che a loro votare Lega Nord non ha provocato né senso del ridicolo, né ribrezzo, né niente. Li han votati, nonostante tutto.
    • la Sinistra è scomparsa dal Parlamento; di chi è la colpa? l'astensionismo e la divisione (con Turigliatto e Ferrando) a mio parere non sono stati incisivi, semmai il "voto utile" al PD (che spiacente, ma il rischio Berlusconi giustificava ampiamente la turata di naso).

      • Pesano però gli errori della sinistra. Che cosa proponevano? della pace nel mondo, agli italiani che inseguono cali delle tasse, non gliene frega molto; la lotta al precariato, spiace dirlo, ma è evidentemente persa: col precariato dovremo conviverci, anche se si potrebbe far molto per migliorarlo; i toni da sinistra anni 80 fanno fastidio a molti, evidentemente; il messaggio che hanno dato, dicendo NO a tutto, li ha dipinti la zavorra dell'Italia.
        Cosa propone di positivo la Sinistra in Italia? vorrei risposte realistiche per una Italia di destra, perché la mente degli italiani è a destra, e per cambiarla passeranno tanti anni, altro che 5...
    • ed il PD?
      Sarà dura capire quanto il PD abbia guadagnato (o ha evitato di perdere) staccandosi dalla sinistra, anche se è lampante che il gongolarsi dei dirigenti del PD: "abbiamo preso 3 punti percentuale!" è molto idiota... li han tolti all'SA senza riuscire a guadagnarne dagli indecisi del centro (destra).
    • ora il PD dovrà, a mio parere, tendere di nuovo la mano a sinistra, lavorare per costruire qualcosa di credibile, produttivo e concreto.
      Spiegate perché i rigassificatori, spiegate perché il risanamento del debito, spiegate perché una politica delle case, spiegate perché no il nucleare, spiegate perché no la privatizzazione della sanità e del sistema previdenziale...
      E non fatelo in televisione, lì è regno di Berlusconi, non avete speranze: cambiano canale.
      Prendeteli nelle strade, riscoprite la militanza, il distribuire opuscoli e volantini, il voler convincere le donne all'uscita dal supermercato...
      Se il PD o la Sinistra vorranno farlo, con pacatezza e gentilezza, senza manifestazioni e simili, forse potremo recuperare voti. Ma tenendo a mente che sarà come chiedere "permesso", perché l'Italia è a destra.


    Ok, se non fosse chiaro uso il blog per metabolizzare il colpo e non mettermi a pensare che a sto punto conviene diventare tutti bombaroli.

    Mi spiace solo pensare che quel bagno di umiltà che la sinistra (e il PD) dovrebbero farsi non sarà sufficiente. Non sarà sufficiente l'addio di Bertinotti, la polverizzazione dei socialisti, la trombata generale a sinistra e la netta minoranza del PD in parlamento.
              primarie        
    dunque dunque...
    domenica, da bravo, son andato a votare alle Primarie; tanta perplessità e l'idea di lasciare la scheda bianca per le nazionali.
    L'unica cosa che mi tirava su era la notizia che un mio conoscente giovane e molto in gamba era capolista per l'assemblea regionale con Letta (che tra le varie mi è sembrato quello più votabile, scelto sempre "per scarto"). Non sapevo molto altro perché col poco tempo e la poca informazione anche per me queste Primarie erano una nebulosa.

    Arrivo al seggio (salto la pietosa assistenza ad un anziano smarrito)
    mi accosto al foglio riepilogativo delle due schede e... sorpresa, 3 liste per Veltroni (tutte molto diverse) e mancano Adinolfi e Gawronski.
    Un tizio mi attacca un bottone, scandalizzato della cosa (non capisco se è un provocatore, un giornalista, un sincero scandalizzato), poi se ne va. Io sono effettivamente spiazzato.
    Nella lista "ggiovane" per Veltroni ci sono nomi che conosco e che non mi sarei mai aspettato lì, non in quella colonna.
    Del mio amico nemmeno l'ombra... (oggi so che era nell'altro collegio di Padova ed è stato eletto all'assemblea regionale, gli auguro buona fortuna e buon lavoro).
    Mogio mogio mi metto in fila e quindi voto: nella scheda blu, quella per l'assemblea nazionale, lascio un bel bianco. Non me la sento di far altro. Spero venga conteggiata come una insoddisfazione, illusissimo.
    Per le regionali voto Letta.

    Risultato scontatissimo (e quindi non così entusiasmante). E non vedo la voce "astenuti"... scoprirò (oggi) che la voce astenuti esiste ma non è conteggiata ai fini delle percentuali; morale, non sono considerati, e anche se son pochi dovrebbero esserlo.

    Ed oggi? oggi, con poche (e non buone) idee su che ne sarà del PD, mi guardo attorno cercando dove "dare una mano". Ho voglia di impegnarmi di più, ho voglia di sporcarmici le mani. Ma son schizzinoso, e sarà dura trovare qualcosa nel quale possa entrare senza compromessi (che non mi vanno).

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              Pat Robertson Says ‘Totally Bogus’ Fox News Scandals Are The Result Of A Conspiracy To Destroy The Network        
    Group:

    Christian Broadcasting Network


    Headline: Pat Robertson Says ‘Totally Bogus’ Fox News Scandals Are The Result Of A Conspiracy To Destroy The Network

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              A 1986 documentary on T. Dan Smith - "Mr Newcastle"        


    John Grindord blogs about this film, which has just turned up on Youtube:
    On the 27th March 1986 BBC2 broadcast a documentary called T. Dan Smith on the 70th birthday of Mr Newcastle himself. Smith, out of prison after serving a corruption charge for his part in the John Poulson scandal, is interviewed and is his usual pugnacious self. 
    "I would rather have a scheme like this," he says, indicating a series of Poulson-designed system built towers,  "corruptly conceived, than houses like we did have honestly conceived."

              Obama Fights Back        
    The newest fight on the political front is "the great smear," as I will call it. It started when McCain started to question Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers, who was one of the leaders of The Weathermen, a group of anti-Vietnam activist/terrorists. Of course, McCain latched on to Obama's relationship with Ayers and put out this smear ad (notice that, at no time during the ad, are there any quotes from Obama where Obama is speaking. It is narrated and they provide no visual or audio evidence of Obama's relationship or his opinion of Ayers):


    McCain, of course, bolstered his ad with an appearance on ABC. Notice especially that at the end of his lengthy questioning of Obama's relationship with Ayers that he gets all upitty: "and then to compare [Ayers] with Dr. C- Tom Colburn who spends so much of his life bringing babies into this world!.."


    Why should you have paid attention to McCain's anger at Obama's "comparison" of Ayers to Coburn? Because here is what McCain is referring to. Decide for yourself whether Obama's actions were reprehensible.


    At the end of Obama's Primary debate with Clinton, he says that he "can take a punch, [he's] taken some pretty good ones." And thank God Obama's finally punching back (and with quite a bit more power than McCain's smear ad, it looks like!)


    More information on the Keating scandal can be found on Wikipedia and in the New York Times.
              F35 LOCKHEED MARTIN        


    Dodici miliardi di euro, una finanziaria potenzialmente spesa in 90 cacciabombardieri F35 Lockheed Martin, mentre il paese langue in una delle sue peggiori crisi, con una disoccupazione giovanile terribile un P.I.L. negativo, tagli in atto su tutti i fronti, anche a servizi essenziali come scuola, giustizia, previdenza e sanità (settori in cui a dire il vero,  molto può essere fatto per contenere le spese).  A tutto questo si aggiunga un abbattimento selvaggio dei risparmi degli Italiani e una pressione fiscale diretta ed indiretta a livelli ormai insostenibili ed il quadro a tinte fosche è completo.

    La prima domanda che sorge è come sia possibile, come possa accadere che sia aperto un capitolo di spesa enorme a fondo perduto (i cacciabombardieri non fanno certo uscire dalla crisi) in un momento di così grande difficoltà. Per trascurare a denti stretti i risvolti etici di una scelta di questo tipo e senza che un Parlamento ormai in vacanza e ipnotizzato da tempo, sia scosso da un moto di orgoglio e indignazione corale.
    La Lockheed in passato non è stata estranea al pagamento di tangenti al fine di corrompere politici e governanti. Visti gli interessi in gioco, influenzare le scelte è stato storicamente un costo sostenibile, e si noti bene a livello Europeo e di gerarchie militari.
    Cosa è cambiato oggi? Qui possiamo farci un’idea del progetto e sbirciare fra gli ordini. Come mai l’Italia dopo USA e Gran Bretagna ha la maggior commessa all’interno della UE superando per ordini uno stato come Israele (con ben altre problematiche di difesa)? Come mai paesi nella tempesta economica come Spagna, Grecia, Irlanda, Portogallo, i P.I.G.S. per intenderci, ne sono rimasti saggiamente fuori? Domande per ora inevase. Mi chiedo dove siano i giornalisti d’inchiesta, mentre sulle testate dilagano scialbi opinionisti con la barba grigia o bianca, o massicci pachidermi in vena di pontificare per l’una o l’altra parte, consiglieri di principi inesistenti. Questo atteggiamento della maggior parte dell'informazione serve solo a conservare interessi particolari, distrarre, non far ragionare, ma far parteggiare, quando invece ci sarebbe da scoprire quali sono le effettive e irrinunciabili priorità di una spesa semplicemente folle. Quali sono le minacce alla nostra integrità nazionale che la giustificano in un drammatico frangente economico come l’attuale?
    Una penosa evidenza è manifesta. Quella di apparati, in questo caso l’esercito, che in modo autoreferenziale si cibano di risorse economiche senza alcuno scrupolo, mancando evidentemente da decenni urgenze difensive a livello nazionale ed Europeo. Detti apparati cannibalizzano lo stato di cui dovrebbero essere componenti, divorando capitali che potrebbero aiutare la crescita economica, produrre occupazione e ricerca. Si sa all’interno di dette strutture questi e anche danni peggiori sono considerati collaterali, necessari e sostenibili. Lo sono anche per i comuni cittadini?
    Ci sono organizzazioni, in questo caso gli eserciti, che hanno la tendenza ad autoalimentare il loro potere ed inevitabilemnte ed indipendentemente da chi le guida si espandono nel corso dei decenni come una proliferazione cellulare incontrollata e possono arrivare all’estremo di soffocare lo stesso organismo che dovrebbero proteggere, lo Stato, come accaduto in America Latina, Africa e Asia a più riprese. La mancata cancellazione di questa assurda commessa per 131 velivoli da combattimento, passata ora a 90 velivoli, certificherebbe l’avvenuta separazione fra gli interessi dei cittadini e del paese, ora in una gravissima crisi, rispetto all’esercito che dovrebbe tutelarne il benessere. E’ una divaricazione da evitare salvo poi andare incontro ad amare conseguenze.

              â€˜Solomon Scandals’ book-signing Jan. 18        
    Decades before the ABC-TV series Scandal or House of Cards on Netflix, The Solomon Scandals existed in manuscript form—a quirky look at a darker side of D.C. that you can’t see on the screen right now or read about in the standard bestsellers. Scandals isn’t about a comely fixer in love with Mr. President, or […]
              Smart move: The Grahams’ spin-off of The Washington Post        
    Jack Shafer, the Reuters columnist, wrote last year that Graham family should spin off the Washington Post newspaper from the company of the same name. As the buyer he suggested Michael Bloomberg. “Not so crazy an idea,” I said on the Solomon Scandals site and in the Georgetown Dish. Now the spin-off will become a […]
              â€˜House of Cards’ and ‘Scandals’        
    Enjoying the gritty depictions of Washington power players in the fabulous House of Cards series on Netflix? Then you might also check out The Solomon Scandals, which predates the Netflix program. Like so much of House, as well as the classic novel All the King’s Men, Scandals is about the conflict between friendship and duty. […]
              Integrity should be on the table in the boardroom 
- the role of culture and behaviour in corporate governance codes        

    Speech at conference of International Chamber of Commerce to address the importance of culture, integrity and behaviour as an essential feature of good corporate governance, and thus should be included in corporate governance codes.

    Integrity should be on the table in the boardroom 
    - the role of culture and behaviour in corporate governance codes

    Dear all

    Thank you for having me here to address the importance of culture, integrity and behaviour as an essential feature of good corporate governance, and thus should be included in corporate governance codes.

    After the corporate scandals in the 90s of Enron, WorldCom, Ahold and others, corporate governance codes were drafted and implemented in national laws and regulations. Unfortunately, these corporate governance codes did not result in a society where companies, directors and their relevant stakeholders lived happily ever after. On the contrary, due to an on-going supply of new financial scandals and societal deceptions, also with integrity issues, our society increasingly distrusts executive and non-executive directors, as they often appeared to play a significant role in these scandals. Directors are often accused of having overlooked the important issues or having failed to intervene in company decision-making. 

     

    Lees verder


              North Carolina FC Has Come a Long Way in Two Years. But Is Raleigh Ready to Be an MLS Town?        
    Last week, the team made its pitch to league officials—including a $150 million downtown stadium Steve Malik moves quick. Less than two years ago, in the fall of 2015, the enthusiastic, blunt-spoken founder of Cary's Medfusion bought the Carolina RailHawks, an eight-year-old soccer team plagued by mismanagement and scandal and trying to shake off perpetually mediocre attendance.…
              Save "Tai Chi in the RP". Save "Tai Chi in the World"        
    It seems not infrequent that I find myself as a charlatan (person supposed to have qualities that one actually lacks) in one way or another. This seems to be a human malady found in various endeavors and activities – from the political arena, to the medical field, to even the religious realm. Our children's idealism is quickly disillusioned by the scandals exposed. This is a sad state, where we unfortunately have contributed to create. Or at least, I myself know that I cannot cast the first stone of accusation because I am also at fault. But far from condemnation, this is simply a statement of fact and an earnest call to create an positive alternative vision.

    The "Yin" in the State of Tai Chi

    Starting under my very nose, it is ironic to for me to find uncomfortable contradictions between the principles of tai chi and the practice of tai chi, as much on the learners' side as on the institutions that promote its principles. It is difficult to discuss this issue without seeming to attack, but if it is any consolation, I put myself in the forefront of the target of this attack. Actually, I would rather focus on solutions and use the very tai chi principles we uphold as the method for solution generation.

    The state of tai chi as an art both here in the Philippines and internationally, can be said to be at a critical crossroads. From its origin as a revered holistic practice that addresses the need for self-defense, health, longevity and spiritual enlightenment, it has now fragmented as separated pursuits. We see the differentiation as tai chi for health, for martial arts, for sports and for "new age" inclinations. Not that there is something wrong with them per se, just that they represent discreet perspectives that could water down the essence of tai chi, particularly if they become the mainstream practice.

    Viewed from a detached perspective, we see that there are reasons for this phenomenon (observed situation). These are the present human tendencies which naturally extend to activities relating to tai chi. These human tendencies are:
    • to classify, as an intellectual tendency to dissect and analyze everything,
    • to "commodify" everything for marketable usefulness and function, and
    • to suit the trend to search for what is "convenient and fashionable".

    These tendencies lead to unsettling questions:

    • How do they affect the idea of tai chi as being revered and holistic? Should we fragmentize tai chi to suit our fickle market?
    • What would happen if this trend continues - when the essence of the art is compromised to the wants of an unenlightened market while subscribing to the idea that "the market is god"?

    Specifically, we see two main tendencies manifesting as the resultant trends:

    1. First, is a continuing fragmentation of "Traditional Styles" into marketable proprietary brands through:
      a. The development of Tai Chi for health to cater to a "market niche" of the aging "baby boomer generation", and
      b. The cashing in on the lucrative "New Age" market, on the one hand,
    2. And Second, is the powerful unifying global effort by the People's Republic of China to "crash into the exclusive Olympic club" effectively converting tai chi as into sports.

    Aggravating the situation is the still pervasive ancient tradition of "keeping the family secrets within the clan" which causes this legacy of the Chinese civilization to be "getting lost in a disinterested generation within the clans".

    The "Yang" in State of Tai Chi:

    But there are positive tendencies and trends as well that prove the reality of the balancing "yin and yang" in life. We do see this in the access to global information through the internet on the one hand, and the ease in international travel on the other. This trend gives all learners an opportunity to have affordable access to many kept information and "secrets" and free them up for healthy circulation of chi in the body of a mutating art.. Through this, a new arena of communication offers a level playing field to positively alter the trend of events.

    The opportunity exists as the impact we can exert on the thinking of the market. To help give rise to the emergence of an "enlightened" market that would demand the real thing – the original, pure idea of tai chi that was developed by "enlightened masters who created this art".

    Practically, every learner is technologically empowered by the internet to exert an altering impact in the present trend towards a desirable outcome – to turn the situation from being a passive loser to being an active gainer. From being an exploited market to being "an enlightened market" who refuses to be manipulated and who effectively demands for the authentic tai chi.

    The source of power of tai chi is in the mind: its ability to gather and mobilize a unified critical mass of our chi as a market and to leverage and neutralize an unenlightened force towards a win-win situation.

    Using tai chi, non-confrontational approach, we know as learners that the soft approach of "using four ounces" is not to demolish but to effectively neutralize and eventually win the institutions into our side.

    Our vision is a tai chi world that goes beyond forms and digs deep into the real substance of the art of tai chi chuan. Not just "fancy dancing" that is looked down by other martial artists. But a fighting art worthy of its name – "The Grand Ultimate Fist". A vision where practitioners becoming sages, not just a tendency to be bloated egos. We envision this subtle art to be moving as integral principle in our daily life, giving the tai chi practitioner a high degree of respect that can be gain from many disciplined hours and years of practicing the art.

    Let's make it happen. Our individual and collective intention have impact. It moves chi. We can "deflect a thousand pounds with simply 4 ounces from our pure intention". Tai learners unite! Save "Tai Chi in the Philippines" save "Tai Chi in the World".

    ~ESS/Manila Philippines/Copyright Pending

    Visit the Tai Chi Union of the Philippines Forum at Philippine Tai Chi Network


              Defending the Catholic Church against ill-informed attacks        
    Fr John Flynn LC

    Anti-Catholicism might be the last acceptable prejudice in many Western societies today, but Canadian author and journalist Michael Coren isn't going to take this situation lying down.

    In his recently published book, Why Catholics Are Right (McClelland and Stewart), he examines a number of common criticisms of the Church and provides telling rebuttals.

    Coren, born into a secular family, with a Jewish father, became a Catholic in his mid-20s.

    Being Jewish has helped him in his career, he says, but as he explains in the book's introduction, his Catholic beliefs have caused two job losses and many closed doors in the media.

    Abuse scandal

    He commences with a topic that he said he didn't want to write about and which he should not have had to write, namely the clergy abuse scandal. He acknowledges the immense damage caused to many people as a result of the abuses, but also argues that some of the criticism has gone beyond what was justified.

    The abuse says nothing specific about Catholicism, Coren insists. Critics who are eager to prove that the abuse was linked to the structures or teachings of the Church ignore the fact that abuse by clergy occurs in other churches and religions at the same or even higher rates.

    As a result of the lessons learned from the abuse scandal the Catholic Church is now one of the safest places for a young person to be according to Coren. These events should rightly lead to a condemnation of the abuses, but not to a condemnation of the Church.

    Another chapter deals with historical events, such as the Crusades and the Inquisition. It's true that the Church did not always act in the best manner, he admits, but overall the Church was mostly ethically ahead of its time and a force for good.

    On the matter of the Crusades, Coren points out that the Holy Land was Christian and subsequently invaded by Muslims. It is wrong to consider the Crusades as some kind of imperialism or colonialism. Far from being an exercise in exploitation and reaping profits, many noble families were bankrupted by the expense of arming a knight and maintaining him and his retinue.

    Modern research has disproved the affirmation that many crusaders were the sons of poor families looking for plunder. In fact, they were often the cream of European chivalry. In the territories conquered by the Crusades the Muslim population could continue its normal life and there wasn't even any serious attempt to convert them to Christianity.

    What can we conclude about the Crusades, Coren asks.

    "They were not the proudest moment of Christian history but nor were they the childish caricature of modern Western guilt and certainly not that of contemporary Muslim paranoia."

    Turning to the Inquisition he observes that the underlying premise is that Catholics are nastier than anyone else and that only the Church could organise something like the Inquisition.

    This is simply ridiculous as for a start more men and women were slaughtered in a couple of weeks of the atheistic French Revolution than in a century of the Inquisition. There were also inquisitions in a number of Protestant nations, he notes, aimed particularly at those suspected of witchcraft.

    The purpose of the Inquisition was to combat doctrinal errors and heresies, with the aim of bringing people back to the Church. Torture did exist, but it was carried out mainly by secular authorities. The Inquisition used it no more and usually less than other judicial bodies of the time.

    Most of the criticism centres on the Spanish Inquisition. In an aside Coren wonders why so little attention is paid to the massacres and torture of many Catholics by Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I in England.

    It is true that in the early days the popes did support the Spanish Inquisition but it soon became an organ of the state and monarchy. After the final defeat of the Muslims in Spain a large number converted from Islam or Judaism to Catholicism.

    Many were genuine, but as it was politically and economically advantageous to be a Catholic some who converted were not genuine. This led to the investigations by the Inquisition about the situation of those who had converted.

    There were certainly abuses committed, Coren says, but while Spain might have been a flawed society it did not experience the bloody civil wars of religion that affected many other European countries. The Inquisition went mainly unnoticed until the mid-19th century when anti-Catholic writers used and distorted it to attack the Church.

    Wealth

    Another frequent criticism of the Church is about its wealth. "We're hit with the old regular that the Church is dripping with money while the rest of the world starves," Coren comments.

    Yes, there is a lot of wealth at the Vatican, in the museums that are open for all to visit. The Church has preserved these works of art for centuries and keeps them as a patrimony for humanity.

    Selling the artwork and giving away the money would just be a one-off event whose benefits would soon be over. Instead, the artistic treasures are kept for the future, available to all, instead of being locked away in private collections.

    Moreover, Coren adds, the Catholic Church builds and runs hospitals, schools and does an enormous amount of charitable work around the world.

    One of the chapters is dedicated to the subject of life and sexuality. The Church is often under attack for its stand on matters ranging from abortion to condoms and contraceptives. The position the Catholic Church takes in this area is not only based on moral beliefs but is also supported by science and human rights, Coren argues.

    The affirmation that a new life exists from the moment of conception has solid biological foundation with the fetus being a distinct human life and as such should having a right to exist. In spite of this, in recent years prolifers have often been depicted as extreme zealots.

    Moreover, while contemporary society considers itself to be more progressive and tolerant than at any time in the past, the disabled or handicapped in the womb are now deliberately targeted and killed.

    Stem cells

    When it comes to the Church's opposition to the use of embryonic stem cells for research, this is used by opponents to accuse it of being an obstacle to a cure for sicknesses and diseases that could be overcome in the very near future.

    The truth is, however, there have been no successful cures with embryonic stem cells, in contrast to the successes obtained with adult stem cells, which is supported by the Church, as Coren points out.

    On the subject of condoms and contraceptives the Church warned decades ago that their availability would be harmful to society. In fact, Coren says, since that warning there has been a steady rise in sexually transmitted diseases, divorce, family breakdown and sexuality has been downgraded from what should be a loving act into a mere exchange of bodily fluids.

    The vilification of the Church and Benedict XVI for being opposed to the use of condoms in the effort to control AIDS is yet another case of injustice, Coren notes. Relying on the use of condoms simply hasn't worked in Africa. Instead, programs based on abstinence and fidelity have had the greatest success.

    Coren's book deals with many other topics and he pulls no punches in defending the Church against what he considers ill-informed attacks. It should prove a useful aid for those interested in replying to the all too frequent swipes against the Catholic Church.


              Is Ethics Reform Dead (again) in Albany? Lawmakers Leave Without Voting on Oversight Measures        
    When the legislative session ended on June 21 st , lawmakers left behind a lot of unfinished business, including a failure to act on ethics reform proposals in light of an economic development scandal in the Cuomo Administration. There are majority party sponsors in each house of the legislature for a bill to add grater oversight to the state’s economic development contracts, but the measure failed to come to the floor for a vote. That’s despite the fact that nine former associates of Governor Cuomo are have been charged with bribery and bid rigging, among other crimes, and are set to go on trial as early as the fall. Ron Deutsch, with the union backed think tank Fiscal Policy Institute, says it’s a missed opportunity. “It’s another sad day in Albany,” said Deutsch. “We have the largest bid rigging scandal in state history, and we virtually ignored it.” Deutsch says the bill currently in the legislature is what he calls a “common sense” measure. It would reinstate oversight of the
              Why Eugene Peterson is Wrong on Rob Bell and Love Wins (Among Other Things)        
    While reading up on the recent controversy over Rob Bell's new book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, I came across several in the larger "evangelical" community who are actively defending Rob Bell against his critics (and even against himself). One of the largest names in that group is Eugene Peterson, author of the most popular paraphrase of the Bible, The Message. Peterson is currently Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, BC. He is also an accomplished author, with some of his books winning awards and becoming best sellers.

    Peterson's defense of Rob Bell started even before there was a controversy. Peterson supplied Bell's publisher, HarperOne, with the following endorsement blurb for Love Wins:
    It isn’t easy to develop a biblical imagination that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ . . . Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination--without a trace of soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction.

    Recently Peterson spoke to Timothy Dalrymple of patheos about his endorsement and the controversy that has erupted over the book. When asked why Peterson endorsed the book, he said:
    Rob Bell and anyone else who is baptized is my brother or my sister. We have different ways of looking at things, but we are all a part of the kingdom of God. And I don’t think that brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God should fight. I think that’s bad family manners.

    I don’t agree with everything Rob Bell says. But I think they’re worth saying. I think he puts a voice into the whole evangelical world which, if people will listen to it, will put you on your guard against judging people too quickly, making rapid dogmatic judgments on people. I don’t like it when people use hell and the wrath of God as weaponry against one another.

    I knew that people would jump on me for writing the endorsement. I wrote the endorsement because I would like people to listen to him. He may not be right. But he’s doing something worth doing. There’s so much polarization in the evangelical church that it’s a true scandal. We’ve got to learn how to talk to each other and listen to each other in a civil way.

    There is much in Peterson's statement with which we could disagree. In fact, I would disagree with almost all of it. But I think it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how we as believers are taught to confront error in the Bible. Before I get there, Peterson was asked the follow-up question, "Do evangelicals need to reexamine our doctrines of hell and damnation?" and he replied:
    Yes, I guess I do think they ought to reexamine. They ought to be a good bit more biblical, not taking things out of context.

    But the people who are against Rob Bell are not going to reexamine anything. They have a litmus test for who is a Christian and who is not. But that’s not what it means to live in community.

    Luther said that we should read the entire Bible in terms of what drives toward Christ. Everything has to be interpreted through Christ. Well, if you do that, you’re going to end up with this religion of grace and forgiveness. The only people Jesus threatens are the Pharisees. But everybody else gets pretty generous treatment. There’s very little Christ, very little Jesus, in these people who are fighting Rob Bell.

    Again, Peterson sounds like a man who both doesn't understand the significance of the Doctrine of Hell and hasn't read the parts of the Bible where false doctrine is confronted and condemned. And interestingly he includes in his defense against arguments in the Church a quote by Martin Luther, a man who saw no small amount of criticism levied against him for his overly sharp tongue.

    Let's take a minute here, though, and examine what Peterson actually says about Bell and about the criticism directed towards him. First, he starts out by saying, "Rob Bell and anyone else who is baptized is my brother or my sister." Now, I am going to give Peterson the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he is referring to the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" (i.e., regeneration through the gift of the Holy Spirit). I shudder to think that Peterson would believe that the act of baptism either saves or confirms that one is truly a born-again believer of Jesus Christ.

    But then he builds on that statement and claims that he doesn't "think that brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God should fight", that doing so is to practice "bad family manners." I hate to tell Peterson this, but Jesus argued with His disciples. Paul argued with Peter. The Apostles argued with one another at the Council of Jerusalem. Members of the Kingdom argue. And often times it is quite beneficial. In Church History, debate has not always been kind, but very often it has been healthy. To claim that we shouldn't argue over doctrine because it's "bad family manners" is Biblically and historically ignorant.

    Peterson adds further down, "I don’t like it when people use hell and the wrath of God as weaponry against one another." I agree wholeheartedly with Peterson here, but is this really what is happening? Are people using the issues over the Doctrine of Hell as weapons against Bell? Of course not! In the ironic words of Billy Joel, "we didn't start the fire". The Doctrine of Hell has invoked heated arguments in the Church for centuries. And Bell threw himself into the line of fire by writing a book which advocates for a position against the one universally agreed upon by the Church for 2000 years. "Hell and the wrath of God" isn't a weapon being wielded against Bell, but rather are the objects of the firestorm that Bell ignited by writing a book on these subjects.

    Now, from there I believe Peterson's words better represent a man who hasn't read the Bible, not one who wrote a bestselling paraphrase of the Bible and who taught classes on the Word of God and spirituality for decades. Two statements Peterson makes lead me to this criticism. First, he says, "...the people who are against Rob Bell are not going to reexamine anything. They have a litmus test for who is a Christian and who is not. But that’s not what it means to live in community." Then he says, "The only people Jesus threatens are the Pharisees. But everybody else gets pretty generous treatment. There’s very little Christ, very little Jesus, in these people who are fighting Rob Bell."

    Has Peterson read Galatians lately? How about 1 John? Maybe he needs to reread the Gospels, particularly John 8. And heaven forbid he stumbles upon 1 Corinthians 5 or Matthew 18, where confrontation is not only spoken of, but encouraged by both Paul and Jesus, respectively.

    Both Paul and John advocate for litmus tests for Christians. Jesus, Himself, does the same thing. Living in community means precisely that we confront one another for not only sin, but false doctrine as well. Paul tells the Corinthians to cast people out of the community for sin and in Galatians he pronounces curses on those who advocate for a different Gospel. And I'm guessing that all of those he was speaking of were probably thought to have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. The fruit of their actions and beliefs, however, communicated otherwise.

    Finally, Peterson saves his most damning words for the end. He claims that that the "only people Jesus threatens are the Pharisees" and based on that he concludes that "there's very little Jesus, in these people who are fighting Rob Bell." Not only is Peterson making a huge assumption about the spiritual lives of those "who are fighting Rob Bell" (notice how Peterson personalizes it, instead of relegating it to theological debate), but he is also completely wrong about Jesus.

    In John 7:45, prior to the passage on the adulterous woman, we see that Jesus is speaking to the Chief Priests and the Pharisees. After v.11 of Chapter 8, Jesus picks up his conversation with the Jews (many have rightly concluded that 7:52-8:11 is out of place here in John and is not original to this Gospel, but rather represents good oral tradition which eventually found a home here). But in v.21, it appears that Jesus' conversation with the Pharisees is overheard by other Jews and they begin to talk among themselves in v.22. Jesus answers these Jews in v.23. Then further down in v.31, John identifies another group to whom Jesus is speaking as "the Jews who had believed in Him." Peterson identifies these in his Message as, "the Jews who had claimed to believe in Him."

    Jesus then begins to speak to these Jews and they don't seem to like what He's saying. By the time the conversation is over, Jesus has told them that they are not children of Abraham or children of God, but rather they are children of their father, the devil. In v.47, Jesus says, "Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God." Now, I don't know about you, but it seems clear her that Peterson's claim that "the only people Jesus threatens are the Pharisees" is not only terribly incorrect, but a false basis for his further claim that "there’s very little Christ, very little Jesus, in these people who are fighting Rob Bell."

    I've always respected Eugene Peterson, but in this case he's wrong. He's wrong on Rob Bell, he's wrong on the significance of the Doctrine of Hell, he's wrong on how to live in community, and more importantly, he's wrong on Jesus and on what the Bible teaches about confronting those teaching false doctrine. I get why Peterson doesn't like controversy in the Church and why he believes it is "bad family manners". None of us find it comfortable to confront sin or enjoyable to correct false teaching. But unfortunately, Peterson's attitude doesn't line up with the Bible and consequently it is him and not Bell's critics in whom one can find "very little Jesus."
              Brand It!        
    With all that has been happening in our lives lately, you may wonder why I am posting on something seemingly so silly. But, I think Marc Ecko is quite a genius when it comes to business and when I saw that Barry Bonds, when referring to Ecko's plans after purchasing his 756th home run ball, stated, "He's stupid...He's an idiot" I couldn't resist giving Ecko a little time on my blog (at least for the 3-4 readers who still check it out).

    Marc Ecko is of course the very successful founder and president of Marc Ecko Enterprises. He started out as a t-shirt designer and turned his business into what is now hailed as the most succesful urban clothing line. What is most unique about Ecko is that his background is far from that of his current customer base. While his clothing tends to be worn by those most affiliated with the "Hip-Hop" culture, Marc grew up as a Jewish kid in a New Jersey town outside of Manhatten. His parents were real estate agents and his life was far more suburban than that of most of his customers. But, through hard work and uncanny "street smarts", Ecko went from nearly bankrupt to the No. 1 designer in his field.

    So what does all this have to do with Barry Bonds? Well, Ecko was the winner of the auction just recently held by Sotheby's for Bonds' record-breaking, 756th home run baseball. And he has decided to let the fans vote on what should be done with the ball. He set up a website, http://www.vote756.com/, where fans can vote to either "Bestow It" to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, OH, "Brand It" with an asterick and then send it to Cooperstown, or "Banish It" by reportedly shooting it into outer space. And yesterday, The San Francisco Chronicle (which you may recognize as the newspaper whose reporters wrote the book on Barry Bonds' alleged steriod use - you can read my review of the book, Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports, by clicking here), reported that when asked about Ecko's intentions Bonds replied, "He spent $750,000 on the ball and that's what he's doing with it? What he's doing is stupid."

    What I find most entertaining about this story is that Bonds just seems to not get it. He doesn't get it that people believe he cheated and should be punished, not celebrated for such an act. He doesn't understand marketing either. Heck, it's clear from his well-known brushes with the media that he doesn't understand the power of the media and the sway of the court of public opinion.

    Barry Bonds is wrong - Marc Ecko is a genius. He has just created friends in the baseball culture he never had before by doing this. And those who hate what he is doing? They can simply dismiss him as another crazed fashion designer. But the genius of this act shines brightest in the numbers. As of my visit, there were 3,611,765 votes cast. And how did I vote? See below.




              Rectorul Astarastoae, anchetat si premiat        
    Presedintele Colegiului Medicilor din Romania, Vasile Astarastoae, invinuit in scandalul de coruptie de la Universitatea de Medicina Iasi, a primit ieri-seara titlul de cetatean de onoare al Iasiului. Titulatura i-a fost acordata la propunerea primarului Gheorghe Nichita, in cadrul evenimentului ...
              Yuk Liat Pijat Sesama Wanita        
    Yuk Liat Pijat Sesama Wanita Durasi : 24:00 Menit Negara Asal : USA Tag : Yuk Liat Pijat Sesama Wanita, Video Scandal China, scandal, sex, film dewasa, film bokep      
              Video Pengenalan Nuru Massage        
    Video Pengenalan Nuru Massage Durasi : 21:00 Menit Negara Asal : USA Tag : Video Pengenalan Nuru Massage , Video Scandal China, scandal, sex, film dewasa, film bokep      
              Ritual Massage Untuk Kaum Wanita        
    Ritual Massage Untuk Kaum Wanita Durasi : 04:00 Menit Negara Asal : China Tag : Ritual Massage Untuk Kaum Wanita, Video Scandal China, scandal, sex, film dewasa, film bokep    
              Ayam Kampus Di China        
    Ayam Kampus Di China Durasi : 04:00 Menit Negara Asal : China Tag : Video Scandal China, scandal, sex, film dewasa, film bokep    
              Video Scandal China UNIQLO        
    Video Scandal China UNIQLO Durasi : 03:00 Menit Negara Asal : China Tag : Video Scandal China, UNIQLO, scandal, sex, film dewasa    
              Commentaires sur La nourriture industrielle pour animaux: un vrai scandale! par Van den Broeck Laurent        
    Bonjour Guinot, j'aimerai beaucoup connaître le nom de la marque que vous donné à manger à vos animaux et si il font aussi des aliment pour chats. merci d'avance de me dire quoi à mon adresse email : lovdb7@gmail.com, belle et longue vie à votre famille
              Commentaires sur La nourriture industrielle pour animaux: un vrai scandale! par GUINOT        
    superbe article, je travaille depuis des années avec une marque qui a une vraie éthique, en tant qu'éleveuse familiale passionnée de petit Epagneuls Japonais je suis passée naïve à mes débuts par ce genre d'alimentation...(citées dans l'article) il m'aura fallut des années de galères et de recherches pour trouver une marque respectueuse de nos animaux et de l'environnement grâce à mes rencontres à l'étranger... tout ceci est scandaleux j'ai connu des confrères qui ont perdu des loulous avec cette malbouffe en croyant donner le meilleur à leurs toutous!!! merci pour cet article!
              FT column: Universal dangers shown by Toshiba flaws        

    The causes and consequences of the long-running inflation of profits by Toshiba reflect some uniquely Japanese cultural norms. So, inevitably, did the 2011 scandal at Olympus , where successive leaders covered up accounting manipulation.

    Read more
              FT column: Japan will gain from Toshiba’s humiliation        

    Hisao Tanaka, Toshiba’s chief executive, gave a 15-second bow on Tuesday as he resigned over a $1.2bn accounting scandal. Mr Tanaka and seven other executives took responsibility for deceptions that started in 2008. Taro Aso, Japan’s finance minister, warned that this could “lose the market’s trust”.

    Read more
              FT column: Tiny signs of a coming scandal — and how to spot them        

    Habitual lateness, mild abuse of the corporate credit card, a little grousing by outgoing employees about low pay or overwork: the day to day dysfunctions of many large businesses. But could these be warning signals of a coming collapse in corporate culture or an imminent scandal? If so, how should companies detect and act on them?

    Read more
              Duke with Benefits (Studies in Scandal #2)        
    Duke with Benefits (Studies in Scandal #2)
    author: Manda Collins
    name: Gwen
    average rating: 3.83
    book published: 2017
    rating: 5
    read at: 2017/07/17
    date added: 2017/07/17
    shelves:
    review:


              Ready Set Rogue (Studies in Scandal, #1)        
    Ready Set Rogue (Studies in Scandal, #1)
    author: Manda Collins
    name: Gwen
    average rating: 3.78
    book published: 2017
    rating: 5
    read at: 2017/07/13
    date added: 2017/07/13
    shelves:
    review:


              Deadly Scandal (Deadly, #1)        
    Deadly Scandal (Deadly, #1)
    author: Kate Parker
    name: Gwen
    average rating: 3.96
    book published: 2016
    rating: 5
    read at: 2017/05/10
    date added: 2017/06/13
    shelves:
    review:


              My Scandalous Duke        
    My Scandalous Duke
    author: Theresa Romain
    name: Gwen
    average rating: 3.71
    book published: 2016
    rating: 4
    read at: 2017/04/06
    date added: 2017/06/04
    shelves:
    review:


              Love in the Time of Scandal (Scandalous, #3)        
    Love in the Time of Scandal (Scandalous, #3)
    author: Caroline Linden
    name: Gwen
    average rating: 3.79
    book published: 2015
    rating: 5
    read at: 2017/06/02
    date added: 2017/06/02
    shelves:
    review:


              Love and Other Scandals (Scandalous, #1)        
    Love and Other Scandals (Scandalous, #1)
    author: Caroline Linden
    name: Gwen
    average rating: 3.82
    book published: 2013
    rating: 5
    read at: 2017/05/29
    date added: 2017/05/29
    shelves:
    review:


              Six Degrees of Scandal (Scandalous, #4)        
    Six Degrees of Scandal (Scandalous, #4)
    author: Caroline Linden
    name: Gwen
    average rating: 3.67
    book published: 2016
    rating: 5
    read at: 2017/05/26
    date added: 2017/05/26
    shelves:
    review:


              The worst product ever marketed        
    SUBHEAD: Eventually we learn what's the good way to do things. Too bad that it is almost always too late.

    By Ugo Bardi on 30 July 2017 for Cassandra's Legacy -

    (http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2017/07/what-is-worst-product-ever-marketed.html)


    Image above: Detail of Bic advertisement celebrating the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the Bic lighter.  From original article.

    Greens often exaggerate in inviting people to save energy and be happier by staying in the dark and eating insects. However, it is also true that sometimes wastefulness goes a few notches higher and becomes truly a scandal. It is the case of the ordinary disposable lighter.

    Bic alone produces almost a billion lighters per year and has produced some 20 billions of them in the past 30 years. The whole world production is probably of a few billion per year. A good example of a successful product, but is it a good product?

    The disposable lighter is surely practical but also, if you think about it, a very bad deal. It contains some 5 cc of butane, that you pay, typically, more than $1. That means around $200 per liter, or $800/gallon.

    You wouldn't be happy to pay that kind of money when you refill the tank of your car. And, being powered by a fossil fuel, butane, every time you light up one you add some CO2 to the atmosphere, some of which will stay there for tens of thousands of years.

    Then, the disposable lighter doesn't contain just non-renewable fuel but plastics manufactured from fossil fuels and also polluting. Then, it contains metals such as cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, praeseodymium and more.

    These metals are classified as "rare earths;" they are not so rare as the name seems to imply, but they are not so common, either. And the lighter is thrown away after use and it will never be recycled. The rare earths it contains will be lost forever.

    Is all that enough to qualify disposable lighters as "the worst product ever marketed"? Well, everything can be questioned, but if you line up the characteristics of a bad product as;
    1. uses rare and non-renewable resources, 
    2. is not recycled and not supposed to be recyclable, 
    3. is manufactured on a large scale, 
    4. it has non-polluting and less expensive alternatives, there are few examples other than lighters for which you can tick all the four boxes.
    I can hardly think of anything so wasteful to set something on fire, no matter whether you are a professional arsonist or simply an ordinary smoker.

    After all, what was so wrong with using the old matches? Matches contain only recyclable materials: wood, paper, phosphorous, sulfur. I can't see anything that can be done with a lighter that cannot be done with a match, except that a lighter can burn steadily for a longer time.

    But if your purpose is to light up a cigarette or a kitchen burner, it makes no difference. And, by all means, there is no way that a lighter would cost less than a match, at least if manufactured on a comparable scale.

    So, disposable lighters are all an example of how a combination of financial factors and government regulations can push a bad product to dominate the market. It is, after all, what has happened with fossil fuels, still gathering large government subsidies, despite the damage they are doing to all of us.

    In the case of lighter vs. matches, the playing field has been made unfavorable to matches from the beginning, because they have been traditionally taxed by governments (also lighters, in some cases, but not always).

    Add to that the rapid expansion of the cigarette market during the past decades, with some six billion cigarettes sold worldwide every year, and growing, some large companies saw their chance.

    They engaged in the large scale manufacturing of lighters and they crushed the match manufacturers, mainly small companies that couldn't match (indeed!) the financial power of large corporations.

    The advertising power, too, played a big role, with the appeal of colored and fashionable items that could also be collected. And it was world domination for the disposable lighter.

    Could we reverse this demonic trend? Maybe there are signs of an inversion of the tendency and, not long ago, I saw again courtesy matchboxes appearing in an Italian Hotel.

    Maybe it was because finally (in 2015) the Italian government decided to abolish the tax on matches, a good idea that, unfortunately, arrived at least 50 years too late (the French Government did that in 1999).

    Whatever the case, it is high time that someone realizes that some ideas, such as disposable lighters, are evil to the bone. And that the mythical "free market" cannot turn evil into good.

    But maybe you think that the old matches are passé? In this case, we have technologies for getting rid of the obsolete propane lighters without having to get back to the somewhat primitive matches. For instance, we have spark lighters that use only electricity.

    They are a solid state alternative to propane lighters in the same way as photovoltaic energy is a solid state alternative to fossil energy. In the picture, you see one of these super hi-tech lighters in the hands of my daughter, Donata.


    Image above: Donata Bardi holds solid state spark lighter.  From original article.

    So, eventually, we learn what's the good way to do things. Too bad that it is almost always too late.

    .

              Midnight Scandals        
    Midnight Scandals
    author: Courtney Milan
    name: Gwen
    average rating: 3.61
    book published: 2012
    rating: 4
    read at: 2016/12/26
    date added: 2016/12/28
    shelves:
    review:


              It Takes a Scandal (Scandalous, #2)        
    It Takes a Scandal (Scandalous, #2)
    author: Caroline Linden
    name: Gwen
    average rating: 3.74
    book published: 2014
    rating: 5
    read at: 2016/12/05
    date added: 2016/12/05
    shelves:
    review:


              All's Fair In Love and Scandal (Scandalous, #2.5)        
    All's Fair In Love and Scandal (Scandalous, #2.5)
    author: Caroline Linden
    name: Gwen
    average rating: 3.69
    book published: 2015
    rating: 5
    read at: 2016/11/04
    date added: 2016/11/04
    shelves:
    review:


              Feds Should Follow Alberta's Lead on Accountability Measures         
    In the wake of the Senate expense scandal, a secretive committee of MPs from all parties has decided that it’s time to get with the 21st Centaury and open up their expenses. Except, they haven’t.
              German Carmakers Meet To Set New Standards For Diesels        
    German carmakers and politicians are meeting in Berlin at an "emergency diesel summit" this week to try to shore up eroding market share amid concerns over pollution in Europe's major cities. They also hope to put to rest a major scandal over the manipulation of emissions testing data. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that the two sides are expected on Wednesday to agree to lower emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in Germany's 15 million diesel vehicles. Soraya says that in the lead-up to the summit, manufacturers and the German government haggled over reducing emissions by improving auto software, something that would cost several hundred million euros. Alternately, hardware fixes would be far more expensive – estimated at around 5 billion euros ($5.9 billion). In either case, much of the cost would be absorbed by the companies. Germany is Europe's leading car manufacturer, and Volkswagen — the company at the heart of the faked emissions testing data — is among the world's
              150 Things to Know on Canada’s 150th Birthday        
    On the occasion of Canada’s 150th birthday here are 150 things to know...

    1. Today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is one of the world’s most popular political leaders.
    2. Justin Trudeau emerged out of the shadows and into the political spotlight when delivering the eulogy at his father’s funeral, the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau in September 2000.
    3. The four pallbearers at the funeral were Justin Trudeau, the Aga Khan, former President Jimmy Carter and…the late Cuban autocrat Fidel Castro.
    4. Justin Trudeau’s brother, Alexandre Trudeau, is a fearless filmmaker, who was Embedded in Baghdad before, during and after the U.S. invasion in 2003.
    5. While Justin is a social media star, his father was the true showman, who once famously pirouetted behind Queen Elizabeth’s back.
    6. In fact, this was just one of many colorful moments. To this day in Canada to give the ‘Pierre Trudeau salute’ means something, very interesting…
    7. And who can forget the moment featuring the Rolling Stones, the paparazzi and the Prime Minister.
    8. However, the elder Trudeau also did some amazing things for Canada. For starters, until 1982 when he brought it back to Canada, the constitution was effectively governed by the Queen of England.
    9. That same year he pushed through the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms.
    10. This protection of Canadian rights and diversity did not emerge overnight. Back in 1971, the elder Trudeau declared the new Canadian multiculturalism policy.
    11. Four years earlier, in 1967, Pierre Trudeau uttered these famous words: “There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” when he decriminalized homosexuality in sweeping changes to the criminal code.
    12. It took Canada until 2005 to legalize same-sex marriage, being the first nation outside of Europe and fourth in the world to do so.
    13. However, while things were eventful under Pierre Trudeau they were also turbulent. He suspended civil liberties during the ‘October Crisis’ in 1970, when he invoked the ‘War Measures Act’ after a provincial cabinet minister was kidnapped by separatist militants.
    14. He also enacted the National Energy Program in the 1980s which effectively federalized revenues from energy resources in Alberta, creating long-term hostility towards the federal Liberal Party in the years to come in Western Canada.
    15. Trudeau was also an antagonist to separatist ambitions in Quebec, delivering two fiery speeches, one in 1980, and another in 1995 to thwart referendums for independence.
    16. All in all, the elder Trudeau served for 15 years but he wasn’t the longest serving Prime Minister. That would be William Lyon Mackenzie King, who served for 21 years.
    17. In second place was the founding Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, who served for 18 years – and who also had a bit of a drinking problem.
    18. When Canada was founded in 1867, there were only four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
    19. In fact it was not until 1949 that the last province, Newfoundland joined Canada, and that was only after a barely won referendum.
    20. Canada also has three Territories: the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavat, the latter being formed in 1999.
    21. The country is extremely ‘big’, the second largest in the world with over 2 million lakes, among other things.
    22. But, 75% of Canadians actually live within 100 miles of the U.S.-Canada border.
    23. This may be one of the reasons why the U.S.-Canada economic relationship is the largest in the world, estimated to total US$630 billion in 2016 alone.
    24. Close to 30,000 trucks cross the border every single day between the two countries.
    25. While things are rosy today, it wasn’t always so. During the War of 1812, the Canadas, as the British colonies were known then, went to battle with the U.S., ultimately burning down the White House on August 24, 1814.
    26. War was quite frequent back then due to competing French, British, and American ambitions. After fierce fighting, the 1763 Treaty of Paris essentially gave the British control over much of French Canadian land.
    27. In addition, one cannot forget that much of Canadian land belonged to the First Nations, who have been marginalized, ostracizied, occupied and colonized throughout much of Canadian history.
    28. During Canada’s first years, a group of people called the Metis who were ethnically mixed between First nations and European descent, rose up in rebellion, ultimately establishing a short-lived provisional government in 1870.
    29. The leader of that rebellion Louis Riel was ultimately ranked as the 11th Greatest Canadian.
    30. That battle was only one of many for the acknowledgement of the rights of First Nations. One of the worst stains on Canadian history was the residential school system that at one point put a third of all First Nations children under the care of the state.
    31. Thousands of students died, and many more were subject to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
    32. While today, people acknowledge some of these aspects of history, the fight is not over. One of the scandals that was a campaign issue for Justin Trudeau, was the plight of up to 4,000 missing or murdered aboriginal women.
    33. Canada’s history has not always been one of inclusivity. The Chinese Exclusion or Immigration Act of 1923 effectively banned immigrants of Chinese origin.
    34. This was a culmination of violence and protests against immigrants from East and South Asia, including riots in 1907 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
    35. Today, whites are expected to become a minority in Vancouver by 2031 (although I suspect this has already happened).
    36. 20.6% of Canadians are foreign-born today and 19.1% identify themselves as visible minorities. 3% of the population identifies as Muslim.
    37. There are more Sikhs in the Canadian Cabinet than there are in India’s government (4 versus 2).
    38. It was not until the 1940s, however, that Sikhs truly received voting rights.
    39. Canadian women achieved the right to vote around the same time as women in the U.S. in the late 1910s.
    40. Canada also became home to a number of Black Canadians due to the Underground Railroad, although racism has reared its ugly head in Canada as well.
    41. While ethnic and racial struggles have been real, so have class struggles. A lot of this culminated in gained labor rights and ultimately universal healthcare.
    42. The ‘grandfather’ of universal healthcare was actually New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglas, who was named the Greatest Canadian in that (in-)famous poll.
    43. Tommy Douglas is also the grandfather of prominent Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland.
    44. Kiefer Sutherland’s father is Donald Sutherland, who married Tommy Douglas daughter, prominent public figure, Shirley Douglas.
    45. While living in the U.S. Donald Sutherland retained only Canadian citizenship but lost the right to vote due to the Conservative Party’s new laws in 2015.
    46. This also led to a rallying cry by then candidate Justin Trudeau, that “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”
    47. There are almost 3 million Canadians living abroad but many retain a vibrant Canadian identity.
    48. For example, the Terry Fox Run, a hallmark of Canada, has been held in over 60 countries by countless millions over the years.
    49. Through these runs over $650 million has been raised for cancer research.
    50. And it is all inspired by Terry Fox, who ran the Marathon of Hope in 1980 after losing one leg to cancer.
    51. He ended his run after reaching 5,373 kilometres over 143 days.
    52. Inspired by Terry’s courage, a fellow West Coaster, Rick Hansen embarked on a Man in Motion World Tour for two years in 1985.
    53. He criss-crossed 34 countries raising $26 million along the way.
    54. It also inspired the song St. Elmo’s Fire, which reached #1 on the Billboard Charts.
    55. The best-selling Canadian artist of all time remains Celine Dion, who has sold over 200 million albums worldwide.
    56. It appears though that fellow Canadian Justin Bieber may soon beat her on the charts.
    57. There are a lot of Canadian singers, that are quite prominent, but they often live abroad, like Bryan Adams.
    58. In fact, Bryan Adams and Beverley Hills 90210 star Jason Priestly went to the same high school, Argyle Secondary School in Vancouver.
    59. And while Bryan Adams is known for his singing, he once mixed up the lyrics of the Canadian national anthem.
    60. The Canadian national anthem, ‘O Canada’, was itself composed in 1880.
    61. However, the lyrics of the anthem were originally French and were then translated into English.
    here or on the title. 


    Have you ever made a wish that's come true -- because you made the wish? Until now, making a wish, whether at the sight of a shooting star or when blowing out the candle(s) on your birthday cake or when breaking a wishbone, has not yet been scientifically proven to actually work, as far as I know. Yet, in the spirit of hope, I am making 10 wishes at the beginning of the New Year. And as is always the case, as a Muslim, I speak on behalf of 1.5 billion people. So here goes...
    1. People no longer confuse me with ISIS.
    My name isn't ISIS. It's not even Islamic State. In fact, the words Islamic or State are not actually in my extended name. Nevertheless, time and time again, I keep getting requests to respond to the group's actions. I swear, ISIS or ISIL or IS -- none of them are in my family tree; they're not some distant cousins of mine. In 2016, I just want people to stop confusing me with ISIS. I really don't know what ISIS is thinking and why they do what they do. It's not like the State Department is asked for comment because of the State-to-State connection. As a postscript, can ISIS stop using the word Islamic? 
    2. Muslims stop killing Muslims for being Muslim.
    Somewhere, along the way over the last couple of decades, Muslims started killing other Muslims for being Muslim in the wrong way, or at least took it to a whole new level. There's a whole ideology out there built around takfir or essentially "declaring Muslims as kufar or unbelievers" for failing an evermore peculiar litmus test. Imagine if death squads emerged killing Black people for not being Black enough. Originating in some of the philosophical exhortations by scholar Ibn Taymiyyah 700 years ago, the criteria by which you are deemed "takfir-ed" and permissible to be killed has reached insane if not idiosyncratic levels. It would be funny if the situation weren't so deadly. Even barbers were caught in the crosshairs and were being assassinated in Baghdad in the 2000s. 
    3. Death and destruction in the Muslim world have a timeout. 
    From Yemen to IraqLibya to Somalia, and from Afghanistan to far beyond, civil strife is rife in too many parts of what is defined as the Muslim world. Autocrats, militants, extremists and terrorists, don't care who they kill: men, women, children -- everyone is fair game. I wish this would stop. Into this toxic mix, the last thing needed is more killing coming into these countries from the outside; the 2003 invasion of Iraq proved that. I wonder if Russia will hear that message? 
    4. We all get comfortable with the "other."
    What a difference it was in 2015 between Trudeau and Trump in the North American political cycle. The world needs more Trudeaus and less Trumps (Donalds that is). The fear of the "other" is starting to define Western politics and it is not just about Trump. The rise of right-wing political parties in Europe from Hungary to Denmark is a poignant reminder of the breadth of this phenomenon. Yet, outside the West this fear of the other also permeates and often dominates. In Turkey, we are seeing a renewed vilification of the Kurdish population. Further afield in Burma, the Rohingyaare cast as outsiders. In Malaysia, Christians are prohibited from using the Arabic word for God. And, in nearby Brunei, Christmas was simply cancelled. In some of the war zones in the Middle East, Christians are on the verge of disappearing. The world would be a lot better off if we weren't so afraid of the bogeyman of the other.
    5. The Muslim world deals with its taboos. 
    Speaking of an aversion to the non-orthodox, there's a whole set of taboos that many Muslim countries and societies need to start dealing with. A lot of them relate to sex. Sometimes the Muslim world acts like it has one big case of the cooties. There have been attempts by some to break through these restrictions. Wedad Lootah in the UAE comes to mind. Shereen El Feki's Sex and the Citadel is another. This is not an issue to take lightly, especially in societies where 60-70 percent of youth are under the age of 30. Bombarded by sexualized imagery from modern and digital media, these youth then live, essentially, in an austere second world that is their reality. More importantly and tragically, rape and sexual assault are simply not talked about; child abuse is an even worse curse hidden under the rug. Finally, at some point Muslim countries - and the clerical establishment -- will need to come to terms with the fact that gay Muslims exist
    6. Somewhere, over the rainbow, democracy and Islam go steady. 
    Let's be honest, a lot of people have tried to set up democracy with Islam for a relationship. Sometimes it has been a surprise blind date (e.g. Iraq in 2003). Other times, it was a relationship that grew from blind passion (e.g. the Arab world in 2011). Often, the sparks of love eventually turn into animus and things quickly go south. In the Arab world, Tunisia is carrying - with some fragility -- the banner of democracy. Many Muslim-majority countries that used to be counted as democracies now suffer from authoritarian syndromes (e.g. TurkeyMalaysia, and Bangladesh). In other cases, democracy in its infancy quickly devolved into score settling or majoritarian mafias (e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt). Perhaps Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country is our hope that can breathe life into this wish. 
    7. Averroes comes back in style. 
    Averroes -- or Ibn Rushd -- was a man's man. He schooled his way into Raphael's The School of Athens. The polymath kept alive ancient Greek philosophy, paving the way for much of Europe's modern intellectual movements. Back in the day, in Andalusia, he was a big deal (Biden-style). And, why not? He vociferously argued for the co-existence of secular and religious thought in a posthumous debate with the Abbasid scholar Al Ghazali. Ultimately, Ibn Rushd lost the debate to the detriment of the Muslim world, but his arguments culminated with the work, The Incoherence of Incoherence, which I think would be a great riposte to all ISIS ideologues and their friends. If Ibn Taymiyyah came back, then let's bring Averroes back too. 
    8. Flying while Muslim is no longer a thing. 
    They say that flying while Muslim is the new driving while Black. I guess if you're a Black Muslim, this really sucks, especially if you drive to the airport for your flight. So my wish maybe can be two-pronged: getting rid of both 'driving while Black' as well as 'flying while Muslim.' What is flying while Muslim? Well, it often starts with a casual stare or two from across the way. A timid approach then ensues: "Excuse me sir." This is normally followed by a more forceful: "Please follow me." It can then get quite aggressive, with clothes falling by the wayside. It normally ends with your belongings in disarray, your belt on backwards, and you fast-walking without turning back in the hope that no one thinks twice about you boarding your flight. Oh, and don't watch the news while on the plane. I hate flying while Muslim. 
    9. Trump presides over a Muslim beauty contest. 
    Was 2015 the year of Trump? You have to hand it to Trump; he sure knows how to grab the spotlight. Unfortunately, he's used that spotlight to spew increasingly populist venom targeted at Muslims (and others). Maybe, we need to better appeal to Trump's core interest: beauty pageants. There are a few lists circulating online for potential Muslim contestants (for Men: click here | for Women: click here). Yet, I think we should make this a mipsters pageant and turn this whole thing on its head. 
    10. Peace comes to Syria. 
    This Muslim (me) -- speaking on behalf of 1.5 billion people around the world -- has 10 wishes for 2016 but if only one of them came true it should be this one. No country has been more ravaged in recent memory than Syria. Hundreds of thousands have been killed as gangsters, terrorists, and dictators fight for supremacy. The surrounding region, instead of trying to promote a solution, has sent in weapons, fighters, and incitement. The world, instead of trying to mediate, has sought to settle old scores. All the while, the people in Syria live in lifeless limbo amidst daily death and destruction. If I had only one wish it would be that the violence in Syria would come to an end. 
    This wish list is non-exhaustive. I think I may have missed a few...

              The Dubai Model and the new Arab world         

    Johann Hari’s article “The Dark Side of Dubai” in The Independent in 2009, crystallized the hyperbolic writing on the Gulf emirate in the recent past:

    “This is a city built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery. Dubai is a living metal metaphor for the neo-liberal globalised world that may be crashing – at last – into history.”

    Of course, Dubai did not crash into history and Hari was dislodged from his perch due to a plagiarism scandal a few years later. Yet, for many commentators and journalists, any mention of Dubai still evokes a sense of moralistic derision – Dubai the land without culture filled with a people without history. For the youth of the region, however, Dubai represents something different: jobs, a relatively open society, and a government (in progress) that works. As countries in transition, like Libya, Tunisia and Egypt look to transform their own societies, Dubai is an enigmatic model in the distance.  


    What is the Dubai model? It is hard to fully capture the multi-faceted nature of it in just a few words, but there are several key dimensions. In addition, the unique (and transferable) aspects of the Dubai model, however, are less to do with its political system, and more about the policies pursued. In fact, too much time is spent in the region debating the political system rather than the impact of policies on the ground enacted by any ruling group or party.

    Fundamentally, Dubai made itself open to people flows from around the world, with all its associated risks. This has meant that its small population – today 90% of residents are non-citizens – has been able to build an economy depending on an externally generated labor and consumer market. In addition, to unskilled labor, Dubai has also been keen to open itself to the best talent from around the world.  Take Dubai Aluminum (DUBAL) as an example, founded n 1979 and predicated on leveraging international talent and expertise. In fact, in its initial year of operation, few of the 1,386 employees were Emiratis. Yet that has changed over time, as DUBAL has grown to become the world’s largest aluminum smelter. Understanding its own labor market and taking advantage of regional and international labors flows and talent has been critical to the Emirate’s success. 

    Despite being in conservative surroundings, Dubai has also ensured that it functions as an open society, in terms of social and religious practices. While this diversity can raise tension, like last summer’s #UAEdresscode campaign for example, there is an open coexistence, as can be witnessed while walking on JBR Walk, along the beachfront, with full-length niqabs side-by-side with what could well be described as the opposite of that! This openness has also contributed to Dubai becoming a global hub, and now the 7th most visited city in the world, with 10 million tourist arrivals annually. This did not occur overnight, and was linked to the gradual (and sometimes sudden) growth of the hospitality industry and expatriate population. Being an open society, however, does not just mean bottles and bars; the government has consistently emphasized gender empowerment in all fields as a matter of policy, including in key positions, political and economic.

    In addition to people flows, Dubai has ensured an inflow of capital, by building a financial sector and set of institutions to leverage the capital-rich environment around it. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has created a separate regulatory environment and court system to provide security to investors and companies alike. In addition, while still not perfect, it is relatively easy for any foreigner to set up a local free zone company, allowing him or her to deploy capital, which subsequently generates employment (albeit more for non-locals than Emiratis). The stability of Dubai and the strength of its soft and physical infrastructure has meant that in times of uncertainty, capital finds its way there; last year that included $8 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI), a 25% increase from 2011.

    In order to spur growth and absorb investment, Dubai borrowed a page from several economic models (Singapore & Hong Kong among them) and cluster-based theories (see Michael Porter). Take a look at the growth of the aviation sector in Dubai, which in 2011, directly or indirectly contributed $12 billion towards the GDP, and accounted for 125,000 jobs (in a city of 2 million people).  The same can be said for the logistics (e.g. Dubai Ports) and retail sectors (e.g. Majid al-Futtaim & City Centres), all of which have benefitted from an ecosystem approach that has included new regulation, government-driven investment, and infrastructure development. Emirates Airlines did not become one of the world’s leading airlines by accident or in isolation.

    Finally, on a consistent basis, Dubai has pushed excellence in public services, culminating in the Government Summit earlier this year, which convened public servants from across the country to “exchange best practices.” In Dubai, there are regular awards for government excellence given to high-performing departments. In fact if you go see the Director-General of the Dubai Courts, he will likely give you a PowerPoint presentation on their caseload, wait times, and improvements.

    Lest, anyone think that everything is ‘perfect’ in Dubai, it is not. There are a number of issues, ranging from political prisoners in the country (due in part to a stifling intellectual/political climate) to the lack of legislative oversight to continued labor exploitation (far less than before but still problematic, given there is still no minimum wage). Societally, there are also a number of challenges, including naturalization, obesity, and a growing culture of materialism, none of which should be taken lightly. And, for the local Emirati population, there is a high rate of unemployment due to a mismatch between expectations and skills and the needs of the labor market. None of these should be under-estimated for both the moral issues they pose as well obstacles they may present to the viability of Dubai's success, as is the case in many transformative development contexts. 

    The Dubai model works quite obviously, in Dubai. While other countries – especially those in transition – cannot copy-and-paste what Dubai has done, particularly on migration, cultural change, and government led-investment, they can still apply lessons from Dubai’s experience. Although it may seem that Dubai had the guarantee of Abu Dhabi behind it or capital flows in the Gulf to harness, every country has an advantage, which can be used as a foundation. Egypt has the largest consumer base in the entire Arab world that can drive industry. Tunisia has some of the highest literacy rates and education levels in the region, and an established tourist bridge with Europe. Libya has tremendous oil-wealth and a strong connection to the Sub-Saharan economy.

    The fragility of transitional countries means that everything must be done to improve.  What Dubai has demonstrated is that there can be positive momentum and development on areas that affect the quality of people’s lives and their livelihoods. There remain critical challenges in front of it, but there is also something that works in Dubai, and it’s about time that some of these lessons are transferred to the wider region. 

              Ramadan Dreams        
    This week marks the start of Ramadan. I would say today, but as is the case for many things, Muslims cannot even agree on what day marks the beginning of the holy month. Is it Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday? Sometimes, even in the same country, clerics from different sects or schools of 'jurisprudence' disagree on the sighting of the crescent moon (which signifies that Ramadan has arrived). In Lebanon, Shiites started the fast on Tuesday, and Sunnis on Wednesday, at least the last time I checked. If only the Shiite-Sunni conflict was relegated to a debate over the start of Ramadan. Alas, while diversity is something to be treasured, that is not always true in what is the proverbial Muslim world. The Qur'an tells us about what we can gain from diversity:
    O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. 
    Somehow throughout history, perhaps the year after Prophet Muhammad died (circa 633 AD, or 1), Muslims lost sight of this. Today, you're more likely to hear about diversity as a threat rather than an asset. In fact, it seems to go hand-in-hand with regards to whether a Muslim country can be peaceful or democratic or successful: Well, I would say Country X would have a smooth transition, but they have a very diverse population with different ethnicities and groups. It's almost like Muslims can't survive with their own layered identities in the modern-age, longing instead for some Orwellian dictator to give them all a uniform to gloss over any differences that they may have. Of course, enough of those beautiful strongmen have come along for us to know that is not a great path either (um, certain exceptions aside of course).

    And so in 2013, we enter into Ramadan, all 1.5 billion Muslims, or 1.2 billion, or 1.8 billion of us, depending on who's counting (or better yet who's making up statistics off the top of their head and then getting cited by the media, thereby cementing that figure as real), with a 'Muslim world' in complete conflagration - i.e. business as usual. Now all these millions of Muslims, some nominal, some not so nominal, live in different places with different challenges faced. Some in the West. Some in the East. Some in Muslim majority countries. Some as minorities in secular or other countries. And so it goes. Yet, look around, and we see challenges. There's the conflict in Syria, with a death count now over 100,000 and a displaced population representing a quarter of the country. There's the spiralling situation in Egypt, with an uncertain future ahead. And you can never count Pakistan out, with essentially a bombing a day.

    You start to go through Muslim countries, and there's a lot that leaves a lot to be desired. It's almost too long of a list. It kind of makes you want to sing an Islamicized version of Les Misérables "I Dreamed a Dream", I guess with a Fatima instead of Fantine. Given the state of Islam, you might actually get in trouble for singing in public. I know that the 29 or so days of Ramadan will not bring peace, emancipation, and progress to the lands where so many Muslims live. Likely the strife, struggle, and scarcity that defines so many people's lives will not change. In fact in places like Syria, violence could actually intensify this month (some militant groups have actually announced an 'Operation Ramadan').

    Thus, the realities of Ramadan may overwhelm us. Yet, if Ramadan is anything, it is a time for reflection and thinking of what can be, rather than what is. And in that spirit, I thought it would be good to end with a vision, a so-called Ramadan Dreams, of the realm of a possible future, of the Muslim world (i.e. Umma), where:
    • There are far more Sushis than Sunnis & Shiites; 
    • Being an 'Islamist' means being an expert in Islam rather than a judge/jury/executioner; 
    • The takbeer is used in excitement of a goal scored on the soccer field rather than a direct hit on the battlefield; 
    • Having a beard is a fashion statement not a religious statement; 
    • When we hear about a scandal about a royal Prince, it's because he had a nipple slip and not a multi-billion dollar arms deal go to his bank account; 
    • There are more ninjas than women in face-covering black robes; 
    • There will be actual Jews around to respond to somebody who says "don't be such a Jew"; 
    • When someone says "that's the bomb" he's not actually pointing at a bomb; 
    • You can debate the existence of God with two sides of the debate present; and
    • People can be proud to be Muslim...and not Muslim. 
    Now before anybody gets their kefiyyeh in a twist, there are many Muslims who live in countries where things are not so bad, and countless others in Muslim countries, who believe in a pluralistic and open society. Yet, there is a long ways to go before we escape so many of the ills that have come to define Muslim lands and societies. Ramadan 2013 will not bring the change many of us would like to see, but here's hoping that, that change will come sooner rather than later, and help shape a Muslim world that embraces its pluralism, recognises its intellectual tradition, and empowers its people. Ramadan Kareem

              The glass war-chest        
    The Ward 10 scandal in Calgary may yet prove to be the best thing that has ever happened to Alberta taxpayers.

    In the 2004 Calgary civic election, individuals tied to the Margot Aftergood campaign conspired to request hundreds of special ballots on behalf of unsuspecting residents of Calgary's Ward 10. They then illegally voted on these residents behalf, temporarily giving the win to Mrs. Aftergood. This "ballot-box stuffing" was immediately caught by election staff and a provincial inspection team was sent in to determine how this could have happened.

              The Miami Mess        

    When I first heard about the Yahoo! Sports report that a Miami booster provided cash, cars, jewelry, use of mansions and a yacht, prostitutes, bounties for taking out the opposition, and an abortion for Miami football players, I had three immediate thoughts: 1) Holy balls, Miami knows how to party, 2) This wouldn’t even be that big of a deal if the NCAA weren’t an unprecedented and corrupt cockblock that gets away with a  multibillion dollar scam year after year, and 3) Having said that, the rules are the rules and – if the allegations are true – I’m not sure there has ever been such a flagrant breaking of NCAA rules in the history of both the NCAA and their explicit rules against soliciting prostitution and boosters paying for abortions.

    Let’s start with what’s really important – the partying.  Now, thanks to depictions of Miami in all sorts of TV shows and movies (and at least one music video), I’ve always thought that I had a relatively good idea of just how much the city likes to party.  I mean, anyone who has seen Will Smith rocking a wifebeater while hollering at hoochies, Tony Montana burying his face in a heaping mound of blow, Ace Ventura talking out of his butthole, Horatio Caine smoothly putting on his sunglasses after pausing midsentence, and Dexter Morgan saran wrapping criminals to a table and driving a knife through their chest before dismembering their bodies, putting the remains in a bunch of garbage bags, and dumping the bags in the Atlantic Ocean should fully understand that the city of Miami is all about having a good time.  But even with all of these depictions of Miami being a zoo fully packed with party animals, I was still pretty surprised when the Yahoo! report came out and revealed that the average Miami football player apparently breaks the BYU Honor Code 14 times before they even eat breakfast.

    What made the report so surprising to me is that even though the fact that this all took place in Miami shouldn’t make it all that shocking, we’re still talking about 18-22 year old kids here.  Sure it seems like “18-22 year old kids” and “partying” are synonymous, but if you really think back on your days in college, I’m guessing “partying” just meant drinking a bunch of cheap beer, listening to music that was turned up way too loudly only because whoever was hosting the party wanted to show off their sound system, crossing your fingers that the girls you were hitting on were too drunk to notice how ugly you were, and drawing penises on the foreheads of your friends who passed out before you did.  Every now and then maybe there were people passing around a joint or two, but for the most part that is what a typical college party entails. 

    Nowhere in that description did I mention yachts, mansions, cash, jewelry, or – most importantly – prostitutes, which is why the Miami allegations are shockingly awesome to me.  According to US census data taken in 2010, less than 1% of American citizens have ever partied on a yacht or with prostitutes, so for a bunch of Miami football players to allegedly have done both before they were even old enough to legally rent a car  is truly a remarkable thing and is something I won’t hesitate to admit makes me jealous (hell, I’m sure a lot of them went to these parties before they were even old enough to legally drink).  Then again, I guess all of this shouldn’t have been much of a surprise considering the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about Miami emphasized how wild the Hurricanes were back in the 80s and 90s, and the 7th Floor Crew song in 2004 (very NSFW language) revealed that dorm room gangbangs are apparently as much of a current Miami football tradition as pissing and moaning about a pass interference call from almost a decade ago.

    Anyway, now that we got the important and fun part out of the way, let’s discuss what is rapidly becoming the bane of my existence – the NCAA’s steadfast refusal to let athletes profit from their own abilities even though those same athletes’ abilities are the reason the NCAA and the schools the athletes represent rake in billions every year.  As a guy who had to wear the NCAA handcuffs for four straight years (although, let’s be honest, since I was a walk-on my handcuffs weren’t that tight) and couldn’t even accept a free sandwich if I was offered one, I think it’s nothing short of ridiculous that the NCAA continues to cockblock their athletes. 

    As far as I’m concerned, the Miami football players getting cash, jewelry, cars, access to yachts, etc. shouldn’t even be an issue, just like the Ohio State football scandal should have never been an issue, because there’s no logical argument as to why the athletes shouldn’t be entitled to all those things (the OSU scandal especially shouldn’t have been a big deal since I’m of the opinion that the players technically earned the things they sold).  Now, the prostitutes and the bounties that were allegedly paid to Miami players to take out opposing players are obviously a big deal, but I’m focusing on the free cash and gifts right now.  As shady and corrupt as college sports may seem, at the end of the day the superstar athletes that generate millions for their schools have every right to accept all the cash and gifts they want because they aren’t anywhere close to being as fully compensated as they deserve to be.  That’s right, I said it – it’s criminally unfair that college athletes (read: football and men’s basketball players) aren’t paid.

    The prevalent argument against paying players is that the players are already getting paid in the form of a free education and a monthly stipend, but I have two issues with this argument. First, from experience I can tell you that the stipend is basically just enough money to survive on and typically isn’t a large enough sum of money to result in very much discretionary income for the players, so really it isn’t even worth mentioning (as I’m sure you all remember me infamously discussing in a certain earlier blog post). In all honesty, when you think about all the hours the players put into their respective sports, the stipend is probably just a little bit higher than minimum wage. Obviously there are many people in America who are living off of minimum wage (or in this economy, no income at all), but these people also aren’t bringing in millions upon millions of dollars for their schools and conferences like the star athletes are, so it’s not exactly fair to just say “if other people can make it work, college athletes should be able to also.”

    Secondly, while you and I might place a high value on a college education, many superstar athletes are in college solely because they want to prepare for the pros, so a free education doesn’t really mean much to them. I mean, if you really think about it, the fundamental purpose of college is to gather all the knowledge and skills needed to enter the workforce in your desired field. Keeping that in mind, for a lot of these guys the sport they play is essentially their major and taking classes and graduating is really just their form of an extracurricular activity.  Much like how you wanted to be an accountant so you went to college and majored in accounting, these guys want to be NFL linebackers so they go to college to major in breaking spines and ripping the heads off of timid receivers coming across the middle.

    This notion is obviously a stereotype and doesn’t apply to everyone who is a shoo-in to make it to the NBA or NFL, but for the most part the All-American college athletes really only care about their education to a certain extent.  At the end of the day, their primary focus is making it to the big leagues, so while a free education would mean a great deal to people like you and me, for the superstar athletes who are likely going to leave college early anyway, a scholarship is the equivalent of being a paraplegic and being given a brand new motorcycle.

    People who are against paying college athletes and have a hard-on for protecting the concept of amateurism also often cite the fact that NCAA athletes know what they’re getting into because they sign all sorts of forms that explain how the system works, so they have no right to complain about anything.  But having gone through this form-signing process four times, I can assure you that it’s not nearly as simple as signing a contract with, say, a cable or gas company might be.

    When I was at OSU, we would have compliance meetings at the start of every academic year where we would be given a stack of papers to sign.  I specifically remember a handful of times when our compliance person would explain what the form we were about to sign meant and I would consequently think, “This is BS. I don’t want to sign this.”  On one occasion, I actually said this out loud to the compliance person and his response was, “Well, then you’ll be ineligible.”  So really, my hands were tied because my choices were to either sign the forms or essentially quit the team and miss out on the plethora of poon that comes with being an Ohio State athlete.  Negotiating was not an option so I had no choice but to sign the forms as they were.

    Now, I wasn’t really all that worked up and was mostly just trying to be a pain in the ass with the compliance people to screw with them a little bit because I knew that giving Ohio State and the NCAA the right to use my image and whatnot wasn’t really that big of a deal since, well, frankly I knew that they would never actually use my image to promote anything.  But at the same time I couldn’t help but think how pissed I’d be if I were someone who was a big time Ohio State athlete like, say, Terrelle Pryor.  Pryor was essentially forced to sign the same forms I had to, only when he was signing them, he was signing away thousands if not millions of dollars in potential earnings. 

    So for someone like him, the choices are either to not play or to let the school and NCAA profit boatloads of money off him while he gets essentially nothing in return.  In other words, for all intents and purposes, all college athletes are pretty much forced to sign these papers, especially since the fact that the NBA and NFL both require draft entrants to be a certain age leaves these guys with no viable alternative to playing in the NCAA (football in particular since high school kids can at least play professional basketball overseas instead of going to college while foreign football leagues versus big time college football is as laughable of a comparison as Qdoba versus Chipotle).  So the “they have no right to complain because they know what they’re getting into” argument holds no water from my perspective.

    I guess we could argue about whether or not college athletes should be paid until we’re blue in the face, but in the end it won’t really mean much because the NCAA isn’t going to change their ways anytime soon. The fact of the matter is that the only real way to get the rules changed seems to be for the players to essentially just go on strike and cause a lockout. But this will never happen because the players simply aren’t around long enough to make it happen.

    It can be assumed that the upperclassmen and the superstar freshmen and sophomores are the ones who are missing out on the most money (simply from the fact that they’re the ones who put butts in the seats at the games and would likely be the ones getting endorsements and whatnot), but by the time they realize that they’re getting screwed and they actually get upset enough to take action to stop the exploitation, they are already gone to the pros or have graduated and moved on to more important things in their lives. After those guys leave, the carousel continues to spin as a new crop of college athletes comes in and goes through the same cycle of sitting on the bench for a couple of years, finally playing toward the tail end of their careers, and not realizing that they’re getting exploited until it’s too late and they’ve got other things to worry about (and most importantly no longer have any motivation to see that college athletes are justly compensated).

    Because the athletes can never get enough traction to seriously challenge the NCAA, nothing gets changed and the exploitation continues. The NCAA knows that they will always have this advantage over the players, which is why I’m fairly certain they all sit in their offices and just cackle, rub their hands together with malevolent glee, and twirl their mustaches all day. I can’t decide if I think everyone involved with such a corrupt organization should be thrown in prison for eternity or if they should be congratulated and given some sort of award for successfully pulling off a multibillion dollar scam on unsuspecting kids year after year (the real irony here is that the NCAA – an organization that profits from screwing people out of money – is most likely going to punish the Miami kids for hanging out with a guy who screwed people out of money).

    But I digress.  The bottom line is that, if the allegations are true (it’s more fun to just assume they are, isn’t it?), the Miami players knew exactly what they were doing and knew that what they were doing was a blatant violation of NCAA rules, so it’s impossible to feel all that bad for them (especially if the stuff about the hookers and bounties is true – that really is indefensible).  Sure the rules are archaic and unjust, but ultimately they’re the rules and until they change, it’s probably best to just abide by them and not choose to break them in the most ridiculous and flagrant ways imaginable.  In the meantime, until the rules change, all us fans can really do is just sit back and hope that someday we can all look back on this era of college sports like we now look back on Prohibition (and will most likely look back on the illegality of marijuana and the concept of age of consent) and wonder, “What the hell were the people in charge thinking?”

    The world is a better place when yacht parties featuring hookers are plentiful and that is a fact.  The sooner the NCAA realizes this, the better off we’ll all be.


    It’s inevitable that at least one of you will think my hatred for the NCAA stems from the fact that I was forced to donate all the money from my shirt sales to charity when I was playing at Ohio State, so I thought I’d address that real quick.  First of all, let me say that the money went to a remarkable charity and was no doubt put to great use and I couldn’t be happier to have been somewhat responsible for that (I know it’s cliché to say that and you probably don’t believe me, but screw it – it’s the God honest truth).  At the same time, though, of course the selfish side of me would have loved to have had that $50,000 to spend on whatever I wanted.  You’re lying to yourself if you think for one second that some part of you wouldn’t feel the same way.  Who in their right mind wouldn’t want $50,ooo just handed to them while they were in college?

    But the reason I wasn’t all that upset that I couldn’t get that money and the reason I’m not necessarily pissed at the NCAA for that is because I knew that I wasn’t being exploited since I was a walk-on benchwarmer.  It’s not like Ohio State or the NCAA was making tons of money off of me, so I really didn’t have that big of a problem with me not being able to make money off of me either (I still thought it was dumb, but I wouldn’t say I was ever “pissed” about it). 

    No, my hatred for the NCAA comes from the fact that they use their athletes to gain a profit (which is completely understandable and fine) but won’t allow the athletes to use themselves to gain a profit (which is complete horseshit).  It sucks that I couldn’t make money from selling my shirts, sure, but the idea that Jared Sullinger won’t be paid a single dime for singlehandedly selling a bunch of tickets and jerseys this upcoming season is pretty disgusting to me.  I know this kind of thing goes on with corporations all over the world, but since I played college basketball and was around the NCAA’s exploitation on a daily basis, this particular instance is the one that I really get fired up over.  Pair my anger with the breaking story about Miami and the fact that I really don’t have anything better to do with my time and it explains my motivation behind this blog post.


    This is your last reminder that I’m writing a mailbag post on Friday, so don’t be a doucher and send me an email.

    Also, we’ve got a few more additions to my list of things that make people lame if they aren’t good but complete badass if they are good.  Here are a few more of my favorites that the Trillion Man March sent in:

    Drinking Beer

    From Laine:

    “Shotgunning a beer – if you've never done it before or if you're bad at it, it can squirt all over you (that's what she said) and make you soggy and smell like beer all night. If you're a pro, you take it down in one gulp and game over (again, that's what she said.)”

    From Evan:

    How is drinking in college not the gold standard for novices sucking and experts being amazing? Everyone wants to be like Frank the Tank and hammer that beer bong all night at the party. Depending on the size of your wood, you may or may not want to go streaking through the quad, but that's only a problem for those who can survive a night long of heavy chugging first anyway. But the kid who just got to the party, shotgunned 2 cold ones, and is already passed out puking in the bathroom? He's the biggest loser douche at the party and is going to wake up to shame and a lot of Sharpie dicks drawn all over his body.

    A related subject, beer pong. The guy at the party who always lets his partner shoot first because he never misses and will hit any cup is pretty awesome and can definitely keep that hot streak going all night right into some hot mama's bed. But the guy who can't hit a cup and then is running around the house naked showing off his tiny schlong because his team got shut out? Not so cool to be him.”

    Criminals (specifically thieves)

    From Trevor:

    “In real life, its fairly common to hear about people who try to rob a convenience store and end up getting held at gunpoint by the guy at the counter while the cops come. This is lame, even I could do better than that. On the other hand, real (ok, mostly fictional) hard core criminals are incredibly badass. Kaiser Soze? His nickname is the devil, pretty hardcore. Then there are all the other bankrobbing movies, The Oceans (11 through 13) Inside Job, etc. Then in real life you used to have Jesse James and all the wild west types. There just aren't cool robberies anymore really, its almost a pity.”

    I also thought about this one when I heard about the Miami football story and Nevin Shapiro’s Ponzi scheme and couldn’t help but think, “Even though that guy screwed a bunch of people out of a ton of money and should no doubt be locked up for a very long time, a small part of me is kind of impressed.”  I feel the same way about guys like Pablo Escobar, D.B. Cooper, Al Capone, etc.

    Cops

    Also from Trevor:

    “Now on the other side of the spectrum, we have cops. There's the stereotypical cop, drinking coffee and eating donuts, kinda pathetic. Then you have supercops, like in the movies. I assume that the CIA and FBI are pretty intense in real life too, but I don't really know what they actually do.”


    Proud to Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

    Mark Titus

    Club Trillion Founder


              My Rebuttal        

    It’s ridiculous that I even have to write this and defend myself, but the sad reality is that there are way too many people who take sports just a tad too seriously and are calling for my head, so I feel like this is the only way to get everyone to put down their pitchforks and torches.  It would be comical if it weren’t so sickening and pathetic.

    Here’s what happened:

    I’ve been planning for months to write a blog entry about my experience at the Indy 500 because it’s my favorite sporting event in the world and is something I look forward to every year.  After I wrote something about my mom on the day after Mother’s Day, I figured I’d just wait until after the race to post my next blog entry.  But then I realized that if I waited until after the race, there would be a three and a half week gap between each of my posts, which would have lead to complaints from the people who regularly read the blog.  See, that’s what we do here – I try to see how long I can go without writing something and then the people who regularly read the blog playfully give me crap for being lazy.  It’s kind of the ongoing theme of this blog, really.  And it’s made for a great relationship for the past two and a half years.

    So as a way to keep my regular readers from getting on me for not writing something in a long time, I figured I’d throw them a bone and write a quick blog post before the race.  I sat down at my computer and racked my brain trying to think of what to write about, before it hit me that I had gotten a handful of emails and tweets from people asking me about the Tressel/OSU football stuff.  Since I had nothing better to write about and was basically just writing a filler post anyway (I explicitly said it was a filler post in the first sentence), I figured “ah, what the hell” and decided I’d just give my take on that issue. 

    This notion that I wrote it so I could get attention or more hits on my blog couldn’t be further from the truth.  I have no advertising on the blog, I barely take the thing seriously (which is why the design of the site sucks and I haven’t ever considered changing it), and I infrequently post new entries.  Before yesterday, it had been over a year since the last time I even checked to see what kind of traffic the blog had been getting.  Hell, I’ve been writing about the significance of pooping in front of your girlfriend/wife, Spaghetti O’s, and my mom for the past month and a half.  Why would I write about stuff that has exactly no mass appeal if I cared even the slightest bit about blog hits?  And since I have no advertising, how could I possibly benefit from getting more blog hits anyway, especially when the increased traffic I did get came from maniacal Ohio State fans who would be perfectly fine if I ceased to exist (it’s not like these people are going to buy t-shirts or my book or anything)?  Plus, if I really was trying to start a sh*tstorm, I would have said more than just “the football players always seemed to have nice cars when I went to OSU” and instead would have made up much more scandalous stuff like I saw Terrelle Pryor being handed an envelope full of cash or something.

    Truth be told, I don’t want more blog hits and I don’t really care if my blog gets more attention. I’m perfectly fine with my audience of a few thousand who, like me, don’t take things too seriously and enjoy a cheap laugh or two.  We were all doing just fine before the masses of crazed OSU fans from message boards and forums all over the internet flocked here and called for my head.

    Now that we got that settled, a few of you rational people might still be wondering what there was to gain by writing it anyway.  Well, my only intention was to give my thoughts to the people who had asked me about it.  Believe it or not, there are people who read this thing and aren’t from Ohio, and a few of them wanted to hear about what’s going on in Columbus from a guy who has been relatively close to it for the past few years.  So I basically just said that while it might seem like I would know a lot about the situation, the truth was that I was just a bystander to everything that went on in the football program and only knew what had been written about in the press.  But having said all of that, any OSU student in the past five years could tell you that a lot of the football players drive nice cars (since most of the people who asked me about the scandal weren’t ever OSU students, I figured that this would be something they would like to know).  You’d have to be blind to not notice it.  I didn’t exactly say anything that tens of thousands of  people on that campus haven’t already noticed themselves.  And besides, it’s not like the NCAA was going to throw the case out until they read my blog.  Nothing I wrote will have any impact whatsoever on the impending investigation, so from that standpoint it’s ridiculous that this is being made a much bigger deal than it really is.

    My intent is all a moot point anyway. So many of you are calling me out for throwing my alma mater under the bus, while I see it the exact opposite way – I’m holding my alma mater accountable.  No, scratch that. I’m holding my alma mater’s football team accountable (it might be hard to believe, but OSU has plenty more to offer than just a football team – like this for example).  Instead of brushing things under the rug and trying to justify and defend everything that the football team is being accused of, I’m of the opinion that acknowledging flaws is not only the right thing to do, it’s the healthy thing to do as well.  I know how important the football team is to the school and I know that to many people around the country, the football team is really the only thing they think about when someone says “Ohio State.”  Because of this, I want the football program to be an honorable one (like we thought it was), so people around the country associate Ohio State with integrity and class instead of whatever it is they associate OSU with now.  Pretending that something isn’t going on when all the evidence points to the contrary is incredibly irresponsible and is how we got into this whole mess in the first place (Tressel didn’t speak up when something was amiss).  Call me crazy, but I’d much rather lose every single game with integrity than win a slew of national championships by cheating.

    So all of you “real” Buckeye fans who want to disown me as a Buckeye for pointing out an obvious observation after I was prompted to do so, by all means go ahead.  I’m hopeful that for every one of you irrational people there are two other Buckeye fans who feel the same way I do and will welcome me with open arms to Buckeye Nation.  It doesn’t make you any more of a fan than us because you blindly support your team without acknowledging the fact that there is a lot of shady stuff going on (and let’s make that perfectly clear – there is shady stuff going on. Just how much shady stuff still remains to be seen).  We care just as much about the Buckeyes as you do, which is why we acknowledge flaws and want our football team (as well as every other team and all other aspects of the school) to be held accountable to fix those flaws.

    In conclusion, I hope nobody took this the wrong way.  In no way was this meant to be an apology for what I wrote yesterday.  I stand by everything I said, because frankly, nothing I said should ever have been made a big deal in the first place.  Some of you got your panties in a bunch because I didn’t have the facts, but I think you misinterpreted what I said. I do have facts.  It’s a fact that I’ve seen football players driving what every other student on campus would consider to be nice cars.  It’s a fact that when I was on a basketball scholarship for two years (which I’m eternally grateful for, by the way, and if you think for one second that I’m not, you can suck my oversized balls), I could not afford to buy the cars that the football players had.  Those are the facts.  The facts I don’t have are how the football players got the cars.  I, like all Ohio State fans, hope that they got them by following NCAA rules.  Sadly, though, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it must mean that these guys are either getting serious discounts on their cars or they’re getting them for free.  Stop being so naïve.

    One last point: The bit I wrote about how I would never let protecting the basketball team get in the way of a good story wasn’t meant to be taken seriously (neither is about 95% of what I write).  While I do want the basketball program to be held accountable and I do think they should be called out when they screw up, the fact of the matter is that while I played at OSU, I never once saw anything that seemed to be shady from any of the players or coaches.  The only reason I wrote that yesterday is because I’ve been taunting the basketball coaching staff for over a year now about how I could trash the program in my book if I wanted.  I would never do such a thing, but it’s fun to tease them about it and make them sweat over the possibility of me saying unflattering things about their program.  For the first time in five years, I have some sort of power in the basketball program, which is why I like playfully using it whenever I can.  It’s basically just my way of pranking the coaching staff, so it really shouldn’t be interpreted as anything other than that.

    (I know I probably just pissed off a lot of you who had been defending me, since writing this makes me look like a bitter douche who is stooping to the irrational people’s level.  And for that I’m sorry.  I probably should have just let it blow over instead of looking like a whiny bitch, but after about the 1,000th time of being personally attacked and accused of stuff that is the exact opposite of the truth, I had to speak up.  I swear that this is the last time I’ll acknowledge this ordeal at all, but I had to get all of this off my chest before I moved on.  So now that I’m done, I swear I’m done for good.  I’ve got more important things to worry about now.  The Indy 500 is only five days away.)

    Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

    Mark Titus

    Club Trillion Founder


              Less Than A Week Away        

    I gotta be perfectly honest with you and admit up front that this blog post is basically just a filler one, primarily because it’s late May, which is another way of saying that the Indy 500 is right around the corner and I’m so excited for it that just about every body part I have is fully erect (including – but not limited to – my penis) and I can’t even think straight.  Every year at about this time, I mentally zone out and focus solely on the race and everything that comes with it.  What will I wear this year? What hairstyle am I going to go with? What is going to be my strategy to get a white trash chick to flash her boobs to my group of friends? When she inevitably does flash, will I even want to look? And when I inevitably do look, how will I explain to my fiancée that I was completely justified because getting a trashy chick to show her nips is an Indy 500 tradition as old as the race itself? Ah yes, it’s late May in the Midwest alright.  And I couldn’t be more excited about it.

    (By the way, the best example of me zoning out in May came almost exactly one year ago, when I flew out to LA and met Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Simmons, and Adam Carolla.  While we were all at dinner, Simmons asked me what my favorite network comedy was for whatever reason and I froze and told him How I Met Your Mother because all my favorite comedies are on cable and it was the only one that I watch and could think of on the spot, which was an answer that prompted Carolla to playfully make fun of my terrible taste in TV for the rest of the night.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think How I Met Your Mother is an awful show necessarily, but it certainly isn’t even in my top five favorite network comedies, so for me to claim that it was #1 and then fail to even provide a #2 was a monumental brain fart for me and sent a message to everyone at the table that I never intended to be sent. There aren’t many moments in my life that I wish I could do over, but my answer at that dinner was certainly something I will always regret.

    Also, while I have you, the second best example of me mentally checking out in May is the fact that I just inexcusably told an irrelevant story with the sole purpose of name dropping, which is something that will surely lead to many of you calling me out for being a doucher.  But I’m too distracted to care, so I’m just going to leave it. Besides, Zach Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were also at the same restaurant on that night, but you don’t see me dropping their names do you? Exactly.)

    Since I’m focusing all my energy towards the race at this point and I’m therefore too lazy to think of anything to write about, I figured I’d just tackle an issue that I’ve gotten a few emails and tweets about.  A handful of you have been asking about my take on the whole Jim Tressel/OSU football saga, either because you value my opinion or, more likely, because you want to know if I have any inside information.  While I know this story seems to be yesterday’s news, it’s far from being settled so I figured I’d address it real quick.  As always, if you don’t like it, you can firmly press your tongue to my buttcrack.


    First of all, I don’t have any “inside information”, mostly because I didn’t play football and therefore have no idea how their program is run.  I’ve never been to any of their practices, I never once hung out with any of the players, I went to completely different tattoo parlors and car dealerships when I was at OSU than they did, and the envelopes full of cash I received always came from a different booster than their cash came from (I had a class with Ross Homan one quarter, and we worked on group projects together and usually sat by each other, but I wouldn’t exactly say we “hung out” really).  Also, I’ve only ever talked to Jim Tressel twice in my life, with the first of these occasions being when he came to one of our practices during my sophomore year, and before he started the speech he had prepared for our team, he asked, “Where is #34? He can really shoot.” (I replied, “That’s nothing. You should see me punt a football. Most scouts had me as the 7th ranked punter in all of Brownsburg High during my senior year.”  He had no response to this, which leads me to believe that hearing about my punting prowess left him speechless.)  The second time I talked to him was during the spring football game a couple years later, when he shook hands with all the basketball players who were standing on the sideline for the game and said to me, “You must be the benchwarming blogger.”  So yeah, I don’t really have much perspective considering I didn’t really know any of the players and I’ve only talked to the head coach for a grand total of 30 seconds (strangely enough, in those 30 seconds he managed to pinpoint my entire identity on the basketball team – “the benchwarming blogger who can shoot well”).

    Having said all of that, I frequently crossed paths with a bunch of the football guys for a variety of reasons (stayed in the same dorm as some of them during my freshman year, went to same place for our training table meals, had a bunch of mandatory athlete meetings with them, some of them hung out with my teammates, etc.). And in crossing paths with them so frequently, I can offer this analysis: While I don’t really know anything about the whole tattoo ordeal, I’m almost certain that there was something shady going on with the car dealer.  In fact, as the news of the free tattoos and sold merchandise or whatever came out, I kept telling my family how funny it was that they were getting busted for tattoos and gold pants when I was pretty sure they had been getting serious discounts on cars for years. Again, I have no “inside information” and really only know what the general public knows.  But it doesn’t exactly take top notch detective skills to figure this one out.  Anyone who spent any time on Ohio State’s campus while I was there could tell you that there were an unusually high volume of brand new Dodge Chargers driving around on campus, and just about all of them had tinted windows and rims on the outside with Ohio State football players behind the wheel on the inside. 

    Now, I understand that there’s a chance these guys all paid the same price for their cars that normal citizens like you and I would pay, and I honestly hope that they did.  But my intuition has told me for years that something is off.  I’m not sure how much the monthly scholarship checks the football team got were for, but when I was on my basketball scholarship for my first two years at Ohio State, I was only given $1,100 a month.  That might sound like a lot of money at first thought, but you have to realize that these checks had to cover the monthly cost of rent, utilities, food, gas, entertainment, tattoos, trips to the strip club, bottles off the top shelf, weed, hookers, blow, and – on top of all of that – child support.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I struggled to pay all my monthly bills, but as you can imagine, I sure as hell never had enough of a cushion to afford a $400 monthly car payment either.

    The fact of the matter is that I’m sure there are ways for football players to buy new cars and still obey NCAA rules.  From what I can remember, there are all sorts of other forms of financial aid other than just the scholarship checks that the players could be eligible for, so there’s a good chance they got more than the $1,100 a month that I got.  But even so, I seriously doubt that the extra aid was enough for them to take on a hefty car payment on top of all their other expenses.  Especially when you consider that most of these guys lived lavish lifestyles when compared to your average college student.  Sure they theoretically could have probably afforded a new car if they would have lived modestly in an average sized apartment with a few roommates, didn’t go out much, and didn’t spend a lot of money on things like phones, TVs, iPods, etc.  But does anyone seriously believe that these guys lived modestly?  If you were to play a word association game and were given the phrase “big time college athlete”, the word “modest” wouldn’t even be on the list of the first 100,000 words that come to mind.

    In the end, I’m too lazy to formulate a legitimate argument as to why I think guys on the football team got discounted and/or free cars.  That would involve way too much research on how the system works, way too much investigating on what actually transpired in the last few years, and – most importantly – way too much effort on my part.  And I really don’t care that much. So please don’t take this the wrong way.  I’m not trying to say that I know certain things and I’m certainly not trying to play the role of insider informant. The truth is that I have no facts, and God knows that if I’m entirely wrong it would be far from the first time (hell, I hope I am wrong).  I’m just saying that I was always under the impression that the scholarships the football guys got were close to (if not exactly) the same as the basketball guys, yet in my four years of playing basketball at Ohio State, my 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee was consistently one of nicest cars on the team because none of us could afford anything better. Meanwhile, it seemed like everyone on the football team had either a new Charger or a new Chrysler 300.  From this, I am deducing that either the football guys were paid a considerably larger stipend than we were (in all honesty, that could be the case – I really don’t know), were excellent at managing their money, came from financially well off families, or received discounted and/or free cars.   I really can’t see how any of them could’ve had the cars they did without at least one of those four things applying.

    So to recap, I have no facts, I don’t know what I’m talking about, and in no way should I be taken seriously.  All I’m saying is that I won’t be surprised in the slightest if the NCAA digs up some serious dirt on the Ohio State football team (especially the stuff surrounding the discounted and/or free cars) because it’s something I’ve been scratching my head over for years.  So if you’re an OSU football fan, I’d suggest not getting your hopes up.  There’s a solid chance that this won’t end well.

    As for the allegations that Will Buford was included in the same group of guys who got free/discounted tattoos and cars, and the news that Jon Diebler’s parents bought a car from the same guy who sold cars to all the football players, well, I honestly don’t know what to say.  As hard as it may be to believe, I never talk to any of those guys about any stuff like that, mostly because I’m of the opinion that ignorance is bliss (I’ve watched way too many mob movies where the guy who knows too much information gets bin Laden’d).  What I can tell you is that when I was teammates with him, Will only had a couple of tattoos and didn’t even own a car, so if anything did go down, it had to have happened after I left.  In fact, I had to give Will rides to and from practice all the time, so I’ll be pissed if I find out that all that time he not only had a car, but his car was much better than mine and he got it for free.  I know it might seem like I’m withholding information to protect the basketball program, but you’re just going to have to trust me when I say that I really don’t know anything about those guys (it will be easier to trust me on this when my book comes out next year and you realize that I’m of the opinion that protecting the basketball program should never get in the way of a good story).

    So that’s my take on the whole issue.  I’m essentially in the same boat as all of you in that I don’t exactly have inside information or anything and I’m just anxiously waiting to see how everything unfolds.  I’ll be shocked if the NCAA doesn’t find anything when they look into this car scandal, but again I feel like I need to stress that I’m only basing this viewpoint off of information that every OSU student from 2006-2010 should have (after all, the football players weren’t exactly discreet with their cars).  In other words, to summarize this entire blog post, I don’t really know what happened and I don’t really have any idea what’s going to happen from here.  Glad I could help.


    I apologize for this blog post to all the non-OSU people who I’m sure are sick of hearing about Tressel and/or just Ohio State in general.  But I’m not that sorry because I told you in the first sentence that this was just a filler post, so it’s your fault for reading the whole thing.  Nonetheless, to make it up to you, I plan on doing a retroactive running diary of my experience at the Indy 500 this upcoming weekend for my next blog post, which has the potential to be my favorite piece of writing ever.  Get excited.

    By the way, I feel like I should use this last paragraph to try to convince you to go to the Indy 500 if you live within driving distance of the track.  It is not only my single favorite sporting event in the world, but it’s my single favorite anything in the world, and travel expenses aside, it’s actually pretty cheap (you can get an infield ticket for $20 and bring your own cooler full of food and drinks into the track).  So if you live in the Midwest and have never been to the race, do yourself a favor and make the trip.  If you do end up making it over to Indy, find me in the turn 3 infield and I’ll spot you a beer or two and try to get a trashy chick to show her goods so you can get the complete Indy 500 experience.  It’s the least I could do.

    Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

    Mark Titus

    Club Trillion Founder


              2010-2011 College Basketball Preview (Part III)        

    I’ve been going back and forth for the past few days about whether or not I should address Kyle Singler’s trick shot video that most people agree is nothing more than a blatant rip off of my critically acclaimed Mr. Rainmaker video.  Even as I sit down to write this I don’t know whether I should talk about it.  The truth is that I don’t think Singler has ever seen my video, so I can’t be too butthurt about anything he did.  But at the same time I’m pretty certain that people within the Duke basketball program have seen Mr. Rainmaker (I know some people who know some people who know some things), which means there’s a good chance whoever approached Singler with the idea for his video was inspired by my video.  Still, I think I should probably just take the high road for now.  I need some time to gather my thoughts and make sure I don’t have a Dan Gilbert moment and say something too emotional.  But that’s not to say that I’ll let this issue go away quietly.  Because quite simply, in the words of The Dude, “This aggression will not stand, man.”

    While I think about the best way to handle this situation, I think we should all just focus on Part III of the Club Trillion College Basketball Preview.  Today we’re talking about the loss of hair, the loss of rules/morals, and the loss of one’s conscious when the game matters most.  As a reminder, I’m writing the FIFA and college basketball sections and my friend Keller is tackling the professional wrestling sections (to get up to speed on how the format works, check out Part I and Part II of the preview). 

    PREMATURE BALDING
    This category takes a look at the guys who would have every right to get upset with the genes they were given, if not for the fact that those same genes helped make them high caliber athletes.  I would call this situation a catch-22, but I’m not sure I even fully understand what “catch-22” actually means.  Maybe me not being able to use the phrase because I don’t know what it means is itself a catch-22? Or maybe the first situation really is a catch-22, and the fact that I was hesitant to use the term even though I would have been using it correctly is also a catch-22?  Holy balls my head hurts trying to figure this out.  Maybe we should just move on.

    FIFA: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

    Most of you probably don’t know about Rooney’s recent sex scandal because he’s an English soccer player, which is to say he’s irrelevant because he’s not American and he doesn’t play football, basketball, or baseball.  So allow me to fill you in.  Basically the gist of the story is that Rooney cheated on his wife (who he has been dating since they were 16) with a prostitute while she was pregnant with their first child.  Not that big of a deal, right?  I mean, common folk like you and I would never do something as dumb as this, but it’s almost expected of celebrities to go big or go home with their sex scandals.  And on a scale from 1 to Tiger, this seems likes it’s barely a Letterman.  Until you dig a little deeper, that is.

    The issue here isn’t that that Rooney cheated on his pregnant wife (I’m sure my fiancee is thrilled with me writing that sentence).  The issue is that he had to pay a prostitute to do so.  Now, I know it’s common knowledge that every celebrity pays a prostitute for sex at least once in their lives.  But it’s a little different with Rooney because he publicly admitted to sexing up hookers on the reg before he even turned 18.  He’s clearly way ahead of the prostitute curve, which takes this from a one time scandal to a serious pattern of questionable behavior.  Again, the problem isn’t that he’s having sex with all sorts of women (that’s the norm for athletes/celebrities) – it’s that he’s paying these women to let him tickle their innards.  Someone of his fame and stature should be able to get his rocks off without paying for it, yet it seems like he has trouble getting some for free, which is why this scandal is a bigger deal than it should be.  Most believe that Rooney has to pay for sex because his premature balding makes him one of the uglier people in the world.   While I can’t say I disagree with this sentiment, at the end of the day I still think it shouldn’t take all that much for him to get laid.  After all, he’s still probably one of the more attractive people in England, since everyone knows the English don’t have time for hygiene cause they’re always too busy losing to America at everything. USA! USA! USA!

    Pro Wrestling: The Rock

    This was a tough one to award. For one, male pattern baldness is a side effect of steroid use, so about 99% of wrestlers are balding in some capacity (the 1% is clearly the Ultimate Warrior and Ted DiBiase). Asking me to choose the wrestler with the biggest receding hairline is like asking me to choose the stripper with the lowest self-esteem, or the most metrosexual blazer from Express in Danny Peters’ closet. There will be a lot of candidates. For two, many of the balding wrestlers choose to shave their heads completely to hide it (see: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg, and Gillberg).  And for three, nearly every wrestler who I was going to pick turned out to be like 40 years old from my earliest memory of him. I was going use this space to talk about how Dean Malenko was criminally underrated , but I don’t remember any of his matches before around 1997, when he was 37 years old. It’s not exactly premature balding at that point. Enter The Rock.

    Rock Hair

    Take a look at that picture. Ignore the earring, or the stupid outfit, or the awful length of the hair. Instead, focus on how far back the hairline recedes. This is The Rock in his mid twenties. His level of balding is embarrassing. When you are wearing a kindergarteners Thanksgiving project as a shirt and your hairline is still the most troubling part of your look, you know it’s bad.

    Nonetheless, The Rock took his follicle shortcomings and made everything else about himself the focus, presumably to deflect from the fact that it looked like somebody photoshopped Borat’s mustache onto his shaved head. He started delivering great promos. He embarked on a singing career. He took informal polls on pancake enjoyment. He grew out some ridiculous sideburns. He hit Mick Foley in the face with a chair for the better part of an hour. Essentially, he stole the show every single week until you forgot about the fact that he had a giant fivehead. It’s impressive, really. If anybody could pull it off, it was The Rock.

    College Basketball: Dallas Lauderdale (Ohio State)

    Truth be told, the only reason I even came up with this category was to bring up Dallas’ new look.  After years of denial (and wearing a do-rag to “catch the hair that falls out”), Dallas finally went the Clyde Drexler route by giving up on the dream and shaving his head in the offseason.  I can’t say enough how much I like this decision (and the decision to grow a solid beard to go with).  Dallas looks leaner, quicker, and about 1,000 times more badass. Some would argue that he looks leaner and quicker because he lost weight and got in better shape, but I’m sticking with my theory – it’s all about the shaving of the head.

    dallas before-after

    Don’t let the smiles fool you - The guy on the left ended my basketball career and the guy on the right looks capable of ending my life.

    In the four games I’ve watched this year (one of which was an exhibition game), Dallas looks like he’s markedly improved from last season, which is scary for the rest of the Big Ten considering he unofficially blocked 93.4% of shots attempted on him last year.  What’s even scarier for Big Ten teams, and really the rest of the country, is that Dallas isn’t even the best big guy on Ohio State this year (some would say that he wasn’t the best big guy on the team last year, and by “some” I mean Kyle Madsen).  But whatever the case, I think we can all agree that Dallas is the perfect example of how to handle premature balding.  Some people get dealt a 7-2 off suit and pray for a miracle to somehow turn it into a royal flush.  Dallas, on the other hand, got dealt a 7-2 off suit and decided that that s*** wouldn’t fly, so he pulled out his sawed-off shotgun, pumped lead into everyone at the table, and made off with all their money cause that’s just how he MF’ing rolls.

    BLATANT CHEATERS
    Even though this could absolutely apply to guys who put their wiener where it doesn’t belong, in this case we’re talking about the guys who blatantly break the rules and don’t play fair.  Not only do these guys cheat, but they do so in a seemingly unapologetic fashion, which is what bugs me the most (except for the WWE example, obviously).

    FIFA: My Goalie on “Legendary” Difficulty

    There are very few things in this world that I don’t strive to be the best at.  Wait, I wrote that wrong.  Let me try again – There are only a few things in this world that I strive to be the best at (that’s better).  Along with mustache growing, loving my country, and Facebook stalking, FIFA is one of these things.  I simply can’t stand it when I meet someone who is better than me.  Why, you might be asking, does it mean so much to me to be the best?  Because if rap music has taught me anything other than that “trifling” is actually a real word, it’s that two is not a winner and three nobody remembers.

    Because I want to be the best at FIFA, I usually only play the computer on “legendary” difficulty because it’s the only level that gives me any sort of challenge whatsoever.  The only problem with this is that that challenge usually comes in the form of my goalie throwing the game.  A simple tweaking of the difficulty settings suddenly makes my otherwise stellar goalie unable to do fundamental things like “make an attempt to stop the ball” or “refrain from diving when there’s not even a shot because it would consequently create an open net for the opposition.”  I’m of the opinion that changing the difficulty settings shouldn’t make your team any worse, but instead should only make the computer better.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and I get stuck with Robert Green in goal every game I play on legendary (suck it, England! USA! USA! USA!), even though my goalie is rock solid when I play on any other difficulty level.  The only possible explanation for this is that my goalie hates me and is intentionally throwing the game.

    Pro Wrestling: Diamond Dallas Page (Ready to Rumble)

    If I hadn’t already given him an award, this would naturally be a slam dunk victory for Ric Flair, who when not called The Nature Boy was known as The Dirtiest Player In The Game. A quick aside on Flair’s nicknames: when I was in elementary school there was some doucher in our neighborhood named David who sucked at life but still managed to tagalong and ruin any gathering we had. We started calling him Nature Boy, only it was meant as an insult that quantified how much he blew, and not a reference to Flair. The lesson, as always, is that I was a dumbass as a kid.

    Instead, this award is going to Diamond Dallas Page. Not the real DDP; he was too busy making people feel the bang in WCW to break any rules (though he would debut in the WWE to a gigantic pop when revealed as the Undertaker’s wife’s stalker, so he wasn’t always a good guy. Naturally, watching video of Page unmasking makes me think about the other time he hid under a mask, which made me think of La Parka, which made me think of La Parka punching a fan in the face, which made me think that that fan surely still thought wrestling was real to him, dammit. The slippery slope of wrestling YouTube videos). No, I’m talking about Diamond Dallas Page in the 2000 movie Ready to Rumble, starring David Arquette and Scott Caan.

    In the movie, Page forms an alliance with WCW’s evil booker, Titus Sinclair (played by Joe Pantoliano looking sweet in a cowboy hat and fringed jacket. In that same year Pantoliano would star in Memento, a movie I’ve heard is pretty good and have been meaning to watch, but forget about by the next morning) to strip reigning champion Jimmy King of the heavyweight title. King is played by a Fat Oliver Platt, who is taken by surprise when DDP starts actually fighting him in the ring. Now, King is a slob who got winded during his pre-match rap of Run DMC’s “King of Rock”. DDP was a badass who partied with Bon Jovi and got Jay-Z to pay him for the right to use the diamond symbol. Page shouldn’t have needed any help taking King down. But he used it anyway, and that’s why he earns the title of biggest cheater.

    First into the ring to interfere were “Page’s Goons” – Sid Vicious, Van Hammer, Juventud Guerrera, Prince Iaukea, and Bam Bam Bigelow, five men who had no significant interaction on WCW programming yet were grouped together in the movie. They help DDP beat King down, only to have “The King’s Men” (who sound like a LARPing crew but were really Jimmy King’s protectors) rush to the ring to aide him. Or so it seemed. Instead of helping King, the group of Curt Hennig, Konnan, and Perry Saturn instead joined in on the attack. It was 8 on 1 in Page’s favor. At one point, four of the wrestlers got on the top turnbuckles. Mike Tenay, a terrible WCW announcer who I can only remember because of his long-winded explanation of why Dean Malenko was a dick for removing Rey Mysterio’s mask and his propensity to overpronounce wrestling moves like he was Giada without the awesome boobs, informs the viewing audience that they are about to perform a Four Post Massacre. Tenay claims that nobody has ever survived that (a claim that’s probably true seeing as how it was never performed before the movie). After all four men land on King at once, Page pins King and steals the title. Since, to my knowledge, nobody has ever needed greater than an 8 on 1 assault to win a match, Diamond Dallas Page is the biggest cheater. 

    College Basketball: Every Coach In The Country

    This summer, both Jim Calhoun and Bruce Pearl got busted for breaking NCAA recruiting rules (Pearl just recently got suspended for 8 SEC games).  Pearl’s transgressions are considered much more serious not only because he lied to NCAA investigators but also because he was blacklisted from coaching awhile back for being a whistleblower, so the idea of him cheating and lying about it is pretty ironic really (wait, is it ironic? Do I know what ironic actually means? Could it also be a catch-22 somehow?).  Meanwhile, John Calipari might be the scuzziest coach in the history of sports and has committed violations at just about every school he’s been at, but instead of getting disciplined, he gets millions of dollars and is loved by Kentucky fans everywhere. The lesson here is that if you want to be a college coach, you have to be willing to cheat your ass off.  And if you somehow get caught, all you have to do is cooperate with the investigation, say it was all a misunderstanding and it won’t happen again, and flee to a new school before the NCAA comes to your current school and just starts dishing out sanctions up in that bitch.

    Seriously, though, all college coaches cheat.  It’s just to the degree that the cheating takes place that sets them apart.  Some coaches practice too often or for too long and some give money to recruits. Obviously one is more serious than the other (practicing too much sucks and any coach that can’t follow that rule should be fired immediately), but in the end they’re both considered cheating.  Still, you can’t punish every coach for cheating, so it’s important to just go after the guys who either break the rules the most often or commit the most serious violations.

    As a good rule of thumb, to figure out how badly a coach cheats all you have to do is look at his hair. If it seems as though the coach doesn’t care what his hair looks like, chances are he only commits minor infractions.  Coaches that style their hair a little bit usually commit more serious violations, but nothing worth investigating.  Coaches that use way too much hair gel are just about guaranteed to be doing some shady things, and coaches that use too much hair gel and slick their hair back are surely giving recruits thousands of dollars, changing SAT scores, and probably have some sort of ties to the mafia.  Using this template, I completely expect Steve Lavin to turn St. John’s into a national powerhouse within the next five years.

    UNSTOPPABLE IN CRUNCH TIME
    This is simple.  If there isn’t much time left and the outcome is in the balance, these are the guys who take matters into their own hands and do something about it.  These guys will let you get a little taste of victory, and then will swiftly cut your tongue out, make you lick your own scrotum, and have sex with your girlfriend just because they can.  All without really breaking a sweat.  So yeah, don’t f*** with these guys.

    FIFA: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

    It’s no secret that just thinking about Cristiano Ronaldo’s abilities on FIFA gives me at least a semi-chub.  I’ve said many times that I think he’s the best athlete on a sports video game since Jeremy Roenick on NHL ‘94, but the more I think about it, he actually might be better.  Now, I know that the real Ronaldo is a puss who flops way too much and has that weird European mullet going on, but the beauty of FIFA is that the personality of the players doesn’t matter and none of the players are programmed to take dives.  All that is taken into account is pure physical and athletic talent, and there’s no denying that from a this standpoint nobody (not even Messi) can touch Ronaldo.  Ronaldo is so good, in fact, that if you created a virtual pro on FIFA, made it Ronaldo’s size, and maxed out its attributes, it still wouldn’t come close to having Ronaldo’s speed, skill, or strength.  In other words, you can’t even create a player as good as him because FIFA thinks its impossible for someone to be that good.  Think about that for a second.

    So what does this have to do with crunch time? Well, obviously the best players throughout the game are going to still be the best players when the game is on the line.  Ronaldo not only is the overall best player in the closing moments, but he’s also got a specific go-to move that rivals my step-back three going left that I perfected during my basketball playing days (just ask Danny Peters how venomous my step-back going left is – he knew exactly when it was coming every day in practice and still couldn’t stop it).  It truly is the most unstoppable move on FIFA, and it only becomes that much more unstoppable when things get ugly and I desperately need a goal.  Unfortunately, people who I regularly play in FIFA read this blog and therefore would know my secret move if I told all of you, so I’m going to have to keep that vault locked. Sorry, but when you aspire the be the best like I do, giving away secrets isn’t a great idea.

    Pro Wrestling: Hulk Hogan (At height of Hulkamania)

    It’s hard to definitively say what goes into Hulking Up. I would venture to guess that it’s partly from having the most patriotic song in history as your entrance music, part dad strength, and part Hogan being a total dick in real life who refuses to lose any of his matches (when that last part is mixed with another dick who refuses to lose matches like Shawn Michaels, hilarity ensues). You have a better chance of getting that sweet Yoda backpack you wanted for Christmas than you do of beating Hogan in an important match. Nonetheless, when the match is on the line, Hulk Hogan turns into arguably the most unstoppable force in the history of the world.

    It happened, among countless other times, at Wrestlemania VII, against Sgt. Slaughter. Hogan, bloodied and looking like he’d met his match, finds his inner strength and begins Hulking Up. He becomes unfazed by punches, impervious to pain. He takes shots that don’t affect him until he’s finally had enough. Out comes the point. This is a picture of Hulk Hogan pointing at you while Hulking Up (and this is a picture of a taxidermied squirrel riding a plastic horse). If you see this, the match is over. What follows next is pretty much set in stone, because they’re 3 of the only 5 moves that Hogan knows. First comes the punch. Then comes the big boot, which is supposed to hit the opponent in the face but usually connects with the right nipple instead. Finally, the leg drop. It’s never really been properly explained how dropping a leg on your opponent is somehow the most effective finishing maneuver in professional wrestling history (as opposed to this, or this for that matter), but it almost always leads to a three count when Hogan delivers it.  When it matters, Hogan delivers. Just ignore the part about him always delivering because he’s a selfish doucher who won’t let other people beat him. Hogan might be all-time quarterback a little too much, but he still gets the job done in crunch time.

    College Basketball: Jimmer Fredette (BYU)

    Before Jimmer Fredette came along, the only thing I knew about Mormons that I didn’t learn from South Park is the concept of “letting it soak.”  Now, thanks to Fredette, I’ve also learned that Mormons can apparently play basketball pretty well.  Fredette is a preseason 1st team All-American this year, thanks largely in part to a stellar season a year ago in which he broke the BYU record for points in a game by pouring in 49 against Arizona.  Call me crazy, but I think this solidifies his status as the best athlete named “Jimmer” of all-time.  In fact, I’ll take it a step further and say that he’s the best anything that’s ever been named “Jimmer.”  That’s something to be proud of, I guess.

    There are really two reasons why I think Jimmer Fredette is the most clutch player in college basketball.  The first and most important reason is that I wanted an excuse to bring up “letting it soak,” because that might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of.  The second, and probably more relevant, reason I picked Jimmer Fredette is because of his performance against Florida in the NCAA tournament last year.  In one of the more memorable games of the first round of last year’s tournament, Jimmer scored 37 points as BYU beat Florida in double overtime.  Fredette gave the Gators a steady dose of buckets rainmaking (Mr. Rainmaker > Kyle Gets Buckets) throughout the game, but really ripped their hearts out in the second overtime by hitting two more threes.  Sure he didn’t hit a game winning shot or anything dramatic like that, but that’s only because he decided to take the game over so that a last second shot wouldn’t be necessary.  And really, hitting a last second shot doesn’t necessarily equate to being clutch.  Most of the time it’s just a result of being in the right spot at the right time.  Being clutch is really achieved when there’s about a minute left and your team desperately needs to score (either because they’re up by one possession, tied, or down by one possession). Fredette strikes me as a guy who is dangerous with the ball in his hands during these moments, as evidenced by the fact that he stepped up his play when it mattered most (second overtime of NCAA tourney).  That’s why he gets the nod (also, I really wanted to mention letting it soak).

    By the way, through the first couple weeks of the college basketball season, here is my starting lineup of “White Guys Who Really Don’t Look Like Much But Are Actually Pretty Good”:

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    The day you’ve all been waiting for is finally here.  At this point, just about every D1 team has played at least two games, meaning it’s time to start tabulating results so we can put together a leaderboard for The Belt (For those who don’t know – I’m giving away a custom made wrestling belt to the Division 1 player with the most trillions this season).  As of right now, we have 18 entrants but ideally I’d like to have close to 50.  So please, do whatever you have to do to get your favorite college team’s walk-ons to sign up.  All it takes to enter is to be a Division I basketball player (don’t even have to be a walk-on, but a walk-on will probably win) and send an email with your name and school by clicking here.  Remember: Fans can’t register for players.  I want the players themselves to enter because I don’t want to give The Belt to someone who won’t appreciate it and/or doesn’t even know about it.  With all that being said, here’s your current leaderboard for The Belt:

    Nov. 22nd Leaderboard

    Obviously, seeing a Michigan player at the top is very disheartening. This needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed now.

    Also, and this is just my opinion here, look for the Purdue guys to make a strong play at The Belt this year.  They have a pretty good team and Matt Painter is quick to pull the trigger on subbing walk-ons into the game, so these guys will have a lot of chances to put up trillions. What they do with these chances is up to them.

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    A few reminders:

    1. FUNDAMENTALS MONTAGE!!! shirts are now available by clicking here.

      fundmont1If you really want to consider yourself a member of the TMM, you’ll buy one as a way to show the world that you prefer Mr. Rainmaker over Kyle Singler’s terrible knock off video.  Also, 10% of all shirt sales for the rest of the month will go towards the Movember cause.  So really, you’re getting a badass shirt and supporting two great causes at the same time – Movember and Mr. Rainmaker.
    2. Movember – Don’t forget to take a picture of your mustache towards the end of Movember and send it to clubtrilcontest@gmail.com. I’ll post what I deem to be the best ones on the blog and I’ll let the TMM vote for the winner, who will receive a pack of Barbasol shaving cream for being so manly and a free Club Trillion t-shirt (either CLUB TRIL or FUNDAMENTALS MONTAGE!!!) for being so awesome.
    3. Kyle Singler’s video sucks.

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    Today’s Great Mustache In American History is brought to you by Steve Prefontaine.

    “Pre” is by far the most famous distance runner in the history of the sport, most likely because he was a bonafide badass.  While others would pace themselves during long distance runs, Pre always went balls to the wall because that’s what guys with mustaches as awesome as that do. As a 19-year-old, when most other people his age were celebrating their first pubes, Pre celebrated being on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  During his collegiate career, he won four straight 5000 meter NCAA track titles and won three NCAA cross country championships.  The only reason he didn’t win a fourth cross country title is because he got too bored beating all the college kids’ asses and decided to try a little tougher competition in the Olympics instead.  At one point, he held the American track record for every distance between 2,000 and 10,000 meters, which added up to seven records in all. So yeah, he was pretty good at running.

    Pre ultimately died in a car wreck when he was just 24 years old, but his legacy has lived on thanks to Nike and the University of Oregon refusing to let people forget about him (not to mention the two movies that were made about his life).  35 years after his death, he’s still the only name in long distance running that I know, which doesn’t seem like much, but is kind of a big deal considering I watch every Olympics and my best friend closely follows track to the point that he routinely tells me about the results of meets all over the world.  Anyway, the bottom line is that Pre was a hero who continues to inspire thousands if not millions of people to this day, and was capable of growing a kickass mustache even though he died well before his mustache-growing prime.

    Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

    Mark Titus

    Club Trillion Founder


              The Cage, Volume III        

    I was watching ESPN last week and I saw an interview they did with Ben Roethlisberger, who was suspended by the NFL because he apparently used a bathroom stall for a number other than 1 or 2 (hint: it was 69). During the interview, Roethlisberger completely jacked Magic Johnson’s concept of having an alter ego created from fame and money. In an HBO documentary that aired earlier this year, Magic explained that it wasn’t actually Earvin Johnson who routinely cheated on his wife and got HIV. It was “Magic.” Magic was the leader of the Lakers who threw behind the back passes, oozed all sorts of charisma and personality in interviews, and put his tallywhacker where it didn’t belong. Earvin was a shy kid from Michigan who was humble, respectful, and could apparently grow a kickass afro. He went on to say something like deep down he was Earvin, but fame and money had turned him into Magic. Basically, he was a victim of his own success. Poor guy.

    The crazy thing about Magic’s interview was that I actually ended up feeling bad for him, even though everything he said suggested that I should have felt the exact opposite. The reason for this is because Magic is quite possibly the most likable athlete to ever live, which is why guys like me were listening to what he said and were thinking, “Wow, I never thought of it like that. Magic didn’t want to have sex with all these women, but since he was rich and famous, he had no choice.” I never once questioned his logic, because he’s Magic Johnson, and Magic Johnson could tell me that he murdered my family and destroyed every copy of FIFA ever made, and as long as he smiled and let out that hearty laugh of his, I’d probably shake his hand and tell him not to worry about it.

    Ben Roethlisberger, on the other hand, comes across as a guy who is as charismatic and persuasive as Brett Favre’s penis. So when he blatantly stole Magic’s alter ego concept and said something like “I stopped being the Ben Roethlisberger who grew up in Findlay and spent his weekends sheltering the homeless, and I started becoming Big Ben, captain of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” I couldn’t help but think of how big of a jerk this guy is and how I don’t feel sorry for him at all. Sure he used the exact same excuse as Magic, but since he’s nowhere near as likable as Magic, I was furious. The excuse works for guys who have an infectious smile (and in Magic’s case, an infectious disease) or at least a likable personality. It most certainly does not work for guys who think it’s appropriate to have the most rapist-looking haircut in the world right after they’ve been accused of sexual assault.

    I guess the point I’m trying to convey here is that I’m really upset that Big Ben had to completely ruin this otherwise great excuse for misbehaving. Magic laid the foundation for athletes and celebrities to save themselves with nothing more than a little charisma and an alter ego. I even used Magic’s model to formulate a plan for myself. In five to ten years, when the cops inevitably bust open my door to find a dead hooker in my bathtub and an unconscious me laying in the living room with my pants around my ankles and my face buried in a huge mound of cocaine, I was going to be so excited to tell the judge that it wasn’t me who got into all that trouble. It was The Shark. But no. Ben Roethlisberger has to go and be an unlikable sleazeball and ruin it for everyone. Wait, I got that wrong. It was Big Ben who ruined it for everyone. Ben Roethlisberger did nothing wrong. My bad.

    Now that I got that off my chest, let’s open up The Cage and see if I can do my best to avoid answering your emails. Before you ask, the answer is yes – all of these are real emails from real people, except for the ones that aren’t. ___________________________________________________

    My email question is: Why do you never answer emails?
    - Ann L.

    Good question.

    Dear Mark, you are my hero. I love you.
    -Riley A.

    Good statements.

    Since you are a mid twenties something man, I am sure that you were excited when you heard of NBA JAM 2010. And since you grew up in Indiana, I was wondering what you thought about the fact that Reggie Miller and Rik Smits didn't make the Pacers legends roster.
    - Matt S.

    Even though I grew up 20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis, I admittedly have never been much of a Pacers fan. This is predominantly because I absolutely despised the way Reggie Miller played basketball, which is to say that I despised how dirty of player he was and how much he trash talked. I hated all the theatrics that came with his game and I reached my boiling point with him when he pushed off of Jordan to hit that shot in the ‘98 Eastern Conference Finals, and then proceeded to execute the worst game-winning shot celebration in history. That play alone epitomized everything I hated about Reggie Miller.

    As I grew older, though, I realized that trash talking and playing dirty were woven into the fabric of basketball tradition just as much as Chuck Taylors and teammates using the N-bomb as a term of endearment. Upon learning this, I gained a greater appreciation for Reggie’s talents and actually respect the hell out of the guy now. He was one of the best clutch shooters of all-time and made the NBA that much better during his playing days. As for Rik Smits? He was always one of my favorite players if for no other reason than he had a mullet and an awesome nickname (The Dunkin Dutchman). I liked him so much that I briefly considered playing for Marist when they were recruiting me in high school, even though I knew absolutely nothing about the school or basketball program other than the fact that Rik Smits played there.

    To answer your question, I think this has the potential to make the fine people of Indianapolis the most upset they’ve been since Steven Tyler disgraced our great country with his national anthem at the 2001 Indy 500. Miller and Smits are the Pacers. If you asked all the Pacer fans who will buy NBA JAM 2010 to name the first two Pacers to come to mind, every one of them would say Miller and Smits. How could they possibly leave both of these guys off the game? More importantly, who got the nod ahead of them? Travis Best?

    Now that we got Moss how many more years does Favre stay for? 4? 5? 45?
    - Nate H.

    All of the above. He will retire after four more years, come back, retire again after another year, come back, and then finally retire for good 40 years later. But his final retirement won’t be his choice. It will be God’s. Following the 2055 NFL season, an 86-year-old Brett Favre will have a heart attack, pick up the phone to dial 911, and ultimately die in stunned silence after Tracy Porter intercepts his call.

    (I thought that taking an hour-long rape shower immediately after the Vikings lost the NFC Championship last year would get me over the loss. I couldn’t have been more wrong.)

    Who would win in a street fight? Mark Madsen or Craig Ehlo?
    - Doug P.

    This is a no-brainer. I’m taking Craig Ehlo over Mark Madsen in a fight of any kind, whether it be street, MMA, or pillow. This is because I’m 100% sure that he’s tougher than the Maddog. Think about it. Both of these guys are known for one thing respectively. Madsen is famous for setting white people back at least 20 years with his horrendous dancing at the Lakers championship celebration. And by 20 years, I mean that he didn’t set white people back at all because pretty much all white guys dance like that. But still.

    Ehlo’s claim to fame, however, is that he was repeatedly abused by Michael Jordan. I’m guessing a lot of people reading this are Cavs fans who don’t need to be reminded, but the rest of you probably only know Ehlo because of the shot Jordan hit over him at the buzzer to knock the Cavs out of the ‘89 playoffs, when in reality he was frequently dominated by Jordan (in Ehlo’s defense, though, who wasn’t?). Along with hitting “The Shot,” Jordan’s career high of 69 points also came against the Cavs in 1990, and while Ehlo didn’t start out guarding Jordan, he certainly guarded him (or attempted to) for a majority of the game. Ehlo got abused by Jordan so much, in fact, that during a game in Chicago, following a play in which Jordan scored on Ehlo even though Ehlo had wrapped him up with both arms, one of the game announcers was in such disbelief at how frequently plays like that happened that he felt compelled to say, “It always happens to Craig Ehlo” (I’m too lazy to look it up on YouTube, but I can just about guarantee that you’ll be able to find it). Jordan obviously had many victims during his career, but nobody got abused on a regular basis by Jordan like Craig Ehlo did. Nobody. Sorry, Cavs fans.

    So what does that have to do with fighting? It’s pretty simple, really. People have spent the past 10 years telling Madsen that he sucks at dancing, which is something that I’m sure he’s somewhat proud of. Meanwhile, people have been telling Craig Ehlo for the past 15+ years that he’s Jordan’s bitch. You and I can’t even fathom how much pent-up anger Ehlo is waiting to unleash because of this. That’s why I think if these guys really got into a fight, Ehlo would be like the disgruntled employee who finally snaps and shows up to work with a shotgun, only instead of pumping bullets into his co-workers he would be pumping a steady dose of knuckle sandwiches into Mark Madsen’s face.

    I think it's fair to say that I anticipated FIFA 11 just about as much as anyone. And, of course, was disappointed just as much as everyone. My roommate is the only one of my friends to share a love for the beautiful game. We got FIFA 10 last year to start preparing for the World Cup, and it was a great ride. I've even been getting up at 9:55 on Saturdays to watch EPL games. When FIFA 11 arrived we spent the next 2 days playing it and came to the conclusion that indeed it did suck, and maybe we'll just have to play FIFA 10. A few days go by and we give it another chance. Sure enough, I hate it just as much as before, however... he now pulls a 180 and says he likes it better than it's predecessor. I was floored. He read the first paragraph of your latest blog, and closed it. He refused to read, as he called it, “garbage.” So my question is - 1. Is his TMM membership revoked? and B. How do I best handle this doucher?
    - Dan W.

    As much as I’d like to revoke his TMM membership, the fact is that the only crime he’s guilty of is loving FIFA too much, which obviously isn’t a crime at all. I would be a hypocrite to denounce him for defending FIFA, so I can’t exactly be that upset.

    However, anyone who thinks FIFA 11 is better than FIFA 10 is obviously completely out of their mind. These are the same people who probably prefer the first Home Alone, the second version of DX, and the Third Reich. These people are so off-base with their thinking that they can’t be rationalized with. There is no saving your friend. I suggest you knock him unconscious, throw him in the trunk of your car, drive until you reach the depths of hell, and then leave his ass to rot in Ann Arbor, Michigan for being so dumb. Or you could just draw penises on his face the next time he passes out. Whatever works for you.

    What are your thoughts on Rufus taking on Brutus?
    - Justin B.

    I’m kinda split on this particular mascot attack. On the one hand, I’m all for mascot-on-mascot violence because every time it happens, it’s always hilarious to me. Always. Plus, when the kid who dressed up as Rufus was interviewed, he said that the only reason he ever tried out in the first place was because he knew that OU played Ohio State and he wanted to attack Brutus. I completely respect this kid’s ambition and desire to achieve his dreams. But, on the other hand, he kinda took a cowardly approach by springing a surprise attack on Brutus. There is absolutely no honor in how he went about doing it which kinda takes away from the act altogether. If you’re going to start a mascot fight, you gotta do it the old fashioned way – walk up behind the other mascot and give him a nice little shove. When he turns around to acknowledge your shove, you shove him again to let him know that it wasn’t an accident and that it most certainly is on. From there, you wait a second to let him have a chance to process what exactly is going on, and then you unleash hell. That’s the only fair way to go about it that still makes for great theater. It’s Mascot Fighting 101.

    When I first read about this mascot fight, I was immediately struck by how awesome both mascot names are. I was sure that a fight between Rufus and Brutus would have to be the greatest combination of mascot names that could possibly get into a fight, but like most things, I was wrong. After doing a little Wikipedia research, I’ve decided that the best possible mascot fight that could ever take place, based solely on the names of the mascots involved, would be if Scrotie (from the Rhode Island School of Design) fought Gaylord (from Campbell University). Can you imagine the headlines if this ever happened? I would actually go buy a newspaper for once in my life, just so I could have a copy of a paper with an inadvertently hilarious headline like “Gaylord Wrestles With Scrotie.” Another element of hilarity is added when you consider that this story is absolutely unGooglable, because Googling “gaylord” and “scrotie” together would result in nothing but gay porn on at least the first 27 pages of results (not that I would know or anything). That really would be the greatest mascot fight ever. I dare you to check out the Wikipedia list of mascots and come up with something better than that.

    Speaking of homosexuality…

    I played D3 hoops and we always had uncomfortable conversations about why one or two guys would rather hike back to the dorms in the winter weather than get into the team shower mix. Along those lines, were you a shower sandal wearer, or were you willing to take that risk? Did you ever pee on your feet as a faux method to kill fungus? Did your teammates offer to do it for you? Was my locker room just that weird?
    - CC

    First I’ll answer your questions - no, yes (just to freak out my teammates who apparently never realized that I’d douse my feet in soap after I did it), no, and yes if your teammates offered to do it for you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll address something that should have been addressed long ago.

    Locker room shower etiquette is one of the most confusing things in the world to me, right up there with the female anatomy and Three 6 Mafia winning an Oscar. In all my years of playing sports, I’ve never understood it. It’s completely counterintuitive for one fairly obvious reason.

    It’s no secret that male athletes (specifically football and basketball players) are some of the most homophobic people on the planet. This is solely because they have an unspoken pressure to be as tough as they possibly can, and doing anything that could ever be perceived as “gay” would completely destroy their macho reputation in their minds. This is why they annoyingly overuse the phrase “no homo” on a regular basis (“no homo but I’m really hungry”), because even the slightest act of “gayness” would destroy an athlete’s reputation among his colleagues. Yet these are the same people who see no problem with packing twelve naked guys into a tiny communal shower area or making fun of a teammate with a small penis. It truly is perplexing.

    And then there are women athletes, who are often stereotyped as being lesbians, even though a majority of them aren’t. But even so, anyone who has ever been on spring break can tell you that there are tons of straight girls who are willing to make out with each other if you offer them $20 or simply start a convincing group chant. Women athletes don’t have that macho perception to live up to, which is why they tend to be much less paranoid about being perceived as gay. But if you were to ask women athletes if they use the locker room showers after their games, nearly all of them would say something along the lines of, “That’s disgusting. Why would we do that?” It truly is perplexing.

    Speaking of homosexuality…

    My bromate named Chris continually bashes soccer for only being for homosexual people. Do you believe that assessment is true?
    - Terry P.

    In a word, no. In a hyperlink, this.

    What is your greatest experience with a Thad Matta halftime or postgame tongue lashing?
    - Caleb W.

    A little known fact about Coach Matta is that he might be the worst yeller in the history of getting angry. What I mean by this is that it’s completely unnatural for him to yell, so when he does it’s hard to take him seriously. He’s the consummate “players’ coach,” which is why I was able to write my blog and act like an idiot on a daily basis. Because of this, he rarely ever screamed at us and when he did it was always a little forced. Looking back, it was always pretty funny when he yelled but one story involving his yelling sticks out more than any other, even though it wasn’t at halftime or after a game.

    During my freshman year at Ohio State, Coach Matta began having back problems that eventually led to him having foot drop in his right foot that still plagues him today. Before his injury, one of his favorite ways of expressing his anger during practice was to dropkick a basketball into the Schottenstein Center stands. When yelling simply wasn’t getting the job done, he’d find a ball laying close to him scream a few four-letter words, and cherry bomb for the upper deck. But when he started having back problems, he obviously couldn’t punt basketballs anymore, so he had to start improvising.

    Maybe the funniest moment in my Ohio State career happened at one practice after Coach Matta’s back problems came up. He got upset with the way we were playing, presumably because Ivan Harris was shooting too many fade-away threes and Ron Lewis was smacking his lips at everybody, and stopped practice to unleash a furious tirade. After he thought he got through to us, we started practicing again. But on the very first play back, somebody didn’t do something right (my guess is that Daequan Cook forgot that he had to run to the other end of the floor and play defense after he scored) and Coach Matta lost it. He temporarily forgot about his foot drop as he searched for a basketball to punt into the stands. When he eventually found one, the proverbial light bulb in his head went off telling him that kicking a basketball is right next to swinging a golf club and receiving a powerbomb on the list of “The Absolute Worst Things You Could Possibly Do With A Bad Back.” Upon realizing this, Coach Matta turned to a nearby assistant coach and quickly told him something that was undoubtedly along the lines of “kick this for me.”

    The assistant (who will remain unnamed for his sake) was obviously flustered by the request, because it was probably the last thing he expected to hear. Plus, he hadn’t even been that upset that we were playing badly, or at least he certainly wasn’t mad enough to want to kick a basketball. Still, the assistant didn’t want to upset Coach Matta more than he already was, so he quickly wound up to kick the ball. But instead of kicking it, he almost completely whiffed, as the ball grazed the side of his foot and rolled to the other end of the court. When this happened, the assistant was so embarrassed about whiffing that he actually became just as mad as Coach Matta, even though it was for a completely different reason. In a hilarious turn of events, the assistant coach decided that the best way to release the anger that he had just developed was to, you guessed it, dropkick another basketball. He hurriedly grabbed another ball and again wound up to boot the snot out of it. This time he made a little better contact, with “little” being the operative word here. The ball shot off the side of his foot as he shanked the kick into only the fifth row of the stands. I started laughing so hard that I had to bury my face in my jersey, and eventually acted like I had to pee so I could leave the gym without getting busted for not taking things seriously. It was, without a doubt, the worst execution of an angry tirade by a coaching staff that I’ve ever witnessed.

    Ok, so maybe it wasn’t the funniest thing to happen when I was at Ohio State. But it’s still pretty funny to think about a pissed off Coach Matta delegating the role of ball-kicker to a flustered assistant coach, who just so happened to be so bad a kicking that he made Ray Finkle look like Morten Andersen.

    Just was wondering what your thoughts are on OSU basketball team this upcoming year. Think they will be as good as you guys were last year even with the loss of The Villain? I know they have a good incoming freshman class that will help, especially with Sullinger. So just seeing what your thoughts are on the subject.
    - JJ S.

    Obviously I could make some wisecracks about how Ohio State is going to struggle to replace me and my record for the most wins in the history of the program. And I could joke about how I brought so many intangibles to the team that I’m just as synonymous with intangibility as MC Hammer. And I could also make some funnies about how screwed the team will be because they’ll have one less silky smooth J to have to keep in check during practice, which means they won’t be nearly as prepared as they should be for games. I could do all those things, but since most of you are probably Ohio State fans who really do want to know how good the team will be, I’ll give you my honest opinion on this year’s team.

    I fully expect this year’s team to be every bit as good as our team from last year, even though they lost The Villain. In fact, I think they might actually be better off without The Villain. Obviously, on the surface it seems like I’m saying this just because I want to take shots at The Villain, but the truth is that last year we won or lost based on how he played. Clearly he played well more often than not, but even so, many of our games consisted of four guys standing around watching Evan take over. This became a problem during a few stretches of last season. There’s no way that they’ll be able to replace The Villain this year, but I don’t think they necessarily need to. This team will have a lot more parity, which will force teams to plan their defenses around more than one guy.

    On an individual level, I really think Will Buford will be the best player in the Big Ten this year, which may be surprising to hear for some people. I don’t think he has much of a chance to win the Big Ten POY simply because of the fact that the people who vote for these things are unfathomably stupid, but he certainly has the talent to be phenomenal this year. From what I’ve seen over the summer and early this fall, Will has not only improved his basketball skills, but he’s also taken his mental approach to a whole new level. Last year he kinda took a backseat and picked his spots throughout the season, but this year he’s already showing signs of being the undisputed go-to guy on the team. He’s playing his ass off right now and I would say his swagger is through the roof, except I’ve never actually used the word “swagger” to describe anything in my life and I really don’t want to start now. But you get the idea.

    As for some of the other guys – Dallas Lauderdale finally gave in to his baldness and shaved his head, which is hilariously awesome to me. Dave Lighty has promised me that since this is his 17th and last year at OSU, he’s planning on making it his best. And Jon Diebler is still the same doucher he’s always been.

    Oh, and Coach Matta told me that Jared Sullinger is the best player he’s ever recruited. Ever. And this was when Jared was at least 30 pounds overweight. He’s since lost a lot of weight and is in much better shape. Translation: I’m going to every home game this year.

    Which brings us to the next email…

    I'm a freshmen here at the great OSU. Basketball tickets go on sale today, and the games I've been to I (and I'm sure you also) have noticed some great fans in the student section such as Red Man Group and the Cowboy. With the basketball fans getting a lot of flack about not being good enough and the reforms they made to the student section this year (behind the bench), do you have any ideas for one person or a group of people to get a 4 year tradition of great Buckeye fanhood? The only idea I have that is decent (or maybe not) would be to have 5 guys all in full uniform behind the bench every game and call ourselves "Second String" or something like that. So let me know if you've got some good ones and you can see your work in action this winter at the games.
    - Eric L.

    If there’s one thing I’ve always wished I was better at, it’s parkour. But if there’s two things I wished I was better at, they’re parkour and coming up with creative ideas for basketball fans or fantasy football/intramural team names. For some reason I always draw a blank on these kinds of things, probably because I have never actually experienced any of them. I’ve never played intramurals or fantasy football and I was always too busy making it rain to think about creative basketball fan costumes or signs, which is why I think I’m so far behind on the creative curve with this stuff. It’s a lame, copout of an excuse, I know. But I really think this Second String idea is solid. I’d go with that if I were you.

    I’m a sophomore in high school. Today I was eating lunch and like we do everyday, we were shooting trick shots into the trash can with our empty Gatorade bottles, the only drink for high quality athletes. I made a behind the back bounce off one table and over our assistant principal. I just wanted a judgment of this shot from a respected, honorable American like yourself. On a scale from 1 to the size of Greg Oden's penis, what would you rate this shot?
    - Nathan P.

    Without video evidence, I just don’t see how I can give it anything higher than a Brett Favre.

    Since there has been a tremendous lack of historical wrestling flavor in your blog save for a few small references, I would like to share with you that two of the all-time legends, Ric Flair and Mick Foley, will battle it out in the upcoming TNA Impact in somewhat of a "Last Match".
    Where does this fall in the list of all-time saddest wrestling moments?
    - AJ K.

    In order, here’s my list of the Top 10 all-time saddest moments in wrestling history:

    1. My parents telling me when I was in 3rd grade that I couldn’t watch wrestling anymore because it’s “filth.” It would be almost five years before I started watching again. An obvious choice for #1.
    2. Owen Hart falling to his death
    3. Chris Benoit murders/suicide
    4. The Montreal Screwjob
    5. Ric Flair and Mick Foley – “Last Match”
    6. Keller showing me a particular zoomed in screen shot from the X-Pac and Chyna sex tape (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, consider yourself lucky – you honest to God don’t want to know)
    7. Earthquake squashing Damien
    8. Mae Young giving birth to Mark Henry’s hand baby (sad because it was an awkward and embarrassingly terrible storyline)
    9. The Rock starring in The Tooth Fairy
    10. The fact that this video doesn’t even have 60,000 views

    I know it goes without saying, but just so we’re clear – the greatest moment in wrestling history is without a doubt “The Plane Ride from Hell,” highlighted by Ric Flair trying to get a flight attendant’s attention by spinning his penis in circles while wearing nothing but one of his badass robes.

    I've been thinking for some time that you're input could be valuable on this subject. Since last winter my roommates and I have debated what would be the best way to "make whoopee" with Jillian from The Biggest Loser. I guess there really are a lot of excellent options to go about this but the following are the choices for the four of us:
    1. My personal favorite: Give her absolutely everything you've got only to have her screaming at you how inferior you are
    2. Completely dominate and control her to turn the tables
    3. Cover her in all manner of fatty delicious deserts and eat them off each other as foreplay
    4. The two of you are
    “furries.” I think this guy has a fetish b/c I'm not sure how it relates to Jillian.
    - Scott C.

    Call me old-fashioned, but if I had to “make whoopee” with Jillian I’d just do it the same way I’ve done it my whole life – I’d make her a mixtape full of K-Ci & JoJo to get her attention, I’d give her my class ring to prove my sincerity, and then I’d slip a roofie into her drink and have my way with her underneath the bleachers during the 3rd quarter of the varsity football game. But that’s just me. I’m more chivalrous than most. ___________________________________________________

    After I called out the walk-on community with my last blog post, tons of walk-ons around the country emailed me to sign up for The Belt. This is very encouraging, but I still think we need more guys. So again, please email me if you are a Division I men’s basketball walk-on. Even if you aren’t eligible for The Belt, you can still help out by writing a Facebook message or something to the walk-ons for your favorite basketball team that will let them know about this awesome contest.

    I also want to take a second to remind everyone about the Club Trillion Halloween costume contest I decided to have. In case you forgot, the only rule for the contest is that your costume has some sort of reference to Club Tril. This reference can be as strong or as weak as you want, as costumes can range from a walk-on basketball player sitting on a bench to my idea of a giant inflatable penis wearing an Evan Turner jersey. Remember: the stakes are high, as the most creative costume gets a free “FUNDAMENTALS MONTAGE!!!” shirt.

    Finally, I wanted to let the Trillion Man March know that we will again be taking part in Movember this year for prostate cancer awareness/research. Since this blog post is already long enough, I’ll provide all the details with the next blog post. For now, I just wanted to remind you all to get mentally prepared to start growing your mustaches out on November 1st. Also, I’m planning on having maybe a couple mustache contests and I’m working on getting Barbasol to sponsor everything by providing shaving cream for the winners. Get excited. ___________________________________________________

    Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by John J. and features Mitchell, a member of the TMM, wearing his CLUB TRIL shirt. There’s your shout-out, John. And here’s your video.

    Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

    Mark Titus

    Club Trillion Founder


              Choosing The Right PPI Claims Company        

    PPI claims have been a contentious subject in the UK. This is the aftermath of a scandal that saw unsuspecting financial customers swindled. These are mostly people who had their loans, credit cards and mortgages that had a PPI attached to them. Most of these people are victims of PPI mis selling. In attempts to claim these amounts, there is a real need to work with a company that will help you with your claim. Here are some key attributes to look for when looking for a ppi claims company.

    Qualities of a genuine PPI claims company

    You only pay when the claim is successfulsaSxcadcfsdcfsD

    Different companies adopt different payment plans for their services. As such, you should avoid those that ask for upfront payments. Instead, a company that operates on the principle of “no win no fee.” This implies that you are only expected to pay only if the claims are successful.

    The company gives you time to reflect

    When making your claim, you need to work with a company that has your interests at heart. One way of telling whether or not you are dealing with the right people is how they handle the transaction. Ideally, a good company should offer you a “cooling off window” to ensure you reflect and make an informed decision. This period mostly lasts for about two weeks, beyond which you cannot cancel the transaction.

    It should have a history of successful claims

    The company you are about to choose should have a decent record of accomplishment. A company that has made successful PPI claims in the past is a company you should work with. You can get the statics by asking them for a list of any successful claims in the past. A successful history serves as an assurance that your application will also be among the success stories.

    It should be able to handle all types of claims

    If you have some PPI claims, you will realize that each requires a different approach. As such, you should ascertain whether the company has was it takes to handle your claim. You can easily tell this by looking at the nature of claims they have handled before.

    If you are looking for a company to help you with your PPI claims, you need to work with a company that pays only if the claim is successful. They should also not be in a hurry of finalizing the deal by offering a cooling off period for you to reflect. Ultimately, you also need a company that has all it takes to handle your claim.…

    The post Choosing The Right PPI Claims Company appeared first on The Yeson Finance Group.


              VA's Inspector General Finds Faked Data At Hospitals Across U.S.        
    President Obama addressed the annual convention of the American Legion in North Carolina with a raft of new proposals for vets. The speech comes as the inspector general at the Veterans Affairs Department is releasing a report on the scandal over phony wait times at the Phoenix VA hospital.
    Copyright 2014 NPR.
              Andrew Samonsky, Hannah Elless and Bryce Pinkham to Star in BENNY & JOON Musical at The Old Globe; Cast, Creatives Set!        

    The Old Globe today announced the complete cast and creative team for the first show of its 2017-2018 Season, the world premiere musical Benny & Joon, with book by Kirsten Guenther, music by Nolan Gasser, and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein. Based on the beloved 1993 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture written by Barry Berman and Leslie McNeil, Benny & Joon is directed by Jack Cummings III, Artistic Director of New York's Transport Group.

    It will run September 7 - October 22, 2017, on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Previews run September 7 - 14, with opening night on Friday, September 15 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets start at $36 and go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 18 at 12:00 noon.

    Benny & Joon is a delightful world premiere musical based on the beloved offbeat '90s romantic comedy movie. As Joon's sole caretaker, auto mechanic Benny makes sure his eccentric sister lives a comfortable, safe, and predictable life. But when Sam shows up, his off-kilter take on the world-full of classic films, Buster Keaton, and an oddball approach to domestic life-turns everything upside down. With unforgettable characters and a beguiling and tuneful score, Benny & Joon explores what happens when we step out of our comfort zones and take a leap toward love.

    The cast features Andrew Samonsky (Broadway's South Pacific, Scandalous) as Benny, Hannah Elless (Bright Star at the Globe and on Broadway) as Joon, and Bryce Pinkham (Tony Award nominee for Broadway's A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder) as Sam, along with Colin Hanlon (Broadway's Falsettos, In Transit) as Mike, January LaVoy (Enron on Broadway, Coraline Off Broadway) as Ruthie, Paolo Montalban (Globe's Allegiance, ABC's Cinderella with Brandy) as Larry, Natalie Toro (Broadway's A Tale of Two Cities, Les Misérables) as Dr. Cruz and Mrs. Smail, and Jason SweetTooth Williams (Disney's Freaky Friday at La Jolla Playhouse) as Waldo and Video Store Owner. Completing the cast as Understudies are San Diego local Katie Whalley Banville (Globe's A Doll's House, Playhouse's Freaky Friday and Escape to Margaritaville) and Jake Millgard (Globe/USD Shiley M.F.A. graduate, Globe's Guys and Dolls).

    The creative team includes Scott Rink (Choreographer), Dane Laffrey (Scenic and Costume Design), R. Lee Kennedy (Lighting Design), Kai Harada (Sound Design), Michael Starobin (Orchestrations), J. Oconer Navarro (Music Director), Howie Cherpakov, CSA (Casting), Anjee Nero (Production Stage Manager), and Amanda Salmons (Stage Manager).

    "I'm truly excited to open the Globe's 2017-2018 Season with this special new musical," said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. "A world premiere based on the delightfully offbeat 1993 MGM film, Benny & Joon centers on something rare in the musical theatre: the bond between siblings. The love between the brother and sister of the title is deep, moving, and real, and it gives this musical a gentleness and sweetness that I find completely captivating. Creators Kirsten Guenther, Nolan Gasser, and Mindi Dickstein have brought to the Globe a memorable and unique show, and my friend Jack Cummings III-who has carved out a unique space in the American theatre with the very human, people-driven stories he tells-brings Benny & Joon a beautiful spontaneity and freshness. The show's score-rich, complex, melodic, and fun-won me over instantly when I first heard it, and I am happy to share this bright new work with San Diego audiences."

    Additional events taking place during the run of Benny & Joon include:

    VICKI AND CARL ZEIGER INSIGHTS SEMINAR: Tuesday, September 12 at 5:30 p.m.

    An opportunity to closely connect with productions both onstage and backstage. A panel selected from the artistic company of each show (playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and/or technicians) engages patrons in an informal and illuminating presentation of ideas and insights to enhance the theatregoing experience. Reception at 5:00 p.m. FREE.

    SUBJECT MATTERS: Saturday, September 16 following the 2:00 p.m. matinee.

    Explore the ideas and issues raised by a production through brief, illuminating post-show discussions with local experts, such as scientists, artists, historians, and scholars. Subject Matters will ignite discussion, bring the play's concerns into sharp focus, and encourage you to think beyond the stage! FREE.

    POST-SHOW FORUMS: Tuesday, September 19, Tuesday, September 26, and Wednesday, October 4.

    Join us after the show for an informal and enlightening question-and-answer session with cast, crew, and/or Globe staff members. Get the inside story on creating a character and putting together a professional production. FREE.

    Single tickets to Benny & Joon start at $36 and go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 18 at 12:00 noon. Tickets can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623], or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 29 years of age and under, seniors, military members, and groups of 10 or more.

    Performances begin on September 7 and continue through October 22, 2017. Performance times: Previews: Thursday, September 7 at 8:00 p.m.; Friday, September 8 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, September 9 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m.; Wednesday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m.; and Thursday, September 14 at 8:00 p.m. Opening night is Friday, September 15 at 8:00 p.m. Regular performances (September 16 - October 22):Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.; Thursday and Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. There will be no performances on Saturday, September 23 at 2:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. and no matinee performance on Saturday, October 14 at 2:00 p.m. There will be an additional matinee performance on Wednesday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m.

    ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

    Kirsten Guenther (Book) previously lived in Paris, where she worked as a Paris correspondent for USATODAY.com and penned the popular weekly column "The Sexy Expat," about an American journalist trying to navigate and date the French. Her current theatre commissions include The Years Between (T. Fellowship) and the new musical Measure of Success (The Rockefeller Foundation Grant). Ms. Guenther wrote the book and lyrics for Little Miss Fix-It (as seen on NBC) and the book for Mrs. Sharp (Richard Rodgers Award for the Playwrights Horizons workshop starring Jane Krakowski, directed by Michael Greif). She penned the books to Out of My Head (licensed by Steele Spring Stage Rights) and The Cable Car Nymphomaniac (Bay Area Theatre Award nomination). Ms. Guenther is the recipient of a Johnny Mercer Writers Fellowship, Dramatists Guild Fellowship, and a Lincoln Center Honorarium. She has penned sketches for personalities such as James Franco, Jared Leto, Christopher Walken, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Steve Buscemi, Kathie Lee and Hoda, and others. She holds a B.F.A. in Acting from USC and an M.F.A. from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at New York University.

    Nolan Gasser (Music) is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist. He is most notably the architect of Pandora Radio's Music Genome Project and the company's chief musicologist from its founding in 1999. He holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Stanford University. His original compositions have been performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Salle Pleyel in Paris, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, among many others. His theatrical projects beyond Benny & Joon include the opera The Secret Garden, commissioned by San Francisco Opera (2013); the oratorio Repast: An Oratorio on the Life of Booker Wright (2015); and the musical Start Me Up, in development. Dr. Gasser's forthcoming book, Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste, will be released in 2018 (Flatiron Books - Macmillan Publishers). He is also the subject of a documentary for the ESPN FiveThirtyEight series The Collectors entitled "Breaking Music Down to Its Genes" (2015). The film highlights his forthcoming work with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to pilot an algorithm to provide personalized musical therapy for cancer patients. Dr. Gasser's TEDx Talk, "Empowering Your Musical Taste," is available on YouTube.

    Mindi Dickstein (Lyrics) is a lyricist, librettist, and playwright. She wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical Little Women (licensed by Music Theatre International, original cast album released by Sh-K-Boom & Ghostlight Records). Her work on Benny & Joon, showcased in the 2016 National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival, was developed in part at Running Deer Musical Theatre Lab, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, and Transport Group. Her current projects include Snow in August (based on the Pete Hamill novel), which had a developmental reading at Second Stage in June; and Alight Arise Return, developed at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and Lark Play Development Center. Her other musicals include Disney's Toy Story: The Musical, for which she wrote the book; and Trip (Playwrights Horizons Steinberg Charitable Trust Commission), Notes Across a Small Pond (Bridewell Theatre), and Beasts and Saints (Boston Music Theatre Project, ASCAP Foundation Workshop), for which she wrote book and lyrics. Her short play Starving to Death in Midtown was produced worldwide as part of the 2015 Climate Change Theatre Action. Her songs have been performed widely, including at Lincoln Center's Hear and Now: Contemporary Lyricists. Ms. Dickstein's honors include a Jonathan Larson Award, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, and two New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowships. She received her M.F.A. from and is currently on the faculty of New York University's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

    Jack Cummings III (Director) is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Transport Group, where he most recently directed William Inge's Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba in rotating repertory. His favorite Transport Group credits include Queen of the Mist by Michael John LaChiusa (world premiere); See Rock City & Other Destinations by Brad Alexander and Adam Mathias (New York premiere); The Audience (conceiver, world premiere); cul-de-sac by John Cariani (world premiere); Normal by Yvonne Adrian, Tom Kochan, and Cheryl Stern (world premiere); Marcy in the Galaxy by Nancy Shayne (world premiere); and Three Days to See (author/conceiver, world premiere); as well as revivals of I Remember Mama; Hello Again; First Lady Suite; Once Upon a Mattress; Almost, Maine; The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; The Boys in the Band; All the Way Home; and Our Town. His other New York credits include the world premiere of Terrence McNally's And Away We Go (The Pearl Theatre Company), 1,000 Words Come to Mind by Michele Lowe and Scott Richards (Inner Voices Theatre, world premiere), and Arlington by Polly Pen and Victor Lodato (Inner Voices Theatre, world premiere). His regional credits include I Remember Mama (Two River Theater), A Streetcar Named Desire (Gretna Theatre), Violet and The Young Man from Atlanta (Barksdale Theatre), and The Illusion (Nevada Theatre Company). He received his B.A. in International Relations from William and Mary and his M.F.A. in Directing from University of Virginia. He is married to actress Barbara Walsh.

    Katie Whalley Banville (Understudy) returns to The Old Globe, where she previously worked on A Doll's House. Her recent credits include Disney'sFreaky Friday and the world premiere of Escape to Margaritaville (La Jolla Playhouse). She is a Resident Artist at Cygnet Theatre Company, with credits including Dainty June in Gypsy, April in Company, Parade, Cabaret, My Fair Lady, and Man of La Mancha. Her other regional credits include Louise inGypsy (Craig Noel Award) and Clara in Passion (ion theatre company), Jenny Hill in Big Fish and Gingy in Shrek The Musical (Moonlight Stage Productions), and Andi Lee in 42nd Street (San Diego Musical Theatre). Her choreography credits include Gutenberg! The Musical! (Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company) and A Christmas Carol (Cygnet).

    Hannah Elless (Joon) returns to The Old Globe, where she originated the role of Margo Crawford in Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's Broadway musicalBright Star. Ms. Elless made her Broadway debut singing "Bless the Lord" in the revival of Stephen Schwartz's Godspell, followed by a very "Neil" turn in the Drama Desk Award-nominated The Other Josh Cohen under the direction of Tony Award winner Ted Sperling. She was most recently seen Off Broadway in Transport Group's Obie Award-winning productions of Picnic, as Millie Owens, and Come Back, Little Sheba, as Marie Buckholder. She can be found this fall on HBO's new television drama "The Deuce." Ms. Elless's film credits include Before Winter, The Lake Effect, and The Over/Under, as well as the upcoming When Mary Met Ally.

    Colin Hanlon (Mike) was in the Falsettos revival, In Transit, and Rent on Broadway. He also played Fiyero in the first national tour of Wicked. He was Adam in The New York premiere of Dot by Colman Domingo, directed by Susan Stroman (Vineyard Theatre). Mr. Hanlon was in the original casts of I Love You Because and Edges. He played Pete in the world premiere of The 12 by Robert Schenkkan and Neil Berg (Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company) and Luke in the regional premiere of Next Fall at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Mr. Hanlon's television credits include Steven on the Emmy Award-winning "Modern Family" on ABC, "Difficult People" on Hulu, and "The Sinner" on USA Network. He also starred in and produced "Submissions Only."

    January LaVoy (Ruthie) is makes her Old Globe debut in Benny & Joon. She has appeared on Broadway in Enron and Off Broadway in Measure for Measure (Theatre for a New Audience), Wings (Second Stage Theatre), Coraline (MCC Theater), and Two Trains Running, Home, Funnyhouse of a Negro,and the world premiere of Will Eno's Wakey, Wakey (Signature Theatre Company). Her regional credits include Mattie Campbell in Joe Turner's Come and Gone (Mark Taper Forum), Kate in Good People (Pittsburgh Public Theater), Isabella in Measure for Measure (The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Dawn in Lobby Hero, and Portia in The Merchant of Venice (Denver Center Theatre Company), and the world premiere of Native Guard (ALLIANCE THEATRE). Her television credits include "Blue Bloods," "3 lbs.," "Law & Order" (original, "Criminal Intent," and "Special Victims Unit"), and Noelle Ortiz on "One Life to Live". Her voiceover work includes many national commercial campaigns and over 150 audiobooks. Ms. LaVoy has been honored as Audiobook Narrator of the Year by Publishers Weekly and has received multiple Audie Awards.

    Jake Millgard (Understudy) was last seen in the Globe's productions of Guys and Dolls, Measure for Measure (Globe for All), Love's Labor's Lost,Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, and Arms and the Man. He received his M.F.A. from The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program and appeared in their productions of As You Like It, The Seagull, Clybourne Park, and Pericles, Prince of Tyre. His New York credits include Sex and Violence, On Campus, and Remembering Kimberly. His regional credits include Dracula and A Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville), The Full Monty (Northern Stage), and Art, The Odd Couple, and Lips Together, Teeth Apart (Mount Baker Theatre's Summer Repertory Theatre). He also appeared in the premiere of The Open Road Anthology (Humana Festival of New American Plays). Some of his television and film credits include "Grimm," Pudding Face, Placebo, and Frank and Barry.

    Paolo Montalban (Larry) was last seen at the Globe as Mike Masaoka in the world premiere of Allegiance. He is best known for portraying The Prince opposite Brandy in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (ABC), as well as the series lead Kung Lao in "Mortal Kombat: Conquest" (TNT), which was based on the popular video game. He has appeared on Broadway in Breakfast at Tiffany's starring Emilia Clarke; as Manjiro in Pacific Overtures(Roundabout Theatre Company); and in The King and I. He was most recently seen Off Broadway as Tommie Haw, a stripping Chinese American cowboy, in Bella: An American Tall Tale (Playwrights Horizons). His other New York credits include Eglamour in Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare in the Park) and Claro in The Romance of Magno Rubio (Ma-Yi Theater Company). His regional work includes Arthur in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (The Muny, Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company), the world premiere of Bella (Dallas Theater Center), The King in The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Carl Magnus in A Little Night Music (American Conservatory Theater), The Emperor in The Orphan of Zhao (La Jolla Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater), and Clopin in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Ogunquit Playhouse). Mr. Montalban has played recurring and guest-starring roles on "Madam Secretary," "The Blacklist," "Nurse Jackie," and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." His film credits include Just Wright, American Adobo, andThe Great Raid.

    Bryce Pinkham (Sam) is making his Old Globe debut. His Broadway credits include A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, The Heidi Chronicles,Holiday Inn, Ghost, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. His favorite television appearances are on PBS's "Mercy Street" and Baz Luhrmann's "The Get Down." He is a frequent collaborator with Outside the Wire, a theatre company that brings social-impact performances to American military audiences around the world. His most recent tours include Kuwait, Qatar, Japan, and Guantanamo Bay. He is a proud Leonore Annenberg Fellow and an enthusiastic graduate of Boston College and Yale School of Drama. Along with Globe M.F.A. alumnus Lucas Caleb Rooney, he co-founded a charity that uses theatrical storytelling to empower at-risk youth in Madagascar and the United States.

    Andrew Samonsky (Benny) has appeared on Broadway as Neville Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Kenneth Ormiston in Scandalous, and Lt. Cable in the Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific, with which he was also seen in the "Live from Lincoln Center" PBS broadcast. Most recently he played Robert Kincaid in the first national tour of The Bridges of Madison County. He originated the role of Captain Phoebus in the American premiere ofThe Hunchback of Notre Dame (Paper Mill Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse). Mr. Samonsky was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his portrayal of Frank Russell in the Off Broadway production of Michael John LaChiusa's Queen of the Mist, and he appeared in the City Center Encores! productions ofFiorello! and Merrily We Roll Along. He has originated the roles of Richard in Somewhere in Time (Portland Center Stage), Beauchamp in Tales of the City(American Conservatory Theater), Joshua in Little Miss Sunshine (La Jolla Playhouse), and Nick in Disney's On the Record (first national tour). He is a soloist with symphonies across the country, including the New York Philharmonic and Boston Pops. His television and film credits include "Elementary," "Guiding Light," The Ceiling Fan, and The Secret Song.

    Natalie Toro (Dr. Cruz, Mrs. Smail) originated the role of Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities on Broadway and won Sarasota Magazine's Best Featured Actress Award in its pre-Broadway run. She was the first American to play the role of Eponine in Les Misérables, and she was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for her portrayal of Eva Peron in the 20th anniversary tour of Evita. She originated the role of Sally in Alan Menken's A Christmas Carol and also played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, Grizabella in Cats, and Camila in In the Heights. She has originated roles Off Broadway including La Bruja in The Yellow Brick Road and Ginger in Zombie Prom. Her regional work includes The Bikinis, Zorba, Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers,Frances of Guernica, Everything's Ducky, and The Fix produced by Cameron Macintosh. Ms. Toro is currently a headliner with her one-woman show on major cruise lines around the world. Her CD Natalie Toro includes a duet with Sutton Foster, and her holiday CD Just in Time for Christmas features duets with Ryan Kelly from Celtic Thunder and Grammy Award winner Jon Secada. Ms. Toro's television credits include "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Elementary," "Person of Interest," and "Black Box." She has also performed with numerous symphony orchestras and at Carnegie Hall and the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland.

    Jason SweetTooth Williams (Waldo, Video Store Owner) is making his Old Globe debut with Benny & Joon. He has spent the last year in the new Disney musical Freaky Friday, enjoying runs at La Jolla Playhouse, Cleveland Play House, Alley Theatre, and Signature Theatre Company, where it received its world premiere. He was also recently seen Off Broadway opposite Jackie Hoffman as Prince Dauntless in Transport Group's production of Once Upon a Mattress directed by Jack Cummings III. Mr. Williams is a longtime collaborator of award-winning writer Joe Iconis, having appeared in Iconis's Bloodsong of Love (Ars Nova), The Black Suits (Summer Play Festival/The Public Theater), ReWrite (Urban Stages), and Things to Ruin (album available on Sh-K-Boom & Ghostlight Records). His other favorite theatre credits include Crossing Brooklyn (Transport Group), The Trouble with Doug (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley), and The Disappearing Man (Musical Theatre Factory). As a writer, Mr. Williams co-wrote the '70s Blaxploitation-inspired action musical Broadway BounTy Hunter, which had its world premiere last summer starring Annie Golden at Barrington Stage Company.

    Scott Rink (Choreographer) choreographed the Off Broadway productions of Once Upon a Mattress, Three Days to See, Queen of the Mist, Hello Again, Being Audrey, Crossing Brooklyn, Songs for a New World, and Normal. Mr. Rink's regional credits include Carnaval de Fuego (Six Flags Elitch Gardens),Alice in Wonderland (Birmingham Children's Theatre), Disney's Mulan (Imagination Stage), and Seussical (Wagner College). His commissioned works include dances for Ailey II, ABT II, Oakland Ballet Company, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Repertory Dance Theatre, The Ailey School, Harvard University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and University of Minnesota, among others. Mr. Rink has created a number of works for his company danceRINK in New York City and abroad. As a dancer, Mr. Rink performed in the companies of Eliot Feld, Elisa Monte, Karole Armitage, and Lar Lubovitch.

    Dane Laffrey (Scenic and Costume Design) previously designed sets for The Old Globe's production of The Few. His Broadway credits include set and costumes for Deaf West's Spring Awakening, set for Fool for Love, and sets for this season's revival of Once on This Island at Circle in the Square Theatre. His recent Off Broadway credits include sets and/or costumes for Rancho Viejo, Indian Summer, The Christians, and Iowa (Playwrights Horizons),Sell/Buy/Date (Manhattan Theatre Club), Homos, or Everyone in America (LAByrinth Theater Company), Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba (Transport Group), The Harvest (Lincoln Center Theater), The Glory of the World (Brooklyn Academy Of Music's Harvey Theater), Cloud Nine (Atlantic Theater Company), and other work at Roundabout Theatre Company, Second Stage Theatre, Vineyard Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, MCC Theater, Soho Rep., Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Transport Group, and many others. Mr. Laffrey's regional work includes the Humana Festival, Mark Taper Forum, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Goodspeed Musicals, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Baltimore Center Stage, Studio Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, New York Stage and Film, and others. He has also designed internationally in Tokyo, Oslo, Osaka, and throughout Australia. Mr. Laffrey won a 2017 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Set and Costume Design, and he has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award and four Henry Hewes Design Awards, along with numerous regional accolades.

    R. Lee Kennedy (Lighting Design) is the resident lighting designer for New York City-based Transport Group, and he has designed their Off Broadway productions of Inge in Rep: Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba; Once Upon a Mattress; Three Days to See; I Remember Mama (Henry Hewes Design Award nomination); Almost, Maine; Queen of the Mist (Hewes nomination); Hello Again; See Rock City (Drama Desk Award nomination); Bury the Dead(Drama Desk nomination); Marcy in the Galaxy; The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; Normal; The Audience (Drama Desk nomination); First Lady Suite;Requiem for William; Our Town; and the world premiere play And Away We Go by Terrence McNally, produced by The Pearl Theatre Company. His regional credits include The Light in the Piazza (Barrymore Award) and The Outgoing Tide (Barrymore nomination) (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Cake Off (Signature Theatre Company), and I Remember Mama (Two River Theater), as well as Illinois Shakespeare Festival's 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011 seasons. Mr. Kennedy has designed national tours of The Secret Garden (Joseph Jefferson Award Citation), Once on This Island, Five Guys Named Moe, and A Grand Night for Singing.

    Kai Harada (Sound Design) designed the Broadway productions of Amélie, Sunday in the Park with George, Allegiance, Gigi, Fun Home, On the Town,First Date, Follies (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations), and Million Dollar Quartet. His other credits include Poster Boy (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Beaches (Drury Lane Theatre), Brooklynite (Vineyard Theatre), Little Dancer and First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb (The Kennedy Center), Zorro (Moscow, Atlanta), Hinterm Horizont (Berlin), Sweeney Todd and The Pirates of Penzance (Portland Opera), and She Loves Me (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). He was also the audio consultant for the Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

    Michael Starobin (Orchestrations) previously orchestrated In Your Arms at The Old Globe. His credits include Sunday in the Park with George, Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing, Freaky Friday, Kid Victory, Falsettos, First Daughter Suite, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, If/Then, Annie, Dogfight, Leap of Faith, Queen of the Mist, The People in the Picture, Sondheim on Sondheim, Next to Normal (Tony Award), The Glorious Ones, Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Adrift in Macao, Bernarda Alba, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Assassins (Tony Award), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A New Brain, A Christmas Carol, Hello Again, Guys and Dolls (1992), My Favorite Year, In Trousers, Once on This Island, Closer Than Ever, Legs Diamond, Romance/Romance, Carrie, Birds of Paradise, Rags, Three Guys Naked, and Von Richthofen. His film credits include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, A Goofy Movie, Life with Mikey, Home on the Range, Tangled, Lucky Stiff, and Beauty and the Beast (2017).

    J. Oconer Navarro (Music Director) previously served as music director of The Old Globe's Rain. He recently penned new arrangements for Disney's Beauty and the Beast, currently playing at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His select New York credits include Adding Machine, Curtains, First Daughter Suite, The House of Blue Leaves, Iowa, Mary Poppins, We the People, and seven seasons with Lincoln Center Theater. His regional credits include Barrington Stage Company, Hangar Theatre, The Kennedy Center, New York Stage and Film, three national tours for Theatreworks USA, and Two River Theater. He is part of the founding faculty of New Studio on Broadway at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, as well as the Musical Theatre Conservatory at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and he is music supervisor at Camp Broadway. He is also a composer, lyricist, and writer whose works have been seen Off Broadway. In addition, he is the resident composer for The Church of Saint Paul the Apostle in New York and is a recipient of an American Theatre Wing Jonathan Larson Grant.

    Howie Cherpakov, CSA (Casting) returns to The Old Globe after casting their productions of October Sky and Bright Star (Artios Award nomination). His Broadway and national tour credits include Bright Star, Next Fall (Artios nomination), The Seafarer, Coram Boy, Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, Dirty Dancing, and South Pacific. Off Broadway and regionally he has cast productions for Lincoln Center Theater, Women's Project Theater, New York Stage and Film/Powerhouse Theater (Artios nomination for The Power of Duff), Atlantic Theater Company, Naked Angels (Artios Award for Fault Lines), Pasadena Playhouse, Irish Arts Center, Soho Theatre in London, American Theater Group, and New York Musical Festival, among many others.

    Anjee Nero (Production Stage Manager) has previously worked on the Globe productions of King Richard II; Picasso at the Lapin Agile; October Sky; Kiss Me, Kate; The Twenty-seventh Man; Bright Star; Dog and Pony; The Winter's Tale; Be a Good Little Widow; Allegiance; A Room with a View; Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show; The Savannah Disputation; Kingdom; and the 2007 Shakespeare Festival. Ms. Nero also worked on the Broadway production of Bright Star and will soon be launching the show's tour. Her selected La Jolla Playhouse credits include Sideways directed by Des McAnuff,Ruined directed by Liesl Tommy, A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Christopher Ashley, and Herringbone directed by Roger Rees and starring BD Wong. Ms. Nero has worked with several prominent regional theatres including The Kennedy Center, Hartford Stage, Center Theatre Group, Siti Company, Huntington Theatre Company, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, to name a few. Her other selected credits include Schick Machine (Paul Dresher Ensemble), which toured both nationally and internationally, and Garden of Forbidden Loves and Garden of Deadly Sound (IMAGOmoves), which performed at the International Hungarian Theatre Festival in Cluj, Romania.

    Amanda Salmons (Stage Manager) has previously worked at The Old Globe on King Richard II; The Blameless; Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!; October Sky; Macbeth; Rain; The Metromaniacs; Kiss Me, Kate; The White Snake; The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; The Last Goodbye; Globe for All (2014, 2015); the Summer Shakespeare Festival (2011-2013); Somewhere; Lost in Yonkers; I Do! I Do!; and The Price. Her other credits include Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin (La Jolla Playhouse), Kiss Me, Kate (Hartford Stage), The Foreigner, miXtape, See How They Run, The Music Man, and The Rivalry (Lamb's Players Theatre), The Gondoliers, The Pirates of Penzance, Candide, and Trial by Jury (Lyric Opera San Diego), and SummerFest (La Jolla Music Society). She received her B.A. in Theatre from UC San Diego.

    The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country's leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego's flagship arts institution for over 80 years. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe's Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdooR Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre's artistic and arts engagement programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Bright Star, Allegiance, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.


              Tempos sem livro das caras (III): O telefone        

    O telefone era uma coisa preta na mesinha do corredor da casa da minha avó.  Ao lado da mesinha havia uma cadeira de pau, elegante e desconfortável, lá se sentavam as pessoas que queriam telefonar.

    O telefone era também uma coisa preta numa mesinha ao lado do sofá da sala de visitas da casa da minha bisavó e estou em crer que em casa da minha bisavó as chamadas eram mais confortáveis. Na sala das visitas da casa da minha bisavó havia uma arca de cânfora e as chamadas cheiravam a cânfora, e telefone e cânfora eram dois conceitos estritamente ligados na minha cabeça.
    Na sala de visitas da casa da minha bisavó cheirava a cera-de-brilhar-o-chão e havia naperons de crochet nos braços dos sofás onde, e só de longe a longe, se sentavam as visitas, muito direitas e desconfortáveis e, se era inverno, com frio nos pés.

    A minha avó sentava-se na cadeira de pau elegante e desconfortável colocada ao lado da mesinha do telefone e ditava os telegramas de parabéns-e-felicidades-ou-de-condolências- conforme-as-ocasiões. Tudo muito bem pensado e reduzido ao mínimo, que os telegramas eram pagos à palavra além de que, invariavelmente, a menina dos telegramas não percebia o ditado da minha avó e podia dar grossa asneira. Muitas felicidade–esse-de sapo não, não é fato, é sapo, esse-de-sino, e por aí fora. Um fartote de rir para quem estava por perto.
    Um fartote de rir quando o Senhor Manuel da Lenha, lá ia atender as chamadas dos clientes. O Senhor Manuel da Lenha ou das Casas Novas deixava os socos à porta e gritava, MINHA SENHORA, entre, entre Senhor Manuel, e ele vinha descalço corredor fora e não se sentava na cadeira para não a sujar e dizia muitos palavrões enquanto o apressavam com as entregas da lenha. E o meu avô, à mesa do jantar, sobrolho escandalizado, e nós, crianças, a rir à socapa por debaixo da toalha branca da mesa.

    Quando eu era muito pequena o telefone ainda não era em minha casa, os meus pais não tinham necessidade, ou não tinham dinheiro, ou as duas coisas ou ainda outras. O telefone só veio a ser mais tarde e, como vivíamos numa cidade muito do interior, o nosso telefone não tinha uma roda que rodava e, ao invés, levantávamos o auscultador e dizíamos, telefonista ligue-me para o 35, os números eram incrivelmente pequenos porque não havia muitos telefones.



    E era assim há 40 anos. Agora temos o facebook e as mensagens-enviado –do-meu-iphone

              Atlético Nacional y FCF salpicados por el escándalo de corrupción española        

    El presidente de la Real Federación Española de Fútbol Ángel María Villar, su hijo Gorka Villar Bollaín y Juan Antonio Padrón fueron capturados por presuntamente haber cometido delitos que van desde administración desleal, apropiación indebida, estafa, falsedad de documentos y corrupción. En interrogaciones y con algunos documentos de base, al parecer estaría salpicada a la Federación Colombiana de Fútbol y el club …

    La entrada Atlético Nacional y FCF salpicados por el escándalo de corrupción española aparece primero en TAC3 News.


              Volkswagen Group, Tata Motors end talks on emerging markets cooperation        

    BERLIN/NEW DELHI - Cooperation talks between Germany's Volkswagen Group and India's Tata Motors about joint development of a car for emerging markets have ended amicably, the two companies said on Thursday.

    The collapse of the talks is a further blow to Volkswagen's (VW) efforts to develop a cheap vehicle platform for Asian markets, after an earlier alliance with Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp also fell apart.

    In March Tata Motors and VW announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a long-term partnership to explore joint development of products for customers in India and other markets.

    The German group's Czech arm Skoda, commissioned by VW to lead the talks with Tata, was exploring a possible entry-level car platform together with the Indian manufacturer, using Tata's AMP vehicle platform as a basis, a VW group source said.

    Skoda dropped the idea of developing the AMP platform on fears that it would need significant further investment to meet future crash-test and engine emissions requirements and would instead explore parent VW's MQB platform for possible further savings, said the source, who declined to be named.

    "The two companies have come to the conclusion that at the present point of time the technical and economic synergies cannot be realized in the desired way," Skoda said on Thursday, confirming a Reuters story.

    "We have evaluated the technical feasibility and degree of synergies for the envisioned partnership. We have concluded that the strategic benefits for both parties are below the threshold levels," said Tata Motors Chief Executive Guenter Butschek, the German automotive and aerospace industry veteran who joined the Indian company last year.

    But the two automakers, which also studied joint development of components, did not rule out the possibility of collaboration in the future after holding what Skoda called "constructive talks" over the past five months.

    Foreign carmakers like VW, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have struggled in India where more nimble rivals such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motor have cornered two thirds of the market.

    Tata, which is also struggling to boost sales, has been trying to turn round its loss-making domestic business by modernising its products, improving efficiency and streamlining its organisation.

    In May General Motors said it would stop selling cars in India from the end of this year, drawing a line under two decades of battling in one of the world's most competitive markets where small cars make up the bulk of sales.

    India is expected to become the world's third-largest car market by 2020 but passenger vehicle sales have slowed in recent months due to policy changes and a new nationwide sales tax.

    The collapse of talks with Tata also deals a blow to VW's efforts to decentralize power within the group in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal and assign greater responsibilities to the individual brands and business regions for vehicles and technology, another source at VW group said.



              Barbie si intoxicatia sexuala a copiilor        

    Treceam zilele trecute pe langa un chiosc de ziare si m-a frapat intreaga scena petrecuta in fata mea. O mamica se oprise cu fetita ei (de vreo 6-7 anisori) la chiosc pentru a cumpara cateva reviste. Nimic neobisnuit pana cand cea mica a observat in geamul chioscului o revista Barbie si a inceput insistent sa o ceara. Initial, nebagand de seama ce-i declansase copilului starea de disperare si de extaz, mama a incercat s-o linisteasca si sa-i spuna ca trebuie sa se grabeasca sa ajunga acasa. 

    Incercarea a fost, asa cum probabil va asteptati, una nereusita. Fetita s-a pus pe urlat, pe plans si mama, resemnata, a trebuit sa cumpere si revista respectiva, explicandu-i vanzatoarei ca asa face mereu copilul cand vede genul respectiv de reviste, pe care este nevoita sa i le cumpere destul de des, daca nu saptamanal, o data la doua saptamani sigur.


    Priveam uimit scena si nu puteam sa-mi cred ochilor, inteleg toanele celor mici, mai ales ale celor caposi dar intamplarea in sine mi-a dat de gandit si dupa un studiu mai atent pe internet, concluziile sunt destul de grave, motiv pentru care am decis sa abordez astazi acest subiect.

    Nefiind un cumparator de astfel de ”literatura”, am cerut si eu vanzatoarei aceeasi revista si am intrebat-o ce vanzare are publicatia. Femeia mi-a raspuns imediat ca are clienti vechi, care cumpara fiecare numar, ca sunt parinti care achizitioneaza si cate 2-3 astfel de reviste lunar, la insistentele celor mici.

    Mi-am luat si eu revista, si m-am intors cu ea acasa, sa vad  cat de ramolit am ajuns, de nu mai inteleg reactiile generatiilor viitoare cand vine vorba de mofturi. Cu siguranta ati vazut si dvs, prin vitrinele chioscurilor de ziare, revistele despre care va povestesc, si cu siguranta ati constatat cat de atragatoare sunt, ma refer la culori, la desene si la nimicurile pe care le ofera cadou in punga sigilata in care se afla si revista. 

    Ajuns acasa am desfacut revista si rasfoind-o am constatat ca in cele 20 de pagini frumos colorate, nu sunt decat titluri gen: ”Barbie la shopping”, ”Barbie in club”, ”Barbie la plimbare”, ”Barbie la mall” etc... Jocurile care macar teoretic ar trebui sa dezvolte imaginatia celor mici sunt extrem de putine si de simpliste, eu am vazut doar unul de tip puzzle, si unul in care cele mici trebuie sa lipeasca autocolantele (cadou la revista) pe o imagine pentru a recrea imaginea unei rochii de gala...

    Nicaieri nu aparea vreun titlu sau vreo imagine de genul ”Barbie la scoala” sau ”Barbie la olimpiada de mate”... Nu, tot e axat pe distractie si atat. Si daca n-ati vazut inca pe cate articole pentru copii apare marca Barbie, va recomand sa fiti un pic mai atenti, la ghiozdane, pixuri, caiete, caserole pentru mancare, absolut toate articolele de imbracaminte si incaltaminte, pahare, castroane etc... La o simpla accesare google veti descoperi ca aceasta afacere produce sume fabuloase anual. 

    Cautand sa aflu mai multe despre asa numitul ”efect Barbie” am fost surprins sa constat ca ne lasam copii inoxicati cu o gramada de aluzii sexuale, cu multe comportamente deloc normale la varste fragede, asta pe langa toata nebunia din educatie si interesul tot mai scazut pentru studiu. 

    Daca ati vedea pe strada o tanara imbracata ca aceasta ”Barbie” (vorbesc generic, sunt mult mai multe papusi si marci de acelasi fel) cu siguranta ati gandi ceva de genul ”uite-o si pe asta, a iesit din casa, ca pe centura”. Industria despre care va vorbesc, impreuna cu materialele de promovare, nu fac decat sa creeze stereotipuri si sa afecteze psihicul celor mici intr-o foarte mare masura. Sunt parinti care nici macar nu sunt interesati sa vada ce contine o astfel de revista, daca le contrazice sau nu principiile pe care ei ar dori sa le insufle copiilor. Le cumpara frumusel, si le ofera sigilate celor mici, care, conform studiilor, nu mai cresc cu imaginea parintilor ca model, ci imbratisaza alte modele, cele pe care chiar parintii le ofera. 

    Daca stati sa analizati putin imbracamintea acestor papusi veti vedea ca sunt tot mai sumar imbracate, tot mai mulat si mai provocator. Iar fetitele cresc cu modelul asta pentru a deveni mai tarziu niste obsedate de proportii deloc sanatoase, de un fizic ireal care li se intipareste in minte de mici. Asta, bineinteles in timp ce mancarea de tip fast food este tot mai promovata si iti face tot mai multi adepti. 

    Iar la adolescenta ne minunam ca fetele noastre au comportamente deviate, ca nu ne mai intelegem nicicum cu ele, ca ar sta non stop in cluburi sau la cumparaturi si ca aleg tinute tot mai deocheate... Adolescenta este o perioada extrem de dificila din punt de vedere psihic pentru viitorul adult, insa asociata cu obsesia pentru un anume tip de fizic si de imagine nu face decat sa dea nastere cat mai multor depresii stari de instabilitate si confuzie psihica. 

    Mama nu mai reprezinta modelul copilului, imaginea pe care copilul sa o aiba ca exemplu, de cele mai multe ori nu este la fel de frumoasa ca o Barbie, nu are nici corpul ei (apropo, masurile respectivei papusi s-ar traduce printr-o anorexie destul de pronuntata daca ar fi sa le transpunem in realitate), nici ”outfiturile” ei. Iar la adolescenta mama ajunge sa fie destul de usor persoana non-grata in perceptia copilului. 

    Despre imaginea tatalui nici nu mai discutam ca oricum el pare a fi unul care a trait in epoca dinozaurilor si nu are habar despre toate noutatile si toate ”minunatiile” de pe lumea asta. Parintii devin doi oameni ”de evitat” pentru tanara care nu stie cum sa-si mai ocupe timpul pentru a ajunge la perfectiunea fizica, care sta sa isi analizeze critic  formele in oglinda cateva ore bune in fiecare zi. Sexualitatea lor debordanta naste o alta abordare si din partea baietilor si veti auzi tot mai des ca ”in ziua de azi baietii nu vor decat sex, sunt niste magari”... Pai de ce? De ce vor doar sex? Oare nu-i indreptam in directia asta chiar noi, parintii?

    Am adus in discutie cazul ”Barbie” doar exemplificativ, nu pentru a demonstra ca doar psihicul si perceptiile fetelor sunt afectate de stereotipuri. Si baietii sunt in agala masura atacati de curentul asta, iar efectele cred ca nu sunt greu de identificat. Cuvantul de ordine pentru toti copiii si pentru toti tinerii este DISTRACTIA

    Si pe urma va intrebati de ce merge societatea in directia gresita? Pentru ca noi, parintii nu realizam ce oferim, de cele mai multe ori cu buna intentie... Pentru ca noi crestem niste copii cu un handicap psihic major si pe urma stam sa ne plangem, ca nu ne mai intelegem cu ei! Pentru ca  ne este prea lene sa gandim si poate pentru ca nu ne mai pasa!

    Si daca o sa spuneti ca mereu generatiile urmatoare le-au scandalizat pe cele anterioare prin atitutdini, vestimentatie, concepii, am sa va atrag atentia asupra unui fapt, n-am negat in acest articol rolul unor exemple pozitive, n-am sa spun ca era mai bine daca faceau papusi obeze pe care sa le aiba fetitele ca exemplu sau niste burtosi pe post de super eroi pentru baieti... Spun doar ca nu mai avem grija ce oferim celor mici pentru a-i putea tine aproape, pentru a-i putea sprijini si pe parcursul adolescentei si pentru a nu ajunge sa ne mai plangem ca societatea e de vina, ca sistemul e de vina, ca nu mai stiu cine e de vina! Nu! pentru cum ne crestem copii suntem doar noi de vina!

    In speranta ca v-am trezit macar interesul pentru a va documenta ceva mai bine pe aceasta chestiune destul de importanta, ma inclin in fata dvs,

    Cu toata consideratia,
    Pavel Dinu

    sursa foto:http://images.idiva.com

              Australia's Misunderstood Sweetheart?        

    Australian's have a love/hate relationship with Lara Bingle.  Correction.  Fashionistas love Lara, many others don't get it. 

    Unafraid to take a style risk, when this Fashion-Week-darling gets it right, she gets it 'oh so right' and the rest of us follow.   We've watched her evolve from that sunny Bondi Beach babe into a fearless trendsetter within a matter of years.




    Whether it's a singular Sarina Suriano diamante ear cuff, a Dior hairnet or a Balenciaga Halo, she's ahead of her time in the Aussie fashion stakes, often drawing inspiration from what's happening in Paris RIGHT NOW.  If Lara debuts the look, chances are, the masses will follow, and several imitations will pop up in chain stores within a matter of weeks.






    In 2012, Channel 10's fly-on-the-wall reality show 'Being Lara Bingle' was trashed by the critics but adored by Aussie girls, stalking her looks week after week, with many emulating her outfits within days of screening.  Yet we saw a side to Lara that showed more than being just a coat-hanger for designer looks.  We grew to know a refreshingly imperfect girl, thrust into the spotlight, suffering regret about her ex, struggling with her weight, throwing hissy fits, marvelling at her fame on occasion and resenting it all in the same day.  A candid take on a tabloid favourite, it was a delight to watch.

    As a misunderstood front-row regular, she's worked hard to gain the respect of the average Australian and throughout much scandal, has held her head high, often using the opportunity as a chance to showcase her latest favourite look-of-the-moment.  A Fashion PR dream or happy accident?  One can only speculate.






    Photo credits - http://www.larabingleonline.net/  
    http://being-lara-bingle.tumblr.com/
    Lara Bingle instagram


              From Runway to the Streets        
    Click here to read my latest article on Australian Fashion Guide! xoxo

    From Runway to the Streets - Fashion & Beauty, Fashion Designers, News & People - Fashion Directory - Australian Fashion Guide


    Harness Your Style

    Right now everyone is talking about harnesses. A little bit bondage and a whole lotta rock'n'roll, this is one versatile look that can go from coffee to cocktails. Sienna Miller shocked the critics back in 2006 but in 2010, every girl is trying to get her hands on one. Blake Lively looked ravishing earlier this month in her straight-off-the-catwalk Lanvin and Roberto Cavalli recently showed off his interpretation for Spring 2011, incorporating the new season trend of nude colors, as seen below.



    However, we are more inclined towards Australian label Sass & Bide – who seem to have been showing them for two seasons now – many attached to dresses and tees. ‘The Answer Harness’ made from a combination of crocheted lace and leather with gold stud detailing. In black and ivory (RRP $290). Wear this regal piece of body jewellery over long simple maxi’s and plain scoop neck tee’s or tanks for maximum impact. Remember, this item is the statement piece, so keep the hairstyle & extra bling super simple, or risk looking overdone.



    Next up on the hit list is by independent Sydney based brand, Metallic Dreamer. Exclusive in their form, these intricate works of art are hand crafted by the very creative Tanya Arlidge. Think mysterious & somewhat tribal, this brand is so on-trend it had clothing label, Tallulah, use pieces to style out their lookbook. This brand isn’t for the meek – with Tanya describing her collection as less jewellery and more styling/layering tools. The pick of the collection? The ‘Black Ceremony’ harness (RRP $120.00). Picture the perfect mix of black leather, crochet appliqué with dirty silver pyramid stud detail & ostrich feather trim Work them back with bodysuits and form fitting shifts. http://www.metallicdreamer.bigcartel.com



    Now you know you’re on to a good thing when the likes of Miranda Kerr, Gwen Stefani, Kate Bosworth, Emma Booth and Megan Gale are wearing their pieces, so look no further than Damselfly. At the helm is Melbourne based Christianna Heideman, with the ‘Mesh Body Chain’ (RRP $189) from her new range "I hate myself for loving you". Ultra sexy and rock inspired, this adornment is an intricate web of silver plated brass based chains and will be available from www.damselfly.com.au from early December, or check out her pop up store - Shop 20-28 Chatham Street, Prahran.



    More Kaleidescope than Casio (Digital Print Dresses)

    Digital print dresses are a breath of fresh air for Fashionistas in a sea of played out Boho and overdone Retro. Finally, something that hasn’t been done to death and it seems that the fashion savvy are embracing the look with gusto.

    Josh Goot pioneered this look here in Australia for his Spring Summer collection in 2008, using a more neutral colour palette, as if to be testing the buying public. These days he’s confidently made a bigger commitment in his collection to Digi prints – using brighter, almost fluoro tones, his fabrics are like a dream of acid paint swirls and lightening strikes that make for a bold statement. Of his latest collection, the pick has to be the Mirrored Sleeveless Mini Dress (RRP$945). Keep accessories to a minimum and let this piece speak for itself.



    Moving on to my love of this Kaleidoscope inspired look is design sensation Dion Lee. Bursting onto the Australian fashion scene only last year, the 24 year old LMFF Design Award finalist presented an impressive and highly anticipated collection showcasing Ultraviolet coloured Rorschach (ink blot) prints, as seen here Dion is certainly the designer to watch, invest in his pieces now to pass down to future generations.



    And finally we have the scandalous Sydney based fashion trio ‘Illionaire’ with their interpretation – the ‘Worshipper Frock’ (RRP $638) available in the very wearable tones of peacock emerald and bronze. This dress has very structured tailoring with its layered and folded hemline – work this back with ankle boots and a blazer for a softer look.


              Tugas Etika Bisnis (Jurnal Etika Bisnis)        


    International business ethics: strategies and responsibilities
    Iraj Mahdavi,
    National University
    ABSTRACT

    This paper examines the importance of global ethical business responsibilities. The recent public scandals of corporate malfeasance have heightened this need and organizations face numerous ethical issues. Strategies such as codes of conduct, developed by various international entities, can guide multinational corporations in this effort. The authors also analyze various ethical climate and ethical problems.  Author concludes that a global code of ethics, developed and enforced by an international agreement is the best means of bringing ethics to international businesses.

    Key Words: Business Ethics, Global business, International Organizations
    INTRODUCTION

    Importance of ethics in the business world is superlative and global. New trends and issues arise on a daily basis which may create an important burden to organizations and endconsumers. Nowadays, the need for proper ethical behavior within organizations has become crucial to avoid possible lawsuits. The public scandals of corporate malfeasance and misleading practices, have affected the public perception of many organizations (e. g., Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom etc.). It is widely known that advertising does not promote the advancement of human moral sensibility. Lasch’s contention (1978: 1) that modern advertising “Seeks to create needs, not to fulfill them: to generate new anxieties instead of allaying old ones. . . It addresses itself to the spiritual desolation of modern life and proposes consumption as the cure” seems to still be true.

    The recent expansion of global business and fall of trade barriers worldwide have further underlined the interest in the topics of ethical behavior and social responsibility (See among others, Jones, 1991: 366-395). In addition, as many scholars believe, human rights and environmental conservation are gaining increasing more recognition in both academic and commercial settings.

    As multinational companies expand globally and enter foreign markets, ethical conduct of the officers and employees assume added importance since the very cultural diversity associated with such expansion may undermine the much shared cultural and ethical values observable in the mores homogeneous organizations (Mahdavi, 2001). Although understanding of other cultures and recognition of differences among them will enhance the cross-cultural communication, it may not be sufficient to provide viable guidelines of proper ethical behavior in organizations. Thus, concerns about unethical behavior of corporations in other countries, are manifested in legislations such as The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, and the Sarbane- Oxley Act of 2002. In the academic arena, on the other hand, the culture-based consequentiality model is developed to explain, among other things, how cultural differences alter the ethical perception and actions of individuals engaged in making decisions with ethical overtones (Robertson and Fadil, 1999: 385-392).

    Turnen-Red and Woodland (2001:61) stated:
    "Through the post-World War II period international trade policy reform has seldom been absent from the mind of policy-makers. The formation of General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) as a forum for the discussion of international trade and policy issues and the resolution of disputes, and as a sponsor of regular rounds of multilateral negotiations leading to a substantial drop in the average level of tariff protection, has ensured the trade policy issues have retained currency. More recently, there has been considerable focus on bilateral and regional trade agreements with the expansion of the customs union of the European Community and the advent of organizations such as the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Mercusor. Nevertheless, cooperative trade policy remains an important part of the international landscape”

    Wimbush and Shephard (1984: 637-647) reported that businesses annually spend an estimated $40 billion on the ethical behavior problems. Thus, pointing to the fact that ethical dimension of employees’ behavior has a clear impact on the profitability of the company. In order to improve the ethical climate of an organization, management must effectively communicate proper ethical behavior throughout the organization. Training sessions, codes of ethics, reward systems, and coaching are a few methods that organizations employ in this regard (Delaney and Sockell, 1992:719-727; Laczniak and Indemeden, 1987: 297-307; Jansen and Von Glinow, 1985: 814-822).

    Therefore, the problems that organizations face today are: How ethical values are communicated most effectively to employees? Which communication channel works best? American business in spite of all of its faults and weaknesses, still form a key model for much of the world. An important force in disseminating the American style of management is the role of the U.S. as the world’s largest manufacturer of contemporary culture. Moreover, many researchers have pointed to the significant role that the American business schools play in propagating the U.S. style of management throughout the world. (See Mahdavi, 2001; and Nimgade, 1989:104, among others)

    Morf (1999: 265) believes: “Ethics is the moral principle that individuals inject into their decision making process and that helps temper the last outcome to conform to the norms of their society”. Moreover, ethical principles have the very profound function of making behavior predictable (Mahdavi, 2003). The truly global companies must come to grips with the legal and moral atmosphere in which they operate. But above all, they need to establish an environment that fosters ethical behavior, because in the final analysis to do otherwise cuts into their profitability.

    In contrast to this view a group of scholars put forth the theory of Virtuous Ethics, which is defined as a theory that focuses mainly on an individual's moral character. According to these scholars, marketing researchers have paid little attention to virtuous ethics. Furthermore, they propose that without taking virtuous ethics into account, a comprehensive analysis of the ethical character of marketing decision makers and their strategies cannot be attained.

    ETHICAL PROBLEMS IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

    Getz (1990: 567-577) analyzed international codes of conduct in four entities: (1) the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is the primary policymaker for industrialized nations, (2) the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which is concerned with fair treatment among multinational corporations, (3) the International Labor Organization (ILO), which is concerned with direct investment in developing countries, and (4) the Center for Transnational Corporations (CTC), whose objective is to maximize the contributions of transnational corporations to economic development and growth and to minimize the negative effects of the activities of these corporations.

    These various codes were developed in order to establish order among multinational corporations; although, some organizations refuse to abide by these codes, mainly because national governments have not sanctioned them completely. Without uniform and full enforcement, multinational organizations could have rampant choice in international ethical issues. Underlying this lack of consensus is the issue of national as well as corporate culture (See Hofstede, 1980: 46-47). Every nation is different and every multinational organization is in one way or another distinct in the way they do business, especially in other countries.

    In addition to these codes, the moral corporation should address human rights and whistle blowing and the international ethics code under which it operates. These issues are not very new. In a survey of 300 multinational corporations, 80 percent agreed with seven items being ethical issues for business: (1) employee conflict of interest, (2) inappropriate gifts to corporate personnel, (3) sexual harassment, (4) unauthorized payments, (5) affirmative action (6) employee privacy; and (7) environmental issues (Brooks, 1989; Berenheim, 1987, 1989: 117-129).

    ETHICAL CLIMATE & ETHICAL PROBLEMS

    Strategies, such as these codes of ethics, are only one means of achieving the ultimate goal of having ethical international responsibility in the engagement of business worldwide. As stated above, there are many ethical responsibilities faced by multinational organizations. Theorists generally agree that situational variables such as organizational climate can affect ethical behavior of individuals (Kelly et al., 1989: 327-340). However, there have been no attempts to study the relationship of ethical climate of an organization and ethical behavior of its members.

    Ethical climate, it must be emphasized, is not the same as culture is commonly perceived, but rather a broader concept of culture (Schein, 1990, pp. 109-119). Culture is believed to be more associated with deeper beliefs, values and assumptions (Denison, 1996, pp. 619-654). Therefore, just as one can value an individual’s culture by his or her actions and personal activities, ethical climate can be observed on a larger scale; in this case, the organization. Ethical climate is, in essence, the employee’s perception of the norms of an organization (Bartels et al., 1998: 799-804).

    As Bartels and others have shown (1998:799-804), organizations with a strong ethical climate experienced few serious ethical problems, and were more successful coping with such problems. Their research suggests that it is imperative for managers to consider developing strong ethical climates if they aim to provide organizational members the ability to handle ethical dilemmas and to avoid any inherent liabilities. Managers must create and maintain a clear and strong set of norms to promote good ethical behavior.

    In this approach, a person’s own beliefs and values and their influence on his/her perception and behavior are not taken into account. Nonetheless, ethical climate is a very potent tool in steering the behavior of an organization’s members. As Mahdavi has shown (2003, 2005), an organization’s codes of ethics and enforcement of rules go a long way to control and direct behavior of social entities.

    Based on the above discussion, global corporations must recognize the need for a uniform code of business ethics since without such a code, behavior of actors in this arena remains unpredictable. Furthermore, national governments must realize that probably the most effective means of protecting their citizens, their national interests, and the global environment against the ravages of the over-reaching global business rest in the development, adoption and enforcement of such a code. Until then, it is not realistic to hope for any such international agreement to be adopted.

    However, a growing momentum for such a movement is observable. As stated in previous pages, international organizations, especially those involved in international business, finance, labor, economics and environment are developing rules and policies that can be regarded as the building blocks of a universal code of business ethics. Until such a uniform body of rules is drawn, signed and enforced, global corporations and organizations will be doing well to develop their own codes of conduct, applicable to all of their officers regardless of location.

    CONCLUSION

    Examination of the recent development in the international trade and the far-reaching expansion of global entities lead the authors of this paper to the inevitable conclusion that ethical issues and concerns facing business entities are no longer related to the limited frameworks of national or even regional arenas. These issues have assumed global dimensions and as such require global solutions.

    To that end, it is postulated that probably an international organization is the best vehicle through which a code of ethics covering all aspects of business can be developed. Once- on the basis of such a code- an international treaty is drafted, signed and ratified; it may be prudent to leave the implementation of the treaty to the member nations subject to regular audit by an independent international body. WTO may eventually take on this role.

    Meanwhile, global organizations need to develop and enforce their own codes of ethics specifically directed at the issues related to a multicultural, multinational business environment.


    Etika bisnis internasional: strategi dan tanggung jawab

    Iraj Mahdavi,

    Universitas Nasional

    ABSTRAK

    Makalah ini membahas pentingnya tanggung jawab global bisnis yang etis. Skandal publik baru-baru ini perusahaan telah meningkatkan penyimpangan kebutuhan ini dan organisasi menghadapi berbagai isu-isu etis. Strategi seperti kode etik, yang dikembangkan oleh berbagai badan internasional, bisa membimbing perusahaan-perusahaan multinasional dalam upaya ini. Para penulis juga menganalisis berbagai masalah etika iklim dan etika. Penulis menyimpulkan bahwa kode etik global, dikembangkan dan ditegakkan oleh perjanjian internasional adalah cara terbaik untuk membawa etika bisnis internasional.


    Kata Kunci: Etika Bisnis, bisnis global, Organisasi Internasional

    PENDAHULUAN

    Pentingnya etika dalam dunia bisnis adalah superlatif dan global. Tren baru dan masalah timbul setiap hari yang dapat membuat beban penting untuk organisasi dan endconsumers. Saat ini, kebutuhan untuk perilaku etis dalam organisasi telah menjadi penting untuk menghindari tuntutan hukum mungkin. Skandal publik dan praktik penyimpangan perusahaan menyesatkan, telah mempengaruhi persepsi publik dari banyak organisasi (misalnya, Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom dll).Hal ini secara luas diketahui bahwa iklan tidak mempromosikan kemajuan sensibilitas moral manusia. Contention Lasch (1978: 1) bahwa periklanan modern "Berusaha untuk menciptakan kebutuhan, bukan untuk memenuhi mereka: untuk menghasilkan kecemasan baru bukan yang lama menenangkan. . . Ini alamat sendiri untuk kehancuran spiritual dari kehidupan modern dan mengusulkan konsumsi sebagai obat yang "tampaknya masih benar.


    Ekspansi terbaru dari bisnis global dan jatuhnya seluruh dunia hambatan perdagangan telah lebih lanjut menggarisbawahi kepentingan dalam topik perilaku etis dan tanggung jawab sosial (Lihat antara lain, Jones 1991: 366-395). Selain itu, sebagai banyak sarjana percaya, hak asasi manusia dan konservasi lingkungan yang mendapatkan pengakuan lebih meningkat dalam pengaturan baik akademis dan komersial.


    Sebagai perusahaan multinasional berkembang secara global dan memasuki pasar asing, perilaku etis dari pejabat dan karyawan menganggap penting ditambahkan sejak keanekaragaman budaya yang terkait dengan ekspansi tersebut dapat merusak nilai-nilai budaya dan etika banyak berbagi diamati dalam organisasi adat istiadat homogen (Mahdavi, 2001). Meskipun pemahaman tentang budaya lain dan pengakuan perbedaan di antara mereka akan meningkatkan komunikasi lintas-budaya, hal itu mungkin tidak cukup untuk memberikan pedoman yang layak perilaku etis yang tepat dalam organisasi. Dengan demikian, kekhawatiran tentang perilaku tidak etis dari perusahaan di negara lain, yang diwujudkan dalam undang-undang seperti The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act tahun 1977, dan Sarbane-Oxley Act of 2002. Dalam arena akademis, di sisi lain, model consequentiality berbasis budaya dikembangkan untuk menjelaskan, antara lain, bagaimana perbedaan budaya mengubah persepsi etis dan tindakan-tindakan individu yang terlibat dalam membuat keputusan dengan nuansa etika (Robertson dan Fadil, 1999: 385-392).


    Turnen-Merah dan Woodland (2001:61) menyatakan:

    "Melalui pasca-Perang Dunia II periode Perang reformasi kebijakan perdagangan internasional jarang absen dari pikiran pembuat kebijakan Pembentukan Persetujuan Umum Tarif dan Perdagangan (GATT) sebagai forum untuk membahas perdagangan internasional dan isu-isu kebijakan dan. resolusi perselisihan, dan sebagai sponsor putaran reguler perundingan multilateral yang mengarah ke penurunan substansial dalam tingkat rata-rata proteksi tarif, telah memastikan isu-isu perdagangan kebijakan telah mempertahankan mata uang. Baru-baru ini, telah ada fokus besar pada bilateral dan regional perjanjian perdagangan dengan perluasan serikat pabean Masyarakat Eropa dan munculnya organisasi seperti Perjanjian Perdagangan Amerika Utara Gratis (NAFTA) dan Mercusor. Namun demikian, kebijakan perdagangan koperasi tetap merupakan bagian penting dari lanskap internasional "


    Wimbush dan Shephard (1984: 637-647) melaporkan bahwa usaha setiap tahunnya menghabiskan sekitar $ 40 miliar pada masalah perilaku etis. Dengan demikian, menunjuk pada fakta bahwa dimensi etika perilaku karyawan 'memiliki dampak yang jelas pada profitabilitas perusahaan. Dalam rangka memperbaiki iklim etis organisasi, manajemen efektif harus berkomunikasi perilaku etis yang tepat di seluruh organisasi. Sesi pelatihan, kode etik, sistem penghargaan, dan pelatihan adalah beberapa metode yang mempekerjakan organisasi dalam hal ini (Delaney dan Sockell, 1992:719-727; Laczniak dan Indemeden, 1987: 297-307; Jansen dan Von Glinow, 1985: 814-822).


    Oleh karena itu, masalah yang organisasi menghadapi hari ini adalah: Bagaimana nilai-nilai etika yang dikomunikasikan paling efektif untuk karyawan? Saluran komunikasi yang terbaik? Bisnis Amerika meskipun semua kesalahan dan kelemahan, masih berupa model kunci untuk sebagian besar dunia. Sebuah kekuatan penting dalam menyebarluaskan gaya manajemen Amerika adalah peran AS sebagai produsen terbesar di dunia budaya kontemporer. Selain itu, banyak peneliti telah menunjuk pada peran penting bahwa sekolah-sekolah bisnis Amerika bermain di US menyebarkan gaya manajemen di seluruh dunia. (Lihat Mahdavi, 2001; dan Nimgade, 1989:104, antara lain)


    Morf (1999: 265) berpendapat: "Etika adalah prinsip moral bahwa individu menyuntikkan ke dalam proses pengambilan keputusan mereka dan yang membantu marah hasil terakhir untuk menyesuaikan diri dengan norma-norma masyarakat mereka". Selain itu, prinsip-prinsip etika memiliki fungsi yang sangat mendalam untuk membuat perilaku diprediksi (Mahdavi, 2003). Perusahaan-perusahaan yang benar-benar global harus datang untuk mengatasi dengan suasana hukum dan moral di mana mereka beroperasi. Tetapi di atas semua, mereka perlu membangun suatu lingkungan yang mendorong perilaku etis, karena dalam analisis akhir untuk melakukan sebaliknya pemotongan ke dalam profitabilitas mereka.

    Berbeda dengan pandangan ini sekelompok ulama diajukan teori Etika budiman, yang didefinisikan sebagai sebuah teori yang berfokus terutama pada karakter moral individu. Menurut para ahli, peneliti pemasaran memiliki sedikit perhatian dengan etika berbudi luhur. Selain itu, mereka mengusulkan bahwa tanpa mengambil etika berbudi luhur ke rekening, analisis yang komprehensif dari karakter etis dari para pembuat keputusan pemasaran dan strategi mereka tidak dapat dicapai.


    MASALAH ETIKA DALAM BISNIS INTERNASIONAL


    Getz (1990: 567-577) menganalisis kode etik internasional dalam empat entitas: (1) Organisasi untuk Kerjasama Ekonomi dan Pembangunan (OECD), yang merupakan kebijakan utama untuk negara-negara industri, (2) International Chamber of Commerce (ICC ), yang berkaitan dengan perlakuan yang adil antara perusahaan multinasional, (3) Organisasi Buruh Internasional (ILO), yang berkaitan dengan investasi langsung di negara-negara berkembang, dan (4) Pusat Korporasi Transnasional (CTC), yang bertujuan untuk memaksimalkan kontribusi dari perusahaan-perusahaan transnasional untuk pembangunan ekonomi dan pertumbuhan dan untuk meminimalkan efek negatif dari kegiatan perusahaan-perusahaan.


    Kode-kode berbagai dikembangkan dalam rangka untuk menciptakan ketertiban di antara perusahaan multinasional, meskipun beberapa organisasi menolak untuk mematuhi kode ini, terutama karena pemerintah nasional tidak direstui mereka sepenuhnya. Tanpa penegakan seragam dan penuh, organisasi multinasional bisa punya pilihan merajalela dalam isu-isu etika internasional. Mendasari kurangnya konsensus adalah masalah nasional serta budaya perusahaan (Lihat Hofstede, 1980: 46-47). Setiap bangsa berbeda dan setiap organisasi multinasional dalam satu atau lain cara yang berbeda dalam cara mereka melakukan bisnis, terutama di negara-negara lain.


    Selain kode ini, korporasi moral yang harus menangani hak asasi manusia dan peluit ditiup dan kode etik internasional di mana ia beroperasi. Isu-isu ini tidak terlalu baru. Dalam sebuah survei terhadap 300 perusahaan multinasional, 80 persen setuju dengan tujuh item yang isu-isu etis bagi bisnis: (1) karyawan konflik kepentingan, (2) tidak pantas hadiah kepada personil perusahaan, (3) pelecehan seksual, (4) pembayaran yang tidak sah, ( 5) tindakan afirmatif (6) privasi karyawan, dan (7) isu-isu lingkungan (Brooks, 1989; Berenheim, 1987, 1989: 117-129).

    ETIKA IKLIM dan ETIKA MASALAH


    Strategi, seperti kode-kode etik, hanya satu cara untuk mencapai tujuan akhir memiliki tanggung jawab internasional etis dalam keterlibatan bisnis di seluruh dunia. Sebagaimana dinyatakan di atas, ada tanggung jawab etis yang dihadapi oleh organisasi multinasional. Teoretikus umumnya sepakat bahwa variabel situasional seperti iklim organisasi dapat mempengaruhi perilaku etis dari individu (Kelly et al, 1989:. 327-340). Namun, tidak ada upaya untuk mempelajari hubungan iklim etis organisasi dan perilaku etis dari anggotanya.


    Iklim etika, harus ditekankan, tidak sama sebagai budaya yang biasa dirasakan, melainkan konsep yang lebih luas budaya (Schein, 1990, hlm 109-119). Budaya diyakini lebih dikaitkan dengan keyakinan yang lebih dalam, nilai-nilai dan asumsi (Denison, 1996, hlm 619-654). Oleh karena itu, hanya sebagai salah satu dapat nilai budaya individu dengan tindakan-nya dan kegiatan pribadi, iklim etika dapat diamati pada skala yang lebih besar, dalam hal ini, organisasi. Iklim etika, pada dasarnya, persepsi karyawan terhadap norma-norma organisasi (Bartels et al, 1998:. 799-804).


    Sebagai Bartels dan lain-lain telah menunjukkan (1998:799-804), organisasi dengan iklim etika yang kuat mengalami beberapa masalah etis yang serius, dan lebih berhasil mengatasi masalah tersebut. Penelitian mereka menunjukkan bahwa sangat penting bagi manajer untuk mempertimbangkan pengembangan iklim etika yang kuat jika mereka bertujuan untuk memberikan anggota organisasi kemampuan untuk menangani dilema etika dan untuk menghindari kewajiban yang melekat.Manajer harus menciptakan dan memelihara satu set yang jelas dan kuat dari norma-norma untuk mempromosikan perilaku etika yang bagus.


    Dalam pendekatan ini, kepercayaan sendiri seseorang dan nilai-nilai dan pengaruh mereka pada / persepsi dan perilaku yang tidak diperhitungkan. Meskipun demikian, iklim etika adalah alat yang sangat ampuh dalam kemudi perilaku anggota organisasi. Seperti telah menunjukkan Mahdavi (2003, 2005), kode organisasi etika dan penegakan aturan pergi jauh untuk mengontrol dan mengarahkan tingkah laku entitas sosial.


    Berdasarkan pembahasan di atas, perusahaan global harus menyadari kebutuhan untuk kode seragam etika bisnis karena tanpa kode tersebut, perilaku aktor dalam arena ini tetap tak terduga. Selanjutnya, pemerintah nasional harus menyadari bahwa mungkin yang paling efektif cara melindungi warga negara mereka, kepentingan nasional mereka, dan lingkungan global terhadap kerusakan akibat sisa-mencapai bisnis melalui global dalam adopsi, pengembangan dan penegakan kode tersebut. Sampai saat itu, tidak realistis untuk berharap perjanjian internasional seperti untuk diadopsi.


    Namun, sebuah momentum yang berkembang untuk gerakan semacam itu diamati.Seperti disebutkan dalam halaman-halaman sebelumnya, organisasi internasional, terutama mereka yang terlibat dalam bisnis internasional, keuangan, tenaga kerja, ekonomi dan lingkungan sedang mengembangkan aturan dan kebijakan yang dapat dianggap sebagai blok bangunan dari kode universal etika bisnis. Sampai seperti tubuh seragam aturan dibuat, ditandatangani dan diberlakukan, perusahaan global dan organisasi akan melakukan dengan baik untuk mengembangkan kode etik mereka sendiri, berlaku untuk semua perwira mereka terlepas dari lokasi.


    KESIMPULAN

    Pemeriksaan perkembangan terbaru dalam perdagangan internasional dan ekspansi jauh dari entitas global yang memimpin penulis kertas ini ke kesimpulan yang tak terelakkan bahwa isu-isu etika dan keprihatinan yang dihadapi entitas bisnis tidak lagi terkait dengan kerangka kerja terbatas arena nasional atau bahkan regional . Isu-isu ini telah diasumsikan dimensi global dan dengan demikian memerlukan solusi global.


    Untuk itu, ia menduga bahwa mungkin sebuah organisasi internasional merupakan kendaraan terbaik melalui mana kode etik yang mencakup semua aspek bisnis dapat dikembangkan. Sekali-atas dasar seperti kode perjanjian internasional disusun, menandatangani dan meratifikasi, mungkin bijaksana untuk meninggalkan pelaksanaan perjanjian dengan subjek negara anggota untuk melakukan audit berkala oleh badan internasional yang independen. WTO akhirnya dapat mengambil peran ini.


    Sementara itu, organisasi global perlu mengembangkan dan menegakkan kode etik mereka sendiri secara khusus ditujukan pada isu-isu terkait dengan lingkungan bisnis multikultural multinasional.

    REFERENCES

    Bartels L.K. et al.: 1998, “The Relationship between Ethical Climate and Ethical Problems within Human Resource Management”, Journal of Business Ethics 17, 799-804.
    Berenheim, R.E.: 1987, “Corporate Ethics”, (The Conference Board, Inc., New York).
    Berenbeim, R. E.: 1989, “Corporate Ethics”, (Random House, New York).
    Brooks, L.J.: 1989, “Corporate Codes of Ethics”, Journal of Business Ethics 8, 117-129.
    Delaney, J. T. and D. Sockell: 1992, “Do Company Ethics Training Programs Make a Difference? An Empirical Analysis”, Journal of Business Ethics 11, 719-727.
    Denison, D. R.: 1996, “What is the Difference between Organizational Culture and Organizational Climate? A Native’s Point of View on a Decade of Paradigm Wars”, Academy of Management Review 21(3), 619-654.
    Getz, K.A.: 1990, “International Codes of Conduct: An Analysis of Ethical Reasoning”, Journal of Business Ethics 9, 567-577.
    Hofstede, G.: 1980, “Culture's Consequences”, (Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CA).
    Jansen, E. and M. A. VonGlinow: 1985, “Ethical Ambivalence and Organizational Reward Systems”, Academy of Management Review 10(4), 814-822.
    Jones, T.: 1991, “Ethical Decision Making by Individuals in Organizations; An issue-contingent
    Model”, Academy of Management Review 16(2), 366-395.
    Kelly, S. W., S. J. Skinner and O. D. Ferrell: 1989, “Opportunistic Behavior in Marketing Research Organizations”, Journal of Business Research 18, 327-340.
    Laczniak, G. R. and E. J. Inderrieden: 1987, “The Influence of Stated Organizational Concern
    upon Ethical Decision Making”, Journal of Business Ethics 6, 297-307.
    Lasch, C.: 1978, “The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations”, (Norton, NY).
    Mahdavi, Iraj: 2001 â€œAmerican Business Education and Transfer of Culture”, Journal of American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Fall 2001
    Mahdavi, Iraj: 2003, “Ethical Growth: Do business Ethical Attitudes mature as individuals Get Older?” Proceedings of the International Business Association, Conference, 2003.
    Mahdavi, Iraj: 2005, â€œOrigins of Business Ethical Behavior”, Proceedings of International Business Association Conference, 2005.
    Morf, Duffy A., Schumacher, Michael G., and Vitell, Scott J.: “A Survey of Ethics Officers in Large Organizations”, Journal of Business Ethics 20, 265-271: 1999.
    Nimgade, Ashok: “American Management as Viewed by International Professionals”, Business Horizons, November-December, 1989, Pgs. 98-105.
    Robertson, C. and P. A. Fadil: 1999, “Ethical Decision Making in Multinational Organizations: A Culture-Based Model”, Journal of Business Ethics 19, 385-392.
    Schein, E.: 1990, “Organizational Culture”, American Psychologist 45, 109-119.
    Turnen-Red, A. and Woodland A. D. 2001, "The Anatomy of Multilateral Trade Policy Reform", Regionalism and Globalization: Theory and Practice, (Rutledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London-New York), P. 61.
    Wimbush, J. C. and J. M. Shephard: 1984, “Toward an Understanding of Ethical Climate: It’s Relationship to Ethical Behavior and Supervisory Influence”, Journal of Business Ethics 13, 637-647.



              Social Media: Revolutionizing Business        
    Over the last 20 years, with the invention and popularization of the Internet, the traditional mediums that companies used to advertise, inform, and simply connect with their consumer base have change drastically.  In fact, the traditional organization of a business has also been revolutionized.  Now there are thousands of businesses that are run out of individual homes, forgoing the typical brick-and-mortar companies that were abundant before the Internet.  For example, my friend's neice just started her own business online at a site called etsy.com.  This brilliant idea for a website allows users to have their own “shop” wherein they are able to sell vintage and/or handmade items.  Because of this, potentially millions of stay-at-home moms, craft makers, and people with hobbies making things can actually make a profit doing the things they love to do—without leaving the house.

    Social Media-Leveling the Playing Field:

    Normally a business would have a marketing manager in charge of all of the advertising campaigns, launching an expensive, extensive, and very broad-reaching commercial crusade using many different mediums, resulting in a fraction of the people reached who actually respond to the ad.  For the people with “etsy” shops, all they have—and need—is social media.  With the developing of sites like MySpace, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter, and many more, market outreach and advertising have been revolutionized.  Anybody can use these sites to any extent, to either benefit and/or hurt a business.  With the smaller, personal businesses, a seller relies completely on friends and contacts to spread the word about the shop.  For larger companies, it is much different.

    Marketing Revolutionized:

    To the companies that used to spend millions on marketing, social media could be considered a godsend.  Although they still have to maintain traditional marketing strategies to some degree, it isn't nearly as costly.  Using Facebook, for example, setting up an account is free, and everybody who “likes” the page will get the automatic updates the merchant sends.  This narrows the outreach to current customers and exposes the business to many potential new customers when their “friends” like that page as well.  This drastically decreases the seller’s Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) because it is completely free.  A seller can pay for additional ads that will specifically target people with similar likes and interests as the general customer base.


    Marketing to Public Relations:

    Aside from the marketing advantage, social media allows a company to connect more deeply with its customers.  This, unfortunately can be a double-edged sword.  Social media is just that: social.  If there is any type of scandal in a business, everyone with a Facebook or Twitter account can know about it within minutes.  The lightning speed of bad news can result in a PR nightmare—just ask Domino’s Pizza.  Because of this, you will need to be extra vigilant maintaining a good relationship with your customers, which can only help.
    In addition to managing public relations, Facebook gives the seller a direct line to customers, getting fast, honest feedback about products or commercial campaigns, even including them through contests and giveaways.  Take Doritos for example. The biggest TV commercial event of the year happens on Super Bowl Sunday.  Companies plan very far in advance to make sure their commercials are funny and memorable.  Doritos was running out of ideas, so they did something ingenious: had their customers come up with ideas in a contest with not just prizes, but the ultimate prize: a spot in the Super Bowl commercial lineup.  This strategy has been extremely successful, probably more so that they had ever imagined.
    Every business, from a cottage industry to a large corporation, must understand that social media is here to stay.  It can be one of the greatest vehicles for mass advertising the world has ever seen, and using it properly can be a great advantage to a business.

    About the Author: Rick Delgado is a freelance writer who specializes in the latest social and technology trends. He is cur

              Asatyam        
    There is news about Satyam everywhere. The company has gone against its name (Satyam means Truth) and lied in its financial reports with bloated numbers. It is weird to note that Satyam won the golden peacock award for corporate governance in 2008! That puts a big question mark on the process of deciding the award winners.

    Satyam has been in the news in recent times for all the wrong reasons. First it was the bribery case with World Bank and then the controversial attempt to take stake in the Maytas (The reverse of Satyam!) companies. I was personally shocked when I heard the news of the bribery case. Now the financial misreporting is something beyond my wildest imagination. I might have been less shocked if this were with an oil or energy firm. But IT? Geez!

    Most media report on the attempted Maytas acquisition as a means to move money to the Raju family. But I seriously doubt it. Since Satyam had a huge deficit between reported earnings and the actual earnings, may be they were trying to correct the records with an acquisition. Something like buying stake in the company and transferring money only on the records. This would have accounted for the deficit in Satyam's records. Does this help the Raju family? Nope. The Raju family has only a 10% stake in Satyam while they have 100% and 40% stake in the Maytas companies. So if this was supposed to be a way to correct Satyam's records, then the family actually loses money in the process. I hate to disagree with the media, but my point of view seems to make logical sense.

    All the focus is now on Satyam. But I would like to see the effect of this on PricewaterhouseCoopers. It is tough to believe that a scandal of such scale managed to avoid the eyes of the accounting firm. When Enron collapsed in a somewhat similar situation, Arthur Andersen went down with it. What is going to be the verdict on PWC?

              BISHOPS HIDE TRUTH FROM THEIR FLOCK: DEATH PENALTY        
    BISHOPS HIDE TRUTH FROM THEIR FLOCK: DEATH PENALTY

    THESE ARE COMMON PROBLEMS FOR MANY BISHOPS, NOT JUST THOSE FROM NEBRASAKA

    For Presentation To All Catholic Parishes/Congregations  in Nebraska

    10/16/2016, updated and resent 10/28/16, with email titled Death Penalty Errors: Bishops Double Down

    To:  Most Rev. George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha
    Most Rev. James D. Conley, Bishop of Lincoln
    Most Rev. Joseph G. Hanefeldt, Bishop Grand Island


    cc:  Governor Pete Ricketts, his cabinet & staff 
    Nebraska Legislators & staff
    Nebraska Supreme Court
    Nebraska County Sheriffs
    The Police Officers' Association of Nebraska
    Attorney General Doug Peterson & staff
    Nebraska County Attorneys Association
    Nebraska Crime Commission
    U of Nebraska Law School 
    Colleges & Universities throughout Nebraaka

    Media throughout Nebraska


    Subject: UPDATE
    Nebraska Catholic Leadership: Their False Teachings & the Death Penalty


    From : Dudley Sharp

    Catholic leadership, in Nebraska, as elsewhere, keep the death penalty truth away from their flock.

    That claim is supported, in detail, below and here (1) and has been sent, repeatedly, to the Bishops, their staffs and/or parishes, for months.

    The Nebraska Bishops are presenting error after error, week after week (1). It is long overdue to end it.

    1) The Truth:  All Catholics May Support the Death Penalty

    All good and faithful Catholics may, now,  support the death penalty, may support more executions and may, faithfully and thoughtfully, disagree with the Church's 1995/1997 death penalty restrictions.

    The Bishops False Teachings:

    With the title of  "3. Prudence, schmrudence…” (2), the Nebraska Bishops, immaturely and disrespectfully, accuse Catholics of "acting like two year olds", when those "two year old" Catholics say that the post 1995/1997 Catholic teachings on the death penalty are matters of prudential judgment and, because of that, such "two year old" Catholics find that all good Catholics may support the death penalty and more executions based upon prudential judgment (see The Proof, just below), as well as over 2000 years of Church teachings (1). 


    The Proof:

    The Evidence Against the Bishops

    Let's look at the blatant errors  and insulting language of the Bishops and who they call "two year olds":

    The most prominent of the "two year olds" are three members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) , the most authoritative voice for valid teachings within the Church:

    --  Kevin L. Flannery S.J., Consultor of CDF

    --  Cardinal-Prefect of CDF Joseph Ratzinger (1981-2005), currently Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

    --  Cardinal-Prefect of CDF William Levada (2005- 2012), who, currently, serves as Prefect emeritus of CDF

    --  as well as all good and thoughtful Catholics who find the death penalty just and appropriate (1), while also finding that it saves more innocent lives (6).

    All identified by the Bishops as "two year olds".


    Prudential Judgment:

    These first two were delivered to the US Catholic Bishops, but have not been presented by the Nebraska Bishops to their congregations - an intentional  and major error of omission.

    Cardinal-Prefect Ratzinger (2004), now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

    "3.  ". . . if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
    "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, from a memorandum sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick, made public in the first week of July 2004.

    confirmed by Cardinal-Prefect William Levada (2004):

    ". . .  if a Catholic were to disagree with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment… he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion... While the Church exhorts civil authorities… to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible… to have recourse to capital punishment.  There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about… applying the death penalty, but not with regard to abortion and euthanasia." “Theological Reflections on Catholics in Political Life and the Reception of Holy Communion,” a United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document.

    Bishops Double Down on Their Errors

    The Bishop's write: "The Church’s doctrine is that if there are “non-lethal means” of protecting society from a bad dude then the State must limit itself to those non-lethal means. That’s not up for negotiation. That’s the teaching."

    --- This is not doctrine and cannot be, as the Bishops well know (1).

    ---  The Bishops, also, know it is up for "negotiation" by any thoughtful Catholic who disagrees with the Church's prudential judgment -- that is the actual teaching, as detailed and not rebutted, as opposed to the Bishops' fiction by omission and commission.

    ---  The Church alternates between "non-lethal" and "bloodless" means, with the later being the current official language at the Vatican site.

    Although they mean the same, the huge problem with "bloodless" is that it, so blatantly, has this conflict:

    Within the current Catechism, CCC 2260, "For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning.... Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image." "This teaching remains necessary for all time."

    This eternal command is from Genesis 9:6, within the Noahic Covenant, which is for all peoples and all times, and is God's Word that the death penalty shows the greatest of respect for innocent life, the opposite of the Bishops' claims, as is very well known.

    The Bishops' chosen prudential judgement of "bloodless" and "non-lethal" are both secular determinations which contradict the eternal teaching of Genesis 9:6, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed" and the Bishops pick  . . . the secular.

    2) The Truth:

    This is another non-disclosure by the Nebraska Bishops, undermining the truth and their flock:

    In reference to the death penalty errors by Pope John Paul II in his Evangelium Vitae (EV - 1995) and the wrongful inclusion of those errors into the amended Section 2267 of the CCC, Kevin L. Flannery S.J., Consultor CDF, writes:

    “The most reasonable conclusion to draw from this discussion is that, once again, the Catechism is simply wrong from an historical point of view. Traditional Catholic teaching did not contain the restriction enunciated by Pope John Paul II (within Evangelium Vitae -  EV)." (3).

    That EV restriction was the foundation for the recent (1997) error filled amendment, CCC 2267, to Church teaching on the death penalty (1, 4) and without that foundation those recent changes can be found invalid.

    Flannery continues: “The realm of human affairs is a messy one, full of at least apparent inconsistency and incoherence, and the recent teaching of the Catholic Church on capital punishment — vitiated, as I intend to show, by errors of historical fact and interpretation—is no exception.” (3).

    A review of some of the problems within the amended CCC 2267  (4).

    NOTE: Flannery was appointed by Pope John Paul II.


    3)  More Bishops' False Teachings:

    The Bishops state:

    "According to Catholic teaching, the state may impose the death penalty if this punishment is the only available means to protect society. Therefore, this option should not be exercised when, other, non lethal means, more respectful of human life are available." "This principled Catholic response is shaped by our commitment to the life and dignity of every human person and the common good." (5). 


    Additional False Teachings of the Bishops:

    a) As already established (4), there is no such prior Catholic teaching as "the state may impose the death penalty if this punishment is the only available means to protect society." (3,4).

    b) The Bishops, again, intentionally leave out important Catholic teachings, paragraphs (1) and (2), above, and footnote 1, below, misleading their flock.

    c) Establishing a false and irrational standard, that being: if the death penalty "is the only available means to protect society" -  which should not be accepted by anyone.

    d) "This principled Catholic response (in support of the death penalty) is shaped by our commitment to the life and dignity of every human person and the common good.", which was used as the support for the death penalty for 2000 years and still is. It is as if the Bishops had never reviewed Church tradition with the death penalty (1). 

    In addition, within the most recent Catechism, in CCC 2258-2266 the standard is a requirement to protect innocents from unjust aggressors: 

    CCC 2265: "the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm." 

    Now, within CCC 2267, the Bishops and the CCC redefine "common good" requiring us to do everything we can "not to render the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm.", or, to put it another way "the unjust aggressor must always be able to harm, again" -  the opposite of 2258-2266.

    Using reason and tradition the standard is:

     1) what is the most just sanction for the crime committed, reasserted as the primary objective, as "redress", in the most recent CCC:


    The primary objective of sanction is to "redress the disorder caused by the offense" (CCC 2266), not protection . . .  yet, even then  . . . 

    2) which sanction will, after the primary objective, protect society to a greater degree than other sanctions (6), the important, secondary consideration?

    The Bishops know that to be the death penalty, as previously reviewed (1,6).

    The additional reason that "the only available means" is a false teaching is that it, intentionally, avoids reality.

    For example, for decades, the Church thought there was another available means to protect children from sinful, sexual predator priests. The Church was wrong, then, as everyone, now, knows, just as She is, now with Her "only available means", again, sacrificing more innocents.

    Reality, you see, matters.  

    In the predator priest cases, it is easy to see how the Church can make very non prudential judgments, over 40 years, observe those bad prudential judgments, sacrificing more and more innocents with Her, wrongly, selecting Her chosen available means.

    It is hard to see how She is so, obviously, making that same error, again, with her newest, error filled death penalty position, and . . . again, sacrificing more innocents (6).

    How the Bishops and the Church are, utterly, clueless to that is simply astounding, in light of the priest sex scandal, which was in full public mode at the same time these amendments were made, again, putting many more innocents at risk.

    For example, there is the "means" of the state of the criminal justice system, in the US and, then, there is reality, since 1973:

    Some 16,000 innocents have been murdered by those known murderers that we have allowed to murder, again - recidivist murderers (6) and

    Some 400,000 innocents have been murdered by those known criminals we have allowed to harm, again - recidivist criminals. (6)

    Neither the Church nor Nebraska Bishops will acknowledge known reality (6), thereby sacrificing more innocent lives  . . .  again.

    The Bishops look the other way, insisting on the fictional standard - "only available means", in opposition to reality,  thereby sacrificing more innocents.

     The Bishops state: "It just so happens that in our time the Church has assessed the options and has come to the prudential conclusion that in our modern era non-lethal means are present practically everywhere. Therefore, the use of the death penalty should be “very rare, if not practically nonexistent.” (2).

     . . .  which is all rebutted by very well known reality, over and over, again, in the US, as elsewhere, as detailed above and here (6), as the Bishops are aware.


    c) As is well known by many, inclusive of the Bishops, the foundation for 2000 years of pro death penalty Catholic teaching is based upon "respect for human life", a "commitment to the life and dignity of every human person and the common good."

    What the Bishops and other anti death penalty Church leadership are, now, saying is that for 2000 years the Church supported a sanction, the death penalty, that did not respect human life, was against life, against the dignity of every human person and against the common good.

    Thoughtful Catholics understand that such is not true and cannot be true.


    4) The Bishops Four "FALSE" Reasons to Abolish the Death Penalty (5)

    a) "Re-instating the death penalty would risk innocent lives". - False

    Bishops' false teachings:

    --  As the Bishops well know and have never rebutted (1), innocents are better protected with the death penalty, in three ways, than with life without parole (LWOP) (6).

    The Bishop's death penalty repeal position will sacrifice more innocent lives.

    --  Bishops: "Take for example the story of Kirk Bloodsworth. Kirk spent nearly 9 years on death row in Maryland after he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Donna Hamilton." " . . . more than 150 people sentenced to death have been released from death row because they were acquitted, dismissed from prosecution or pardoned based upon evidence of innocence." (4)

    More false problems for the Bishops

    Bloodsworth was never at risk of execution. He was on death row for 2 years, not 9, and then 7 years serving a life sentence, prior to release.

    In the modern era death penalty, post Gregg v Georgia (1976),  Maryland has executed four murderers, who appealed their sentences and were executed, averaging 12 years from sentence to execution, with the shortest being 9 years.

    Three time Maryland murderer, Thanos, waived his appeals and was executed in 1994, 2 years after  his sentencing.

    Thanos, to the victim's families:  "(your murdered childrens') cries bring laughter from the darkest caverns of my soul. I don't believe I could satisfy my thirst yet in this matter unless I was to be able to dig these brats' bones up out of their graves right now and beat them into powder and urinate on them and then stir it into a murky yellowish elixir and serve it up to their loved ones".

    Thanos murdered Billy Winebrenner, 16, and his girlfriend, Melody Pistorio, 14, during a robbery and murdered  Gregory Allen Taylor, 18, in another crime, for which he was, also, sentenced to death.

    --  The 150 (now 156) represent, maybe 36 actually innocent people sent to death row (0.4% of the total), all but one of which has been set free, with that one dying on death row, from cancer, just as he would have serving LWOP.

    It is a remarkable record of accuracy.

    There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since the 1930s.

    Yet we have:

    Some 16,000 innocents have been murdered by those known murderers that we have allowed to murder, again - recidivist murderers (6) and

    Some 400,000 innocents have been murdered by those known criminals we have allowed to harm, again - recidivist criminals (6).

    A rational assessment would be that the Bishops real concern is not innocents at risk, but only sparing murderers.

    Exactly as Catholic theologian Steven Long assessed:

    "The misbegotten application of categories of speech appropriate in regard to the murder of innocents to the vastly different application of just penalty for grave evil, is symptomatic of a society that can garner more support to spare the guilty than to save the innocent."

    "The crowd still wants Barabbas." (1b)


    b) "Reinstating the death penalty would be cruel to victims' families." (4). - False

    The Bishops' hypocrisy and false teachings:

    1) As per the video (5), because of long appeals times, the Bishops contend that the death penalty harms the victims' families. The Bishops, constantly, use false, secular anti death penalty rhetoric, as they do, here. How about reality:

    These problems are not the death penalty's fault. It is the fault of the sanction's managers - the legislature, governor, attorney generals, judges, etc.

    As the Bishops are well aware:

    --   There have been nearly 1000 executions in other states, over the last 20 years, when Nebraska has had none and

    --  Virginia has executed 112 murderers, since 1976, and has done so within 7 years of appeals, on average.

    The Bishops are very aware that Nebraska has the "means available" to duplicate those two examples, but chose a less responsible path, instead.

    2) From the 168 victims in the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Bishops use only one anti death penalty voice, Bud Welch, whose daughter Julie was murdered in that bombing, to speak in opposition to the death penalty.

    The Bishops also presented Mariam Thimm Kelle, whose brother, Jim,  was, gruesomely, tortured over a long period of time, then murdered in  a capital crime, by murderer Michael Ryan, Her complaints were that appeals go on and on and that way too much attention is paid to the murderer but not to her brother.

    The Bishops act as if they just missed it. How?

    Reality Opposes the Bishops, Again.

    It appears that in excess of 95% of the murder victims' survivors, from that bombing, are in favor of the death penalty (7), reflecting other examples, with similar huge support percentages, from other specific death penalty eligible murders (7).

    Did the Bishops show any interest in the opinions of those loved ones, who, overwhelmingly, support the death penalty? None.

    Such is common for anti death penalty folks, who often cause more harm (8) to those victim survivors, who support the justice of the death penalty, as well as its uncontested ability to protect additional innocents, to a higher degree than any other sanction (6).

    Thimm Kelle is right to complain, but Nebraska, as other states have the means necessary to shorten appeals, as detailed and as the Bishops well know.

    Anti death penalty folks and the media, overwhelmingly, concentrate on the murderers and not their victims (8). It would be great if the Bishops would start a public campaign to help change that.  Possibly, the Bishops could start with this group (9).


    c) The Bishops say the death penalty is too costly:  "It is well established that pursuing the death penalty results in considerably greater costs than life imprisonment. The non partisan Death Penalty Information Center concluded, in 2013, that Nebraska had spent $100 million on death penalty cases since 1976."

    More Bishop False Teachings

    --  The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) is a very well known anti death penalty group, which perpetrates some of the greatest deceptions in the death penalty debate (10).

    --  The Bishops are, completely, unaware, because they do not fact check.

    --  The proof for the $100 million cost claim? It doesn't exist.

    --  If the Bishops did fact check, they would know that some studies find the death penalty is less costly than life without parole (LWOP) (11) and that many of the studies finding the death penalty more expensive than LWOP are, completely, unreliable (11).

          But, the Bishops will not fact check.

    ---  The Bishops are well aware that in Nebraska's last legislative session, that three fiscal notes found no state savings in death penalty repeal.

    Such non disclosure reflects, again, very poorly, on the Bishops.

    As far as I know, there are no details to support the fiscal notes, which were, allegedly, based upon inquiries to all those state agencies which deal with the death penalty, all of whom, allegedly, stated that with death penalty repeal there would be little to no effect on their budgets.

    d)  The Bishops find that the death penalty less humane than LWOP.

    The Bishops should review the eternal reasons for the death penalty, detailed in 2000 years of Catholic teachings (1), as opposed to relying upon the secular.


    1) a) Catholic Bishops: So Wrong on Death Penalty, 9/3/16,
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2016/09/catholic-bishops-so-wrong-on-death.html


        b) Four Catholic Journals Indulge in (anti death penalty) Doctrinal Solipsism, 
    Stephen Long, THOMISTICA, March 5, 2015, 
    http://thomistica.net/commentary/2015/3/5/mutationist-views-of-doctrinal-development-and-the-death-penalty

       
        c) The Bishops, constantly, invoke secular anti death penalty errors, without fact checking.  Fact checking is required. This is my basic pro death penalty introduction, countering all basic anti death penalty claims used by the Bishops. Fact checking welcome.

        The Death Penalty: Justice & Saving More Innocents
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-death-penalty-justice-saving-more.html

    d)  "Why the Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment", Part 1, Edward Feser , Joseph M. Bessette, Catholic World Report,  July 17, 2016,http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4928/why_the_church_cannot_reverse_past_teaching_on_capital_punishment.aspx

          "Why the Death Penalty is Still Necessary", Part 2, Edward Feser, Joseph M. Bessette, Catholic Word Report,  July 21, 2016,
    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4939/why_the_death_penalty_is_still_necessary.aspx


    e)  Rebuttal of Four Catholic Publications Call For End to Capital Punishment,
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2015/03/rebuttal-catholics-call-for-end-to.html


    f)  New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/01/new-testament-death-penalty-support.html


    2) 3 WAYS CATHOLICS MISUNDERSTAND THE DEATH PENALTY, Archdiocese of Omaha, August 23, 2016,
    http://archomaha.org/2016/08/3-ways-catholics-misunderstand-death-penalty/


    3) “Capital Punishment and the Law”, Ave Maria Law Review, 2007 (30 pp), Kevin L. Flannery S.J., Consultor of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (since 2002) and Ordinary Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University(Rome) and Permanent Research Fellow -  Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture (University of Notre Dame)
    http://lr.avemarialaw.edu/Content/articles/V5i2.flannery.copyright.pdf


    4)  Catholic Church: Problems with Her Newest Death Penalty Position:
    The Catechism & Section 2267
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2015/03/catechism-death-penalty-problems.html


    5)  Watch the video first.

    VIDEO: ARCHBISHOP LUCAS ON THE DEATH PENALTY, Archdiocese of Omaha, 8/3/16,  http://archomaha.org/2016/10/video-archbishop-lucas-death-penalty/


    6)   The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-death-penalty-do-innocents-matter.html

             The Catechism and State Protection
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/10/catechism-state-protection.html


    7)  95% Death Penalty Support by Capital Murder Survivors
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2016/03/95-death-penalty-support-by-capital.html


    8) Anti Victim: Anti Death Penalty Movement
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/04/anti-victim-anti-death-penalty-movement.html


    9)  Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims
    www.murdervictims.com/Voices/voices.html


    10) See DPIC in Sections 3&4
    The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-innocent-frauds-standard-anti-death.html


    11) Saving Costs with The Death Penalty
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/02/death-penalty-cost-saving-money.html

              Catholic Bishops: So Wrong on Death Penalty        
    Catholic Bishops: So Wrong on Death Penalty

    THESE ARE COMMON PROBLEMS FOR MANY BISHOPS, NOT JUST THOSE FROM NEBRASAKA

    sent 9/3/2016

    To:  Most Rev. George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha
    Most Rev. James D. Conley, Bishop of Lincoln
    Most Rev. Joseph G. Hanefeldt, Bishop Grand Island

    cc:  Governor Pete Ricketts, his cabinet & staff  
    Nebraska Legislators & staff 
    Nebraska Supreme Court 
    Nebraska County Sheriffs
    The Police Officers' Association of Nebraska
    Attorney General Doug Peterson & staff
    Nebraska County Attorneys Association
    Nebraska Crime Commission
    U of Nebraska Law School

    and Tom Venzor, of The Nebraska Catholic Conference, which represents the mutual public policy interests of the three Catholic Bishops of Nebraska.

    Media throughout Nebraska

    RE: Complete Rebuttal: "Local View: The real cost of the death penalty". Tom Venzor, Journal Star, 8/24/2016

    From: Dudley Sharp

    Since the 1997 death penalty amendment to the Catechism, the Church has presented error after error, over and over, again (1), on the subject of the death penalty.

    Added - Bishops, worldwide, repeat these falsehoods. At some point and after 20 years, one must wonder if they know, exactly, what they are doing.

    Nebraska's Catholic Bishops have chosen willful ignorance, again.

    All the Bishops have done is parrot the, easily, rebutted anti death penalty falsehoods. It is long past due for Catholic leadership to be more responsible.

    "Bishops" is the quote by the Bishops.  "Sharp" is my reply

    1) Bishops: "(The death penalty) costs us our human dignity. Execution costs us the opportunity to achieve justice without taking life, to overcome our penchant for vengeance, to build a culture that values all human life, and establish a civilization of mercy. The death penalty coarsens our sense of life’s value and dignity."

    Sharp:  Not only is this not true, it cannot be true.

    For more than 2000 years, there has been Catholic New Testament support for the death penalty, from Popes, Saints, Doctors and Fathers of the Church, church leadership, biblical scholars and theologians (2) that, in breadth and depth, overwhelms any teachings to the contrary, particularly those wrongly dependent upon secular concerns such as defense of society and the poor standards of criminal justice systems in protecting the innocent (1, 5).

    What the Bishops are saying, now, as many others in Church leadership, today, is that for 2000 years the Church has supported a sanction which opposes justice, supports vengeance, takes away human dignity and life's value.

    All responsible Catholics know that to be false.

    The Church's teachings on the sanction, for over 2000 years, are the exact opposite of what the Bishops are, now,  saying, which anyone familiar with Church teachings would know (2).


    2) Bishops: "The cost of the death penalty can be measured by the lives of those unjustly put to death for crimes they didn't commit."

    Sharp reply:  The Bishops are oblivious to reality.

    There are no proven actual innocents executed in the US, at least since the 1930s (3).

    Since 1973, some 16,000 innocents have been murdered in the US by known murderers that we have allowed to murder, again - recidivist murderers (4).

    Since 1973, some 400,000 innocents have been murdered by those known criminals that we have released from prison or chosen not to incarcerate (4).

    Virtually, none in the leadership of the Church has voiced any acknowledgement for those innocents murdered or the reality of the huge errors in criminal justice systems that allow such massive harm to innocents (5).

    In fact, the Church, incomprehensibly, parrots, over and over, again, this huge error within CCC 2267:

    "Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent."

    The reality of the "means at the State's disposal" are the countless cases of additional harm to innocents, detailed above, as the product of the State's criminal justice systems, extremely well known (4,5) by anyone who cares to be concerned, but never by Church leadership.

    The Church's willful ignorance is astounding, even more so as it occurs within the huge shadow of the priest sex scandal, whereby the "means" of the Church did nothing, for decades, to stop harm to innocents.

    The Church is making the same error, again.

    Will the Church and the Bishops ever even show that they care? How many more years will it take?

    3) Bishops: "Since DNA testing has made new methods of investigation possible, hundreds of people across the country have been exonerated of criminal convictions. Nebraska’s own “Beatrice Six” were exonerated by DNA in 2008. The death penalty costs the lives of innocent people."

    Sharp reply:  As detailed, above, and not rebutted, innocents are much more at risk when we allow murderers to live. This is not in dispute.

    Because of DNA, the death penalty and all other sanctions are more likely to confirm the actually guilty and to free or never prosecute the actually innocent, as with the Beatrice Six.

    4) Bishops: "The cost of the death penalty can be measured in the inequality of sentencing.  The race and social status of criminals has frequently shown to be a factor in sentencing. So has the location of the crime, and the social status of the victim. Justice is supposed to be blind."

    Sharp reply:   Justice:

    Overwhelmingly, the factor in sentencing the murderer to death is the commission of a capital crime.

    The Bishops, completely, left that consideration out, a sad commentary on how the Bishops have avoided the moral wrong of capital murder and the plight of the innocent murder victims, as the Bishops, instead, forget those and just parrot the standard anti death penalty playbook.

    Tragic.

    On to the additional errors by the Bishops:

    Race:

    White murderers are twice as likely to be executed as are black murderers. 56% of those executed are white, 35% black (6).

    For the White–Black comparisons, the Black level is 12.7 times greater than the White level for homicide, 15.6 times greater for robbery, 6.7 times greater for rape, and 4.5 times greater for aggravated assault (6).

    For the Hispanic- White comparison, the Hispanic level is 4.0 times greater than the White level for homicide, 3.8 times greater for robbery, 2.8 times greater for rape, and 2.3 times greater for aggravated assault (6).

    For the Hispanic–Black comparison, the Black level is 3.1 times greater than the Hispanic level for homicide, 4.1 times greater for robbery, 2.4 times greater for rape, and 1.9 times greater for aggravated assault (6).

    As robbery/murder is, by far, the most common death penalty eligible murder, the multiples will be even greater.

    From 1977-2012, white death row murderers have been executed at a rate 41% higher than are black death row murderers, 19.3% vs 13.7%, respectively. ( Table 12, Executions and other dispositions of inmates sentenced to death, by race and Hispanic origin, 1977–2012, Capital Punishment 2012, Bureau of Justice Statistics, last edited 11/3/14)

    "There is no race of the offender / victim effect at either the decision to advance a case to penalty hearing or the decision to sentence a defendant to death given a penalty hearing." (6)

    Class:

    "99.8% of poor murderers have avoided execution."

    "It is, solely, dependent upon the definitions of "wealthy" and "poor", as to whether wealthy murderers are any more or less likely to be executed, based upon the very small number and percentage of capital murders that are committed by the wealthy, as compared to the poor. (7)"

    Location:

    The majority of murders, robberies and rapes occur in about 2% of US counties, exactly reflecting why death penalty cases come out of a tiny minority of locations, as one would suspect, facts, apparently, completely unknown to the Bishops.

    When will Church leadership learn to fact check anti death penalty claims and to once, again, care about the truth?

    It's long overdue.

    5) Bishops: "The death penalty is needed when execution is the only way to keep a community safe from a persistent threat." " . . the death penalty is a panacea: it provides the illusion of security and deterrence . . .".

    Sharp reply: As detailed, the Bishops' anti death penalty position puts more innocents at risk. Why the Bishops choose that known, unmerciful position, particularly,  in the huge shadow of the priest sex scandal, is a very sad mystery.

    As detailed in the most recent CCC, justice must be primary, safety secondary. The Church cannot replace an eternal teaching with a secular one (1,2).

    The death penalty protects more innocents, in three ways, than do lesser sanctions (5).

    The Bishops anti death penalty position harms more innocents.

    6) Bishops: "Economist Dr. Ernie Goss reported this month that the death penalty costs Nebraska $14.6 million annually."

    Sharp reply: As the Bishops well know, Goss has declared his own study unreliable, just as basic fact checking does. It's much worse than unreliable (8). Just more anti death penalty nonsense parroted by the Bishops.

    When will the Bishops become more responsible?
    ======

    Why the Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment, Profs. Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette, The Catholic World Report, July 17, 2016, http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4928/why_the_church_cannot_reverse_past_teaching_on_capital_punishment.aspx

    3) The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy
    READ SECTIONS 3&4 FIRST
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-innocent-frauds-standard-anti-death.html

    6) RACE & THE DEATH PENALTY: A REBUTTAL TO THE RACISM CLAIMS
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2012/07/rebuttal-death-penalty-racism-claims.html

    8) Ernie Goss' Nebraska Death Penalty Cost Study: How Bad Is It
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2016/08/nebraskas-death-penalty-cost-study-how.html

              Sitok Srengenge Third Victim Breaks Silence        
    Another young woman has said that she was sexually abused by noted poet Sitok Srengenge. The student was the third to come forward in less than one month.


    The first victim, who was also a university student, reported Sitok to the Jakarta Police for raping her. A second victim then said that Sitok had tried to rape her but failed. She also said she was willing to provide written testimony to corroborate the first victim’s claims.

    Lecturer Saras Dewi, who is counseling the victims in an official capacity, said that the case of the third victim was similar to that of the first one.

    Sitok, she said, used his status as a famous poet to invite the third victim to his boarding house and then manipulated her into having sex with him.

    “The third victim loves poems, especially the ones created by SS [Sitok]. She wanted to learn on how to write poems. She was happy when she could finally meet SS,” Saras told The Jakarta Post Monday.

    “Sitok then asked her to come to his boarding house, and there gave her alcoholic drinks and had sex with her without her consent. The victim was very traumatized by the incident but Sitok kept on calling her for more sex and this stressed the victim even more,” she added.

    Saras said that the third victim had agreed to testify against Sitok to support the first victim.

    “She [the third victim] knows exactly what the first victim has gone through and decided to testify,” Saras said while adding that the third victim had recorded all her written conversations with Sitok, which show just how the poet tried to intimidate her for more sex.

    Sitok, a renowned poet within the Salihara art community, had previously admitted that he had sex with the first victim but claimed that it was consensual. He also said that he was willing to take full responsibility for what he done to the first victim, who is now seven-months pregnant. [Source : The Jakarta Post]

              Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg vs Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen        
    They were published 200 years apart, but they have a ton in common. Of course we’re talking about Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth Eulberg’s Prom and Prejudice, both of which are quoted below. The thing is, can you tell which quote came from which book? Our thanks to Elizabeth for compiling these quotes!



    1. “I never realized what a luxury kindness could be.”
    2. “Do you really think with your circumstance you’ll be getting other offers?”
    3. “Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing after all.”
    4. “I have been a selfish being all my life…”
    5. “Then I took him in, kneeling before me, giving me the best proposal of all.”
    6. “He seemed to be at a loss for words. No doubt this was the first time such a thing had ever happened to him.”
    7. “It is your turn to say something now, Darcy.”
    8. “I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”
    9. “To not attend would be a scandal from which a young girl would never be able to recover.”
    10. “Since the first moment I met you. You have been nothing but conceited and standoffish.”
    11. “Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.”
    12. “He expressed no regret for what he had done…”


    -------
    this quiz posted at http://novelnovice.com

              My Maltesian Misadventures        
    An overview of my experiences...

    Saturday, April 17th

    Because my flight is out of Madrid, I have to endure the 6 hour bus ride from Sevilla to Madrid. I board the bus at 10:00 AM, even though my flight does not leave until 11:00 PM that night. (If you recall my story from Dublin--sprinting through the airport... international jet setters shouldn't have to deal with back sweat) So, I want to make sure I can leisurely make my way to the airport and have time to relax once I get there. So I'm sitting on the bus when a group of 3 Americans girls sits behind me. I, of course, listen to their conversation for awhile, only to discover that one of them had their wallet pick pocketed at the bus station. She's really, very upset. I guess who just took like 300 euro out of the ATM and her debit card. (That really fucking sucks, I hate those assholes) After awhile, once she has calmed down from her post pick pocket freak out, I turn around to make the usual study abroad conversation. YadaYadaYada, they begin to talk about the volcanic ash and how they were suppose to fly from Madrid to London, and then a couple days later, London to Italy, but they had to change their flight so it was just from Madrid to Italy and they weren't sure if that would be cancelled too. So they were all kind of a wreck and the one who got pick pocketed was twice as bad. I made good enough friends with them that they invited me to take the Metro with them to the airport. Score. We brave the Metro together, arrive at the airport, approach the departure screen. Frantically, they're scanning the list of out bound flights until they lay their eyes on... Madrid-Rome CANCELLED. How shitty would that be to get your wallet stolen, take a 6 hour bus to Madrid, find out your whole vacation is cancelled, take another 6 hour bus back to Sevilla, and after all of that no Italian vacation, 12 hours spent on a bus, and to top it all off no money. God, I feel so bad for them, especially that girl. They quickly peace out to try and sort out their cancelled flight.
    While checking the departures I realize I'm at the wrong terminal. Good thing I took the 10:00 AM bus, I've got HOURS. Oh hey. I stroll through the airport on my way to the bus that travels between the 2 different terminals. Hop on and then off the bus a quick 3 minutes later and I'm in the correct terminal. It was the terminal Heidi (my roommate) and I first explored together when we had an 8 hour lay over in Madrid on our way to Sevilla for the first time, bringing back the memories, it seems like yesterday! Anyways, I walk inside and am bombarded with people everywhere! Everyone was stuck at the airport because of the volcanic ash. Thank god I didn't have to check any bags. I ROLLED (my parents brought me my cute, rolling Betsey Johnson carry on bag just like I wanted to bring in the beginning but I was over ruled and was forced to carry a bulky, stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb American studying abroad backpack.) As I was saying.. I rolled my bag to security, I was the only person in line. Perfect. Made my way past the security guards with WAY more than the allotted amount of liquids and without taking my shoes off, way to patrol. So, I spent countless hours in the empty airport before going to my gate to wait for my flight. As, I'm sitting waiting to board the plane, I look up and spot a decent looking Spaniard (what I think to be a decent looking Spaniard because I didn't have my glasses on and I couldn't really make out his face, maybe I should look into contacts? hah) Everyone on the flight boards a bus that takes us the plane. Weird, but I went with it. I board the plane sit down and to my amusement, the decent Spaniard is sitting across the aisle from me. Coincidence or destiny? I have the row to myself, but the Spaniard is seated next to a young Maltesian man. They make conversation in entertaining English while I listen in, and quickly become buddies. Next thing I know, the Spaniard turns to me and mutters something in Spanish. Totally thought I was Spanish. Oh hey. With a dumbfounded look on my face, he began to speak in English. After a little small talk, I find out that his name is Javier, he's from Madrid and is studying English in Malta. His little Malestian friend was in Madrid for a business trip and was returning home. He tried to advise as to what I should do for the next couple of days, but I had no clue what the hell he was saying. After the small talk is over and the awkward pauses begin, we each indulge in our own activities for the remainder of the flight. As we approach Malta, we resume small talk. I tell them I'm staying in St. Julian's. Javier says he's staying there too and we should split a taxi. I agree, why not? It's not like it's unsafe to share a taxi with a complete stranger, in a foreign town, at 1:00 AM in the morning, right? I use good judgment, don't worry. The Maltesian cuts in and offers us both a ride via this father's BOAT. Javier agrees, but that is where I draw the line. Sounds like a set up for being kidnapped aboard. I'll stick with public transit. I politely decline the invite and reassure the two that I am fine taking a taxi and advise Javier to do whatever he wants. The Maltesian is really persistent to take us to St. Julian's via boat and proceeds to call his father to see if it would be alright once we get off of the plane. Javier and I are at the taxi stand arranging a taxi when we spot the Maltesian with his father who continues to ask if we would like a ride. We both decline. He seems let down and departs with his father. Javier and I are in the taxi making more small talk. He whips out this his mobile and asks for my number. I proceed to give it to him, what the hell.. I don't know anyone here and he seems decent (the kid is a little nerd, he is decked out in white Nike's, tight jeans, and a Victoria sweatshirt from Canada and won't stop talking--totally harmless) We reach the street that my apartments are on, get out of the taxi and OMG. (are you nervous right now?) haha.
    The street is SOOOO packed with people and the music from the discos is bumping! I knew I was staying in the nightlife town, but holy hell, this was crazy. My apartment was literally right above all of the discos. The 7 sign on the top right of the picture is the entrance to my apartment building and that may be a gentleman's club right next door... hah. Sweet, little Jav walks me to my apartment and we make plans to meet up at a later date.
    I walk inside of the apartment building and am shown to the apartment by the nice reception lady. (I'll explain how this apartment/hostel works. So there are apartments and you can rent a bed in the apartments. In my apartment there were 2 bedrooms, each with 2 beds and a kitchen/dinning room area, and private bathroom. The apartments weren't anything special, but the way it worked by having your own shared apartment was really nice.) So it's around 1:30 AM, my roommate wasn't there and the other bedroom door was closed. I peak around at my roommates belongings to try and get a feel for what kind of person she is. Oh no.. baggy, over-sized man jeans, short and wide V-neck sweaters, and ugly skater shoes from the 90's. WHO IS THIS PERSON? hahah. I put my belongings in the corner, fall asleep and hope for the best in the morning when I wake up to find out just who this person is.
    I'm peacefully dreaming when suddenly the lights are flipped on and I hear two Spaniards chatting up a storm. I half way roll over to look at them, it was awkward. It's a little guy, the kind I could put in my pocket, and a stout, tom-boyish girl. What a pair.. who the hell are these characters? I roll back over and face opposite them. The lights stay on for like 15 minutes. WHAT IS GOING ON? I fall back and asleep.What an exciting day.

    Sunday, April 18th

    I wake up at like 10:30 AM, quickly prepare for the day and try to ditch out of that room before I wake the sleeping giant. Damnit...she wakes up, mutters a hello, I introduce myself and ask her her name, to which she replies "Elena". I uncomfortably extend my hand for an awkward handshake. She goes to the bathroom. I run out of the apartment.
    That day I took the two story tourist bus around the island. It was a nice, informative ride. AND.....I SAW THE POPE. He was in Malta regarding some little boy scandal, what a surprise, and performing his Pope like duties. Everyone had a boner over the Pope, or as the Spaniards would say El Papa, being there. His picture was hanging from almost every balcony with cheesy garland and other decorations surrounding it.For a dunch/linner, I indulged in a little pizza.The pizza was SO huge and SO cheap--1.75 euro!
    So later that day, I go back to the apartment. It's empty. Thank goodness. I decide to utilize the free WiFi, 2o minutes later I hear the door open. Oh no. Who could this be? I peak into the hallway from the end of my bed, it's a Chinese girl. She sees me and approaches my room. I say hello, she replies 你好. This is going to be interesting. She runs into her room and pulls out a Chinese to English translator. After a silent conversation of translation, I find out that her name is Zhang, she's just got to Malta today, she will be here for 3 weeks learning English, she is 29 years old (I honestly thought she was 19), and she has a boyfriend. Midway through our converslation (fusing conversation + translation), someone else walks in the apartment. China jumps up to see who it is and I hear ENGLISH coming from the other person. So relieved. I run out there to find another woman who is China's roommate. Her name is Cristina, she is 30 years old, she is from Madrid, she's been in Malta for a week and is studying English there for 3 weeks. She is very nice and very 90's. Cristina and I have a laugh over our communication difficulties with China. I tell her about my incident last night with Elena and friend. Some 30 minutes later, another woman walks into the apartment followed by a small man. Now, this my roommate and her little friend. I find out that Elena is from a small town in Southern Spain and teaches sailing there. She traveled to Malta alone and was going to be there for like 2 weeks. Her little friend's name is Raul and they had just met a couple of days ago. Soon we all found ourselves collected at the kitchen table conversing in a Spanish/English/translator. It was incredibly entertaining!! Later that night we all went out together minus China because she was chatting with her boyfriend. We stepped outside the apartment and met up with Cristina's man friend who lives in the apartment too and is also studying in Malta for 3 weeks. He was like 50 years old. Not creepy, just old and awkwardly trying to be young. Now picture this please, us 5 going to some bar with a bunch of people in their early 20's. I had to remove myself from the situation to think about just how fucking ridiculous my life is. Imagine this group...Me (the normal one), Cristina (30 year old in 90's get up, awkwardly half dancing to the music), Elena (who I think is a lesbian, dressed in baggy man jeans and tennis shoes), Baby Raul (who I think is gay), and 50 year old (who is old and side stepping back and forth slowly and off beat). It was a scene. I go to bed at 2:00 AM because this is too crazy. What an experience. Wow.

    Monday, April 19th
    I wake up and decide to walk along the coastline down to Sliemma to explore and shop. I walk for forever, it was nice outside and I enjoyed it. Shopping in Malta is horrible. There were all cheap, ugly clothes. I found a nice restaurant overlooking the water and had lunch. It was a delicious asparagus, butternut squash, lettuce, pine nut, goat cheese salad. I walked all the way back home checked my email and found out that my flight to Italy the next day was cancelled. This sucks. What do I do now? So I had to extend my Malta stay until Thursday because that's when the next, reasonably priced flight was. Later that night I decide to text Javier to see what he's doing because I couldn't handle another night with Odd Squad. After some back and forth texts, he meets me outside my apartment. I open the door and there he is..white Nike's, tight Khaki's this time, and now a London sweatshirt.. hahahhaha. We get a beer and he chats my head off about how he's the best English speaker in his class, how he loves Spain, hates Spanish stereotypes, and is confused as to why on spring break in Cancun people thought he was Mexican just because he was speaking Spanish (he lectured about the different accents (Spanish vs. Mexican) and how Mexicans are brown with black hair and he is white with brown hair--he just didn't understand why American's thought he was Mexican because there's an obvious difference). Throughout our conversation (or should I say the conversation he had with himself?),
    I did a lot of smiling and laughing because witty jokes and sarcasm don't translate well. I don't know how much longer I can take this, and then his mother called and he left go to have a 10 minutes conversation with her. During the duration of the call, I thought about getting up and running the 20 yards back to my apartment because this night was going nowhere quickly, that or chugging 3 beers while he was tawking to mommie. I decided that I would probably get caught in the midst of my run and that chugging 3 beers would probably make me sick, so both ideas were ruled out. So after 10 minutes of baby talk with mommie, he reappears and proceeds to tell me that he told his mother that he went out for a drink with me and that his mother was asking if we were together. He quickly mumbled a short conversation between him and his mother about me, I couldn't really understand it (by the way everything is in English, no Spanish), nor did I want to understand what he was saying and got weirded out. We finish our beers, he suggests to check out another bar he likes. We walk past it, nothing much going on. Now we come to my apartment entrance, I make a quick get away by saying, Thanks for the beer, I owe you one. See you later! I run up to my apartment where I recap the strange events of that night to myself. Now this is where the story gets odder...like 5 minutes after I bounced from that agonizing, I don't even know what to call it.. meeting?, I receive a text from him..."Do u want to come to sleep with me?" WHAAAAAAAAT? Hold the phone...where the hell did this come from!?!? I, of course, rejected the invitation with a polite, "No thank you." Crazy European men. What an experience. Wow.

    Tuesday, April 20th

    YAY. I leave for Italy today. Not. So, instead I decide to brave the public transit system. On the plane over, I was warned by Maltesian and Javier that the bus drivers are complete assholes. With that in mind, I say..Bring It On! I walk over to the bus stop which is swarmed with like 50 people and of course guess who is standing there... Javier! I see him, he doesn't see me, I immediately turn around and walk in the other direction. Crazy, just crazy! Eventually, I find a bus stop that is Javier free and wait for a bus to Valletta, the capital. The buses in Malta are absolutely ancient. It's like they're a joke. Bus #45 pulls up to the stop and the doors open, I look up at the bus driver and think here goes nothing! The driver is a burly man whose only form of communication is grunts. The fare for the bus is .47 cents, I place .50 cents in his stubby, troll hand. He hands me a receipt ticket with no change. I quickly find a spot to sit in a rickety, old vinyl seat. The bus is shaking and rattling so bad down the street that I think I'm on an amusement ride, this can't be real. The bus goes to a huge, half circle bus terminal with like 35 other buses. I get off, walk down the pedestrian street and around the town a bit, and decide I want to go to Golden Bay which is a popular, sandy beach in the northern part of the island. Before the ride, I get thirsty and decide to buy something to drink. I spot "Kinnie" a local drink made in Malta and buy it. Board the bus, break the seal of the bottle and take a large sip. GROSS. It tasted like ass. It's suppose to be like orangey tasting, but it has the flavor of burnt ass and an orange twist. 30 minutes later I find myself in Golden Bay. I grab a little something to eat and hit the beach. I'm totally not prepared for the beach though, I'm wearing jeans, flats, with my swimming suit underneath (after I sneaked into a fancy restaurant to change into it), and I don't have a towel. This will be interesting. To my surprise you could pay 5 euro and receive a towel and a chair for the day. Sold. I sat there for awhile, but it was windy. I ventured back to the apartment around 5:00. At this point, I'm kind of pro at taking the bus, no problems. I arrive 'home' safely, take a shower, and stay in for the night updating my blog. Tonight was Elena's last night in Malta before traveling to Gozo for 6 days which is a short ferry ride away. We said our good byes and that was it.

    Wednesday, April 21st
    I woke up, ate my daily fruit and yogurt from the euro saver menu at McDonalds (I ate like 2 of those everyday) and was off to Mellilha Bay for some more beach time. The forecast today, 70 with no wind, sounds perfect to me. I had a bit of a fiasco getting there, I waited for a bus for like 30 minutes and then got off like 2 stops too early. But I finally made it there and bought a chair on the beach again, this time for 4 euro. Oh hey. I sat in the sun and even went swimming in the Mediterranean! It was wonderful! Hours later at like 5, everyone got kicked off the chairs because they were closing, so I left then. On my way home from the bus stop I picked up a Cisk tall boy, the local Maltesian beer. It was a good beer. At the apartment I enjoyed the WiFi and took a shower. Because there was no outlet in the bathroom, I plugged my curling iron in, in the common area and was going to curl some hairs using my camera on my computer as a mirror. From across the table, China saw me struggling with this task. We played a quick game of charades and by her putting her finger on her nose, pointing to me and then doing a curling action in her hair, I figured out she wanted to curl my hair for me. So I let her of course! What a scene! My Chinese roommate who speaks no English curling my hair in Malta. Randomness at its finest. So that night, me, Cristina, and 50 year old went to dinner and then to the usual bar from the first night. Because it was my last night, I had to bring out my cool outfit, black blazer, casual white crew neck, sequence skirt, black tights, and blue suede heels. I was ballin. Dinner was good, I had ravioli. We hit the bar...same old crowd and me, with the same old (literally) people. haha. We hang out their, I find random people to chat with, it was fun. I bet you all are wondering what my strange friends look like, well we got our picture taken together at the bar...My feet hurt like a bitch because of the blue suede heels and I'm home by 2:00 AM.

    Thursday, April 22nd
    I leave today! My flight is at 12:30 PM. I get to the airport at 10:45 AM. The night before RyanAir sent an email that said if you only had carry on luggage you could go straight to the gate and wouldn't have to have your boarding pass stamped at the check-in desk. So I bypassed a long line of people and thought wow that sucks to have to stand in that line and made my way to security. From there I was turned away because RyanAir messed up and each passenger needed an actual boarding pass, so I jynxed myself and had to be one of those people standing in the huge line. How annoying. I wait in line for 30 minutes, finally get my boarding pass, go through security, check the departures and Malta to Madrid isn't up yet. I grab something to eat and watch the departure screen from the table. I'm almost finished eating and check the screen again, Malta to Madrid: DELAYED. Seriously?? I wait around for like 45 minutes wandering the terminal to find out that the flight is delayed until 4:30 PM. I spend my extra time writing this blog, it passes quickly, but that just means I won't get back to Sevilla until later. So, 4:30 rolls around I board the plane and somehow make it past the crazy flight attendants with my huge bag and enjoy a 2.5 hour flight back to Spain. On the flight I had a cup of tomato soup, it was really delicious and I bought a scratch off ticket--I didn't win anything. (Check out this story--> http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/flight-international/2010/03/ryanair-passenger-eats-winning.html). I didn't get anything stolen on the Metro in Madrid and didn't get lost. Good. I get to the bus station around 9:00 PM and the next bus to Sevilla is at 11:00 PM. I wait around in the bus station playing Mancala and eating a sandwich from Rodilla. I board the bus and see a group of 3 ladies who had been on the same flight as me from Malta. It was funny. I make it through the 6 hour long bus ride and am finally in bed at Fina's house at 5:30 Am! What a long day!

    Yet another experience, thank you Malta!!

              Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Sound Doctrine Backed by Sound Living”        

    In many churches across modern evangelicalism, good doctrine has taken a back seat to good works. The emphasis has shifted away from believing the right thing to doing the right thing, with a particular focus on community works and social justice.

    Often that shift is the result of legitimate critique—that professing Christians frequently fail to apply and live out their good doctrine. Today, many church leaders argue that doctrine simply does not answer the multitude of practical problems we face in this fallen world. In that sense, the emphasis on prioritizing good works over good doctrine is an overcorrection against the threat of cold orthodoxy and dead faith.

    Others simply treat doctrinal disputes as long-argued issues we must ignore or circumvent to accomplish the work God has for His people. That was essentially the point Rick Warren made in a 2005 interview with the Pew Forum. He argued that we find our common ground in what we do rather than what we believe.

    You’re never going to get Christians, of all their stripes and varieties, to agree on all of the different doctrinal disputes and things like that, but what I am seeing them agree on are the purposes of the church. And I find great uniformity in the fact that I see this happening all the time. Last week I spoke to 4,000 pastors at my church who came from over 100 denominations in over 50 countries. Now, that’s wide spread. We had Catholic priests, we had Pentecostal ministers, we had Lutheran bishops, we had Anglican bishops, we had Baptist preachers. They’re all there together and you know what? I’d never get them to agree on communion or baptism or a bunch of stuff like that, but I could get them to agree on what the church should be doing in the world. 

    Warren’s ecumenical enthusiasm for the practical work of the church is so strong it has blinded him to who constitutes the true church in the first place. And that is the danger of emphasizing, as Warren puts it, deeds, not creeds.

    In spite of what Warren and others like him seem to believe, Scripture does draw a direct relationship between what we believe and how we live. In John MacArthur’s sermon “Sound Doctrine Backed by Sound Living,” he lays out the clear biblical connection between doctrine and deeds. Moreover, he emphasizes the two in that particular order—doctrine then deeds—because good deeds are the byproduct of good doctrine, never the cause.

    John also warns about the critical flipside of that truth—wrong doctrine always produces wrong conduct because “error is a communicable disease.” Good or bad, doctrine lies at the root of all behavior.

    Centering on Titus 2:1 (“speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine”), John shows the biblical pattern of sound living following on the heels of sound doctrine. He also reinforces the importance of this issue because all of us are under the gaze of this fallen world. With regard to Titus 2:8 (“that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us”) John reminds us:

    Look, [unbelievers] are examining us and we want to so live that those opponents of the faith will blush in sheer embarrassment because there is no just criticism. Don’t you think that the opponents of Christianity love it when Christians scandalize the faith? Don’t they love to pick up the magazines and the newspapers and read about the fornication and the adultery and the fiscal irresponsibility and the thievery and all of the conning that goes on in the fakeries of Christianity and all of the sin and iniquity in leadership? Sure they do.

    And I’ll tell you something else, the people in your little world . . . would love to see you fail significantly so they can justify their unbelief. They don’t want to see God transform your life and then rebuke them. But that’s exactly what you want to do, you want to make them red faced, you want to make them blush when they criticize because they can’t find anything to criticize. You see, the issue here is evangelism.

    You live out your Christian life in your own personal mission field, and your witness is always on the line. For that reason, “Sound Doctrine Backed by Sound Living” is a timely reminder for all Christians on how to practice what we preach.

    Click here to listen to “Sound Doctrine Backed by Sound Living.”

           

               Daily Show and Colbert Handle Rick Perry's N-Word Scandal         
    Daily Show and Colbert Handle Rick Perry's N-Word Scandal

    Daily Show and Colbert Handle Rick Pe...
    This is how it's done.
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    Keywords: rick perry rick perry ranch rick perry n word rick perry hunting ranch rick perry daily show rick perry colbert rick perry hunting daily show
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              The Ghoul: Head-Shrinking and Mind-Bending        
    You can definitely call this deep cover. The morose looking Chris is either an undercover investigator feigning severe depression to investigate a pair of nefarious shrinks or he is an emotional basket case who frequently gets lost in fantasies of undercover police work. Frankly, viewers will be completely unable to parse reality from fantasy and he is just as lost himself in Gareth Tunley’s head-spinning The Ghoul (trailer here), which opens in select markets tomorrow.

    As the film opens, Chris has no reason to doubt he is a former cop, who took the fall for some sort of departmental scandal, but is brought back in from time to time in an off-the-books capacity. His ex-partner Jim has such a case. A couple fell victim to a double homicide, but from the evidence they were suspiciously hard to kill, like junkies hopped up on PCP, except sturdier and cleaner. It turns out the property was managed by one Coulson, a well-heeled playboy with a history of “pushing” the impressionable to commit anti-social crimes.

    Coulson makes himself scarce, but a search of his flat reveals he has been seeing an analyst by the name of Fisher, but she might have referred him to her mentor, Alexander Morland. Chris will follow in Coulson’s footsteps, pretending to suffer from long-term debilitating depression with coaching from Jim’s wife Kathleen, a psychiatric nurse for whom he has long carried a torch. Except, Chris isn’t really faking it that much. No matter who the real Chris is, he obviously has trouble enjoying the little things in life. As his treatment progresses, it becomes unclear whether the assumed persona is indeed fake or if it is part of an elaborate fantasy life he has constructed. Of course, he too will inevitably be referred to Morland.

    The Ghoul is not merely another Lynchian reality-problematizer. The villainy Tunley suggests could be afoot just might be a new one on us. It is hard to explain without getting spoilery, but it most likely involves the New Agey glyphs adorning Morland’s office.

    It is safe to say Tunley twists are especially twisted. The stakes are also much more considerable than the immediate is-he-or-isn’t-he question. Things get big picture cosmic, on a small, intimate scale. This is the kind of genre picture that is totally cool, because it throws you for a loop, but has just about zero special effects.

    As Chris, Tom Meeten looks like the poster boy for clinical depression, regardless of the reality he is working in. It is an exhaustingly haggard and existential performance, but we never catch him acting. Likewise, Rufus Jones is terrific as the flamboyant and openly manipulative Coulson, who repeatedly up-ends our assumptions and expectations. Geoffrey McGivern goes all in chewing the scenery like a Hammer villain as Morland, but Niamh Cusack is more ambiguously insidious as Fisher.

    The Ghoul probably demands too much attention from Rob Zombie horror fans, but if you just focus a little, it will really get under your skin. It is also unusually well-acted by genre standards. Cinematographer Benjamin Pritchard gives it a dark, dank, eerie look in keeping with the films of executive producer Ben Wheatley, so you know its good stuff. Very highly recommended, The Ghoul opens tomorrow (8/11) in several off-the-beaten-path venues, including the Lyric Cinema Café in Fort Collins.
              Film Review: NATION AFLAME (1937, Victor Halperin)        


    Stars: 4 of 5.
    Running Time: 74 minutes.
    Notable Cast or Crew: Directed by Victor Halperin (WHITE ZOMBIE, PARTY GIRL). Story by Thomas Dixon, Jr. (THE BIRTH OF A NATION, MARK OF THE BEAST). Starring Noel Madison ('G' MEN), Lila Lee (BLOOD AND SAND, THE UNHOLY THREE), Harry Holman (MEET JOHN DOE, BARBARY COAST), and Douglas Walton (MURDER MY SWEET, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN).
    Tag-lines: "Exposé of a Hooded Menace!"
    Best one-liner(s): "Boy, the suckers will eat it up!"

    In what's coming to be a regular feature of this blog, I find myself writing about American hate groups, fascists, and their cinematic depictions. Today's film happens to be written by Thomas Dixon, Jr., whose early novels celebrated hate and formed the basis for the racist, denialist 1915 epic THE BIRTH OF A NATION, which casts the Ku Klux Klan as the heroic saviors of the South during the "dark days" of Reconstruction.

    However, sometime in the 1930s (upon witnessing the revived Klan and the rise of European fascism) Dixon underwent an apparent evolution of character. In NATION AFLAME, his final work, he delivers a formidable condemnation of the Klan, American Nazism, xenophobia, and political hucksterism that's more than worthy of our attention in 2017. If Thomas Dixon's mind can be changed––a mind that was directly responsible for the second wave of the Klan in the 1920s––then truly the sky is the limit: NATION AFLAME is as remarkable in this aspect as it would be if Steve Bannon were suddenly to produce a film denouncing the white nationalist movement.

    Allow me to begin by offering a rundown of the plot, which unfolds with the simplicity of a fable across a slim, 74-minute runtime.

    Enter: Roland Adams, the political huckster. A rich, aging clown-prince who has a certain way with crowds, and rules them with the wave of his jester-faced scepter: he wears the absurdity of this persona as a badge of pride.

    With his eldest daughter reining in his more outrageous peccadillos, Adams once was Mayor of a typical middle-American city.

    Against his daughter's wishes, however, he has made some dangerous friends; career criminals who know that the the huckster's power over the uneducated mob can be exploited, a fast lane to power and riches. His new right hand man is an Italian immigrant named Sandino who has re-fashioned himself as "Sands," and, in a believably hypocritical path to personal agency, becomes a true master of the xenophobic rhetoric that was once leveled against his friends and family.

    He becomes Adams' brain, his attack-dog, his Richelieu. Adams' daughter has very little power over him now, though it pleases her to pretend. Sands and Adams make their xenophobic, "America First" pitch at a political cocktail party, and while it fails to impress the intelligentsia, the seeds are planted for a Populist campaign. The following clip is well worth watching:
    And so the Avenging Angels are formed; a "grassroots" organization subsidized by gangsters and protected by corrupt politicians, whose members wear black hoods (patterned after the Black Legion and the second-wave Klan) and commit acts of political, racial, and anti-intellectual violence.

     Sands lays out their mission in a manner that is straightforward and unfortunately prescient:
    "The only way that we can save the youth of our nation is to organize them in one single group, and through them, enforce the precepts of 100% Americanism! Corruption and politics must go! Civic virtue and patriotism must be our goals! We must enforce a reverence for our flag and our Constitution!  And what is more, protect our American womanhood, and guard the sanctity of our homes! We must guarantee that the wealth of America must be shared only by real Americans! To maintain and declare absolute boycott against foreigners is our only salvation!"
    We are treated to extensive scenes of Adams, Sands, and their cronies practicing their bluster as an acting exercise, repeating the same lines over and over again until they feel they've attained the proper patriotic fervency.


    "Boy, the suckers will eat it up!" says Adams. And they do. The gang is able to enrich themselves financially and politically, selling Avenging Angels memberships and apparel for $25 a pop.


    "For twenty-five dollars, be true Americans!"

    It should come as no surprise that Adams rides this wave of hate to ascend to a fresh political office: the Governorship. Under his rule, and amid a mosaic of domestic terrorism, the Avenging Angels beat to death reporters who dare to criticize them.

    Now Governor Adams has the Oval Office in his sights, an idea planted by Sands, who grows more power-hungry by the day. Sands doesn't care much about the scandals and inquiries piling up at the Governor's doorstep, because he operates in secrecy and will still wield the full power of the Avenging Angels no matter Adams' fate. Adams' daughter makes regular visits to his office in an attempt to save his soul:

    "Daddy, I'd rather see you resign than be impeached," she says...

    But Sands always visits afterward, and the Governor happens to be the kind of man to take the advice he's heard most recently.

    With political opponents closing in, Adams eventually decides to buck his gang and forge his own path. This, unfortunately, is short-lived as he is immediately assassinated by Avenging Angels who, at Sands' insistence, believe he has betrayed them.



    Governor Adams is dead, his jester-faced scepter smashed. And the power of the Angels lives on, vindicated by the destruction of those who were not pure enough; those who were less than "100% American."

    Adams' daughter aligns herself with the Angels' progressive foes and is burned in effigy amid growing misogynistic rhetoric.


    Fearing her reputation already ruined, she sacrifices her remaining stature to take out Sands, entrapping him in a sex scandal that, in 1937, proves to be enough to sink the Avenging Angels for good. The end.

    For me, NATION AFLAME film can only reframe Dixon's body of work, not rehabilitate it. However, like other films of the era such as BLACK LEGION and LEGION OF TERROR, it is very much the product of 1930s American Progressivism, fearful of fascist movements in Germany, Italy, and Spain worming their way into the American South and Midwest. That it comes to us courtesy of a man who never would have described himself as a progressive, and in fact publicly wore the mantle of "white supremacist," is staggering. I suppose this is evidence that even the harshest, most monstrous ideologue can have a breaking point: a crisis of conscience. This is something we must bear in mind.
              Britain in the Ashtray        


    "...Let it simply be said that Notes on a Scandal shows a kind of genius. That genius lies in the completeness with which it reveals a society as free from all ethical moorings - as free even from the vaguest recollection of ethical moorings - as Weimar Republican Berlin. Apart from two minor characters (Stephen’s bewildered father, and a briefly glimpsed veterinary surgeon who attends to Barbara’s cat), the only figure capable of behaving like an adult is Barbara. And she herself soon comes to take an unhealthy interest, possibly erotic, in Sheba. The difference is that she realizes the interest’s unhealthiness, and labors to abide by a moral code that she did not simply filch from last month’s number of Marie-Claire. Such labors make her as undesirable a freak, to her colleagues, as if she were Jane Austen. Therefore she must be punished with the full rigor of BoBo justice, where the Nanny State’s law counts for everything and the wider natural law counts for nothing; where friendships are ended not by grown-up discussion, but by the issuance of restraining orders; where being a narcissistic little girl trapped in a fortyish art teacher’s body is considered, not a disgrace to adulthood, but a valid lifestyle choice.

    There is no reason to suppose that this near-perfect depiction of nihilism exaggerates, in any way, the quotidian horror of Britain under Blair. There is every reason to suppose that, if anything, it understates such horror. The British dispatches from Theodore Dalrymple, Peter Hitchens, and Geoffrey Wheatcroft regularly convey to us a land as unrecognizable from its 1970s self (some of us remember that self from our youth) as today’s Spain is from Franco’s. Note that to perceive Britain’s current thoroughgoing civilizational corruption, we need not even behold Blairism’s most specific miseries: the exorbitant crime rates that have ineluctably resulted from gun control; the inundation of every British metropolis under Islam’s tide; the home-grown terrorists; or the same-sex “civil union” bill that a putatively Christian Queen Elizabeth II signed into law. Notes on a Scandal leaves these unmentioned. They would be irrelevant. Sheba Hart’s environment is, heaven help us, the comparatively amiable face of modern Britain. Orwell’s words remain apposite:

    “Emancipation is complete. Freud and Machiavelli have reached the outer suburbs ... one is driven to feel that snobbishness, like hypocrisy, is a check upon behavior whose value from a social point of view has been underrated.”..."


              How did the Dems’ IT scandal suspects get here?        
    How did the Dems’ IT scandal suspects get here? by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2017 Here is a radical proposition: The public has a right to know the immigration status and history of foreign criminal suspects. Their entrance and employment sponsorship records should not be treated like classified government secrets — especially if the […]
              Projekt der Berliner Regierung: Stehpinkeln auch für Frauen – News vom 4. August 2017        
    1. Wie Gunnar Schupelius in der Berliner B.Z. berichtet, hat der rot-rot-grüne Senat der deutschen Hauptstadt ein 97 Seiten umfassender "Toilettenkonzept für Berlin" erstellen lassen:

    Auf Seite 30 steht das Kapitel "Geschlechtergerechtigkeit". Hier wird nachgewiesen, dass es ungerecht sei, wenn nur Männer im Stehen urinieren dürften, Frauen aber nicht. Wörtlich heißt es: "Aus Sicht der Gleichstellung sind Pissoirs nicht akzeptabel."

    Die Fachleute des Senats stellen fest, dass es zwar wichtig sei, Männern Urinale anzubieten, da sie "eher zum Wildpinkeln tendieren" würden als Frauen. Dennoch müsse aber eben auch Frauen die Möglichkeit geboten werden, sich im Stehen zu erleichtern.


    Bei einem italienischen Designer taten die rot-rot-grünen Toilettenexperten daraufhin das Urinal "Girly" auf, das mit seiner "innovativen Form die Anatomie der Frau berücksichtigt". Damit sollen künftig alle öffentlichen Toiletten nachgerüstet werden.

    Gleichzeitig ist Schupelius zufolge gefährdet, dass öffentliche Toiletten in Berlin überhaupt noch funktionieren. Ein Lösungskonzept dafür gebe es im Senat der Stadt noch nicht: "Nur die Vorschriften für das Frauen-Urinal sind schon fertig."

    Warten wir noch ein paar Jahrzehnte, und dann werden Frauen-Urinale auch in privaten Haushalten angeordnet. Schließlich ist das Private aus feministischer Sicht evident politisch, und es gibt keinen Grund, weshalb Gleichberechtigung in den eigenen vier Wänden keinen Platz haben sollte.



    2. Auf Twitter berichtet "Don Alphonso" über weitere Ergebnisse seiner Detektivarbeit zu dem grünen Onlinepranger. Ich halte mal einige Auszüge fest, falls es später ein Quiz zu diesem Thema gibt:

    Etwa im Mai 2017 haben @gwi_boell bzw @boell_stiftung bei @Agentin_org Angst bekommen und Tatsachenbehauptungen durch Mutmassungen ersetzt.


    Daher diese ganzen "scheint". "orientiert" etc. Formulierungen - nach meinen Infos hat besonders @andreaskemper härtere Begriffe verwendet.


    Während Kemper vor allem Personen denunziert, macht der Wiki-Nutzer "Heinrich Alpin" die öffentliche Darstellung des Projekts.


    Später musste erst mal Nutzerin "Gruen" über die Rechtschreibung und Grammatik gehen (He, @boell_stiftung, Eure Spitzel sind echt peinlich)


    Bei vielen Beiträgen das gleiche Muster: Kemper denunziert vom Jan-März16 die Personen, schreibt Behauptungen. Gruen&Co müssen nacharbeiten.




    3. "Verdienen weiße Männer wirklich das Wahlrecht?" fragt das "Affinity Magazine", der Eigendarstellung zufolge eine Nachrichtenplattform speziell für Teens. In dem Artikel heißt es:

    After all, women and people of colour went through times of not being allowed to vote, and the fact that white men never had to experience that is an injustice. (...) One can’t be sure if withdrawing the white man’s vote could be considered a "wrong". Furthermore, the point here that has to be made is that banning white men from voting temporarily will help them understand systemic injustice and help them become better, more empathetic allies to the social justice cause.

    In contexts like these, identity politics can be helpful, empowering and contributing to an important learning experience. White men who want to become better allies always come across the problem of "I will never understand what it feels like to be systemically oppressed" but this proposal may further their understanding of minority needs and improve relations between different genders and races, which is the ultimate goal; equality.


    Warum eigentlich nicht? Wenn es etwa um die Frauenquote geht, haben wir uns doch auch schon daran gewöhnt, dass die Diskriminierung von Männern mit dem "Endziel soziale Gerechtigkeit" begründet wird.

    Allerdings findet sich in den Kommentaren unter dem Artikel bereits die Auflösung dieses selbst für Feministinnen bizarren Artikels: Bei dem Namen der Autorin "Malia Rolt" handelt es sich wohl nicht zufällig um ein Anagramm von "I am a troll". Bemerkenswert ist, dass – ähnlich wie zuvor die "Huffington Post" – ein sich als seriös verstehendes Magazin einen Artikel mit der geschilderten Auffassung veröffentlichte. Sobald es irgendwie gegen Männer geht, stehen in unseren Medien die Tore noch für den größten Irrsinn sperrangelweit offen.



    4. Wie Genderama berichtete, deckte dieser Tage ein Artikel der New York Times auf, wie sehr die Anführerinnen des Frauenmarsches gegen Trump die Sharia bewerben sowie Extremisten, Rassisten, Terroristen und Gewaltverbrecher verehren. Auf diese Anschuldigungen gibt es jetzt von der Co-Präsidentin des Frauenmarsches eine Erwiderung.



    5. Das Neueste aus der "Rape Culture": Eine US-amerikanische Universität sanktioniert einen Studenten wegen eines angeblichen sexuellen Übergriffes gegen seine Partnerin: Er darf den Campus nicht mehr betreten und keinen Kontakt zu seinen Trainern und Sportkameraden mehr aufnehmen. Seine Partnerin indes bestreitet hartnäckig, Opfer eines solchen Übergriffes geworden zu sein:

    Words, including mine, have been incompetently or intentionally misrepresented, misquoted and taken out of context, which should not be that surprising since no statements were recorded or verified. (...) I have never been abused, assaulted or otherwise mistreated by Matt. (...) He is an incredible person, and I am and have been 100% behind him. Nothing happened that warranted an investigation, much less the unfair, biased and drawn out process that we have been forced to endure quietly.

    Matt Boermeester did nothing improper against me, ever. I would not stand for it. Nor will I stand for watching him be maligned and lied about, and I implore the USC community to stand together to stop this from happening to Matt or anyone else.


    Nach diesen Äußerungen geht die Universität jetzt auch gegen die fragliche Studentin vor.



    6. Australien macht es den Amis nach: Einem aktuellen Bericht zufolge grassiert an australischen Hochschulen sexuelle Gewalt. 51 Prozent der Studenten seien Opfer entsprechender Übergriffe geworden. Tatsächlich scheint es sich bei diesem Bericht um ein Musterbeispiel dafür zu halten, wie man mit viel Getrickse eine nationale Krise heraufbeschwört, worüber viele Medien in Alarmstimmung berichten. Erinnerungen an die #Aufschrei-Hysterie in Deutschland werden wach.

    Die australische "Herald Sun" indes urteilt in einem Artikel von Andrew Bolt so kritisch und so deutlich, wie kein deutsches Leitmedium zu "Aufschrei"-Zeiten geworden ist. Exemplarisch auch für vergleichbare Fälle schlüsselt der Artikel auf, mit welchen Tricks eine Vergewaltigungshysterie geschürt wurde, die keine Grundlage in der Wirklichkeit hat:

    We should be shocked and upset that not one university boss had the brains or guts to call out this fraud of a study.

    There’s only one real scandal exposed by this study — that our universities must lack academics with the most basic research skills to spot how the taxpayer-funded HRC cooked the books. Yes, the HRC has once more invented a scandal that’s been lapped up by an unquestioning media, producing headlines such as, "Alarming rate of university sexual assaults revealed".

    Here’s how it did it. First the HRC, universities and activists spent more than a year on an emotional publicity campaign to hype the alleged threat of sexual assault on campus. Then, having primed students for outrage, our 39 universities asked them to fill in an online survey to report how often they’d allegedly been harassed or assaulted.

    I say "allegedly" because none of the claims was tested.

    But here is the real problem with this survey: fewer than 10 per cent of students responded. As the HRC admits: "The survey data has been derived from a sample of the target population who were motivated to respond and made an autonomous decision to do so. It may not necessarily be representative of the entire student population."

    (...) Only the most motivated students responded, which presumably includes activist students, ideologues and identity warriors, as well as women and men who have indeed been harassed or abused. But 90 per cent of students couldn’t be bothered responding, perhaps because most didn’t think there was a problem that needed fixing.

    That means the results could be exaggerated as much as tenfold.

    Nor does the fraud stop there. The researchers also defined sexual harassment so broadly that the most trivial or accidental behaviour was included. Even "inappropriate staring or leering" was counted as harassment and, bingo, it worked. Mere stares or leers generated a third of all the complaints.

    (...) No wonder that 40 per cent of students who said they’d been sexually assaulted also said they thought it wasn’t serious enough to tell the university, and another 40 per cent said they hadn’t needed help.

    And still that’s not the full con.

    Only one in four of the alleged sexual assaults — 1.6 per cent of students over two years — actually occurred on campus or going to and from university. Doesn’t that suggest that students are actually safer at university than anywhere else?

    And why are assaults on students travelling to and from campus blamed on universities? Why not blame the public transport system?

    Why? Because this is one more way the HRC could inflate the statistics to paint universities as cesspits of rape and sexual predators.

    This survey is a disgrace. The failure of universities to call it out shows that reason no longer rules and the victim culture is king.




    7. Um fremde Männer zu erziehen beziehungsweise sie zu der Auffassung zu bekehren, dass das unverlangte Zusenden von Intimfotos eine unumutbare sexuelle Belästigung darstelle, versandte eine Frau Bilder von ihrer Vagina. Das überraschende Resultat: Die Männer reagierten darauf keineswegs so pikiert wie erwartet, sondern begeistert. Und die fragliche Dame musste lernen, dass es ein Fehler sein könnte, wenn man seine eigenen Gefühle automatisch so sehr verallgemeinert, als ob sie für alle anderen ebenfalls gültig wären.



    8. Die Post. Einer meiner Leser schreibt mir heute:

    Hallo Herr Hoffmann,

    Die Wahrheit setzt sich durch, das ist schon immer mein Glaube gewesen. Sie kommt auf leisen Sohlen daher und braucht einen langen Atem. Aber sie steht auf festem Grund.

    Die Lüge kommt forsch daher, laut und anmaßend. Aber sie hat einen konstruierten, keinen festen Boden und muss immer neue Lügen einbauen, damit das Gerüst nicht zusammenfällt. "Das eben ist der Fluch der bösen Tat, dass sie, fortzeugend, immer Böses muss gebären."

    Dass es aber 40 Jahre dauert, das hat selbst mich alten Mann doch erschaudern und fast verzweifeln lassen. Aber der Gegenwind zu den Gender"wissenschaften" und dem Biotop, das sie geboren hat, wurde schon seit einiger Zeit deutlich. Und doch blieb ich lange ungläubig skeptisch.

    Aber dass Agent*In so umfassend durchgefallen ist, das ist schon mehr als ein Hoffnungsschimmer. Das wäre noch vor zehn Jahren nicht denkbar gewesen Da wurde sowas einfach durchgewunken. Heute gibt es auch Kritik zu den Auswüchsen. Die kommt nicht nur von guten Blogs, die in letzter Zeit wie Pilze aus dem Boden wuchsen. Auch Wissenschaftler melden sich zu Wort. Nicht nur Naturwissenschaftler wie der Biologe Ulrich Kutschera haben offenbar dermaßen die Schnauze voll, dass sie keine Angst mehr haben, in die Öffentlichkeit zu gehen.

    Aus den MINT-Fächern kommen überraschend viele (Blogger jedenfalls) aus dem IT-Bereich, ist mir übrigens aufgefallen. Was ich erst für ein Phänomen hielt, ist aber nur konsequent. Mit Wischi-Waschi-BlaBlaBla ist dort nämlich kein Blumentopf zu gewinnen. Da ist logisches stringentes Denken gefragt.

    Immer mehr Leute selbst aus den Geisteswissenschaften, zu denen Fächer wie Soziologie, Psychologie noch immer gezählt werden, melden sich zu Wort. Der Soziologe Michael Klein versteht was von Methodenlehre, die sein Fach zur Wissenschaft und nicht zum Geschwätz macht und hat ein sehr erfolgreiches Blog.

    Und nun hat es wohl auch de.wikipedia erfasst. Ein zartes Pflänzchen wohl zunächst, aber die Hoffnung wächst. Auf die Diskussion, bei der Andreas Kemper seiner Agent*In ein schönes Make Up verpassen möchte, haben Sie schon hingewiesen Ein sehr interessanter Beleg, denn es kommen nicht mehr, wie früher üblich, sofort die Hilfstruppen aus dem Gebüsch. Es gibt Gegenwind. Wichtig: Der kommt von Leuten, die nicht selbst Ideologen sind, sondern nur klar und unvoreingenommen denken.

    Das betrifft nicht nur den Artikel selbst. Endlich werden mal die Relevanzkriterien richtig angewendet.

    Eine Petitesse scheint dagegen die Wikipedia-Diskussion um das Binnen-I zu sein. Der Artikel über Kempers Online-Pranger hieß nämlich mal kurz "Agent" statt "Agent*In". Nach einer Entschuldigung, dass dafür wohl das verwendete Binnen-I-Eliminierungs-Tool verantwortlich sei, kommt kein #Aufschrei. Kempers Behauptung "Das Binnen-I ist seit Jahrzehnten üblicher Bestandteil der deutschen Schriftsprache und widerspricht nicht der deutschen Rechtschreibung. Es mit einem Tool entfernen zu wollen, ist eine maschinelle Sprachkonstruktion", kommt nicht mehr durch.

    "Typischer Fall von Filterblase", steht da als Antwort bis 20:27, 30. Jul. 2017. Und kein Shitstorm bricht mehr los und auch kein Edit War mehr. Dass selbst Dinge, die sie längst abgehakt haben, nicht mehr so einfach durchgehen, ist, zusammen mit dem, was ich oben angerissen habe, mehr als ein Hoffnungsschimmer. Da wird es langsam schon wieder richtig hell.

              Marilyn Monroe: os mistérios da sua morte        


    Na manhã de 5 de agosto de 1962, aos 36 anos, Marilyn Monroe faleceu enquanto dormia em sua casa em Brentwood, na Califórnia.

    A notícia foi um choque, propagada pela mídia, explorando sobretudo o caráter misterioso em que o fato se deu, prevalecendo a versão oficial de overdose pela ingestão de barbitúricos. O brilho e a beleza de Marilyn faziam parecer impossível que ela tivesse deixado a todos.

    Ninguém sabe de fato o que aconteceu naquela noite. Ouviu-se o barulho de um helicóptero.

    Uma ambulância foi vista esperando fora da casa dela antes que a empregada desse o alarme. As gravações de seus telefonemas e outras evidências desapareceram. O relatório da autópsia foi perdido. Toda a documentação do FBI sobre sua morte foi suprimida e os amigos de Marilyn que tentaram investigar o que acontecera receberam ameaças de morte. No dia 8 de agosto de 1962, o corpo de Marilyn foi velado no Corridor of Memories, nº 24, no Westwood Memorial Park em Los Angeles. Se estivesse viva, estaria com 85 anos.

    Suicídio? Morte acidental? Assassinato? 

    Afinal, quem ou o quê matou Marilyn Monroe?

    Após anos de incansável trabalho, o detetive Milo Speriglio revela a trágica e aterrorizante verdade por trás da morte sinistra da inesquecível deusa do amor do cinema - uma mulher que amara homens poderosos e perigosos, que sabia de segredos escandalosos e que morreu quando jurou contar tudo.


    Marilyn Monroe teve sim um caso com o Presidente dos Estados Unidos John F. Kennedy (JFK) e posteriormente com seu irmão Robert F. Kennedy (RFK). Porém é importante ressaltar que o romance de Marilyn com JFK teve uma duração relativamente curta. Como ela não poderia ficar com ele, ter um relacionamento com o irmão seria uma forma de estar sempre perto do seu verdadeiro amor.

    Durante o envolvimento entre Marilyn e Bob Kennedy, ele contava à ela tudo o que se passava no governo, ou seja, ela sabia de todos os "podres" do governo JFK. A princípio, não tinha noção da gravidade do e passara a saber. Os assuntos comentados por Kennedy eram segredos de estado e caso viessem à tona as consequências seriam tão catastróficas sendo que as mais "sutis" seria o afastamento imediato de John Kennedy da presidência e a descoberta de que a Casa Branca mantinha relações com a máfia e com gângsters. Sem mencionar o fato de que a CIA e o FBI sabiam desse envolvimento, e que de uma forma ou outra também estavam envolvidos com o submundo.

    Em 5/08/1962, por volta das 4:35h da manhã, o Sargento Jack Clemmons do Distrito Policial De West Los Angeles recebeu uma chamada do Dr. Engelberg (médico particular de Marilyn) informando que ela estava morta. Imediatamente Clemmons foi à casa da atriz. Chegando lá, a governanta, Eunice Murray o conduziu até o quarto da estrela. No caminho, ela comentou que encontrou o corpo pouco depois da meia-noite, após ver luz saindo por debaixo da porta do quarto de dormir. Ao entrar no quarto, estavam lá Dr. Engelberg (médico particular dela) e o Dr. Greenson (psiquiatra particular).


    A expressão de Engelberg era de remorso e Greenson tinha um "sorriso amarelo e não parecia natural", segundo a descrição de Clemmons. O corpo de Marilyn estava nú, caído em diagonal sobre a cama, de barriga para baixo, com os pés enrolados num acolchoado e com o braço direito esticado segurando o telefone.



    Nenhum dos dois médicos falou uma palavra sequer, um deles (Dr. Greenson) apenas apontou para a mesinha de cabeceira, a qual continha 15 vidros de remédios, sendo que um deles estava destampado, tombado e vazio. Esse gesto do Dr. Greenson significava que Marilyn tinha tomado todos os comprimidos do vidro que estava vazio.

    Clemmons era famoso pela sua competência e experiência em casos de suicido. No momento em que ele pisou no quarto e observou a cena logo desconfiou que algo estava "errado". Ao contrário do que se pensa, quando há uma overdose por ingestão de pílulas como aquelas que Marilyn teria supostamente ingerido, a pessoa debate-se, cai, levanta, tem falta de ar, entra em colapso e esbarra nos móveis antes de morrer. Sendo assim o mínimo que se podia esperar era que a cama estivesse bagunçada, os vidros caídos pelo chão e pelo menos "um", um único comprimido tinha que estar caído pelo chão próximo à mesa de cabeceira. Haviam roupas meticulosamente dobradas, bolsas empilhadas na parede e o banheiro também se mostrava muito bem organizado com seus objetos de uso pessoal da atriz.

    Ao examinar o corpo, Clemmons, percebeu que este estava já bastante rígido e apresentando uma coloração característica de um cadáver que há muitas horas estivesse morto. A superfície dorsal do corpo dela (lado das costas) estava bem mais escura que a superfície ventral (lado da barriga), isto significa que ela se manteve durante muitas de barriga para cima e não de barriga para baixo como foi "encontrada". Segundo ele e segundo à própria ciência, se uma pessoa morta permanece deitada de barriga para cima, o sangue desce (concentra-se na parte mais baixa do corpo) devido à gravidade, concentrando-se na parte das costas. Mais tarde, os agentes funerários confirmaram a suspeita de Clemmons. Segundo eles, a morte ocorreu por volta das 8:30h da noite de 04/08, e não por volta da meia noite como afirmou a governanta.


    Outro fato é que não havia nenhum copo no quarto dela, então como ela teria tomado as 50 cápsulas do Nembutal (remédio que a matou)? O Dr. Engelberg afirmou que com certeza ela tinha tomado os 50 comprimidos e que mesmo que não houvesse um copo no quarto ela poderia tranquilamente ter ido ao banheiro e tomado água diretamente da torneira. Esse fato poderia ser possível, só que o detalhe é que estavam sendo feitas pequenas reformas na casa e por esse motivo não havia água no encanamento do banheiro. Então essa hipótese pode ser descartada.

    Ainda se não bastasse, em plena madrugada a máquina de lavar e a secadora estavam ligadas e a governanta Murray andava de um lado para outro carregando caixas de papelão e levando-as até o carro. Aquela não era hora de "arrumar" a casa e muito menos lavar e secar roupas. Era evidente que a governanta estava escondendo alguns objetos e dando fim em provas de suma importância. Vinte anos depois do crime, Otash, um subordinado de Peter Lawford, ator e amigo íntimo de Marilyn, testemunhou dizendo que naquela noite havia recebido um telefonema de Lawford pedindo para que ele fizesse uma "limpeza" na casa da atriz para que fosse destruído qualquer objeto ou coisa suspeita que estivesse lá. Otash disse que não poderia se expor indo até a casa, mas nada o impedia de pedir a governanta que fizesse o serviço.

    Tempos depois descobriu-se que a governanta era uma amiga de "longa data" do psiquiatra de Marilyn. Peter Lawford era cunhado dos Kennedy, a assessora de Marilyn era também muito chegada à família do psiquiatra. Entre outros fatos chega-se à conclusão de que Marilyn estava "cercada" por funcionários e amigos que no fundo apenas a vigiavam de uma forma ou de outra.


    Devido ao envolvimento dos Kennedy com gângsteres, a rivalidade e o "acerto de contas" entre eles, explicaria o fato de todos os cômodos da casa de Marilyn possuírem gravadores escondidos, inclusive e principalmente o seu quarto e o seu banheiro. As linhas telefônicas também estavam grampeadas. Resumindo, Marilyn era monitorada 24 horas por dia. Qual o motivo de todo esse grampeamento? Segundo toda a investigação feita por Milo, os gângsteres fizeram esse grampeamento com o intuito de gravar alguma conversa entre Marilyn e Bob Kennedy que o incriminasse.

    No dia da morte de Marilyn, por volta das 4 da tarde algumas senhoras que estavam jogando cartas numa casa bem próxima à de Marilyn viram Robert Kennedy e "um homem com uma maleta de médico" entrar na casa dela. Esse homem só podia ser o médico particular ou o psiquiatra particular dela...

    Naquela tarde Robert e Marilyn discutiram muito, brigaram, pois Robert que havia prometido se casar com ela de repente diz que tudo está acabado.... Ela entra em desespero, grita e perde o controle. Sabe-se muito pouco sobre o que se passou, no entanto, algumas gravações foram conseguidas (lembre-se que a casa de Marilyn estava toda grampeada, cada cômodo, cada local...


    Outro fato também é que na autópsia encontraram hematomas no corpo de Marilyn. Na casa estavam Robert, o psiquiatra, o médico e a governanta. Juntando esse fato com o que Milo Speriglio cita logo no início do livro de que quando ele chegou à casa, logo depois de ser chamado, encontrou o médico e o psiquiatra sentados em frente a cama da atriz e que a expressão do psiquiatra naquele momento era de CULPA. Pode-se dizer que foi ele quem aplicou a injeção de Nembutal líquido. Vale lembrar que naquele dia, naquele momento, foi a chance de calar Marilyn. Ela havia marcado uma coletiva com a imprensa dizendo que iria "contar tudo". Alguém acha que a maravilhosa família Kennedy, um exemplo de honestidade deixaria o mundo desmoronar e emergir todos as conexões com a máfia e a podridão da Casa Branca?


    O Legista responsável pela autopsia de Marilyn, Dr. Naguchi, reconhece que a autópsia foi "incompleta". Segundo ele antes mesmo do corpo chegar ao necrotério todos já haviam fixado como causa mortis suicídio. Então todos os procedimentos da autópsia foram direcionados levando em conta suicídio. Isso, porém não impediu que o Dr. Noguchi, mesmo contrariando ordens superiores, examinasse e reconhecesse que se ela tivesse se suicidado ingerindo os comprimidos oralmente, todo o trato digestivo estaria amarelo devido aos corantes que são adicionados nesse tipo de remédio. Além do que o estômago e o intestino estavam vazios e de acordo com o exame de sangue e com a análise de pedaços do fígado, o nível da substância se encontrava altíssimo no sangue e no fígado. Isso prova que a substância foi injetada diretamente na corrente sanguínea. Se ela tivesse ingerido os comprimidos a alta concentração da substância se daria em outros órgãos.

    Em 1975, revelações feitas pelo Senado chocaram muitos americanos. O comitê acendeu o pavio da maior bomba ao descobrir nos arquivos da CIA o nome de uma mulher que fora simultaneamente amante do Presidente Kennedy e do chefe da Máfia, Giancana. Quando seu nome foi revelado, ela convocou entrevista coletiva com a imprensa e confirmou tudo. Admitiu ter visitado o Presidente na Casa Branca aproximadamente duas dúzias de vezes, ao tempo em que era amante de Giancana. Disse que ela e o Presidente foram apresentados em Las Vegas por Frank Sinatra e que este posteriormente a apresentara a Giancana, que, por sua vez, apresentara-a a Johnny Roselli.


    Os nomes de Giancana e Roselli surgiram nas audiências, quando se descobriu um espantoso complô da CIA e da máfia para derrubar Fidel Castro. Em 1961, agentes do governo contataram Johnny Roselli, que trouxe para o negócio, Giancana, associado do chefe da máfia nos dias de Havana antes de Castro. Os Kenedy queriam derrubar o governo comunista e os gângsteres queriam recuperar o controle do vício. Um negócio foi fechado. A CIA recrutou Giancana e Roselli para matarem o líder cubano.

    Fonte: Baú do Edu
    Pesquisas, Montagem e Edição: JF Hyppólito

              â€˜Weiner’ Is A Gripping Documentary About Getting The Politicians We Deserve        
    A look about the scandal-ridden politician doubles as an analysis of who runs for office and why we elect who we elect.
              Mark Bailey stood down over email scandal after CCC finds 'reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct'        
    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk asks Energy Minister Mark Bailey to stand down from his portfolio, after Queensland's corruption watchdog found a "reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct" over his use of a personal email address.
              Larissa Waters, deputy Greens leader, quits in latest citizenship bungle        
    Deputy Greens leader Larissa Waters resigns from the Senate after realising she holds dual citizenship less than a week after Scott Ludlam quit following a similar eligibility scandal.
              3/19/07 - "Not for the sqeamish. Or the related-to-me."        
    Once I had a lover who admired my faces. He claimed that my flinch, my moan, my contortion increased his pleasure greatly, and I found this so flattering that on one occasion I let him take pictures. I wish he had never told me, because now in the throes of ecstacy I'm often thinking of what my face might look like. Does this lover have the same appreciation as that one did? What if this one thinks I look pained, or monstrous, or silly? Sometimes I think I might like to go back to that one, temporarily, just to feel like I'm really being looked at.

    The faces-loving lover also liked toys. Once he tied me up and blindfolded me, and used a glass instrument to elicit my pleasure. He had introduced this particular tool before, which he wielded with some skill, but I look back on its use with mixed emotions. It was so impersonal. It could be warmed, but often wasn't, and went in so cold. It felt medical. I grew to resent his affinity for it, because I felt like he liked the experience - the faces, the toys, the power - more than he liked me. Which I suppose was his prerogative to prefer. The nature of our relationship was not one of love or adoration; it was a bargain between people of like-minded proclivities. If I wasn't willing to put in the emotional legwork, I couldn't expect sex not to be the focus of all our interactions. I got what I paid for, so to speak.

    The demise of our arrangement marked the demise of my ability to carry on a fulfilling casual relationship. It can be argued that I never found it all that fulfilling, I just told myself I did, but that's another idea entirely. When I have a friend with benefits, I want them to also be my friend, otherwise the benefits lose their luster. So when he stopped agreeing to see me for anything other than sex, I lost interest in the whole idea. There's a fine line between being objectified and being desired, and I'm sure I've confused it before, but having it thrown in my face was unappealing. This experience, coupled with others that I'll get into in a minute, led to my current uneasiness about including toys in sex play; I feel like objects equal objectification. That the things I "should" feel or want to feel should be attainable through "normal" sex. I know this is flawed, and I don't agree with it in principle. Just in practice.

    What troubles me most is that I didn't always feel this way. When I was young and first started masturbating, I would use practically anything I could get my hands on. I felt little shame, and I don't think it was an effort to debase myself; I was simply curious. When I was 15 I started going to church in an effort to scandalize my liberal, new-agey mother, and stopped masturbating for 8 months because it was supposedly sinful, and not conducive to my new holier-than-thou attitude. When I finally couldn't stand it anymore, I learned how to get myself off using a combination of thigh-pulsation and Kegel exercises - if I wasn't touching myself, it wasn't masturbating! Or at least wasn't as sinful! Or something! This was a labor-intensive process, though, and eventually laziness brought touching myself back into my life, though it was guiltily repented for, every time. Soon enough, boys were also introduced, and the churchiness began to dissipate; intentional hypocrite I am not, and if I was going to fornicate, I'd rather not have to apologize for it every time.

    So, in summary: church-inspired irrational guilt + an emotionally distant boy with a treasure chest = me feeling uncomfortable with "marital aids."

    Over a year ago I was given a well-meaning gift certificate to the best sex store in Seattle. I never used it. It's either expired or depleting in value as we speak. How sad.
              Commenti su Cambiamo marcia sui decoder DVB-T di marco        
    televisione? Mi sta tutto bene. Anche il superdigitale, ma se i programmi offerti sono i soliti di sempre, la prendo e la spengo direttamente senza problemi. Viva la radio e naturalmente, Viva RDS senza compromessi. A proposito, per gestire il tutto con i telefonini, che poi è l'era di oggi, senza tanto scandalizzarsi, perchè non c'è da scandalizzarsi, va potenziata la rete cellulare, cioè, le antenne dei cellulari, per numero e tecnologia. Ciao.
              UNC faces complex football scandal        

    By Meghan Alessi Features Editor It has not been uncommon throughout the history of collegiate athletics for programs to be riddled with violations. The Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs football program received the “death penalty” in 1987 for the rampant practice of paying players as a recruiting incentive. It took them 20 years to begin […]

    UNC faces complex football scandal | The Georgetonian


               realtà Italiana dopo tanti scandali finalmente un po di sereno ? ma quando mai!!!!        
    come di consueto  diamo un occhiata alla cronaca degli ultimi tempi per vedere se a parte il terrorismo , le guerre etc quel che rimane è migliorato anche se di poco ........ GENNAIO 2016 politica,...

    [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

              LAPD Officer Charged With Sexual Assault of 15-Year-Old Cadet Amid Ongoing Investigation of Patrol Car Theft Scandal        
    By Erika Martin, KTLA.com Posted 9:38 AM, July 21, 2017 The Los Angeles police officer was charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old cadet amid an ongoing scandal that exploded into public knowledge after two of the department’s patrol cars were stolen and crashed by cadets last month in South L.A., officials said Friday. Read more […]
              CamGirl Caught Masturbating Behind Unsuspecting Gu        
    CamGirl Caught Masturbating Behind Unsuspecting Guy At The Library [Read Description]
    [b]More info and news articles:[/b] [url]http://cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/webcam-model-streaming-sex-show-at-library-caught-in-act-1.2981531[/url] [url]http://ctvnews.ca/canada/windsor-police-probing-secret-sex-shows-at-public-libraries-1.2261897[/url] [url]http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/03/06/woman-allegedly-at-centre-of-windsor-libraries-sex-show-scandal-turns-herself-in-to-police/[/url] [url]http://mississauga.com/news-story/5459200-windsor-library-stripper-fired-by-web-porn-broadcaster/[/url]
    Rating 10/10
    Views 12804
    Duration 49:55


              La marche du monde        

    J'ai lu ce matin dans le journal que des scientifiques de l'université de Hertfordshire ont mesuré la vitesse de marche des piétons dans 32 grandes villes. Leurs conclusions? La plupart des gens marchent aujourd'hui piéton.gif10% plus vite qu'il y a 10 ans. A Paris, les piétons feraient en moyenne du 5,11km/heure (16ème position dans le classement), ce qui fait des Parisiens de petits trotteurs, comparés aux citoyens de Singapour qui font du 6,12km/heure.

    Aussi insolite qu'elle soit, cette statistique dit assez bien ce que peut être la vie dans une grande ville au début du XXIème siècle: surtout ne pas flâner, mais atteindre son but le plus vite possible. Plus d'une fois, je me suis moi-même surprise à marcher à grande allure, doublant sans vergogne les piétons plus lents, mamies en goguette, jeunes pères au landeau, papies à caniche, ceci alors que rien ne me pressait vraiment, simplement comme ça, par habitude, pour me conformer à la trépidation ambiante, accro à ma propre vitesse, ayant l'impression de perdre scandaleusement mon temps si je ralentissais. Au moment où je m'en rends compte, je me trouve un peu pitoyable...mais je continue. C'est ainsi.

    Même dans une ville inconnue, où je me trouvais de passage, aller vite était une manière de ne pas passer pour une touriste, de se fondre dans la vie de la cité. Absurde? Sûrement. Il n'est pas impossible aussi que j'aie pris cette habitude pour me prémunir des personnes plus ou moins collantes qui accostent le flâneur, et plus encore la flâneuse, flâner étant souvent pris pour un signe de disponibilité à l'autre. Hypothèse féministe: quand on est une jeune femme, on achète sa tranquillité en pressant le pas. Les scientifiques ont-ils mesuré l'allure moyenne des femmes et celle des hommes? Je l'ignore, mais ce pourrait être une donnée intéressante.

    Je remarque que lorsque je suis en compagnie, je marche nettement moins vite. La vitesse serait une manifestation pathologique de la solitude - ou tout du moins de l'individualisme?

    Et pourtant, c'est bien collectivement que nous accélérons. J'aime assez l'hypothèse de François H. , banquier dans une "célèbre banque d'affaires", rapportée par Christian Gatard dans "Le peuple des têtes coupées" et dans "Bureau d'études". Selon François H. "l"Histoire - économique, sociale, culturelle et en l'occurrence financière - vient de connaître une dangereuse accélération et le monde entre dans une phase de décélération. Obligatoire, inéluctable. Sous peine de déflagration universelle." L'accélération a continué, force est de constater, mesures scientifiques à l'appui. Plus le monde accélère, plus les piétons hâtent le pas. CQFD.  Se pourrait-il qu'en période de récession, nous ralentissions enfin l'allure de notre marche? A toute chose malheur est bon, disait ma grand-mère.

    Quoiqu'en relisant Montesquieu (savoureuses Lettres persanes!), je me demande si nous n'aurions pas tort de faire de la vitesse urbaine un mal contemporain:

    "Tu ne le croirais pas peut-être: depuis un mois que je suis ici, je n'y ai encore vu marcher personne. Il n'y a point de gens au monde qui tirent mieux parti de leur machine que les Français: ils courent; ils volent. Les voitures lentes d'Asie, le pas réglé de nos chameaux, les feraient tomber en syncope. Pour moi, qui ne suis point fait à ce train, et qui vais souvent à pied sans changer d'allure, j'enrage quelquefois comme un chrétien: car encore passe qu'on m'éclabousse depuis les pieds jusqu'à la tête; mais je ne puis pardonner les coups de coude que je reçois régulièrement et périodiquement. Un homme qui vient après moi, et qui me passe, me fait faire un demi-tour, et un autre, qui me croise de l'autre côté, me remet soudain où le premier m'avait pris; et je n'ai pas fait cent pas, que je suis plus brisé que si j'avais fait dix lieues." (lettre 24, Rica à Ibben, à Smyrne)


              Que par de leches.        
    Como el que orina, como el que defeca, como el que se hace una paja. En la más absoluta intimidad. Completamente sola. Bueno sola no, con su hijo. Allí estaba dándole el pecho en un  baño oscuro y sucio. Peeero, como había demasiada gente y no nos gusta ver mamar le invitaron a hacerlo en el váter.

    Nosotros  sí que somos mamones.

    La verdad es que yo había escuchado muchas opiniones sobre este tema y tenía mi posicionamiento claro pero cuando le vi dando de mamar a su hijo, escondida, casi a oscuras y sola, como si estuviera haciendo algo indigno, lo vi más claro aun.


    Reconozco que soy la primera a la que el tema de las lactancias, las leches maternas y los cuajos le ponen los pelos como escarpias (por diferentes motivos que no vienen al caso) pero de ahí a que para que yo me sienta a gusto, las madres tengan esconderse para dar el pecho me parece excesivo.Joder como somos.

    Ahora va a resultar que los humanos  somos tan glamurosos y finos que nuestros ojos no pueden ser ofendidos por el acto de mamar pero



    ... SI podemos ponernos de alcohol hasta el culo en plena calle y después mear en cualquier esquina.





    …SI podemos irnos a la playa  y dejar allí toda nuestra santa basura para que se la lleve ¿Poseidón?  



    ….SI podemos hacer que un programa sea trending topic justo en el momento en que sale el friki analfabeto sin dientes haciendo el ridículo.(Sabiendo todos que es un pobre desgraciado y que no le hacemos ningún favor riéndole las gracias)


    …SI podemos jodernos la cintura perreando en el chiringuito y bailando la salchipapa,la salchiporra o como se escriba.




    Jo, ya vale de doble moral, que somos una banda de hipócritas. 

    Insisto en que a mi NO me gusta ver mamar pero es MI problema, si NO me gusta NO miro, igual que no miro a dos que se están comiendo la boca o no escucho los comentarios de la banda de salidos que se ponen a cien cuando pasa la moza del escote enorme (que por cierto, ole sus cojones por llevar un escote enorme). Insisto si no me gusta, no miro y punto pero dejo al mundo tranquilo.


    Me gustaría preguntar a todos los que hemos mandado a las madres a amamantar allá donde no las veamos: ¿Qué os parece si un día de estos nos vamos cualquiera de nosotros a comer con nuestros hijos al bater de un restaurante, o le damos de comer a nuestra madre en un portal? No se me escandalicen y me digan que no es lo mismo porque señores míos, si lo es. Es lo mismo.  

    Sólo se trata de alimentar, de dar de comer. Todo el rollo sexual y obsceno que nos hemos montado está en nuestras cabezas. Nada más.



    ¿Cuándo se nos olvidó  que somos animales, que nuestra razón de ser como especie es la de procrear y alimentar a nuestros cachorros? ¿Cuándo se nos ha olvidado que sólo somos monos venidos arriba? No me fastidies, si no te gusta ver amamantar, no mires pero no jodas a la madre que tiene la obligación y la responsabilidad de criar a su hijo porque en toda esta polémica se nos olvida que el único que sale perjudicado al final es el chiquito. (Si ese, ese por quien luego nos rasgamos las vestiduras, de boquilla, cuando se violan sus derechos) él es quien se tiene que beber la leche que,entre todos, le hemos agriado a su madre.

    Os dejo con un vídeo de bebes mamando encantados de la vida, indiferentes a nuestros juicios.

    Pd:  si no te gusta, no me pidas que lo suprima, simplemente, no lo veas.




              Controversial Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak Called Back To Russia        

    Many US politicians that had met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak have all been in the news for colluding with the Russian government to hack the US election.

    Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak was the reason that Michael Flynn got fired, he was the reason Attorney Jeff Sessions had to face the US congress and recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation, and Jared Kushner, Trump son-in-law is also under scrutiny after he failed to disclose his meeting with Kislyak.

                 

    The controversial diplomat has now been called home by its government rather than install him in a senior role at the country’s U.N. mission in New York. He has also served as the country's ambassador for 10 years, but his name will remain in the US media for another few months as the US intelligence investigates Russia collusion in the 2016 elections.

    The country's deputy foreign minister, Anatoly Antonov is said to take over Kislyak job.

    Categories:


              Amid Rumour Trump Will Fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, House Republican Stand Behind Mueller        

    House Congressional Republicans are taking their stand with Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation of Trump-Russia investigation. According to the Donald Trump friend, Trump is considering firing Robert Mueller, and once again stopping the investigation.

    Republicans are not asking the president not to entertain such thoughts as it will send a bad signal across Washington and the country.

                         

     Rep. Adam Kinzinger said "That would obviously be a bad move. I don’t think he’s really pondering it, My thought is more it’s somebody like Newt Gingrich floating it because he’s got a book coming out."

    Donald Trump friend is Christopher Ruddy,  CEO of Newsmax Media while speaking to PBS on Monday and CNN on Tuesday says that Trump is considering Mueller, as he finds him “illegitimate, ” another Trump's supporter, Newt Gingrich who floated the idea, calling for Mueller's removal.

    White House did not corroborate on Ruddy's statement, but instead distanced itself from the statement.

    Congressional Republicans are now asking that the President allows Mueller to do this job, and some of the Republicans that have supported Mueller includes House speaker Paul Ryan.

    At a press conference, Paul Ryan said;

    I know Bob Mueller and I have confidence in Bob Mueller,I think the best thing to do is to let Robert Mueller do his job. I think the best vindication for the president is to let this investigation go on independently and thoroughly.

    Though President Trump can't fire Mueller, he can only be fired by AG Sessions, but since Sessions already recused himself from the investigations, Trump can ask Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was also the one that asked him to come aboard, and also is behind Mueller.

    Though if Rosenstein refuses to fire Mueller, Trump could asks for his resignation letter or fire him, and ask Roseintein successor to let Mueller dissolve the investigation, or it gets better, Trump could ask that the Justice Department amend the regulation that will allow him fire Mueller from the investigation.

    It will also be a dramatic turn of events of Trump decides to fire Mueller, because of the outrage and bad new coverage he got when the fired former FBI director, James Comey.

     

    Categories:


              President Trump To Nominate Christopher Wray for FBI director        

    Just few hours for the former FBI director, James Comey to testify in congress, President Trump in his latest tweet announced that he is nominating former Justice Department official Christopher Wray for FBI director to replace James Comey.

                   

    Christopher Wray served under the George Bush administration, and was the former chief of the Justice Department's Criminal Division from 2003 to 2005. He oversaw the fraud prosecutions of former executives at Enron Corp, and was a member of the administration Corporate Fraud Task Force.

    He is now in private practice, and a partner at King & Spalding, representing companies and individuals in white-collar criminal and regulatory enforcement matters. He is a major supporter of President Trump, and he represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in his George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal.

    Wray will get support from both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate as he did when he was in the Bush adminIstration, but the new director will face new investigation at the Bureau, and this investigation will be the investigation to whether the Trump associates coordinated with the Russians to disrupt the 2016 elections.

     

    Categories:


              Rihanna Sex Tape [UNSEEN iCloud Leak!]        

    Rihanna has a new sex tape scandal that has just been leaked! The story goes that she was partying on a yacht a few years back in Barbados with a mystery man from her past when things suddenly turned naughty.

    The post Rihanna Sex Tape [UNSEEN iCloud Leak!] appeared first on Celebs Unmasked.


              MenAtPlay Sextortion Episode part 2 The Trap — Carl Wilde & Steven Daigle        
    MenAtPlay Sextortion Episode part 2 The Trap — Carl Wilde & Steven Daigle
    Studio: MenAtPlay

    Carl Wilde makes much awaited return to Menatplay and sets a trap for shamed exec Steven Daigle in this sizzling Episode. With his business empire at stake it seems everyone wants to find out the truth behind the Sextortion scandal and Carl uses his every charm, as well as a sneaky camera hidden in his briefcase, to expose the truth. However Steven notices his strange behaviour and quickly clocks him, spotting the tiny lens. But instead of throwing him out, he uses the situation to his advantage and plays along in order to get his own back on Carl. So after fucking the handsome young man and blowing his load on him, he grabs the suitcase, destroys the tape and throws him out onto the street without even giving him time to dress.

    Format: Windows Media
    Duration: 22:22
    Video: 928x522, Windows Media Video 9, 1953kbps
    Audio: 125kbps

    MenAtPlay Sextortion Episode part 2 The Trap — Carl Wilde & Steven Daigle MenAtPlay Sextortion Episode part 2 The Trap — Carl Wilde & Steven Daigle
    MenAtPlay Sextortion Episode part 2 The Trap — Carl Wilde & Steven Daigle MenAtPlay Sextortion Episode part 2 The Trap — Carl Wilde & Steven Daigle

    MenAtPlay Sextortion Episode part 2 The Trap — Carl Wilde & Steven Daigle
    File size: 342.6 MB

    MenAtPlay Sextortion Episode part 2 The Trap — Carl Wilde & Steven Daigle

    MenAtPlay Sextortion Episode part 2 The Trap — Carl Wilde & Steven Daigle
    http://svalka.ws/
              "Padre, a tus manos encomiendo mi espíritu"        

    Séptima Palabra:


    A su eterno Padre, ya el espíritu encomienda;
    si mi vida no se enmienda,
    ¿en qué manos parará?
    En las tuyas desde ahora
    mi alma pongo, Jesús mío;
    guardaría allí yo confío
    para mi última hora.

    "Era ya eso de medio día, y vinieron las tinieblas sobre toda la tierra hasta la media tarde; porque se oscureció el sol. El velo del templo se rasgó por medio. Y Jesús, clamando con voz potente dijo: ´Padre, a tus manos encomiendo mi espíritu´. Y  dicho esto expiró:" (Lc 23, 46) "Al ver el centurión lo sucedido, glorificaba a Dios diciendo: «Ciertamente este hombre era justo.» 48. Y todas las gentes que habían acudido a aquel espectáculo, al ver lo que pasaba, se volvieron golpeándose el pecho."

    Padre:
    -         Se dirige al “Padre”: con la seguridad de un niño, Jesús ofrece un grito muy fuerte con lo último del aliento que le quedaba: "Padre, en tus manos encomiendo mi espíritu" (Lc. 23, 46). Cuando tenía sólo 12 años, Jesús dice a sus padres que lo habían estado buscando durante tres días: â€œÂ¿No sabíais que es preciso que me ocupe en las cosas de mi Padre?” (Lc 2, 49).
    -         Abbá Padre: es una expresión aramea, (Mc. 14, 36 Gal. 4,6 Rom. 8, 15).   â€œAbbá” expresa no sólo la alabanza tradicional de Dios â€œYo te doy gracias, Padre, Señor del cielo y de la tierra” (cf. Mt 11, 25), sino que, en labios de Jesús, revela asimismo la conciencia de la relación única y exclusiva que existe entre el Padre y Él, entre Él y el Padre. Extraordinarias palabras conservadas por Mateo (Mt 11, 27) y también por Lucas (Lc 10, 22): â€œNadie conoce al Hijo sino el Padre, y nadie conoce al Padre sino el Hijo y aquel a quien el Hijo quisiere revelárselo”.
    -          â€œAbbá”  testimonia esa particular comunión de personas que existe entre el padre y el hijo engendrado por Él, entre el hijo que ama al padre y al mismo tiempo es amado por Él. Cuando, para hablar de Dios, Jesús utilizaba esta palabra, debía de causar admiración e incluso escandalizar a sus oyentes. Un israelita no la habría utilizado ni en la oración. Sólo quien se consideraba Hijo de Dios en un sentido propio podría hablar así de Él y dirigirse a Él como Padre. â€œAbbá” es decir, â€œpadre mío”, “papaíto”, “papá”.
    -         Abbá: en la oración en Getsemaní, Jesús exclamó: â€œAbbá, Padre, todo te es posible. Aleja de mí este cáliz; mas no sea lo que yo quiero, sino lo que tú quieras” (Mc 14, 36).
    -         Al final de su vida, en la oración sacerdotal con la que concluye su misión, insiste en pedir a Dios: â€œPadre, ha llegado la hora, glorifica tu Hijo, para que tu Hijo te glorifique a ti” (Jn 17, 1). â€œPadre Santo, guarda en tu nombre a éstos que me has dado” (Jn 17, 11). â€œPadre justo, si el mundo no te ha conocido, yo te conocí...” (Jn 17, 25). Ya en la parábola sobre el juicio final, proclama: â€œVengan a mí, benditos de mi Padre...” (Mt 25, 34). Luego pronuncia en la cruz sus últimas palabras: â€œPadre, en tus manos encomiendo mi espíritu” (Lc 23, 46). Por último, una vez resucitado anuncia a los discípulos: â€œYo les envío la promesa de mi Padre” (Lc 24, 49).
    -         Padre: “Ego et Pater unum sumus”  â€œsomos una misma persona” “somos uno”, en la teología trinitaria se entiende “para que conozcan y sepan que el Padre está en mí y yo en el Padre”. La unicidad con el Padre mostrada en el diálogo con Felipe: “Señor, muéstranos al Padre, y nos basta” (Jn. 14:8)  Jesús le dijo: “¿Tanto tiempo hace que estoy con vosotros, y no me has conocido, Felipe? El que me ha visto a mí, ha visto al Padre; ¿Cómo, pues, dices tú: Muéstranos el Padre?” (vs.9).
    -         Jesucristo “conoce al Padre” tan profundamente, ha venido para â€œdar a conocer su nombre a los hombres que el Padre le ha dado” (cf. Jn 17, 6) Un momento singular de esta revelación del Padre lo constituye la respuesta que da Jesús a sus discípulos cuando le piden: â€œEnséñanos a orar” (cf. Lc 11, 1). Él les dicta entonces la oración que comienza con las palabras â€œPadre nuestro” (Mt. 6, 9-13 Lc. 11, 2-4).  
    En tus manos:
    -         La mano de Dios es la de la justicia, la del amor. Ante un Dios justo y amoroso sólo nos queda confiar, abandonarnos a sus manos. Dejar nuestra vida en sus manos.
    -         La mano creadora, es remontarse al creador del mundo, del ser humano. Reconocer que es la mano que amasa la vida de cada uno.
    -         Es la mano que muchas veces sanó al paralítico, devolvió los ojos al ciego, resucitó a la Hija de Jairo, al hijo de la viuda, a su amigo Lázaro. Es la mano que puede restaurarnos interiormente.
    Encomiendo mi espíritu:
    -         El último aliento de Jesús. La oblación de su propia vida, a disposición de su Padre.
    -         La oblación de la propia vida, que Jesús pone a disposición del Padre. Invoca el salmo 30,6, en que el justo atormentado confía su vida al Dios bondadoso y fiel:
    -         ¡Sálvame, Señor, por tu misericordia! Sácame de la red que me han tendido, porque tú eres mi refugio. Yo pongo mi vida en tus manos: Tú me rescatarás, Señor, Dios fiel. Oigo los rumores de la gente y amenazas por todas partes, mientras se confabulan contra mí y traman quitarme la vida. Pero yo confío en ti, Señor, y te digo: “Tú eres mi Dios, mi destino está en tus manos”. Líbrame del poder de mis enemigos y de aquéllos que me persiguen.

    Finalmente, 
    El Unigénito de Dios no estuvo exento de la muerte.
    Nació humanamente y murió humanamente.
    Su madre lo vio nacer y también lo vio morir.
    Sin su muerte la expiación jamás se hubiera llevado a cabo.
    Jesús fue el cordero escogido desde la eternidad. (1 Pedro 1:19-20)
    Jesús fue el cordero mudo que se dejo llevar al matadero. (Isaías 53:7)
    Jesús fue el cordero inmolado. (Apo. 5:12)
    Jesús fue el cordero de Dios que quita el pecado. Juan 1:29.


    Gloria de su Gloria, Dios de Dios,
    de siempre igual a El,
    Tú has venido del Padre.
    Y ahora al Padre vuelves
    desde nosotros, igual a nosotros,
    Dios y Hombre para siempre.

    En el seno del Espíritu
    el Padre te acoge, Hijo Bienamado,
    Amén de su Amor ya satisfecho.

    La Muerte ha sucumbido en tu Muerte
    como un fantasma inútil, para siempre.
    Y en tus Manos reposan nuestras vidas,
    vencedoras de la muerte, a su hora.
    En tu Paz descansa esperanzada
    nuestra agitada paz.

    Descansa en Paz, por fin,
    en la Paz del Padre, eterna,
    Tú que eres ¡nuestra Paz!

    (Casaldáliga, Pedro.)

              Día del periodista        



    Espiritualidad del periodista
    Estimados compañeros de la Asociación Nacional de Periodistas (ANP), a todos los directivos de la Escuela de Periodismo Jaime Bausate y Meza. Hoy rendimos homenaje a don Francisco Antonio Cabellos y Meza, quien con el seudónimo de Jaime Bausate y Meza editó el 1 de octubre de 1790 el Diario de Lima, primer cotidiano de América Latina que diera génesis a la institucionalización del Día del Periodista.

    Ustedes reciben merecidos homenajes en este día. Por mi parte les propongo reflexionar sobre la dimensión espiritual del periodista teniendo en cuenta al gran comunicador Jesucristo, esa Gran Noticia que fue expresada en labios del Arcángel Gabriel ante los pastores, gente sencilla, un menudo detalle.

    1. Ser y hacer: Es Dios y actúa.
    Aunque muchos sufren el pesimismo existencial del modelo de periodista, la noble labor está en nuestras venas que palpita al escribir una nota, presentar la fotografía, preparar un audiovisual. El ser periodista es una vocación profunda de amor por la verdad. Por ello cada producción lleva nuestra impronta, está teñida de nuestra intensión sutil. Con pena, a veces nuestro interior se rasga ante los dilemas éticos presentados en el ejercicio. Porque cada información está influenciada por quiénes somos, eh allí la gran responsabilidad, la necesidad de la honestidad, la cabeza fría para la imparcialidad, la prudencia para la objetividad.
    Algunos elementos básicos de la actitud de Jesús en la comunicación:
    Ser atentos, estar a la escucha. Jesús ensalza la fe de la Cananea y el clamor de todo pecador (Mt 15, 21-28), Jn 9,31 1Jn 5,14).
    Amar el silencio. Se aparta al monte y pasa la noche en oración (Lc 6,12; Mt 14,23), varias veces al amanecer ( Mc 1,35; 6,46), le gusta estar solo (Jn 6,15) porque el silencio es la fuente de la comunicación auténtica.
    Jesús tiene una misión específica y la conoce y practica (Lc 4, 16-21; Mt 13,53): “El Espíritu del Señor está sobre mí, Por cuanto me ha ungido para dar buenas nuevas a los pobres; me ha enviado a sanar a los quebrantados de corazón; a pregonar libertad a los cautivos, y vista a los ciegos; a poner en libertad a los oprimidos; a predicar el año agradable del Señor.”
    Es decir, no parezca extraño que tenga credibilidad en la gente y le sigan muchos (Cfr. Mt. 4,25; 8,1 Jn 1,41; 4,28, etc) no porque crea cortinas ni burbujas para entretener, sino porque expresa lo que piensa y hace lo que dice, analiza la realidad. Su coherencia es su mejor imagen, él mismo es imagen y mensaje del mismo Dios.

    2. Su palabra es sencilla y provocan cambios:
    Sus palabras son sencillas y sostienen un diálogo, su mensaje es una gran novedad en los escenarios de su tiempo. Su palabra es profética, el profeta habla en nombre del mismo Dios, es una revelación no por sus músculos ni por sus opiniones escandalosas sino porque anuncia el amor misericordioso y revolucionó nuestra historia con el primer mandamiento: el amor. Su perspectiva no es la mera crítica ni negociar su palabra, sino la construcción de una sociedad en los sólidos cimientos de la justicia y de la paz.
    Sus palabras crean un conflicto pedagógico ante sus detractores (fariseos y letrados) y en los poderosos políticos. Les pone en evidencia su falsedad: "¡Ay de ustedes, maestros de  la  ley  y  fariseos  hipócritas...!"  (Mateo  23,13-33). La Samaritana intenta engañarle pero su mentira se disuelve con una pregunta: “ve  a  llamar  a  tu  esposo  y  vuelve  acá..." (Juan  4,16); Pedro quiere dirigir la marcha a sus ambiciones materialistas y Jesús es firme: “¡Aléjate  de  mí  Satanás.  .  .!"  (Marcos  8,33). Herodes le respeta por sus palabras y a la vez le repugna porque no puede callarle ni tapar su libertina sexualidad con su cuñada, ante su ataque Jesús responde: "¡Vayan  y  díganle  a  ese  zorro…!"  (Lucas  13,32).
    Estas personas después de un encuentro o diálogo con Jesús ven la vida de otra manera. Sus palabras han generado cambios en la vida misma, con Zaqueo Jesús se auto invita (Lc 19, 1-10), la mujer adúltera es salvada de ser lapidada a pedradas (Jn. 8,1-11), en Mateo no mira un cobrador de impuestos sino un corazón dócil (Mt 9,9), en Lázaro y sus hermanas Martha y María ve grandes amigos y discípulos. Es decir, las personas se sienten dignas de Dios, por ejemplo, el samaritano, el levita, el saduceo, Nicodemo, María Magdalena, hasta el buen ladrón y nosotros.

    3. Sondea el corazón en la cultura de la imagen.

    La imagen es evocadora no subliminal. Utiliza imágenes conocidas para expresar lo desconocido, sus parábolas abrazan una realidad social y religiosa en referencia a los intereses profundos del ser humano. Por ejemplo en la parábola del hijo pródigo (Lc 15) el Padre misericordioso recibe al hijo arrepentido pero el hijo mayor, bueno y obediente no tiene la capacidad de amar y perdonar a su hermano; en la parábola del samaritano critica el culto, la dureza de corazón ante la desgracia de los demás, algo así como “chapa tu caído y ayúdale a levantarse”.
    La imágenes como: “pescadores de hombres”, “como ovejas en medio de lobos”, “lobos vestidos de ovejas”, “que un camello pases por el ojo de una aguja”, “vinos nuevos en odres nuevo”, “remar mar adentro”, “que tu mano izquierda ignore lo que hace tu derecha”…
    Desnuda el corazón y aclara el horizonte con sus frases antagónicas: “quien quiere ganar la vida la pierde”, “no he venido a ser servido sino a servir”, “ama a tus enemigos”, “vende todo lo que tienes y sígueme”, “si te abofetean en una mejilla ofréceles la otra”,  â€œdeja que los muertos entierren a sus muertos”, “el que se ensalce será humillado”, “no he venido por los justos sino por los pecadores”, etc.
    No sólo las parábolas, las noticias antagónicas, sino también los diálogos cortos, inquietantes, clarificadores:
    -          "¿Quién  dice  la  gente  que  es  el  Hijo  del  hombre?  ...  ¿Y  ustedes  quién  dicen  que  soy?"  (Mateo  16,13-16). 
    -          Los fariseos buscan causales para acusarle: le preguntan si es lícito pagar impuestos y él responde “¿de  quién  son  esta  imagen  y  esta  inscripción? - Del  cesar,  contestaron. Denle,  pues  al  cesar  lo  que  es  del  cesar,  y  a  Dios  lo  que  es  de  Dios” (Marcos  12,16-17).
    -          Jesús le respondió: Si he hablado mal, da testimonio de lo que he hablado mal; pero si hablé bien, ¿por qué me pegas? (Jn 18,23).
    -          Cuando ya comienza el proceso que lo llevaría a su Pasión y Muerte, Jesús, interrogado por Pilatos, “¿Eres el Rey de los Judíos?”, no lo niega, pero precisa: “Pero mi Reino no es de aquí, no es de este mundo” (Jn. 18, 36).
    Finalmente, tenemos este gran modelo para ser lo que decimos ser y hacer según nuestro ser, que las palabras produzcan el efecto especial del cambio positivo en la existencia y que esta cultura de la imagen no nos cree figuritas coleccionables sino imágenes profundas, significativas, convincentes, seguras, evocadoras, analíticas,… esas que se expresen como el arcángel Gabriel.
    Se les presentó el Ángel del Señor, y la gloria del Señor los envolvió en su luz; y se llenaron de temor. El Ángel les dijo: "No temáis, pues os anuncio una gran alegría, que lo será para todo el pueblo; os ha nacido hoy, en la ciudad de David, un salvador, que es el Cristo Señor; y esto os servirá de señal: encontraréis un niño envuelto en pañales y acostado en un pesebre". (Lc, 2-12).
    Muchas felicidades a todos los periodistas en su día. Jesús les siga inspirando y fortaleciendo la fe en esta vocación loable, sacrificada  y fundamental en la ejemplaridad pública y participación ciudadana. Gracias por permitirme decirles algunas palabras, como socio honorario cuenten con mis oraciones.





              Sumar y restar        


    Domingo XXVI del tiempo ordinario – Ciclo B (Mc. 9, 38-43.45.47-48) – 27 de septiembre de 2015

    “El que no está contra nosotros, está a nuestro favor”

    Seguir a Jesús no tiene la química de ser parte de un grupo mercenario. No se trata de que se pertenece a una marca registrada, tampoco de hacer apologías ignorantes, no se pertenece a un grupo con cupos de ingreso limitados, su cobertura es ilimitada, su teoría no es tener más gente en el menor tiempo con el mínimo esfuerzo, no hay lugares privilegiados…
    En esta operación sólo se suma lo que une y se resta lo que divide. Por eso, hay que tener mucho cuidado con los diálogos mezquinos. Muchas discusiones en las calles por saber cuál es la mejor iglesia, la verdadera, la auténtica, la que tiene la única salvación. Son sólo robots programados para la defensa y la división. ¿Cómo se podrá defender la autenticidad si sólo se muestra ignorancia y engaño? Las mentiras son armas dañinas pero que rebotan.
    Una muestra de que se puede sumar fuerzas para defender o promover la justicia, la vida, la paz se ha podido ver con la presencia del papa Francisco en la "Zona Cero" de Nueva York -donde se levantaban las Torres Gemelas- para un encuentro en el que rezó junto con representantes de otras religiones una "oración por la paz", en homenaje a las víctimas de los atentados del 11 de septiembre de
    2001. En el Perú también hay eventos como la “Marcha por la Vida” y el día de la biblia. Es decir, la gran Verdad nos une para defender la justicia y la paz.
    Sin embargo, Jesús no sólo pide sumar y regala una cátedra de tolerancia a sus discípulos para restar lo que hace daño. También habla de la mano, el pie y el ojo como ocasión de maldad. Con la mano apartas, golpeas, señalas, empujas, piñizcas, se cierra, muestras el puño, arañas, alojas suciedad,  â€¦ con el pie pateas, caminas, te escapas, corres, giras, soporta tu peso abundante o liviano, hospeda hongos y olores desagradables, tropiezas,… Con el ojo miras, las ventanas de tu alma devoran, odian, se vengan, seducen; son las intenciones de urdir mentiras, calcular engaños, decir palabras convenientes, mirar a la persona como sujeto manipulable, utilizable,… Cortar todo eso es casi replantear la vida. Existen personas que viven felices pero llega el momento que la estropean porque son mitómanos.
    Jesús no sólo hace ver a los discípulos que es importante sumar y por ello se debe ser tolerantes sino también que es escandaloso abusar de los humildes, de los débiles, de los fáciles de ser engañados, de los manipulables, utilizables, descartables, coleccionables. La soberbia no permite quebrarse, pero el corazón acelera la sangre cuando es invadida por la autosuficiencia y la impiedad. 

    Señor Jesús purifica mis intenciones

    Corta toda actitud de manipulación en mi interior

    Corta la arrogancia de considerarme infalible

    Corta mi soberbia para no seguir engañándome

    Corta mi egoísmo que me lleva a cometer abusos

    Corta la impiedad para no someter a sufrimientos

    Corta la mitomanía de mis labios para ser libre

    Corta el irrespeto para generar comunión

    Dame un corazón disponible para:

    Estar a  tu favor,

    Ser tu servidor

    Decir lo que nos une.