Saturday, July 31, 2010

2012 Yawner!!! GOP Could REALLY Use an Injection of New Blood.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich is likely to run for president in 2012, and this week he gave CNN his thoughts on whom the other GOP candidates will be that run. Gingrich ticked off the following laundry list: Sarah Palin; Mitt Romney; Mike Huckabee; Mitch Daniels; Haley Barbour; and Tim Pawlenty. Talk about a boring list of has-beens, also-rans and never-was white (and nearly exclusively male) conservatives.

I've said often, and as recently as a few days ago, that I intend to break my normal practice (of voting for third-party candidates) this fall and to vote for the republican candidate in my U.S. Senate and U.S. House races -- regardless of even how deranged the repub candidate is. I view this to be necessary given the reckless way that Obama & The Dems have run amok since seizing complete control of DC at the start of 2009.

However, my pledge for November most certainly does not translate to the 2012 presidential election. I will not be voting for Obama in 2012, but I have serious doubts that I could bring myself to vote for any of the motley crew listed above. Sorry, but I refuse to choose between the lesser of two evils, and I therefore haven't voted for a dem or a repub since around the mid-1990s.

If you're going to get my vote as a member of one of these two awful parties, either (1) you had better excite me (and very few politicians do) or (2) convince me it's necessary to vote for you in order to effect a needed change in the system (i.e. precisely why I'll be voting repub this fall in the federal congressional races). And I don't know about you, but I'm feeling no excitement whatsoever from that recycled collection of white male retreads that includes Gingrich and his list of other candidates.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Obama Caught in Apparent Lie About, Of All Things, Snooki?! If He'd Lie About That, What Else Would He Lie About?

As hyped by such websites as over the past day (link at bottom), Obama's appearance on The View yesterday included his claim of ignorance as to Jersey Shore star Snooki. "I don't know who that is," crowed his majesty. The only problem:

Two months ago at the White House Hollywood (errrr, "Press Correspondents") Dinner, Obama showed off that wonderfully wry wit of his, quipping: "It [the provision] reads, 'The following individuals shall be excluded from indoor tanning tax within this bill: Snooki, JWOWW, The Situation and House minority leader John Boehner." Obama's words, not mine.

Now, I'm sure many of you would say, "politicians tell fibs and lies all the time -- that's just what they do." And that would be correct. But excuse me for holding the President of the United States to just a little higher standard than your typical politician. That's the reason that during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, I could have gotten past the fact that Clinton cheated on his wife while in the White House if only he had told us the truth about the affair instead of looking us in the eye and lying about it. It was the lie, not the affair, that always bugged me.

And another thing: If Obama would apparently lie about something so trivial as whether he's ever heard of a D-list (if she's even that high), barely-a-celebrity-if-that, reality star -- then what else would he lie to us about? Memo to Obama: If you truly believe in all the far leftist crap you push, then knock yourself out with it -- you were elected in 2008, and we'll simply vote you out in 2012. But don't lie to us, man. Because to many of us, that's not forgivable of an American president.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Major League Monstrosity: Ma'am, How About Some Nice Cockroach Bits and Rat Droppings With Your Hot Dog and Frozen Margarita?

ESPN has gathered together public health code violation reports for professional sports stadiums and arenas across the country, and the results are frightening. Taking a look at a few of the worst violators, I think it safe to say that you don't want to be attending too many games in Washington DC, Miami or Tampa Bay anytime soon.

One of the worst venues was Sun-Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins. In addition to 93% of that stadium's vendors having "critical" health code violations, there was also an anonymous employee report that they were blending insects into the frozen alcoholic beverages. What, were they thinking fans would get so buzzed off the alcohol that the insect content would be overlooked?

As it turns out, when inspectors went to check out the implicated drink machine, they didn't find any insects inside per se, but instead found some unspecified form of "slime." You know, I think I'd prefer the insects because at least they're a known commodity.

Even worse offending venues came in the form of Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays) and Verizon Center (Washington Wizards & Capitals). At those joints, a whopping 100% of the food vendors had "critical" health code violations. And just for good measure, DC's Verizon Center had appetizing mouse droppings found at at least ten vendors.

Gosh. Nothing like dropping 20 bucks on a tiny hot dog and a little drink, only to have the screw-job ratcheted up even higher through insect additives, rat $hit and grossly unsanitary food preparation conditions. Those franchises (and/or whomever the hell owns those stadiums and arenas) should absolutely be ashamed of themselves. And I think I'm going to be stickin' with bottled water and bottled soda -- and no food -- at just about any sporting event that I attend in the foreseeable future. Nasty, nasty stuff right there.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Must Suck to Be a Dem or Repub Politician. Always Having to Go Around Trying to Prove You're a "True" Progressive or Conservative.

There's a lot of this sort of thing going on right now in my Missouri/Kansas neck of the woods, such as the story in today's that Missouri tea partiers are all up in arms about republican Roy Blunt and his U.S. Senate campaign for the seat being vacated by fellow repub Kit "Porky" Bond (link to full story at bottom).

Now, are the tea partiers opposed to Blunt for all the right reasons, such as the fact that he's a career politician, political fatcat and basically just a younger version of Bond whom the voters should send back to Springfield, Missouri for a not so well-earned retirement? Of course not! Instead, they're all over Blunt's a$$ with cries that he's not a "true conservative" and that it's an "abomination" (don't they mean to say Obamanation?) for non-Missouri tea partiers like Michele Bachmann to endorse Blunt.

And in the jayhawker state where I currently live, we have the GOP primary race for the U.S. Senate between Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt -- two obviously staunch, bona fide conservatives (which is not a positive) who are largely indistinguishable. Moran and Tiahrt have been going around for weeks now bombarding the airwaves with mean-spirited, mindless ads claiming that each is "more conservative" than the other. And I have to vote for one of these idiots! (Since Independents are forced this fall to return a balance of power to DC amongst these two awful parties).

Of course, the democrat party is no different, with its far leftist powerbrokers and money constantly working to undermine and defeat any dem politician not viewed as being sufficiently liberal or progressive. I actually at times almost feel sorry for some of these politicians in these two parties whom I know are not liberal or conservative ideologues, and I frankly don't know how they do it -- how they can go around during primary races (perhaps necessarily but certainly disingenuously) trying to appeal to the ol' party "base." It's one of the most scuzball sights and components of what is already a broken, sleazewad American political system.

But at the end of the day, I don't feel sorry for these non-ideologue politicians. If they had the conviction to ever just stand up for themselves and what they truly believe, regardless of the consequences, the same political system would be much better off for it. But we never get that. We just get deranged right-wingers and loony left-wingers, plus mealy mouthed "moderates" who are too afraid to ever fight or stand up for their beliefs.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

SCANDAL: Michigan GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Mike Cox Allegedly Received a Lap Dance From an Exotic Dancer at Wild-A$$ Mansion Party!

It's called the Manoogian Mansion (pictured above). It's the official residence of the mayor of Detroit, including during the tenure of notorious former Detroit mayor and democrat Kwame Kilpatrick (who's current serving time in the joint). The longstanding rumor in Michigan political circles is that Kilpatrick threw one or more wild parties at the mansion in 2002, and that at least one of those was attended by republican Mike Cox (pictured immediately above left) -- the Michigan attorney general and a candidate for governor this year. Now just one week before the GOP gubernatorial primary (a very tight race), a new (and sworn) allegation that Cox carried on with an exotic dancer at the party has only added fuel to the old rumors (links at bottom).

This crazy saga begins with one Tamara "Strawberry" Greene of Detroit, who is reportedly "rumored" to have been one of multiple exotic dancers at the party. Greene was murdered in a drive-by shooting in 2003 at the age of 27, and her family has filed a lawsuit alleging that the cops intentionally botched the investigation of the crime. In connection with the lawsuit, Detroit resident Wilson Kay, Jr., 35, has signed a sworn affidavit that includes the allegation that, "I saw Mike Cox getting a lap dance from one of the female exotic dancers while he was present at the party." Kay alleges that he worked security at the party.

First of all: Why in the world is Kay talking about Cox's behavior at the 2002 party when that would appear to have absolutely nothing to do with the 2003 crime or the current lawsuit? There's no connection made evident from the online accounts I've read, which makes this whole thing very politically fishy. The only common thing between the party and the crime is apparently Tamara Greene's presence, and it's not even being alleged that Greene is the exotic dancer who gave Cox the alleged lap dance. In short, something's rotten in Denmark.

Leaving that aside, Cox has come out today with guns a blazin'. He calls Kay's allegation "absolutely ridiculous" and says that his attendance at the rumored party is just an "urban legend." For good measure, he's even released Kay's criminal rap sheet today, which includes convictions for breaking and entering, carrying a concealed weapon, arson and pot possession. Now while those things do make Kay one bad dude, I'm not noticing anything on his rap sheet relating to fraud or to making false statements. The newspaper accounts describe Kay as a "motorcycle club member" who owned six motorcycles. I was personally wondering whether he might be a "one percenter" -- meaning a member of a bona fide "outlaw" biker club -- but there's no discussion of that topic in the linked articles.

Finally, the kicker (at least for me): Who the hell cares if Cox got a lap dance from an exotic dancer at some private party?! I don't. Good for him if he did. Only in the deranged world of the republican party would such a thing be considered as potentially derailing an entire candidacy. You can just imagine the mindless TV attack ads from his GOP opponents this week: "Not only has Cox sided with illegal aliens and had his picture taken with Barack Obama -- he also once got a lap dance from an exotic dancer! Chose traditional, conservative values on August 3! Choose John Q. Candidate!" Yep, just my daily affirmation of why I'm an Independent.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Episode 8 Tonight of "You're Cut Off" on VH1:
In the Season Finale, It's Graduation Day!

Nutshell Synopsis: It’s the final episode of the first season of You’re Cut Off, meaning Graduation Day, as the spoiled rotten little brats find out whether each has done enough to “graduate” from the show. Graduating is necessary for each lady’s benefactors to even consider taking her back and reinstituting her access to cash.

Segment 1: It's morning during Week 8 at the ladies' house. The girls are very excited that this is the last week of the series and that they soon (hopefully) will be able to go back home. They still have to do this week’s household chores, and Jackie (who previously mopped a refrigerator) is seen running the vacuum on top of the living room furniture and using a broom to sweep the top of the backyard furniture. Gia is reverting to bad girl mode and refusing to clean the toilets and bickering with fellow bad girl Erica over the situation. Jessica would normally be in the middle of this too, but she says she’s trying to stay out of the drama this week because she wants to graduate.

Then a note arrives from program moderator Laura Baron: The ladies have received a bunch of party decorations and they learn that today (as part of graduation) they will be throwing a party for their family members. Courtnee (last week's very deserving "Very Improved Princess," or VIP) is told to use the enclosed $500 and to pick 3 girls to take shopping for the party. Amber, Jessica and Jackie are chosen to go with Courtnee to the grocery store, while the others are tasked with starting to work on decorating for the party.

While at first I thought it was a huge mistake by Courtnee to not split up arch-enemies Erica and Gia between the decorating and grocery shoppping, Erica and Gia (along with Leanne) are actually getting along and having fun working on decorating together! Talk about SHOCK! Meantime Pam has gone to bed and is not helping with the decorating at all. After a couple of hours of this, Leanne marches in to get Pam out of bed. But she stays in bed, and the decorating moves outside. Gia gives her opinion on how the outside decorations are looking: “This looks like a prostitute’s wedding. This looks like it could possibly be Pam’s wedding one day.”

At the Fields Market grocery store: Jackie says the ladies want to put some time and effort into the food for the party rather than just buying a platter of food and throwing it on the table. Back at the house, Erica and Gia are miraculously still getting along. The grocery crew arrives back home and finds a lot of the decorating already done, and they are very impressed. Most of the ladies start in on getting all of the food ready for the party. Even Gia, who hates cooking (and yet owns a restaurant!), pitches in. On the menu: Cupcakes, Chicken Parmesan, Sausage and Peppers and Guacamole Dip. Gia’s lack of cooking aptitude is on display as she apparently doesn’t realize that the oven must first be turned on before anything will bake inside of it!

Jackie observes that it’s incredible how well all the ladies are working together to get this meal done in the time crunch of two hours. All of the ladies, except for Pam, that is. She’s off doing her hair. Jessica goes off to confront Pam. Something’s really gotten into Pam this week, as she’s never acted like this before. Pam tells Jess: “I don’t work for anybody. When I’m finished, I’ll come. I’m not 10 years old” (I like to use that line myself!). “Why today, Pam?!”, blasts Jessica. Pam explains her motive: She feels that she’s been cleaning up and working hard for 2 months, and that today it’s most important for her to look good for her benefactors. Thus, the extra beauty sleep and extra time on her hair. Jess, who has the worst temper in the house, suddenly loses it, calling Pam a "bitch" and then trashing Pam’s made bed.

Segment 2: Following the bed incident, Pam comments off camera about Jess: “I can’t believe 8 weeks later, Jessica is still pissed off. Just put a sausage in your mouth. That girl went from a mad Chihuahua to, like, a nasty troll.” Pam goes and messes up Jess’ bed a little bit too.

Laura Baron is then shown coming to the house to meet with the ladies and to discuss their fate in this program (this meeting is clearly presented out-of-sequence on tonight's show, as it actually occurred the day before the graduation). Laura tells the ladies that ultimately it’s not up to her to decide if they get to return home with restored cash flows, but rather it will be up to their family members (AKA benefactors). This is apparently news to the ladies, as they thought Laura would make the ultimate decision whether they would remain “cut off.” The thought of the family members deciding things really scares the ladies, especially Gia and Jessica.

Laura also says the ladies have one last project: To write a letter to their benefactors pleading their case as to why they should get to return home and not continue to be “cut off." The letters will be read at graduation. The ladies are then shown working on their letters the day before graduation, while Laura is simultaneously meeting with the ladies’ benefactors to discuss how each did on the show and whether they should remain “cut off.” First up to meet with Laura are the parents of Leanne, whose old man admits that a part of Leanne’s problem has been that he’s never been able to say “no” to her.

Next up are Courtnee’s parents. Laura encourages them to keep Courtnee cut off and to NOT take her back in (rather make her get out on her own), appearing to observe (as best as I can try to interpret Laura's comments) that Courtnee has a lot of motivation to pursue accomplishments, but that restoring her ATM machine (her old man) threatens to sap that motivation. The parents seem very hesitant to accept this recommendation.

Amber is next. About her letter, she says, “I hate writing!” (to a dude like me, that’s like saying that you hate breathing, but I digress). Laura tells Amber's parents that Amber could use to focus on a specific passion -- she needs an outside passion beyond shopping. Laura wants them to encourage Amber to live on her own, but the parents seem reluctant.

In contrast, concerning the letter writing, Jackie is writing a mile a minute, and she says she’s excited to tell her parents about all the things she’s learned on the series. Jackie’s mom is next to meet with Laura Baron. Laura appears to give the same recommendation again: That Jackie remain cut off.

Jessica is shown writing her letter, and the words “since Daddy passed” can be seen on her letter (it was revealed earlier in the series that the passing of Jess' dad was a very traumatic event for her). She says that she’s trying to express that she will never again take her mom for granted and that she’s sorry for how she’s acted in the past. Then it’s Laura Baron's time with Jessica’s mom. OMG! So far all the parents have looked nothing like their kids, but Jessica’s mom looks almost identical to Jessica! Laura tells the mom that Jessica has somewhat of a mindset of entitlement (ya think!).

Next on tap, Gia is writing her letter to her husband: She says there’s a lot of remorse she wants to express, and she wants to be nice, but this is not easy for her, because it’s obvious she still has anger about her husband shipping her off to this show (meaning 8 weeks without seeing him or her baby daughter. Jolena). “There’s a lot of things he owes me,” she says. Then Gia’s husband meets with Laura Baron. He says that part of her problem is that from Day 1, he’s always very much spoiled her rotten. It’s revealed that he will be setting very specific terms upon her returning home. These will involve not pushing him around, doing more work around the house, and doing more things with their daughter.

Pam is writing a letter to her parents and her brother. Those same folks then meet with Laura. They discuss how Pam is hard-headed and won’t do what she doesn’t want to do. They agree it’s all about “setting restrictions” with her.

Erica Rose excuses herself to her room so that she can write her letter in private, saying that she wants it to be perfect so that her mom will take her back. Erica’s mama is next up to meet with Laura. Erica is one gal on the show who comes from “old money,” making it likely that she has 2 parents that act a lot like her! And sure enough, the old lady and Laura clash almost from the start. Laura: “Do you find that Erica often concentrates more on the superficial?” Mom: “Oh no, she’s not superficial at all -- So you think that she should not care about, like, her hygenics on the outside, like, being clean and orderly and having cleaning hair, or what?”

Truth be told, Erica’s mom on first blush is almost as arrogant and superficial as Erica herself! They act almost alike! There was earlier indication on the series that it was actually Erica’s old man (a plastic surgeon) who relegated her to this show, and it seems obvious that the old lady was likely not onboard with that decision. So my question: Why the hell is he not here instead of the old lady?!

Anyway, Erica's old lady and Laura Baron do agree on one thing -- that Erica places a bit too much emphasis on her appearance all the time (NOOOO!). “Otherwise, you can’t radiate like you’re supposed to, to the universe,” comments Erica’s mom. My further question: What universe was it, precisely, that this loony bird was born in? Erica's mama is truly "out there." So at any rate, Laura Baron says she’s hesitant to graduate Erica from this series, and the old lady in response spouts your typical Erica-style, condescending, “OK”.

Segment 3: Time for the Graduation Party! We flash forward to the day of the graduation party. Apparently with the party eats having been cooked, the ladies are getting ready to meet their benefactors after 8 weeks away from them. The benefactors arrive and have a word with Laura before the ladies are brought out. As the ladies strut out, Erica observes: “OK, I see my mom, and she looks beautiful -- I definitely have the hottest mom here.” Here’s the thing: She’s probably right, but that’s not saying very much. I didn’t see a truly HOT mama amongst the whole bunch, including Erica’s old lady. Fairly surprising.

Quickly it becomes time for the benefactors to confront the ladies, face-to-face, and one by one. This process involves the ladies reading their letters to the benefactor(s), followed by the benefactor(s)' reaction, coupled with any conditions that the benefactor(s) might want to place upon the lady returning and/or being restored to cash access.

First up is Jessica and her look-alike mom: Mama is a bit choked up by Jessica’s heartfelt letter, but she’s also carrying a clipboard, which can’t be good news for Jess. Sure enough, mama has some conditions for Jess’ return home. Mama says: You have 2 months to find a job, you’ll do your own laundry, and I’ll pay only for your essentials, which means no paying for tanning and other things like psychics. Jess’ bad temper starts to flare up: “I think you’re going a little overboard with the tanning. I think tanning will help me get a job.” Laura Baron interjects herself: "Will you accept those terms?", she asks. Very hesitantly, Jess accepts the terms and shakes hands with mama (telling her, “don’t shake my arm fast”). Laura informs Jess that she’s graduated, and finally she and mama exchange a hug.

Courtnee comes next: Her letter is quite sweet, but her old man has some conditions for her: Within one month, she must determine where she wants to live -- NY, LA or (at home in) Atlanta, and she must be willing to relocate within that time (to the extent that NY or LA are chosen). Her Mama: "You can make this journey on your own. It’s time to start paying your phone bills and your other bills -- we want you to start this whole new chapter in your life, and we love you." Courtnee has this huge, gorgeous smile on her face as she hears all of this stuff. Courtnee accepts these conditions and graduates the program. “Oh, I love you guys!” she then cries and embraces her parents. If you've read my accounts of this series, you'll know that I have always viewed Courtnee as the true sweetie of this show, and she's acting the same way tonight as she’s always acted! Best of luck in the future to my favorite Cut Off gal, Courtnee!

Segment 4: Leanne is next: Her parents tell her they want her to go back to school and finish her nursing degree. And she also has to get rid of her 16 credit cards and only have 1, and she'll also have a $500 spending limit per month. “Oh My God,” comments Erica from the sidelines on that particular restriction! But Leanne quite gladly accepts these terms and graduates the program.

Then it's Amber's turn. Her parents' conditions: She has one year to move out and get her own place. Amber accepts the terms and graduates. (Similar to Courtnee, Amber has always been a true sweetie during this show. I believe Amber and Courtnee are both from the ATL, and I hope going forward they will remain friends and be there for each other as support in their lives going forward).

Girl-next-door-in-appearance-only, and suspected prostitute (although I think that allegation is all-the-way false), Pam, is next up: Her family's conditions -- The old man says she’s still cut off financially but can return home. Pam accepts and graduates. She seems happy to be reunited with her family.

Then bad girl Erica Rose steps up to the plate: First, and to her credit, her letter admits that she still needs to work on obsessing less over her appearance. But in response, Erica’s "old money" mama then launches into an incredibly weird-ass diatribe, which garners only wholesale eye-rolling from both Erica's fellow ladies as well as many of the ladies' parents! Says Erica's old lady: “Erica, you’re a beautiful Rose [their last name]. You’re so fragrant and so precious just the way you are, that you don’t need external things to make you happy. And I want you to always remember that a Rose has deep roots -- roots that go to law school, roots that go into the earth and that walk on the ground. Think about the beauty in the world, your fragrance, and what you can offer it, and I know that you really have that beautiful heart.” OK, VERY WEIRD STUFF right there! Methinks mama's been watching too many Kung Fu episodes while standing on her head or something.

And then: Erica's mama's conditions on Erica's return seem very soft as compared with all of the other parents and benefactors: She tells Erica that she needs to put the dishes away if Erica's cooking, and that she needs to put her shoes away after wearing them, and finally that she needs to hang up her clothes after wearing them. Good Grief! Talk about drivin' a hard bargain over there! Erica obviously readily accepts those conditions and graduates.

Segment 5: Jackie is next up: Her mom's conditions: She needs to move out and be on her own and pay her own bills. She accepts and graduates. “I think it’s time,” she says. Off camera, she comments: “I’ve never paid a bill in my life, so I don’t know how it’s going to work out. But with everything I’ve learned here, I honestly believe enough in myself, that I think I can do it.” Good for her, and I hope all things work out for her for the best.

Last but not least, the Notorious Bad Girl Gia Must Face Her Benefactor: Her letter to her hubbie is funny in that she makes fun of him for only having sex with her twice a month, and she suggests they start doin' it twice a day. Right there, I think I may know the source of some of Gia’s ongoing issues: What man in his right mind would only have sex with someone who looks like her twice a month? Talk about a sick man. So anyway, hubbie lays down his conditions for the Bad Girl's return: She needs to start putting more effort into taking care of their baby daughter; she needs to start cooking some meals in their house; she needs to start making their bed in the morning; she needs to start doing the family's laundry; and, finally, there will be no more housekeeper at their home (to that last condition, Gia spouts: “Are you serious?!?”).

Laura asks Gia whether she can accept these conditions, and OMG! -- Gia says that she does not accept these terms, even if it means she's the only gal who will not graduate!

Segment 6: Gia's hubbie reinforces that he’s serious on these terms. At first, Gia tries to haggle with him on the terms, but he’s having none of that. When it’s clear she has no other choice, she accepts the terms. She then seems to be genuinely very happy to be reunited with her husband. I think her initial hesitance in accepting the terms was largely just a play to see if he would back down a bit, and when it was clear he wouldn’t, she really had no problem accepting the terms. Bad girl Gia, for all her attitude and hangups (a lot of which likely still remain), really has grown a lot during the course of this series and is a lot more open-minded to change and to be being a better person -- I’m convinced of that. And I wish her well too!

End of episode on-screen notes about what the ladies have done since the end of the series (this stuff reminds me of the close credits of the motion picture American Graffiti -- the only thing missing was the song, "All Summer Long" by the Beach Boys):

Courtnee: Hasn’t yet moved out of her parents' house, but has cut back on spending by shopping for designer labels at discount stores. My position's been clear: Courtnee is the ONE gal from this show that an average dude in middle America could see himself actually getting to know and liking in real life! She's a natural born sweetie, and I hope that she only finds true happiness in her future endeavors.

Jackie: She has curbed her spending and is saving money so that she can live on her own. She has cut her weekly mall trips from 4 to 1. Progress, Jackie!

Erica: She (rather sadly, frankly) has had 3 plastic surgery procedures since leaving the house. She now prefers to drink boxed wine (as they learned how to do on Episode 1). I always said, Erica was the hottest gal on this show, with Courtnee being #2. And I've always thought, a lot of Erica's act is just that -- an act. I wish her well in her whole law school endeavor and life in the future.

Gia: She's spending more time with her daughter and has even started changing her diapers (but always while wearing latex gloves!). Hubbie has apparently relaxed on his terms and conditions for her (big surprise!), although they are having more sex!

Pam: Has moved into a cheaper apartment than her former Manhattan high-ender, and now she takes cabs instead of limos. It’s a rather mundane lifestyle (in her words, “main-doon”), but she’s adapting well!

Jessica: Has had trouble landing a job, but she’s volunteering to work at a cancer unit. She’s given up tanning beds and has switched to spray tans (another inside reference to one of the shows earlier episodes).

Amber: Has dedicated herself to getting the education to become a teacher. Me: I think she certainly has the sweet disposition to be a great teacher, but she needs to overcome her “hatred” of writing! ;) And for the time being, Amber has a new job doing -- what else -- selling diamonds!

Leanne: Is working on finishing her nursing degree, but reportedly used up her first month’s $500 stipend in less than 24 hours! (OK, so she’s Working On It!).

A final observation: From the way these gals carried on during the Graduation Party, it’s very clear that all of the bickering and feuding has been largely placed behind them. These are 8 gals who came into this show in a pretty pathetic state of affairs, but I think they all grew a fair amount through this show’s process, and I think they have mostly become 8 gals closely tied together by what they went through on this series. Look no further than how well bad girls Erica and Gia got along most of this last episode. All of these formerly spoiled rotten brats are better off for going through this show, which is only a good thing for all of them. I personally wish them all the best in all of their future endeavors!

Forget the Mules. Can You Spare Two Cents For Sister Mindy?

Much like the fake nun (actual prostitute) famously portrayed by Shirley MacLaine in the film Two Mules For Sister Sara (also starring Clint Eastwood), the New York Post this week has the very bizarre account of one "Sister Mindy" (pictured on left), who's been panhandling as an Episcopal nun for a decade on Little Italy's Mulberry Street in the Big Apple. (BTW, isn't Mulberry Street the place where Al Pacino's "Lefty" character was from in the film Donnie Brasco? -- But I digress).

According to The Post, it turns out that Sister Mindy really isn't a nun at all, but rather is a chief fundraiser (through her panhandling and other activities) for a cultish NYC family headed up by convicted rapist Noconda LeGrand -- himself the son of the notorious convicted (and now deceased) rapist and murderer Devernon LeGrand. (See The Post's full story, linked at bottom, for this family's complete and sordid background, of which I will spare you).

It seems that Sister Mindy is Devernon's daughter-in-law -- but just which son of Devernon to whom Mindy's married is anyone's guess since dude reportedly had 47 kids by various girls and women, and that was just as of 1965. One of Devernon's big moneymakers back in the day was to send out his "harem of fake nuns" (wayward female teens and 20-somethings whom he had recruited into his cultish "church") to panhandle across the city. It's good to see that Sister Mindy is carrying on the ol' family tradition.

The Post recently followed Sister Mindy around for a day while she went about her Little Italy rounds. As usual, Mindy -- with cigarette in mouth much of the time -- "spent the day hustling along Mulberry Street's busy pedestrian plaza, ducking into Italian restaurants and thrusting her metal cup at shoppers, diners and passers-by." She tells people one of two things -- either that she's collecting for the homeless or that she's raising money for a fictional orphanage called "St. Joseph's."

Sister Mindy also appears to be quite the movie buff (I can guarantee you that she's seen Two Mules for Sister Sara at some point), as The Post reports that she took a little break from her begging that day in order to buy some bootleg DVDs on the street. After about five hours of panhandling, Sister Mindy called it a day and caught the Q train to head to Brooklyn. On the train, Mindy -- apparently always looking to score another buck -- tried (unsuccessfully) to sell some "perfume vials" to a fellow rider.

Getting off the train in Brooklyn, Sister Mindy took off her fake nun get-up right in the middle of the street! Sporting a pink tank top, the rather large lady stuck her nun outfit in a plastic bag and hoofed it the rest of the way home, but not before stopping by a deli to pick up "a sandwich, canned pasta and a bottle of water." (Canned pasta -- love that stuff!). Arriving at home ("a rundown brick house with garbage strewn across its front yard"), a "hulking man" reportedly came out the house, extended to Mindy a big "bear hug," and then "lustily" gave her a whack across the ass just for good measure.

And please don't get the wrong impression: It's not all panhandling and no play for Sister Mindy. When The Post returned to her home a few days later, a boy answered the door and said that Sister Mindy had gone to Atlantic City -- undoubtedly to see if she could make those panhandling winnings "grow" a little bit at the AC casinos!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Speaking of Trying to Have Your Cake & Eat It Too: Obama to Push for Letting Bush Era Tax Cuts Expire For the Wealthy Only. No Thanks, Mr. President.

That was the word from treasury secretary Tim Geithner today (link to story at bottom). When the Bush era tax cuts expire at the end of this year, Obama is going to push for the tax cuts to expire (meaning a tax increase) for families making more than $250,000 a year, while the rest of us (me included) making less than that will not get the same tax increase (since the tax cuts will be extended for us).

Talk about your pure political gimmick. Obama wants to let the tax cuts expire for everyone, but the same would be politically disastrous (and economically disastrous), so he's going to let the tax cuts stay in place for the group from which most of his votes come (i.e. middle income and lower income Americans). Sorry, Mr. President, but I would prefer that my middle class lot in life be just the same as that of the wealthy.

Put another way, either let the tax cuts expire for all of us, or let them expire for none of us (which is what you should do). The last thing we need is any more of you and your party's politics of division, trying to divide Americans along lines of race and socioeconomic class all the time. Enough already!

My position is that the tax cuts should not be permitted to expire for any American, since that amounts to a tax increase in the middle of an awful recession that we are nowhere close to being out of. Increasing taxes during times like these is just plain economically stupid, as just about any economist (including left-leaning ones) will tell you.

So again, no thanks, Mr. President. You can't buy me off by giving me a benefit and then sticking it to the rich. That does not impress me. And I think you'll find that Independents in large part also cannot be bought off like so many of your dem constituents can be. Sorry, Charlie. Because we are not for sale, and we see right through such gimmickry.

Is the Obama White House "Racist" Too? Dems Can't Have It Both Ways. At Least Not in the Eyes of Independents.

Today comes the allegation from loony left-winger Howard Dean that Fox News is "racist" because its commentators started condemning Shirley Sherrod for her March NAACP speech without first listening to the entire speech (link to story at bottom).

The only problem here (leaving aside the ugliness of yet another blanket and mindless "racism" blast from the dems towards anyone or anything that disagrees with them or poses a perceived threat to their iron grip on power in DC)? Well, the problem is that Obama and his White House engaged in the very same conduct that Dean is labeling as "racist" by Fox News! The Obama administration also condemned Sherrod and fired her before bothering to watch the entire tape of her speech -- just like Fox News.

So does that make Obama and his White House racist as well as Fox News? Sorry dems, you just can't have it both ways. I know you like to try to have your cake and eat it too all the time, but that crap doesn't fly with us Independents. We condemn it. So which is it? Are they both racist, or is neither racist? I'm waiting over here. (And I'm sure I'll be waiting be for a long time).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Dread of Jeannie: Saudi Arabians' Fear of "Genies" Leads to a Lawsuit Against a Genie Spirit As Well As a Grown Man Being Chained Up in a Basement.

As best as I can gather from the linked story, "genies" in Saudi Arabian culture and Islamic theology are seen in a way similar to how we view ghosts and other similar spirits (e.g., goblins, hobgoblins, specters, etc.) in the United States. In Saudi Arabia, genies are often blamed for mysterious occurrences and are sometimes thought to come to possess human beings. Just as with American ghosts, genies in Saudi Arabia are thought to come in both good and bad forms (depending on the particular genie). For example, a Saudi family last year purportedly tried to sue a bad genie in a court of law, accusing the spirit of theft and harassment.

The family further accused the (apparently unseen) genie of "terrifying the children by throwing stones, stealing mobile phones [apparently leaving the land-line phones alone] and speaking in male and female voices." No word yet on the outcome of the lawsuit, although I shudder at the thought of trying to collect on a money judgment from an unseen spirit. Or, what if you got an injunction against the genie, only to have the genie violate it by continuing in her bad supernatural behavior? Are you going to ask the cops to come out and slap the ol' cuffs on the spirit?

Which brings us to the curious case of a 29-year-old Saudi man named Turki, who lives in Mecca. Turki's old man has had Turki chained up in a basement (see first picture above) for six years now, claiming that his son Turki is possessed by an evil female genie. But don't worry -- Turki's not down in that basement all alone, as he reportedly has a young wife who stays with him even despite his "near coma" condition 24-7.

"The voice of a woman can be heard coming from him," says the old man of his son Turki. For good measure, the old man himself claims to have previously been "afflicted" by a genie for many decades until the vile spirit was "exorcised by a cleric." The old man says that the genie who bothered him all those years was a female whose appearance would turn from beauty to beast at the drop of a hat. He also says the female spirit would sometimes sprout animal limbs, and at other times would appear surrounded by fire.

My first question to the old man (and not answered in the linked article) would be whether Turki's evil female genie might be the same one who terrorized the old man all those years? You know: Exorcise the father but afflict the son? Like when the priest on The Exorcist ran the spirit out the little girl, but drove the demonic seed straight into himself, causing him to take a header out the window and down that long flight of steps. There could be something to that.

But I digress. Back to Turki: It seems that very recently a Saudi human rights activist and professor named Suhali went down in the basement to call on Turki. Suhali apparently doesn't have much of a problem with Turki's shackled condition, although he would like to see Turki improve his digs and financial condition just a bit. Suhali is asking the Saudi Social Affairs Ministry to help Turki's impoverished family provide Turki with "better accommodations," and to get Turki enrolled in the Saudi social security program.

BTW, I think Suhali should get the award for human rights activist of the year for recognizing that there just might exist the possibility of "better accommodations" than being chained up in a crummy basement for years on end. Now we know what Suhali's getting paid for down there.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sarah Palin & Kate Gosselin Going Camping Together in Alaska?! Won't the Octomom & Sean Hannity Feel Left Out?

In a story that strikes me as just plain bizarre, In Touch Weekly is reporting that Sarah Palin and Kate Gosselin are hookin' up this weekend in Alaska for a camping trip, along with Kate's 8 and a bevy of TV cameras from Kate's new reality series, Kate Plus Eight. And the two apparently have quite the itinerary cooked up for the weekend:

Kate & The 8 have reportedly already arrived in Alaska, and first up was some shopping at a store called Alaskan Ivory Exchange. And when they say ivory, they mean it. According to its website, the store specializes and carvings and jewelry from walrus tusks and whale bones. BTW, how does one go about lawfully collecting such materials in the first place? I guess if anyone would know, it would be Palin. I just hope none of the animal parts sold in the store came from one her hunts.

Next up is a trip to the Alaska Zoo, apparently so that Kate & the 8 can take a look at what walruses and whales look like before they end up at the ol' Ivory Exchange. Then it's on to meet up with Palin for the camping trip. A source told In Touch that one component of the camping trip will involve Palin teaching Kate "how to avoid bears" (you just can't make this stuff up). Avoid them? I thought the goal would be to find them so that Palin could fill their hides with buckshot? Strikes me that she might not be the best source for avoiding them.

After the camping trip comes some quality time for Kate & The 8 with the Palin extended clan. Palin's old man and her brother (retired and current school teachers) have a "hands-on natural history lesson" in store for The 8. The "hands-on" part of that equation is what's a bit concerning to me. What, are they going to go out and pet some wolves or something? I can just hear the old man now: "These are where the dogs came from, children."

Last but not least, it's reported that Kate will help the Palin family plan Bristol Palin's wedding to Levi Johnston. Actually, I do think this part of the story is intended as a joke, since it does not appear in the In Touch online story, but rather only in the Kansas City Star's online treatment of the In Touch story (both are linked below). However, in the truly strange story that I've detailed above, not to mention the crazy worlds in which Palin and Gosselin inhabit, is the notion of Kate as the Palin wedding planner really that unbelievable or beyond the pale?

Who Are We Independents, Chopped Liver Over Here?

How does top its main page today with an article entitled, "The Age of Rage," which focuses solely on left versus right partisan rage in the blogosphere, media and political world? There's plenty of non-liberal, non-conservative Independent Rage as well. Just look at the above title of this blog, stupid.

We saw the Independent Rage manifest itself most loudly during last August's string of townhall meetings across the country. With the August congressional recess, hopefully we can have another August of Discontent this year.

And indeed, it's Independent Rage that should have the democrat party very scared when it comes to the November midterm elections. Independents decide elections and have been leaving the democrat party in droves over the past year. And nothing motivates people (including Independents) to get out to vote more than anger. Put another, Independents ain't gonna be stayin' home in November!

Here's Just One Reason Why I Disdain Conservatives As a General Proposition...

For anything the Pat Buchanans and Rush Slimebaughs of the world say that makes a lick of sense, they will always couple it with a ton of deranged right-wing rhetoric loaded with plenty of bigoted racial undertones. For example, hit link at bottom for Buchanan’s column from today.

Such column is chock full of all kinds of sick bigoted rhetoric about "white racial consciousness visibly beginning to rise" and that when racial issues rear their ugly heads, "most folks will wind up with their own." I denounce these types of racist suggestions, just as I do the pathetic race-baiting recently exhibited by the NAACP & the democrat party. It’s all complete and utter MINDLESSNESS, folks. Open your minds and recognize it as such.

And my sentiments make me absolutely NO friends in the political blogosphere (dominated by right-wingers and left-wingers), rather only enemies. But frankly, I couldn't give a flying F*ck. America at its core is a wonderful nation -- in my opinion the greatest nation in the history of the earth -- and yet it is controlled by two out-of-touch extremist parties who represent tiny little minorities of the population who go around trying to use the issue of race to get members of the majority to vote for them.

It’s pure anti-intellectual ugligness which I have observed now for almost four decades. I can only dream that someday this dynamic will change. For we have NEVER been since the Civil War a nation divided by race, but rather always one since then that's been inherently blessed and in majority part united in our wonderful diversity (even if all the bigots and extremists on both sides since then, plus the incredible power of the southern KKK pre-1970, have tried their best to incessantly change that). But these days, both of our two illustrious political parties very much seek to change that as well. A very sad and sick state of affairs.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

No, I Don't Hate ALL Politicians!

Just most of them, and "hate" is not the appropriate word. Distrust and dislike -- much more fitting. I know I've been asked before, "are there any politicians whom you actually do like?" In terms of "like," I'd say the answer is no; however, there are some politicians for whom I have certain measures of respect and a few that I've even found to be fairly impressive from time to time.

One such politician with whom I have been generally impressed any time I've seen him on television is Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) (pictured above between Obama & the white-haired dude at the so-called Health Care Summit earlier this year). Ryan is the top republican on the House Budget Committee and a member of Obama's deficit commission. By all appearances, he's a very devoted and staunch conservative (certainly not a centrist or moderate), which puts him well to the right of me. When I've seen or heard Ryan talk over the past year, he has consistently come across to me as intelligent, genuine and sincere -- a set of characteristics that is simply not witnessed in the overwelming majority of politicians (I'd concede that most politicians are not stupid, but genuine and sincere are different matters).

Ryan seems to be one of the very few republicans actually interested in developing a concrete plan for reducing the massive federal budget deficit that we've seen in recent years. currently has a story (link to full article at bottom) about Ryan today presenting his "road map" for deficit reduction to the liberal Brookings Institution. Many of the liberals in attendance generally praised Ryan for actually coming up with his own plan, even if they (predictably) didn't care for it too much.

During his presentation, Ryan also admitted that most of his fellow republicans -- for purely B.S. political reasons -- aren't too interested right now in coming up with a specific plan for deficit reduction. Said Ryan: "They are talking to their pollsters. They are saying, 'Stay away from this. We are going to win an election.'" Translation: His fellow republicans lack the backbone to get behind serious and specific deficit reduction proposals, and would rather prefer just to talk in political-speak generalities this summer and fall. Boy, the guts!

I recently in this space posited the question of where is the courageous leader willing to fight the fight and take the political heat from all sides that will necessarily go hand-in-hand with serious budget deficit reduction. Well, maybe Ryan's about all we got.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I've Heard of "Say Hello to My Little Friend,"
But "Take Care of THIS"!?

The National Enquirer is reporting today that police have investigated charges by two additional female masseuses that they were abused by our esteemed inventor of the Internet and Nobel Prize-winning Climate God, Al Gore. Fresh off the recent publicity over the similar charges of another masseuse, 2010 is certainly shaping up as a very Inconvenient Year for Big Al.

According to the Enquirer, the new allegations pertain to Gore's stays in luxury hotels in Tokyo and Beverly Hills (where Gore stayed when he was attending the Oscars in 2007). The Enquirer claims to have a source at the Beverly Hills Hotel who said:

"The therapist claimed that when they were alone, Gore shrugged off a towel and stood naked in front of her. He pointed at his erect penis and ordered her, 'Take care of THIS.' "

What's next in the allegations department for this guy? I'm fully expecting the next masseuse that comes forward will say something like Gore donned a Zorro mask and started doing naked pirouettes to the sound of the old song, "Whip It," by Devo. And if it's ever alleged that he lapsed into full-on Tony Montana Scarface-speak during one of these incidents, then we're really going to have something to talk about!

UCLA Law Professor and Journalist Debate Merits of the Federal Government Simply Pulling the Plug on Fox News. Great Question!

This debate is set forth today on the website Daily Caller, which has compiled a collection of various postings by journalists and others from the website Journolist since Obama's election. In this one particular discussion, UCLA law school professor Jonathan Zasloff posits the question, "is there any reason the FCC couldn't simply pull their [Fox News'] broadcasting permit once it expires?" John Judis, a senior editor at the New Republic, expresses his agreement with Zasloff's sentiment.

Now, while I'm sure that Obama FCC "diversity czar" Mark Lloyd would like nothing better than to simply pull the ol' plug on Fox News, the UCLA professor's suggestion does run into just a couple of tiny little problems. First, Fox News is not a broadcast television station and thus has no "permit" or "license" that can be revoked by the FCC (damn pesky legal technicalities). Second, even if Fox was FCC-licensed, we also have a little thing in this country called the First Amendment, which would not permit a government entity such as the FCC to go around making licensing decisions based on content-based political and ideological considerations.

But apart from those reasons, that was a great suggestion by the good professor! And I don't blame him for overlooking those things, either. I think it would be very unfair for me to hold a law professor to the standard of actually having a basic grounding in the law. I mean, what would be next? Requiring doctors to go to medical school or something?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Enjoy the View," a Clint Eastwood Character Once Said of Skydiving and a Trepidation of Heights...

I've often wondered why any sane human being would ever voluntarily hurl him or herself out of a "perfectly good airplane" (Eastwood's phrase from Heartbreak Ridge) absent military duty or the plane's about to crash. And why in the holy hell would you ever do it if you were 75 years old?

That's the sad story out of Pennsylvania this week, where "two longtime skydiving buddies -- both in their 70s -- were killed after their parachutes became tangled high above the Poconos and sent them into free fall" (link to full story at bottom). So were these a couple of old military paratroopers just reliving their glory days? Hardly. The elder of the two, aged 75, only learned skydiving at around age 60 and since then had jumped 1500 times, including one jump a few years ago when he took two of his kids with him. "He lived his life adventurously," said his daughter. That's one way of putting it.

BTW, get a load of the picture above of the two dudes taking a coffee break out on those girders. I'm sorry, but those two men are sick! Absolutely demented. I start to get queasy just looking at that photo. But then again, Heights & Rager do not mix. Hey, you can lock me in a tiny enclosed box and I'll be just fine, just so long as that box stays on the damn ground. And for the record, you will never get my a$$ jumping out a plane unless the thing is going down and/or someone sticks a gun to my head. Otherwise, nothin' doin' on that front.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Episode 7 Tonight of "You're Cut Off" on VH1:
Forced to Work at a Homeless Shelter and to Pawn Off Their Wardrobes! Plus an Emotional VIP Award.

Nutshell Synopsis of Episode: Against their will, the spoiled rotten little 20-something brats are forced this week to prepare and serve food to homeless men at a homeless shelter, with Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child making a cameo! Then the ladies get back all of their clothes and accessories that they were forced to forfeit at the start of the series, only then to find out that they must sell a lot of that stuff off in a sale to benefit the homeless! And capping things off, a very deserving lady (finally) wins the weekly award for Very Improved Princess (VIP)!

Segment 1: The week starts at the ladies' house with the well-endowed bad girl Erica Rose in a bikini! (See the gal on the left in the second of the three pictures above) (BTW, Reality shows should always start each episode off with a BANG, or TWO, after all!) Erica informs the other ladies that she and Jackie are going to do a "stiletto bikini blast," meaning a high octane physical workout in bikinis, stiletto heals and sunglasses. Bad girl Gia (the arch-enemy of Erica) (Gia's in the first of the three pictures above) immediately starts to mock this. Girl-next-door in look only, Pam, joins them in their workout. Gia's chiding continues outside the threesome's hearing: “Who am I talking about -- Ugly, I have legs like a horse and eyes like an owl?” Leanne quickly answers the riddle correctly: “Erica.” Courtnee (the hot lady in the third of the 3 above pictures) observes that Gia has not changed a bit during this series. Gia lacks respect for people and is "mean and rude," comments Courtnee.

After working on their household chores (with Gia and Erica bickering as usual), the ladies head off by car to see what's in store for them in this week's "lesson." They are somewhat distressed to discover that this week's lesson will take place at a local homeless shelter run by PATH (People Assisting The Homeless). At the shelter, series moderator and leader Laura Baron informs the lady that this week’s lesson is about giving back. Laura introduces the ladies to the Executive Director of PATH, Janet Kelly, as well as special guest star and 1/3 of Destiny’s Child, Michelle Wlliams (who is a big PATH supporter). The ladies learn that they will be preparing and serving food to the homeless of LA.

The ladies exhibit a certain degree of trepidation towards this reality, with Leanne commenting off camera: “Homeless people are disgusting. I mean, they like stand on the corner and beg for money. Anyone could do that. Stop being lazy and go get a job." Says Jackie: “I'm kind of nervous, because obviously where I’m from in New Jersey, we don’t have any homeless people.” Amber says: “I’m feeling like 'ooooo,' this is unsanitary, like I’m going to get a disease, these people are going to be creepy as hell.” Erica, meanwhile, worries most about Michelle Williams: “What is she doing in a homeless shelter? Have things really been that bad since Destiny's Child split up?” Meantime Gia has a very worried look on her face. Off camera, Gia comments: “There is no way I’m going to serve homeless people. I can’t believe Laura has gone this far and thinks I’m going to sit down and, like, feed homeless people. It’s just not me."

Segment 2: Michelle Williams shows the ladies the kitchen at the homeless shelter, where the ladies are requried to don gloves, a hairnet and an apron. Amber: “A hairnet? I mean, c’mon, I am not a lunch lady!” Gia has a similar reaction: “Putting on the hairnet made me feel so much less sexier. It flattened my hair out and just didn’t do any justice for my face. It was ridiculously horrible!”

Then the ladies start gettin' the grub on. Courtnee is cutting potatoes and says that her mama would be proud to see her doing this. Surprisingly, all the girls, including Gia, take to doing the cooking work they’ve been initially assigned. Although, Gia is literally holding her nose, saying that the rice she’s working on "stinks." "Why can’t I just donate money," she asks. Soon Gia sneaks off to take a break, and Courtnee calls attention to it: “I got tired of seeing Gia sitting around while everyone else worked. She wasn’t pulling her weight.” Gia tells Leanne that she just doesn't know if she can do this work after just having seen a homeless guy in the hallway (which apparently startled her or something). Leanne tries to encourage her to get back to work.

Then Laura Baron stops by the kitchen, and Michelle Willaims reports that she’s been impressed with the ladies and their work. Laura now assigns the ladies to go serve homeless folks a meal and also says that she wants the ladies to try to interact with them and to try get to know them a little bit. Gia remarks off camera: “I don’t even serve my own husband food, and I’m going to sit here and serve homeless?” The ladies take positions at the serving window in the shelter’s cafeteria.

Then a number of homeless men stream in for a meal. The ladies are instantly impressed with how most of the homeless gentlemen are decently dressed with fairly neat appearances. Pam and Erica compliment a few of them on their attire. Pam says: “I’m very impressed when I see the homeless people. They’re just pretty nice. I thought they would be naked or something.”

Jessica, Courtnee and Jackie sit down at one table to talk with some of the homeless patrons. One guy asks, “so you guys are like, brats, right?” [Nailed it.] Jessica responds, “I wouldn’t say we’re brats, I would just say we're more privileged than most people.” The dude is appreciative that Jessica (recalling the earlier lesson when the ladies had to shop in a thrift store) compliments him on this threads, which were all purchased at a thrift store. Erica also sits down to talk to one of the dudes. She reveals that she's 26 (while the dude thought she was 19).

Gia then actually sits down at one of the tables. She admits to the men seated there that for most of her two hours here at the shelter, she felt like she didn’t want to be here, but that she's changed her mind now. An older gentlemen remarks, “I don’t want to be here either!” A younger man tells her his story about becoming homeless, becoming separated from his two daughters, who don't even know that he's homeless. But he feels like the whole experience has very much strengthened him so that he can do better for his daughters going forward. Gia admits to the table that she wished she worked harder earlier in the kitchen, but the gentlemen still compliment her on her rice, for which Gia seems very grateful and flattered. Says Gia: “I’m shocked to say that I’m actually inspired by these homeless people. I never thought in a million years that I’d be grateful to meet these men.” And the Kicker!: She tells the younger man (the one estranged from his daughters) to look her up later because she has a restaurant and is offering him a job! (Way to go there, Gia!). They hug.

At Jessica's table, the young dude she was talking to says that his dad was a judge and that he used to have a higher lifestyle, and he warns the ladies to never think that they couldn’t he homeless someday too. This makes Jackie ponder what she’d do tomorrow if her parents died. Jessica tells the dude that this whole experience is helping her to put things in a whole new perspective, “because I don’t realize I take things for granted, but I guess I do."

Segment 3: Their cooking and serving work done, the ladies meet with Laura Baron. Laura says she’s proud of them for how well they worked so far this week (which is a vast improvement over last week's camping disaster), but now she wants to push them even farther. Laura reminds them of the start of the series when they could each only take one bag into the house. Laura tells them that they’re getting all of their old stuff back tonight! She tells them that they can choose to keep any constituents of their former wardrobes that they please, but that there's about to be a competition to see which of two four-lady teams can sell off the most of their wardrobes to benefit the homeless! The carrot involved is that the team selling off the most loot will get a "very special prize."

Some of the ladies are reluctant. Jessica does not want to sell off any of her shoes. Pam remarks: “I’m a little disturbed. My clothes aren't for charity, they’re for me!” The ladies are allowed to form their own two teams, and it comes as no surprise that Erica, Pam and Jackie team up (along with Courtnee) in a team opposite Jessica and Gia (with Amber and Leanne also joining that second team).

Back at the house, the girls are all extremely excited to be suddenly reunited with their previously confiscated luggage! Pam: "It’s my Luggage, I missed you!” Jessica actually embraces her lost luggage with a hug. Jess is in love with her shoes, she says. Erica decides she’s going to give away one of her self-described “T-Erica” princess crowns, which she says is a big deal because it’s handmade. She says she wants to "help a homeless woman really bring out her inner princess, and [also] I would love to see the look on Gia’s face when they lose.” Erica's team is actually progressing towards completely filling a large bin with clothes for the sale.

In contrast, Gia's teams is not progressing so well. Gia is toking on her beloved hookah and (seemingly) jokes about putting it up for sale. Says Gia: “I’ll give any amount of money that you want, but I’m not donating my clothes.” Jessica quickly realizes that this team won’t win at this pace because the other team is setting a lot more aside for the sale. Jess tells Gia to put something in the box. Gia then decides to give up her hookah (thinking back to the guys she met at the homeless shelter, who genuinely seemed to make a real impression upon her). Jess: “Gia cares more about that hookah than I think she does her family, so that like is a very serious step for her.” Gia says to the hookah: “I love you, I’m going to miss you.”

The next morning, the ladies are back at the PATH homeless shelter. Both teams have filled a large bin with clothes for the sale. Laura Baron informs the girls that the general public has been invited to the sale and that the money raised will go to the homeless. She’s pleased the girls have donated as much as they have. Then the ladies have to price their items. Jess realizes that the folks coming in for the sale likely won’t have huge amounts to spend, so she says they need to keep all prices at 25 bucks or less.

In contrast, Erica does not want to lowball the prices: “This dress cost $350 and has been worn once. What should I price it at -- 300 or 250?” Michelle Williams comes in and is taken aback by a $200 price that Erica ultimately placed on the dress. Jess wants to win this competition, and so she tells Erica: “That’s a good price Erica, I would price it like that.” But Gia ruins Jess' fun and tells Erica that such a high price means the item will never sell. Jess is a bit perturbed at teammate Gia for saying that: “I want to win,” she tells Gia. Michelle Williams talks Erica into lowering the price to $100, and Jess is clearly annoyed at that turn of events.

With all prices set, the PATH Mall Charity Sale is Officially Open for Business! Several younger woman come in to browse the merchandise. Erica and Jessica admit their strategy of lying to these customers to try to get them to buy stuff by telling him how wonderful they’d look in it. “I’m going to lie for charity,” says Jess. One woman has her eye on the hookah. Gia wants 100 bucks and the woman wants it and says she’ll need to go to the ATM to pull out the cash.

Then Sabotage! Erica pulls the woman aside and says, “I have to tell you something about that hookah -- it does not work and there’s been a lot of people like smoking out of it, and it might have herpes.” Gia gets wind of this and rushes over to try to discredit what Erica has been saying. Off camera, Gia blasts: “Erica would definitely know a lot about herpes!”

Segment 4: The great hookah controversy continues. Gia divulges off camera, “I’m so pissed off right now I could literally punch a wall.” Gia confronts Erica, but not in her usual nasty tone since customers are around. Courtnee tells Gia that “this is for charity, so you all need to stop -- this is not about competition for me.” Courtnee is as visibly angry as she’s ever been during the entire series, but she’s really criticizing both Erica and Gia for their behavior.

Although that woman apparently decided not to buy the hookah for $100 (Erica: “Mission accomplished”), another woman is also interested in it. But alas, she only has $40. Gia tells her that on a normal day, she wouldn’t sell it for $500, but that since this is for charity, she’ll sell for $40. But Gia's visibly shaken by the sale: “It's very hard for me right now to let go by baby. It’s my hookah, it’s like my second child. There’s a million hookahs out there, but this is the one that I’ve always been with, and it’s really hard to let go.”

Similarly, Courtnee sells the skirt she’s been wearing for $20 (after a woman expressed an interest in buying it), even though she really did not want to sell it. Since this is all for charity, Courtnee takes it off, sells it, and puts on a new skirt. AND, this gives Courtnee an idea! She starts pushing the blouse she's wearing on the customers, and is able to sell it too! She says: “I literally sold the clothes off my own back, and if that’s not working hard, I don’t know what is.” I'm sorry, but every dude out there has to love Courtnee!

The sale now over, Michelle Williams announces that $3446 total have been raised for the homeless. As for the team competition, get this close result: $1741 vs. $1705! So the winner? Gia, Jess, Amber and Leanne! And Jess and Gia are SO happy to defeat Erica's team! It's announced that the winners get to go to lunch with Michelle Williams (the first time any of these ladies have eaten decent food in weeks!). At lunch, after the four all express their admiration for Destiny’s Child, Michelle Williams asks them to talk about the biggest thing they’ve learned from this series. Gia says it's been learning to appreciate her daughter and husband a lot more. Michelle warns Gia about spoiling her daughter too much as she’s growing up, and Gia indicates that she’s taking that advice to heart.

Back at the house: Gia and Courtnee have a bona fide heart-to-heart discussion. Gia confesses to Courtnee that she’s been a bad mom but wants to make up for it going forward. Gia also says postpartum depression hit her very badly from the day she gave birth. She says she was jealous of her own baby. And the old man (hubbie) apparently got wind of it, as Gia says that she was not ever left alone around the baby and was not even trusted to change the baby’s diaper (earlier in the series, Gia would often comment about how she never changed her baby's diaper).
Gia further confesses that sometimes when her daughter was crying like crazy, Gia would just lock her in her room and “I wouldn’t even give a shit.” Gia says she wishes she could go back and do all of that over again. She ways that she wants now to give her daughter everything, but she says that she gives her daughter all the wrong things (i.e., material things all the time). She admits that she does this because she feels that’s her way of trying to make up for the past.

Courtnee, BTW, would make a great psychiatrist! -- the way her little questions bring all of this out of Bad Girl Gia is truly incredible. Off camera, Courtnee says: “Gia opened up about a lot of things, and to me, that took a lot of courage.” Gia tells Courtnee that she (Gia) really doesn’t have any friends and that it was good to let these things out. Courtnee tells Gia that Courtnee's always here for Gia if she needs someone with whom to talk.

Segment 5: Time for the end of the week meeting between Laura and the ladies. Laura tells them that this week's lesson "was all about giving back." Laura says the ladies did extraordinary work this week (and for once I completely agree) and made a difference in people’s lives. Gia relates how her attitude improved as this lesson progressed and says how she offerend the one dude a job in her restaurant. Jackie says it’s no longer about the material things for her, as she’s come to realize.

Then Laura asks the ladies to tell her what they think about others' growth on the series. Talk about lightin' up the Fireworks! First up is Erica: Jessica (who hates Erica), surprisingly, says that Erica's made some changes and has made an effort, at least, to change. Next up is Gia: Pam says she thinks Gia absolutely will not change her behavior when she gets home. Erica, for good measure, says that Gia is a "bitch." Gia retorts that she’s resolved to make changes in her relationship with her daughter. Erica just rolls her eyes. Gia sees that: “Don’t roll your eyes, before your freakin’ eyelashes fall off -- what’s your problem?” Off camera, Erica says: “Gia hasn’t grown. She’s still just as selfish as she was from Day 1. She still puts herself before she puts other people, and she’s still a completely spiteful bitch.”

Segment 6 (Final Segment): They’re still talking about Gia at the group session. But Courtnee speaks up for Gia, saying that while she (Courtnee) also had a lot of reservations about Gia from the start, “Today we had the deepest conversation, and they have no clue.” Gia tells Laura Baron that she (Gia) told Courtnee this week the real reason behind the whole diaper changing thing. Courtnee then tells everyone: “Until all of us know each other’s story, we really don’t know each other, and I can say that Gia’s going to change.”

Laura says that since the series is almost over, they’re not going to announce pass or fails this week (truth be told, all 8 ladies would have passed this week anyway). But Laura says that they are going to award a VIP (Very Improved Princess) -- which will be the last such award of the series. AND COURTNEE WINS! Finally! So many times during this series, I have criticized the fact that the VIP awards the most "improved," meaning the lady who acts rotten one week and then shapes up the following week. Courtnee has been extremely well-behaved on this series from the start, and thus so often was left out of VIP consideration. Courtnee also happens to be the most grounded, down-to-earth, sweetest (and second hottest) lady on this show. She often exhibits a ton of character, and is frankly about the only lady on this show that most dudes would ever want to actually meet in real life! When she was announced as VIP tonight, it marked the first time in the history of this series that I actually became a bit emotional and yelled at my TV screen a very approving, "YES!!!!!!"

So anyway, after Courtnee receives her very deserving key to the VIP suite, Laura tells the ladies: “There is something that all of you should know -- there is one last step to this program. I'm going to be in contact with your loved ones, and I’m going to be giving them my recommendations on whether you’re graduating this program or not.”

Final Comments: As Laura Baron made that announcement at the very close of tonight's new episode, Erica looked very nervous, and for good reason: I think there's a very good chance that all 8 ladies will graduate next week, barring some huge meltdown by one or more of them in the final episode. Before this week, I would say that Gia definitely fails, but not after this week's performance. Honestly, the one gal that I think could fail is the hottest gal on the show -- Erica Rose:

Because while Erica has never exhibited the violent mean streak of such bad girls as Gia and Jess, Erica still in my mind has shown the biggest lack of progress from among any of these ladies. Erica has always been willing to participate in all activities (unlike the other bad girls), but her attitude (i.e. that she's the most wonderful thing to ever hit the planet ) has never changed one iota, unlike the attitudes of other bad girls like Gia and Jess. I'm not overly criticizing, because Erica has been one (or two) of the absolutely most entertaining things on this series, but I'm just saying that the show's criteria is an improvement in attitude, and I'm sorry, but Erica has shown none. She's still the hottest, though! Can't ever take that away from her! Just no attitude improvement.

Preview of the Season 1 Finale Episode: The ladies reunite with their families. But the British-accented series narrator said it best tonight: “Will their benefactors want them back? And under what conditions? Who will pass and who will fail?!” Also, we’re teased with Gia’s husband setting down some strict terms upon her return that Gia says she cannot accept! Stay tuned for the stunning, hot finale (and recap & summary on This Blog) of VH1's "You're Cut Off!"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sorry Dems, But It Will Always Be Cap'n Trade to Us!

Talk about your proverbial train having left the station! From today's Dems such as Senate majority leader Harry Reid are trying to eschew any reference whatsoever to their desired energy legislation as "cap and trade," instead trying to bombard the public with terms that pollsters and operatives have told them will be more prone to pull the wool over the public's eyes (errrrrr, be more appealing to the public), such as "energy independence," "clean energy,"
and "pollution bill" (link to story at bottom).

This focus comes over a year after the House dems ram-rodded through the original Cap'n Trade monstrosity without anyone having read it (recall: Pigsnout Waxman introduced over 300 pages of complex amendments to the bill on the morning of the day on which the House voted on and passed the bill). Now Senate dems are moving towards trying to jam through their own version, in what most certainly will be another massive nightmare of a bill with hundreds if not thousands of pages that no one will have read, let alone understand in any honest fashion. And whatever you do, don't refer to it as "cap and trade"!

I'm always amazed anew to witness how just incredibly stupid the democrat party thinks the American people are. Recall when they would change the way they referred to their health care bill out of the blue (e.g., "health care reform" bill abruptly became "health insurance reform" legislation). Well, sorry dems, but nothin' doin' on the ol' Cap'n Trade front, at least not among most Independents.

And it's not as if "cap and trade" is some heavily loaded political term. I think it's perfectly appropriate, must like the phrase, "health care reform." I have not adopted the much more argumentative political phrase used by the republican party -- "cap and tax" -- even though there most certainly will be significant increases in the energy bills of all Americans if the dems are successful in foisting through their Cap'n Trade desires.

Gosh, that's just what we need right now with the current economy! But one thing's for sure: As we saw with the health care legislation, Obama & The Leftist Dems will keep trying and keep trying to force through their energy legislation just so long as they have something close to a Senate supermajority. That means right up 'til November 2. You can make book on it, unfortunately.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gee, Thanks Obama & The Leftist Dems For Forcing Me to Vote for a Moran & George W. Bush Clone for U.S. Senate! Thanks a Lot.

And so is the angst of this and many other Independents as we look forward the November midterm elections. We must (at least I and a majority of us believe, according to a recent poll) vote republican in our U.S. House & Senate races in order to try to restore some measure of power balance to a Washington DC that has been frighteningly controlled by the far leftist Obama & The Dems for the last year and a half.

Now, I'd be the first to admit that I totally march to the beat of my own drummer and am fairly atypical among Independents, in that I pride myself in never voting for candidates from either of these two extreme-controlled B.S. parties. As noted often in this space, I haven't voted for a dem or a repub in any race since the mid-1990's, and the only the dem or repub I've ever voted for in a presidential election was Clinton in 1992 when I was a kid, much more to the left, and was hoodwinked by the charms of the slimeball known as Slick Willie.

Instead, since these days I always vote for third party candidates as a protest against these two parties. In contrast, most of my fellow Independents try their best to choose between the lesser of two evils and typically vote for either a dem or repub in most races. I refuse to do that, but I respect and realize that most Independents see and do things differently.

However, this fall I really feel that I have no choice but to vote repub in my federal races (I damn sure won't be voting for any repubs in my state and local races). I feel this obligation after watching 18 plus months of the most politically extreme control of our federal government that I've witnessed in my lifetime. Simply put, Obama & The Dems, with their iron grip on federal power, have been great for the 15-20% of the population that they represent, but what about all the rest of us? So I must swallow my principles and pride and vote repub at the federal level in November.

Which brings me to the subject of one Jerry Moran (pictured above on the phone), the likely GOP nominee in the Kansas U.S. Senate race this fall. Today my day was effectively ruined when I saw this Moran in a TV ad acting like your typical deranged right-winger, talking about how he wants to push a bunch of tax cuts and get back to the W Bush way of doings things in that regard.

Excuse Me! W Bush presided over a regime that started this country down the road of absolute fiscal irresponsibility that has only festered to new heights on the watch of the Leftists. W Bush saddled us (1) with huge wartime spending debts over a B.S. war in Iraq whose pretense, WMD's, was absolutely false (and I believe W knew that full well going in) and (2) a flurry of tax cuts coupled with huge deficit spending.

Obama & The Dems have only ratcheted up that irresponsible spending six-fold, with the 2009 budget deficit being almost 6 times the worst it ever was under W Bush. W irresponsibility: Cut taxes, jack up spending, and fight a highly costly war we had no reason fighting. Obama irresponsibility: Raise taxes to the hilt, jack up spending and the size of the federal government as much as possible, and continue to prosecute a different war without any apparent strategy for winning it or achieving a point of exit. (Have I said before that the two worst presidents of my lifetime have been W Bush and Obama, so destructively back-to-back and even worse than Jimmy Carter, which is really saying something?)

The solution to our extreme fiscal woes in this country lies in a courageous leader who realizes that getting back on the right track involves reigning in spending through hard and unpopular budgetary choices, while at the same time recognizing that this is no time for tax cuts (nor tax increases). Where is that leader? Well, he sure as hell ain't running for the U.S. Senate in Kansas. And the one repub who might (but probably won't) beat out the Moran for the GOP nomination is one Todd Tiahrt -- a Tea Party favorite whose mindless attack ads on the Moran make him even more scary to me than the W Bush clone!

So thanks again, Obama & The Leftist Dems for forcing me, against principle, to vote for someone whom I would not otherwise vote for in a million years. Although, in closing, I will say one positive thing about the Moran: Unlike his twin, W Bush, at least the Moran knows how to hold a phone in the correct direction. Which, I guess, makes W the even bigger Moran than the Moran himself!