everything is never quite enough (mikeijames) wrote,
everything is never quite enough
mikeijames

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"the packers and their package" [updated]

seeing as i cannot help myself from talking to every single person i know about this situation, i find that i'm quite overdue in posting to my beloved livejournal. seeing as i have traveled to another hemisphere and experienced more of the world in the past month than i have in quite some time, i have done myself quite the disservice in not chronicling it as it happened. but i cannot completely take responsibility for that seeing as i could barely get hot water and consistent water pressure let alone a reliable internet connection. where should i even begin? i suppose the lonestar. is that the moniker i assigned? well, we went on our last date on christmas' eve's eve. we finally went to the movies where i assumed we'd get down when the lights went out. well, not all that whoreishly, but seriously, more than the not even kissing or hand holding that we had embarked on for the several dates we had. yeah. not so much. cute movie. fittingly childish given the courtship. and the longhorn even asked me for coffee afterward. i felt charmed. but then, nothing. nothing. seriously, some under the table leg action or something? i don't know. craziness, i know. because. when i like someone, i never have to do this! there is no ambiguity. i don't have to guess. my sex is on the table from the start. generally. and i got reminded of that just thursday. we have a firefighter/paramedic. we meet at a bar. we have a conversation. within seconds, a question got asked, "don't you remember me?" and of course, i, shocked, had to think to myself, where did we meet? what did i do? oh, right, i got reminded, hotel party at disney two years before where i made my intentions clear and known up front. as i'm wont to do. but you know, i've never caught a relationship doing things like that. so i thought, "maybe there's something to this 'taking it slow' business. doesn't anyone date anymore?" so i played the game. we went to neutral territory. no "do you want to come over and watch a movie?" no "let's go out for drinks." no "let me walk you to your car" or any of that. just courtship. well, i've learned my lesson. perhaps the wrong one, but i've learned it. especially since i found myself SO ATTRACTED TO THE LONGHORN i fantasized about the longhorn. we wouldn't know it. and when i made my feelings known, after the date, i got this pat answer which forbode the end, but hey, i went to peru in between, so by the time i got back, guess what? nothing. i text my sister, she texts me back. i text rob, he texts me back. i text my mother, she texts me back. i text my ex-, he texts me back. i text my boss, she texts me back. i text a motherfuckin' non-profit, they motherfuckin' text me back. i text the longhorn, NOTHING. i'm waiting by my phone like an out-and-out chump. like, who am i? and it puzzles me because in my mind, i thought, well, we just have to see each other one more time to remember whatever and forget whatever, because i'm just that good. once i get in front of you, i can convince you. that's my gift. i can make conversation with a mute. i can dance with a cripple. i can hold court with a turnip. so it just makes me crazy that i couldn't make it work with someone i was THAT attracted to. seriously. so at the end, we were texting, we had one last conversation, and then we were texting. it's fine. i was watching the golden globes -- didn't i say natalie portman would win? -- and the longhorn got immersed in some football game. fine. so we text back and fourth and back and fourth and the longhorn texts, "i'm watching the packers for their package" and i type back somehting funny like "are you talking about what i think your'e talking about?!" and nothing. i call. nothing. i text the next day. nothing. i call AND leave a message. my ultimate act of i'm frustrated. and nothing. so i delete the number out of phone. purge all saved texts. and that's that. now. other things were going on, but moving the story along, i went out on thursday. i needed a healthy dose of the fabulous life to forget about the silliness of this childlike courtship. honestly. they had racier encounters in the motherfuckin' duchess. seriously. so i get dressed up -- corduroy blazer, zara frech cuffed shirt, reiss cufflinks, rich and skinny jeans, and church's brogues -- and walk, yes walk, i knew i would be that drunk, down to cassis. my bartender isn't there. fine. i get the new guy to mix me up a flirtini. fail. i then have three or four espressotinis. i meet these fabulous people including a body double for "mr. big" not really, but honestly, chris noth look a like with a better personality of course. and charming to a fault. and his date, this crazy woman i know from somewhere. and this developer. and then a graphic designer comes and stands next to me. i start to paliptate. the couple buys me another drink. my FAVORITE bartender comes in "off duty" and sits next to me. we chat. i talk up the graphic desginer. i fall in love with the graphic designer despite the wedding band. and then i see myself out because we all get a bit stumbly after five martinis and i make my way home perfectly frustrated, but then, in a minute, i decide, this night isn't over, despite the hour, and i go to the only bar in town. well. this is why it pays to not be seen in three eternities and a half because when you do get seen it's open arms and hugs and best wishes and introductions and as i made nice with this woman i had known through high school friends, this extremely handsome blonde walks up. well cutish blonde, let's not go overboard, but extremely handsome to me, and asks if i remember meeting? i blush, because of course not. i don't remember. or i would say so. but i didn't, but apparently, i had quite fancied two years ago. and, surprise of surprises, this gorgeous blonde is a home-owning paramedic/firefighter. honestly, i might die. and became very handsy. but had a boyfriend. so i'm off trying to be the good old chap with the courtship and i'm back to my role as homewrecker. they were fighting that night anyway, but not before i could exchange facebooks and flirtations so. just like that. another one bites the dust, bring on the next.

but i guess i should have had enough warning about the challenges of compromising oneself in the name of staving off loneliness from my trip to the southern hemisphere to visit peru. i must say that the new year does have a way of clarifying everything. it has a way of pushing life forward. last year it pushed my friend rob into the arms of an old lover. a couple of years before that it pushed another of my friends out of a relationship completely. this year, it steeled my mettle to go somewhere because my friends had determined to make new years all the bore this year with the dreaded staycation that has overwhelmed this country in the grip of a financial plague. so i resisted the urge to do the same and went in on a scheme to go to peru with my old coworker who lives in miami with her peruvian fiance. well. that it took me away from a prospect should've been the first sign. that i only know her fiance through their multiple fights should've been my second sign. but the third sign came in how my life started its upswing financially and otherwise just as the new year should've taken hold. i mean, i could've spent those couple of thousand dollars swilling in the drink at cassis or on a bottle in miami or partying in manhattan. but hey, i needed passport stamps and i'm so glad i forced myself in the end. my life is so much richer for it, despite the drama. but i say that as if i don't have drama every time. eustress after all is still stress, but i had to fall into my life coach role many times and i didn't get to even fulfill my fancy until most of the trip had passed. so i had to leave on christmas day itself and that just sent my sister flying with jealousy as dinner had to be served early and everyone preoccupied themselves with getting me to the airport on time, but it worked out and i flew down to miami just in time and when i got down there, i had to wait forever to get picked up from the fort lauderdale airport. we got back to miami where my friend had to unload twenty pounds of clothes as BOTH of her alotted cases were over. and then her fiance rambled in not started with his packing. and the first of the schemes....to get to the airport without paying a cab. this involved enlisting a friend i met the last time i was in miami but did not get along with well, drunk, it was worse and after being criticized in every way possible, i finally respond with my trademark wit, and this oaf, unable in his state (or any other state for that matter) to come up with a retort, wants to devolve into fisticuffs. we eventually pile into the car and have a tense ride to miami international. and then we have the most treacherous flight to costa rica where we had a layover. after getting on the last plane, we descended into lima where it looked like we were landing onto of sand dunes falling into the sea. when in mexico city, you could tell the city very poor but had very rich parts, but in lima, its jewels didn't shine quite as ostentatiously. you had miraflores and you had everything else. and the first surprise of the trip? we weren't staying in miraflores. the beach condo i had dreamed about for months had fallen victim to squatters and we had to stay in the other family home in san miguel. with the fiance's father. and aunt. in his childhood neighborhood. with his childhood friends. picture me. in my linens and whites in a lower middle class neighborhood where people looked like they might strip the silver from my fingers. so we went to the nearby mall where i felt pleased that they had a faux-macys and a tommy hilfiger, but nothing spectacular: no american apparel and chanel like mexico city. then we went to this market across the street where they had a buffet for less than a dollar. we went back home and headed down to miraflores that night to see how the locals did it at chili's and we saw nothing and did nothing except to drive around maybe getting high and drinking wine out of plastic cups. the next day, we went to park kennedy around midday and then to lacomar for lunch with one of my friend's fiance's local friends who worked for groupon at pardo's chicken -- the first of many outings there -- and then we went down to the coast to sunbathe with the likes of local celebrity peter ferrari. that night, we went back to the miraflores neighborhood to this local american sports bar called "the corner" and i got tanked -- how could i not when top shelf cocktails barely cost three dollars -- and had a good night. the next day, we ventured to the south of lima for their more exclusive beach fronts and enjoyed ourselves at san bartolo and then at asia. we were with yet another of his friends for yet another time, so it was quite stilted, but i had a great time and saw some of the most exhilirating pacific waves of my lifetime. that night, we headed to the ever edgy barranco neighborhood with its chantueses and its hard rock bars and we partook in the local decadences and danced until the wee hours of the morning giddy as all get out. wednesday, we went down to the rock beach early in the day where we roasted good fashion while the fiance surfed and then headed back for lunch and then a sophisticated night out in the miraflores night at a restaurant called bohemia and a thrilling neighborhood walk capped off by some gambling in the casino. i felt that night the closest to seeing the real lima. white table clothes. lomo saltado -- a steak dish most reminiscent of steak fajitas -- and the thrilling night. i could have asked for no more. on thursday, we embarked to the zoo as our day activity and then went shopping that night at plaza san miguel with dinner and drinks at this delightfully trendy place called sofa cafe and then went to see the spanish version of "easy a" which was funny and i'll probably buy since i have a quiet little crush on one of the stars. on friday, we took a tour of downtown that lasted for hours and hours and i bought a painting in the park and some other souvenirs and then we got ready to go out for new years. well. this was an adventure. we went to look for an edgy house club, but none existed, so we went to aura which played eighties favorites for a less-than-full crowd. well. around two the crowd picked up and the music went top 40 and since we were all rolling, it turned out quite well. we didn't sleep that night and i lost my debit card which was unfortunate given we had a flight to catch first thing that morning to cusco. thankfully, my friend could loan me money to sustain me for the trip. i cannot wax on more poetically about a more endearing place than cusco. seriously charming with old world town square and architectural details to die for but with an underbelly of outright devilishness. we checked into the hotel and the fiance went on and on about being sick so we left him in the hotel for lunch and shopping. well. we got back and he still complained so we went to dinner at the MOST perfect wine bar i've ever been to in eons and got buzzing on malbec and then we went nightclubbing at mama africa which was two level affair that had this edgy bar below deck with this dj that would've been at home in miami. easily. and then upstairs for this club that filled itself with brazilian tourists, ucla backpackers, and the likes of us, just drunk and happy to find music we loved half a world away and two miles in the air. we got back that night just glowing with a good night out to return to a still sickly fiance who had not showered for two days at this point. next, we went to ollantaytambo which was just this horrible stop in the road to macchu picchu but we had to spend the night. and we had our final blow up there when the fiance opted to stay in a $6 hostel because he suddenly didn't want to pay for the hotel we had agreed to earlier. so while my friend and i rested in four star luxury, he moped and made the entire time so miserable although he tagged along for our hot water, water pressure, spectacular views, cable tv, and hot breakfast. the next early morning we embarked to macchu picchu and i saw the brazilian who had caught my eye the night before. the park was quite extraordinary. it took my breath away with its history and its scale. we hiked ALL DAY. and with no food, no water, no bathrooms. so after about six hours, you can imagine me. loca, loca, loca. on the train back i sat with a vanderbilt grad who made me feel better about my trip. patrician to a fault, he went on and on about the filthiness i had longed to express and the cheapness etc. i couldn't say these things because it's rude, but more on that later. finally, we made it back to cusco, and went out for one last dinner....at mcdonald's because it was SO LATE once we got back because of a mudslide derailing a train and we had to take a bus from ollantaytambo. the next morning, we took the plane to lima, packed, and had one last dinner with the fiance's family at a chinese restauarant (they obsess over it there), and then slept for a few hours before departing finally. we connected in mexico city. missed our connection (because of some crazy security requirements! but i did get another stamp) and i had to abide iwth them for yet another night until i could catch my own train home from miami back home.

lessons learned? never travel with anyone i haven't traveled with before without access or means to get a hotel room of my own. because we stayed with the fiance's family, i had to bite my tongue and swallow my pride too much for a vacation. i mean, no hot water for days. no water pressure toward the end. not one night for me. not the freedom to just explore on my own. or just lay back and let them have their space. but i did enjoy it. and i would go back to cusco tomorrow. seriously. and when i got back, the lines of communication re-opened with everyone imporant in my life except the longhorn. the exsomeone and i talked and talked and talked. and i even went over eventually although nothing came about. well, at least i didn't. we went to dinner. we went shopping. and while i DID NOT start having any sort of feelings, i missed that feeling. the having someone. for better or worse. and i reconnected with the pr girl though by accident. i went to the only bar in town sober and by myself on a friday and it was boring (although, of course, i saw someone i knew) so i went to detour which was worse but i had a drink anyway, and then went to cafe alma where i had a devil of a time. so wonderful. the best music i had heard since peru. although the cocktail of old wine at home plus two grey goose rocks at the only bar in town plus one nasty vodka cranberry at detour plus two grey goose rocks at cafe alma induced a severe chicago hangover and made me lose all day saturday. sunday, i did nothing, and monday, i reconnected with the exsomeone and the pr girl. and then after the emotional times with the longhorn -- all self-inflicted -- i ended the week as i started this post. new year, new hope, and all that.

Break Out of Ruts!

While a full Moon in sensitive Cancer on January 19 highlights the importance of taking care of yourself this week, the Sun's entrance into Aquarius on January 20 reminds you to add excitement and change to your life. A bit later in the week on January 22, Jupiter's entrance into bold Aries provides plenty of fuel for all your projects and plans!


Brett Favre's Cellphone Seduction Of Jenn Sterger (Update)
http://deadspin.com/5658206/brett-favres-cellphone-seduction-of-jenn-sterger

Brett Favre's Cellphone Seduction Of Jenn Sterger (Update) In the video here (parts of which are NSFW due to penis photos at 2:08 mark), you'll see and hear all the strange messages Jenn Sterger received from someone she was led to believe was Brett Favre. Final UPDATE here.

This is the evidence she told us about last February. Sadly, Jenn is still reluctant to talk on the record about the matter. Everything shown in the above video was acquired from a third party.

And, yes, there's a possibility that the person communicating with Jenn was not actually Brett Favre, but rather someone trying very hard to appear to be him. But let's look at the evidence: For an individual to put forth the effort to 1.) acquire a cellphone with a Mississippi area code; 2.) take some voice lessons; and 3.) implicate Jets handlers and perhaps other people, all within a very short period of time and for no discernible reason other than to mess with Sterger, well, that's some very aggressive role-playing. Jenn believed it to be him. Others believed it to be him. We've seen far too many supposedly family-oriented and upstanding professional athletes whose off-field behavior contradicts their well-manicured public persona. If Sterger is right, Brett Favre really is like a kid out there.

Video by Gawker.TV's Richard Blakeley and David Matthews

UPDATE: Favre responds at presser: "I'm not getting into that. I've got my hands full with the Jets."

###

On Brett Favre's $50k Fine, Jenn Sterger's Reputation, And Roger Goodell's Willful Ignorance
http://deadspin.com/5720593/on-brett-favres-50k-fine-jenn-stergers-reputation-and-roger-goodells-willful-ignorance

On Brett Favre's k Fine, Jenn Sterger's Reputation, And Roger Goodell's Willful Ignorance This is not surprising. Goodell made his ruling and now everyone will return to terrible normalcy. Here's a rundown of the NFL's statement with additional commentary to help you understand what the hell just happened.

The quotes are from the NFL's official statement on the Brett Favre investigation:

The NFL office conducted an investigation to determine whether Brett Favre's interaction with New York Jets game-day employee Jenn Sterger in 2008 violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

In reviewing the matter, the sole focus was on whether there was a violation of league policies regarding conduct in the workplace. NFL policies do not extend to private conduct or make judgments about the appropriateness of personal relationships, except where that conduct or those relationships raise issues under the law or league policies.

The investigation included an analysis of publicly available reports; a series of interviews with knowledgeable individuals, including Sterger and Favre; a review of communications between the two furnished to our office; and independent forensic analysis of electronically stored material. The investigation was limited in several respects because the conduct occurred in 2008 but was not brought to our attention until this fall. As a result, certain records and individuals were unavailable to the NFL.

Let's clarify what an NFL investigation entails: it's interviews. Lots of boring, basic interviews. NFL "Security" is made up of former cops and FBI dudes who have shiny shoes and nice pensions who are able to ask questions under the guise of being authoritative and (hopefully) make a determination and recommendation to Roger Goodell on what appropriate action should take place. Favre, Bus Cook, Jenn Sterger and I are not sworn under oath or anything like that to tell them anything more than we have to. The first meeting between Favre, Bus Cook and Ahlerich apparently took a long period of time but most of that conversation was pretty much Favre copping to leaving the voicemail messages and not admitting to — not "denying" — sending the dong shots. Why should Favre admit to that? Both he and Bus Cook and Favre's attorney were confident enough that the NFL could never prove it was his penis and unless he voluntarily pulled his wang out on the desk to do a side-by-side evaluation of the two, he was in the clear. The "forensic" analysis requires basic computer tracking stuff which could match up texts from Favre's phone — the one with the 601-291-6004 — to messages sent to Jenn. Sterger and company presented their evidence proving that. Favre seemed unable to "cooperate" on his end of things, which means they couldn't do the full on forensic analysis needed to put his dick on that phone because Favre most likely ditched that particular batphone a long time ago.

The investigation also reviewed a second media report about allegations involving other women who worked at the Jets' facility in 2008. Misconduct by Favre regarding that claim was unable to be substantiated because individuals with potentially relevant information declined to be interviewed or otherwise cooperate with the investigation. In addition, our investigation took longer than might ordinarily have been the case due to difficulties in arranging to speak with certain key individuals, the time required to retrieve and review stored electronic records, and Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision to meet personally with both Favre and Sterger before making a decision.

Ah. Yes. The other "media" report about the two other massage therapists. Let's recap to where this all came from. The day after the New York Post ran the cover story on Sterger, the husband of one of the massage therapists contacted Deadspin and the Post to tell his run-in with Favre in 2008. Why did he take so long to come forward? Because he wanted to forget it and, like Sterger was advised, he did not want to potentially jeopardize his wife's part-time employment as a massage therapist for the Jets. But he was pissed. Pissed like any other husband would be had an NFL quarterback suddenly started sleazily texting his wife and invited her back to his hotel room. Once the story hit the front cover, all of that rage and jealousy and helplessness resurfaced and he was strongly considering pushing forward with a suit because it was unavoidable to ignore and forget about. At first, he wanted to join forces with Sterger's camp to apply more pressure on the Jets and the NFL to act. That did not happen. But the man — and the massage therapists — did lawyer-up. Elizabeth Eilender, Manhattan attorney, was hired to represent them. But due to how adamant both the husband and wife were about keeping themselves out of the public eye, they were reluctant to press forward and fully cooperate with the NFL. Based on the high profile nature of this case, Eilender felt that the matter would be handled privately with as little publicity as possible, even though she is also in possession of the incriminating texts allegedly sent from Favre from that same 601-291-6004 number. As far as I know, this is still ongoing and may resurface once the parties involved resolve some family issues that are more pressing.

On the basis of the evidence currently available to him, Commissioner Goodell could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct. The forensic analysis could not establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger. The review found no evidence to contradict the statements of both Favre and Sterger that they never met in person, nor was there anything to suggest that Sterger engaged in any inappropriate conduct.

No, Sterger didn't fuck Brett Favre. She never had any interaction with Favre outside of one weird incident inside the Jets tunnel where Favre whipped off his helmet and smiled at her in a flirty effort to prove he was a nice guy. Sterger's reluctance to step forward in 2008 seemed to indicate that she didn't think this was that big of a deal — at least from a harassment standpoint. But she was skeeved. And she told plenty of people about it and shared the voicemails and pics with them — some of whom are in the media — and her story was out. In fact, here's what one ESPN person said: "I'd heard about the story of Brett sending photos of himself masturbating wearing the watch a while ago. But I just don't care." Bully for us. But is Sterger a victim? Right now, the only thing she's a real victim of is the increased publicity from this incident and not taking control of the situation when she, you know, was a talking head on The Daily Line television show. Instead, she waited for it to go away, even though it was apparent that this wasn't going away the minute Brian Costello of the Post asked the question at the Favre press conference in October. And, look, Jenn Sterger is not a moron. She's very self-aware, but she's also not confident enough to light out on her own. She's not a gold digger, but her inability to ignore the shitty advice from Phil Reese, Joseph Conway and every other confidant she's depended on to help her through this scenario has left the public to think nothing more of her than that. Whatever career sports media aspirations she had — and her reputation — could have possibly been saved if Jenn had just gone on-air and said something like this: "Yes, it happened. I made the mistake of telling too many people about it and it got out. I'm not going to press charges, I didn't feel threatened or harassed, but it did happen and I want to move on with my life." Because that, more than anything else that is coming out of her camp right now, is the absolute truth.

However, Commissioner Goodell also determined that Favre was not candid in several respects during the investigation, resulting in a longer review and additional negative public attention for Favre, Sterger, and the NFL. The commissioner notified Favre that he has been fined $50,000 for his failure to cooperate with the investigation in a forthcoming manner. Commissioner Goodell stated to Favre that if he had found a violation of the league's workplace conduct policies, he would have imposed a substantially higher level of discipline.

Yes, Favre lied and equivocated and led Goodell and the NFL to believe that he was just being friendly with Jenn and it was all harmless fun. I say this reluctantly, but Sterger's attorney, Joseph Conway, is absolutely right that Favre is getting preferential treatment here. This isn't a huge miscarriage of justice or anything along those lines, but it's been obvious to everyone following this that it was not in the NFL's best interest to fast-track this during the season and possibly sully Favre's victory lap towards retirement. Even though Favre's lied about retiring many times before.

In a memo to clubs today, Commissioner Goodell reminded them of the serious nature of this matter and stated that NFL policies make no excuses for improper or potentially unlawful conduct in the workplace. "Every member of every club's staff should be able to work in an environment free of harassment or hostility, and one in which every employee is valued, respected, and given a full opportunity to contribute to the goals of the club and the NFL," Commissioner Goodell said. "Our new training program on workplace conduct will help all of us to promote the right kind of environment for all employees and I intend to dedicate the fine I have imposed on Favre to help fund that training program."

Here's some news: NFL players, like most professional athletes, enjoy having sex with as many people as possible, married or not. They're used to getting what they want. Sometimes they forget that some of the women they interact with aren't the open-legged groupies who will let them treat them poorly. Here's some more news: women, regardless if they're in the workplace or not, like to have sex with professional athletes. Cheerleaders who aren't supposed to bang NFL players have banged NFL players while they're still representing the organization. Longtime girlfriends of NFL players have sex with their boyfriend's teammates and don't give a damn about it. And, yes, female members of the media have sex with NFL players even though it could potentially ruin whatever credibility they desperately seek. This has happened — and still happens — under the auspices of the professional sports workplace. It's an environment riddled with hyper-aggressive sexuality that has different rules than most workplaces. So in reality, the subtext of Goodell's memo to teams about appropriate work place conduct is this: be more discreet.

###

David Callaway

Jan. 20, 2011, 12:00 a.m. EST
Losing the war on intolerance online
Commentary: Web doesn’t cause hatred but does showcase it

By David Callaway, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — It was a hateful email, like hundreds we receive each day. But it stood out for its combination of the worst aspects of our reader email and online comments at a time of national mourning after the Arizona shooting.

“Really? Since I’m pro-Palestinian I’m being discriminated against? Give me your attorney’s phone number! I’ll be suing under the First Amendment of the U.S., not Israel’s constitution. Criticism is justified. You don’t want to hear the truth, Heeb. If that doesn’t work you will be following Giffords.”

Mentally deranged? Passionate constitutionalist on a four-beer buzz? What’s the difference? The reader, whose handle we traced and provided to the FBI, was wrong on both counts.

Readers’ comments online have degenerated into a running battle between editors and a tiny minority wielding the publishing power to cause havoc.

The First Amendment does not protect the freedom to spew anti-Semitic rants and make threats on a commercially held publishing platform. Nor does the Second Amendment provide the freedom to threaten somebody with gun violence.

Just one of many examples of the outrageous emails and comments that MarketWatch gets on its Community platform or that are sent to staff each day, but all the worse as it came last week, during a period of national navel gazing and at least a collective public attempt for civility.

The war on guns in the U.S. is lost. The reaction to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting was that gun sales went up as people vowed to be ready to blast away the next time a madman strikes; or maybe it was a rush anticipating new gun-control laws. Nine-year-old girls get shot, and it doesn’t stop. College kids get shot, and it doesn’t stop. Presidents have been shot at and even assassinated, and it doesn’t stop.

Meanwhile, a random search through the newspapers one day last week as President Obama asked the nation and its politicians to live up to 9-year-old victim Christina Green’s expectations of them produced these items:

*

A 10-year-old in Ohio shoots his mom in the head for asking him to do chores, using loaded gun his parents allowed him to keep above his bed.
*

In a Philadelphia suburb, a man pulls a gun on another man who blew snow on his car, saying, “Move the snow, or somebody’s going to get shot.”
*

Tennessee gun store holds “Shoot Coach Lane’s Bobblehead Day,” as an outing for those upset with Lane Kiffin’s move last year to quit after one season as the University of Tennessee football coach to move to USC. “Nobody is going to leave our range after shooting a Lane Kiffin bobblehead with a desire to shoot Lane Kiffin,” a worker is quoted as saying.
*

In my own Bay Area town, the local newspaper reports a high-school student was caught with a gun in his car on campus. The student was said to have bragged to several friends that he had a gun on him. The report said he told police he used the weapon, a Glock, for hunting.

Centuries from now, historians will look back on American gun culture as something akin to the Romans throwing Christians to the lions and charging for tickets, with a perverse combination of wonder and abhorrence. For now, though, nothing is changing.

Which is why it’s even more important that progress be made on the current front line of the war on tolerance: the Internet. Anyone who works online knows the line between anonymous rantings on message boards and community outlets and direct email threats is razor-thin.

The Web doesn’t cause hateful thoughts. It simply reveals them. The underlying hatred of each other’s religions and ethnic backgrounds, which would never show its face in an office or in a survey, or even on a cable TV show, leaps to the keyboard when the perception of anonymity is granted.

No evidence that violent rhetoric incites violence? Pick up a history book, for goodness’ sake. The great dictatorships of the world were founded on militaristic and violent speeches. Or tell it to a high-school football coach before a big game.

Online publishers may not be able to control guns, but they can control their own community forums and message boards, and some have already given up and dropped the boards altogether. What began as an idea to bring readers into the publishing process and let them interact with the publishers and other readers has degenerated into a running battle between editors and a tiny minority of their readers with the publishing power to cause havoc for the rest of the readership.

It took just minutes for the chaos to spread on MarketWatch’s coverage of the Giffords shooting last Saturday, with readers blaming Sarah Palin and Rep. Nancy Pelosi alike as having blood on their hands. Choose your side. MarketWatch editors took down more than 1,000 inappropriate comments in a 24-hour period following the shootings, out of a total of 3,000 comments.

The war against intolerance is being lost online. It does not have to be. Publishers and customer-service representatives will continue to think of new ways to contain and filter the hate. But it will still exist, and it’s a stark reminder of what some of the elements of our society really think. Perhaps we’re all mentally deranged. That would be an easier explanation.

In the meantime, Wednesday was the first day since the Giffords shootings that the story didn’t appear on the front page of any of the half-dozen major newspapers I get at work. We’re moving on. For evidence about what we’ve learned from the incident, just read the comments at the bottom of this column.

Copyright © 2011 MarketWatch, Inc. All rights reserved.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

###

Posted at 4:45 PM ET, 01/26/2011
Tunisia isn't only about Tunisia
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-turn/2011/01/tunisia_isnt_only_about_tunisi.html
By Jennifer Rubin

Jeffrey Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, traveled to Tunisia and then made this pronouncement to Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy:

What happened in Tunisia strikes me as uniquely Tunisian. That the events that took place here over the past few weeks derive from particularly Tunisian grievances, from Tunisian circumstances by the Tunisian people.

He should have stayed home. A less helpful and less accurate statement would be hard to come by.

I spoke to someone who has been in Cairo and understands the nexus between Tunisia and other Middle East countries. Stephen McInerney of the Project for Middle East Democracy says that the events in Tunisia are anything but unique to that country. To the contrary, the massive protests in Egypt were "inspired by and a direct result of" recent events in Tunisia. Despite Feltman's dim view of the trans-national nature of democratic movements, McInerney says, "I was in Cairo the day Ben Ali stepped down. Immediately the conversation was, 'How do we translate this to Egypt?'"

In fact, the mass political protests in Egypt would not, he says, have been possible and would not have been so successful if not for Tunisia. A mass movement, run almost entirely by secular groups and directed solely at Egypt's political system is "unprecedented," he explains. The Muslim Brotherhood allowed its members to participate, but did not organize or populate the street demonstrations, he says. "Egyptians are watching very carefully what happens in Tunisia " he reports. It sends a "powerful message" to Egyptians, Algerians and throughout the region that secular democracy can be theirs as well.

McInerney says the most helpful thing we can do (presumably, other than muzzling Feltman) is to show we are "supportive" of Tunisia and that when those in the region embrace democracy, "We will be with them."

As for Egypt specifically, McInerney would like to see from the administration a strong statement of support and a "message to the Egyptian military not to turn the equipment we have given them on the Egyptian people." A speech by the president would be fine, but what is needed, McInerney advises, is to impress on the Mubarak government that it should not use violence against its people and to use "aid and trade" to incentivize the Egyptian government to respect the rights of its people.

Christian Whiton, a former national security official, has a similar take. He e-mails me: "With Egypt we ought to be using our celebrated access to the military (which we fund north of $1B a year) to make a clear message: do not attack your own people; if you do, all aid ends. It might also make sense for their check this month to get lost in the mail to stress the point. We should also lean heavily in private and public for Mubarak to meet with apparent leader(s) of protests who emerge to discuss political transition." He's not fond of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement stressing that the Egyptian government is "stable" ("obviously incorrect, but also off key").

Feltman notwithstanding, the powerful message of Tunisia is not simply that Tunisians can rule themselves, but that Muslim people throughout the region can. He explains:

The conventional wisdom was that the only viable alternatives to autocrats like Ben Ali and Mubarak were Islamists, especially the Brotherhood in Egypt. The Egyptian government of course echoes this in all of its government-to-government channels with the U.S. They also contributed to it by repressing or corrupting non-Islamist reformists (liberals). Now we see people in the streets motivated by angst of economic malaise, but also linking it to corruption and cronyism of their leaders. There is no talk of redemption through an Iranian-style arrangement, and the Islamists don't seem able to take advantage, at least not yet and hopefully never.

Unless, of course, the administration squanders another opportunity to stand for human rights and democracy.

By Jennifer Rubin | January 26, 2011; 4:45 PM ET
Categories: foreign policy

###

In Tunisia, freedom blossoms

By Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, January 24, 2011; 12:36 AM

TUNIS - Workers stormed out of the state-run shipping company the other day. For decades, they had lived quietly in relative poverty as their bosses, all members of the former ruling party, drove luxury cars and owned mansions.

Only 10 days ago, the police would have suppressed this mini-uprising and arrested them. Now, it was a new order. Pumping their fists, the workers accused the company's chairman of embezzlement and demanded his resignation.

Across this nation, Tunisians are experiencing a blossoming of freedoms after a popular uprising ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali from power on Jan. 14, ending his autocratic rule. Many are voicing their thoughts and ideas after living for nearly a quarter of a century in fear. Others, for the first time in their lives, are demanding justice for relatives killed by his regime.

The happiness is tempered by unease, for their future is still uncertain. Protests are unfolding daily in the capital to demand that the interim government purge all members of Ben Ali's party. The opposition is weak and divided; some fear militias that supported the president might create problems.

In a crackdown on key allies of Ben Ali, police on Sunday placed two high-ranking officials under house arrest and detained the head of a well-known private TV station for allegedly trying to slow the country's steps toward democracy.

But for now, at least, many here are embracing freedoms they thought they would never have.

"They stole the nation's money. They were a mafia. Our company is like a little example of what was wrong with Tunisia," said Sofiyan Abu Sami, one of the workers who walked off the job the other day. Some carried placards that read "No to corruption."

"Now, we can finally speak our minds," he said.

Under Ben Ali, Tunisia was perceived by the West as a model nation in the Arab world - moderate, relatively prosperous and secular. The autocratic leader, who seized power in 1987, stamped down on Islamic radicalism; he was a U.S. ally in the war against terrorism in a region where al-Qaeda was making inroads.

Ben Ali also lorded over a landscape of repression and corruption. Journalists were censored, harassed and monitored by his intelligence service. Critical voices were silenced.

His family owned more than half the companies in Tunisia, including banks, hotels and real estate development firms. Bribes and good ties with the government were the route to jobs and promotions.

In the streets, shops and offices, Ben Ali's photos were everywhere, as were the secret police.

For years, Mohammed Nasrallah, who was once jailed for supporting an opposition group, was forced to keep a large photo of Ben Ali in his restaurant near the Avenue Habib Bourghiba, the epicenter of the protests, which winds through downtown Tunis. Removing it would have meant a visit from city inspectors, stiff fines, perhaps even a beating by the secret police.

But after Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia, Nasrallah took the photo from the frame and set it on fire. "It was like I was born again," he said.

A block away, Radhiya Mishirsi said she once worried that the police would insult her when she wore her head scarf. On Friday, she stood near a group of policemen and declared that she would cover her entire face, leaving only her eyes exposed. The policemen nodded and smiled.

Around the capital, once forbidden jokes about Ben Ali are circulating openly. One goes like this: Ben Ali returns to Tunisia and visits a shoe store. The salesman brings him a pair. "How do you know my shoe size?" Ben Ali asks.

"We have been under your shoes for 23 years," the salesman replies. "So of course we know your size."
'First, the people'

On the Avenue Bourghiba, Mohamed Dhakar carried a placard calling for a new national motto: "First, the people. Freedom. Rights. Justice."

"I am not part of any party," Dhakar yelled. "I am for Tunisia."

His presence attracted a large crowd and triggered an impromptu discussion.

"We are against the secret police. We want all of them in uniform," a man yelled.

"If the new government is making a piece of theater, the people will remove them like we did the old government," another man yelled.

Communists, socialists and atheists were all staging demonstrations downtown on this day. Opposition groups were once banned or harassed by the old government. On Friday, more than 1,000 Islamists marched along the avenue, calling for a parliamentary form of government. A group from a rural area in Tunisia's impoverished south distributed pamphlets demanding more jobs and development in their region.

Some hurled insults at the once-feared police.

"There is a God," a man shouted at some policemen. "There is a God to protect the truth. How can you have killed your own people?"

Sueda Guesmi was also asking that question. She said her son was accused of selling alcohol illegally and imprisoned without a trial. A few weeks later, she was told he had died in his cell.

"I want to know why my son was killed," Guesmi said. "I want justice for him."
Writing without fear

At the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the 300 or so employees demanded that the minister, an ally of Ben Ali, depart along with his staff. He complied. As his chief of staff left the building, the employees exploded in thunderous applause.

"Long live the revolution! Long live Tunisia!" they chanted.

"We are rejecting this new government," said Rauda Assel, an employee standing outside the ministry building. "This is not the moment for taking your ministry car and your responsibilities, but to be with the people for the right cause."

The employees appointed a three-member committee from their own ranks to run the ministry until, they said, a government is formed that satisfies them.

At La Presse newspaper, the editor in chief, who was appointed by the former government, also stepped down. A committee of editors took over. Ten days ago, they were publishing official propaganda delivered by the state news agency. On the front pages, they always published a picture of Ben Ali. They wrote fawning articles about Besma - The Smile - a charity run by his wife, Leila Trabesi.

"It was a smoke screen to hide the corruption of the first family," said Hmida Ben Romdhane, an editor on the committee now running the newspaper. "Before the revolution, we were not publishing information. We published disinformation. The regime forbade any attempt to write the truth."

Now, for the first time in their lives, La Presse's 50 journalists are writing without fear.

Ben Ali's photo is no longer published on the front page - unless it accompanies a scathing article about the regime's excesses. Last week, La Presse published a story about Switzerland freezing Ben Ali's assets.

Soon, Ben Romdhane said, his reporters are planning to investigate the corruption and repression of the former regime. "We have to learn how to be free and work in this new atmosphere of freedom," he said.

His voice filled with emotion as he spoke about the profound change in the newsroom and his life.

"I am 59, and I have seen only two presidents. I have experienced two dictatorships," he said. "The freedom we have gained is a freedom imposed by the people on the political system. This freedom, I think, will last.

"It's a new era."

© 2011 The Washington Post Company

###

Will Egypt's protests go the way of Tunisia's revolution?

By Mona Eltahawy
Wednesday, January 26, 2011;

To understand what drove tens of thousands of Egyptians to erupt Tuesday in the largest protests in a generation against President Hosni Mubarak, you only had to see one photo of events in El-Mahalla El-Kubra, a Nile Delta factory city where an estimated 5,000 people turned out.

Some images from Tuesday show Egyptian police beating unarmed protesters and throwing rocks at them (sadly, an increasingly common tactic). But a photo of a man and a woman standing in Mahalla, posted on the citizen journalists' Web site Rassd News Network, instantly conveys why Egyptians have taken to the streets.

The woman holds a loaf of bread and a Tunisian flag. The man next to her holds a loaf of bread and a sign that reads "Yesterday Tunisia. Today Egypt. Jan. 25 the day we began to take our rights back."

It was no accident that the protests coincided with Police Day, as youthful activists sought to focus attention not on a sham holiday but, instead, on the systematic brutality associated with Mubarak's security services. Egyptians in Mahalla in particular have smarted since three people were killed there by police in 2008 during massive protests that followed months of strikes.

The big question now is how loyal the armed forces are to Mubarak and what role, if any, they will play should the protests escalate. Thousands of citizens set up camp in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Tuesday and vowed to occupy the space until Mubarak resigns. News reports from journalists and Twitter updates early Wednesday morning indicated that at about 1 a.m., security forces began forcibly emptying the square, spraying tear gas and arresting people. Protesters have promised more demonstrations.

Since a four-week uprising in Tunisia ended the 23-year rule of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali this month, the Arab world has been in a tizzy. Tunisia's revolution marked the first time Arabs toppled one of their leaders. While ordinary citizens wondered whether the "Tunisia effect" might spread, long-serving rulers were conspicuously silent or protested (too much) that their country had nothing in common with Ben Ali's mismanaged nation.

For years, Western observers of the Arab world have effectively helped shore up the dictators by stating as fact that Arabs don't revolt. Much to Egyptian pain and chagrin, analysts would point to our country, where protests have been the preserve of a small, dedicated but not always connected group of activists. Mubarak, the longest-serving ruler in modern-day Egypt, would smartly give in to enough of workers' demands as necessary to appease; then his security forces would beat and detain the street activists who persevered.

Whether tensions ran high over rigged elections, food shortages, Internet censoring, media repression or police brutality, the conventional wisdom has held that Mubarak would sleep without worry until thousands of Egyptians took to the streets.

Finally, on Tuesday, feet were on the ground. Thousands turned out in Cairo, Alexandria and across the country as the anti-government fervor fired up not just activists but families, too.

Watching Tunisians make possible what Arabs have always been told was impossible burned away the apathy that bound Egyptians - and revealed decades' worth of smoldering rage. It also destroyed the myth of youth "slactivists" who some alleged were content with organizing on the Internet and speaking out only on social networking sites.

Young Egyptians, like their Tunisian counterparts, are the majority of the country's population. They have known no leadership other than what they see as Mubarak's occupation.

Since becoming president in 1981, Mubarak has kept Egypt under a "state of emergency" that allows him to suspend regular laws. He has turned our country into a police state where torture and brutality often go unpunished, and he has jailed an estimated 12,000 to 14,000 political opponents.

Mubarak accused his main political opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood, of provoking police violence on Tuesday, but the Islamist movement did not collectively join in. Although many individual members took to the streets, the Brotherhood said it would symbolically support activists' call to protest but would not ask its members to mobilize as a movement. That's a wise step in countering regime accusations but could affect its credibility with youth activists disaffected by politics.

Unlike Tunisia, Egypt is a major U.S. ally. When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that the Obama administration's "assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," she showed once again how out of touch she is with popular anger at Mubarak. She also alerted Egyptians that Washington was as concerned about the protests and the potential "Egypt effect" as Mubarak must be.

Mona Eltahawy is an Egyptian-born writer and lecturer on Arab and Muslim issues. Her e-mail address is info@monaeltahawy.com.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company

###

Inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, Yemenis join in anti-government protests

By Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, January 27, 2011; 7:26 AM

SANAA, YEMEN - Thousands of Yemenis took the streets Thursday demanding an end to the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled this impoverished Middle Eastern nation for more than three decades.

The rally--one of the largest demonstrations this capital has seen in recent memory-- unfolded in four different neighborhoods and was inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

The unrest here represented a widening of the upheavals unfolding across the Arab world, and poses yet another threat to the stability of this U.S. ally, which Al Qaeda militants are using a base to target the West and its allies.

"Look at Tunisia with pride," the crowds chanted. "Yemen has strong people, too."

But unlike the protests in Tunisia and Egypt, Thursday's rally here was peaceful, fueled by boisterous opposition party members, from socialists to Islamists, and youth activists.

Protesters shut down streets, sang songs and shouted patriotic slogans, as soldiers and riot police wearing helmets and carrying batons and shields watched. Security was tight around the capital.

"The people want the president replaced," the crowds chanted. "Live free, Yemen."

The poorest country in the Middle East, Yemen is struggling with many of the same problems faced in other Arab nations, including high unemployment, low wages, rising prices and widespread corruption. In addition to the threat posed by Al Qaeda, the weak government is grappling with a rebellion in the north and a secessionist movement in the south.

In the wake of the Tunisian rebellion and growing tensions here, Saleh raised the salaries of the army and denied accusations that he was trying to anoint his son as his successor. He also ordered income taxes cut in half and sought adequate controls on inflation.

But despite his efforts to defuse the unrest, Yemenis from all walks of life have taken to the streets over the past two weeks, calling for Saleh's removal--a demand that few citizens in the past would have dared to utter.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company

###

Mon, 10 January 2011 at 9:05 pm
Shakira & Antonio De La Rua Split After 11 Years
http://justjared.buzznet.com/2011/01/10/shakira-antonio-de-la-rua-split-after-11-years/

Shakira and her long-time love Antonio De La Rua have split after 11 years together.

In a blog entry posted on her website, the 33-year-old Colombian singer said that she and Antonio have been separated since August, but are first coming public about it now.

“Since August 2010, we made a mutual decision to take time apart from our romantic relationship,” she wrote. “Throughout this time we have continued to work together hand in hand, have remained close and have kept the details absolutely private until now.”

However, this separation is not permanent. “We view this period of separation as temporary and as a time of individual growth as we continue to be partners in our business and professional lives,” Shakira said.

Read more: http://justjared.buzznet.com/2011/01/10/shakira-antonio-de-la-rua-split-after-11-years/#ixzz1AjHojBPx


###

http://lyricstranslate.com/en/loca-crazy.html-0

Spanish
Loca (ft. El Cata)

Loca (Loca)
No te pongas bruto
Loca.

Que te la bebe’
Dance or Die (Loca)

El está por mi y por ti borró
Y eso que tú tienes to’
Y yo ni un Kikí.

El está por mi
Y por ti borró (borró)
Y eso que tú tienes to’
Y yo ni un Kikí.

Ella se hace la bruta pa’ cotizarse
Conmigo en frente ella se hace la gata en celo contigo
Te cotorrea el oído pa’ tenerte en alta
Ella muere por ti, tú por mi es que matas.

Sigo tranquila como una paloma de e’quina
Mientras ella se pasa en su BM al lado mío
Yo de aquí no me voy, se que está por mí
Y ninguna va poder quitármelo de un tirón

Yo soy loca con mi tigre
Loca, Loca, Loca

Soy loca con mi tigre
Loca, Loca, Loca

Soy loca con mi tigre
(Loca, Loca, Loca)

Soy Loca con mi tigre
(Loca, Loca, Loca)

El está por mí
Y por ti borró (borró)
Y eso que tú tienes to’
Y yo ni un Kikí

El está por mí
Y por ti borró (borró)
Y eso que tú tienes to’
Y yo ni un Kikí

Mientras ella te complace con todos tus caprichos
Yo te llevo al malecón por un caminito
Me dicen que tu novia anda con un rifle
Porque me vio bailando mambo pa’ ti
¿Qué no lo permite?

Yo no tengo la culpa de que tú te enamore’
Mientras él te compra flores yo compro condo’ (whooo)

Yo soy loca con mi tigre
Cuando amarro ya mejora y mira, eso es lo que dicen

Yo soy loca con mi tigre
Loca, Loca, Loca

Soy loca con mi tigre
Loca, Loca, Loca

Soy loca con mi tigre
(Loca, Loca, Loca)

Soy Loca con mi tigre
(Loca, Loca, Loca)

Dios mio! (ah)

Se colán lo ra-ta-ta
No te ponga’ bruto
Que te la bebe

Loca (Loca)
Loca

El está por mi
Y por ti borró (borró)
Y eso que tu tienes to’
Y yo ni un Kikí

Yo soy loca con mi tigre
Loca, Loca, Loca

Soy loca con mi tigre
Loca, Loca, Loca

Soy loca con mi tigre
(Loca, Loca, Loca)

Soy Loca con mi tigre
(Loca, Loca, Loca)


###

English
Crazy

Don't be stupid
Crazy.
Dance or Die (Crazy)
He is here because of me, and because of you he left
Even when you got it all
And I can't get even a shag
He is here because of me
and because of you he left (he left)
even when you got it all
I can't get even a shag
She plays the stupid for fun
Just five minutes of her cel phone balance for you
She chats your ear to make you get high
She is dying for you but because of me she tries so hard
I'm a swallow just the same as I'm a corner dove
When she gets by my side in a BM
I don't go, I know she's there for me
And nobody is gonna wrench him away
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
He is here because of me,
and because of you he left (he left)
Even when you got it all
And I can't get even a shag
He is here because of me,
and because of you he left (he left)
Even when you got it all
And I can't get even a shag
When she's pleasing all of your whims
I just take you walking to downtown
People says your girlfriend got a shotgun
because she saw you dancing mambo with me
She didn't allow you to?
Not my fault that you fell in love with me
As long as he buys you flowers I'm buying a condo (whooo)
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
Oh my God! (oh)
Shots are coming by
Don't be stupid
Or she'll get you
Crazy (crazy)
Crazy
He is here because of me,
and because of you he left (he left)
Even when you got it all
And I can't get even a shag
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
I'm crazy when it comes about my tiger
Crazy, crazy, crazy
Machine Translated
Okay
Good
Great
Poetic
Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (12 votes)
From: http://lyricstranslate.com

Tags: decadence, domestic, exsomeone, friendship, incompetence, just me, nightlife, the longhorn, the stars, travels, war games
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