Tuesday, February 21, 2006

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Sports Illustrated's Bathing Suit Issue

I'll never forget that fishnet shot of Cheryl Tiegs in 1978 (read Michael Gross's book Model : The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women). She was just as hot on the cover of the 1983 issue.

I ran into Cheryl at my therapist's office in 2001. She wanted to know the location of the bathroom.

Sunday morning,  I listen to Lee Strobel's The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God, published by Zondervan, as an atonement for my sin.

I call another woman. She's not there. I leave a wailing message that I am in the grip of forces greater than myself.

She calls me back. "I went to bed at 5am. At noon, there's a buzzing on my cell phone. I think, who the hell could be calling me this early?"

"You said I could call you any time if I was struck sinful desires."

"And I would point you back to your moral path."

"Yes. I've just spent the last hour scouring the internet for pictures of Cheryl Tiegs and Morgan Fairchild."

"I knew I was going to fall. I knew I was going to relapse."

"And I wasn't there. I'm ashamed of myself. You'll have to find a new sponsor."

"Now I'm stronger. I can turn my back on those alluring photos. I was a more vulnerable person in 1978."

"And you're not at all vulnerable now."

"I'm practically an island. I feel no pain and I never cry. But the call of history. History echoes."

"You can be seduced by history."

"I'm sure you think less of me now."

"I do. Why did you have to tell me this and just destroy the grand illusion of you that I had?"

"Have you bought your new bathing suit for the Spring?"

"It's zero degrees here."

"You have to have faith."

Male Vs. Female

My friend got back together with his girl after a two month break-up.

As they were walking up to her bedroom, she said, "One time only!"

Several times afterwards, she said, "That wasn't the wisest decision."

He felt dissed. "What do you mean?" he demanded.

"I just mean I don't want things to get messy again," she said.

He stewed. He talked to two females. They explained that she was afraid of falling in love and becoming emotionally vulnerable.

He saw the matter from a new perspective and he felt better. He was able to resume sex with his girl with an untroubled soul.

Oh, if only I wasn't so fenced in by the Torah!

Lollygagging With Cathy Seipp

Luke: what are you wearing right now?
Miss Seipp: Ratty bathrobe. Stop wasting time!

The Heartbreak Of The YULA Male

Doc writes on the New Hempstead blog:

Let's get some things straight, or as we say in the ghetto, let me regulate.

Any high school girl who hit on Rav Aron should be ashamed of herself. YULA boys such as myself may not have been super cool, but we were OK. Not all of us were King Hobb, but I had a car and could score booze and weed and drive to the beach for the weekend and stay at the malibu riv on some allowance money. After being reejayed by YULA girls cause I guess they were too busy trolling for rabbis, I hung out at real parties at Hamilton and Uni and got plenty of action on spring break and at some USY (yeah, i went to BB and JCA to get some) weekends. I guess I blame myself for not dealing with rejection well, but when all the girls wanted to hang with the beverlywood geeks (who were not getting any action anyhow and ended up marrying some real swamp monsters), I guess one just goes elsewhere. Any YULA girl should be friggin ashamed of thinking she was so cool that she could hit on a married guy. She is at least fifty percent in the wrong.

As for the accusers who claim Rav Aron made a move on them as part of marital counseling, they are about as likely to come forward as the head of CAIR is likely to give a danish cartoonist a reach around. I mean, first off, what legitimate married snob woman uses a man as a marital counselor. jeez, either get brains today or get out of the way. the whole point of marital counseling is to get some housefrau type counselor to mess with your husband. That is what counselors are there for, to hate men and get paid for it.

Second, who gets it on with their counselor. I mean, exercise some self control. I am a doctor and if a patient threw herself at me, I would be quite alarmed.

Third, who gets involved with their rabbi. Come on, something is wrong with you.

Getting Knee-Deep into Aron Tendler

Steven I. Weiss writes:

It’s impossible to assume Ford’s reporting is true: he’s unclear about what information he gathered from what sources, why certain sources need anonymity (especially the no-longer-Orthodox young man speaking of actions that happened to others), and there’s relatively little evidence of efforts to independently corroborate claims (at the least, if Tendler wrote all these poems, Ford should have found out where they now are). That said, I wouldn’t claim for a moment that Ford is inaccurately stating what’s been told to him. But that’s just the thing with Ford’s reporting: he’s always been far too soft on sources, and we can’t assume that they are telling the truth as a result.

Nobody has been willing to talk to me on the record for the Aron story. Thus every source has been kept anonymous because I've had no other choice if I want to tell this important story.

I emailed protagonist in the story (Aron Tendler) and his shul (Shaarey Zedek) and they chose not to comment, which in itself is a comment.

The information from sources has been weighed according to the credibility of each source and matched against other sources of information. When sources independent of each other recall the same specific parts of a story, and I have no evidence to challenge the veracity of the story, I tend to believe it is true.

I've talked to people with knowledge of the story who would not let me publish their information, but I used them to gauge the reliability of various participants in the story.

Jewish Whistleblower replies to Weiss:

Obviously, there is a huge story here, one that was confirmed to me about 6-8 months before Luke’s first post. The only reason I did not post it at the time is that no one would go into the specifics, only that the allegations involved former students and that there was an investigation. That is not enough.

I doubt the Rabbis at the RCA or RCC would go to Luke or send people to Luke.

The reasons victims likely went to Luke are:

1) It is clear that the rabbonim involved did not want to go up against the Tendler Smear Machine and it was clear to victims that they had to act by themselves.

2) Aron’s victims saw how the RCA betrayed his brother Mordecai’s victims.

3) Likely they googled Aron’s name and found Luke’s posts.

4) No one trusts any community leader or Jewish publication at this point to do anything, because they have done nothing but protect Tendler at the expense of women and children. Luke is seen as an outsider, not beholden to any of these sacred cows. The fact victims of abuse find Luke a safer person than virtually all the Jewish community leadership and Jewish journalists should say something about the quality of our leadership and journalists. Although, I have had differences with Luke, but without a doubt he has demonstrated more integrity and basic decency than many of our top rabbonim who continue in their silence. Luke has shown 1,000 times more compassion to victims of abuse than virtually any rav or journalist has.

In both cases there were thorough investigations by the RCA and RCC to determine if the allegations were true. In both cases it was determined that the allegations WERE true. But in Aron’s case, he chose to make deals to keep it quiet rather than fight the way his brother Mordecai did.

The fact is if the allegations are false (they are not) then all of us who have been making them should be exposed. Otherwise, Aron Tendler, and all the community leaders who’ve enabled him through their actions AND through their silence MUST be exposed and REMOVED from any position of trust or authority.

We have dozens of names we can’t make public because we’re protecting victims from the destructive nature of the community leadership and institutions that PROTECT the accused AND DESTROY the victims. We have situations where the victims will not come forward because they are afraid. Look at the attacks on Rabbi Blau, Vicki and others. Hell man, the Jewish Voice put a price on my head through an ad placed BY A NAMED source in their articles attacking Vicki and Rabbi Blau. What are we supposed to do?

>But we can do better.

If we can, I have yet to see it. Gary Rosenblatt really treated Mordechai Gafni’s victims terribly. The Jewish Press and particularly the Jewish Voice and Opinion are putting out a clear message: we will publicly assasinate the character and names of victims and those who support them.

We have no Jewish publication that merits trust, no reporter with the resources or desire to clean up our community. There is nowhere in the community to go to or that has the resources to do anything. That’s why desperate people have turned to the internet and blogs. We have a voice here that no one can silence. A place where truths can be attacked BUT NOT silenced. This is our Tiananmen Square. We are few, standing against the tanks of Tendler, Gafni and Worch. We will not disappear, we will not be silenced and we will not fall. Our words are more powerful than your goons. Where there was one voice there are now dozens and soon there will be 1000s. Where I was one blog, there are now dozen of blogs.

We will expose child molesters and expoiters/abusers of women until the community has no choice but to act. Between the Awareness Center webpage and Yahoo group about 500 have been exposed. We have only begun. If it takes another 500 exposures to move the community to action, so be it.

In the tradition of Moshe Rabeinu, we will look to the right and look to the left BUT we will act and the abusers will fall. We will take the molesters most powerful tools away: their anonymity and our silence. The UnorthodoxJews blog claims it is going after a pedophile working in the Jewish education system. I know nothing about the allegations and I’ve asked the Awareness Center and my contacts who also know nothing. But where can I tell them to turn? Who will assess their allegations? Who will help? Can we do better? I’d like to see some evidence that is actually true. Until then, it should be clear that no abuser is safe anymore.

If Rav Feinstein’s grandson’s can be exposed for their abuses than NO ONE in the Jewish community is above exposure for their abuses anymore. NO ONE AT ALL.

A female former YULA student of Aron's posts:

Well, not sure why Steven is being so skeptical. I am one of his victims and I have spoken to many papers and luke and to the lawyers involved. Why do I need to tell the local bloggers my name in order for you to believe me? This has actually been going on for a lot longer than Luke has been covering the story. The major players are not even the ones who initially spoke to Luke. We have been discussing this amongst the community, rabbis and lawyers for over 10 years. But no one was willing to go up against him, so we suffered in “silence.”

I personally had phone sex with him many times while he was at SZ. I have been paged by him for many years to have sex and he has left me messages late at night, for the most part putting his life in my hands. All along talking against me to many people so that if I ever went public he could say I am nuts.

I come from great Yichus [ancestors], perhaps even greater than the Tendler name. I don’t claim to be a great Jew…that is not my goal in life, it’s to be a good person. And it took me a long time to realize what I was doing with him was wrong.

I saw firsthand a friends life almost be destroyed because she was haunted for years because of what he did to her when she was 16 and for many years later. I had another friend who is the girl who got him thrown out of the girls school go through hell as well. And I personally saw the poetry about pineapple juice dripping out of her mouth. Had we known we would be asked to provide it 20 years later perhaps someone would have held on to it…who knows, the girl in Chicago who he wrote it to might still have it although none of us are in contact with her.

So the bottom line is, he doesn’t belong on a bima, near women or children. And that’s why more victims are starting to come forward because keeping it in is destroying people’s lives. Rabbis decided enough was enough and finally put pressure on the board and that’s when the board started calling us. When the time comes, we are all willing to testify in a court of law and take any lie detector test required of us.

We are only anonymous to you and to the bloggers. Action has been taken against Aron because ACTUAL breathing people (with names) spoke to the board and The RCC. Not sure what it’s going to take to SINK that it in to people. But they didn’t oust him because of blogs and anonymous e-mails…he’s out because the victims actually SPOKE in person or over the phone to the board and The RCC. So stop calling us ANONYMOUS and that he is ruined over rumors and blogs, he is ruined because he is SICK and did these horrible things to SOOOOO many women.

Rabbi Bess was very invovled in investigating him because many victims went to Bess years ago.

We are not absurd…our stories are not absurd, they are factual experiences that actually happened over 20 years. There are phone records, hospital records of one of the victims trying to take her own life, there are husbands telling him to leave their wives alone, there are phone messages, there are rabbis, very reputable rabbis, who have been listening to victims stories for many years.

The RCC is the one who gave our names to the board so this has been going on for a while and that’s why the [SZ] board finally did something about this.

The board as recently as last week told ME they believe every word we told them but they have to think of the 350 families in the shul. Which makes NO sense being that they know what a low life he is, but they will have to answer to a higher being one day I guess.

Journalism Vs Blogging

Rogers Cadenhead writes:

A blogger can feel good about his own standards of ethics and accuracy, but there's no cost for failing to meet them. Nobody gets drummed out of the blogosphere for getting something wrong, screwing over a source or writing things that bring shame upon your family. Making matters worse, your biggest mistakes may be rewarded by as much traffic as your best successes. A working journalist has to worry about ethics and accuracy because your ass is on the line, along with that of your editors and the publication.

I can't think of a single blogger sued for libel or fired from a site over something he reported, and I've never read about one who did something fubar and thought to myself, "that poor sap will never blog again."

I reply to Rogers:

You are just wrong. There are huge implications for screwing up on a blog if you have a huge blog just as there are huge implications for screwing up on a story for 60 Minutes if you are a huge journalist such as Dan Rather.

I've been sued four times for libel for what I've published on my blogs. I've fought all four cases. Settled one. Won two. Fourth is pending. Bloggers get condemned by their peers and by the mainstream media (if the blogger is big enough) when they screw up, just as much as journalists. It depends on how much traffic the blogger gets and how much influence the blogger wields. People don't bother getting angry at somebody who doesn't challenge them. There are only a few significant blogs, maybe one or two per industry.

Rogers replies:

If the suits are the ones listed by the Media Law Research Center, what huge implications did you face?

Though it has to suck to fight those suits, my impression of your career trajectory is that they ultimately helped you by further making your name, just as the best friend Matt Drudge ever had is Sidney Blumenthal.

I reply:

Again you show you know nothing about what you write.

I made my name and had my 5,000-10,000 readers a day years before I was ever sued (I started blogging in July of 1997, published my first book (Prometheus Books) in June 1999, and got served with my first lawsuit in December 1999, well after I had broken my big stories (ones that would be followed up weeks, months and years later by such mainstream publications as The LA Times), been profiled in various publications, interviewed for numerous TV shows, and whatever way you want to calibrate a writer's career).

The lawsuits did almost nothing positive for me. If you've ever been sued for libel, you realize that it is like being put through a ringer, even when you have your facts in a row. The lawsuits cost me over $20,000 (my average income over the past eight years has been about $30,000 per annum, I live on the survival level) in legal fees, numerous sleepless nights, fears of public humiliation, and hundreds of hours of time I could've better spent elsewhere.

The lawsuits did nothing to make my name. There was little coverage of them. Lawsuits do little to make anyone's name in such instances. It's the quality of your work that will make your name. You are not going to make a name as a writer, blogger, painter, or anything unless you touch lives. Lawsuits don't help you touch lives. They distract you from producing work that could touch lives.

Sidney Blumenthal did nothing for Matt Drudge's career. All it was was an enormous hassle for Matt and was a black-eye for his reputation. Matt earns his million dollars a year from blogging through his own efforts. Sidney contributes nothing to Matt's income or his standing.

Comparing blogging to journalism is like comparing Mac computers to journalism. Blogging is just another form of technology that allows one to publish. Blogging is no more inherently journalistic (nor should it be judged as journalism) than using a Mac. Macs can be used for journalism but that is not their primary purpose.

A more useful question than wondering if blogging is journalism is asking if a particular piece of writing (be it published on a blog or in a newspaper or magazine) is journalism -- is it fair and accurate and does it disclose conflicts of interest?

Rogers, you do have an important point to make in this matter (journalism vs. blogging) but you're not making it as accurately as you can.

In Amnon's Fall, We Sinned All

A source who was at the University of Judaism at the time of Dr. Finkelstein's fall writes me 2/14/06:

In the Spring of 2003, Amnon developed some form of relations with a student named D. [full name was given but for the sake of her privacy, I will withhold it]. I believe D. had taken a course with him. I also believe that her grade was very low, but still she started to pursue him somewhere in March 2005. I noticed how she used to arrive almost daily asking about him.

D. was known as a huge trouble maker on campus. Towards the end of her first year at the UJ, she was expelled from the dorms. The administration - chiefly Mark Bookman and Zofia Yalovsky - strongly suspected the D. had used drugs and even sold some to her fellow students. The matter was solved between Bookman and D.'s father and the University covered up this matter as well as it has been covering up the widespread use of drugs and alcohol on campus.

If this was not enough, another incident took place in May 2003. D. was driving her friends to San Francisco to represent the UJ in the Model UN competition there. After about an hour of driving, her friends forced her to move to the back sit. Apparently, D. was driving under the influence of Vicodin. While in San Francisco, she gave her fellow students pot and behaved in a wild and irresponsible manner.

When the group returned to Los Angeles, parts of the story leaked to the administration, but as usual, nothing was done to address her dangerous behavior.

The story gets even more interesting. D. had a female lover on campus. Her name is L. L. was a student at the UJ with a very interesting history of her own. After the end of the first year, she was expelled from the dorms but for different reason. L. had tried to commit suicide and the University did not want her living on campus for fear of liability. As a result, L. lived off campus and dated D.

D. had invited Amnon to her place to celebrate L.'s birthday.

While in the hospital, two homicide detectives showed up to investigate Amnon. Behind their investigation was a suspicion that since both L. and Amnon fell of D.'s window and D. stayed behind, there could have been a foul play. The police suspected that D. drugged the two but they could not prove it.

While Amnon was tested for drugs and alcohol upon arriving to ICU (no evidence of drug use was found to the best of my knowlege), the hospital (Cedar Sinai) failed to test him for "date rape drug." Later, Amnon had told [a friend] that ten minutes after his arrival to D.'s place, he felt as if he was unable to move and that shortly thereafter, he lost conscious. The homicide detectives could not obtain any information from Amnon because he was so heavily sedated.

I understood from the University's administration, that Amnon had fell (pushed) first and that L. fell on his stomach. The irony was the Amnon probably saved L.'s life and helped D. by doing so.

D.'s parents are very affluent. You can imagine that they managed to solve their daughter's predicament quickly and efficiently. I know for a fact that D. was allowed to graduate from the UJ.

I often wonder what if Amnon had been the person left behind unharmed and the two students had fell and injured themselves. Something tells me he would have ended up in jail. Yet, nothing happened to D. despite the bizarre circumstances.

Amnon was always very polite and friendly. At times, I found him a bit too sarcastic to my taste and at others he seemed to be very angry with the administration of the University. However, he always seemed concerned about the welfare of his employees, myself included. Amnon recruited the biggest class in the history of the UJ. He also demanded that many improvements be taken place on campus and in the way the University treated its students.

Was he a thorn in the side of [provost Dr. Mark Bookman]? I have no doubt. Amnon does not hide his feelings and would have no problems sharing his thoughts. He is no diplomat. Yet, I am not so sure he deserves all the bad wrap that you and others have given him since the whole affair took place.

In Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, Israel's Independence Day, Amnon was the ceremony's MC. In fact, his picture as a soldier was on exhibition. Everybody thought his delivery was moving. In the lunch that ensued, I noticed that many approached him with compliments.

I had several conversations with Amnon about political matters. Amnon was a liberal. He strongly believed that the Palestinians must get their state but always insisted that it was to protect the Jewish character of Israel.

I left the UJ because I felt trapped and suffocated by the behavior of Mark Bookman and Zofia Yalovsky. The place is not conducive to academic learning; if you count the number of full-time professors, you will be shocked. The University...claims to have a large number of professors. However, only a very few are full time. Mark Bookman managed to divide and conquer. He is now the Provost without any academic ability or writing to his credit. He managed to push Lois Oppenheim back to her academic position and took over the entire university. Lois was known as a virulent anti-Israeli, but the administration ignored students' complaints. While in class, in front of many students, Lois blamed Israel for 9/11/ and closed the matter to debate.

Amalek: 'Every Time You Have Coitus With A Shiksa, A Jewish Woman Somewhere Sheds Tears'

Chaim writes: "What about the Jewish women of LA? What about the woman born in the year of your birth, who dreams of marrying a Jewish man, getting to know him over time, and maybe someday having his children, when the time is right for her? Where do you leave her?"

Entertainment Lawyer Indicted in Pellicano Probe

A federal grand jury today (2/15/06) indicted prominent Los Angeles entertainment attorney Terry Christensen on wire-tapping and conspiracy charges in connection with the ongoing investigation of former private investigator Anthony Pellicano.

The two-count indictment alleged that Christensen paid Pellicano at least $100,000 to wiretap the wife of billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian during a bitter child support dispute in 2002. Authorities charge that Pellicano listened to the phone calls of Lisa Bonder Kerkorian and shared the information with Christensen.

High-Profile Entertainment Lawyers To Be Indicted For Paying Anthony Pellicano To Wiretap People

The obvious suspects for such indictments would be Marty Singer and Bert Fields and company. I believe we'll find out soon.

Many people Singer and Fields have represented have benefitted from Pellicano's work. It would be hard for these lawyers to avoid exposure.

If Pellicano does not cut a deal, he'll probably spend the rest of his life behind bars. That would be a great loss to society.

It's not that the people in Hollywood he wiretapped have a lot to complain about, because most of them are the type who'd pay people like Pellicano to wiretap their competitors. Anthony was a crocodile in a pigpen.

If the prosecutors can't get Pellicano's cooperation, they can rely on the other indicted co-conspirators such as Mark Arneson (former LAPD officer), Ray Turner (who worked for SBC)...

Pellicano has no assets. He's lived beyond his means his entire career. He gave up his money to his ex-wives.

Since he went to prison, Pellicano's been romancing Keith Carradine's 58-year old ex-wife Sandra Carradine. Part of it was probably an effort to keep her from testifying against him.

Sandra Carradine, a girlfriend of Pellicano and herself an actress, admitted that Pellicano had secretly wiretapped the telephone of her former husband. Her ex, Keith Carradine, now dates another actress, Hayley DuMond. The illegal wiretaps occurred during a fierce divorce battle over child custody. Sandra told investigators and prosecutors that she will cooperate with their investigation of Pellicano. Her lawyer claims that the reason she first lied when asked about the wiretapping was to protect her boyfriend.

I wonder who is paying Pellicano's legal bills? It would make sense that some of the rich entertainment lawyers who've used Pellicano's services would have an incentive to fund his defense to keep him on the reservation and to know how much exposure they face.

Pellicano used attorney Donald Re at the beginning but then Re stepped away because Pellicano could not pay him.

Pellicano is reported to have tape-recorded all of his conversations.

Court to allow actor Hanan Goldblatt to take part in film

The Tel Aviv District Court will allow actor Hanan Goldblatt, charged with rape and currently under house arrest, to participate in the production of a new film.

Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Mordechai Arnon will make the film, which will be in production for half a year.

Goldblatt, 64, a resident of Beit Nehamia, has been charged with rape, attempted rape, sodomy, indecent acts with minors, fraud and attempted fraud against at least five women who took acting lessons from him.

Sandra Cisneros' House on Mango Street

Shouldn't there be a quota on the number of Mexicans allowed to write coming-of-age stories?

The Need For A Transcendent Moral Code

I have a friend throwing a big party on Friday night but because of the Sabbath I can not go.

She replies: "I'm so sorry! I have so many people that want to meet you."

If any of the people who want to meet me are hot young chix, tell them to email me individually and I will take time from my busy schedule to meet with them and discuss the moral imperative found in the book of Leviticus (wording stolen from Rabbi Mike A-bo).

I want to start writing to you like I'm a black pimp but first I need to know if you'd be down with that?

Keep it real.

I'm down, as long as you don't get all up in my grill, Luke-Dogg.

Peace out, mo-fo.

'I Must Warn You That The Women In This Town Have Loose Morals'

Tuesday, 7:15 am. I drive to my first Breakfast Club (an offshoot of David Horowitz's Wednesday Morning Club) at the Lux (14671 Sunset Blvd).

I fear the traffic will be bad and the free parking impossible to find. Instead I arrive within 15-minutes and have no problem finding a landing pad a quarter-mile from the hotel. It's not easy to walk there however. I run across four lanes of busy Sunset Blvd traffic, then across the grass and up the boulevard (there aren't sidewalks) until I arrive at 7:35. For the next 15-minutes, I read The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You by Dr. Robert L. Leahy.

CSPC (Horowitz's Center for Study of Popular Culture) employees Michael Finch and Elizabeth walk up. I get a name tag. I get a hot cup of lemon herbal tea. I get a muffin. I get grapes. I get watermelon. I get chamomile tea.

I meet our speaker -- Brian C. Anderson, the author of South Park Conservatives: The Revolt against Liberal Media Bias.

The babes flow in. Yes, they're all over 50 but that doesn't bother me. That's how I like 'em. They have so much more wisdom about life. What's an extra 40 pounds?

I can think of no more romantic way to spend Valentine's Day than at the Breakfast club.

Brian has never been to the West Coast. Aside from his radio interviews, he's going to have a few free hours today before flying home to New York Wednesday morning. He solicits sight-seeing advice. Sunset Blvd is mentioned.

My concerns are lofty. "I must warn you that the women in this town have loose morals," I intone.

I receive these simultaneous responses:

"I'm not worried about that," he says. "I'm happily married."

"I take offense to that," says a mother of two college kids. She walks off.

Brian (who has a PhD in political philosophy from a Canadian university) is low-key and easy to talk to. I can't wind him up like a crank. He says his two most hostile interviews were by Al Franken and Michael Signorile. He got a couple of negative reviews on his book in the conservative press (New York Sun) but two positive ones in The Wall Street Journal.

He has not seen Brokeback Mountain but he did see Curious George with his kids.

By 8:35 am, the crowd of about 30 is seated.

Brian reads his speech (most of it was published in the Winter 2006 issue of City Journal). His voice often trails off at the end of a sentence and becomes inaudible. That and the wild screaming from the fevered crowd (OK, I made up that screaming stuff).

He says:

Dan Rather's retirement a year early signalled the decline of Old Media...

On New York's WLIB, Air America's ratings were below the all-Caribbean music that replaced it.

Air America doesn't even show up in the Arbitrons [radio ratings] for Washington D.C.

Liberals tend to be deadly earnest on the radio. They are taken over by Political Correctness.

FOX News was the first alternatives news organization to the mainstream elite. FOX broke the UN's oil-bribery scandal.

FOX predicted in its last poll before the election that Kerry would beat Bush by several percentage points.

On Brit Hume's FOX show, liberal and conservative thinktanks are quoted equally. On CBS, liberal thinktanks are cited 4-1 over conservatives.

Al Franken's a weird guy. Narcissistic. He mainly wanted to talk about himself and how I had not portrayed him fairly. I didn't lose my temper.

He has some weird psycho-drama going on. He's a terrible radio host. He has these long silences.

Instead of fighting back with ideas, liberals are illiberally trying to strangle new media.

The Left has lost its media monopoly and has trouble competing in the marketplace of ideas.

The Left likes campaign finance reform because it leaves exempt its two bastions -- the news media and academia.

All you need to do is tell people where the money comes from and let them make up their own minds.

Talk radio gets underestimated by conservative intellectuals. One-quarter of Americans listen to talk radio.

Both the Daily Show and South Park puncture the pieties of the Left. South Park is more popular than the Daily Show.

I can't stand Bill Mahr. I prefer Jon Stewart.

Dennis Miller would've flourished on latenight TV. He had that kind of personality.

CNN is reflexively liberal. I've been inside CNN. Everybody there is a liberal.

Canadian bloggers were not allowed to write about the election for 24 (or 48) hours before the election.

I ask him if he's debated David Brock. He says no. He doesn't think much of Brock and his organization Media Matters.

After the event, I meet a friend in the Men's room. He's amazed that a scuzzy guy like me gets into these things. He wonders if I have ins to even more amazing events.

"If you'd give me a call or an email," I reply, "I can let you in on the gorgeous pageant that is my life."

I bought a Valentine's gift (1,000 business cards) for the one special woman in my life -- Cathy Seipp, who blogs:

Last week National Review's Kathryn Lopez asked me to contribute to their "Men We Love/Women We Love" Valentine's Day roundup, and because I was feeling especially fond of Luke Ford that day for capturing Michael Fumento's fulminations on Dennis Prager, naturally I wrote about him. But I knew the...thing would be dicey for NRO, and alas poor Luke got cut. (Although K-Lo tells me she also cut a Catholic bishop, so there you go.)

Kate Coe writes: "Luke is a rare talent that is, thankfully, rare. I don't think I could bear to know another one, and yet, I feel superior to people who don't know him."

Webster writes: "Happy Valentine's Day, Cathy. You have the most eccentric taste for men's company. Certainly a couple of Lewlous whose great worth demands a discerning eye."

Messianic Minstrel - Irving Layton 1912 – 2006

Sheldon Teitelbaum writes in the Jerusalem Report:

Irving Layton liked to claim that he was born without a foreskin, which by Jewish tradition made the rambunctious and randy Canadian poet a candidate for the position of messiah. Layton, who died in Montreal on January 4, at the age of 93, titled his own 1985 memoir "Waiting for the Messiah," and once vowed that he would return from the abyss to pole-vault over his own open grave.

There was no rabbi at his funeral, and no pole-vaulting, but there were poets galore, including Layton's lifelong friend and protégé Leonard Cohen, who declared, "There was Layton, and then there was the rest of us."

Outside of Canada, unfortunately, the rest of us would have found ourselves somewhat hard put to place Layton, even before age and illness had consigned him to relative obscurity. Though the recipient of his country's top honors, Layton never achieved anywhere near the renown and recognition afforded Cohen.

'That Darn Jew'

Sheli Teitelbaum writes in the Feb 20, 2006 issue of the The Jerusalem Report:

"A Jew walks into Al-Jazeera..."

From such prosaic beginnings can come reasonably memorable jokes. But as crafted by Albert Brooks, a man revered by comedy connoisseurs as one of the funniest and quirkiest performing talents in America, from such a joke can come a full-length feature movie, "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World."

In this quasi-mockumentary, Brooks both directs and plays a variant of himself, an unemployed actor and one-time stand-up comic named Albert Brooks, who is sent on a mission by the U.S. State Department to find out just what gives Muslims the chuckles. The idea is to find out what, if anything, they have in common with Americans beyond an interest in oil and warfare.

Michelle Ferre (Star Of Who Am I?) Interview

Q: How did that Jackie Chan movie affect your life?

A: The Jackie Chan movie affected my life in many ways. It opened a new door leading to a profession as an actress. My lifestyle also changed from day to day routine to something more "unexpected". It's like having either a long break or a long working period. But most of all, I enjoy the new encounters I make through this profession.

Q: What type of men are you attracted to?

A: I'm attracted to men with cute and adorable smiles. I'm not picky about looks. It's important that I can feel relaxed and at ease when sharing time and space with someone.

Q: Who are your heroes?

A: My one and only hero would be my Brother. I'd define "hero" as someone you would respect, admire, and trust. There are people whom I respect and admire, but trust is a hard aspect because it is something you gain not for granted.

Q: Favorite novels/songs/poems?

A: My favorite novels are:

"The Neverending Story"---Michael Ende
"Flowers for Algernon"---Daniel Keyes
"Peter Pan"---J. M. Barrie

The songs I like are:

"Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro)" ---Andrea Bocelli
"La Vie En Rose" ---Louis Armstrong
"The Logical Song"---Supertramp

The poem I like is:

"The Road Not Taken"---Robert Frost

My favorite phrase/ proverbs/ etc.:

"If you kept the small rules, you could break the big ones" ---1984, George Orwell

"Nothing ever built arose to touch the skies unless some man dreamed that it should, some man believed that it could, and some man willed that it must." ---Charles F. Kettering

I'm working on writing scripts. Elaborating ideas within imaginative scopes are fun, but putting them down in words...writing is simply a challenging job!

Aron Tendler Marital Counselor

After he leaves his shul Shaarey Zedek in a few months, many of his congregants presume he'll conduct marital counseling. A man's got to make a living.

A female former YULA student writes:

I was one of his victims. Whenever I would talk to him or need advice, he always managed to get the conversation on to us. He would page me to have sex with him and have many sexual conversations with me late at night after [Aron's wife] Esther went to bed. He also told me of other women he had been invovled with...kind of like bragging in a way. I always thought it was strange that he admitted it to me. I have told my experience with Aron to many people for many many many years...

While Aron was doing all those mitzvos, he was cheating on his wife for 20+ years, fooling around with women who came to him for counseling, touching young girls, flirting with many wives of his congregants and the list goes on. But, I guess it's ok because he was doing Mitzvos and helping your great FULL OF CRAP community grow. Someone said to me the other day, "It seems like everyone in LA knows what Aron did except for the fools at SZ." And that's why he has lasted through all of it because people like you, Joni, Robert, Esther and Irving enabled him. YOU are just as guilty as he is.

We weren't looking to be touched. He was. He manipulated women who came from broken homes and took advantage of them. We were virgins, we were afraid to be touched. I can assure you a 16 year old boarding in his home did not go there to be touched.

I believe that he destroyed people's careers. I remember a while back a Rabbi's wife went to him to ask about me to set me up with someone but he spoke against me to her, yet was still trying to get me in bed. The 16 year old was talked against (by Aron) when she got divorced yet he continued to contact her. He never wanted us to be with other men.

A friend calls me: "Are you working on a new book?"

Luke: "Yeah, on Orthodox rabbis who are sexual predators."

Friend: "No. Really? Who's going to publish it? Can't you find a better topic? That's going to help your popularity in the Los Angeles Orthodox community.

"When this stuff was happening 20 years ago with Rav Aron at YULA, people's antennae weren't up on on this.

"I wouldn't limit it to Orthodox. People don't think it is as big a problem in Judaism as Catholicism because rabbis are allowed to marry."

Luke: "I want to focus on the Orthodox because that is the community I know best, the community of most interest to me, and the most interesting community to study because it goes its own way and follows its own laws. The Reform and Conservative are more secular and like the goyim. Dullsville."

Friend: "Orthodoxy has separate sex schooling where there can be many more problems."

Luke: "What intrigues me is how does each Orthodox community react to charges of sexual misconduct by its leading rabbis."

Friend: "People have a lot invested in their rabbi. He's like a family member.

"It's not like you can open up the Shulchan Aruch (the governing code of Jewish law, it is accepted as binding by Orthodox Jews) for advice on dealing with rabbis who have sexual pecadillos.

"Orthodoxy will have great hesitancy turning over its members to the secular authorities.

"It's like your brother is accused of something. We'll handle it ourselves. We don't want anybody to know about this because it'll stain Orthodoxy.

"There's a disbelief because sexual misconduct is so much against the Orthodox way of life. Our rabbi is a family man. He would never act this way. Not possible. Even if there are many accusers, they will still think it is not possible.

"In my synagogue, the divorce rate is less than 5%. That's not because 95% of marriages are happy, just that there is tremendous communal opposition to divorce."

A friend writes:

These are some additional issues.

1. Orthodoxy has a superiority complex. Among the Frum From Birth crowd, there is a belief that we are more righteous. Now, it is largely true. I mean, as a fact, there is less spousal abuse, less drug abuse, less homosexuality (still viewed as a sin - I have gay friends, but in my mind they are engaged in something wrong and if I was holier than thou, i would look down on them, i am not, so it does not matter to me), less heavily dysfunctional families, etc. As a social experiment, orthodoxy is a success. So when there is a charge of sexual abuse, the first reaction is disbelief because it cannot possibly occur. You must deal with this with tact. There is a grounds for this thought process, but grounds do not mean that you are correct.

2. Jewish Communities are more cohesive than nearly any sociological construct in modern America. When you have a child, there are people who bring food to your house. People visit you in the hospital at all hours. People eat at each other's houses on a weekly basis. The first instinct is unquestioned support for your fellow community member. It is simply not possible, on the basis of anonymous accusations, for persons who have the instinct to support their own to throw someone under the bus who may justifiably deserve a good throw. You have to deal with this instinct and how accusers cannot be anonymous and hope to affect the community.

3. The Rabbinate is so not attuned to this that there is really no mechanism for it. Sure, some rabbis got involved with Vicki Polin, but she is the wrong type of person for this. The Beis Din approach is probably not workable, it is simply too much pressure for an accuser and the rabbis themselved may not be objective. There needs to be an investigatorial arm of the RCC/RCA/OU to deal with this, not some "Awareness Center" driven by agendas.

4. Rabbis should probably not stray from the traditional rabbinic role. No portion of the code of Jewish law deals with marital counseling. Counseling in general is a nasty affair and people become way too beholden to their shrinks. Add in that the person is your rabbi and the possibility for hanky panky is too much. I still have issues with rabbis teaching girls. Given what girls learn in Jewish day schools (no real talmud, etc.) it does not seem useful for rabbis to be teaching them.

In an odd way, it is almost easier to get away with it in the orthodox community. The only consolation is that I bet it is much much less frequent because of the general quality of the Rabbinate. I mean, when I went to yeshiva, it was clear that if you were going to be a Rabbi you were going to live a rather arduous life in terms of not having alot of money, having to be an example, being a near perfect person, and in general being closed off from many of the joys of physical pleasure. Very few rabbis that I know of any caliber went to regular universities and partied. Your college years were spent at a yeshiva learning and going on shidduch dates, not doing beer bongs and trolling for chicks.

The fact that I would look at a Penthouse magazine while in yeshiva convinced me that i did not have the rabbinate in me. The people from my yeshiva who became rabbis were devoted to the pursuit, almost as if called. They had much different personalities. I mean, Rabbi Blau's son went to my yeshiva, but I had as much in common with him as the Palestinian kids. He was on a different program. Yeshivas do a very good job of screening people like me out. When the yeshiva fails, it is almost too late to prevent bad things from happening.

Jewish Whistleblower writes me:

I think your friend misunderstands the point of the Awareness Center. It is not and has not been the investigatorial arm of ANY rabbinical organization nor should it be. There are several things you need in any sort of situation involving a case of sexual abuse/exploitation:

1) A forensic investigator with the skills to investigate and make determinations. Where criminal activity is involved that is the police and the DA. When it is a civil matter, you hire someone like Praesidium, although there are far better organizations that do such investigations. No rabbinical organization should develop an investigatorial arm, it would be a disaster. You need an independant, experienced and professional trained investigatorial arm. A beis din is simply the wrong place to deal with such allegations.

2) Someone to protect the rights of the accused, usually a lawyer. That role is rarely a problem to fill.

3) Someone to advocate for and protect the rights of the victim. Unfortunately, victims are often preyed upon because they do not have the resources to obtain proper legal counsel and civil litigation is frowned upon in religious circles. Considering how poorly the victims of Mordecai Tendler were treated by all parties, we can see how important a victim advocacy organization is needed. They should have been provided legal representation and counselling services at the least.

Victims need referrals for counselling and legal assistance at the very least. These resources should be paid for and provided by the community as it is in the interest of our community to faciliate and assist victims in coming forward with their stories and to remove abusers from positions of trust. Currently, there is no effective advocacy for victims other than the Awareness Center and virtually no resources that are available to them.

The main role of the Awareness Center is to promote awareness of the problem and document the problem. In that respect they are no different than other similar organizations that do the same in their respective religious communities. See in particular the priest database at http://www.bishop-accountability.org and the similar information posted there.

From a post to the New Hempstead blog:

Concerning this sad circumstance, much has been written about Lashon Hara (L'H) [evil speech, pointless but hurtful gossip]. This would, indeed, be L'H if the allegations were false and baseless, and was a fiction created by a few to fulfill whatever sick agenda. But if the allegations are true, then one has to characterize the exposure of a sexual predator, Rabbi or not, as Lashon Tov [good speech].

There is an obligation to the community to expose such an individual in the same way it would be important to expose a pedophile or an individual who is known to rip off people financially. L'H is Lashon Tov when there is an impact on the community, and when the safety and integrity of the community are placed at risk. The injunction against speaking L'H is not an absolute. Therefore, if the allegations are true, the issue must be brought to light in the community, and people must be warned.

On the subject of Rabbi Tendler having advanced the cause of Torah and mitzvos. While this may be the case, and one would expect no less of a scion of a prominent family with the Yichus he carries, if the allegations about him are true, then like a Shakepearean Character, Tendler has a tragic flaw that has undone his life's work. He no longer has the gravitas and credibility to be the Rov of a Kehillah, and certainly not a Torah role model. It is too much of a contradiction for him to speak the word of God at the same time he is violating some of His major teachings.

Rebel in Chief

Rob Barnett writes from Minneapolis:

Last week, I heard part of Dennis Prager's show, when his guest was Fred Barnes, executive editor of the magazine, The Weekly Standard. The topic evidently was Barnes' new book, "Rebel in Chief", a tribute to our president, George W. Bush.

I did get to hear a caller bring up the Patrick Buchanan wing of conservatism and how it did not like Barnes' book. One got to then listen to soulmates Prager and Barnes alternately deride and ridicule Buchananite conservatism, that it is amoral, insufficiently interested in engaging the world, hates immigrants, and has delusional fantasies about significantly reducing the scope of the federal government.

As an active member of the Constitution Party, which is very Buchanan-like in its views; a Jewish fan of Buchanan who doesn't think he has an SS uniform tucked away in his closet; and as one with a keen interest in true, pure conservatism, as opposed to the insipid neo-conservatism held to by Prager and Barnes, I would say that their critique of what has been known as 'paleo-conservatism' was quite off the mark.

The first complaint was that traditional conservatives such as Buchanan and myself do not want to be engaged in the world, care only about America, espouse an amoral isolationism and refuse to recognize what Dennis proclaims is America's divinely appointed role to transform the world.

Baloney. There is a difference between 'isolationism', which we reject, and 'non-intervention', which we generally support. As the saying goes, we are the friend of liberty everywhere but the protector only of our own. We don't go searching abroad for monsters to destroy, and believe military force should only be used when necessary to protect American security and vital interests. It doesn't mean we are not supportive of constitutional republican ideals spreading abroad. But, alas, it does mean that we should not be an empire with over 700 military bases in over 130 countries, should not use military force with reckless abandon, nor should we mortgage out our foreign policy to Zionist interests that are intent on seeing just how many Arabs they can uproot and dispossess and how much Arab land they can confiscate. There is nothing amoral about such a stance, and I personally believe it dovetails quite nicely with Christian Just War Tradition.

On the issue of immigration, we constitutional conservatives have zero tolerance for illegal immigration and believe all such people should be apprehended and deported. No apologies for that stance and nothing wrong with such a stance. As for legal immigration, no, we do no hate foreigners and immigrants, but we do favor legal immigration being lowered to manageable levels that are conducive to being absorbed properly by American society. Such people should also be responsible for learning English and becoming full-fledged participating members in and supporters of American culture. If that's bigotry, sign me up for the next Ku Klux Klan rally. Prager and Barnes, along with their cheering squad at The Wall Street Journal editorial page, evidently have no qualms about our country being overrun by immigration, illegal as well as legal, a surefire path to the downfall of American civilization.

Lastly, Barnes claim was that government cannot be meaningfully reduced in size, that all that is left to conservatives is to try to manage the federal behemoth in wiser, more prudent ways than liberals.

Baloney again. Our federal government is a massive monstrosity, far greater than it should be, and far greater than a strict reading of the U.S. Constitution allows. Every effort should be made to pare it down to size, no matter how difficult such efforts might be or however little fruit such efforts might bear. As a matter of principle, no true conservative can ever abandon such an effort on behalf of manageable, constitutional government. Murders have always occurred and presumably always will occur, but that does not mean we don't have laws against it and don't try to make every effort to limit and stop homicidal activity.

While Dennis probably has almost as much dislike for what I'll call true conservatism as he does for "The Left", he should take a hard, honest look as some of the moral shortcomings of his own positions before he hurls accusations of amorality at constitutional conservatives. Dennis, of course, favors the continued legalization of abortion, and, if I'm not mistaken, believes that the deliberate creation of human embryos, a form of human life, for the deliberate purpose of destroying them in the service of biomedical research is actually an issue that good people can disagree on.

This fundamental lack of awareness of the most basic norms of the sanctity of human life by one who has proclaimed himself, in essence, to be "Mr. Ethics" would be laughable if it wasn't so appalling. This, coupled, with his defective apologetics in support of Israel and it's ethnic cleansing of over half a million people in the 1948 period, along with his religious apologetics that lack the most basic intellectual integrity as witnessed by his active advocacy for the religion of Christianity, whose central beliefs he rejects as utterly untrue, exhibit a serious dearth of moral and intellectual responsibility. And he shows absolutely no interest in the U.S. Constitution per se and seeking a federal government that abides by its dictates.

Whatever true, positive, valuable elements can be lauded in Dennis' worldview, his shortcomings are serious enough that they call out for a serious review and rectification by him, certainly long before he starts castigating those of us pursuing authentic conservatism.

Prager: 'The More You Have That Brings You Happiness, The Better For You'

Dennis: "Don't put all your happiness eggs in one basket. If you rely on your kids for your happiness, what a burden you put on them. It's not enough to rely on God or your spouse or your work for your happiness. You need friends. Hobbies. Passions. Joy. Music is God's drug for dealing with life."

The Curse Of The Moderates

Charles Krauthammer writes:

A true Muslim moderate is one who protests desecrations of all faiths. Those who don't are not moderates but hypocrites, opportunists and agents for the rioters, merely using different means to advance the same goal: to impose upon the West, with its traditions of freedom of speech, a set of taboos that is exclusive to the Islamic faith. These are not defenders of religion but Muslim supremacists trying to force their dictates upon the liberal West.

And these "moderates" are aided and abetted by Western "moderates" who publish pictures of the Virgin Mary covered with elephant dung and celebrate the "Piss Christ" (a crucifix sitting in a jar of urine) as art deserving public subsidy, but who are seized with a sudden religious sensitivity when the subject is Muhammad.

25 Signs You've Grown Up

I found this on the web:

1. Your houseplants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.

2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.

3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.

4. 6:00 a.m. is when you get up, not when you go to bed.

5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator.

6. You watch the Weather Channel.

7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of" hook up" and "break up."

8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.

9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."

10. You're the one calling the police because those %&@# kids next door won't turn down the stereo.

11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.

12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.

13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.

14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead ofMcDonald's leftovers.

15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.

16. You take naps.

17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.

18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather than settle, your stomach.

19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests.

20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good s---."

21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.

22. "I just can't drink the way I usedto" replaces "I'm never going to drink that much again."

23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.

24. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them instead of asking "Oh, what the hell happened?"

25. You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that doesn't apply to you and can't find one to save your sorry old ass. Then you forward it to a bunch of old friends 'cause you know they'll enjoy it & do the same.

Marketwatch's Media Columnist Jon Friedman

Jeff writes:

Noticed your recent interchange with Jon Friedman; I couldn’t agree with you more. He’s a real embarrassment, and more. Below is an email I just sent to the Marketwatch editor, with a copy to Friedman. I’m sure it’s a waste of time, but I enjoyed sending it anyway.

“I want to complement Marketwatch on the hilarious “media column” by Jon Friedman. It’s so rare to find a serious business publication that is willing to risk its reputation by crossing over into literary satire. The irony and sidesplitting humor of a “media critic” who continually exposes sycophancy, incompetence and bias – except in this case only his own! - is truly a classic. I’m sure I join many, many readers when I say we’re laughing with you, not at you. Honest.”

Hanging Out With Kid Author Marty Beckerman

I've had a big week. I've been out every night. I haven't had enough sleep. I've given and given of myself to make a better world. I did a VH1 interview after four hours of sleep (on my last VH1 interview, Centerfold Babylon, I was at worst, speaking in a dreary monotone, appearing catatonic). I did not return all my calls and emails. I had constant competing demands on my attention. I have to finish a book (a compilation of my best interviews) by Monday to shop.

Still, Marty Beckerman (stands 5'6", has been in a relationship with a shiksa for two-and-a-half years) was in town until Saturday. Thursday night would be my best time to see him. I fought through traffic to Hollywood and Vine Blvds and swerved to the curb. He struggled with my door and after 30 seconds opened it. I zoomed off to the LA Press Club Valentine's Party.

Cathy Seipp and another female friend were supposed to come. They flaked.

I was afraid that with my lack of sleep I'd find brash profane teen sex expert Beckerman too much but he turned out to be a nice Jewish boy. "I often make a bad first impression," he told cartoonist Donna Barstow, "but I make a good second impression."

Marty and I spent much of the night discussing Judaism. The rest of the time we talked about writing and sex.

I wanted to meet Newsthinking author Bob Baker. He sang for a rock band for an hour. By 10pm, even though his music was good (there were about five people in the auditorium, I will never get used to people over 50 playing rock, it's like watching your dad rock out, noted Marty), by 10:10pm, I despaired of the opportunity to meet Baker and discuss Frank del Olmo's journalistic legacy, so I left.

Transcript Of David Brock Vs Cathy Seipp On Media Bias

The format of the USC debate is that the opening speaker (the first night it is Cathy, the next night it is David) gives a ten-minute speech. The other person gives a ten-minute rejoinder. Then they each get five minutes. The moderator asks them about their political journey and then the audience asks questions.

Feb 7: Cathy opens with a description of the liberal media establishment. She says 80-90% of its journalists and editors vote Democratic. "They were used to not having their omniscient voice-of-God point of view questioned. Especially since September 11, we've seen a constant barrage of letters to the editor [through their blogs] by people who are citizen journalists and temperamentally a little bit on the right [questioning and challenging the liberal media establishment]. We can fact-check you. Rathergate. That would never have been corrected in the old days. It was easy to show that those Bush National Guard memos were faked.

"'We will not accept your perceived wisdom.'

"What is the Left's response to this censoring of the cartoons [American news organizations, with two exceptions, won't publish or link to the offending Danish cartoons] and to the rioting Muslims? They say we should understand the Muslim's rage and it is wrong to insult another's religion.

"People on the left [who in America push for affirmative action for women and gay marriage] are making common cause with political Islam, which regards women as chattel and think homosexuals should be crushed in walls.

"The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times are liberally-biased and will not admit it... It's more honest to be transparent about it."

Brock: "Bias is difficult to prove. It involves mind-reading and second-guessing about motivation with little, if any evidence, attached to it. Bias isn't what's wrong with the media.

"What I want to talk about is truth, not opinion. I want to talk about the explicitly right-wing media. One, talk radio. Overwhelmingly dominated by the Right. A survey a couple of years ago of the top 45 radio markets, there was 310 hours of right-wing talk to ten hours of liberal talk.

"The problem with the skewing is that it is a problem for democracy when one side dominates a medium like talk radio."

Seipp quotes Kenneth Turan's review of Outfoxed (a movie that liberal Michael Kinsley said was pitiful): "Perhaps the most disheartening thing about "Outfoxed" is the realization that, unlike any administration, liberal or conservative, a news organization cannot be voted out of office."

Cathy notes that it is disheartening to many liberals that Fox News can't be voted out of existence.

"When CNN covers [the Danish cartoon controversy], they run a little thing along the bottom saying they do not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam."

I ask a question for David. "Did being a conservative cause you to do bad journalism? If so, how? Why didn't you try to get the other side, for instance with the Anita Hill book?"

David: "Yes. In my book Blinded by the Right, I describe how right-wing political people put up $2 million to dig up dirt on the Clintons in 1993-94. There was an organized political effort [to fund journalism to attack the left] that I participated in and I regret... The mainstream media picked up the dirt from the American Spectator and put it on the air."

A student calls Noam Chomsky an "internationally known journalist."

Cathy says Chomsky has never met a terrorist he didn't like.

There are about 50 students in the audience who watch The Daily Show for everyone who watches Meet the Press.

Brock: "The popularity of The Daily Show is that they have been doing a treatment of the news that you can't find in the news."

Seipp says there's more healthy debate in America today than ever before because anyone can write their own website.

Brock: "Just a debate isn't enough. What would be great...is if the media returned to the time where they took it upon themselves to adjudicate factual disputes.

"The Right is more focused on the balance debate than about objectivity and truth."

Seipp: "What Rush Limbaugh said about the Abu Ghraib photos [compared them to a college fraternity prank] was terrible. Rush Limbaugh is often an idiot."

Wide applause.

Feb 8: Brock: "More important than Right Vs. Left, the media is no longer serving the public interest, so democracy is suffering...

"The media is not telling you the truth. The public is misinformed in ways that futher the conservative agenda.

"The spectrum of opinion in the media is too narrow. That progressives are often entirely shut out of the debates, particularly on TV.

"A right-wing journalist like Bob Novak will often be paired with a neutral journalist such as Andrea Mitchell. That's not a full spectrum of opinion."

Cathy asks the audience how many of them watch Meet the Press. Each night one student raises his hand. She asks how many watch Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. Between a third and a half of the audience raise their hands.

"Programs such as Meet the Press are skewed [right]. Whether they are watched by students or not, they are highly influential and shape the debate.

"The [Danish] cartoons business came up last night and I didn't address it because I think it is a red herring. It's not a Left-Right issue. Media organizations [in America] have made this decision [not to show or link to the cartoons] because it is an inflammatory situation. The ombudsman at PBS and NPR say the cartoons should be shown.

"It is a smear to imply that liberals are soft on this sort of terrorism.

"I'm also troubled by the fact that our when own Taliban in this country make hate speech, the Right falls silent. When Bill O'Reilly went on the air two months ago and invited terrorists to bomb Coit Tower in San Francisco, that the United States should not defend San Francisco against Al Qaeda, I did not hear anything from conservatives that that is unacceptable discourse. Yet it is even though [the Right] tolerates it and celebrates it."

"It is phony balance to give both sides. We should return to the time when the press took it upon itself to discern the facts.

"There were consequences when CBS [60 Minutes 2] made that mistake [about President Bush's National Guard service]. They didn't meet their own standards. That doesn't happen in our right-wing media. When Britt Hume goes on the air and crops a quote to try to suggest that FDR favored the privatization of social security, did he lose his job? No. They reward that kind of dishonesty on the conservative side.

"We still don't know the truth [about Bush's national guard service]."

Brock blasts the right-wing media such as Fox for inaccurate attacks on John Kerry's war recording ("Swift-boating"). "That garbage started in the right-wing [media] and echoed in the [mainstream media]."

Cathy: "David says the right-wing media don't criticize their own Taliban...a phrase usually taken to refer to right-wing Christians who are trying to impose Intelligent Design teaching in the schools, for instance. Bill O'Reilly and Pat Robertson [called for the assasination of Venezuela's president] were critized for their remarks."

David interrupts Cathy repeatedly (while she never interrupted him). "Pat Robertson is still on the 700 Club."

Cathy: "Not many people watch it. I don't watch it.

"Bill O'Reilly is a sanctimonious blowhard... To say there are no consequences, let's take a look at Ann Coulter. She was joking but it was an obnoxious statement when she said she hoped The New York Times building got blown up. She called the editors of the National Review "girly-men." She no longer writes for National Review. There are consequences.

"Before the cartoons, the biggest media story of the past few weeks was the pundit payola scandal. These right-wing columnists on the take, such as Michael Fumento and Doug Bandow [got fired]."

David Brock insists that Bandow had a column in today's LA Times Op/Ed page.

Cathy Seipp said that was not true. Brock later retracted.

Cathy: "The closer [to the Danish situation, the more courageous newspapers are in publishing the cartoons.] The only newspaper in England that published a link to the cartoons was a small school paper in Wales and the papers were shredded and the editor was fired."

A fat fortyish woman gets up. She's not wearing a bra. "My father was a concentration camp survivor. He survived five years in five different camps.

"Of course I'm very interested in what's going on in Iran.

"I do think the cartoons are offensive.

"Even your own terminology, that 'any normal person would not be offended.' Normal from an ethnocentric US position. It doesn't show understanding of the Muslim world of which we all know very little.

"And if conservatives are indeed defending the right to see this... That's part of the problem...of justifying the invasion of Iraq, justifying the crime of profiling that conservatives want to do in this nation..."

Cathy: "I'm going to have to ask you to put your answer in the form of a question to give other people a chance."

Woman: "So what is your concept of the moral person?"

Cathy: "People in the US [frequently] don't have any idea about the Muslim world. In Denmark, in Europe, they have a strong idea. That's why they're brave enough to do it."

Woman: "I'm talking about here."

Cathy: "I'm explaining that to you. They understand the danger of doing that. They live with this every day. These cartoons are not the type of thing that the average person in America would be offended by, but even if they were, it doesn't matter. We do not have a constitutional right in this country not to be offended."

The moderator asks the woman questioner to be quiet so Cathy can speak.

Cathy: "I've been to a lot of press conferences and I can tell you that it is [irritating] for people in the audience who don't get a chance to ask questions because someone wants to do a lecture. Ooh, people get their feelings hurt in a free society. In a democracy, people don't react to offensive speech by killing people and burning down their embassies."

An Asian girl make a long rambling point about the forging of yellow cake documents and then followed with a windy question about the outing of Valerie Plame as a supposedly covert CIA operative (though many of Plame's neighbors and social acquaintances knew about it).

Cathy: "I don't believe any documents should be forged."

Cathy's further reply is drown out by applause (the loudest applause during the two nights of debates) for the three male streakers.

David: "There's been a well-funded campaign by conservatives to convince you there's liberal bias.

"[Many] conservatives view journalism as a way to shape public opinion."

Cathy urges students to get their news primarily from newspapers rather than television and radio, which are inherently more superficial. She notes that when she was on the Dennis Miller she worried more about getting off a good line rather than checking her facts (which she obsesses over when writing). It doesn't matter if talking heads on TV don't get their facts right.

Seraphic Secret Named Best Personal Blog

Shame Ariel, who inspired it, did not live to see it.

Cathy Seipp Thinks I'm A Treasure

Thursday. 1:50pm. My caller ID tells me it's Cathy Seipp. "She's going to chew me out about something," I think as I pick up the phone.

Cathy: "You are a journalistic treasure."

Luke, thinking she's been sarcastic: "How so?"

Cathy: "I can't believe that pompous ass Dennis Prager is frightened for society and that [Michael] Fumento is an important voice.

"I'm glad you called in. Fumento said, 'These are new rules.' That this is on record is fantastic. Amazing. You are truly a journalistic treasure. They should give you a Pulitzer."

Luke: "Prager spent the whole hour on Fumento's plight. Prager said that not disclosing the grant was wrong."

Cathy: "That's not the only thing Fumento did that was wrong. Soliciting the grant was wrong. What is these people's problem?

"Fumento's latest column has two baldly-inaccurate facts -- that Sharon Waxman threatened and bullied me, and that my [publicist] source complained to my editors twice."

Neither Townhall.com (and its ilk) nor the Scripps-Howard news service pay their columnists such as Fumento for syndicating them weekly.

Cathy: "You've got to wonder how is this guy [Fumento] making money?

"If he makes these kinds of factual errors, how many factual errors are there in his science reporting?

"...You were pretty worshipful of Prager?"

Luke: "I've always admired him and that has not changed [even though we may disagree about many things]."

Cathy blogs:

I missed hearing that as it happened, but Luke Ford was tuned in (and transcribing) as usual, and so thanks to him I learned that the pay-for-play columnist's gig with the Hudson Institute may end next month. But even more interesting than that was this astonishing exchange:

Prager: "There is something frightening going on here where a particularly important columnist, a voice this society can not afford to lose. Apparently you have annoyed enough people that you need to be quieted. I am frightened, not for me, [but for society]."

Now Prager remains Luke's great hero, despite warnings from the radio host's lawyer about California's anti-stalking law. But luckily, his calls to the show, which he listens to loyally each day, still get through. And so, here's Luke on the air:

Luke: "A journalist can not go soliciting money from people he plans to write about. Michael Fumento asked for money from Monsanto and various agribusiness companies to finance his [2003] book [BioEvolution]. He did not disclose it in his book. It's an elementary matter of journalistic ethics. He should be fired."

Prager: "Who should've fired him?"

Luke: "Anyone who employs him as a journalist. He did something beyond the pale. If I'm going to write about somebody, I can't go to them and ask them for money to write about them. He didn't disclose it in his book and he didn't disclose it in his columns."

Michael: "These rules are new to me. In fact, they are new to everybody."

So not only does Prager actually think that Fumento is a crushed voice of dissent, but Fumento claims he's never heard of the notion that journalists shouldn't ask for money from people they write about. Amazing. You know what? Right now, I'll take the moral standards of a porn-obsessed oddball like Luke over these two.

Single, Jewish, Childless, Intellectual

My friend writes:

A good friend and avid art collector tells me he was stunned to find a quote by the manager of Sotheby's saying that the typical profile of an art collector is Single, Jewish, Childless and Intellectual. That hit a bit too close to home for my friend. He's considering putting his collection up for sale on e-bay.

Transcript Coming Of David Brock Vs Cathy Seipp On Media Bias

Cathy emails me Wednesday night:

I hope you transcribed the dangly-breasted women's studies-type girl's "question" because I'm curious to see if it was actually as tedious as it seemed before I cut her off. Talk about a time warp! First a throwback to the '70s bra-burning look, and then honest-to-God '70s-style streakers.

And then there was the time warp back just to yesterday, when tonight's Muslim student asked exactly the same question -- "What if it were an offensive picture of Jesus Christ?" -- as the Muslim students last night and thought he was being original.

Did I seem meaner to the fuzzy-headed students tonight? Last night I thought I was pretty kindly, but tonight I think I had less patience for unoriginality and sloppy thinking.

And I'll bet the dangly-breasted girl was lying about her father being in five concentration camps too. Wouldn't that make him a bit old to be the father of a college student? Or was this "The 40-Year-Old Freshman" or something?

I email Cathy: "Wasn't [X] obnoxious?"

She replies: "As obnoxious as you bringing up the topic of double anal right there at dinner with all these professors?"

Luke: "I said double-penetration."

I would never be so uncouth as to raise double-anal at a dinner with professors. Unless they wanted me to, or drove me to it by being very boring.

Sometimes these stuffed-shirt types need loosening up, and, come to think of it, there's nothing like a discussion of double-anal to do just that.

Over dinner with the profs, I learned that Playboy had little success at USC and UCLA when they came seeking girls to pose naked. I guess they have more success at Chico State, San Diego State and other less prestigious schools. The more accomplished the woman, the less likely she is to pose naked for publication.

David Brock asks Cathy over dinner about Pajamas Media. She says their site is finally coming along. I ask if there's any original reporting on it. Not much, I guess.

Dennis Prager: 'Michael Fumento is a truth-seeker'

Dennis on his radio show Feb 9: "His first impact on me was [in the late '80s] with his 'Myth of Heterosexual AIDS' [first published as an essay on Commentary magazine, then later as a book].

"I am not happy with the way Scripps-Howard let Michael go."

Scripps-Howard is about the lowest rung syndication network.

Fumento says he's done 150 columns for the service.

Michael: "It doesn't bode well for Hillary Clinton's vast-right-wing conspiracy. It's a left-wing conspiracy. Doug Bandow had a column for Scripps-Howard. He lost his column because he was involved in the Jack Abramoff scandal. [Bandow] was paid per column by Abramoff.

"The Left got an idea. Bandow was rid off because he took money for something he wrote. Let's put together an enemies list. Let's just say they were paid for pieces and let's give them to sympathetic reports. The only two reporters I've found who have taken this is Sharon Waxman at The New York Times [who has not published on the story yet] and Eamon Javers at Business Week.

Cathy Seipp writes in The LAT:

MICHAEL Fumento, the self-described "extremely pro-biotech" journalist who lost his syndicated column after Business Week revealed he'd solicited money from Monsanto, is mad at me. That's because I wrote in my Jan. 19 National Review Online column that he deserved to lose it, and that I'd like to see more criticism of Op-Ed payola from the right as well as the left.

In making his defense, Fumento had written a column (for TownHall.com) that struck me as more of an unwitting self-prosecution. Exhibit A: gratuitous description of Monsanto's "exciting biotech products." Exhibit B: complaint that it should have "meant something" to Scripps Howard News Service that he wrote all his 100-plus columns for free. My God, yes, it certainly should have. Namely, that if the news service wasn't paying for them, someone else must have been.

Fumento says his job is coming to an end at the Hudson Institute in the next month. "A little bit of it has to do with my not having a column anymore. My being involved in this scandal. They know I didn't do anything wrong but there's this taint. There's been scandal involved in his name. That's why Scripps dropped me. They didn't even consult me."

Fumento says it is the practice for fellows at think tanks to solicit corporate money (as Fumento did). "Hudson finally said enough is enough."

Fumento says he lost his job writing for the Rocky Mountain News (owned by Scripps-Howard) after his first book (The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS) was published.

Prager: "There is something frightening going on here where a particularly important columnist, a voice this society can not afford to lose. Apparently you have annoyed enough people that you need to be quieted. I am frightened, not for me, [but for society]."

I called in to Prager's show. I was the first caller on this topic.

Luke: "A journalist can not go soliciting money from people he plans to write about. Michael Fumento asked for money from Monsanto and various agribusiness companies to finance his [2003] book [BioEvolution]. He did not disclose it in his book. It's an elementary matter of journalistic ethics. He should be fired."

Prager: "Who should've fired him?"

Luke: "Anyone who employs him as a journalist. He did something beyond the pale. If I'm going to write about somebody, I can't go to them and ask them for money to write about them. He didn't disclose it in his book and he didn't disclose it in his columns."

Michael: "These rules are new to me. In fact, they are new to everybody. Are you a writer?"

[My answer did not make it on the air.] Luke: "Yes."

Michael: "These rules are new to me. They are new to everybody. That's exactly what Business Week did. They invented new rules and applied them retroactively. I don't care much for retroactive rules. I'm willing to follow rules that are made up before I do something."

I think that these rules are not retroactive. It is elementary journalistic ethics that you do not solicity funds from people you plan to write about.

Michael: "The book took four years to write. I got far less than minimum wage to write it."

Dennis: "In retrospect, you should've mentioned the [Monsanto] grant."

Michael: "Yes.

"The other way the other side [the Left] works is that they do not [concern themselves with truth]."

Fumento keeps painting the issue as a Left-Right debate when it is a matter of journalistic ethics. "Whenever you analyze research, you examine the funding," notes a caller. "For your guest to say that all of a sudden there are new rules...to not disclose your source of funding. Corporations do not give away something for no value. To say that this is a new rule is an egregious misstatement for scholars and scientists."

Michael: "Give me an example of someone who has lost a column for taking a grant seven years ago."

Dennis: "Michael made a mistake. I don't think he should be a lost voice for America."

The way Fumento reacted to Cathy Seipp's critique struck me as screamingly gay. From the first time I heard Fumento on Prager's show (circa 1989), I thought, this man is gay. What kind of straight man (who is a scholar) would publish on his website a picture of himself in a thong? And then take offence at comments people make about his nipples?

Fumento writes: "Seipp posted a photo of me on her website, inviting her readers to laugh. Don't know if I'm in Brad Pitt territory, but does this woman not look like a mouse that drowned in a bottle of Old Milwaukee?"

This is the type of catty remark that gay men make.

Eamon Javers from Business Week writes:


In his career at Hudson, Fumento has carved out a specialty debunking critics of the agribusiness and biotechnology industries. In 1999, he says, he solicited $60,000 from Monsanto to write a book on the business. The book, entitled BioEvolution was published in 2003. A spokesman for Monsanto confirmed the payments to the Hudson Institute.

Asked about the payments, Fumento says, "I'm just extremely pro-biotech." He says he solicited several agribusiness companies to finance his book, which was published by Encounter Books. "I went after everybody, I've got to be honest," Fumento says of his fund-raising effort. "I told them that if I tell the truth in this book, the biotech industry is going to look really good, and you should contribute."

The Monsanto grant, he says, flowed from the company to the Hudson Institute to support his work. A portion went to overhead and "most of it" went into his salary. He says the money was simply folded into his salary for that year, and therefore represented no windfall to him personally.

"STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS." The book's acknowledgements cite support from The Donner Foundation and "others who wish to remain anonymous." Fumento didn't disclose the payment from Monsanto either in the book or in at least eight columns he has written mentioning Monsanto since 1999.

Cathy Seipp's USC Debate With David Brock Over Media Bias

Cathy, the moderator Michael Dear, and David (along with the audience) seemed thrilled with the 7:56 pm interruption of a boring audience question about Valerie Plame.

The streakers (part of some larger free-speech protest at USC over the past few weeks) ran up and down the aisles (wearing backpacks filled, I assume, with clothes) and out the side door.

Cathy's 16yo daughter Maia emails her friends: "USC may be my college because mom spoke at USC which went well though three guys streaked in the middle of her speech. She told me they had nice butts. Then the faculty guy who was impressed by me yesterday...so I may be a Trojan, not the condom but a rah rah rah Trojan."

Maia came to the first night of the debate. She asked me if she should ask a question. I asked her for her question. She wanted to know the debaters favorite journalism era. I said that was a good question.

Maia gingerly walked up front. Then she got into a discussion with the student manning the microphone, got intimidated, and returned to her seat without posing her question.

The second night of debate reprised the first night. Cathy spoke up for American news organizations linking to the controversial Danish cartoons about the Islamic prophet Mohammed.

David Brock, on the first night, accuses Cathy of being funded by the right-wing. Yeah, she does some opinion pieces for National Review Online and the Independent Women's Forum and probably makes about $250 each. And she got about $150 for reprint rights for her FrontPagemag.com articles. David Brock, meanwhile, got a $2million grant from left-wing sources for his organization Media Matters, which bills itself as: "A non-profit progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation..."

"Maybe that's because I'm better at what I do," said David, when Cathy pointed out his grant.

About the same time he came out as a homosexual (circa 1995), Brock decided to become left-of-center politically.

Both nights of debate, the audiences are largely composed of apathetic students, many of them wearing sweats. It's rare that they cheer. They never boo. A handful ask questions. A handful hang around afterwards (including two Muslim women in headcovering) to talk to Cathy (I only notice one or two trying to talk to David Brock, he's not friendly). None of them seem to want to date me.

I hear one student say he's grateful that the media bias debate sounds more interesting than USC's last such program -- about whale talk.

David Brock doesn't answer questions. He uses them as pretexts to say whatever he wants. When I tried a dozen different questions afterwards to open him up, he had nothing to say.

Brock evinces little interest in what anyone has to say.

I would like a job counseling college students, particularly attractive female college students. I would like to be their moral leader in these turbulent times.

To me, the worst part of participating in such debates is being subjected to the earnest harangues of non-hot people who must pour their views all over you (I couldn't care less about the in-depth views of 99.9% of humanity on media bias, politics, religion, et al) and you can't escape them.

Dennis Prager notes that when he's picked up at the airport for a speech, he's forced to give his speech twice (to the audience and to the driver).

Listening is often more work, and more annoying, than speaking.

When someone speaks or writes on something for pay, they usually don't want to be subject to the views and interrogations of amateurs. I'd rather talk to such people about something interesting in their personal life. What do I care about amateurish views on politics and media when I've devoted enormous study to these mattes?

David Brock (who smokes and has impossibly black hair) included Bill O'Reilly and Pat Robertson in "America's Taliban."

Wednesday night, I have dinner with Cathy (she twice made sure I'd get a vegetarian entree) and a bunch of USC profs and administrators.

Two profs next to me each say their spouse is vegetarian (and teaches in the same department at the same college). I wonder if they have the same wife but it turns out one prof is gay.

An administrator talks about teen sins.

In front of David Brock, Cathy blames the prevalence of oral sex among teens, in part, on the pornification and gayification of society.

Walking to the debate afterwards, moderator Michael Dear asks if I am Cathy's Boswell.

"Yes," Cathy and I reply, proud that he's paid such close attention to her blog.

I want to call him "professor" but he insists on "Michael." Next time I'll try "Your Royal Highness."

I ask Michael if Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was based on his year in Sydney.

"Yes," he says.

From Wales, he has an earing.

Need I say more?

Cathy critiques the USC Daily Trojan article. She says it needed more quotes from students, such as the Muslim students who approached her afterwards.

I say (without reading it) the article needed to shed more blood. A simple he-said, she-said account is not compelling.

Debates bring out the tiresome American trait of earnestness. The British are far more witty.