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Inclusive Pluralistic USC Conference Takes Fight To Fascistic Bush Regime

If only I'd known the eats and drinks would be so good at USC Thursday afternoon, I would've brought a date and told her, "Lunch is on me. Have anything you want!"

I should not make funnies however at this dark time in our nation's history when the forces of fascism, as represented by Attorney General John Ashcroft, are taking over the land. I didn't realize it until now but we are living in a time akin to Germany 1935.

Don't think I'm being paranoid because I am on a heavy paranoia-fighting psychotropic cocktail that mixes Lithium (combats bi-polar disorder), Viagra (for dysfunction), Clonazepam (anti-anxiety) and Guanfacine (anti-ADD). This keeps me sedate, clothed, pacified and with a generally warm fuzzy feeling towards all.

What I hate is those times when in my drug-induced daze, I mix up my medication, and arrive at synagogue after popping my Viagra, or go on a hot date after popping my sleep-inducing anti-ADD drug.

I'm still seeking the right balance. Anything untoward in this story is the fault of my psychiatrist.

I sit in the corner most of the afternoon, saying nary a word, eating and drinking as much free grub as possible, and drooling on my notepad between naps.

I see this chick in full Muslim regalia and I want to hug her and tell her how welcome she is in our country and that she should bring all her Muslim relatives and friends to live with us. Unfortunately, my ancient Jewish Orthodoxy prevents that physical contact.

Today's conference is filled with angry Arab-Muslim journalists itching for Jihad against the dark Jewish forces controlling the US media and government. Normally this would make me feel uncomfortable, but the drugs I'm on take care of those incorrect emotions.

I think diversity is our strength. I yearn for the day when Hillary Clinton is our president, people of color are no longer oppressed, and abortion is free to all who demand it. Not to mention reparations paid to African-Americans and open borders for all the poor people of the world.

I think the answer to terrorism is hugs.

It warms my heart to see the LA Press Club sponsoring more events where many, if not most, of the speakers, have a cold spot for the Jewish state. We don't do enough to warn people about the Zionist conspiracy and thank God we have Arab-Muslim activists and leftist professors to educate us.

I walk in at 1PM and am overjoyed to see a wonderful diversity of people - black, yellow, brown and white.

I learn that the LA Press Club computers crashed and they lost all their information.

I collect packets of information - chiefly articles warning about the loss of freedoms under President Bush. I pick up two brochures from the Muslim American Alliance. One endorses former US Representative Pau Findley who wrote the bestseller: They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby.

I wander into the Club room and check out the eats. Hmm, delicious big cookies that would cost $2 each at a restaurant.

I had a huge breakfast at 10AM of chocolate-peanut butter Haagen Daz icecream, two pieces of toast with peanut butter and tomato and a huge helping of cottage cheese.

Over the course of the afternoon, I have two M&M cookies and one Macadamia nut cookie. I have a plate of delicious strawberries, pineapple and watermelon. I have three cups of mint tea and one lemon-lime soda.

My medication causes water-retention so I feel like I'm about to explode. It's a good thing I'm so at peace with myself and the world.

Today's conference is partially the brain child of former LA Times Op/Ed editor Bob Seger, a lumbering Annenberg professor with glasses who talks a lot about "social justice." He spent 20-years with the Times before getting canned after 9/11. How come Annenberg is such a repository of ex-LA Times staffers? I suppose it's because Annenberg wants the best.

Former LA Times editor Michael "Staples Center" Parks is also thanked.

I sit behind prestigious San Francisco Chronicle investigative reporter Seth Rosenfeld who specializes in exposing corporate and governmental malfeasance like silicone implants (now shown to be harmless).

In the January 12, 2003 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Seth wrote an article titled: "How Ali Mubarak was deported to Pakistan without proof of ties to terrorism."

On 6/9/02, Seth wrote "Reagen, Hoover and the UC Red Scare: Secret FBI files show how the bureau's covert campaign to disrupt the Free Speech Movement and topple UC President Clark Kerr helped launch the political career of an actor named Ronald Reagen."

Evil white men. Is there any other kind? I feel ashamed of my skin, my beliefs, my political party and my government. I learn today that after 9/11, law enforcement cracked down on illegal aliens, banishing many from the country without a trial for breaking the law. I hear heartbreaking stories about broken families, internment without trial, and interrogation of innocent people who just happened to be here without papers and with phony social security cards.

Today's conference is sponsored by the USC Institute for Study of Justice and Journalism, the LA Press Club, and New California Media.

There's a large New California Media (ethnic news club) banner across the front that reads "connecting the new majorities."

I think the browing of California is great, and I can't wait until this state returns to Mexican sovereignty.

The first panel discusses how the news media can better tell the stories of those who are being oppressed by Bush/Ashcroft. Pakhistani Samina Faheem, wearing traditional garb and speaking with a thick accent, begins: "My fellow Americans..." She's the national coordinator for the American Muslim Alliance and seems like a sweet person. I'd like her for a neighbor.

"America is no longer the place where we say give us your tired, your poor... No group since 9/11 has lost civil liberties like Muslim Americans."

The room is filled with lots of funny-looking diverse people in weird garb speaking in strange tongues. I love it!

Karen Ocamb, on the board of the LA Press Club, sits next to Seger. At the last Press Club panel on alternative newspapers, she said there were not enough homosexuals in the alternative press and there were two closeted ones on the LA Examiner prototype. When I emailed her to name them, she did not reply.

Ocamb is a hefty sharp bulldog lesbian. I'd hate to have her investigating me. She's a pro at opening up access to public documents.

Gabriel Lerner, editor of State and National news for La Opinion, speaks. It's nice to have dispassionate analysis.

Lerner warns that since 9/11, we've been "criminalizing latinos, linking them with terrorism and anti-Americanism." Lerner speaks in a whisper but his hatred of American authority is palpable. He has a thick Argentinian accent. He's pale with curly hair. He's doing all he can to fight Ashcroft and to tell of the sufferings of his people.

Patrick McDonnell from the Los Angeles Times is a welcome respite from the hysteria. He says the reporter's main job is to report and dig out all the facts and just because a story is sad does not mean it is newsworthy. It may be sad that a law-breaking immigrant is deported but it is not necessarily news.

The conference is moderated by shaved-head Kyle McKinnon, managing editor of KCRW’s "Which Way L.A." and Public Radio International’s "To the Point." He keeps the discussion moving.

Second panel is about Laws and Policies. Francisco Arcaute, a latino and spokesman with the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, dismisses "sad sack stories."

Karen Ocamb later labels the statement racist. I press her why. She says the use of the term was dismissive and dehumanizing. Lerner says it's "a code word."

We're lucky to have intellectual gnostics like Lerner around to decode the secret meanings of words for us dumbies.

Los Angeles FBI agent Mathew McLaughlin criticizes New York Times reporter Eric Richtblau. He says he is a good writer but bad with his facts. McLaughlin praises Los Angeles Times reporter Rick Kerkorian as a bulldog with his facts.

The most beautiful person of the day appears on the third panel - attorney Ban Al-Wardi. She's totally hot. She serves on the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Her good looks, tasteful makeup and outfit, and girlish voice increased my sensitivity to the suffering of her people.

I wish Jewish women were as hot as Al-Wardi. I'd really like to sit down with her and discuss the joint sovereignty of Jerusalem.

If I had a harem of Arab hotties, and 101 Arabian nights, I'd be much more enthusiastic about Muslims. I blame the secular Jewish media for desexualizing the traditional Muslim woman.

Al-Wardi, what a great name, I think I'll name my daughter that. She wears a blue blouse and a dark pantsuit. She has a feminine figure and a clear pretty face. Her hair is pulled back and flows below her shoulders.

Most attorneys I know dress really well. Why can't female journalists look as good? Why can't they all take as much care with their appearance as Emmanuelle Richard?

Ban has a girly voice and a pretty smile. I'll serve on her jury any day.

The biggest shortcoming of today's conference is an appalling wall of silence about the rights and sensitivities of the sodomite and transgendered.

Phillipino Momar Visaya spoke about the plight of Phillipinos in the USA during this punitive age. He is not as hot looking as Ban so I didn't listen as hard.

Attorney Kelli Sager is a doll. She wears a sharp red jacket and a short black skirt, several inches above the knee. Hubabubba, shul was never like this! While gazing at her, I triple my powers of concentration.

She has a feminine smile and style and I think more women should be like her. There's no reason you can't be submissive as you move into middle-age.

During a break, I chat up Bob Seger about the LA Times' boring editorials. He talks about the lack of "social justice" reporting in the California section.

A tall Arab-American journalist with a large protruding stomach has been yearning to speak out all day about the sinister, presumably Jewish, forces controlling the American media. He gives a long rambling speech in a thick accent at the beginning of Karen Ocamb's "Access to Information" workshop. He says the ethnic media needs to pull together to get its causes out.

Jewish law professor Laurie Levenson is smaller than she looks in pictures. She's friendly with the Arab activists in the room.

A rabid Arab man named Roberta keeps talking about the Arab cause.

Audrey Simpson, a tall slim blonde American citizen correspondent for German TV, becomes agitated as she denounces the American Press for not taking Patriot Act II seriously. She must not read Matt Welch or Instapundit.

Simpson says there's an "atmosphere of fear" in the media about discussing such matters. Presumably Ashcroft will have journalists murdered if they report the wrong things. "Selling of war is sexier than selling of peace movements."

Audrey's German TV crew have experienced anti-German sentiments and persecution as they've courageously pursued the stories the America media ignore. Her German TV crew were attacked by secret service agents at the Oscars and told to move away because they were German. "Germans should get out of here," they were told.

I wish Hitler were in charge. He'd restore order. Why don't people fear the Hun like they used to?

Simpson's made three reports on Patriot Act II and she's working on a 45-minute documentary.

Her voice breaks and she seems to verge on hysteria. American media won't talk to her about why they won't cover the Patriot Act.

Simpson denounces US media for promoting war feeling six months in advance of the Iraq invasion.

Roberta denounces "racist media putting out racist images. I want to encourage you to do stories on how white people are affected. This is McCarthyism all over again."

There are lots of hot looking Arab women in the room, Baruch HaShem.

In another workshop, an Arab spokesman says we need to do more stories about the Zionist control of the US Congress. Why the blank check to Ariel Sharon's regime?

I wish I had a picture of leftist reporter John (friend of Ocamb's), who had a wonderfully gnomish homeless look. Dressed in sloppy clothes, he sported glasses, goatee, moustache and greasy looking hair. There should be at least one of these types at every journalism conference.

He speaks out about our "oppressive political climate...where [Bill] O'Reilly yells on TV about the LA Times publishing Robert Scheer... It's all having an affect. Who knows what's going on in the benighted parts of the country, like the South, where everyone has to drive around flying two flags."

Gabriel Lerner: "There's a political problem going beyond the media. We are weakening society while strengthening the executive. It reminds me of history [presumably Hitler and Franco and the other proto-Bushes].

Liberal Jew Laurie Levenson: "We need to keep the fire on legislators [about the Patriot Act II]."

Victor Merina, senior fellow for racial Justice at the USC center for Justice and Journalism, takes the podium. He looks like a Mexican gangster, say Pancho Villa, not that there's anything wrong with that. Diversity is good though he'd sure frighten the bejeebers out of me if I met him in a dark alley.

I sit next to leftist professor Niels Frenzen. Munching a sugar cookie, he says the situation is "bleak."

Roberta, fevered Arab, denounces the government's sinister digitizing of information and protection of copyrights. Soon Big Media will own most of the Internet servers and the last bastion of free speech will be squelched.

Journalists fear covering these stories because of government power.

SF Chronicle reporter Seth Rosenfeld gives a summing up speech: "We are witnessing the most profound shift in civil liberties since WWII."

Sandy Close from Pacifica wants us to create inclusive journalism. "We don't like the term ethnic media."

All the talk today is about rights and none of it is about responsibilities, except the media's responsibility to oppose the Bush and Sharon regimes.

Sandy quotes from various polls of non-English speakers in California, which reveal "an blanket of fear." A poll of 1000 non-English speaking immigrants revealed significantly lower levels of support for the Iraq war than among English speakers.

This confirms my sense that there may be some kind of moral clarity that comes with speaking English.

Sandy says the poll was done by Sergio Ben Dixon, the leading Spanish pollster. He found that 81% of latino Americans feared the impact of the Iraq war on the economy versus a 29% finding among English speakers.

"We've lost the ability to know what the country thinks because of English language polling."

All this conference needed was hysterical reporter Alisa-Valdes Rodriguez denouncing the LA Times for genocide against latinos through the use of the term "hispanic."


From the LA Press Club release: "Covering Civil Liberties in Times of Crisis: Have the Rules Changed?"

A Justice and Journalism Forum Thursday, May 1, 2003 1:00-5:30 p.m. USC Davidson Executive Conference Center, Club Room 3415 South Figueroa Street (Corner of Jefferson and Figueroa)

Sponsored by USC Annenberg’s Institute for Justice and Journalism in partnership with New California Media and the Los Angeles Press Club

This Justice and Journalism Forum will bring together journalists, professors, lawyers, community advocates and representatives of government agencies for discussions about civil liberties, storytelling, laws, policies and public access to information in the post-9/11 era.

USC Annenberg’s Institute for Justice and Journalism will use information and perspectives presented at the forum to educate journalists, journalism students and the public about journalistic approaches to coverage of civil liberties, immigration polices and the Patriot Act.

Discussions will focus on the following themes and questions:

STORYTELLING: What are the experiences of those who feel they have been victims of injustice, and how are their stories are being told. What questions do journalists ask, and where do they go for answers? What could journalists do differently, and what difference would that make? What role do community and advocacy organizations play as resources for journalists? Panelists include Samina Faheem, Pakistani National Hotline; Gabriel Lerner, La Opinion; Patrick McDonnell, Los Angeles Times. The workshop discussion leader is Victor Merina, the institute’s Senior Fellow for Racial Justice and Journalism.

LAWS AND POLICIES: What do journalists need to know about post-9/11 laws and policies to provide credible context for a public trying to assess the civil liberties costs of homeland security? What questions aren’t being asked that should be asked, and whose voices are being left out of news coverage? What could journalists do differently, and what difference would that make? Invited panelists include Niels Frenzen, University of Southern California School of Law; Matt McLaughlin, FBI; Tom Saenz, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; John Miller, Los Angeles Police Department. The workshop discussion leader is Sandip Roy of Pacific News Service/New California Media.

ACCESS TO INFORMATION: What does the public need to know to understand threats to the public’s right to know? Why should the public care? What can journalists do to get information when the government denies access to its records? Invited panelists include Momar Visaya, Asian Journal, and attorneys Ban al Wardi, Kelli Sager and Barbara Blinderman. The workshop discussion leader is Karen Ocamb of the Los Angeles Press Club’s "Sunshine"project.

Heeby Bachanal During Sefira Delays Arrival Of Messiah?

Dave Deutsch writes: I noticed you made a reference to attended the bachanal on sefira [Heeb party Tuesday night]. Two loopholes.

For talent such as myself, there's the exception allowed for making a parnossa, e.g., normally, one doesn't shave, but if your job requires it…

Some people don't begin observing sefira until after rosh chodesh, then observe it until shavuos instead of lag b'omer.

So we should be lenient, and think best of the yidn, and presume that everybody at the club had the minhag of beginning after rosh chodesh.

I'm the perfect rabbi; I always say yes (or maybe that just makes me the perfect date…)

Luke asks: If the Torah prohibits mixing linen with wool, what does it think about you hanging with shvartzes?

Dave replies: It's fine as long as I'm neither wearing nor consuming them. "Hanging with schvartses?" Yet another point of contact with conservative Christians--an affinity for lynching and derogatory terms for blacks.

Heeb's New Competitor - Keyk Magazine

JustMrT writes: Luke - I'm kicking around the idea of taking a cue from the Maxim/FHM/Stuff/Gear/etc. wars and starting up a publication to compete with Heeb. My magazine -- tentatively titled "Keyk" -- will be aimed at Jews who are sufficiently self-hating that they will not only voluntarily purchase a periodical named for an offensive anti-semitic slur, but in fact purchase it from a Gentile publisher/editor-in-chief.

What do you think? Would you be interested in a position as a columnist?

Hollywood, Interrupted

HR writes: Luke, Caught this in your column: "Mark Ebner Goes Along To Get Along For two years after his piece in Spy magazine about the Gay Mafia, fearless Mark Ebner could not get a writing job in Hollywood. He's learned his lesson. He won't share copies of his infamous Spy article with the many people who request one. Ebner now wants to get along with the industry and bury his muckraking reputation. Many editors fear hiring Ebner because he's such a loose cannon and can damage an outlet's reputation with his 'I don't give a damn' ways."

Turns out that that Spy guy Ebner inked a deal with Martha Inc. publisher John Wiley & Sons to pen an expose called Hollywood, Interrupted.

Cathy Seipp Is Now A Ditzy Blonde

Cathy writes: "Someone said today I looked like I was some character from Blade Runner. I hope they didn't mean Rutger Hauer!"

The Real Reason Why Killers Of Blacks Less Likely To Get Death Penalty

As heard on Dennis Prager: Killers of whites are most likely to be white and live in white areas, which tend to be more conservative than black areas, and more likely to elect pro-death penalty politicians and prosecutors. Killers of blacks tend to be blacks who usually live in black areas, which generally oppose the death penalty and elect anti-death penalty politicians and prosecutors.

I Win, I Win

Dave Deutsch, the world's worst Jewish comedian according to Heeb magazine, writes me:

All right, you win--I thought my whole--US Army veteran, left-wing, pop-culture obsessed, trashy comic Orthodox Jew thing was pretty good, but I give you the trophy for most contradictory frummie. If you were born into the fold, I'd still call it close, but the conversion puts you over the top.

As for the write-up, thanks for the mention, I enjoyed both meeting, and reading about meeting you. I must, however, take umbrage at two things (I'd hoped, given how smashingly we'd gotten along, that umbrage would be freely given--one way or the other, however, umbrage shall be mine).

I didn't "give up." I did my routine, and was done. Please recall--I teach high school. Thus, I spend a considerable portion of my life performing in front of audiences who are ignoring me and talking amongst themselves.

I didn't discuss "the difference between gays and straights." I just made fun of straight panic. Saying I discussed "the difference between gays and straights" makes me sound like one of those awful black comedians who tell jokes about how white people drive vs. how black people drive.

Still, I'm too self-aggrandizing and egomaniacal to hold a grudge against somebody who'll write anything positive about me (I believe the words were "intelligent and funny;" at any rate, that's how I choose to remember them.) I'll take a closer look at your site when I get a chance. The baby's crying, and you know how those people from Child Protective Services can be.

Hey, do you mind if I forward this to Lan? I'm sure she'd love to see it. Keep in touch--perhaps we can one day form a special kehillah for depraved Orthodox Jews. Dave Deutsch

PS--I had no idea who you were at the club; I was informed later. I'd read about your travails in both the porn and frum world's some years back in the Forward. Personally, I think you got a pretty raw deal, and it's just a mark of the hypocrisy of Orthodoxy (by that I mean a sociopolitical movement, not halacha). If you'd just been a slumlord, or owned a tobacco company, they'd be all over themselves to honor you (at least if you were generous with your ill-gotten gains). But a humble (and I'd imagine, not terribly wealthy) porn reporter--how can we let him in our shul! At least I understand now your comment that you have so much in common with conservative Christians. I imagine they also spend much of their time trolling for porn. Take care, and gut shabbos.

Cathy Seipp's Daughter Does Damage

From the blog of Cecille du Bois: Daddy had a temper tantrum:

"I just got off the phone with your mother, who tells me that you really don't want to see me or jonah, and you don't want the mocha cake we bought for you, or the presents, or even the card that jonah made for you... jonah will be terribly disappointed when i pick him up from school today, since he was really looking forward to seeing you and wishing you happy birthday... he misses you... but, as your mother points out, it's YOUR birthday and HER house, so since we're not welcome there, there's no point in showing up... instead we'll bring your presents to the salvation army, for people who aren't as lucky as you to have a father and brother who love and care about them... dad"

But its ok, we're going to the local Starbucks. He calmed down, I guess. Sorry Dad, but you know how Luke Ford got successful with 10000+ hits a day? He had to do some damage!

I Party With Heeb Magazine

What better to celebrate the end of Holocaust Memorial Day?

Heeb Magazine threw a big party at 1707 N. Vine St in Hollywood Tuesday night. It was scheduled to run from 9PM to 2AM.

I arrived outside the club at 9:30PM after circling the block four times before finding a free parking space. I struck up a conversation with a couple who were trying to produce movies and television. They'd come to see their friend Dave Deutsch, the "world's worst Jewish comedian" according to Heeb Magazine.

The man didn't understand what the evening was about. I told him it was a party thrown by Heeb. He didn't know anything about Heeb. Did they own the club? No, they're only renting it for one night.

I was going to bring a date but she was too tired, so I substituted David Poland as my date. He thought he'd arrive around 10PM. I'm on the list to get in but nothing about plus one. Publisher Joshua gets David on the list but David never shows.

I wander in and run into the female side of the producer couple. Her husband hasn't been able to get in. She needs to talk to Dave.

I chat with a friend from shul. I see this tall guy with a yarmulke and fringes out. I figure he'll be the only religious guy at the party so I chat him up. He says his name is Dave Deutsch. I can read about him on page 35 of the latest issue of Heeb magazine. He's looking for two friends.

I hook him up with the producer lady and together they rescue her male partner from the humiliation of waiting outside to get in.

I meet Joshua Newman, the new publisher of Heeb. Joshua teaches two classes in Jewish philosophy at NYU, including one in Post-Holocaust Theology. He's clean shaven and clean cut, dressed like a professor or businessman.

Joshua, Dave (uberjuden at msn.com) and I chat. We're joined by a gorgeous Vietnamese-American writer, Lan Tran. She took a history class at NYU with Dave and they became friends. Lan put on her own one-woman show in New York. She loves Sandra Tsing Loh. I tell her I interviewed Loh for my Cathy Seipp profile and that gets me in Lan's good graces.

Josh says to Dave and Lan and I, "I knew you guys would hit it off." We spend most of the night talking to each other.

I see Michael Aushenker and Amy Klein from the Jewish Journal.

The club fills up. I think there are more women than men, and the women are generally yummy looking. Half the crowd is dressed up.

I spend most of the evening by the bar talking about writing and religion with Lan. I have two Diet Cokes at $3 each.

I know about 20 or so people in the room.

There are two stages above the bar. Scantily clad beautiful women dance provocatively.

Dave Deutsch tells me: "I won't tell your rabbi if you won't tell mine."

Married seven years, he has two kids.

Tan says she has to remember that she can't hug him. An Orthodox Jew should not hug the opposite sex (aside from his spouse and family).

Josh and Jennifer Bleyer, the 20-something creator and editor of the magazine, talk to the crowd briefly at 11PM. Dave comes on and does eight-minutes of stand-up. He's flown in for these eight minutes and skipped two days of teaching school.

He jokes about three genocides and straight panic. The crowd keeps chatting, largely ignoring him. He's smart and funny but it's a tough environment. He quits after finishing his rapid-fire routine in eight minutes and comes over to talk with Lan and I, his biggest fans.

I chat with Heeb editor and founder Jennifer Bleyer (Jen at heebmagazine.com) for ten minutes. She and her magazine have received a ton of press. She did 40-minutes on the Howard Stern Show. She'd never listened to Howard Stern. He was brutal. He got her to show her bottom. He bagged on Steven Spielberg, whose foundation made a $60,000 grant to Heeb. Howard made jokes about the Holocaust. Jen was in shock but handled herself well and was funny and charming.

Her parents in Ohio found out about her appearance the next Saturday morning at synagogue.

Heebmagazine.com got so many hits from her Howard Stern appearance it shut down the site. She was bombarded with offers to do threesomes and other sexual perversions. She turned them all down as well as invitations to Howard Stern parties. Not her thing.

Jennifer was raised in Conservative Jewish day schools and majored in anthropology at college.

She's dressed in jeans and seems sweet and approachable. Josh and Jen and company flew in to LA last week and leave Thursday.

The loud pounding music makes it difficult to communicate.

I look for a bathroom and accidentally open the dancer's room while they're changing. They grab me, hold me down, and do all sorts of things to me strictly prohibited by the Torah. Ok, the last sentence is false.

I find the men's room and while I am doing my thing, I look at the walls and find they are covered with photos of naked overweight women from various twisted porn magazines.

My friends Aaron and Denise walk in as I leave at 11:45PM.

For three nights in a row, I haven't had enough sleep.

Heeb publisher Joshua Neuman writes:

"A lot of people say to me, 'Dave, how can you, an Orthodox Jew, us a Braun razor made in Germany?' And I say, 'Hey, give credit where it's due: Those people know how to take the beards off Jews.'" The crowd, seated in the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan, winces. The show had beeen billed as "There's Still a Fly in my Soup: An Evening of Young Jewish Comedy," and it was a big hit, up until this point. "So I guess you don't think the Holocaust is funny," he apologizes. "But I gotta tell you, it killed htem back in Poland."

Meet the world's worst Jewish comedian. Thirty-three-year-old Deutsch, a high school history teacher during the day, has been waiting for his big break in the comedy world since moving to New York from Milwaukee in 1994.


Jeffrey from Toronto, Ontario, writes Heeb Magazine: "I'm reading Heeb #2 right now and I'm already figuring out how you can fit into my life plan. I just returned from the Ukraine where I went with the innocent intention of visiting Hasidic gravesites on a Breslov pilgrimage. My hotel in Odessa was in the prostitution district however, and I ended up making a 21-minute shock-erotic-trash video using some of the local pros. The entire film was shot in eight hours using a home video camera on a budget of $300! The next morning, I was off to Berditchev to visit the grave of Rabbi Something-or-Other. Talk about extremes! Anyhow, I have found my calling and am looking for someone to take me under his wing, promote my hilarious brand of deviant sex tales and produce me. Screw the Torah, I was miserable there. I just want a life of pleasure now. Enclosed is my video. I expect you to love it and publicize it in your next issue. Get back to me on this!"

XXX writes: Did you walk around the party wondering why they were being so decadent during the sefira?

Sefira is a time of semi-mourning during the seven week run-up to the festival of Shuvuot (giving of the Torah).

I have a copy of the zine that this jennifer bleyer chick did in the mid-'90s - "mazel tov cocktail." It's not bad for, y'know, a 20 year old or whatever age she was, more punk rock style stuff. This is back when tower records used to sell zines. Heeb isn't *awful* but there's not exactly a lot of ideas flowing through it because it's operating from that snarky gen x perspective that Judaism is some kind of inside joke.

Anthony Pellicano Drama

XXX says: Even though they've dismissed federal charges against Alexander Proctor for terrorizing Los Angeles Times journalist Anita Busch, this case ain't over.

When law enforcement tossed Anthony Pellicano's office on Sunset Boulevard and found the illegal grenades, they also found evidence of wire-tapping. That Pellicano had been wire-tapping people on behalf of clients. There's a Grand Jury investigating this. Some prominent Los Angeles entertainment attorneys have been subpoened to appear and they are most uncomfortable about doing so.

Journalist John Connolly is working on a book on Anthony Pellicano called The Bad Detective.

Journalists who've been terrorized by Pellicano include Jeff Wells, Rod Lurie and Stuart Goldman.

Pellicano may be involved with the Max Factor heir (Andrew Luster, 39) who fled in anticipation of going to prison. Proctor told the FBI's informant that he was going to be paid $100,000 to help a criminal defendant flee the country.

There's a connection between Pellicano and Bill Pavlick, the unlicensed private investigator Luster used in his defense - Steven Seagal (as referenced in the March Esquire story on Pellicano). Seagal claimed he was using Pavlick for his investigations rather than Pellicano. That's a set-up.

Pavlick is a fired LAPD officer who drew a psycho pension. He worked as an unlicensed investigator on the OJ Simpson and Phil Spector cases. Pavlick is under investigation by the state of California for unlicensed activities. He's supposed to get a PI's license to do what he does.

Steven Seagal is an angry child. I believe he hired Pellicano who hired Proctor to intimidate Busch. I believe Seagal is passive-aggressive and wants to anonymously lash out at people and Pellicano is the ideal vehicle for that sort of aggression.

Seagal's friendships with law enforcement are on a superficial level. The FBI regards him as a punk and a sissy. Seagal had good relations with US Customs for a long time and he functioned as a reserve US customs agent so he could carry a gun all over the country. But Seagal burned that connection out by acting like a schmuck in Santa Barbara. You might recall a story about seven years ago about Seagal date-raping his 15-year old babysitter. That burned out his law enforcement connections.

His current connections with law enforcement have more to do with his problems with the Gambino crime family. I doubt Seagal will go down for the Busch threats.

Proctor could still go down in state court. The state's version of the penal code for extortion is different from the federal version.

I don't think Proctor will ever give Seagal up. I don't think Proctor ever met Seagal.

I don't think Pellicano will give anyone up unless he's facing 20-years in prison. I expect Pellicano to serve three or four years.

Pellicano is a neurotic angry control freak. His career is over. The feds have wanted him for a long time since he screwed them over the John DeLorean case in 1983.

Marty Singer pits tabloids against each other. He'll kill stories by promising he will get them a better story.

From the BBC: The great grandson of Max Factor, Mr Luster was arrested after a woman he met went to the police alleging he had spiked her drink with the so-called "date rape" drug, Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB).

When detectives raided his home, they say they found 17 videotapes or Mr Luster having sex with apparently unconscious women, many of whom have yet to be identified. Detectives were reportedly investigating whether he could have been part of an international ring of playboy millionaires said to be known as the Bachelors, who trade film of their date rape attacks over the internet.

Several years ago a British woman claimed that she had fallen victim to such a gang, telling police she had been raped in a London hotel after GHB was slipped into her drink.

Mr Luster has consistently denied the charges against him, claiming the women on the videotapes were engaged in consensual sex.


TMQ writes: According to the new Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, established by Richard Lapchick, who has doggedly counted up sports-and-race statistics over the years, NCAA men's basketball champion Syracuse University has not graduated an African-American scholarship basketball athlete in a decade.

The Return Of Vancouver Kendra

A blast from the past, shicksa Vancouver Kendra writes: Mr. Ford, Clearly you do not practise what you preach..... "A few weeks ago, I wrote an essay called: "The Magic Touch: A Candid Look at Your Moral Leader's Approach to Relationships." I offered practical reasons for refraining from all physical contact with the opposite sex before marriage (as well as contact with oneself that is debasing)."

Vancouver girls are gracious hosts as their houseguests can surely attest to, but they do not kiss and tell.

Luke replies: Just because I do not always live up to my highest ideals simply means that I can better empathize with the flock I lead. My critics can flock off. If I am morally weak at times, at least it is not with a Chosen One.


I pack books, clothes and protein bars into my van and drive north up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). I have no destination. I just want to get away from the unhappy life I've created for myself.

As the miles go by, I let go of the major ways I've projected myself to the world. Desmond Ford's son. The pursuer of forbidden knowledge about sex. Mr. Lukeford.com. Levi Ben Avraham. I let them all go and try to rediscover who lies beneath my layers of attention-seeking.

I stop in Monterey for the evening and walk around the Convention Center, hoping to fill the hole in my soul. Twenty years ago, the summer before my tenth grade entry into public school, my father held a series of evangelical meetings here. I walked around for the conference with a toothpick in my mouth. I imagined I was cool. I wasn't. I still ended up alone, sitting on the fence, looking at others.

Now I sit on the same concrete retaining wall I rested on then and I wonder why so little has changed for me. Then as now I can't reconcile my two great drives - to stand out and to fit in. Then as now I long for a savior.

I cross the Golden Gate Bridge at 2PM Thursday and head north on the PCH. It's a twisted lonely road with spectacular views. I have no radio in my van, but I have one in my head, and the songs it plays from the late seventies and early eighties tell me I'm coming home.

At 8PM, I navigate down the steep one-lane road to the Albion Field Station, a former lumber camp near Fort Bragg now operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. It was here in sixth grade that I was first kissed by girls.

I park by the bay and walk up the road beside the familiar wood cabins I bunked in 23 years ago. I expect a door to fling open at any time and an old friend to run out and embrace me and say, "Welcome home." But everything is still. I see and hear nobody. As the minutes tick by, and no savior arrives, I feel increasingly like a trespasser.

I turn around and return to the dock. Watching the sun set over the ocean, I wonder for the first time in years if it hasn't all been a big mistake. Why leave the Church? Why convert to Judaism? Why work so hard that I get sick? All the major decisions of my life seem so pointless. I'm just going in circles, alienating the people I want to accept me.

I drive north to Portland and spend the Sabbath. Then a Sunday hike with a new friend up Mount Hood to the snow. Then on to Seattle to spend a couple of days with a friend from elementary school. And at last, the peak of my trip, a drive north to Vancouver to see Kendra.


SAN FRANCISCO: On a sunny Monday mornning, I walk down Broadway Avenue on a mission of penitence. According to the great Judaic philosopher Maimonidies, you've only conquered a sin when you place yourself in the same situation where you erred previously and this time surmount the challenge.

It was 18-years-and-one-month-ago that I walked down this avenue with three other guys checking out sex shops.

Today I see that many of the smut shacks are still here but I've changed. I walk past what used to tempt me and visit what still does - my old flame Peppy.

We lie in the sun on the roof of her building which overlooks the bay, and try to make sense of our lives since the dotcom crash last summer, when she lost her job and I lost most of my income. Neither of us has answers to the other's problems and, after an hour of catching up, I'm on the road again, heading home.

Pictures From My Trip Up California's Coast Aug - Sept 2001

I haven't showered in several days at this point.

Luke in Big Sur Aug 31, 2001

Luke in Monterey Aug 31

Eric writes: Geez Luke, cheer up. You look like a Mansonite.

Sex is a Drug and I Became an Addict

I must confess. I partook early on. I can't get emotional oneness with my wife now because of the stupidity I had as a young lad with sexual escapades in college and whatnot. It keeps me from getting to that next level of intimacy that God has blessed us with. I hope my children will not go down the same path. Sex is a drug and I became an addict. I came out of high school with good morals and values, only experiencing it a few times, but after going to the moral wasteland that is college and it becomes a free for all.

Skeptic writes: "Why must you confess? Do you need filler? Or are you a bundle of weird compulsions? And you're married?? Since when? Please post a photo of your wife holding up the marriage license. You know, like a porn chick does with her driver's license. To prove she really is 18, "Barely Legal", or whatever. (Not that I've ever seen this, mind you. I've just heard it is done.) Skeptical readers want proof. It's not that we think you're dishonest. Or unmarriageable. It's more that... Flipping these around, you're not exceptional either way."

Luke says: I needed filler, God help me.

Chaim Amalek, the religion editor of Lukeford.net, writes: You dishonest jew, you, how do you know this Kayla? God I hate you so.

Someday I will establish a true socialist state in the world, in which the Kaylas will be made to honor the socialist dictum, "from each according to her abilities, to each according to his needs." 

Do you think that if I were three hundred pounds lighter and thirty years younger and had some money and a car that girls like Kayla would want to get to know me better, you know, to see the inner beauty that lies within inside me?

Ruby says: "I'm not going to sit here and say I've never done drugs. We all know I like my green. Greenery for the scenery. You can smoke and smoke and smoke and you won't OD and you will still know right from wrong. I don't like to be around the more severe kind of things."

Levine wins Times award for powerful 'Harmful to Minors'

From LATimes.com: Judith Levine, whose provocative book on children's sexuality created a firestorm of controversy even before it was published, was awarded a Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the current interest category Saturday night.

"Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex" presents the argument that children are often deprived of realistic advice about sex. She also makes a case that young Americans are entitled to safe, satisfying sex lives.

The award came as something of a surprise, given the topic and that one of the finalists was Samantha Power, who recently won the Pulitzer Prize for "A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," which documents the United States' failure to confront global crimes against humanity.

Levine was rebuffed by numerous publishers before the University of Minnesota Press accepted the manuscript. One publisher called the book "radioactive." But the judges for the book prizes thought differently, calling the work "a cogent and passionate critique of the war against young people's sexuality.

An uncompromising humanist and feminist, Judith Levine exposes the moral panic behind such policies as 'abstinence-only' sex education and insists on adults' responsibility to give affirmative support to children's and teenagers' sexual development."

The judges also commended the University of Minnesota Press for its courage in publishing the book in the face of attacks by outraged state legislators. Levine was presented the prize, a commendation and $1,000 at UCLA's Royce Hall as part of the 2003 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

From Publishers Weekly: "In America today, it is nearly impossible to publish a book that says children and teenagers can have sexual pleasure and be safe too," writes journalist Levine (My Enemy, My Love). Levine has somehow pulled that off. Western European countries assume that "sexual expression is a healthy and happy part of growing up"; thus Levine argues that sex is not necessarily bad for minors, and that puritanical attitudes often backfire. According to her, as the age of sexual initiation drops in America, the age of consent is rising. She observes that most so-called pedophiles are attracted to teenagers rather than kids an important subtlety recently aired in the media. (Still, her call for common sense on pedophilia is marred by an inadequate acknowledgment of the extent of online child porn, as documented in Philip Jenkins's recent Beyond Tolerance.) She notes the disturbing trend toward pathologizing young children's eroticized play and criticizes mainstream America for letting the Christian right steer sex education toward an emphasis on abstinence. Compounding that, she says, the right wing has expunged abortion discussions.

A reader from Orlando, FL, writes on Amazon.com: "Perhaps this woman was molested when she was young, and is trying to make herself to believe it was right. I am aware of children/adolescent sexuality, but letting them to have sexual experiences with adults is something absurd and it only can come from a sick source. This woman needs psychiatric attention, before she corrupts all our society. Out there are kids who had been sexually abused, and are struggling with those feelings. Perhaps, and I have no doubt, she wrote this with no bad intentions, but this won't help, not a little with the awful and critic situation we have in our countries today, pregnants teenager, abused children, young killers. This book serves well as a how-to-pervert-children/adolescent manual."

Another reader writes: Judith Levine writing about the development of children's sexuality, and the impulses parents feel to protect them, is a little bit like a male professional football player trying to write about the ins-and-outs of feminism. It is NOT that she gets facts wrong. In fact, a lot of her statistics are fascinating and do prove the point that adults willfully underestimate the power of child/adolescent sexuality.

It is that she gets the facts right, while missing the MUSIC of child/adolescent development. If she were writing about drugs, for instance, she would insist that the statistics on first-time heroin-use deaths are wrongfully used to scare children and teens away from trying it, since many/most aren't killed by it and may learn that heroin is "not for them".

As someone who works as a counselor for teens in a public school setting, I can tell you that the number of girls who continue to get victimized by their four-year-older, six-year-older, ten-year-older, twelve-year-older "boyfriends" (i.e., men in their twenties who prefer their females "young and dumb") is legion. While the THEORY is that we should educate, nurture and support the healthy sexuality and self-esteem of all these girls, believe me -- they are in no way prepared for what they have gotten themselves into, once they have found out that their biological equipment works and is a fast-track to -- they hope -- a little bit of love and acceptance (in lieu of genuine self-esteem). While Ms. Levine mocks these assumptions -- perhaps assumes that most girls are little-Judy-Levines-waiting-to-blossom -- the human consequences are enormous. Many of them begin a lifetime of disappointing experiences with men, which results -- quickly -- in the next generation of children to be raised with deficits.

So...it is easy and fun to attack "the Right" and "the Christian Right" over and over again, while waving the ramparts, and it all is an enjoyable read. But it has little correspondance with the reality I work with day by day. As for her assumption that children/adolescents can enjoyably have sexual experiences with adults, let's just say that the kids I talk to don't represent it that way. They are mired in shame and disgust and feel badly ripped-off.

I think Judith Levine enjoys the idea of teen/young-teen sexuality more than taking a sober look at the realities, statistics notwithstanding. Whimsical, theoretical...and...clearly the work of a non-parent. Her assertion that she has nieces, or nephews, and KNOWS people who have children, or that freshmen in college talk to her with an ease and honesty they don't speak to their parents with, just makes me kind of laugh.


On his nationally syndicated radio show, Dennis Prager said: It is not a good thing for adults to have sex with teenagers. It's not pedophilia but why is it good?

"Levine argues that love may ruin teenage girls more than sex." There's an intelligent argument. It can only mean that this woman [Levine] was probably hurt in some love relationship and it has distorted her outlook on life.

"I'm amazed how often women are saying that it is good for teenagers to have sex. There's something pyschologically sick with many women of the intellectual class. They are so remote from their feminine instincts. The woman by nature is the protector of innocence and of her children. To want your child to have sex is so distorted of the feminine mind...

"The male brain is sex oriented. I want to have it. I want to take it. But the female brain is more love oriented. It's not, 'I must touch a male leg and I must rub a male. I must have sex.' That's not the way a young female raised in a healthy environment thinks. She wants to be hugged and stroked and she has fantasies about being touched... Adult females have been the guardians of their daughters. Most women want sex within a context.

"A very very attractive male, brilliant, kind, a winner. A religious Jew in his late twenties. He was telling me that for religious reasons, he does not have sex. He's keeping that for marriage. In every case in the past few years that he's gotten to know a woman, in every instance, about ten times, they've offered sex to him. And at every instance he said no because of religious reasons. In nine of the ten instance, the woman hugged him. She was so relieved. She had offered sex because that is what young women today are told is the only way to get a guy. You get love through sex. Men use love to get sex, women use sex to get love. It made him all the more desirable to me.

"We live in a new world where sex is expected so fast of the female...without any hint of commitment that a distortion has taken place in the feminine psyche.

"If you go to amazon.com, it is fascinating to see how many women have written reviews to say how good the books is. Something has happened to the females, as females get more masculine and men get more feminine. It is a sad development for society.

"I want to know how many adults regret having sex as a teenager and how many regret not having sex as a teenager. I'm glad I didn't have sex as a teenager. Forget morality and religion, let's talk pragmatism.

"A lot of women who had sex early do not enjoy it as much later in life."

A man calls: "I partook early on... I can't get emotional oneness with my wife because of the stupidity I had as a young lad with sexual escapades in college and whatnot. It keeps me from getting to that next level of intimacy that God has blessed us with. I hope my children will not go down the same path. Sex is a drug and I became an addict. I came out of high school with good morals and values, only experiencing it a few times, but after going to the moral wasteland that is college and it becomes a free for all. Like the caller who said nine out of ten women say yes to the sex..."

Dennis: "They don't say yes to the sex, they offer it.

"I thank God that I did not have sex as a teen. I believe it has contributed immensely to my energy, my love of life, my love of sex. I speak to so many people who started early and don't love it later.

"It's good to do what your hormones tell you to do when you are 15? What good does it do? Intercourse should be considered a cosmic event, not on the physical level of urinating."

Los Angeles Times Book Fair

My life is divided into two spheres - the sacred and the non-sacred. The sacred part of my life is spent within my Orthodox Jewish community and runs about 30-40 hours a week. It is the most important part of my life.

The rest of my time is spent at work, chasing romance, socializing with fellow writers...

Friday night I went to synagogue and then to the home of Orthodox friends. We ate delicious lasagna and ice cream and salad and we sat back and talked until 11PM.

I couldn't help asserting myself in the conversation, pushing it in the direction of the impossibility of reconciling Orthodox Judaism with modernity. My friends are Modern Orthodox. I'm putatively Orthodox.

Modernity challenges Orthodox Judaism in many ways. I'd divide the challenges into theoretical and practical. Modernity's theoretical challenges include:

* Almost everyone who has studied the evidence has concluded that the historical claims of the Bible can not be validated. For instance, that the Exodus did not occur as the Biblical book of Exodus describes it.

* That the Torah, the first five books, are a post-Mosaic composite work.

Practical challenges:

* Jewish Law makes it virtually impossible to have meaningful interactions with non-Orthodox Jews and non-Jews. You can't eat with them. You can't drink non-kosher wine with them.

My Modern Orthodox friends did not see the challenges. They felt completely comfortable with modernity and with their faith. I don't think they're being authentic to either.

That even Orthodox Jews will claim that Judaism doesn't have dogma is pathetic because even the most secular Jew knows that a Jew who affirms Jesus as God and Messiah is outside of Judaism.

It does not bother me that Orthodox Judaism, in many ways, rejects modernity. I think much of modernity should be rejected on moral grounds. Still, I think we should be honest that Orthodox Judaism, of all the major religions, has adapted the least well to the modern world.

My evidence? Almost all the Jews who succeed big in the greater world are not Orthodox Jews. There are few Orthodox Jewish journalists. There are few Orthodox Jewish professors in the humanities.

Almost nobody examines the way he's chosen to lead his life and if you question them about it, they almost never respond, 'This is a compromise with my ideals. I do it because of personal weakness.' Instead they will twist and turn to justify everything they do as intellectually, morally, and religious consistent.

I walked around the LA Times book fair Sunday and I saw one man with a yarmulke. I'm not aware of a single Orthodox Jew on any of the book panels. I'm not aware of any Orthodox Jewish presence at the fair. Why? I don't believe it's because the fair discriminated against Orthodox Jews. It's because Orthodox Jews have largely opted out of modernity's intellectual dialogue. There's little intellectual ferment in Orthodox Jewish life. There's great study of ancient sacred text but there's little discussion and study of how modernity challenges the texts.

I spent Sunday at various panels at the fair. They had many intelligent authors on them but the panels were overwhelmingly dull. There's something about the format. Most of the panels I've attended in my life have been dull. Which ones have been exception? The ones with conflict. The most interesting parts of the panel I was on with Mickey Kaus, Eugene Volokh and company in February was when we had sharp disagreements.

The first panel of the day I attended was: "Art of the Memoir: When the Going Gets Tough." Panelists were Michael Datcher, James, Frey, Marsha Recknagel and Janet Sternburg. Most of them seemed like nice enough people but their discussion lacked conflict. I learned nothing. It was dull.

Then I met up with David Poland and company, and attended "Women in Hollywood." I only knew one panelist - Lynda Obst. She's wide open to the world. She's always appearing on panels, giving speeches, appearing on chat shows, writing articles and participating in the intellectual life of America. It's an admirable trait. I've seen her at book signings. People often complain that Hollywood is closed. I think it's wide-open. I know of no industry more excited about finding new ideas. Obst is out there talking to strangers.

Other panelists were Norma Barzman and Millie Gregory. The moderator Cari Beauchamp. It was a girly-girl chat and mildly amusing.

I left at 11:50 for "Rediscovering the Word of God." Panelists were editor Herschel Shanks (Moment magazine, Biblical Archeology Review) and author Johnathan Kirsch. The moderator was LA Times book editor Nick Owchar. Nobody on the panels believed the Bible was the word of God and I doubt any of them believed in God. Several audience members worked out when the panelists made clear their lack of belief in the divine authorship of the Bible.

CSPAN carried the panel line.

Kirsch hates Orthodox Judaism with a passion. He proclaimed there was no such thing as authentic Judaism. That Ancient Israel was a pluralistic diverse world. This notion of a "Torah Jew" is ridiculous. A Torah Jew is someone who believes in a literalistic interpretation of scripture and likes to lead goats to slaughter.

That Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians walk out of his talks.

I thought I should challenge Kirsch. My body started pumping with adrenalin. I couldn't believe how nervous I was.

I made my way to the microphone and stumbled through my question, which was something like this: I'm one of those horrible Orthodox Jews you're talking about. I'm curious to understand why Mr. Kirsch hates Orthodox Judaism so much he feels compelled to publicly lie about it. You said that a Torah Jew must interpret the scripture literally. For thousands of years, since the beginning of Orthodox interpretation of scripture, Orthodox Jews have understood that text is to be understood on many different levels, just starting with the literal and going to the metaphorical and the mystical. I'd like to venture that the real reason you hate Orthodox Judaism and so delight in subverise understandings of Jewish sacred text is that you don't want to held accountable to a higher moral law, which Orthodox Judaism embodies.

Kirsch welcomed my challenge and answered it well.

I bet Kirsch's life has not changed in any specific behavior since he started writing his books on the Bible. His books are of varying literary worth but virtually no religious worth. Nobody is going to start leading a religious life or practicing a moral discipline after reading them.

Why would a smart guy like Kirsch say something so stupid as that there is no authentic Judaism? Why doesn't he just admit he doesn't want to be accountable to a higher moral law? That he doesn't want to observe the Jewish laws of Sabbath, diet, speech, etc? I am my own God. I want to do my own thing. Don't bother me.

That way Kirsch would've been spared the task of writing four books undermining the traditional Jewish understandings of sacred text.

It's weird to have a program entitled "Understanding the Word of God" when none of the participants believe it is the word of God. Well, not weird really. Kirsch and company want to undermine the belief that God wrote the Bible and that He holds people accountable for their behavior.

I often read Kirsch's heretical books while in my Orthodox shul and surrounded by praying men.

I've been in LA for nine years and been to this book fair several times but this is the first time I went to the panels.

At 2:30PM, I went to: "Writing Biography." The panelists were Brenda Maddox and T.J. Stiles. The moderator was A. Scott Berg. All were smart and funny yet I had a hard time staying awake. Not enough conflict.

Chaim writes: So you are gonna take more meds just so you don't ask comfortable jews questions that discomfit? Christians don't even attempt such psychiatric mind control. You need a new religious home.

LaExaminer.com writes: Trying to sleep? Maybe you need a dose of C-SPAN's coverage of yesterday's LA book fest! (It's live right now on C-SPAN 2.) Patt Morrison, Kit Rachlis and Pete Hamill are discussing Los Angeles vs. New York or something. Lots of people in the audience are nodding their heads in that knowing fashion. It's sort of interesting, too ... but we're getting sleepy. We were looking for the bad rock music, but C-SPAN 2 ain't putting out.

Rachel Cohen writes LaExaminer.com: Every year I look at the Festival schedule and I think how nice it would be to go, but every year, I snap out of it. It's boring. The subjects and their comnetators are so predictable, I know what they'll say before they open their mouths. And there's something so self-satisfied about the Times parading their own columnists to rub elbows with the nearly-big guys. The Times hosts an event so they can write about it.

Brady writes: The Times has book review section? Oh, so THAT'S what that is supposed to be. I always thought the purpose of that part of the paper was to NOT review books, but to instead to talk about everything under the sun other than the book they are supposedly reviewing. And, no I can't recall ever wanting to read, much less buy, a book after a LAT review.

Douglas Rushkoff Asks - Why Don't You Love Me?

Douglas Rushkoff writes in the Jewish Week: So just who is allowed to participate in the conversation that is Judaism, anyway? Is it a blood test, a history of contributions to the right philanthropies, or a working knowledge of the Talmud that earns one a place at the table?

And instead of seeing engaged, secular Jews as success stories, we were mourned as the religion’s failures.

I received several thousand e-mails — the vast majority extremely supportive. "If that’s Judaism, count me in!" most of the so-called lapsed Jews wrote me. Jews of choice were elated, and told me of the various trials associated with conversion, as well as their continuing sense of exclusion. Even the philanthropies I criticized seemed to welcome the attention from a member of their latest target market and invited me to advise them on how to focus on Judaism’s many offerings rather than its imminent demise - and still raise money.

Dishearteningly, the vast majority of negative response came from rabbis and Jewish pundits who feared that I was reducing Judaism to tikkun olam [social justice] (which I wasn’t).

Luke says: The ordinary people love him and his ideas because Rushkoff is speaking to non-Orthodox Jews and non-Orthodox laity know almost nothing about Judaism and are apt to welcome Rushkoff's no-sacrifices-required approach to the religion. Rabbis know Judaism and they know how Jewishly inauthentic his ideas are and therefore they respond negatively.

Rushkoff advocates a Judaism without communal shunning and enforcement mechanisms, a Judaism without God and His moral and rituals demands that would not survive over time.

I have not yet read Rushkoff's book on Judaism, Nothing Sacred. I'm just popping off from the top of my head based on fragments (of his teachings) and prejudices (mine).

Luke Ford

Alexander writes: I wrote this poem after reading up on him on his website, lukeford.net. This poem is about the most hated, controversial journalist in ---- valley...

"Luke Ford" by Alexander The Poet 04.26.03

He's the Matt Drudge -- -----,
In the industry, he hit a cord
Most ----stars lives were torn,
Thanks to this journalist named, Luke Ford

From the land down under,
Luke Ford relocated to LA
Luke brought with him thunder,
That still shakes the ---- world to this day

Luke Ford's a devout Jew,
Well, actually, he converted
Luke's rabbis never knew,
That he wrote, about the perverted

Many female ----stars,
Were living life, with so much heartache
They felt Luke went too far,
Just go ahead and ask, ----- ----

Luke kept getting sued,
For posting stories filled with "lies?"
But some of them had truth,
Somewhere out there, Marc Wallace, still cries

Today, Luke Ford still writes,
And today, ------- still, want him dead
But with Luke, that's alright,
Cause today, Luke Ford's still, widely read

THE END NOTE: This poem is not necessarily an endorsement of Luke Ford. It's just a poem summarizing what Luke Ford has done. Some verses may not be viewed as popular things to recollect, but hey, they happened and they only make the poem more complete and thorough. The unpopular recollections mentioned, are infact, what made Luke Ford, and what he became well known for. So I felt it wouldn't be wrong to include them.

Khunrum writes: There seem to be some missing words in the poem. Could Alex the Poet be referring to Luke's career in _________?

Airforce Amy Speaks Out About The War On Iraq

What's with the name Air Force Amy?

Well, I really was active duty Air Force, serving a full term with an honorable discharge. I was an Air Base Ground Defense Instructor and Anti Terrorism Specialist. I also performed law enforcement and security duties. I am highly decorated to include as MSM (Meritorious Service Medaal). I also received Awards airman of the Year, Woman of the Year, and S.P. of the Year. I was promoted twice (early). I also received the John Levitow award, the highest Academic award achievable.

Did you like the military?

I loved it! It proved to me that I could do anything I out my mind to. I earned my college degree. I saw all of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. I learned great work ethic, self discipline, and human relations. I learned comraderie and loyalty.

Why did you get out?

My term of enlistment was up. My last duty station was at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas. The bright lights and pursuit of glamour and wealth looked more exciting than playing war games.

Luke: "How do you feel about the war on Iraq?"

Amy: "I'm real sad about it. People should not hit people. I'm a lover not a fighter."

Luke: "What were you doing in the Armed Services then?"

Amy: "I learned a lot about how our government acts... I don't know. I don't think it's too cool."

Luke: "How come you're not jaded ?"

Amy: "I'm really open. Thirteen years ago, when I got into the industry, I said to myself, 'I have to learn kindess, patience, compassion, and understanding.' I didn't have that growing up. In the military, I was real callous."

Khunrum writes: Air Force Amy looks pretty sturdy. Weathered but tough. It is spirit like hers that wins wars.

Chaim Amalek writes: Congratulations! Not just on selling a story to the Star (which is moving to NY from anthrax-tainted Florida), but more on having a conduit to big-time media that you can use to punish your enemies and reward your friends.

I'm Going To LA Times Book Fair Sunday

I will be autographing copies of my first book: "The Magic Touch: A Candid Look at Your Moral Leader's Approach to Relationships," wherein I offer practical reasons for refraining from all physical contact with the opposite sex before marriage. "Gila Manolson" is my Hebrew pen name.

"With her clear, frank style, she cuts down to the bare bones of the matter, exploring the underpinnings of dating, love, and marriage, offering the Torah perspective as a guide."

Khunrum writes: Naturally I am reminded of those two Jewish gargoyles who wrote that book "The Rules." Don't hear much from them or their useless rules these days. No matter, they made a fast buck giving bad advice. Remember? No nookie before marriage and never ever call the guy first. I bet there are still lonely women out there sitting at home with the cat on their lap. "When is he going to phone? It's been seven years....certainly he'll call me soon"...

Thought For The Day - Are We Only Happy In Retrospect?

Email Luke

David "Hot Button" Poland writes: The question is... are we ever happy in retrospect? Happiness most often happens in the moment. And when we revel in the past, we are making ourselves happy, again, in the moment. Life is like a skywriting plane... intense at whatever point we are at, always fading behind us and still hard to read, even from the perspective of the ground. Be the plane, Luke.

Ghostly Feel To LA Press Club Party

Author Elmore Leonard was the guest of honor Thursday night at the Roosevelt Hotel at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard.

I found the banter more disjointed and ghostly than I've experienced before and I left at 9PM. Normally I'm one of the last to leave these events.

Matt Welch and Ken Layne would like to see me go on the road and interview the Democratic candidates for President with the same hoover-approach I used on Cathy Seipp.

Matt listed off half a dozen reasons why we're likely to see a Los Angeles Post, modeled on the New York daily tabloid.

Chaim Amalek writes: Must have heat... Almost May and it is still bloody chilly at night out here. (My landlord does not deign to provide heat this time of year.) Where's the global warming I was promised? This totally blows. And there you are, rolling in dough, studying Torah, driving a vehicle, and hobnobing with America's overlords.

Khunrum writes: Luke, With your knowledge of religion and "matinee idol" looks you could easily be a High Priest of Kabalah. All the Hollywood trend setters would beat a path to your door. Good-bye Hovel........Hello Malibu Beach Home. I see you as Madonna's next husband. Don't let this opportunity slip away. Kabalah is your ticket.

Epidemiology Thursday

Louie Pasteur asks: How is the world of cinematic prostitution dealing with the reality of SARS?

Angry Yankee asks: Is not the current outbreak of SARS in Toronto God's punishment of Canada for being so liberal regarding the war on terror?

Confused Californian asks: Why haven't any Mexicans caught SARS yet?

Cupiditous Ken asks: How can we profit from this disease?

Dennis Prager Show

The Palo Alto City Council has passed a resolution discouraging eye rolling, and disrespectful gestures and comments. Dennis Prager says that the further left you go, the more you encounter a totalitarian impulse. Liberalism has become feelings based. It's not a coincidence that a woman is behind these new laws. Women are more concerned about feelings. Women's feelings get hurt easier than men's. Liberalism is a feminine movement. Conservatism is a masculine movement. In the public sphere, feelings-based policies are generally bad ideas. In the private realm,

You don't rib a woman. You rib men because women are more likely to get their feelings hurt. If one kid is allergic to peanuts, the liberal bans peanuts in school because we feel for the kid. Conservatives are thought-based and hence won't ban peanuts because one kid is allergic.


Can a liberal and a conservative love and marry each other and have it work? Prager has his doubts. Prager says it is a comfort that he agrees with his wife on almost every political issue. They don't agree on how to run a home. DP leaves all decorating issues to his wife.

DP: "Neither of us are a yes-person.

"If I came home to a woman who said, 'George Bush is one of the worst presidents we've ever had and I don't understand how you think he's doing a good job for the country.' It would be painful that on some of my deepest convictions are not shared by my wife. I want to come home to peace and to a shared valued system.

I don't think of my political views as the same as my taste in cars. My views reflect my soul. I want to be able to share my soul with my wife, my deepest feelings.

A conservative Christian and Jew have more in common than a liberal Christian and a conservative Christian. (DP strongly opposes religious intermarriage but supports racial intermarriage.)

I Don't Cry For Gangbangers

The LA Times does. It worries that people aren't as concerned about the deaths of gangbangers as the deaths of innocent people. It seems obvious to me. Members of gangs belong to criminal enterprises that murder people and deal in drugs and destruction. I shed no tears when gangbangers die.

Eric Hilf writes: Nor should you.

And yes, the LA Times is a very PC newspaper. Almost unbelievably so. Logically, it seems the more of them -- the "gangbangers" --who die, the safer the rest of us, including and especially the people who live in the communities they terrorize (I do feel sorry for them), will be.

Also, give this a try: challenge a Times' reporter to name a white gang acting to similar effect. Or to cite an instance where a white has been convicted of a drive-by shooting. Just one instance.

Then juxtapose this with their nearly open borders stance on immigration.

A short time ago the Times was aghast because after federalization whites were getting jobs as airport screeners. (Just another job "Americans won't do" -- right?) But even with the statistics given in the article, whites were still under-represented in the developing workforce of new airport screeners. Of course the Times was not concerned about that. Instead, the Times worried about how non-whites might feel about being screened by a workforce that is majority-white.

Curiously, before (again, using statistics published in the article) when the screeners at LAX were (almost unbelievable) 99% non-white, I don't recall an article in the Times worrying how whites seemed to be virtually shutout of these jobs, or about how whites felt being screened by non-whites.

You have to wonder why the Times prints a separate comics section, since a portion of the rest of it is regularly a big laugh.

Lukeford.net Won't Whore For Hits

We live in an internet generation searching for its identity.

While the Lukeford.net way of life has a radiance and depth that is unrivaled, it is unquestionably under-explored by those on the "outside" and often undervalued by those on the "inside."

A major cause of the above phenomena is the assumption that all the stereotypes of Luke Ford with which we are familiar are accurate pictures of Luke and the LF.net lifestyle.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an essay called: "The Magic Touch: A Candid Look at Your Moral Leader's Approach to Relationships." I offered practical reasons for refraining from all physical contact with the opposite sex before marriage (as well as contact with oneself that is debasing).

The essay received many positive responses from women in my seminary. One told me privately, "You are famous among yeshiva girls and infamous among their boyfriends." Many synagogues have asked me to speak on this topic.

Yet as time passed, I felt compelled to address the whole issue of modesty. Anything spiritual will resist being reduced to words. Modesty is no different; it can be truly understood only through living it.

Usually we perceive websites on their surface. We look at their fancy graphics and blinking banners and we often believe that we are looking at their essence. Human beings are the same way.

True modesty means looking past the superficial layers to the real person or website lying underneath. Modesty means knowing and communicating to others that your identity equals your innermost self.

The way to project this message is to transform the outside layers of yourself into an expression of your inside. As any photographer knows, too much light can wash out the subtlety and beauty of a photograph. In the same way, when all of your own light shines unfiltered, your inner self can be lost from the picture.

Ask yourself - do you see to draw attention to your body or to your website or do you have a deeper message to convey and do you dress or design yourself accordingly?

Just the other day I was standing on Van Nuys Blvd when a sports car pulled up and a couple got out. He had on skin-tight pants and a shirt unbuttoned halfway down his chest. She was sporting a low-cut blouse, a clingy miniskirt and spike heels. I looked at them, and my spontaneous, uncensored reaction was, "I don't get it. What's he trying to prove - and why is she dressed like a streetwalker?"

I read websites like LaExaminer.com and I wonder similar things. What are they trying to prove? Why do they offer photos of scantily clad women? Don't they want to communicate their deepest selves?

True modesty means holding back with one's most precious parts for a limited audience. That's why lukeford.net doesn't advertise itself, doesn't ask for links, and doesn't whore itself to a wider audience. We believe we have something special here and we share it with only a limited audience.

Lukites dress in a way which allows their outsides to reflect their insides. We de-emphasize body exposure and emphasize dignity. Lukites avoid activities that may lead others to perceive them as less than spiritual. For this reason, on festive occasions, male and female Lukites usually dance on separate sides of a partition. In the Lukeford.net forum, men and women post in different sections to avoid promiscuity.

While crossing the threshold of sexual experience is deeply transformative for both sexes, LF.net understands its impact to be greater upon a female. When a woman covers her hair after first reading LF.net.com, she makes the statement: "My eyes have been opened - and at the same time, I intend to keep my sexuality where it belongs: in the intimacy of marriage."

Gaining direct sexual knowledge, however, is not the only change that reading LF.net brings about. Ideally, reading this website opens the door to new levels of self- and other-awareness, opportunities for profound multi-faceted giving.

(Source: Outside Inside by Gila Manolson)