Free Range

So now we are expecting flocks of East Side chickens. They’ll strut around picking at organic wheatgrass, clucking about the young chicks and their ways, laying artisanal eggs and performing on youtube.

I guess we have to live with it– a sign of the times. I saw a contraband chicken in a coop in a back yard in Fox Point some years ago. Will the eggs taste as good without the spice of the forbidden?

Just Funnin’

The weasely young guy whose fake ‘pimp’ video gave ACORN’s political enemies enough political cover to shut it down had a great new idea. He was going to lure a CNN reporter into an embarrassing situation– and then broadcast it. A kind of Republican ‘Candid Camera’.

Salon has coverage of James O’Keefe’s plan to use his masculine charm to seduce the reporter– and get even with her for using her ‘bleach blonde’ attributes to get the credibility that rightly belongs to him– at least that’s how he sees it. His plan, interestingly, was foiled by a woman who was supposed to be his assistant. She recognized crazy when she saw it.

The hate behind this plan to sexually humiliate a female journalist, and O’Keefe’s sense of grievance and right to get even is truly creepy. Kind of like a flasher who gets off on scaring and shocking women.

Is this the Young Republican hero?

Tracy Clark-Flory wonders whether O’Keefe was trying to fake CNN into running a faked sex scandal…

Maybe he wanted to trick [reporter, Abbie] Boudreau into believing she had happened upon a salacious story about another conservative with a sordid secret life just begging to be exposed. Given that O’Keefe sees CNN as wildly biased — which is funny, given that the network is “allergic to opinion to the point of occasional incoherence,” as Alex Pareene put it — it could be that he assumed Boudreau would run wild with the story and then O’Keefe would humiliate her by revealing it as a hoax.
The props seem too slapstick for that, though. I mean, fuzzy handcuffs and Alicia Keys? Is this a sex den or a 20-year-old’s bachelorette party? Also, please note that the list of props includes “an obvious sex tape machine” — you know, one of those crazy sex tape machines the perverts are always using. Maybe O’Keefe’s plan was simply to create an atmosphere of sexual humiliation — to coax Boudreau into an environment filled with sex toys and images of naked ladies — and then document her inevitable discomfort and embarrassment. All the while, O’Keefe makes over-the-top passes at her while she struggles to function in a professional capacity. (Boudreau reports there is also a lot of sexually explicit language in the planning memo that CNN has not yet released.)


Echidne of the Snakes has Abbie Boudreau’s comments.

CNN’s reporting on the incident reveals a seriously malicious focus on Abby Boudreau and an intention to ‘burden her career’. What is going on with these people?

Live From the Liberty

The Liberty is now boasting a new sign by Brent Batchelder that is a work of art in itself. The Liberty will be the featured diner on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network tonight at 11. The mood of the day is ‘cautiously optimistic. But it’s almost closing time. Stop in at 7am Tues-Fri and the mood will be sunny side up.

Sebastian Ruth, founderof Community Music Works on Westminster St., just got a MacArthur genius grant. Congratulations, local boy!

Nicole is the fourteenth named storm of the season, but from where I sit the coast is clear. Better get back to work now.

Faithfully Ignorant

It’s not often I am presented with the opportunity to tout my atheism and gloat. After all, we of little faith generally do not win any popularity contests. Or elections, for that matter. But we did come out ahead in a recent Pew Research Center survey on religious knowledge:

Basic Religion Test Stumps Many Americans

Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.

Researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life phoned more than 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.

On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences. [full article]

It’s not always easy being a faithless heathen in a country full of God-fearing believers, even if we are possessed of greater religious knowledge (and the occasional demon). Granted, times have changed. In years past, we might have gotten invited to the occasional barbecue (featuring us as the main entree). Now, the worst we might face is a look of scorn or pity or, ironically, disbelief. I guess folks have the Muslims to get all hot and bothered about instead.

Anyway, if you’d like to take a 15-question sample of the Pew survey, follow this link. In case you’re wondering, I aced it—15 out of 15 correct. I’m going to savor this moment while I can, since an eternity in hell (where the televisions are all tuned to Fox News) reportedly awaits me.

Battered Nation

He was passionate and charming, a God-fearing man sustained by the strength of his convictions and the force of his personality. He did not hesitate to speak his mind and did so bluntly and plainly. He conveyed power, self-assurance, and a rugged masculinity. When she was with him, he made her feel protected and watched over. She fell for him hard.

They were together for 8 years. At first, he seemed to treat her well. Though not a generous man by nature, he occasionally managed to bestow modest gifts upon her, about which he made a great fuss. Over time, he became less giving and less attentive. He seemed to take her for granted. He began to ignore and minimize her needs, thinking only of himself and his cronies. He became secretive and deceitful. He spied on her. He spent unwisely and took money from her. He burned through their savings and amassed a mountain of debt. He behaved rashly, even picking fights with strangers. When she brought up his behavior, he angrily questioned her love and intimated that she was unfaithful. He told her that no one would care for her if he left.

Despite everything, she stayed with him. She looked the other way or made excuses for his behavior. She rationalized that he could not help himself, that he was just naturally intense and passionate. She felt like she needed him. So she stuck it out, busying herself with work and taking refuge in the creature comforts of eating and shopping—and in the illusion that everything was all right.

More years passed, and then something shifted. His hold over her waned, and she managed to gain her independence. She even started to see someone else, who seemed more kindly and sensitive to her needs. But she remained burdened by the legacy of her prior relationship. She was haunted by crushing debt and painful memories that defied escape. She despaired, and her new relationship suffered. He could not rescue her, and she faulted him for this inability and his matter-of-fact demeanor.

When her old beau began to woo her back, pledging that things would be different, she found herself oddly tempted.

Left Unsaid

A quick post before work–

I had BBC on yesterday and heard audio of Bishop Eddie Long’s address to his congregation regarding allegations of sexual abuse of young men he was mentoring. He did not say that the allegations were untrue. Why? What he left unsaid is central to the whole scandal. You can see another report here. It mirrors what was on BBC.

The congregation is standing by him, but they have been ‘primed’. Countless sermons about how Christians stand against ‘the world’ lay the groundwork for denying anything coming from outside. This mechanism is not unique to churches.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Kara Russo is on the front page of the Providence Journal again today. She’s the Republican Party’s version of the ex-girlfriend who keeps driving by your house. But I actually have some sympathy– not for any of her views, but for the way she must feel losing to Heidi Rogers, who instantly decided she had other priorities and dropped out.

Bob Kerr at compared the Republican slate in the Lt. Governor’s race to a shell game. Whichever you pick, you lose.

[Heidi] Rogers got some people’s attention. She looked like a candidate, sounded like a candidate, even made a few of the usual candidate moves in what was not a high-powered run to be second-string governor.

Then, after she won the primary for lieutenant governor, she wasn’t a candidate anymore.

And the damn pea was under the shell in the middle, not the one on the right.

People have been had. They thought things were in place that weren’t. They thought a name on the ballot meant something.

This is just so low rent, so tacky and insulting. It is toying with the voters, playing games with the process.

Read the rest here– very funny and on target.

If I had given a single buck, or made a single phone call for Heidi Rogers, I’d feel scammed.

As it was, I voted for Elizabeth Roberts with enthusiasm. She is a strong advocate for health care, and our current governor has not been a team player.

I recall a certain snowstorm– because I sat in traffic for three hours. Though there’s plenty of blame to go around, a governor who waltzed off with the keys in his pocket and no provision for emergencies made a bad situation much worse.

Will we have a more functional state government this time around? At least there’s hope that the Gov and Lt.Gov will be on speaking terms.