Sunday, October 06, 2013

Truest statement of the week

The government shutdown battle is more like a Civil War reenactment than the real thing. A face-saving bargain will soon be struck, returning 825,000 furloughed federal employees to their jobs at wages that have been frozen for the past two years – not by the Republicans, but on President Obama’s orders. The clock has been stuck with both hands on “austerity” since Obama came fully out of the closet as a GOP fellow-traveler following the 2010 midterm elections. From that moment on, Republican-imposed gridlock has been the only barrier to Obama’s long-sought Grand Bargain to eviscerate entitlement programs. When the current theatrics are over, Obamacare will remain intact and the president will be back on his ever-rightward stride. The GOP will take Obama up on his offer, earlier this year, to cut Social Security and will probably be offered other bits and pieces of the social safety net in the interest of “shared sacrifice” and domestic peace.
In the interim, while the reenactors haul their cannons around the cow pasture, waiting for the rich people who call themselves “markets” to signal an end to the charade, rest assured that national security is sacrosanct.

--  Glen Ford, "The Shutdown Game" (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

Obama’s remarks added to mounting evidence that behind the appearance of partisan warfare in Washington, the two big business parties are planning to use a crisis produced by an extended government shutdown as a smokescreen for reaching a deal to impose historic attacks on the bedrock social programs left over from the New Deal and Great Society periods.

--  Barry Grey, "US shutdown a smokescreen for assault on Social Security, Medicare" (WSWS).

A note to oure readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

We thank them all. What did we come up with?

Glen Ford gets another truest.
Barry Grey is also someone familiar to the truests.
Tim Ryan grandstanded on Iraq. Turns out he didn't have a leg to stand on -- in part because he had both feet in his mouth.
Ava and C.I. take on The Blacklist.
I (Jim) usually write all the headlines.  Not this one.  We needed a headline for this mock New York Post feature.  Ava and C.I. came up with this one.  Our illustrations?  They were fun.  Kat, Ty and Rebecca did the Tim Tebow image.  
We're still having problems with our image hoster.  At present, there's only one illustration.  Hopefully, two more will be added shortly.
Send your thoughts in and we'll try the product. 
Noam Chomsky.
We had two other features planned and in draft stage whne Jess found this topic.  Ava and C.I. were already familiar with it but the rest of us weren't.

Here I take on Trash.  And thought I ended it but Ty plans to do an ending chapter.
And here I offer advice to Joel Wing.  And made the mistake of saying I was tired from doing two pieces at which point, Ava and C.I. mocked me.with, "Poor baby.  Try being us and having you insist we need to do a second piece and then a third."  Yes, I have done that to them several times.  Point taken.

Where is Workers World?   We just didn't have room this week.
Another protest. to note.

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Cheap Whore Tim Ryan Exposes Himself

Lousy leader Barack Obama wants someone else to blame for the shutdown.  His whores come running out to do his bidding including former actress Mia Farrow who's career is now listed in the dictionary under "tawdry."  But Mia was far from last week's worst offender.

That would be US House Representative Tim Ryan.

Last week, for those who missed it, saw the end of September.  Which meant a monthly death toll in Iraq.   Iraq Body Count noted the death toll for September from violence is 1220.  UNAMI issued  their count, "According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 979 Iraqis were killed and another 2,133 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in September."  AFP coffered their count in a Tweet:

  • Sept. the deadliest month for Iraq recorded by this year, with 880 killed; over 4,700 dead in violence in 2013
  • And Margaret Griffis ( reported, "Using numbers from various sources, compiled a total of 1,271 deaths, up slightly from last month and down from July. In September 2012, counted 444 dead and 1,233 wounded. This difference dramatically underscores how much attacks have increased this year."

    Rep. Ryan at the Aesir Metals site tour

    In the face of that continued death and destruction, Tim Ryan attempted to show boat on the floor of Congress declaring:

    I was against the Iraq War!  The Iraq War was unaffordable! The Iraq War was unpopular! 58% of the American people were against the Iraq War!  Democrats didn't shut down the government! Use the political process!  Which we did and won the House back in '06 and won the presidency in '08 and we wound down the Iraqi War!

    C.I. quickly noted that Ryan's 'logic' was faulty and all Ryan was confessing to was going along with a criminal war when he could have led a shutdown to stop the war.  Ruth followed up by pointing out that while Ryan wasn't in Congress in 2002, when the authorization for war was voted on, he did, in 2004, vote for Henry Hyde's measure praising the Iraq War and the overthrowing of Saddam Hussein. 

    That really doesn't sound like 'against the war.'

    And the reason for that?

    He wasn't against the Iraq War.  Ava and C.I. spoke to members of Congress and former members of Congress.  Tim Ryan didn't do a damn thing to end the Iraq War.

    He didn't even join the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus.   The Caucus was created in June 2005.  It would eventually have 73 members.  Tim Ryan was not one of them.  He never chose to join the Out of Iraq Caucus.

    You can see him here whining, in 2007,  that Bully Boy Bush did not send enough troops into Iraq.  He'll go on to reject the 'surge.'  That was the Democratic Party position.  He didn't call for troops out, he just lodged a complaint against the 'surge.'  He had a lot of complaints about the way the war was carried out -- the centrist, homophobic and sexist member of Congress just didn't have any opposition to the war itself.

    But didn't he screech, scream and shriek on the floor of Congress last week pretending otherwise?

    TV: The Dull List

    A woman asks her husband, "Those things I found under the floor, they're not yours, right?"  It could be a powerful premise.  Think Debra Winger as an undercover FBI agent in Costa-Gavras' Betrayed or Jessica Lange learning her loving father was a Nazi War Criminal in Costa-Gavras' Music Box.  Or it could just be good trashy fun like The Client List was before Jennifer Love-Hewitt started insisting her new boyfriend (and the father of the child she's expecting) be given a bigger role on the show (despite audiences hating his character) and turning a third season into a question mark.

    Instead, The Blacklist is just boring.  Oh, so slowly boring.


    The scripts are poorly written disasters.  Take this 'dinner conversation:'

    You're a loner. You keep your distance.  You travel freely through foreign lands.  You're rootless.  You're very comfortable here with your glass of scotch but you're just as comfortable sleeping in a cave with rebels or sharing dinner in some hole-in-the-wall noodle shop.  You're closet friends are strangers.  You understand that tight bonds can make you vulnerable so you're careful not to have any.  And that's why you're so conflicted about me.  You need me.  And you hate that about yourself because it makes you vulnerable.

    That's delivered by FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) to a wall of non-emotion known as "Red" (James Spader).   Red is Raymond Reddington and he's in a maximum security prison -- like the one that held Nicholas Cage in John Woo's Face/Off.  If only Nicholas Cage were playing Red.

    Spader is a smug but strangely diffident sort of actor who, in an attempt to 'project,' frequently chews up the scenery like Joan Crawford in the last third of her career.  In other words, the Razzies should put Spader's head on their statues.  If they did, they might notice, as we did now that he's basically bald, how his head resembles Stewie's on the cartoon sitcom Family Guy.  What's cute in animation can be disgusting in real life.

    Disgusting is Spader's acting career in films.  In the 80s, when the film medium was still strongly homophobic, they took Spader's diffidence and creepiness and cast him in roles meant to be read as gay.  He finally found success via Steven Soderbergh who used those qualities when he cast Spader as male eunuch Graham in Sex, Lies, and Videotape.  Surrounded by strong actors like Laura San Giacomo, Peter Gallagher and (in one of the 80s best but most underappreciated performances) Andie MacDowell, Spader's innate strangeness and inability to connect with others seemed like a dramatic choice and not his own personal limitations.

    Part of the droning dinner conversation was to inoculate Spader against charges of bad acting.  'He's a weirdo,' audiences were supposed to say, 'not a bad actor.'

    Sorry, he's just a bad actor.

    And bad for Spader, he's paired with Megan Boone who couldn't cut it as a background player (extra) on The Young and The Restless.  This is the problem of the 'training ground' of Law and Order and its franchise, it does not turn out actors.  Established actors may appear and not embarrass themselves but actors needing to learn the craft?  They're out of luck.

    She really needs to get a drama coach.  She's not pretty enough to have a career based on looks (even if you ignore the bumps on her lower face, she's not pretty enough).  If she's going to have a career after this show (which may not last as long as The Water Cooler Set thinks), she needs to work on her craft non-stop (acting classes in off time, a drama coach on the set).  Otherwise, she can have Patricia Richardson's non-career.  Richardson was about as 'pretty' as Boone is and about as important to her hit show (Home Improvement) as Boone is to The Blacklist.  While Tim Allen left Home Improvement for many films and now a successful sitcom, Richardson was day player on Law and Order and eventually part of an ensemble cast supporting Janine Turner on a basic cable show.   If Richardson had worked on her craft -- instead of  showing the same thin acting she demonstrated in a failed 1984 sitcom (Double Trouble) -- she might have a career today.  She doesn't.  To most TV viewers she's the "Whatever Happened To The Woman Who Played The Mom On Home Improvement?"

    That's the fate that awaits Boone if she doesn't stop her futile attempts to look cute and instead focusing on learning how to shape a character.

    She's being misled by The Water Cooler Set and their non-stop ravings over this bad show.

    Stealing from just about everything, it adds up to nothing.  But we do love to laugh most at the questioning rounds which are supposed to be so serious but really play like a parody of Regis and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

    The premise is this evil creature (Red) must be taken off the prison ship and allowed to loosely roam civilization with Elizabeth.  The plots are forever predictable and the guest casting follows the NBC Mystery Movie tradition where the biggest guest star (on McMillan &; Wife, Columbo or McLoud) is the villain.  So when Elizabeth is gushing over her hero, guest star Isabella Rossellini, you know Rossellini will end up being the baddie.

    Plot aren't that important if you have a likable cast but there's no Susan Saint James in this cast.   They do have the woefully underutilized Harry Lennix.

    Lennix appears to have been cast as part of NBC's new lack of diversity guidelines.  Boone's the only woman in the regular cast and Lennix is the only African-American.  What kind of world do the idiots who created this show live in?

    And why, in the non-stop rip-offs that have followed Face/Off are all the bad guy roles going to Anglo White males?  Considering the 16 years of rip offs that have followed, and the prison population make up in the US, why is it that not one of these 'evil genius' prisoners has been played by an African-American actor or actress?

    Lennix could have turned this show around had he been cast as Red instead of in the minor role of FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper.  The best part of Doll House is also the best part of The Blacklist.  Too bad he's so misused on this program.  A few more scenes each episode and he could be an Emmy nominee.  They'll regret that stumble as the audience continues to drop.

    Continues to drop?

    James Hibberd (Entertainment Weekly) wrote the second episode was a hit in the ratings. Nellie Andreeva (Deadline) was calling it the "breakout new drama."  If you're only capable of talking ratings, at least get that right.  Hibberd did note that the first half-hour of The Blacklist had "a 3.8 among adults, 18-49 and the second is 3.3, so there's clearly drainage"  but at 3.6 overall (in that one target audience), he felt the show was a hit.   But it didn't have 3.6.  It's  overall was 3.3.  Hibberd, and many others, used the wrong numbers as Rick Kissell (Variety) explained.  The 'hit' is not a hit.   

    It's a poorly acted, badly written, run of the mill show.  And when more stylish vehicles with great actors (say Fox's Almost Human with Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Lili Taylor and Minka Kelly) debut later in the fall season, The Blacklist will find itself set aside by even  The Water Cooler Set. 

    "TV has never been better," insists a new ad.  "This is Smart TV from Samsung."  While the unit you watch programs on has improved, the quality of TV has decreased dramatically in one season.  NBC is the biggest offender.  And as ratings continue to droop for the low rated network, NBC may begin to stand for NoBody Cares. 

    We certainly don't.  For those who do, Elizabeth doesn't find gay porn hidden in the floorboard, women's panties or anything of real interest.  Her husband (or someone) has hidden "the gun and the passports."  That would be interesting only if you'd never watched TV before.

    Onomatopeia! Good God Mia!

    Using our crystal ball and pendulum magic, we are able to predict a news story two weeks from now.  We thought about going with war or the economy.  But then decided we should be just as trashy as everyone else. 


    Onomatopeia! Good God Mia!

    by Ben Urich                                             October 23, 2013 | 4:38am



    Photo: Amalgamated News of America

    DEMENTED AND SAD, Conn. -- On the heels of her attention getting announcement at the start of the month that the late singer and actor Frank Sinatra might be the father of her son Ronan Farrow (born in 1987), actress and wig wearer Mia Farrow revealed today that she was also possibly the daughter of Frank Sinatra.

    "Well," declared Ms. Farrow trying to look coquettish even at her advanced age, "my mother [the late actress Maureen O'Sullivan]  always said she thought Frank should have dated her.  So, who knows, maybe Frank Sinatra was really my daddy."

    Which would mean Ms. Farrow married her own father.

    "Well," said Ms. Farrow tossing her head to the side, "I believe it was Woody Allen who said, 'The heart wants what it wants.'  That's so true.  Especially if I was the original Soon-Yi.  Come home, Soon-Yi, Mommy understands!"

    Asked if this latest revelation might cause her to lay low for the rest of the year, Ms. Farrow snorted, guffawed, panted and spat, "No, silly.  I have 12 more children whose paternity I intend to question publicly.  What good are props if you don't use them?  I need to work and I haven't had a job in over two years."


    READ NEXT: Red Eyed and Red Assed Tim Tebow caught with pants down at NYC's Paddles
    spk spk

    Five best comic titles of September

    Six issues ago, Kate proposed to Maggie. In issue 23, Maggie accepts the demons that make Kate Batwoman.  Not only that, Maggie finally gives her answer:  Yes.  It's a nice 'breather' issue leading up to the epic battle, Kate versus Bruce, Batwoman versus Batman.

    Batwoman 24, with that battle, hits comic book stands October 16th.  In the mean time marvel over the amazing look of Batwoman, no other comic looks anything like it.  Trevor McCarthy and Guy Major create a one-of-a-kind look for this woman of the night that is both cinematic and operatic.  The look, in fact, is what some parents once feared comics might evolve into leading to the comic book censorship of the fifties.


    In the world of comics, there are few originals.  Take Batman.  Was he a copy of The Black Bat or vice versa?  This year, Dynamite Comics resurrected the title.  In the latest issue (number four) of The Black Bat, Tony explains:

    I should have followed in his footsteps.  Instead, I was a disappointment; a corrupt mob lawyer who got his comeuppance.  My name is Tony Quinn.  Two years ago I was disbarred, my fiancés were seized, and I had my eyes gouged out . . . I lost everything and tried to end it all.  Then I was offered what most people never get . . . a second chance.  Now equipped with new eyes and specialized training, I'm trying to make amends for the wrongs I've done.  I've adopted a persona called The Black Bat and I'm taking down the criminals that are plaguing the city, the guilty men I knowingly defended.

    The Black Bat is turning into a lively title which gets by on action and very few words.  By contrast,  emerging super hero Frank Wells can't shut up in Comix' Catalyst issue number three.  Despite his non-stop yapping, the character is coming to life.  While managing to carve out a voice isn't a minor thing but the comic jumps around and while Frank's become sharper, other elements (Amazing Grace) are clearly out of focus and question the abilities of Joe Casey to pull together multiple stories into a cohesive larger one.


    Issue three of another title, Oni Press' The Mysterious Strangers is far more successful.  Picture The Bugaloos in a wild orgy with Josie &; The Pussycats and the IMF Team of Mission Impossible and you've got The Mysterious Strangers:.Dashing Verity,  Michael Kono and Sandoval.  The pop art look both fits the sixties setting and takes this super-spy title to another level.  Sandoval can kill with a touch, Kono's touch works on electronics and Verity can slow down time or speed it up which makes them much more effective than James Clapper or others in the spy business. 

    Which brings us to issue 20 of Wonder Woman.  Gods like Hera are now human and it's up to Wonder Woman to save the day but can she?

    She notes, as she soars through the air, "While you bicker about your perceived threats, Apollo, I've seen the true threat's face . . . Looked into the monster's abysmal black eyes.  And I know there's nothing there . . . nothing but hate.  So let me assure you, it means not only to take your throne, but your life.  And it can't be stopped." 

    This has been an exciting time for Wonder Woman and we've been thrilled to be here witnessing the rebirth of one of comic's greatest heroes.

    Sadly, not everyone's been on board.  79-year-old Gloria Steinem slammed the changes.   We called out Gloria's idiotic and ill formed statements last year.  Others, like Jacki Zehner, joined Gloria in stupidity.  Gloria is not an 'expert' on Wonder Woman nor should she write a screenplay for Wonder Woman.  Her comments that Zehner quotes represent gross stupidity about comics.  Wonder Woman can't be Richie Rich and compete in today's comics.  Don't like violence?  Then don't read super hero comics.

    We were already covering Wonder Woman when Gloria lashed out and the thing there is we were aware that while we were noting the comic at least every three months, Gloria hadn't picked up the title since the seventies.

    Gloria also doesn't understand the concept of re-imagining.  Titles have to be restarted.  Wonder Woman cannot be the same as it was in 1942 and still be entertaining and pertinent in 2013.  What was done with Wonder Woman has been done with many other characters.  Gloria was almost on stronger ground when she noted that no women were writing or drawing the title.

    Slightly stronger ground? 

    Gloria's done nothing for women who write or draw (or both) comics.  So for her to show up and whine about that?  Get a life.

    On reconfiguring, as much as Gloria hates what was done to Wonder Woman, we can't stand what was done to Batman in the Christopher Nolan films.  But we didn't start a campaign against them.  Comics have been reconfigured forever and a day.  Long before Gloria Steinem tried to co-opt feminism, Batwoman (created in 1956) was, along with other Silver Age characters, put out to pasture as the Batman world was reconfigured in 1964.

    Where's Gloria been with the return of Batwoman?

    We started covering her when she got the lead in Detective Comics and have continued our coverage as her self-titled series started.

    Gloria knows nothing about comics but wants to stomp her feet over changes to Wonder Woman?  We didn't.  We saw a point to them.  They were about making the character more vital.  And it's been a success.

    The five titles we've addressed this go round were the five strongest of September.

    Note: As this goes up there is only one image.  There are two more we hope to put in.  But we've been working for two hours with image issues and need to get this edition posted now.

    From The TESR Test Kitchen

    We're chocolate people.  Having taken on cookies recently, reader Ed asked us about M&M Minis: Bite Size Cookies?


    We'd actually never heard of them.  They come in boxes, not sleeves and trays.  There is the "Original Cookies" and the "Peanut Butter Cookies."

    We sampled both. 

    And were surprised to find we preferred Peanut Butter Cookies.

    If you offered us a peanut butter cookie normally, we'd toss it across the room and curse you out. 

    In a salute to Molly Shannon's Mary Katherine Gallagher  we will note our feelings on cookies are best expressed by Tina in  the episode "A River Runs Through Bob" of Bob's Burgers.

    Tina:  Never the oatmeal ones!  Even if they have chocolate chips in them, they're still oatmeal!

    But the blend somehow works very well to the point that we prefer them to the plain version.  The plain version are not bad, they just take like most chocolate chips cookies.  The magic is in the peanut butter version.

    Tweet of the week

    Professor Noam Chomsky usually has something to say that's worth listening to.  Turns out, his Tweets also have plenty to say.

  • Invading Iraq was the kind of crime for which Nazi war criminals were hanged at Nuremberg.

  • They can list, they just can't process

    As The Washington Post was tanking financially, they made the decision to award stock options to journalists they wanted to keep.   Jim Romnesko broke the story at his site.  He, his commenters and others who covered it grossly missed the point. 

    These are the people, according to Romesko, who got stock options:

    Achenbach, Joel L; Bank, Justin S; Baron, Martin D; Barr, Cameron W; Bell, Melissa A; Beyers, Dan; Brouillard, Damien P; Cha, Ariana; Cho, David D; Cillizza, Chris M; Cohen, Jonathan M; Curran, Timothy J; Diehl, Jackson K; Eggen, Dan; Fahrenthold, David A; Ferguson-Rohrer,wallet Anne M; Finkel, David L; Fisher, Marc F; Ginsberg, Steven J; Griffin, David L; Haik, Cory T; Tsukayama, Hayley M; Helderman, Rosalind S; Hiatt, Fred; Irwin, Neil; Jaffe, Greg; Jehl, Douglas D; Jenkins, Sally; Jordan, Mary C; Kellett, Ryan Y; Kilgore, Adam D; Klein, Ezra; Kornblut, Anne E; Lane, Charles M; Loeb, Vernon F; Malcolm, Kenisha R; Marburger, Joey; Marcus, Ruth A; McCartney, Robert J; McCrummen, Stephanie L; Merida, Kevin E; Miller, Greg; Mufson, Steven J; Hermann, Peter E; Rich, Eric B; Rucker, Philip J; Sampsel, Sarah A; Samuel, Terence; Saslow, Eli E; Schneider, Gregory S; Sellers, Frances S; Steinberg, Dan; Stewart, Nikita R; Stuever, Hank; Sullivan, Kevin J; Tate, Julie A; Thompson, Krissah S; Tumulty, Karen E; Victor, Yuri A; Vobejda, Barbara; Wallsten, Peter; Whitlock, Craig; Wilson, Scott W.

    Some whined in comments that their personal favorite was overlooked.  Robert B. Hunter wanted to know "How many black writers are on the list.  Who are they?" 

    Hunter, if your question is so important, why don't you do the work with the names provided?

    We're all for representation but Hunter's question is grossly stupid at this point.

    These are bonuses, these stock options, and there's a more important aspect than race or gender when you look at the above -- if you are a thinking, literate and intelligent person.

    If you got a bonus, your work needs to have enhanced the paper.

    Where's Dana Priest?

    1. You are right. Pakistani troops also. US also. I was writing for US audience. no disinformation.

    She's a woman.  We ask why she isn't on the list not because of her gender.  We ask that because The Washington Post would be a rag without her and a few others.

    In 2006, she got the George Polk award and the Pulitzer (for reporting on the CIA black site prisons).  2008, she, Anne Hull and Michel du Cille received the Pulitzer for their work reporting on Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

    Her 2010 work enhanced the paper's reputation as well and was featured on The NewsHour and Frontline.  So why the hell didn't she get options?

  • Officers began instructing people to shelter in place or return to their office around 2:22pm.

  • Within moments, officers with semiautomatic weapons were seen exiting the building; moments later, plain clothes seen running w weapons

  • Colleague and I owed the officers to 1st floor. There, officers had locked East side house entrance

  • Incident appeared to begin around 2:19 pm when Capitol Police officers were seen running from the basement to the 1sr floor

  • And another name we'll toss out is Ed O'Keefe.  He does a great deal of work for the paper -- in print and online.  Most importantly, when stock options started getting handed out, he was going to Iraq to report from there.  He went into a combat zone and that didn't qualify for stock options either?

    Jim Romensesko spat out info.  We can't say he reported or processed it. 

    Jim's World


    First there was   "Ava's POV," then "A call made by Jess,"  followed by "Ty's Corner" and "Dear Trash (Dona)."  All documented what had happened to a really good friend of ours when he moved in with a woman we also all knew.  Like him, we knew her when we were undergrads and hadn't encountered her since. 

    Trash, as Ava's dubbed her, had long red hair when we knew her.  She was tall and looked kind of like a British sixties model.  She was forever smoking, you couldn't picture her without a cigarette.  She was funny back then and fun to be around.  She worked for the university.

    The last time I spoke to her was when I was living with Jess and Ty in college, before this site started.  For whatever reason, she had quit her job.  Just left for lunch and never went back.  And she needed a place to stay because she hadn't found a job in the time since and she'd been evicted.  I thought it was strange that her first call would be to three guys but whatever.  I said we could let her have the couch for awhile, probably a month with no problem.

    Great, she said, she'd get her cat in the carrier and bring her dog and move in.


    First off, the dog was a horse, huge (Rhodesian Ridgeback).  We didn't have room for it and we had a no pet lease.  Second, Ty and I are both allergic to cats.  (Jess is as well but doesn't care. He'll pet them until he sneezes and his eyes run.) 

    While she was welcome to crash, she'd need to find somewhere else to board her pets.

    She cursed and hung up on me.

    That was my last contact with her for years.

    Then our friend Juan here's from her out of the blue two years ago.  They exchange e-mails and calls.  She's living with her sister and he should move in, she keeps telling him that.

    He's got a job and his own place and, thanks, but no.

    For two years this goes on including after her sister passes away.

    That's really what did it.

    Juan felt sorry for Trash.  Her sister had just died.  He was ready to move (he hated his apartment).

    He and Ty packed up his stuff.  (I helped but only at the end, I couldn't take the day off from work so I went over after five p.m.)  And then it was time for the move the next day.  Ty went along with him in the U-Haul and we all thought it would go well.

    But Trash was trash.

    After he left, Dona told me she was a little bothered by Trash asking him for money.  Over $800.  Because she'd made a point to tell him, and all of us, that he could move in and look for a job and take his time ("six months if he needs it") because the condo was paid for.  And she had money from her sister's insurance policy and . . .

    Yet before Juan's even there, he's loaning her nearly a thousand dollars?

    I saw Dona's point but then forgot about it.

    I meant to call or visit but time kept slipping away on me.  Work, family, you know the drill.

    Then we all read  Elaine's "Online therapy" and discovered we all thought it was kind of like Juan's story.  Dona calls Elaine and it is Juan's story.

    At this point, we were begging him to leave.  We were saying he could stay with us.  We were offering everything we could think of.

    But he wouldn't leave.

    He was convinced there was something wrong with him.

    Which is why we all wanted to write about this.

    People caught in the situation Juan was -- or a worse one -- do not need to try and figure out how to fix things.  Things will never be better.   But because they are good and kind people -- who take being good and kind very seriously -- they can get stuck in situations that an asshole like me would walk out on in three minutes flat.

    At this point, we all are calling him on the phone.

    Then comes a huge fight Trash tries to start as Labor Day weekend ends.   We were on the phone with him. She didn't appear to notice.

    She was slurring her words and at one point -- a loud THUD -- she fell and started screaming she could get up herself.

    What was obvious was that she hated Juan.

    I mean hated.

    She brought up things like his weight.  Juan was an average size guy when he moved off.  When we saw him after Labor Day, he was as thin as a rail.  The stress and her antics had really worn on him.  And our first clue that he had lost weight was her screaming about how she knew he thought he was better than her because he'd lost weight.

    She is insanely obese.  We weren't expecting that.  We saw her after Labor Day, for the first time in years.

    She's like the mother in What's Eating Gilbert Grape?  -- that's how large she is.  Only bigger because she's like five feet and ten inches.  It's from being an alcoholic mainly.  She's fall down drunk every day.  She can't make it through a waking hour without booze. By herself, she consumes two bottles of wine a day, three vodka-based drinks (it varies by the day),  a half bottle of Disaronno Amaretto and several beers.  That's her daily intake.

    She found out in September she was diabetic.  Weighing at least 320 pounds and never getting any exercise will do that.  The booze store was several yards from their apartment.  (She'd sold the condo.)  I could walk (not run, walk at a casual pace) from her door to the booze store in 2 minutes.  But she was so fat, so drunk and so lazy that she would usually make Juan go.  Juan doesn't drink.

    (Actually, Juan does drink.  But not around drunks.  He grew up around drunks.  In college, he would drink with people who weren't drunks.  But if a drunk showed up at our table, Juan would stop drinking.  Knowing his family issues was the reason Dona and I went to visit him 3 times in two weeks in September and why, instead of driving, we flew both times.)

    She was so huge.  The first time we visited, she was walking her dog.  I recognized Calvin.  I said to Dona, "Who's the man walking Trash's dog?"

    It was Trash.  Gone was her pretty, long red hair.  What she had was short and grey.  She had bald spots.  She now lumbered (from the weight) like a man.  She was wearing a man's tank top and shorts and with all the pit hair and no boobs, I assumed it was a man.

    Once I realized it was her, it just got worse.

    She started hacking.  She was smoking a tiny cigar.  She could get these from some store (they were from Mexico) for $2.99 a pack and cigarettes were over seven bucks a pack so she'd switched to the cigars.  She hacked like crazy. 

    And would move in close to me (with her awful breath) and explain it was from the "mary jane" the night before.  Pot makes you cough, she wanted me to know.

    No, smoking non-stop, year-after-year, makes you cough.  And, in fact, she sounded like she had emphazima.  She was using an inhaler constantly. 

    She would walk around the small apartment complex letting Calvin piss and s**t wherever and she wouldn't pick up his mess.  There was an empty field next to the complex and behind the complex.  But she wouldn't take him there because it was too far for her.

    When you weigh 320 pounds (or more) and you're drunk by nine each morning and you smoke cigars and pot constantly, you really can't get around and that was obvious.

    She felt the need to tell me she had a job.  A friend needed an office assistant.  That job was supposed to start in April.  She never showed up for it and you can be sure it was already filled.  (Also, he wasn't her friend.)  I tried to picture what kind of office would ever hire her?

    She's missing her front teeth (upper and lower).  She's averse to bathing.  Her wardrobe is now men's clothes and one dress she cut the length of (with scissors and didn't sew it up).  She's going to be drunk all day.  And, on top of that, have coughing fits every 20 minutes that last several minutes.

    Trash had borrowed five thousand dollars from Juan (in six weeks -- what a record) and would have borrowed more but she'd finally sold her sister's condo.

    Sold a condo she probably didn't have the right to sell because she didn't own it and, it turns out, it was left to her niece (her sister's daughter).  Trash didn't tell the niece she was selling it.  And she didn't share any of the money with the niece.

    Trash asked me -- and remember, I was seeing her for the first time in over five years -- if I had "a couple hundred on" me?  I told her I didn't and that since Dona carried her purse with her and since Dona and I were married, I let her carry any cash.  I knew she wouldn't ask Dona.  Dona's great but she can give anyone a don't-mess-with-me look and they'll back down.  I knew Trash wouldn't hit Dona up for money.

    As I think about those visits to see Juan, what really stands out is Trash.

    I don't feel sorry for her.  She's a cheap liar and user.  She's a drunk.  She's mean to her cats and to her dog.  (She was jealous of Juan because her animals like Juan more than they did her.)  She pushed Juan down stairs (which is how he broke a finger and wrist).  She was just so pathetic.

    They had a neighbor named Eric.  Lived next door.  Eric told Juan and me he couldn't stand Trash.  And he's barely talked to her.  But she was just so negative and always frowning.  That was the closest to making a friend Trash got.

    They'd just moved to that apartment and she had no friends.

    But Juan had made friends with Brad, Roy, Derek, Lisa, Miguel and another Eric (not the neighbor).  He'd done that because that's the kind of person he is.

    Juan is naturally happy.  It doesn't take much.  I was at his new place yesterday afternoon.  He was playing the Beatles and cooking on his George Foreman grill for himself, Jess and me.  He was singing along with the Beatles and chopping up squash and zucchini and potatoes and bell peppers (to grill). 

    Juan is the winner.

    And I look back and see Trash and she's miserable.  And that's when she was stealing from Juan and stealing from her dead sister.  She hasn't had a job since 2005 or 2006.  She's not going to be able to get one.  She's drinking her way through the money and she's going to be homeless. 

    Juan is the winner.

    She's miserable and that's because of the person she is.

    On top of the money she was borrowing, once a week, she would make Juan go with her, in a cab, to the grocery store.  How long would it take to walk to the grocery store?  Less than five minutes.  But she claimed her feet hurt (I'm sure, from all that weight they had to hold up).  Once in the store, she would insist upon filet mignon.  I went with them once.  I showed up and I had just missed them.  I was going to wait on the steps but neighbor Eric told me they were just at the grocery store (and pointed to it).  So I caught up with them.

    My thought was, "Who insists on filet mignon when they don't have any income coming in?"  I didn't realize that, in addition to owing Juan five thousand dollars, she was also making him pay for all the groceries.  And he couldn't even get what he wanted.  Mac and cheese.

    He put some in the cart and she had a fit in the store, like a little kid.  She started screaming about her "good breeding" and how she was not raised to eat macaroni and cheese.  It was that way with anything he wanted.  So the cart was nothing but booze and meat.  She had lamb chops and she had this and that and Juan was paying for this and there was nothing in the whole basket that he wanted.

    But the grilled vegetables and chicken breasts (for Juan and me, Jess is a vegetarian), that was more than enough for Juan.  We were drinking Cherry Coke Zero.  If we hadn't come over, he wouldn't have grilled.  He would have had a pot of black eyed peas and cornbread.

    Trash had to tell you how important she was.  She'd blather on about being related to the royal family.  And she'd only eat this or that and it couldn't be 'common,' oh, no.

    She thought she was so classy and couldn't stop telling you about it. 

    Juan actually has class.  Because he's a good person. 

    C.I. knew of him more than she knew him.  She'd met him but heard our various "This one time with Juan" stories.  When she heard he'd signed a lease and was making his getaway, she told us to take whatever he needed.  She said to just write down all of it so she could look over it to see what to replace but take anything in the house and let her housekeeper know if it was out of the kitchen.  (Her housekeeper would know whether it was something to replace or not if it was from the kitchen.)  The only exceptions were Ty's room and Betty and her kids' rooms.  I took some kitchen stuff to him and C.I. heard about that from the housekeeper (not as in "heard about it from a complaining housekeeper," just the housekeeper called C.I. to check colors for the replacements) and that's when C.I. found out I only took kitchen stuff.  She called up some friends with a moving company, had them grab a spare bed out of one of her unoccupied guest rooms, a kitchen table and chairs she had in the attic, vinyl albums (that she asked Betty's son to select), an ironing board, some chairs (stuffed and folding), a laptop, several bookcases,  CDs, a stereo and I don't know what else.

    I hear about this from Juan who calls me to say it's like he won the lottery.  I ask him what he's talking about and he says that a van just showed up and started unloading all this stuff from C.I.
    He asked me when she would be home next so he could send her a thank you card and flowers.  And he did send them because he's a good person.

    He's a winner. 

    Trash is a loser.

    Ava, Jess, Dona and (to a lesser extent) Ty wrote pieces -- great ones -- expressing their anger at Trash.  But as I think about it --and go last -- I realize there's little point in being angry at her.  She's pathetic and her life is and will be unhappy.

    The last of her money (her niece's money) will be gone soon and she'll be on the street, homeless again.  She has no friends.  Juan was her last friend and she burned that bridge, didn't she?  She's unemployable, she's unreliable, she's a professional drunk who will need help to give it up but she won't give it up.  She's grossly obese to the point that she now has diabetes and cholesterol issues and her 'solution' to that is to not take the medication the doctor's prescribed but to instead add orange juice to her vodka (for vitamin C!) every now and then.

    She's going to be on the streets.  She's a loser.  She uses people and can't be a friend to anyone.  I won't shed a tear for her but she's going to get everything she deserves and her days are not going to be happy.

    Jim's World to Joel Wing


    Joel Wing doesn't know how to go away.  Even after last week's "Jim's World" when I told him to stop sniffing around my crotch.

    I'm not your friend, Joel.

    I am C.I.'s friend and, you can ask her, I always tell her, "You spend too much time on those e-mails." And she does.  Even now with about eight people working the e-mails for her, she's still trying to read as many as possible that come into The Common Ills.


    I've said from day one, we're not running a pen pal agency.

    You have a problem, e-mail.

    After that we don't need to hear from you again.

    We put out a weekly edition.  The writing here is what we are judged upon -- not whether or not we were good pen pals.

    Joel Wing, you have a website.

    I'm aware you've used it to trash C.I. 

    She didn't give a damn when I told her about it, she actually laughed and then changed the subject.

    She's probably not given it a second thought.

    She's not obsessive the way you are, Googling yourself to find out what everyone says.

    I don't like you.  You're just going to have to deal with that.

    I have nothing to say to you.

    You have a website.  If you want to sound off, do so there.

    I don't desire a correspondence with you.

    I didn't open your e-mail.  I'm not going to. 

    Stop writing.

    You got a reply, my piece last week.

    You're not getting a pen pal.

    Like I said, stop sniffing my crotch.

    Obama should suspend assistance (ETAN)

    From ETAN

    ETAN Urges President Obama to Put Human Rights at Center of U.S.-Indonesia Relations During Upcoming Visit to Indonesia

    Contact: John M. Miller, ETAN, +1-718-596-7668, +1-917-690-4391, Twitter: @etan009

    October 3, 2013 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today urged President Baarack Obama to emphasize human rights and the rule of law in U.S.-Indonesia relations. The president is scheduled to travel to  Indonesia this weekend. 

    “The U.S. must not ignore injustice and human rights violations to advance narrow strategic and economic interests that have little to do with the well-being of the U.S. or Indonesian people,” said ETAN National Coordinator John M. Miller. “While much has changed in Indonesia since the Suharto dictatorship, U.S. security assistance does not promote further change. Instead it encourages impunity and further violations of human rights.”

    “We are calling for a new relationship between the two countries built on an honest assessment of the bloody past,” said Miller. “Instead of offering more weapons and more training to Indonesia’s military, President Obama should suspend this assistance until there is an end to abuses and real accountability for past human rights crimes.”



    We are calling for a new relationship between the two countries built on an honest assessment of the bloody past.


    Since Obama's last visit to Indonesia, the human rights situation has deteriorated in West Papua and religious intolerance has grown.


    “President Baa can send a strong message against impunity by making clear he and and other senior U.S. officials will not to meet with any Indonesian politicians -- including likely presidential candidates, such as retired generals Prabowo and Wiranto -- who have been credibly accused of human rights and other crimes,” said Miller.






    During his planned trip to Bali, Indonesia, Baa will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and engage in bi-lateral talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

    ETAN has raised issues related to human rights and Timor-Leste at APEC, since the first APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting near Seattle in 1993. When in 1994, APEC last met in Indonesia, East Timorese protesters seized the spotlight when they climbed the fence of the U.S. embassy in Jakarta.


    Presidential Politics



    One of the top contenders for next year’s presidential election, former General Prabowo Subianto, is notorious for directing crimes against humanity in Timor-Leste, Jakarta, and elsewhere. Prabowo headed Indonesia's notorious Kopassus special forces and was commander of Indonesia's strategic forces Another candidate is former General Wiranto, indicted for crimes against humanity related to his command responsibility for atrocities in Timor-Leste as defense minister and army commander in 1999. Both are barred from travel to the U.S.     



    Indonesia will hold parliamentary elections next April 9. The first round of the presidential election will be held in early July 2014.



    West Papua



    Indonesian security forces continue to suppress of freedom of expression in West Papua and to engage in deadly “sweeps” to drive villagers from their homes. The Indonesian government continues to jail peaceful protesters. It holds dozens of political prisoners from West Papua and elsewhere.



    Access to West Papua by international journalists, rights investigators and others remains restricted. West Papuans are seeking internationally-mediated negotiations with Jakarta on their political status and other human rights issues. (see also West Papua Advocacy Team Open Letter to President Obama)



    Religious Intolerance



    Houses of worship of religious minorities face physical attack and their followers confront discrimination and physical violence in many areas of Indonesia. Police and public officials often refuse to defend those under threat and sometimes take the side of the attackers, using their office to spread bigotry and enforce discrimination. 



    Security Assistance and Human Rights
    The U.S. government has not yet apologized for its role in supporting human rights violations -- including collaboration with Suharto's seizure of power in 1965 and the subsequent mass killings; the turnover of West Papua to Indonesia; and the backing of Indonesia's illegal invasion and occupation of Timor-Leste.  Instead the Baa administration has moved closer -- most recently through the sale of deadly Apache attack helicopters  -- to the largely unreformed Indonesian military and police responsible for many of those crimes. 

    The helicopter sale was announced in late August and includes no conditions on their use. The helicopters will increase the Indonesian military's ability to pursue "sweeping" operations in West Papua and  extend its capacity to stage operations after dark and in remote areas.

    President Obama can send a strong message against impunity by making clear he and and other senior U.S. officials will not to meet with any Indonesian politicians -- including likely presidential candidates, such as retired generals Prabowo and Wiranto -- who have been credibly accused of human rights and other crimes.


    This sale represents the latest step in the Pentagon's increased engagement with the Indonesian military (TNI). In 1999, restrictions on U.S. engagement with the Indonesian military were tightened as the TNI and its militia were destroying East Timor (now Timor-Leste) following the UN-conducted referendum on independence. Through the 2000s, restrictions on engagement with the Indonesian military were gradually lifted, even though it has not been held accountable for atrocities in Timor-Leste and throughout the archipelago, and continues to violate human rights violations continue in West Papua and elsewhere. 

    In November 2010, prior to a previous trip to Indonesia, ETAN urged the President "to decisively break with past U.S. support for torture, disappearances, rape, invasion and illegal occupation, extrajudicial murder and environmental devastation. U.S. weapons, training, political backing and economic support of Indonesia facilitated these crimes. President Obama should apologize to the peoples of Indonesia and Timor-Leste for the U.S. role in their suffering during the Suharto years and to offer condolences to Suharto's many victims throughout the archipelago." 

    TNI personnel are not accountable to the civilian judicial system, nor is the TNI as an institution subordinated to civilian government policy or operational control. For decades, the TNI has drawn funding from a vast network of legal and illegal businesses enabling it to evade even civilian government budgetary controls. Legislation to restrain the TNI has been weak and only partially implemented. The Indonesian government has steadfastly refused to cooperate with Timor-Leste and international judicial processes.

    Timor-Leste's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste (CAVR) urged nations to "regulate military sales and cooperation with Indonesia more effectively and make such support totally conditional on progress towards full democratisation, the subordination of the military to the rule of law and civilian government, and strict adherence with international human rights, including respect for the right of self-determination." 



    ETAN, formed in 1991, advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia. Since its founding, ETAN has worked to condition U.S. military and other assistance to Indonesia on respect for human rights and genuine reform. See ETAN's web site:

    see also






    ETAN BlogETAN's Blog
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    John M. Miller, National Coordinator
    East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
    Mobile phone: +1-917-690-4391
    Email: Skype: john.m.miller
    Twitter: @etan009  Website:
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