Scientology’s presidential enabler

Just another reminder that the Clintons should never be trusted.

Travolta told writer Josh Young that just before “Primary Colors” went
before the cameras last April, the actor was in Washington to promote
Scientology – a controversial belief Travolta and scores of other
Hollywood types embrace.

“The next day, I met with Clinton,” Travolta told George.

“He told me: “Your program sounds great. More than that, I’d really love
to help you with your issue over in Germany with Scientology.'”

Clinton was referring to Germany’s refusal to register Scientology as a
religion because the government considers it a radical cult that cheats
members out of their life savings – an allegation that Scientologists
vehemently deny.

“I was waiting for the seduction that I had heard so much about. I
thought, “Well, how could he ever seduce me?'” Travolta recalled.

“And after we talked, I thought, “Bingo!’ He did it. ^Scientology_ is
the one issue that really matters to me.”

For Travolta, Clinton reportedly went to the extraordinary length of
assigning National Security Adviser Sandy Berger to be the
administration’s Scientology point man.

Berger briefed Travolta in the same manner he would a senior senator,
George reports.

A White House official said last night, “it is perfectly normal and
logical” for Berger to get involved in the Scientology issue because “it
is in the general area of human rights concerns and this is something we
have raised with the German government.”

In November, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with German
Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel – and urged him to stop being intolerant
toward Scientologists.

Boycott Tom Cruise

If you’re going to boycott Dolce & Gabanna for an opinion, even an ignorant one, shouldn’t you also boycott Tom Cruise, who knowingly benefits from slave labor and parrots the propaganda of a dangerous criminal enterprise?

Think twice before paying money to see the new Mission: Impossible movie — it’s not much of a sacrifice, if you think about it.

Ted Cruz waited until country music really sucked to become a fan

“You know, music is interesting. I grew up listening to classic rock and I’ll tell you sort of an odd story. My music tastes changed on 9/11. And it’s a very strange—I actually, intellectually, find this very curious, but on 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded. And country music collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me and I have to say, it—just as a gut level, I had an emotional reaction that says, “These are my people.” And so ever since 2001 I listen to country music, but I’m an odd country music fan because I didn’t listen to it prior to 2001.”

First time I’ve ever heard someone make an “intellectual” argument in favor of this crap.

Enough already, James Franco

James Franco remains the most narcissistic, and accommodated, of all celebs. For some reason 429 let “Straight James” interview his gay self, with predictably pretentious results.

Straight James: Let’s get substantial: are you fucking gay or what?

Gay James: Well, I like to think that I’m gay in my art and straight in my life. Although, I’m also gay in my life up to the point of intercourse, and then you could say I’m straight. So I guess it depends on how you define gay. If it means whom you have sex with, I guess I’m straight. In the twenties and thirties, they used to define homosexuality by how you acted and not by whom you slept with. Sailors would fuck guys all the time, but as long as they behaved in masculine ways, they weren’t considered gay.

Alabama cops, liberal media conspire to protect gay marriage

Alabama police, always keeping right-wing reactionaries down.

The 24-year-old son of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was arrested on drug possession charges on Sunday, but according to the younger Moore, the charges are just a political scheme to further attack his father over gay marriage. …

“This is nothing more than a prime example of how media and crooked police officers and critics of my dad try to not only destroy his career for what he stands for but will go as far as trying to destroy his family,” Caleb Moore wrote on Facebook, along with a photo of a document that appears to show the results of a drug test. “I am not a drug user as the drug test taken today will show. As for the malicious possession charges, justice will be served.”

Anyone surprised his name is Caleb?


Here’s the speech the far right calls incendiary

You know, the one that allegedly led to the shooting of two Ferguson cops.

First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law.  And so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make.  There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry.  It’s an understandable reaction.  But I join Michael’s parents in asking anyone who protests this decision to do so peacefully.  Let me repeat Michael’s father’s words:  “Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.  No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain.  I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.”  Michael Brown’s parents have lost more than anyone.  We should be honoring their wishes.

I also appeal to the law enforcement officials in Ferguson and the region to show care and restraint in managing peaceful protests that may occur.  Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day.  They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law.  As they do their jobs in the coming days, they need to work with the community, not against the community, to distinguish the handful of people who may use the grand jury’s decision as an excuse for violence — distinguish them from the vast majority who just want their voices heard around legitimate issues in terms of how communities and law enforcement interact.

Finally, we need to recognize that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation.  The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color.  Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country.  And this is tragic, because nobody needs good policing more than poor communities with higher crime rates.  The good news is we know there are things we can do to help.  And I’ve instructed Attorney General Holder to work with cities across the country to help build better relations between communities and law enforcement.

That means working with law enforcement officials to make sure their ranks are representative of the communities they serve.  We know that makes a difference.  It means working to train officials so that law enforcement conducts itself in a way that is fair to everybody.  It means enlisting the community actively on what should be everybody’s goal, and that is to prevent crime.

And there are good people on all sides of this debate, as well as in both Republican and Democratic parties, that are interested not only in lifting up best practices — because we know that there are communities who have been able to deal with this in an effective way — but also who are interested in working with this administration and local and state officials to start tackling much-needed criminal justice reform.

So those should be the lessons that we draw from these tragic events.  We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for Ferguson, this is an issue for America.  We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades.  I’ve witnessed that in my own life.  And to deny that progress I think is to deny America’s capacity for change. 

But what is also true is that there are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up.  Separating that from this particular decision, there are issues in which the law too often feels as if it is being applied in discriminatory fashion.  I don’t think that’s the norm.  I don’t think that’s true for the majority of communities or the vast majority of law enforcement officials.  But these are real issues.  And we have to lift them up and not deny them or try to tamp them down.  What we need to do is to understand them and figure out how do we make more progress.  And that can be done.

That won’t be done by throwing bottles.  That won’t be done by smashing car windows.  That won’t be done by using this as an excuse to vandalize property.  And it certainly won’t be done by hurting anybody.  So, to those in Ferguson, there are ways of channeling your concerns constructively and there are ways of channeling your concerns destructively.  Michael Brown’s parents understand what it means to be constructive.  The vast majority of peaceful protesters, they understand it as well.

Those of you who are watching tonight understand that there’s never an excuse for violence, particularly when there are a lot of people in goodwill out there who are willing to work on these issues.

On the other hand, those who are only interested in focusing on the violence and just want the problem to go away need to recognize that we do have work to do here, and we shouldn’t try to paper it over.  Whenever we do that, the anger may momentarily subside, but over time, it builds up and America isn’t everything that it could be.

And I am confident that if we focus our attention on the problem and we look at what has happened in communities around the country effectively, then we can make progress not just in Ferguson, but in a lot of other cities and communities around the country.

Is Atlanta about to get less clusterfucky?

Ever since starting this blog 10 years ago (time flies when you have few readers) I’ve been railing against the city’s stubborn refusal to synchronize its traffic signals, something it last did roughly 40 years ago.

But it appears our long municipal nightmare is over, assuming next Tuesday’s $250 million infrastructure bond referendum is approved by voters.

More than one-third of the city’s intersections with traffic signals — about 350 out of 960, the mayor’s office says — has received upgrades. Some of those improvements have occurred thanks to a Georgia Department of Transportation grant program. Mayor Kasim Reed spokeswoman Jenna Garland tells CL the city could complete the work needed to sync up all intersections if voters approve the bond package on St. Patrick’s Day.

“It would have a very big impact citywide,” Garland says. “Most people who drive around have sat around in traffic. … Traffic light synchronization hasn’t happened on the level that it needs to.”

That’s an understatement. I figure I’ve squandered at least a year’s worth of minutes waiting for the signal at Highland and North avenues to change.

Most everyone agrees syncing the lights will make a noticeable difference. Los Angeles, which synchronized every traffic signal in the city in 2013, has seen a 16 percent increase in traffic speed along with a 12 percent reduction in delays at major intersections.

Now about all those potholes …

2016 is going to suck so hard

It’ll be a choice between a wingnut to be named later or a seasoned grifter — a soap opera with no redeemable characters and a predictable plot that’ll leave us hankering for a savior unlikely to emerge.

But if I was the kind of person who could wage a credible third party candidacy, I’d place my bets on 2016. If the options get any worse we might as well start looking for a benevolent dictator.


You can’t stop time and other deep ruminations from the black Chauncey Gardiner

I’ve yet to see any convincing evidence of Kanye West’s alleged brilliance, a reputation that has held even after he married a Kardashian.

On Monday the man who in 2013 said he “believed the world can be saved by design” was invited to speak at the Oxford Guild Business Society. After asking everyone to remain silent throughout — “I can literally hear a whisper and it’ll throw off my stream of consciousness” — he promised a speech full of “the best, illest quotes” but delivered none. The press ate it up nonetheless, reminding everyone that Kanye’s a genius because he says he is and, after all, he should know because he’s a genius.

As for the rampant self-pity, well, that’s forgiven because we all know geniuses are a little nuts.

So prepare yourself. It’s about to get all deep up in here.

Time is the only luxury. It’s the only thing you can’t get back. If you lose your luggage – I’m not gonna say the obvious brand of luggage that I’d normally say because I’ve got a meeting with them soon – if you lose your expensive luggage at the airport, you can get that back. You can’t get the time back.

If your mind hasn’t been blown yet, ponder Kanye’s ruminations about the timeless message of a Keanu Reeves movie.

The Matrix is like the Bible of the post-information age.

“I compared it like, when the hundred guys come at Neo, those are opinions, that’s perception, that’s tradition. Attacking people from every which angle possible. If you have a focus wide and master sense is like Laurence Fishburne and you have a squad behind you, you literally can put the world in slow motion.

Someone’s been hanging out with Will Smith’s kids.  Perhaps they were the ones who taught Kanye even the most expensive Persian rug with cherub imagery can’t buy happiness.

It’s illegal to not wear clothes, and also possibly too cold. That means someone is imposing an idea on you that should legally have to do! Clothing should be like food. There should never be a $5000 sweater. You know what should cost $5000? A car should be $5000. And you know who should work on the car? The people that work on the $500,000 cars. All the best talent in the world needs to work for the people. And I am so fucking serious about this concept that I will stand in front of anyone and fight for it. Because I was 14 and middle class. I know what it felt like to not get what I have.”

I was wondering when Victim Kanye would show up.

“There’s a Bible saying, ‘No weapon formed against me shall prosper’. Recently I’ve been doing interviews and I’ve had to go back to this verse because I don’t think there’s a living celebrity with more weapons formed against them, but I also don’t think there’s one more prosperous.

Naturally, Generation Starfucker was all agog.

At the end, he abruptly said “That’s all” and walked out, with shouts of “NO!” from the audience who wanted more of the Ye thought stream.

Question of the day

After serving squid to the clapping seals at CPAC, Ted Cruz took questions from the biggest clapping seal of them all. Predictably, Sean Hannity went the fanboy route, asking Cruz how he managed to “bravely” survive criticism for helping to shut down the government in 2013?

Hannity ended on a particularly obsequious note:

“Why does Ted Cruz love America?”



Super Bowl smackdown

The best Super Bowl preview you’ll read:

Compared to America’s official secular holidays (the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving), honoring America’s founding or the importance of family seems like work next to “Super Bowl Sunday,” which goes to all the effort of honoring itself. After even a perfunctory amount of pregame feature pieces, anyone watching will know how much the average seat cost, in order to reinforce the specialness of attendance. Pregame and halftime performers are introduced with a citation of the number of records they have sold, in case you are unaware of the rare cost of the treat.

More specifically, one guest at every party will have memorized the statistic printed in that morning’s paper and repeated on every pregame show indicating exactly how much 30 seconds of commercial airtime cost during the game. Despite the lack of creativity in the vast majority of commercials, many people watch the game solely to see how much money was spent selling them products, leading to the inevitable curse hurled at the screen, “Four-point-five million dollars for that?” This is serious business, and we are seriously invested, regardless of the fact that this is the act of insane people—like bitching not about the existence of Muzak, but because your favorite shoegaze band isn’t being played when the local cable company customer-service flunky puts you on hold.

At every step of the way, someone should laugh at this, and at every step of the way, every person involved in serving you this spectacle will completely fail to accomplish this basic human function. The NFL is all business at every given moment, because of that very serious $7 billion annual cost to the networks that broadcast it and are the primary source of “adversarial” journalism about it. On a workaday basis, this elevates insignificant bullshit like coaching and “game plans” to geopolitical high art, like two kids playing Risk thinking they are Talleyrand and Metternich about to vanquish Napoleon and establish the Concert of Europe.

When actual news breaks, the integration of the NFL as entertainment with its own reporting wing becomes unmistakable. At this point, Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King can’t speak when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is drinking a glass of water. ESPN’s Adam Schefter initially responded to Goodell’s preposterous two-game suspension of Ray Rice for knocking out his fiancée Janay by asking, “Was the Commissioner lenient enough?” There were, after all, the hundreds of thousands of people paying for fantasy leagues for whom Rice’s existence manifested solely as someone Starting or Not Starting in the NFL.