Thursday, March 23
It's a cult and a pyramid scheme all in one!
Inside Scientology
Unlocking the complex code of America's most mysterious religion

...Both of Natalie's parents are Clear, she says. Her grandmother is what's called an "Operating Thetan," or "OT." So is Tom Cruise, who is near the top of Scientology's Bridge, at a level known as OT VII. OTs are Scientology's elite -- enlightened beings who are said to have total "control" over themselves and their environment. OTs can allegedly move inanimate objects with their minds, leave their bodies at will and telepathically communicate with, and control the behavior of, both animals and human beings. At the highest levels, they are allegedly liberated from the physical universe, to the point where they can psychically control what Scientologists call MEST: Matter, Energy, Space and Time.

The most important, and highly anticipated, of the eight "OT levels" is OT III, also known as the Wall of Fire. It is here that Scientologists are told the secrets of the universe, and, some believe, the creation story behind the entire religion. It is knowledge so dangerous, they are told, any Scientologist learning this material before he is ready could die. When I ask Mike Rinder about this, he casts the warning in less-dire terms, explaining that, before he reached OT III -- he is now OT V -- he was told that looking at the material early was "spiritually not good for you." But Hubbard, who told followers that he discovered these secrets while on a trip to North Africa in 1967, was more dramatic. "Somehow or other I brought it off, and obtained the material and was able to live through it," he wrote. "I am very sure that I was the first one that ever did live through any attempt to attain that material."

As someone posted on Free Republic, Scientology was invented to give Jehovah's Witnesses something to laugh at.

posted by Jessica at 5:58 PM | Permalink |
Quote of the Day:
-"Is it any more retarded than the idea of God sending His son to forgive our sins? Is it any more retarded than Buddha sitting beneath a tree for twenty years?"

-"Yeah. It's way, way more retarded."

-South Park, mocking Scientology through the thinnest of veils
posted by Jessica at 5:55 PM | Permalink |
The only death they'll be experiencing is one of irrelevance.
Dixie Chicks Address Death Threats

Three years ago, the Dixie Chicks were getting death threats for the stands they took on the Iraq war. Now, in the first single from their new album, they address those threats head on. The song is called “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

“And how in the world can the words that I said/Send somebody so over the edge/That they’d write me a letter/Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing/Or my life will be over.”

I cannot recall in the history of pop, country, rock or R&B — maybe somewhere in rap — this issue coming up. In the same song, lead singer Natalie Maines warbles: “It’s a sad, sad story when a mother will teach her/Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger.”

I’ve heard the album, called "Taking the Long Way," due out May 23, and it’s a potential blockbuster. “Not Ready to Make Nice” is already making inroads on country radio after being leaked last week.
posted by Jessica at 4:42 PM | Permalink |
He's got nothing on Jennifer Lopez.
Dick Cheney's Suite Demands

Veep's "rider" requires Sprite, 68 degrees, TVs tuned to Fox News
posted by Jessica at 4:39 PM | Permalink |
Monday, March 20
If Noam Chomsky And Osama Bin Laden Collaborated On A Movie...

(*** Note: On the one hand, there are lots of spoilers in this review. On the other hand, the film was terrible. Thumbs way, way, down. So, it's probably no big deal if you read the review because you're not going to want to see the movie anyway. ***)

One of the dilemmas conservative critics of Hollywood often have to face is whether to go see movies that they know beforehand are pieces of left-wing agitprop. Personally, I usually choose not to attend, for various reasons. For example, when it came to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, I figured I'd be bored out of my mind and would spend the whole movie fighting the urge to yell, "But, that's not true," at the screen. When it came to Brokeback Mountain...well, I'm just not interested in relationship movies to begin with and I figure that about the only way you could make them worse would be by making the main protagonists gay sheep herders who slap each other around before they start mounting each other in a tent. But, when it came to V for Vendetta, it looked like an action movie and I'd heard Natalie Portman would be dressed up as a school girl at one point -- in other words, I thought it sounded tolerable.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

V for Vendetta begins in England, 2020, which is run by fascist Christians who murder gays, exaggerate the threat of terrorism, and who literally appear to listen in on everybody in Britain. If that sounds like some sort of Chomskyian vision of America, that's because the filmmakers intended it that way. In fact, the film goes out of its way at every turn to draw parallels between the bizarro world left-wing view of how America is becoming and the dystopian Britain of the future.

Political dissidents are jailed, criticism of the government is not allowed, gays are murdered, you see prisoners in Abu Ghraib style hoods, the government carries out germ warfare attacks and blames terrorists for them, the media is controlled by the government, and art is banned. All of this is done by the cartoonishly evil "Conservative" Party which is supported by at least one pedophilic priest, government operatives called "fingers" who apparently rape women for being out after curfew, and armies of generic government thugs.

Into this nightmarish world comes our, "hero," Osama Bin La...excuse me, V. If you asked a liberal like Michael Moore or Ted Rall to imagine himself as a terrorist, V is what you'd come up with. He's an extremely intelligent, witty, art lover who also enjoys old music, classic movies, and murdering members of the Conservative party -- but only with knives, no guns, presumably because guns should be banned.

Natalie Portman plays Zarqawi to V's Bin Laden after he rescues her from government rapists and over time, like a college professor instructing a student too naive to realize how "evil" Republicans are, he wins her over to his cause -- which is murdering members of the Conservative party and blowing up historic buildings for freedom's sake.

Now, before I go on, I know what many of you are probably thinking: "Come on, Hawkins, you're making this review too political. It's a movie and it's not even set in America..." What can I say? The movie isn't subtle. It uses a jackhammer to thunder home its political points. At one point it shows a "Coalition of the Willing" poster with a swastika on it. It blames the current troubles in Britain on, "America's war." The whole movie is built over top of the lunatic vision that wild eyed liberals have of America.

In any case, setting aside the, "Terrorism is wonderful and conservatives are evil," theme of the movie, is it any good? Well, my guess is that the movie going public will break down into three large groups. If you're conservative, you'll find it to be a depraved movie. If you're liberal and maybe a bit twisted, you'll enjoy the movie because you'll see it as sticking it to Bush and the fact that it glorifies terrorism, something that will horrify red staters, will make it all the sweeter for you. As far as everyone else goes, my guess is that they'll just be bored because politics aside, this movie isn't exactly, "fun for the whole family," or for that matter, anyone in the family, unless perhaps your last name is Arafat.

There's precious little action, the villains are bland and cartoonishly evil, and much of the film is wildly implausible. For example, the police officer who spends the whole movie chasing V stands aside willingly in order to allow Parliament to be blown up. In another sequence, Portman's character is tortured for weeks by V, a man with head to toe burns who doesn't even bother to disguise his voice, and she doesn't recognize that it's him. More implausibly, shortly after he reveals that he was the one torturing her, she apparently starts to fall in love with him. But, even that seems more likely than all of Britain rising up at the call of a terrorist who blew up a building, took over a TV studio while wearing a Palestinian style suicide belt, and then gave one generic speech about freedom.

On the "upside" -- if there is an "upside" of some sort to this movie -- if you had any doubts about how low Hollywood would sink, this movie should remove them. This movie is the equivalent of making a movie in 1944 that features Nazis saving Americans from a fascist, Jew hating dictatorship that has taken over their country in 1960. What's next? Maybe a "heroic" pedophile who saves lives by molesting "evil" conservative children? After V For Vendetta, there's really just no ethical sewer that seems too filthy for Hollywood to happily traipse though.
posted by Jessica at 9:09 PM | Permalink |
V for vendetta, T for terrorist, and A for "that's a-okay"

I have seen the terrorist, and he is me. And you. And all of us. So says Evey (Natalie Portman), an acolyte of V (Hugh Weaving), the swashbuckling savior of future England who disguises himself as Guy Fawkes.

But don’t worry, because being a terrorist is now a good thing. As we've been told by the media, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter…or masked superhero as the case may be. continued...

posted by Jessica at 4:14 PM | Permalink |
Saturday, March 18
"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!"

The duo signed the statement "Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu."
posted by Jessica at 9:41 PM | Permalink |
I lied. Tom Cruise is the biggest jackhole I've ever seen.
Mission Impossible: Cruise Censors 'South Park' Episode

First Isaac Hayes, the voice actor for its Chef character left "South Park" over an episode that poked fun of his scientology beliefs. Now it seems the popular animated series has been dealt another blow by Hayes's fellow scientologist, Tom Cruise. The New York Post reports:

Hollywood bully Tom Cruise got Comedy Central to cancel Wednesday night's cablecast of a controversial "South Park" episode about scientology by warning that he'd refuse to promote "Mission Impossible 3," insiders say.

Since Paramount is banking on "MI3" to rake in blockbuster profits this summer, and Paramount is owned by Viacom, which also owns Comedy Central, the tactic worked.

The "South Park" episode, "Trapped in the Closet," pokes fun at scientology and shows Cruise, John Travolta and R. Kelly (who is not a scientologist, but has a song called "Trapped in the Closet") literally in a closet.

The episode, which first aired last November, was set to rerun Wednesday night, but was mysteriously pulled at the last minute.

Now, reports Cruise went straight to the top - to execs at Viacom - and warned he'd boycott the promotion for "MI3" unless the "South Park" episode was pulled.

Series creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have been told not to discuss the matter - to avoid embarrassing Cruise as they did Isaac Hayes last week when Hayes, also a scientologist, quit his role as the voice of the Chef character.

Hayes claimed he couldn't stand by while "South Park" made fun of religion, but Stone pointed out that Hayes had cashed plenty of checks while the show made fun of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Stone hinted that Hayes was pressed to quit by his minders in the Church of Scientology.

Ironically, if Paramount had any sense, they would make good on the threat, as Cruise promoting anything is bound to make box office numbers decrease.
posted by Jessica at 1:28 PM | Permalink |
Ben Stein to Hollywood: "Stop Spitting in the Face of Americans"

Via the AP (Yes, I'm surprised also): Actor and writer Ben Stein spoke Thursday (3/16/06) at a Republican Party fundraising dinner in Michigan. He chastised Hollywood for failing to recognize the sacrifice of our brave men and women fighting overseas during the Oscar ceremonies on March 5.

"Not one prayer or moment of silence for those who have given their lives ... And they complain about (falling box office numbers). Stop spitting in the face of Americans and maybe we will go to the movies," Stein is quoted as saying (emphasis mine).

The "real stars" are not those in posh Beverly Hills, Stein says, but the soldiers "wearing body armor in 130-degree heat, pulling 24-hour shifts" in the Sunni triangle.

Amen, Ben!

posted by Jessica at 1:26 PM | Permalink |
Quote of the Day:
OK. I don‘t know the answers to a lot of these questions. I think, you know, people say that when people, after years and years of alcohol abuse, which I‘m somewhat familiar with, they get very rigid in their ways when they clean up their act. They say well, this is my way of living. I‘m going to stay on the straight and narrow... So you ask the president, and your conservative people will say, why don‘t you get tough on immigration? He doesn‘t change his policy. He sticks where he is, sort of I want more Hispanic votes. They say let‘s do something about all the spending. He won‘t veto a single spending bill. There‘s certain things on the right side of concern, no the liberals, he doesn‘t want to change on. What‘s that about?
-Chris Matthews
posted by Jessica at 1:22 PM | Permalink |
The Times is the biggest bunch of jackholes I've ever seen.
Duped Again

On March 11, the New York Times printed the gripping story of Ali Shalal Qaissi, the Iraqi in the most famous photo from Abu Ghraib, depicted below:

The story begins:

Almost two years later, Ali Shalal Qaissi's wounds are still raw.

There is the mangled hand, an old injury that became infected by the shackles chafing his skin. There is the slight limp, made worse by days tied in uncomfortable positions. And most of all, there are the nightmares of his nearly six-month ordeal at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 and 2004.

The story continues in lurid detail, a searing indictment of the sadistic cruelty of the American armed forces. And Qaissi is described, sympathetically, as a man on a mission: he forgives his American torturers, but wants to prevent similar "atrocities" from occurring in the future. The Times article is titled "Symbol of Abu Ghraib Seeks to Spare Others His Nightmare." Indeed, Qaissi has made something of a career out of being the man in the famous photo, including, rather weirdly, distributing this business card:

It was indeed a gripping story. And, needless to say, one that suited the Times' political agenda. Just one problem, though: it wasn't true. Qaissi is a hoax. This morning's Times includes the following correction:

A front-page article last Saturday profiled Ali Shalal Qaissi, identifying him as the hooded man forced to stand on a box, attached to wires, in a photograph from the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal of 2003 and 2004. He was shown holding such a photograph. As an article on Page A1 today makes clear, Mr. Qaissi was not that man.

The Times did not adequately research Mr. Qaissi's insistence that he was the man in the photograph. Mr. Qaissi's account had already been broadcast and printed by other outlets, including PBS and Vanity Fair, without challenge. Lawyers for former prisoners at Abu Ghraib vouched for him. Human rights workers seemed to support his account. The Pentagon, asked for verification, declined to confirm or deny it.

Despite the previous reports, The Times should have been more persistent in seeking comment from the military. A more thorough examination of previous articles in The Times and other newspapers would have shown that in 2004 military investigators named another man as the one on the box, raising suspicions about Mr. Qaissi's claim.

The Times also overstated the conviction with which representatives of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International expressed their view of whether Mr. Qaissi was the man in the photograph. While they said he could well be that man, they did not say they believed he was.

As the old newsman's adage goes, some stories are just too good to check. Besides, there was someone in the photograph. So I suppose the Times could say its story was fake, but accurate.

posted by Jessica at 1:06 PM | Permalink |
Thursday, March 16
Hi, I'm Jessica, and I have an addiction to mocking George Clooney. I haven't posted in a week because I have been seeking treatment. Nah, just kidding. I've just been busy and really bored with the news. But I know, I've got to lay off the Clooney. It's like crack, man. Like crack...
posted by Jessica at 4:55 PM | Permalink |
Bitchfight at the Liberal Corral
Clooney & Huffington's blog of war

George Clooney is spitting mad at Arianna Huffington - and the blogosphere is wobbling on its axis.

"She said some things that I won't share, but she did tell me that this could be bad for me - bad for my career. Well, screw you!" the movie star told me yesterday about a conversation he had with the doyenne of "I'm not going to be threatened by Arianna Huffington!" (That you're bothering to engage her at all is kind of sad.)

Clooney, in his only interview on the subject, took off the gloves in his fight with Huffington over a blog purportedly written by the "Syriana" Oscar-winner and posted on her Web site Monday.

"I feel abused," he said. (Like a Brokeback sheep. Sorry, too easy.)

Yesterday, Clooney released an angry statement calling Huffington's methods "purposefully misleading," and she acknowledged that his so-called blog - slamming Dems who voted for the war in Iraq for fear of being labeled "liberal" - was actually compiled from Clooney's recent interviews with the UK's Guardian and CNN's Larry King. (But what was his stance on the Jessica Alba/Playboy scandal? Hmm? Bet he didn't care how misleading that was.)

But Huffington insisted (and forwarded me E-mails that seemed to back her up) that she believed she had explicit permission from one of Clooney's PR reps to publish his disparate quotes as a single piece of writing. "This was a misunderstanding," she told me yesterday, as the disputed blog was removed from her Web site.

Clooney told me: "Nobody has ever written an op-ed piece for me. If I say I've written something, I've written it. When I go to the Oscars, I write everything I say...I stand by what I do, but I'm very cautious not to take giant steps onto soapboxes because I think they're polarizing." (Bwahahahahahahahaha. His soapbox is so high he's the first to know when Huffington needs to touch up her roots.)

Clooney said that when he demanded a disclaimer from Huffington, she refused. "She told me that it's a big no-no in the blogosphere, where people are supposed to write their own pieces."

Huffington, who'd been haggling with Clooney's publicist, Stan Rosenfield, over the wording of a disclaimer, told me: "I believe it is time for all of us to move on."

In other words, while I am a flaming liberal who indeed said all the things she posted, I am much, much cooler than these losers and refuse to be linked to the sinking of the S.S. Huffington and its captain Rob Reiner.
posted by Jessica at 4:44 PM | Permalink |
Thursday, March 9
Boy in a Bubble
What George Clooney doesn't know about life.
by Peggy Noonan
posted by Jessica at 1:14 PM | Permalink |
Monday, March 6
posted by Jessica at 3:21 PM | Permalink |
Today in history:
March 6, 1836- the fall of the Alamo

the history...
posted by Jessica at 2:54 PM | Permalink |
Oscar Recap in 10 seconds
6 1/2 out of 8. Go me.
posted by Jessica at 2:52 PM | Permalink |
Saturday, March 4
And the award goes to:
Best Picture- Brokeback Mountain
Best Director- Ang Lee
Best Actor- Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Best Actress- Reese Witherspoon
Best Supporting Actor- Paul Giamatti (with possible Clooney upset)
Best Supporting Actress- Rachel Weiss
Best Original Screenplay- Crash
Best Adapted Screenplay- Brokeback Mountain

There. I just saved us all four hours.
posted by Jessica at 3:51 PM | Permalink |
Le sigh.

Stars to Arrive at Oscars in Green Cars

Oscar nominees Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal and Frances McDormand are among those expected to step out of green vehicles and onto the red carpet at the Academy Awards ceremony Sunday.

In all, 25 VIPs are participating in the fourth annual "Red Carpet, Green Cars" event sponsored by Toyota Motor Corp. and the environmental organization Global Green USA. McDormand, Phoenix, Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney are all expected to arrive at the Oscars in Toyota or Lexus hybrids, including the Toyota Prius, Lexus RX crossover and a hybrid version of the Toyota Camry, which goes on sale in May.

Event spokeswoman Kathy Kniss said the program began with just four participants in 2002, but interest in fuel-efficient vehicles has grown exponentially since then.

"There's a huge, huge following. People are flocking to the hybrids," Kniss said.

Never mind the fact that their homes, jets, and movie sets require more energy costs per day than the rest of us will use in a decade. They care, damn it!!!!
posted by Jessica at 3:48 PM | Permalink |
Maybe he wouldn't have time to give these interviews if he still had a career.
Condoleezza displeaza Spike

Firebrand director Spike Lee has found an unlikely new target for his latest spray: the secretary of state.

Says Lee: "I dislike Condoleezza Rice more than [President] Bush. The thing about it is that she's gotten a free ride from black people."

Oh no, he didn't.

"People say, 'She's so successful' and 'Look at her position as a black woman.' She is a black woman who grew up in Birmingham, Ala., and said that she never experienced a day of racism in her life," Lee tells the April issue of Stuff magazine.

"Condi, stop smoking that crack!"

"I know you love your Ferragamo shoes, but come on. While people were drowning in New Orleans, she was going up and down Madison Ave. buying Ferragamo shoes. Then she went to see 'Spamalot.'

posted by Jessica at 3:44 PM | Permalink |
Or to put it another way, 'Paula Abdul is a crackwhore.'
Ayla scores top 16 spot, Abdul has night to forget

Paula Abdul - make rehab your own.
The “American Idol” judge was incoherent on last night’s live telecast, bumbling lines and giggling like she’d just emerged from a Grateful Dead concert, leaving audiences, contestants and host Ryan Seacrest more confused than a homophobic Clay Aiken fan.
When Seacrest asked Abdul why two contestants received the fewest votes, she mumbled, head in hands, “Simon said because one of them ate pizza and the other ate salad.”

A shocked Seacrest responded, “You guys realize we’re on the air?”
Abdul got it together for a few minutes, but during the second round of cuts, she was back to her odd behavior.
“What did you tell me Simon?” she said, slurring her words. “What did you tell me? Simon gave me advice and said on “The X Factor” he always refers to a fortune cookie and says the moth who finds the melon - (laugher) - finds the corn flake always finds the melon and one of you didn’t pick the right fortune.”
Seacrest wasn’t happy, but fellow judges Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell seemed amused at Abdul’s impersonation of a high teenager. more
posted by Jessica at 12:18 AM | Permalink |
Wednesday, March 1

posted by Jessica at 4:41 PM | Permalink |
Quote of the Day:

"[To have Frye be] sucker punched on Oprah by one of the most powerful women in television just to grind [her] own ax," Willis says visibly frustrated. "Oprah, you had President Clinton on your show, and if this [expletive] didn't lie about a couple of things, I'm going to set myself on fire right now. James Frey's a writer, he can write whatever he wants. It's shameful how he was treated."

-Bruce Willis

posted by Jessica at 4:32 PM | Permalink |