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Sanity Squad: Movies, Culture and Kids

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007


dreamgirlscostumes.jpg The gowns of Dreamgirls The Sixties were a turning point for film and American culture, and with Oscar night still in the rearview the Squad discusses another. This week's episode focuses on the psychological and sociological effects of abortion on demand; and the influence of the movies on politics, sexuality, and our perception of history.

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Al Gore’s Nashville House

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

By now many Americans are aware that "In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006." (TCPR) But what does all that money power? What does a house that eats that much energy look like? Now, via a PJM correspondent, PJ Media presents a few candid shots of Al Gore's "carbon neutral" home in Nashville in the exclusive enclave known as: bellemeade.jpg

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Mexican Men Who Don’t Want Sex Better Watch Out

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

A reader (thanks) sent me this news item on a new law being passed in Mexico, of all places, that would jail a href=”http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070226/od_nm/mexico_husbands_dc”those men who avoid sex /awith their wives: br / br /blockquoteMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican men who display extreme jealousy or avoid sex with their wives could be tried in court and punished under a new law, the special prosecutor for crimes against women told a local newspaper on Friday.br /br /Men who phone their wives every half hour to check up on them, constantly suspect them of infidelity or try to control the way they dress are committing the crime of jealousy, special prosecutor Alicia Elena Perez Duarte told Excelsior newspaper.br /br /Those who stop talking to their wives, avoid sex or try to convince suspicious spouses they are “crazy” even if they are caught red-handed having an affair, are guilty of indifference, she said.br /br /Men found guilty of jealousy or indifference could face up to five years in prison, the newspaper said. Mexico’s individual states will determine the punishments, it said.br /br /The progressive new law was passed this month to protect women from domestic violence./blockquotebr /br /When I first read this, I thought it was a parody as it seemed so absurd–but sadly, I am not sure it is–is anyone familiar with these laws? And what does avoiding sex, indifference and not talking to your wife have to do with domestic violence? It sounds like the opposite to me.

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[Paris Blues] Fran√ßois Bayrou, French Insiders’ Outsider

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007 - by Nidra Poller, PJM Editor, Paris


abayrou.jpg François Bayrou, Serious French Presidential Candidate or Refrigerator Magnet? You Say You Can't Tell the Players in the French Elections without a Scorecard? Imagine If You Were French. Nidra Poller Explains It All for You. by Nidra Poller, PJM Editor, Paris

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Critiquing the Critics: The Bad $200 Beef Platter vs. the $40,000 NYT Ad

Monday, February 26th, 2007 - by Nancy Rommelmann


abadsteak.jpg "Whenever there's a suit of armor at the head of my table,... or a waiter who blindfolds me in order that I can 'better experience the brûlée,' the meal is pretty much guaranteed to stink." by Nancy Rommelmann

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Do Men and Women Express Depression Differently?

Monday, February 26th, 2007

emMen’s Health/em a href=”http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealthchannel=healthcategory=other.diseases.ailmentsconitem=03a9b1774a5e0110VgnVCM20000012281eac____page=1″has an article /ain its latest issue, entitled “Exercising Your Demons,” about men and depression (thanks to the reader who sent the article to me). The caption reads: “Some people might call you highly competitive. Some might call you superfit. But a growing number of doctors would label you something else: Depressed.” A 33-year-old male, Raymond Britt, who runs competitively is used as an example of a depressed man who takes up grueling sports to ward off anger, hurt and unhappiness. br /br /The article speculates that men suffer from depression as readily as women but the symptoms in men show up as pushing themselves too hard at sports, working too hard, drinking and anger:br /br /blockquoteThe numbers seem to show that men and women suffer from various mental illnesses at about the same rate, with some notable variations and exceptions. One of the differences, long accepted as gospel by the psychiatric professions, is that twice as many women as men suffer from depression. Kessler says his numbers show that a woman is twice as likely as a man to have a single episode of major clinical depression in her life. After the first episode, however, men and women don’t differ in the number of episodes they’ll have during a lifetime, or in whether they’ll have another episode. Only the first step differs, he says. Then the statistics flatten out to equal.br /br /But if repeat episodes of depression are equal for men and women, doesn’t it stand to reason that they may be having first bouts at the same rate? Maybe the discrepancy lies not in the number of men and women who are depressed, but rather, in how depression is expressed. br /br /According to an increasing number of experts, the diagnostic tallies don’t take into account the real experience of a lot of men like Britt. They also ignore the fact that women are much more likely to report depression and seek help. Men are more likely to try to fight through their depression, using strategies ranging from hard work to extreme exercise to drinking to violence. Nearly four times more men than women kill themselves./blockquotebr /br /In my clinical experience with men and boys, it certainly seems that those around them are often clueless about their depression. I had one teen who was irritable and angry at school and often overreacted with other kids in class. When I met with the school staff to discuss some test results showing a significantly high level of depression, they were shocked. One female teacher said, “I never knew he was depressed — when I am sad, I go home, cry and eat chocolate chip cookies, I don’t get angry.” br /br /”Well, maybe not,” I said, “but then, you are not an adolescent boy who is being bullied at school.” Once the staff understood the dynamics of this young man’s depression, they started to change the way they dealt with him and worked on reducing the depression, with the result that his anger subsided some. Yet the depression would have gone untreated if the staff had continued to think depression was only expressed by crying, eating too many cookies, and withdrawal. br /br /a href=”http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/healthscience/homepage/article_1379750.php”In an article/a entitled emAre Men Getting Shorted on Health?/em the author likens depression in men to heart disease in women: “Some experts think that depression contributes to these reckless and self-destructive behaviors, but that just as heart disease was initially defined by men’s experiences and therefore ignored or missed in women, depression may have been framed by women’s experiences and therefore may be missed and go untreated in men.”br /br /It is often said that anger is depression turned outward and this is often true (of course anger can be other things, such as a response to a sense of injustice or unfairness). Dealing with men’s depression means that one cannot be afraid of anger or the underlying emotions that go with it. But the key is to know the difference between typical masculine behavior and true depression and to not pathologize the former, while being sure to properly treat the latter.

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Presidential Straw Poll 2008 – Week 6

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

The sixth week of the PAJAMAS MEDIA PRESIDENTIAL STRAW POLL has officially begun. Bill Richardson and Rudy Giuliani were winners in the fifth week with 60,000 votes now cast. A REMINDER to all blogs and websites:We now offer a voting widget for your site. By placing this widget on your blog or website, your site can become a precinct or polling place just as in an official election. Readers will be able to vote weekly through your site and compare the voting results from that site to the total and to other individual sites. We hope that websites allied with all parts of the political spectrum will participate in this exercise in online democracy. The more who join with us, the more statistically reliable the poll is likely to be. The widget (with tech support) is available for easy installation here. Just follow the instructions at the link.

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Hoplophobia, Homophobia and Political Correctness

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Have you noticed how differently those who criticize non-PC issues such as gun rights are treated by the media as opposed to those who dare to make a PC blunder such as saying something politically incorrect about a minority? Under “Today’s Picks” on MSN, I saw an a href=”http://www.msn.com/”article entitled/a, “Gun Remark Makes Outdoorsman an Outcast.” The story links through to a emWashington Post /emarticle of the same name with a caption: “Criticism of hunters who use assault rifles puts writer’s career in jeopardy.” a href=”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17307316/?GT1=9033″The article describes/a the plight of “poor misunderstood” writer, Jim Zumbo:br /br /blockquoteZumbo’s fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America’s gun culture — and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs.br /br /”Excuse me, maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity,” Zumbo wrote in his blog on the Outdoor Life Web site. The Feb. 16 posting has since been taken down. “As hunters, we don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. . . . I’ll go so far as to call them ‘terrorist’ rifles.”/blockquotebr /br /The article appears to be sympathetic to Zumbo’s cause and theem Post /emtrots out an “outdoorsman” who basically calls NRA members attack dogs:br /br /blockquoteSome outdoors writers drew a different lesson from Zumbo’s horrible week.br /br /”This shows the zealousness of gun owners to the point of actual foolishness,” said Pat Wray, a freelance outdoors writer in Corvallis, Ore., and author of “A Chukar Hunter’s Companion.”br /br /Wray said that what happened to Zumbo is a case study in how the NRA has trained members to attack their perceived enemies without mercy.br /br /”For so many years, Zumbo has been a voice for these people — for hunting and for guns — and they just turned on him in an instant,” Wray said. “He apologized all over himself, and it didn’t do any good.”/blockquotebr /br /Say Uncle has more about the above article and a href=”http://www.saysuncle.com/archives/2007/02/24/ive_often_said_13rd_of_leanleft_is_retarded/”its pitfalls here/a. br /br /Whether or not you agree or disagree with the above article is not my main point here; it is to compare the media treatment of Jim Zumbo’s politically correct position of likening hunters with assault rifles to terrorists to that of someone like Isaiah Washington who made the horrible mistake of daring to criticize a politically correct minority. Rather than treat Washington as the sympathetic character they portray Zumbo as, the media seems to revel in Washington being a pariah who is a href=”http://lifeandstylemag.hollywood.com/2007/01/life_style_exclusive_isaiah_wa.php”sent to a treatment facility /ato “cure” the possibility that he will ever make a homophobic slur again! Take a foul mouthed shot at a minority and one is sent to rehab. Trash a gun owner and liken him or her to a terrorist and you are a sympathetic character who is being attacked by the fringe members of the NRA. I certainly do not condone what Washington said when he called a castmate a sexist slur, yet is it really okay for the The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to request an apology (probably yes), try to get him fired and ABC to send Washington to “rehab,” emall with no one in the MSM saying this might be wrong or at least giving an opposing view/em as they did with the gun slur? Why is one type of speech seen by the media as okay and worth defending and the other politically incorrect type seen as not worthy of anything but disdain and punishment? br /br /I wonder when guys like Zumbo will be asked to go to rehab to treat their a href=”http://www.gunlaws.com/GunHate.htm”Hoplophobia?/a Probably when Hell freezes over–as it should be, for freedom of speech is always worth defending no matter whether we are offended by it or not.

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The Cool Water of the Koran (Part II)

Saturday, February 24th, 2007 - by Salim Mansur


sandberghome2.jpg "Though all the trees in the earth were pens, and the sea and the seven seas after it were to replenish them, yet would the Words of God not be spent." -- Koran (31:27)b This is the second Letter on Islam written in response to a non-Muslim writer:"The Koran is to Muslims what Jesus is to Christians." by Salim Mansur

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Is the Workplace an Extension of the School Playground?

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

Are workplaces just an extension of the playground at the elementary or middle school? Evil HR Lady (it is hard for me to call her this–although it is her blog name–for she seems more charming and witty than evil)a href=”http://evilhrlady.blogspot.com/2007/02/workplace-bullies.html” has an interesting post /aon workplace bullies that looks into this question and wonders if abusive co-workers could be dealt with by peers just as bullying kids can sometimes be stopped by the intervention of other kids. I think the answer is yes, sometimes. br /br /In my experience in working with violent and threatening workers in businesses, the bullying co-worker has often gotten off scot-free from both management and other co-workers for quite some time before a blow-up that cannot be ignored occurs and results in a referral for a violent risk assessment. It certainly seems better to nip abusive behavior in the bud ASAP at work before it escalates–both for the abusive employee and for other co-workers, but many people are afraid of confrontation in our society, having been taught to bite their tongue and allow themselves to be screamed at, scorned, and threatened. br /br /I have never understood this–why would one allow themselves to be treated this way? It is amazing what a calm cool voice using direct eye contact while conveying to the co-worker that one will not tolerate their nasty behavior will do–and it is even more helpful if other co-workers stick together and back up the messenger with a similar message. People need to learn to control their emotions at work, but those who feel entitled, will continue to hurl abuse at co-workers if they think they can get away with it without any repercussions such as the embarrassment of being called out on the carpet for their tacky and unprofessional conduct.br /br /Did you ever have a workplace bully? What did you do, stay and stand your ground or turn tail and run or say nothing?

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Blog Week in Review: Embrace the Suck

Saturday, February 24th, 2007


thesuck.jpg In a role reversal this week longtime producer Ed Driscoll interviews longtime host Austin Bay about his new pamphlet on "mil-speak" Embrace the Suck, and the blending of what he describes as his vocation and avocation. Ed also talks to Pamphleteer Press publisher Adam Bellow about the revival of the format and how he sees it evolving in the future. Brought to you by Volvo USA.

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Operation Baghdad Enters Week Two

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

baghdadcrackdown.jpg Iraqi policeman directing traffic at a vehicle checkpoint in Baghdad "It's been less than two weeks since the Baghdad operation was officially launched. This period, though short, has been full of events, both good and bad." PJM Baghdad editor Mohammed Fadhil reports.

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The Pajamas Weekend Review

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

The best of the week @ Pajamas:

[Paris Blues] Underreported, underattended, overrated, and underplayed. From Nidra Poller

Baghdad Today: A Report from the City – Mohammed Fadhil with an early report on the surge.

Baghdad Dispatch: Still Hope After Sunday’s Bombs – More from Mohammed from the heart of Baghdad.

The Glenn and Helen Show – Claire and Mischa Berlinski on Two New Novels

Tofurky and Quorn and Sauerkraut Oh My – or- “A Teen-Age Vegan In the House” – From Nancy Rommelmann

Power, Faith, and Fantasy in the Middle East – Michael Totten interviews historian Michael Oren on US involvement in the Middle East throughout history.

Sanity Squad: The Presidents

Prime Minister Prodi’s Fall: Politics as Usual in Italy – Mario Sechi

QUAGMIRE! – “We were – neck deep in the Big Muddy/And the big fool said to push on.” – Jules Crittenden

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Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier: The New al-Qaeda State within a State

Friday, February 23rd, 2007 - by Richard Fernandez


afrontiercartoon.jpg Can the latter-day Taliban be charmed? A cartoon in a Pakistani weekly shows a snake from Afghanistan baring its fangs in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province. by PJM Editor Richard Fernandez, Sydney

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Kidnapped boy found

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

I was just at the hospital visiting my mother who broke her foot yesterday and happened to catch a segment of CNN describing an Amber alert. A thirteen year old boy in Florida was a href=”http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=2477765version=9locale=EN-USlayoutCode=TSTYpageId=1.1.1″kidnapped at gunpoint /aat a bus stop with around 14 other kids present:br /br /blockquoteAccording Bristow, the kidnapper came out with a gun, and Clay happened to be the closest student to him. He ordered Clay to go with him. Other students starting running, screaming, hysterical and the kidnapper was able to get Clay into the truck.br /br /Students at the scene say that Clay said “Sir, I don’t know you.”br /br /One child described a heart-breaking scene: br /br /“Everyone said when he got in the car, he was bawling his eyes out,” said Jonathan Fletcher, a friend and classmate of Clay’s.br /br /Bristow said it was probably the scariest situation the children had ever encountered./blockquotebr /Luckily, the suspect let the boy go, although he is still at large. However, I cannot imagine how relieved the boy’s family must be that he was found alive.

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Roman Genn doesn’t make the “B-List”!

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

On behalf of PJ Media, artist Roman Genn went to Tuesday night's Barack Obama Fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton. Unfortunately, Roman didn't get through the rope line ... but he still came up with some pretty amusing pictures - for a Hollywood outsider. (Click at more) Genn%201r%20-%20Da%20Pikcha.jpg "Stand aside, loathsome plebeians. Lord Geffen passeth!"

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Dissent Crushed: Abdel Kareem, Egypt’s Free Speech Martyr

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

abdelkareem.jpg The four-year jail sentence of student blogger Abdel Kareem Soliman for the crimes of "contempt for religion" and "insulting the president" has dealt a harsh blow to the Egyptian blogosphere and free speech in the Middle East in the Internet age. The popular blogger known as Sandmonkey reports from Cairo on Abdel Kareem's story and the grave consequences of his case.

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Club Sandwich

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Are you in your thirties or forties and desperate? I am–and no, it’s not what you think, get your head out of the gutter. I have found myself lately part of the a href=”http://www.thesandwichgeneration.com/”Sandwich Generation/a, more specifically, a Club Sandwich, defined as “those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents” (thanks to several readers who emailed me to ask me to post on this topic). I do not have any grandparents left and my father died over four years ago at 68, but I am now trying to help my mother, who has health problems and is in her late sixties–and I have a middle schooler who is dealing with well, all of those middle school issues. Add this to trying to work, take care of a house, etc. and it’s no wonder so many of us–both men and women– feel exhausted. br /br /Brian Williams on the emNightly News /emrecently had a series on caring for aging parents and had viewers write in with their a href=”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17049721/”personal stories /a that range the spectrum from heartbreaking and caring to resentful at having to deal with parents, to wistful that their parents died early and they did not get to see them into old age. I think it is a privilege that we get to care for our parents as they get older but that does not mean that it is easy. So many health problems, emergencies (my own mother fell and fractured her foot in the middle of trying to move her to an independent care facility yesterday) and the day to day chores that need to get done are difficult at times, but in the end, all that matters is that we care for each other the best way that we can. Do you have a parent or parents that you care for? If so, how are you coping or not with the situation?

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Baghdad Bagman Bagged:

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

tongsunpark.jpg
“In the multi-billion dollar global scam that was the United Nations Oil-for-Food program, there has now been at least a small portion of justice done. On Thursday, a cold rainy day in Manhattan, I joined the throng assembled in Judge Denny Chin’s courtroom to see the sentencing of a South Korean businessman, Tongsun Park. Park got five years in prison and was ordered to forfeit $1.2 million and pay a $15,000 fine for what Judge Chin described as ‘a very serious crime.’” Read the rest at Claudia Rosett’s The Rosett Report @ PajamasXpress.

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F-Bombs Away! Chris Matthews, Cursing and Character

Friday, February 23rd, 2007 - by Julian Tepper


hardball.jpg Was it something they said? Let's reconsider the quaint topic of cursing. By Julian Tepper

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Let’s Go Back to the Moon

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007 - by Buzz Aldrin and Taylor Dinerman

Special to PJ Media by Buzz Aldrin and Taylor Dinerman abuzzshot.jpg Author at work, July 20, 1969 On my last trip to the moon I didn't get to stay the whole day and had to share my accommodations with another man.

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QUAGMIRE!

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007 - by Jules Crittenden


abehind.jpg "We were -- neck deep in the Big Muddy, And the big fool said to push on." By Jules Crittenden Illustration by Roger de Hauteville @ Maggies Farm.

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Prime Minister Prodi’s Fall: Politics as Usual in Italy

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007


aprodi.jpg Ciao bambini! Italy, where politics imitates The Rocky Horror Show,"It's just a jump to the left / And then a step to the right / Let's do the Time Warp again!" A Special Report to PJ Media by Mario Sechi

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“We open in Venice. We next play Verona…”

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

off.jpg
The Democratic presidential hopefuls had their first quasi-debate – or was it an audition – in Carson City, Nevada last night. PJ Media’s Bill Bradley was there, but Barack Obama wasn’t. Read all about it at Bill’s New West Notes.

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Sanity Squad: The Presidents

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

lincoln.jpg
Can you guess which President the London Examiner was referring to when it wrote that the man had “murdered the Constitution of the United States” and “overthrown all for which Washington fought and Patrick Henry spoke?” Hint: it wasn’t George Bush.

The Presidents

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