Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dating Columnist Orit Arfa XI The asking should occur either in person or over the phone, sometimes over e-mail, rarely over Facebook, and never over text.

Dating Columnist Orit Arfa X Dec. 28, 2009, I interviewed Jewish Journal singles columnist Orit Arfa about her new book on the tests women give men. The Game: Inside the Secret Society of Pickup

Dating Columnist Orit Arfa VII Dec. 28, 2009, I purposefully put my bed by the bathroom door because the feng shui experts said this was the best way to stay chaste.

Dating Columnist Orit Arfa IX There is an act that seems to require more courage from men than asking a boss for a raise, than changing a career path, or even than fighting in a war. It is

Dating Columnist Orit Arfa VIII It doesn’t have to be money. It can be his confidence, his positivity, his values, the way he treats a woman, the strength he projects. If hot women, and you want hot

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dating Columnist Orit Arfa VI We had lots of moths flying through the hovel and chirping crickets, which I fended off with my bare hands so Orit would feel safe.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dr. Spielvogel - I Need Your Help

"Dr. Spielvogel," he says, "I'm having a problem that I often have. It's with my GF. It's the most important relationship in my life. I have trouble telling her in the moment when I am feeling bad. So I tend to store up my resentment.

"I've become emotionally frozen.

"Her birthday was the other day. We planned to spend it together but flexible. She might have brunch or dinner with friends.

"Two days before, I get this mass email with all the plans for her birthday. It didn't make me feel special. I got the same notice as 50 other people. It felt like a slap in the face. I didn't feel special. It said to me, I don't care if you want to do this activity or not. I don't care how you feel about this. I'm indifferent to you. If you want to spend my birthday with me, you'll do it my way or not at all.

"I didn't say anything in the moment. She's very similar to my GF Peppy from 2000. She's happy, peppy, everything's great, and if I express any pain at her actions, then I'm a dick.

"She's always doing things that I can't point to as wrong, but they just make me feel bad. But if I voice my pain, I feel like a dick. She doesn't want to explain, justify or defend herself, but always does if I voice objection, and then she's pissed at me, and she punishes me by standing me up, maintaining radio silence or the like.

"She comes over to pick me up for her birthday celebration. She's frantic and filled with anxiety. As she's driving, she says she took a medication to slow her heartbeat and a tranquilizer. We keep getting close to getting into accidents. This is a girl who's driven me in the past after a couple of wines over dinner. Her cell phone is buzzing. I say, 'Please don't answer that.'

"We're cruising along at 60mph on the 10 East and she says, 'I'm not answering it. I just want to see who's calling.' So she picks up her phone and looks at who's calling. And in that time, we cover about 100 yards.

"So I'm feeling super unsafe. I often feel unsafe around her. I wish she would've told me that she'd taken a valium before she picked me up. I could've driven or made alternate plans.

"I don't say anything because I don't want to have a conflict while she's driving.

"I don't connect with her at all during the celebration. I get along fine with her friends. We come back to the hovel. She's all giddy as she listens to the messages on her phone wishing her happy birthday.

"I have to eat. She lies down. And boom, she goes to sleep. And she's out.

"She'd gone from super-high to catatonic in ten minutes. It was weird.

"I felt left out the whole day. I felt left out when she was super-high and I felt left-out when she was catatonic. By 11pm, I wanted her to leave and I put on the lights and she got up and left.

"She tells me about a friend from working asking her to the movies that week. It didn't feel good to hear. She wasn't asking me how I would feel about that. She doesn't ask me how I would feel about any of her choices. She just tells me her decisions and I can like it or lump it. I don't feel special. I feel the object of her contempt."

"On her side, she rejects having to explain herself. I don't want her to feel like she has to explain herself when I voice my pain. I just want her to hear me."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Craigslist Insights

Joe emails: One of my more disreputable habits is trolling the personal ads on Craigslist to check out the women offering their services for a "sugar daddy." I read these ads, look at the photos, and otherwise form my stereotypes. The number of asian women trying to sell themselves to the the White Man is striking. (There are also quite a few black women looking for the Perfect White Man, but I assume that just as in real life, nobody bothers paying any attention to them.) I know it is wrong of me to generalize about all Asian women based on what one sees on Craigslist, but damn - these Asian women dye their hair platinum blond, shave or die everything else, get breast jobs, and often do something to their eyes to make them look even whiter. But in the end, they never quite pull it off, and one knows that one is looking at an Asian woman who is doing everything in her power to look white. Again and on aethetic grounds alone, I prefer the look of white women over all others.

Upon further reflection the above is really unfair - I'm judging an entire race based on that tiny subset trying to sell itself on Craigslist. The Asian women my white friends have married have tended to be more than presentable in the looks department, level-headed, good to great mothers and suitable wives. The White Woman would do well to learn from such women before running off to marry some rich athlete of uncertain values and lineage.

Frank emails: I received an interesting news item from one of my sources.

The Rev. Al Sharpton held a press conference today to blast Tiger Woods for the lack of diversity among his mistresses. Sharpton claims that the lack of African-American women among Woods’ harem will have a negative affect on the black community, specifically young black girls.

“Why is it that a man who calls himself black can’t bring himself to cheat on his wife with a black woman?” said Sharpton, speaking to a group of supporters in Harlem. “What does it say to young black girls everywhere when you pass them over? Shame on you, Tiger Woods. What would your daddy say?”

Sharpton, who has long championed taking black women as mistresses, said that today’s black athletes need to stop neglecting black women when it comes to extramarital affairs, and should follow the examples of positive black role models such as Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom cheated on their wives with black women. Sharpton also stressed that cheating with African-American women would help the black community financially by giving black girls the chance to sell their stories to tabloids and gossip magazines.

Added Sharpton, “I’m not asking you to not cheat on your wives, I’m just asking you to give back to your own community.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Writing Teacher Terrie Silverman IX You get pegged really early about whether you are pretty or not. Then you’re really conscious of what the pretty girls have. And yes, now I find out that they had eat

Writing Teacher Terrie Silverman VIII Writing became the focus of my life, without donuts. I ended up going to grad school. I was like the crippled girl getting to work. I got straight As at grad school.

Writing Teacher Terrie Silverman VII Didn’t want to finish it. I was about to crinkle it up and throw it in the trash and he made me read what I had. And then he said, isn’t that interesting? He found something.

Writing Teacher Terrie Silverman VI I adored my father. I just wanted to get to know him. I always thought of him as my prince. I could only see him summers. I’d spend all year looking forward to seeing

Writing Teacher Terrie Silverman II I was the new kid in school. I always felt like a martian, being Jewish, having a divorced parent, no brothers and sisters. I though this is going to be make me more

Writing Teacher Terrie Silverman IV I had this great group. It was the funnest time of my life. The most social time at such a pivotal age. Then Liz and I both loved Allen and then Allen picked Liz. I

Writing Teacher Terrie Silverman III Even though I adored my father, I didn’t want to tell anyone. I found that all I had to say when anyone asked about my father was, They’re divorced and then no more

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I Love Low-Acid Coffee

I was a hardcore coffee drinker for years, someone who loved the great taste of a fresh brewed cup of gourmet java. Until my body said, Stop! The subsequent indigestion - call it coffee catharsis - was too great to bear . . . and I finally stopped drinking the stuff. Bear in mind I craved coffee because - surprise! - the really good beans taste great. And I had no intention of buying some medicated, diluted, mediocre "coffee flavored" substitute as a means of satisfying my longing for the real thing. No thanks. So coffee was like a former lover: something I remembered fondly, but could never have again. And then I discovered Puroast® Low Acid Coffee (, the best thing to happen to coffee since, well, forever. This brand is gourmet - I repeat: this brand is gourmet coffee! - and the taste is incredible! Half the acid, all the taste . . . and the smoothest, tastiest Cup of Joe I've had in years. Best of all, I don't have any stomach upset when I drink Puroast®.

So far so good, right? I have even better news: Puroast® is now available at the pharmacy! In my quest to find the latest news about this brand - yes, my coffee addiction is back, and I'm so happy to have fallen off the wagon - I uncovered an announcement that Puroast® is the only gourmet coffee also available in the pharmacy. Check it out! Dee-licious!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Dr. Spielvogel

"There's a certain type of girl I'm attracted to," says Josh. "I like a talker. Someone articulate. Good with words. I like a climber. I'm a climb. We both want to climb to a higher social circle, to surround ourselves with people of great accomplishment. I want a girl who takes me into a higher realm. I want a woman who loves sex. Who's well-read.

"This is my longest relationship with the ****s of the world. This is my type. I've never managed to make it last this long. Normally they blow me off after a few hours or a few dates or a few weeks. This time around, I'm more strong in myself. I'm more poised.

"There was this girl I was with in 2000. She was always doing these things that made me feel less-than. She was hyper-educated and hyper successful. And I was always feeling like she was manipulating me, but I could rarely put my finger on what she was doing.

"She'd take her time returning my phone calls. After we'd gone out for a couple of weeks, she sat me down for a talk and said the dreaded, 'We want different things.'

"Great girls I want to get with are always telling me, 'We want different things.' It always means, I'm not going to sleep with you. I'm not going to date you.

"Well, we kept seeing each other and I kept feeling less-than. After she didn't return my phone call for a couple of days, I finally sent her an email breaking things off after about six weeks of this. It was easier for me to be the one breaking it off.

"She called me. She hadn't gotten my email yet. She invited me to spend the weekend with her. To go to this wedding with her. To meet her family. She mentioned we would spend the night for the first time.

"But I had sent off this break-up email and denied myself this chance. It would've been so much better if I could've stayed poised and not fired off that email. At least I would've gotten to **** her.

"That's a big deal. Before sex, the woman has more power. You're romancing her and you're spending money on her and you're denying to know when you will sleep with her.

"Once you sleep with a girl, the vulnerability evens out, even she becomes more vulnerable than you. That's why you often here about a guy sleeping with a girl once and then moving on. He's gotten what he wants. He has an indelible emotional memory to sustain him for the rest of his life.

"Often when I'm having relationship sex, I bury my head in my girlfriend's shoulder and as I'm trying to come, I start running through all these erotic memories in my head. Eighty percent of the time in relationship sex, I'm not thinking about my girlfriend when I'm trying to climax. I'm thinking about a sexy teacher I had in elementary school or these haughty girls I knew in high school or this centerfold I saw at 16 or this erotic experience I had at 28 in the back of a car. Those erotic memories sustain me through monogamy, though I've never been in a relationship longer than a year.

"I wonder if sex would be different if I only thought about the one I was with. It would be more intimate. Perhaps I should look in her eyes. I remember this girl who insisted that I look in her eyes during sex because she knew that guys tend to fantasize about others when they're trying to climax or to at least maintain an erection. She also didn't want me to masturbate or to look at porn when she wasn't around. She wanted to control my cock and she wanted me to direct all my sexual energy towards her.

"After sex, I immediately want to jump off and take a shower. I don't like the smell of sex. Most women, they love the smell of sex. They don't want to shower. They want to walk around all day with the smell and feel of sex. Not me. I want to get clean. Then I want to cuddle with her.

"Sex usually leads to emotional intimacy. I like that. It's just the smell and messiness of sex that I don't want to dwell in."

Beth: How many women did you survey? I shower as soon as possible. It's probably a little insulting how fast I jump out of bed after.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Luke Ford's Fantasy Girl I met Jane at UCLA in the fall of 1988. I was an atheistic communist at the time, lost in the early stages of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I’m Telling My Story Dec. 3rd, 7:30 pm, at Workmen’s Circle

It’s the climax of this ten-week storytelling workshop I’ve been taking.

I’ll be reading a story that is 1400 words long. It should take ten minutes.

There will be refreshments. It is free.

Workmen’s Circle is located at 1525 Robertson Blvd, LA, CA, 90035.

A Great Gift Idea - Scene Seeker!

I have a new motto for holiday shopping this year: Fun but affordable. Forget expensive gifts that soon find their way to the remainder bin at some big box retailer, or presents that quickly fall out of style and gather dust. This time, I plan to go digital -- with iPhone applications.

With tens of thousands of applications from which to choose, and having an iPhone is a great present for your special someone (note to friends and family alike: I want an iPhone!), you can easily pick the right application for the right person. Which brings me to Scene Seeker, the coolest application for the iPhone ever, so cool that it makes Santa and his helpers - is the North Pole a union shop or a right-to-work territory? - pale before the geniuses at, the creators of Scene Seeker.

Scene Seeker gives you incredible details about your favorite films and TV shows. For example: you're in New York City or Los Angeles - and since I live in the latter, let's use that locale as our point of contact - and you want to know which movies or TV shows take place (or were shot) in the area. Well, Scene Seeker gives you all the information you need - and then some - including: names, locations and GPS directions - yes, GPS directions! - to these places. Which means, that fabled skyscraper or haunted house or iconic restaurant, the places that define our most beloved films and TV shows - they're all available through Scene Seeker.

So, here's my new plan: get all of my friends Scene Seeker - I'm on that list, too - and then watch a bunch of movies, and use Scene Seeker to really explore Los Angeles. Throw in some snacks, and I'm a happy camper. Get Scene Seeker! Enjoy the holidays -- and be merry!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

An Improv About His Dad

"Who wants to share what they brought in?" asks the teacher.
"I'd like to do an oral," he says.
"OK," she says. "You'd like to do oral storytelling? Would you like me to ask you questions?"
"Yes," he says. "I've got a subject. I'd like to talk about my father."
"Great," she says.
"My father got two PhDs in 18 months each," he says. "A very disciplined man."
"In what?" she asks.
"The first one in Rhetoric. The second one in New Testament Studies. Eschatology -- what will happen at the end of the world. They were both in religion."
"What is Rhetoric for religion?" she asks.
"He did his PhD in Rhetoric. He did his PhD thesis on the rhetoric of the Apostle Paul."
"So what did he tell you that he was studying?" she asks.
"He got his first PhD eight years before I was born," he says.
"But what did he tell you about them? The child?"
"He told me that he did it in 18 months and how the odds were against him and that was all the time that he had and that he got up at 4 every morning and wrote his thesis before going to class. He was a self-made man."
"Why do you think he was telling you that and not about the subject?"
"I read what he wrote for Rhetoric when I was 20. It wasn't groundbreaking. It was that he did it in 18 months that was extraordinary.
"I was going through a period where I was shucking away the way I was brought up and forging my own life.
"I've been going through my adult life trying to thrust him away. My first girlfriend said to me, the more you try to be different from him, the more you'll be like him."
"And are you?" asks the teacher.
"Yes," he says.
"So what does that mean?" asks the teacher.
"It's a curse and a blessing," he says.
"What's the blessing?"
"He's disciplined and I can be disciplined. He's well-read. He taught me about books."
"How did he teach you that?" she asks.
"He took me to the library and explained how it worked," he says.
"What did he tell you?"
"This was in Australia when I was about nine years old. He explained to me how the Dewey Decimal system worked for the library catalogue. When we came to America in 1977, when I was eleven, he took me to the college library and showed me how it worked. He pointed out the Christian Science Monitor and said that many people considered it the least biased newspaper."
"And why do you want to talk about him now?" she asks.
"My therapist recommended that I write about him," he says.
"Do you want to?" she asks.
Long pause.
"If I can find something to say," he says. "I feel like I have nothing to say about him. I'm not interested in writing about my father."
"And why do you think that is?" she asks.
He turns his hands into fists and starts punching himself. His face flushes and his whole demeanor changes. He repeats the question. "We're dead to each other. We don't communicate except through my stepmother. Maybe once or twice a year directly. I've made him feel like he's failed me and I know he did the best by me. He was always steady and reliable."
"Is your communication completely on an intellectual basis?"
"It was largely that during my late teens, early twenties. It's just minimal now. We love each other. We've gone separate paths."
"Have you talked about religion to him?"
"Not for years," he says. "That wouldn't go down well. He's a Christian minister and I became Jewish."
The class cracks up.
"So that's what you can write about," she says.
"When I was going through the conversion to Judaism process," he says, "I was still living with him. And I grew a beard and answered his phone shalom."
"And what joy did that bring you?" she asks.
"It brought me a lot of joy," he says.
"How do you think he heard it?" she asks. "It means peace, right?"
"It was a giant f--- you," he says.
"Do you think that was conveyed?" she asks.
"Yeah," he says. "I think that was conveyed."
"How much of your conversion has to do with him?" she asks.
"I think a substantial part," he says.
"You could've picked any religion though," she says. "Was that the worst one for him?"
"No," he says. "I didn't consciously do it."
"How did you tell him?" she asks.
"I was living with my parents at the time," he says, "because I was pretty sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was bedridden. I didn't tell him about the actual conversion process until it was finished."
"Why? Did you think he would talk you out of it?"
"No," he says. "They knew it was going on but it was one of those things you don't bring up. I was really sick and they knew it was helping keep me alive.
"I told him one night that I had finished my conversion to Judaism today. He calmly looked up from his book at the dinner table and said, 'They're certainly not like the Adventists, out there proselytizing.' He knew how hard they had discouraged me and pushed me away."
"So how did you take that?"
"I thought it was a really cool answer," he says. "He loses sleep worrying about my Heavenly salvation."
"Do you lose sleep over his?"
He laughs. "No."
"Do you think you are going to the same place?" she asks.
"Do you want him to know that?" she asks.
"I sure he knows that," he says, "if he knows anything about the Jewish religion, that it holds that all good people have a place in the world to come."
"Is he a good person?" she asks.
"Yes," he says, "he's a good person."
"What's your image in your head of him?" she asks, "and then we'll end. What portrait do you hold?"
"This pained smile," he says, "where he knows that nothing he will say will do any good and yet he has every reason to fear that I will not be in Heaven. He's looking at me with this pained smile."
"You have a lot to write about," she says. "If you want... Or you could also write about a character based on your father. Who are these two people? A Christian minister. And you're an Orthodox Jew. You didn't just go the easy Jew route. What are these two men and what are they saying to each other by the religious roads they chose? What is all unsaid and what would the rhetoric be?"
"Just imagine what dinner table conversation was like with a self-made man with a PhD in Rhetoric," he says.
"And I don't understand how you can be self-made with Rhetoric?" she says. "You can't make money on Rhetoric."
"No," he says. "He's a theologian and evangelist."
"What does that mean to your identity to say that your father is an evangelical?" she asks. "This would make a really interesting play."
"Could you elucidate?" he asks.
"No," she says. "What are your questions? We have two strong figures with built-in drama. Love, religion, acceptance, judgment. You're a preacher's kid. I'd love to hear what you remember from sitting there listening. What do these men say to each other in their heads?"
A class member asks: "When you sat in church as a kid, did you sit there hating it? Did you just go along with it? Did you ever feel like you didn't want to practice any religion?"
"Yeah," he says. "I had a few years where I was an atheistic communist. I am an extremist."
"You've been Orthodox for how long?" he's asked.
"Ten years," he says.
"Your whole demeanor changed," says the teacher. "The anger, the physicality. You started saying my father, my father, my father, and punching your hand. If you were an actor, that would be a great acting choice. Psychological changes."
"Your whole face changed," says a class member. "Everything changed. You turned red."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Luke Ford Drives Through Santa Barbara III Luke Ford left home at 4:30 am with his friend, heading for Big Sur, Morrow Bay, Monterey and high adventure and hiking and deep conversation and lunch and fun sun

Luke Ford Drives Through Santa Barbara II Luke Ford left home at 4:30 am with his friend, heading for Big Sur, Morrow Bay, Monterey and high adventure and hiking and deep conversation and lunch and fun sun

Luke Ford Drives Through Santa Barbara IV Luke Ford left home at 4:30 am with his friend, heading for Big Sur, Morrow Bay, Monterey and high adventure and hiking and deep conversation and lunch and fun sun

Luke Ford Drives Through Santa Barbara Luke Ford left home at 4:30 am with his friend, heading for Big Sur, Morrow Bay, Monterey and high adventure and hiking and deep conversation and lunch and fun sun

Walking Through Monterey Before Sunset Luke Ford talks about his childhood while walking through Monterey. He remembers his father's talks here in 1980.

Hiking Through Big Sur National Park Luke Ford wants to push on to Monterey before sunset. He remembers his father's talks here in 1980.

Walking Through Monterey Before Sunset II Luke Ford talks about his childhood while walking through Monterey. He remembers his father's talks here in 1980.

Monterey - A Clean Contrast To Israel Luke Ford talks about his childhood while driving through Big Sur, Nov. 9, 2009 with a friend. Luke is accused of bad driving, immaturity, recklessness.

Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner Luke Ford talks about his childhood while driving through Big Sur, Nov. 9, 2009 with a friend. Luke is accused of bad driving, immaturity, recklessness.

Elephant Seals - Driving Through Big Sur To Monterey III Luke Ford talks about his childhood while driving through Big Sur, Nov. 9, 2009 with a friend. Luke is accused of bad driving, immaturity, recklessness.

Elephant Seals - Driving Through Big Sur To Monterey Luke Ford talks about his childhood while driving through Big Sur, Nov. 9, 2009 with a friend. Luke is accused of bad driving, immaturity, recklessness.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Driving Through Big Sur To Monterey II Luke Ford talks about his childhood while driving through Big Sur, Nov. 9, 2009 with a friend. Luke talks about his SDA childhood, psychology, Alexander Technique.

Driving Through Big Sur To Monterey Luke Ford talks about his childhood while driving through Big Sur, Nov. 9, 2009 with a friend. Luke is accused of bad driving, immaturity, recklessness.

Driving Through Big Sur II Luke Ford talks about his childhood while driving through Big Sur, Nov. 9, 2009 with a friend. Luke is into the power of now, thinking of writing a book.

On The Way To Monterey

Josh emails: I woke Elise* at 4 am. I turned on the light. I said, "Let's get up. We're going."
"You're crazy if you think can get me out of bed at this time," she said.
I took a cold shower, brushed my teeth, took my vitamins, munched some greens, swallowed some energy chews. I pushed her into the shower.
We hit the road at 4:30 am. I needed her guidance on the road. I was taking the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and somehow we ended up on the 118 East. Not helpful.
She got me back on the right track. Lost 20 minutes.
She may have saved my life. I passed someone driving north on the PCH. With traffic coming right for me, I did not realize I was in the wrong lane. She pushed me back to the right one. Thank you!
After Santa Barbara, she picked up the video camera when I asked and interviewed me for my blog.
We had our only tiff in Morrow Bay. She wanted to walk around the town. She'd stayed here several times. I wanted to push on for Big Sur.
I eventually went along with what she wanted when she made clear that it was looking like we couldn't travel together.
She thought I was crazy wanting to get to Big Sur but I insisted.
We hit it 30 minutes after Morrow Bar. What a gorgeous drive.
We drove to a secluded spot. We parked. We walked through the trees to the cliff. We look out at the ocean and up at the sky and we felt very close.
We took pictures.
She told me a story about me brutally seducing an Orthodox virgin in a long dress. She has such an imagination. She knows how to excite me.
Her openness and her words and her sighs and her expressions and her intense emotions and passionate presentness drive me wild. She is the greatest girl.
We drove on and had lunch on another cliff.
We drove on to Big Sur National Park. She had never been this far north. I made her scream my name.
We hiked for an hour.
Then I insisted we head for Monterey.
She had never been to Monterey. I wanted her to experience some first. I wanted to show her how exciting and creative I am.
We arrived at 4pm. I had coffee, my first coffee in about a year. I needed the pep for the long drive home.
We had an hour of daylight to show her my old stomping grounds. We walked past the Monterey Convention Center, the site of my father's evangelical swings in 1980 and 1981.
We walked past Fisherman's Wharf to Cannery Row. We paused for rest beside an expensive wedding and looked out at the ocean in the dying sun.
By 6pm, we were 340 miles north of Los Angeles. We were finally heading south on the 101.
We could breathe.
Elisa checked her cell phone.
"I got a text from Vikki*," she says.
The name sends shivers up my spine. She's left me twice to hook up with Nikki. It's the keenest pain.
"She wants to know if I want to play this week," she says.
"Do you?" I ask.
She's silent.
"I repeat my question."
"I'm with you now," she says. "I won't play with her this week."
Five minutes later, she says, "I'm sorry. As soon as I mentioned Nikki's text, I felt in my chest that what I was doing was wrong."
I couldn't fight back. I had 340 miles to cover. The 101 South at night was a difficult drive. I fought the road, enlivened by the exciting Dallas-Philadelphia game on the radio.
We'd had our greatest day ever and yet she remained contemptuous.
I stayed poised. I know there's a girl out there for me.
Nov. 10. My six-day driving gig has ended. That postpones my financial demise for two weeks. I'm glad to be making and posting videos again. I have such a full life. I have a Netflix subscription, Judaism, Alexander Technique teacher training, dating, blogging, therapy, Dennis Prager's radio show, a social life, reading, the attractions of California, yoga, meditation. I am opening up my heart. I am connecting more.
Read On

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Own Private Housing Crash

I'm like Chairman Mao. I win hearts and minds and I live off the land in my little hovel. I devote myself to providing good blog posts for the community so they can have something to share with each over the dinner table.

During my first year in Los Angeles, I lived in my car for six months. I crashed with friends. Finally, I found a Holocaust survivor with about 25 cats. I lived with him for $200 a month in exchange for cleaning up after the cats twice a day.

He was crazy and set the place on fire. It did not endear us to the other tenants.

In the summer of 1980, my father lost his employment with the Seventh-Day Adventist church. My family moved from Pacific Union College in the Napa Valley, where we were renting, to the Auburn area, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range 45 minutes drive north of Sacramento.

My father set up his own non-denominational evangelical Christian foundation Good News Unlimited.

Read On

I'm reading this new book by economist Thomas Sowell — The Housing Boom and Bust.

From 2000 to 2005, the average home price in the United States increased by one-third. Millions of Americans began using their homes as ATMs, getting credit lines from numerous banks to pay off their other debts (whose interest was not tax deductible, only mortgage interest payments are deductible). Then in 2007, it all crashed.

* One of the consequences of reselling mortgages — almost all mortgages banks make are sold to such institutions as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — is that banks have little incentive to be careful about the financial qualifications of people it loans money to.

Read On

For more than a decade, US newspapers have editorialized that banks are more conservative than they should be about lending money to blacks. The current foreclosure debacle suggests otherwise.

A 1991 Federal Reserve study found that blacks and whites with the same income had different mortgage loan acceptance rates. Is this racism? It's not clear. Income is only one factor in determining whether someone is a good bet to repay a mortgage loan. Blacks and whites with the same income tend to have very different levels of wealth.

The same Federal Reserve study found that whites were denied conventional home loans more often than Asians and resorted to subprime loans more. This fact did not make it to most news reports.

Read On

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Fantasy Girl

Josh emails: I met Jane* at UCLA in the fall of 1988. She was a compact, busty Christian from Asia. She played tennis. She was the sweetest girl. She had this shy retiring smile that would send her eyes way to the side. I often felt that she wanted to reveal more of herself to me, but as she sensibly pointed out when I started flirting with her, “You have a girlfriend.”

Many times when I was having sex with my girlfriend, I imagined I was with Jane.

I feared it would never happen, but a man can dream, can’t he? Those full breasts. That snug bum. That backhand. That innocence. That Christianity. I wanted in.

When Chronic Fatigue Syndrome forced me to leave school, I moved back home with my Christian parents, embraced Judaism, grew a beard, answered their phone “Shalom” and fantasized about Jane.

I wrote her a couple of times a year and on average she wrote me back once a year.

I became really religious. I abstained from tying my kangaroo down for 14 months straight. I refused to shake hands with women. I was going to be the real Jewish deal.

Then I met a Jewish girl with E-cup breasts. My resolve faded.

I plooked her constantly until I met someone hotter and then I plooked her until she gave me the boot and then I bedded a half dozen more women until partially recovering my health and moving to Los Angeles in March 1994.

One day in April, Jane came to visit me. I had a friend’s place in Westwood all to myself. I felt as triumphant as Douglas MacArthur returning to the Philippines. I had proven it was not all psychological. I was a warrior and I had returned home for my prize.

Jane wasn’t as hot as she used to be but she was still my fantasy.

We sat outside on the deck. The sun shone upon us. As was my tendency, I turned the conversation towards sex. Jane looked at me, leaned over and kissed me.

I kissed her back. Then I gathered her in my arms and walked her towards the bedroom. I took off her clothes. Everything was possible, I thought. I can resume a grand life, an even better life than I had before illness. I finally had those breasts in my hands. I was all over her.

She had hinted that she was a virgin, which only made her all the more exciting to me.

She opened up to me. Then it came time for the ultimate deed and it was awful. It was the worst sex of my life. “This is what I’ve been fantasizing about for all these years?” I thought. "I'm sure there's a religious lesson here."

After several failures, I told her, “You’ll have other lovers and it will be better for you as you go along.”

Our communication was excellent. I told her I’d been fantasizing about her since the day we met. She was confused. How could I feel that way when I had a girlfriend?

I told her that the heart has reasons of its own that the mind will never understand.

She shared her fantasies. She had never seen a guy *** and was dying to. I promised her I would show her, but somehow I never got around to it.

One night my former girlfriend from UCLA came over with a bag of potatoes. It didn’t take much effort to get her into bed. The *** was very good. She knew what to do. She knew how to maximize my pleasure.

Afterwards, she asked me, “How many women have you been with since me?”

“About ten,” I said. “How many guys have you been with?”

“One,” she said. “Those other girls, they taught you well. You used to be really awkward.”

The next day Jane came over and we spent the night. In the morning while I was shaving, I looked at the ****** and thought about how easily I could fulfill her fantasy. All I had to do was to take a ****.

Then Jane asked me, “What are we?”

“We’re daytime friends and nighttime lovers,” I said.

“Have there been other lovers?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

The next time she came over, she said she couldn’t see me any more. She said I was bad for her.

I never saw her again.

Ten years passed and I Googled her name and emailed her. She made a short reply, mystified about why I would contact her. I wrote back. She did not reply.

A few more years passed and I emailed her again. She did not reply.

According to Google, she has not married.

I wonder if she’s ever seen a guy ***.

Feedback: I want to know how her being Christian was also an aphrodisiac.
I want to know if the sex helped him recover his health. Did he feel like he was getting away with something? Did he feel like he was a different person when he was having sex? Did he feel ashamed? Was it OK?
What would the Torah say? Did that contribute to the bad experience?
Why did she bring the potatoes? Did one or both of you find that sexy? Was she some Russian farmer's daughter?
Why didn't he *** for her? What was his fascination with her? We never found out after the fantasy. What did she represent to him?
I want to know his reaction when his ex-girlfriend told him, you used to be really awkward.
Was there ever love? Is there union between his religious devotion and sex? Does he have to compartmentalize?
I'm an ignorant Jew and I don't know what Orthodox Judaism has to say about sex outside of marriage. I'm guessing he's breaking the rules. Does that add to the excitement? Does he feel guilt or shame? Does he think his religion is unrealistic? I want to get the context. The narrarator is obviously very devout and has made lots of sacrifices. How does he navigate all of this and what is he really looking for? I want to know what's in his mind and what's in his heart moment to moment. How is he able to captivate these women? (I should list off why all the different women I've known have decided to sleep with me. How did I get them into bed?) Does he understand women? Do they scare him? Are they triumphs for him? I want to know where he puts all this. Has he given up looking for a wife?
Religion and his parents and the path he took and why. How much introspection has he done about that, about his choices.
She was a Christian girl.
"Yes, I became really Orthodox when I moved back home to my Christian parents." I'd love to know his motivation.
Have any memories come up while you were listening to this? Any images come up?
Yeah, she was the attainment of all the hot girls I never got to ****. The girls in high school and the girls in church and the girls in college and the girls on TV and in movies and magazines and pornos. Now I was finally doing it to the beauty denied me all my life. After a lifetime of girls saying no to me, starting with my mother croaking on me at age four, here was the real deal.
I'd love to know more about that and what she meant to you and the reality of that and the disappointment. What was he still hoping to find and to recover by continuing to contact her? Maybe we'd both gotten better at sex and we could have a joyful and pleasurable reunion and salve our pains through sex.
Was there any emotional connection?
And if he was that obsessed with her, didn't he want to show her her fantasy as a way of hooking her in? Does he regret that?
Did she live in a cave? Did she never see her father when she was little? What is that innocence? Was it almost a biology lesson?
Your strength as a writer is that you don't sugarcoat things. You're telling what is instead of what you think is acceptable for women to hear. That's what makes your writing riveting. We're getting to eavesdrop and hear the truth.
What was the meaning of the E-cup breasts? What do they mean? What do breasts mean? The ultimate fantasy of bigger than big? Machoness? Conquering? This is the best thing since Angel Food Cake?
How did you learn to improve as a lover? I took my time. I lavished attention on her body. I stroked her. I got her ready. I didn't rush to intercourse. All those years I yearned for sex, now it was here and I was learning to take my time and to enjoy it and to share my joy.
How does he understand that? How does it affect his identity?
How did I feel when she did not respond back? I am used to women saying no. It is women saying yes that is noteworthy.
We never heard love.
What made the sex so lousy?

My First Time

Josh emails: Within seconds of meeting an attractive girl, I get a feeling about whether or not I’ll be able to sleep with her and how much effort it will take to accomplish this. I can be a bit of a womanizer but I am a very lazy one. I prefer to save my energy for writing rather than seducing.
My intuition has rarely been wrong. I’ve never bedded a woman who I initially determined was out of my league. I have, however, managed to bollix up numerous potential seductions by being too crude, too forward, too shy, too wimpy, too aggressive, or just plain too Josh.
I’ve always feared women. I’m scared by how much I want them. I’m scared by how awkward I can feel around them. I’m scared by their ability to cut me down and blow me off.
It’s much easier to masturbate to pornography. Starting in 11th grade, I kept a collection of Penthouse and Hustler magazines in the bushes outside my home to visit as the need arose.
I kept myself very busy after high school, so busy I was rarely in a situation to lose my virginity. When my one chance arrived on New Year’s Eve 1986, my hands were so cold from the adrenalin coursing through my system that they freaked her out when I applied them to her chest and I got no further.
In February 1988 my life slowed down forever when I came down with what doctors later diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. From here on, I would spend half of my life in bed.
I figured I might as well make the most of it.
I transferred to UCLA in the fall and lived on a special quiet floor in ***** Hall for serious students. I met a girl from Asia. She became my first.
We got together the week of Valentine’s Day, 1989. I was 22.
We spent our first night together. The next evening, my roommate was gone. This would be it.
I had hoped for more from my first. I had hoped for a beauty or at least a brain. I had hoped for a woman who’d become my wife and the mother of my children. I had hoped for a woman I could show off.
She was nothing like what I had hoped. She was just sweet and cuddly and most important of all, she was willing.
I had talked a very big game at UCLA, pretending that I was the biggest stud in the world. I had read lots of books about sex. And magazines. I’d watched porn movies. I’d tied me kangaroo down sport from the age of 16, sometimes three times a day.
Now I headed down to the scary zone. Oy, how it smelled of rotten fish.
I’m a vegetarian. I have a very delicate sensibility. I have vaginaphobia.
She was embarrassed and pulled me up.
I tried to slide inside of her but it was no go. She was dry. Even though I knew it could damage the condom, I generously applied Perfect Choice Dry Skin Lotion. I was frantic to succeed in this last area of manly endeavor left to me, but it still wouldn’t work.
She took charge and put me on my back. She lay on top of me and with her little hands guided me inside of her.
Now I was a man.
I hugged her and we laughed and talked for what seemed like 30 minutes. Then she waved her hands for me to finish. I did quickly and felt glorious.
As has become my lifetime practice, I got off the bed quickly and went to wash my hands. Outside my door in the hallway, I ran into friends who’d overheard our exertions. One guy, Tom, a fellow Asian, high-fived me by the sink. My new girlfriend, however, he could not look at for the rest of the school year.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do You Think It Is Psychological?

I so enjoyed hearing your deepest truths this morning. The intensity of your emotions is exciting to me.

When I offered a peep of my own emotion -- "I feel like I have lost a month" -- I got your old "Do you think it is psychological?" routine.

I'd like you to drop this question and this approach from all your dealings with me, and frankly, with the entire world.

I'm sure you have asked the question thousands of times in your life and I can't imagine it ever having a good result. Did it ever make you closer to anyone? Did they ever respond, "Oh, thank you. That is such a helpful perspective. I had never thought about the possibility that psychology might offer answers to the physical pain I am suffering right now."

You don't know anyone who is not aware of the power of psychology. You have zero training in psychology and playing amateur psychologist, when this is not sought, is obnoxious and contemptuous.

When I share my physical pain with you, from a bad back to a flu that never goes away to CFS, I don't want to hear "Do you think it is psychological?"

As you know, I believe deeply in the power of psychology. I have spent years on psycho-meds such as clonidine and lithium. I am in therapy. I have a psychiatrist.

Nothing good can come from your question, not to me nor to anyone. Let's say the physical pain I am describing is 100% psychological. do you think your question will hasten me to this insight? On the other hand, if my problem is not psychological, your question won't help either. However you look at it, your question can only come across to me and to anyone as smug, contemptuous, superior, and obnoxious.

Drop it!

Also, when I am sharing my feelings, or when anyone is sharing their feelings with you, this is not the time to offer a reframe such as "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be the greatest gift you have ever received."

You don't have Byron Katie's skills or training. I can't imagine you offering reframes would ever help anyone when these reframes are not solicited, let alone me. It's just obnoxious.

If you want to offer the good work of Byron Katie, share a DVD or CD or a book, that is one thing, but to try to play Byron Katie when a friend is sharing his feelings is obnoxious.

I am all down with watching a Byron Katie DVD with you or whatever... I'm into personal growth.

A sharing of feelings is a completely different type of conversation from a seeking for solutions. When we're sharing our feelings, this is generally not a time to seek solutions. When I or anyone start a sentence with, "I feel..." that should be a red flag for you not to jump in with your amateur psychology sleuthing skills and start offering up reframes and solutions. I don't do it to you and you appreciate it.

It's a time to empathize and to seek out uncover the thinking behind feelings etc...but not to jump in there with a "A ha! You might want to think this way."

Your reframe is the equivalent of an Orthodox Jew saying to you, "What do you think HaShem is trying to teach you through this?"

I have never once responded to your sufferings by suggesting that God is trying to teach you a lesson... That is obnoxious.

Perhaps this could be one of your old habits that you let drop away...

Casey Pratt: It's your tone. You *sound* to people like you're asking them to offer solutions. I have the same trouble all the time. I listen to dozens of unhelpful suggestions after I describe some suffering that's troubling me... then usually end up hollering, "I'm not asking you to fix anything--I just want you to pet my head and say 'there, there.'

Let me know what you figure out. If there's a better way...

Rodger Jacobs: I think Casey nailed it, Luke, in all seriousness. More insulting than your friend's behavior is when one exposes their worries and woes to a confidante and when said confidante offers advice, the beleagured person says, "I wasn't looking for your input" or advice. Really? So they're just sounding boards for you and nothing more? Might as well talk to the wall if that's how one feels.

Luke: When I say, "I feel..." I am not looking for advice. When I say, what can I do? I'm looking for advice. Sharing feelings and seeking solutions are two different types of conversations. Not that complex.

Casey Pratt: It shouldn't be that complex, but it seems like it is for some people. I sometimes come home on Thursday afternoon from my job as a professor, untuck my shirt, and say to my wife, "Are you SURE you want me to keep doing this? I feel like a liar most days. I have to play by so many rules. I feel like I could be more satisfied..."

I'm really not... Read More seeking a solution -- at least not from her in that moment. But she loves me, so knowing that I'm dissatisfied, she can't resist offering solutions. It's really hard to just sit there and know that somebody you love is hurting. To just pet them and tell them that it's all worth it.

But (for what it's worth) I hear you. Having that CFS thing must suck hard. No kidding.

Republicans Cracking Down On Government Funding For Acorn

Here are some insights on the one law that did most to put us in this mortgage mess -- the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act.

Mad She Has To Work

A never married beauty tells me: "On Sunday, all I could think about was being back at work. I was just furious. It's just been so hard at work. I have rage. I'm exhausted. I've avoided working almost my entire life. I've put it off as long as I could. I had this thing about not working. On some level, it makes me feel that I am not loved. That I shouldn't have to work.
"I know where I got it from. It's why I didn't work in school and was furious that I had to.
"I have a really strong sense of entitlement. Also, an incredibly low sense of self-worth."
"Where does your self-worth come from?" I ask.
"Ninety percent of it from how I look," she says. "I just find it shocking that I have to work. That's only a part of me. The other part of me wants to be out in the world doing things.
"There are days that I drive to work and I'm sitting there talking to my inner child. You're not coming with me. You can go to the movies and eat lots of chocolate. I have to send her away so I can deal with the day. A lot of my nature is to just fuck off and sleep all day and eat bon-bons.
"I'd rather feel angry than sad because it is more powerful, but when I go to anger it immediately slips into depression, anger turned inward."
"A part of you expected to be married and taken care of," I say.
"Yeah," she says. "Or at least taken care of. At least by my parents. I don't know why. They practically abandoned me and I felt like I shouldn't have to do anything.
"I never believed in marriage. It's not the fairy princess thing. Good luck random stuff has always happened to me. I thought I would get by on my looks. It makes me mad I have to get by on my brains and it doesn't matter how I look."

JDub Records Adopts Jewcy

From 2009 has been a remarkable year for Jewcy. In February, as the economy went into freefall, we lost our source of funding and, in turn, our paychecks and our office. A small, committed circle of Jewcy employees banded together to make sure that the site remained in business, agreeing to work for free until a new home could be found.

Six months later, I am still the proud editor of and we are honored to announce that we now have a new home. JDub Records, the non-profit dedicated to creating community among young Jews, their friends, and significant others by promoting proud, authentic Jewish voices in popular culture, has adopted Jewcy. As 5770 begins, Jewcy and JDub look forward to, together, reinventing and growing the Jewish media world.

Like all of JDub's projects, Jewcy is dedicated to creating conversation and community and we now need you, the readers of Jewcy, to step up and support the site. Your donation will make sure that Jewcy continues to ask important questions, challenges the notions of Jewish identity and peoplehood, and provides entertaining, colorful commentary on the Jewish issues of the day. Jewcy is devoted to helping Jews and their peers expand the meaning of community by presenting a spectrum of voices, content, and discussion. We maintain one of the highest levels of traffic among Jewish sites written by and for young Jews.

Friday, October 09, 2009

'For What?'

I broke the news to a left-wing friend this morning that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

"For what?" was her response.

I laughed.

"I don't get it," she said. "For what did he win the prize? Afghanistan? Iraq?"

Save The Delis

Pico-Robertson, where I live, has one of the best delis in America -- Pico Kosher Deli.

The New York Times reports: David Sax, a 30-year-old freelance writer, listened and nodded. Many delis are seeing more African-American customers.

“In many ways, deli owners in places like Detroit or Chicago have told me, they are better deli clients than Jews,” Mr. Sax said referring to African-Americans. “They accept it as it is. Take a corned beef sandwich. A Jewish customer will say, ‘I want the corned beef lean, from the middle of the brisket,’ because their grandfathers did. It’s like Jews going to a Chinese restaurant. They love it for what it is and they are better clients because of it.”

Mr. Sax loves delis for what they are and mourns the loss of so many of them around the country. For the last two years he has been writing the blog Save the Deli celebrating great delis and chronicling their demise. And this month Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is publishing his book “Save the Deli,” an account of his journey of discovery through the world of delis, from New York to Toronto, Detroit, Miami and Los Angeles; London, Paris and Poland.

What Is A Sukkah?

A friend who's converting to Judaism emails me: I was talking to my mom on the phone just now, trying to explain to her what a sukkah is. I told her it was like a hut, a temporary dwelling place, like what the Israelites lived in. Then she said, "Oh, is that what Mr. Ford lives in? He lives in a sukkah?" She's been reading your blog, she said. I could've died. Mr. Ford lives in a sukkah year-round.

Friday, October 02, 2009

When Quinn Met Julia

I met Julia in October 2007. It was right before Rosh Hashanah. She was tall, blonde and beautiful. Her publicist arranged the interview. We met in the park at La Cienega and Olympic Blvds.

After I wrote up the interview, Julia email me: "Good god you're perfectly evil. Did you know that I used to keep a cut-out picture of you from an old issue of Rolling Stone in my diary when was 15? I think I was a little bit in love with you."

About nine months ago, I noticed on Facebook that she was engaged to a bloke named Quinn. I clicked the link and looked at his profile and wondered if I hated him.

The next day, I got a friend request.

I was freaked. How did he know I was looking at his profile?

I accepted the friend request and we had no further contact.

Three weeks ago, Julia calls me. She has a friend who loves my blog and wants to meet me.

"A hot chick!" I thought to myself. "Awesome!"

We finally meet for coffee this afternoon.

Julia is 45 minutes late. She brings Quinn with her.

"I don't know why Julia thinks all her guys friends will be excited to meet me," he says. "I don't get it. 'Oh, this is Steve. He's been trying to f--- me for five years. You must meet him.'"

Read On

Sunday, September 27, 2009

He Realized He Was The Fat Girl

He realized she was ashamed to be seen with him in public. She said it was his Orthodox Judaism. He hoped that was true. What if he was inherently embarrassing?
He knew if the shoe was on the other foot, she'd drop him in a minute. How pathetic was he that he'd put up with this?
"We want different things." That's what women often say to him and it never means anything good.
He wanted to know which feeling was stronger for her -- her hatred of Orthodox Judaism or her affection for him but he knew the answer. She'd built her entire adult life on hating Orthodox Judaism, rejecting Orthodox Judaism, despising Orthodox Jews. To love him as an Orthodox Jew was to hate herself.

Wanting Different Things

She said: "We have this connection but ultimately we want different things in life. It wasn't casual sex. We really had a deep connection. Sometimes you can have something deep and profound in the moment. It's a relationship but it's not geared towards marriage.
"I'm trying not to put it in a box and define it and just be there and just be present. I'm trying. I'm trying to be honest and see what it is. I hope you are doing the same. I don't have any guarantees. You don't have any guarantees for me. It just feels intense and open and we can just sorta mean a lot to each other right now.
"It's so hard that you're Orthodox and committed to Judaism. It brings up a lot of stuff for me."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Found Out She Had A Boyfriend

"That girl," said John.* "I gave her 45 minutes of my time. I was walking with her. We had a couple of miles to go. And she told me she had a boyfriend. She soaked up all my time and attention that Friday night and here we are walking and we have miles to go and she tells me she has a boyfriend. What a buzz kill. Women are such manipulative bitches."
Dude, you can't let that get you down. She was telling you to keep you at a distance, to communicate she wasn't interested in anything with you. But just because a woman has a boyfriend is no reason not to be friends with her or friendly with her. It does not mean she'll never be available.
Dude, you can't put out this much hostility and anger and expect that people will want to hang out with you. Unhappiness is a buzz kill. It makes me want to flee. This is a shul. This is not a place for berating women.

Orthodox Rabbis Focus On Ethics

Jeff Diamant reports:

In an unusual move, a group of influential Orthodox Jewish leaders wrote a letter urging American rabbis to speak during this year’s High Holidays on the importance of ethical living, in response to some recent high-profile arrests of Jews, including two New Jersey rabbis in July.


More Info

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown Sunday. Most Jews consider this day the holiest in the Jewish calendar. On Yom Kippur, the Book of Life is closed and sealed. Those that have repented for their sins are granted a good and happy new year. It is a day to ask forgiveness for promises broken to God. There is no blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn, on Yom Kippur, and observant Jews fast.

In the Sept. 3 letter sent to about 2,000 rabbis nationwide, the leaders of Yeshiva University, the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America cited "the recent scenes of religious Jews being led off in handcuffs, charged with corruption, money laundering, and even organ trafficking.”

During the High Holidays, which began Sept. 18 with Rosh Hashana and end Monday on Yom Kippur, Jews are supposed to take stock of their lives, and rabbis’ sermons these days can touch on everything from personal religious observance to social issues, and from personal morality to international relations.

The letter, which several Orthodox rabbis in New Jersey said they would heed, urged Jewish clergy to publicly affirm at least once during the High Holidays that the Torah forbids all stealing; that secular laws bind religious Jews; that Jews should lead efforts to promote honesty in society; and that Jews must sacrifice financially rather than bring shame to God or Jewish law.

"This is not a time for splitting hairs over possible dissenting views,” reads the letter, signed by six leading Orthodox rabbis. "(W)e must make the ethical demands of the Torah and the day clear in the most public of ways. We strongly urge you to join with us and loudly declare, to our own communities and to the world, that we, representing Torah, will not tolerate any but the highest standards of ethics.”

The letter referred indirectly to money-laundering charges against Rabbi Ben Haim of Congregation of Ohel Yaacob and Rabbi Edmund Nahum of the Synagogue of Deal, N.J., and Rabbi Saul Kassin from Brooklyn, and organ-trafficking charges against a Jew from Brooklyn. Those arrests were part of a massive sting operation that also led to the arrest of politicians on corruption charges. The letter seemed to hint at crimes of Bernie Madoff, whose fraudulent investment company cost thousands of people billions of dollars.


"You feel very disconnected from me when we're at yoga," he said.
"That's because I'm ashamed," she said.
"Ashamed of what?" he asked.
"Ashamed of your Judaism. Your Orthodox Judaism. People hate Orthodox Jews. I can't bear to hold your hand while you're wearing a yarmulke, with your beard, your tzitzit out. It fills me with shame. There's nothing I can do about it. That's just the way I feel."
He'd always suspected that but now he had it in clear words. She spoke softly. She spoke from the heart. This was not one of her recorded speeches. She was connected to her feelings and she was telling him the truth.
"Do you remember that Sex in the City episode where that guy was dating a fat girl? He was very happy with her. They had a great time in private. But he was ashamed to introduce her to his friends. And the one time a friend ran into him with her at a restaurant, he didn't introduce her. And so she broke up with him."
"Yeah," he said. "I saw that.
"So when you have sex with someone, what does it do to you? Do to your feelings for the person you're intimate with?"
"It depends."
"If the sex is good and frequent and is accompanied by emotional intimacy. Does it make you more vulnerable to that person?"
"I wouldn't say vulnerable. No, not vulnerable. It just makes me want to be with the person and to have good times with them. I live in the moment. Whatever feels good. I don't believe in vows."
"When I have sex with somone," he said, "a lot of sex, good sex, accompanied by good conversation, it multiplies my vulnerability to that person by 50 times. They have 50 times more people to hurt me or to please me.
"So when you had sex with that girl and told me about six days later, what was going on?"
"A lot of guys," she said, "find it a turn-on for their girl to be with another girl."
"I didn't know it would make me feel so ill. I had no idea. I had told you I did not want to hear about your heterosexual adventures, but it didn't bother me hearing about the times you were with a woman. So we never spoke about monogamy. We never spoke about you having sex with women while you were with me. But when I found out about it, I suddenly felt very ill. And then through that illness, about ten seconds later, there was a tremendous feeling of relief. That it was over. That there was nothing further I could do. I didn't need to push my limits. I didn't need to stretch and change for you. That it was all over and it was all decided for me and the only thing was to move on."
"I did it to break up with you," she said. "I didn't like you very much at the time. I did it with a girl so it wouldn't hurt you so much, but I knew you'd just break up with me. I didn't want to do the breaking up. I knew this would force your hand. And it felt like such a relief."
"What role do you sense fear playing in my life?" he asked.
"I don't know," she said. "What do you mean?"
"My greatest fear in a relationship is that my partner will be unfaithful. That's the greatest pain. And when it happens, I just cut the person off. They're dead to me.
"David Deida talks about loving without fear. I want to learn to love without fear. I want to learn to love even though I fear my partner is unfaithful and will be unfaithful or has been unfaithful. Fear constrains my love. It holds me back. I don't want to risk things. I just want that safe 50/50 relationship. Fear constrains my heart. I want to open up my heart and surrender to love and to face my fear."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Headed For Disaster

He emailed two of his girlfriends: "I want the two most exciting girls in my life to know each other and become Facebook friends. We should all get together at the hovel one night and talk about the Holocaust. I'm preparing an interpretative dance about Treblinka in honor of this meeting."
Bi Jane responded to just him: "We are women, not girls. Don't make me use the feminist spelling. Do you think I might LIKE her?
"I feel very strange when I am with you. I want to fight and f..."
He responded: "Yummy."
She emailed: "Really, you and I are doomed for disaster. But we'll be the ones playing the violin as the Titanic goes down."
A literary scholar interprets: "Well, the first part could be quite right--and I think you both might sense that. It's what makes the "relationship" as alluring as it is--that tragic, dramatic element. But the part about the violins...I'm not sure what she means. She really does have a flair for the dramatic, and a way to be unnecessarily cryptic. I wonder if she means that you'll both move the relationship toward disaster, and when all is said and done you'll also both be the ones drowning in your own sorrow?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Wednesday morning. He realizes she's not going to call him back with that great story about the producer. So he'll catch her as she drives to work.
"I'm finally feeling better," he says. "Three days in bed and now I'm OK. How's the dog search?"
"I"m frantic," she says. "I got off work early yesterday and went to look for my friend's dog. Cain* is my best dog friend in the world. I called every animal shelter, every vet. I plastered Runyan Canyon with flyers. I did the same with Cain's other favorite dog park. This woman at Runyan put it on Twitter. Today my friends at work are going to help me put it on Facebook and Craiglist."
"Wow," he says.
"Ultimately," she says, "I don't know what to do. He could be in Santa Clarita. He could be in Mexico. You make this huge local effort. Apparently the internet is the way to go for these things. That's where I'm looking this morning. My heart is heavy and it is hard to breathe. I'm wondering if he's safe."
"Wow," he says.
"I can't even go there," she says. "I'm just going into action right now. It's something I can't even begin to think about.
"I was out all night, showing his picture to the homeless people in the neighborhood. To all the trannies."
"Wow," he says.
"Wouldn't it be cool if we could switch places for a day?" she says, "feeling what it's like to be each other."
"Wow," he says.
"You'd be so weirded out and so would I. I wasn't even thinking sexually.
"I couldn't sleep last night so I sang prayers for an hour."
"I'd like to hear that," he says.
"It would so turn you on."
"Sometimes I do really good blogging when I'm sick," he says. "Not this time."
"I can't believe how you tricked these rabbis to convert you," she says.
"Does it make you think less of me?"
"Oh, completely. Your karma, oy, I hope the all-loving Buddha helps you out because there's nobody else who can.
"Do you think your Judaism is just like the porno community for you? Just an insular community you want to be a part of for a while."
"No," he says. "I didn't want to be a part of the porn community. I just wrote about it. They are both insular communities."
"Which community will be next for you?" she asks.
"I will be part of the Orthodox community for the rest of my life. I've been in it for 15 years, since I moved to LA in 1994."
"I just assumed," she says, "that you would abandon Judaism when you found the next thing."
"While I was sick," he says, "I listened to this novel 'On Chesil Beach' by Ian McEwan. It's about two people who love each other. They get married in England in July 1962. They're unable to consummate their marriage on their wedding night. They walk out on to the beach and say really cruel things to each other. Then they get an annulment and lead unfulfilling lives."
"Ohmigod, I totally want to read this," she says. "I love Ian McEwan."
"It hit home for me," he says. "They both felt the intensity of love. They both enjoyed being with the other person. What they both lacked was patience. So when they sexually misfired, he reproved her for running out of the room, she sniped back. Then he called her a bitch. She walked off, hoping he would envelope her in his love. But he just stood aside and let her walk off.
"It really hit me because I don't have a lot of patience either."
"I know," she says. "You've broken up with me three times already."
"I don't believe in bashert," he says. "I don't believe in the meant to be stuff. I don't believe we're fated or destined. Relationships are what we make of them. They're not decided by the gods. I'm pragmatic, not mystical. Luck plays a huge role in love and life."
"I don't believe in any of it," she says. "I don't believe in love, in relationships. I sorta believe in the here and now and staying present and if it feels right, that's where you stay. I don't believe in knowing things for a lifetime. My parents divorced when I was young."
"How long have you had this philosophy?"
"Forever. The marriage oath is just ridiculous. I've always known I would never marry and never have children. I never want to belong to someone. I've given up. It's not going to happen for me. I'm unconventional. I have these views about marriage and relationships that most people don't have. But why can't I do it my own way?
"You like things that are contained. You have certain expectations."
"Yeah," he says.
"And if it does not fall into that category, you can be dismissive. But I don't see it as a lack of patience."
"I know when something feels really bad. Like when you walk down a step and the step isn't there to meet your foot and you start falling through space and you don't like that uncertainty?"
"That's a good metaphor," she says. "I just want to be in bed with you right now."
"Well, let's do it. When do you want to come over?"
"This is not a good week. Can we just play it by ear? I'm going to try to leave work early and just scan Runyan Canyon and plaster neighborhoods and then see where I am. OK?"

Sunday, September 06, 2009


"How do you reconcile this," she purred, "with your Orthodox Judaism?"
Grr. Everyone wants me to reconcile everything I do with my Orthodox Judaism. My yoga. My blogging. My cursing and debauching. Oy, I can't do it! I don't want to do it. I want to be free. I'm an artist. An honest man is always in trouble. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

May The Long Time Sun Shine Upon You

"People who have gratitude and forgiveness in their lives do better than those with any other health program the study said," he heard over the evening meal.
Hmm, he thought. I'm grateful. I write out my morning pages. I make notes on what I'm grateful for. But forgiveness? I'm not so forgiving.
I like to treasure my hurts. I nurture them. I bathe in them. I feed my resentments.
There are moments, however, when I release them. In yoga, I sometimes let them go. When I sing Long Time Sun. I'm a different person. I let go of my defenses and offenses. I sit there in easy pose and I open my heart and I pray for others what I wish for myself -- "may all love surround you".

Wordpress Under Attack

Luke--there's a lot of chatter over the last day or so about Wordpress blogs being attacked via vulnerabilities that are only fixed in the latest version, 2.8.4--if you're not yet upgraded, please do so.

Also, it looks like it would be a good idea to change the administrator's user name from the default--no need to make it easier for an attacker to get in.

It would also be good to use stronger passwords than you are now:

And: you should periodically create and download backups of the various blogs that you have. (If you want to be safe, burn them to CD or DVD or put them on USB drive, etc. in case your computer has problems of its own.)

More info:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Friends Forever

"He used to like me in the beginning," says Jane, "but I've never liked him. We're just really good friends. He's very mischevious. We'd make prank phone calls together. He came over. We were going to go out. He was moving out of state.
"Normally we just hang out at lunch. I've always had boyfriends. I didn't think it was appropriate just to go out with him at night.
"He came to my house. We went out and had a few drinks. He had about 12. We came back to my place. We talk. I figure he's going to leave. And then he's like, I am so drunk. I say, I have to go to bed because I have to go to synagogue in the morning. But if you want to hang out in the living room, that's fine.
"He says, I don't think I'll be sober for hours. Can I just stay here?
"I said ok. You can sleep on the couch in the living room.
"He said, I don't want to sleep in the living room. I want to sleep in the bed with you.
"I said no. I thought he was joking.
"I went to the bathroom. I come out. He's laying in my bed, pretending to be sleeping. He will not get out of my bed.
"He says, I'm not going to try anything. I'm just going to sleep. I said no. I'm dating somebody.
"We're fighting. And then he comes over to me, grabs my arm, and says, 'Come on, just one fuck. Just one. I'm leaving tomorrow.'
"I was like, get out of my bedroom. It was 45 minutes of fighting. I finally threatened to call the police. He called me a prude.
"Seriously, that is not the way to get a girl to sleep with you."

Stay The Night?

I don't believe in sleeping around before marriage. If you have to interact in that way, just do it and move on. No lingering or malingering. Just get right to it and then move on with your life, absorbing yourself in higher things.

What kind of man doesn't want to go?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Wild Hindu Weekend

"What a weekend," she said, getting out of her car.

I walk up to her.

"I'm waiting for my friend," she says and then a skinny girl gets out of the passenger side.

"We were at a Hindu festival. It was amazing. Sri Ma Kali Puja. We started Friday night at Rabbi ------'s house. I had to change the privacy settings on the rabbis on my friend's list so they could not see my Facebook status updates. I didn't friend them. They friended me.

"Saturday morning, we got in the car and drove down to Laguna Beach. We just got back. And now this.

"It was amazing. We joined in the worship of the goddess Kali. They covered up the goddess when they fed her."

"How did she eat?" I asked.

"I don't know. They covered her up.

"We got down on our hands and knees and touched the feet of the monks. And they held your head down for a few seconds until it was OK to get up."

"A lot of guys do that."

"It wasn't like that. These monks were celibate."

"I'm sure it was all very religious. These guys holding your head down there. I'm sure it was very spiritual."

"We got dots on our head. We didn't have a clue what was happening but we asked questions and we made new friends and they explained everything. They showed us how to worship the Goddess Kali."

She emails me later: my gf thought you were hilarious! she's like... you're rabbi friend is sooo funny! she assumes everyone that "looks like matisyahu" is a rabbi.

she LOVED it. she's never done kundalini, only iyengar. she really liked it alot.

the puja was a beautiful experience... i'm not going to start praying to God through an idol or anything like that... it was just a nice cultural weekend. would love to visit India.

even when i tried to be genuine in my devotion when we bowed down in worship to Ma.... my body and mind just reject it... it's a freakin statue. haha.

but all the rivers lead to the sea... so power to em!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Internet Dating

Joe emails: I had an internet date this weekend with a woman who, it turned out, likely was nearing menopause (late forties? the photo she sent me clearly did not do her true justice). I cannot tell you how depressing the whole non-event was. She even owned two cats, one of which - a male she had never declawed or had its nails trimmed - she boasted was very violent (this woman had the scars on her arms to prove it), especially towards human male company. Oh, and she spent much of the evening talking about her past boyfriends and ex over a few drinks (which I did not pay for, Baruch Hashem), yadda yadda yadda. The net result was to make me want to take a vow of celibacy and mentally recount every error I made in life that led me to our date.

I shall close on a more cheerful note, at least for Luke. Here, potentially, is some really good news: It seems the feds are getting closer to the thieving, money-laundering orthodox Jews of LA. I know Luke dreams of the day when he hears that the Feds have knocked on the doors of Rabbi... and the other Jews of his community who dissed him over the years. I'll wager that if and when that day comes, Luke will be happier than mere sex has ever made him.

KHUNRUM EMAILS: I believe some paste up a photo from their high school year book. Everyone knocks off a few years. 10 is the usual. I must say that as much as we diss the Internet it made dating much easier and cheaper. I had the formula down by the time I said "I DO'. The formula was simple. Meet them for coffee first. The most one can get trimmed for is a couple of bucks. But then I realized if I arrived ten minutes late she most likely paid for the coffee already and I could have a look-see for free. One or twice I sidled up to the door, or glanced through the window and quickly beat a retreat. ahhhh! the good old days.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Opening The Heart At Kundalini Yoga

As he held forth about the contradictions between Orthodox Judaism and Kundalini Yoga, he felt like the cock of the walk.
The woman was just his type -- brunette and slender (but not skinny!) and smart and sensitive. A real goody-goody on the outside, but burning sensual on the inside.
He'd managed the transition so smoothly from his Australian accent to the beauty of New Zealand to the movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert and how he looked like actor Guy Pearce -- yes! she remarked on the resemblance in the eyes, oh, stare deeply, lose yourself, forget his shameful shortcomings, don't tell him his life is a mess -- and then to the reasons why she was taking Kundalini Yoga, opening her heart, becoming more present, attaching to God -- and then she asked about his spiritual path and he had so many erudite things to say.
She wanted to become more present so how could she leave this conversation. Nope, she was hooked. She was hanging on his every word.
He loved the attention. He needed it so badly. Particularly now. He needed some feminine attention. He needed some loving. He needed the opportunity to give.
There were three other beautiful women in the room and they were listening too. So was the teacher and the other blokes. Capture the blokes and the women will follow!
Oh, he was feeling it now. He was over it. He no longer felt pain. He no longer missed her. He was in his element. He was playing the wounded young god. He was ready to rub his hands and tune in.
They moved into the yoga room and he got his favorite place at the back of the class and he leaned back and he loved every woman in the room. Each was different. Each had different hair and different body types and different personalities and it was all OK with him. He loved them all and each individually. He loved their bodies and souls. His love for each was not compromised by his loves for the others.
His heart was big. It was growing. He was tuning in. He was attaching to God.
One had a big butt and it was fine. She was muscular and he liked it. He was spiritual and tolerant and wanted to fall on the ground before her and worship her muscles and rub them with oil.
One was frail and sensitive. He loved her goodness. He wanted to protect her and engage her in deep spiritual talk.
One was blonde and gorgeous. How proud he'd be to bring her to shul. Oy, how the Jews would talk!
One was from Europe. She was young, about 22. She had a strong accent. She was shy and retiring. She needed guidance for appreciating America. He had so much to give.
He sailed through class. He did the long meditation. He did the exercises. He sang "The Long Time Sun." He drank his yogi tea and at the end of class, he was ready for his reward.
And then it all went awfully wrong. The frail girl up and left -- no chance to get her Facebook info! The blonde followed her.
The muscular chick embraced her boyfriend. And the Euro-Girl mentioned her "husband."
So there he was discussing his lofty ideas with his male teacher. What's the point of that?
He drained his tea and gathered his stuff and ran across four lanes. Not a car in sight. Oy, but there's the sound of a roaring engine. He could hear it well before he could see it but now it was roaring right at him at about 70 mph and his yarmulke had risen from his head and was sailing away and he was about to die bareheaded, about to die, probably at the hands of a big black guy with a big powerful engine who'd plooked a lot more girls than he had.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Fw: New from the Center for Immigration Studies

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2009 12:27:39 -0400
To: <>
Subject: New from the Center for Immigration Studies

Support the Center for Immigration Studies by donating on line here:

[FYI --

1. Backgrounder: 'A Shifting Tide: Recent Trends in the Illegal Immigrant Population'
2. Congressional Testimony: 'E-Verify: Challenges and Opportunities'
3. Blog: 'New Film Explores Collision of Cultures in California'
4. Blog: 'He's Just Not That Into You'
5. Blog: 'The Cosmic Race'
6. Blog: ''The Basic Goal Is to Promote the Free Flow of Labor into the USA''
7. Blog: 'PASS ID Act: A Boon for Criminals'
8. Blog: ''If Mexico had had an avalanche of foreigners so large''
9. Blog: 'More Slaves, Please'
10. Blog: 'Court Crusader Against Illegal Immigration'
11. Blog: 'No Green Cards for Grads'
12. Blog: 'Think Globally? On the Whole, I’d Rather Not: Interviewing on Al Jazeera'

-- Mark Krikorian]

A Shifting Tide: Recent Trends in the Illegal Immigrant Population
By Steven Camarota and Karen Jensenius
CIS Backgrounder, July 27, 2009

Excerpt: Monthly Census Bureau data show that the number of less-educated young Hispanic immigrants in the country has declined significantly. The evidence indicates that the illegal population declined after July 2007 and then rebounded somewhat in the summer of 2008 before resuming its decline in the fall of 2008 and into the first quarter of 2009. Both increased immigration enforcement and the recession seem to explain this decline. There is evidence that the decline was caused by both fewer illegal immigrants coming and an increase in the number returning home. However, this pattern does not apply to the legal immigrant population, which has not fallen significantly.

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E-Verify: Challenges and Opportunities
By Janice Kephart
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, July 23, 2009

Excerpt: I am currently the Director of National Security Policy at the Center for Immigration Studies and a former counsel to the 9/11 Commission, where I co-authored the monograph 9/11 and Terrorist Travel alongside recommendations that appear in the 9/11 Final Report1. Prior to 9/11, I was counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology and Terrorism where I specialized in foreign terrorist activity in the United States and worked to pass the federal criminal and redress system in place today for identity theft. Today I focus on issues pertaining to border and identity security and its nexus to national security issues. In September I released an extensive report on E-Verify, and this past March a statistical analysis regarding current use of E-Verify. These two reports will be the focus of this testimony, alongside some basic facts in regard to how border issues affect national security. I have testified before the U.S. Congress ten times, and I am privileged to submit my testimony to the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Management today.

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New Film Explores Collision of Cultures in California
By Jerry Kammer
CIS Blog, July 31, 2009

Excerpt: Mexican director Amat Escalante says 'Los Bastardos,' his stunningly violent new movie about two Mexican illegal immigrants in the uncaring world of California, grew out of his own experiences living there as a child.

'The story comes from this uneasiness I have because of living there for a long time, and from wanting to show how these two cultures could come to collide and to break down in some way,' Escalante says in today's edition of the Mexico City newspaper Reforma.

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He's Just Not That Into You
By Mark Krikorian
CIS Blog, July 30, 2009

Excerpt: Schadenfreude alert: 'Obama loses immigration allies; Activists picket, feel betrayed by administration policies.' Actually, though, I'm sure Rahm Emanuel chuckles appreciatively anytime the lefties accuse the White House of being too tough on immigration — if I didn't know better, I'd think he put them up to it just to make Obama (falsely) look tough on enforcement.

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The Cosmic Race
By Mark Krikorian
CIS Blog, July 29, 2009

Excerpt: The National Council of La Raza has just wrapped up its annual conference in Chicago. While I think Tom Tancredo was engaging in hyperbole when he described La Raza as 'a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses' (that describes instead MEChA and the Brown Berets), there's more to the comparison than people might realize.

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'The Basic Goal Is to Promote the Free Flow of Labor into the USA'
By Mark Krikorian
CIS Blog, July 28, 2009

Excerpt: Jim Robb of Numbers USA has some fun with the notes (taken by a participant who grew a conscience) of a closed-door meeting of open-borders lobbyists. It was organized by amnesty czarina Tamar Jacoby, who's the source of the title of this post. None of it's all that surprising — rope-selling businessmen complaining that even in this econony they need more cheap labor. One thing that was notable was that right after lefty wonk Simon Rosenberg said 'Passing CIR [amnesty and increased immigration] will help Democrats lock in the Hispanic vote,' Grover Norquist chimed in to agree that we need amnesty and more immigration. Who's side is he on?

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PASS ID Act: A Boon for Criminals
By Janice Kephart
CIS Blog, July 27, 2009

Excerpt: In November 2008, an illegal immigrant facing deportation and running for political office in Rhode Island was prosecuted and found guilty of using her position as a Rhode Island DMV clerk to sell driver's licenses to 'out of state' drug dealers with stolen identities. The scam included 11 others. The beauty of the scam was that the DMV clerk, Dolores Rodriguez LaFlamme, was able to pursue her illegal activity because Rhode Island does not verify an applicant's license information from another state.

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'If Mexico had had an avalanche of foreigners so large'
By Jerry Kammer
CIS Blog, July 24, 2009

Excerpt: Sergio Sarmiento, a renowned Mexican journalist whose column is syndicated throughout that country, has some interesting observations about the immigration controversy north of the border.

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More Slaves, Please
By Mark Krikorian
CIS Blog, July 22, 2009

Excerpt: An op-ed in yesterday's Post is titled 'Immigration Pitfall: Why 'Legalization Only' Won't Fly' and I thought to myself it'd be worth a look to see what pro-enforcement arguments might have made it into the paper. Then I saw the authors and figured out what was up. Penned by former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda and amnesty czarina Tamar Jacoby, now head of a business-oriented open-borders lobby, the piece argues that amnesty must be coupled with increases in future guest-worker programs if it is to be acceptable to business or to Mexico. (The word 'enforcement' appears just once in the whole piece.) It's actually a good sign politically, because it signals the deep disaffection between the right and left wings of the 'comprehensive immigration reform' crowd, with the lefties figuring their man is in charge now so they can stop pretending to care what rope-selling businesses think. That makes both amnesty and increased immigration less likely, and thus America better off.

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Court Crusader Against Illegal Immigration
By Mark Krikorian
CIS Blog, July 21, 2009

Excerpt: There's a fair, even-handed profile in the Times today of Kris Kobach, the law professor who's taken the lead role in legal advocacy for local communities seeking to implement their own immigration-related ordinances. (See his CIS report). My only quibble with the article is the headline writer's description that 'a lawyer uses the legal system to try to bring policy change,' based on the reporter's observation that Kobach's activism represents his 're-thinking the conservative tenet that the courts should not be a forum for policy change.' It's the Left that uses the courts that way, seeking to overturn laws duly enacted by the elected representatives of the people. Kobach's fight is precisely the opposite, and precisely what conservatives have been doing for years — defending laws passed by communities against legal assaults from the Left.

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No Green Cards for Grads
By John Miano
CIS Blog, July 20, 2009

Excerpt: The U.S. currently has the very sensible policy of not allowing student visas to be the gateway to immigration. Currently the law requires that those seeking student visas must prove they intend only to come to the U.S. to study and will return home at the completion of their studies. There are, however, mechanisms for some students to remain in the U.S. after graduation. Still, as a general policy, the immigration system expects that one comes to the U.S. on a student visa only to be a student.

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Think Globally? On the Whole, I’d Rather Not: Interviewing on Al Jazeera
By Stephen Steinlight
CIS Blog, July 20, 2009

Excerpt: Recently I gave an interview to Al Jazeera English to be aired on a TV show about 'Unemployed Day Laborers in New York City.' When the host called to invite me, the topic initially struck me as oddly narrow and provincial, arguably even a tad esoteric for an audience Al Jazeera claims spans several continents. (I was told the service is 'hip,' multicultural, and has a broad range of viewers.) Nor was it immediately clear to me what my role was to be considering my professional focus. But I was starting out with several mistaken assumptions. I was thinking too abstractly and disinterestedly; the image in my head was an audience curious about American national affairs, the impact of the recession, its social fallout (the show would provide the 'worm's eye view'), and public policy per se. That snap judgment couldn't have been more erroneous. Whenever the show is aired, thousands of viewers will be watching with intense personal interest about a subject that couldn't be more concrete and immediate for them. It will directly address their own lives, and they'll be watching because their economic interests are at stake.

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Center for Immigration Studies
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