Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Strength of Cult Experience


toss & ripple: Cult-Recovery 101 and Beyond

If there are still people following this blog in spite of the fact that I barelly have time to update it anymore (or even just read the Scientology-related news for that matter), have a look at this blog post, and the related pages. Though I could not read them in details it really seems to fit to what I call the "Third Way". It's comforting to know that we are at least a few to think along that line and that some people do a beautiful job at it.

Related blog entry: http://anotherlookatscientology2.blogspot.com/2009/02/positive-cult-experience.html

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Hidden" PayPal Fees Inciting Community Unrest


Slashdot News Story | "Hidden" PayPal Fees Inciting Community Unrest

I had the worst possible experience with Paypal. I discourage anybody to use it. Apparently I was not the only one, as this thread on Slashdot show.

And here are two more links:

http://www.kudzuworld.com/blogs/tech/paypal.en.aspx
http://www.paypalsucks.com/

Monday, August 3, 2009

World Whines as AT&T Muzzles 4chan

The Register has a rant about ATT blocking 4chan. Doesn't really say much, though.

World whines as AT&T muzzles 4chan, Google • The Register: "The most newsworthy message board on 4chan is /b/, which new journalists discover about every four months when they want to scare the shit out of people who own computers. Some /b/ users, who go by the name Anonymous, know a thing or two about internet security, and they entertain themselves by breaking into people’s private e-mail accounts, MySpace accounts, and other such painfully inconsequential things. Because of this, /b/ makes a decent slow-news-day scare piece: an army of anonymous hackers are out there, and they’re reading your e-mail. Oh shit. This just got real."

...

'The revolution will not be televised, but you can damn well believe it will be Twittered, and then promptly forgotten as it scrolls off the screen."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Father Guilty in Prayer Death Case

Wis. Jury: Father Guilty in Prayer Death Case - ABC News: "A central Wisconsin man accused of killing his 11-year-old daughter by praying instead of seeking medical care was found guilty Saturday of second-degree reckless homicide."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Financial Times Article on Anonymous

FT.com / Reportage - Dissenters transform the art of protest

No time to actually read it but the Financial Times has an article about Anonymous with an enthraling title: "Dissenters Transfor the Art of Protest". It is being follow by the interview of an anon - "I do it for the LULZ" usual stuff...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Gentle Countering


YouTube - The Truth About Amsterdam, RE: Bill O'Reilly loves Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an absolutely delightful town, and tolerance, together with the high-spirited Dutch mood is part of the package. I just love it, and Dutch people are some of my favorite people, together with Italians.

Fascist jerks at Fox of course don't like it. This little video is a wonderful reply, posting facts and pictures to contrast with wild claims.

This entry is not entirely off-topic, and the CoS could inspire itself to counter similar wild claims made by critics. I don't mean to say Scientology is not a cult, ultimately, but some of the claims critics make are even more ridiculous than Fox and deserve to be contrasted this way.

Monday, July 27, 2009

AT&T Blocks Part of 4chan

Slashdot Technology Story | AT&T Blocks Part of 4chan: "'Several news sources (Mashable, The Inquistr, etc.) are reporting that AT&T is blocking img.4chan.org in the southern united states. That server is used for the infamous /b/ board (the home of anonymous). TechCrunch calls the decision to block 4chan 'stupid,' noting that they may have 'opened perhaps the most vindictive, messy can of worms.' The Inquisitr suggests that 'The global internet censorship debate landed in the home of the free.' moot (who runs 4chan) asks users to call AT&T, while some others suggest more drastic action (like cutting AT&T fiber).'"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Katie Holmes Dancing


YouTube - katie holmes thinks she can dance

No very difficult dance moves but frankly not bad. I am more impressed with the singing, though.

Update: the video now made it to the "most viewed" category. In the meantime I learned that the singing in fact is the original Judy Garland to which she just lip sinc. I was wondering too as this was far better than the dancing itself and nobody seemed to notice ;-)

Update2: Now I am a little bit confused, because in yet another video that made it to the most viewed category, the presenter seems to say (not very clear) that it's actually Katie singing. If true, then it is going to become much bigger than it is, because I think that, while the dance is just so-so, the singing is outstanding.

update3: OK- I am now convinced that this is actually Katie singing. Just search the news and you'll many references to it. Besides, here is a 2007 video of her singing another song, and yes, it's the same voice. Check also this page that has Judy Garland's performance and Katie's back to back and you'll that the original voice is markedly different(though I do like the original choreography better but that's beside the point). I can really envision Katie completing the video that is shown at the start of the performance and putting it up on the market. Her voice really do match the one of Judy Garland! A rather amazing discovery (and so I'll put it in the Amazing category now).

Obama's Mis-Step

Obama Moves to Dampen Uproar Over Comment on Race - ABC News

I too thought that Obama's words were ill-chosen as he commented on the Gates incident, and God knows I am an Obama fan. Really, he should not have commented at all, as it was only an incident and not worth making it a political issue at that level.

I also fail to see why race was an issue in the case. I have seen many videos of police behaving in a dis-proportioned way towards people of all races...

Really, it is not the place of a President to take side in such matters and give it national and international attention, as well as fomenting debates and conflict on such a sensible subject.

Obama did make a mistake. This is good in the way it reminds us that, he too, is just human. Maybe a real apology would have been better.

Unmodarate

I removed the pre-moderation for comments. I almost never moderate out a comment anyway and in the past the spam has not been that bad either. Frankly speaking, the way I like it for myself and in general is the non-moderate way so I'll try to see how it works.

Diary of a Scientologist

Diary Of A Scientologist

Lawrence Toomajan kindly sent me this link - a summary of his understanding on Scientology and of his experience within the group.

What follows is only my opinion after a first look, because I did not read all the site in details.

At first sight, it looks quite impressive. I like the presentation, very clear, illustrated, and running in sequence, making the whole site to read like a book. The content is detailed, yet accessible to a large public. I found the detailed summary of the upper levels particularly interesting, fascinating in fact. The site does make some effort to try to focus on facts and to present what Scientology is in a relatively objective manner.

For a while I thought that this may be a presentation I could recommend. Spot-reading certain key points, however, tempered my enthusiasm, as Lawrence's personal outlook taints the facts too much. It is still very interesting and easy to read, but, at the end, the presentation is just far more negative than, in my opinion, it deserves, so critical reading through the whole work is a necessity.

Let me take some of the key points that bothered me.

The Rehabilitation Project Force

Again, this is a series of factual information, apart for the Erlich anecdotal evidence, and the fact that people are allowed to get 2 1/2 study and training time is properly reported.

However, the whole thing is written in such a way as to give people the impression the RPF is a prison (it says that much even) to which they are put in by force and from which they can only escape by force as well. Lawrence could say that he properly reported that "a Sea Org member accepts this fate instead of being expelled from Scientology", pointing to the fact that time in the RPF is not against the person's will, but this statement is drowned in the whole that gives an impression that contradicts it, including the highly suspicious statement of Erlich that he was "locked in a cage next to a woman that was chained to a wall for several days". Such a statement, correctly reported as the testimony of Erlich rather than as a fact, is not there by chance and only serves to give people a dreadful impression of the RPF that, IMO, is way off-base.

Now obviously the RPF is not the Club Med. I am not saying that it is a pleasant place to be and that, in such a context, abuses may not or did not occur, but it just does not correspond to the impression given in these three paragraphs. I can only encourage people to compare these with the pages I webbed at http://bernie.cncfamily.com/sc/rpf.htm, to get a more fair idea. You can't, of course, go into much details in just three paragraphs, but I personally think that such a sensible point should not be treated in such a unilateral way and with such a negative slant. As for me, it rang an alarm bell, that lead me to take a more critical look on the whole site-book. Surely, the negative aspects of the RPF could be emphasised while also taking care not to over-do it.

Reading further

I don't think, however, that Lawrence could restrain his overall negative view of Scientology through his writing, even though he may try to focus on facts and be relatively objective, because that's just how he personally seems to genuinely feel. This transpires in so many aspects, too numerous to pick, and sometimes also does distort facts.

For example, Lawrence writes that Lisa McPherson "died of a stroke brought on by dehydration". This is very far from having been established. Quite on the contrary, arguments and facts prepared by the CoS for the then upcoming criminal case, showed that Lisa died as a result of a blood clot dating back to the road accident she was victim. This lead the prosecutor to drop the case, feeling that their argument of her having died from dehydration just could not be sustained in court. See my Lisa McPherson page. The least you could say is that it is a controversial matter and certainly not a clear-cut case. Lawrence, however, present it as such, ignoring all the elements that makes such a straight-out statement doubtful, to say the least.

All in All

I still plan to read some day Lawrence's page in details, because it does look interesting, but, although I personally know enough about various aspects of the Scientology controversy to read through the lines and part facts from fictions, I am afraid it is not the case for the lay person, and I urge the reader the be very cautious when it comes to aspects that may seem too far-fetched to be true. It usually is. Far-fetched, that is.

The Between Lives Area

I read with some interest these two paragraphs, because I often sought to make for myself an idea of what is the exact belief of Scientology on this question.

Again, while an interesting read, I just wonder where did Lawrence get his information. It would be interesting to get a link to the various references used, but this is, at this stage at least, impossible, simply because there are no such links. I do recognize bits and pieces of what I read myself (implant stations, order to forget, etc) but never read anything that depicts it in such a clear-cut way.

Again, based on what I read on the site about subjects where at least I do have some knowledge, I suspect that such a summary may be an over-simplified and somewhat biased depiction of Scientology beliefs on that matter. It may be correct, though, but certainly we would need the exact references to check it out.

Now that Lawrence laid out his own basic belief/understanding of Scientology, he could spend time injecting links and references, and possibly review some of his more drastic statements.

An easy and potentially interesting read nevertheless.

Monday, July 20, 2009

'Anonymous' Targeted in Internet Blacklist


Scientology protest group 'Anonymous' targeted
in internet blacklist crackdown - news - world - LIVENEWS.com.au: "A list of 2,395 websites which are considered unsuitable for Australian internet audiences has included a home base of 'Anonymous', the web-based activist group that made headlines by declaring war on the Church Of Scientology."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Pandas


At this stage I am quite enthusiastic about this revolutionary product because it really is very light on PC resources and seems to constitute an excellent compromise. I think it is going to wipe out the competition, including Panda's own product. You can hardly make it more simple, powerful, and available.

I am not sure where Panda is going to make its money with this. They claim on their blog that the Suite still has its own advantage because "security suites contain many more functionalities not found in free AVs like Panda Cloud Antivirus, such as firewall, anti-spam, parental control, technical support, etc." - well, I also use a server rather than client based software for spam that works great, I use a separate and free firewall that does a good job as well, I don't need parental control, and it seems that the cloud hardly needs any support...

Anyway, as Google has shown, just deliver a high-quality product and you'll cash on it sooner or later. I am surprised that Google itself didn't come up with this, and I am still convinced they'll try hard to buy the whole Panda box altogether just for that one good.

Clam vs. Panda

Panda Cloud Antivirus

I recently changed my f-secure anti-virus for the free AVG program. I ended up throwing it out of the Windows as it dramatically slowed down my system (F-secure too, by the way).

My laptop is so much faster without anti-virus programs that I wonder if it is really worth the hassle having them at all.

I then had the idea to look for a non-resident program, something with which I can just scan whatever I decided to scan myself rather than what a resident resource-eating mother-in-law decides for me.

I found the perfect program for doing that in the person of ClamWin.

This gave me the idea to blog about it here. You see, clam... and clam win... oh my...

Anyway this becomes even more relevant after pandas come in the equation too.

Indeed, reading about clam win on the net, I soon bumped into the latest fad in terms of anti-virus fashion - Panda Cloud.

Now this is an anti-virus program that rather than relying on a never ending database updating, and consequent resources slowing down, system, is relying on "The Cloud", or "Collective Intelligence".

No more structural database. The knowledge about viruses is shared through a network of distributed resources and any new virus-like behavior emerging in California or Beijing, or anywhere in the connected world, is immediately shared by "The Cloud", and becomes common knowledge, with direct application on your PC, in an average of six minutes - and the more people use the program, the greater the protection of each PC gets!

Another advantage is that it is supposed to significantly reduce the demand on your system resources (and that's where I lend a very interested ear), since it does not need to intercept each file at different layers (entry vector, file system and execution) and scan them using various techniques (antivirus, heuristics, intrusion prevention, behavioral analysis, etc.) - with a very consequent workload reduction. Most of the processing is done up in the cloud.

Now this sounds really revolutionary, and why does it make me think of Anonymous? And Google? What is more, it's free... (but watch out, soon to be bought by the afore-mentionned Google, IMO)

I downloaded the beta version and so far it seems to do quite some marvel (reserving my judgment for later, though).

The one thing I don't like about is that it did not want to install itself while ClamWin was installed on my computer. I tried to offload ClamWin from memory, just to keep the scan on demand bit, but it also didn't agree to this.

Is that a transcategorial subliminal metaphysical sign of big changes to come? The "Collective Intelligence" win over the sclerosed traditional structures?

Another question is this: if panda's servers get hit with a virus, does that mean every person who uses panda software will be vulnerable? would this not be a way to spread a potential virus?

Food for thought...

At the end, especially if The Cloud starts to make my system run at Panda's speed, the Clam may win after all...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beck's Bigger Energy

Beck Adds More Material To Website | CHARTattack: "Maybe Scientology isn't a total crock of shit. I seriously doubt it, but something seems to have given Beck a bigger energy boost than a B12 shot. The artist has been on a creative roll of late, especially pertaining to his website, and he's just added the Videotheque section to the space."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Xenu.net Traffic Comparison with Scientology.org

Rave - The Day Scientology broke 20,000: "As they say in Hollywood, any publicity is good publicity. The Church’s exposure has been enhanced by websites who are dedicated to exposing the organization, and newpapers running articles in series about the Church. This has helped produce a public awareness of the Church and the existence of its philosophy. While the recent advertising campaign doesn’t mention critic’s efforts, it builds on earlier exposure."


Indeed, go to http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/scientology.org. There you will see the stats, and can compare them to xenu.net.

This is a comparison over a month:


Over six months:


This is the effect of the new advertising campaign ran by the CoS, combined with the hard work by dedicated Scientology critics who helped make the name of Scientology familiar to the public while at the same time discrediting themselves by their own ridiculous accusations.

This is the graph over the maximum period:


We can see here the effect of the work accomplished by Anonymous in February 2008. However, after Anonymous wasted their potential and became irrelevant by failing to moved beyond the level of the "old guard", Scientology's stats were down and they had to find new ways to advertise themselves, which they found and which seems to be working incredibly well.

As I said so many times, "criticizing" Scientology through outlandish accusations is only going to accomplish two things: discredit yourself and raise interest for what you are unfairly attacking.

In this way, critics are truly a great ally for Scientology and the CoS should thank them.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jackson Anonymous

YouTube - Michael Jackson's kids

Michael Jackson used to make his kids wear masks so they won't be recognized. Here is Prince wearing a Guy Fawkes mask! He's with Paris, the new overnight YT sensation after her deeply moving tribute to her father.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How To Be a Good Creationist

YouTube - How to be a good Creationist - 3

She's pretty, she's sexy, she's witty - and she's funny while also often right.

Actually, she is an Atheist. I am not. But I also think she may have a point here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4chan Attacks Twitter

Another "raid" by 4chan, this time on Twitter.

The article has, among others, two interesting quotes:

"Before that, they were responsible for hacking Time Magazine's voting system for the World's Most Influential Person, making the site's creator, moot, the winner by a wide margin."

Confirming my assumption that Obama's "What Do Americans Want" survey's result may very well have been riddle by the like of Anonymous and 4chan.

In a comment:

"They probably couldn't do it though. They have become weaker since the scientology days."

Interesting concept...


4chan may be behind attack on Twitter | The Web Services Report - CNET News

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Belief-O-Matic - Beliefnet.com


Belief-O-Matic - Beliefnet.com

Now that's a rather interesting or potentially interesting test that will tell you what is your religion, even if you don't know it.

Below is my result. And there I thought I was a New Age type, but not quite, it only arrives 4th (but at 90%). Strangely, "Reform Judaism" arrives just after - and there I thought I was a non-believer Jew.

More on-topic, Scientology arrives 11th, with 70% - not surprisingly, as Scientology borrows many Buddhist and New Age concepts with which I identify.

It's a relief to see that Roman Catholic and Jehovah's Witness arrive last, but more surprising is the discovery that for 55% I am a Muslim - something I was really not aware of, although I must admit that the lavish promise of being cared for by 72 sweet and charming virgins in heaven is quite an attractive proposition...

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (96%)
3. Liberal Quakers (95%)
4. New Age (90%)
5. Reform Judaism (88%)
6. Baha'i Faith (82%)
7. Mahayana Buddhism (82%)
8. Hinduism (76%)
9. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (75%)
10. New Thought (73%)
11. Scientology (70%)
12. Sikhism (68%)
13. Secular Humanism (65%)
14. Taoism (63%)
15. Jainism (62%)
16. Orthodox Judaism (61%)
17. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (60%)
18. Orthodox Quaker (59%)
19. Islam (55%)
20. Theravada Buddhism (50%)
21. Nontheist (37%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (32%)
23. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (30%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (28%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (22%)
26. Roman Catholic (22%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (18%)

Scientology Sign Gets Makeover

Internationally Known Scientology Sign Gets Makeover: "Los Angeles - More than a thousand Scientologists, their friends and families cheered the lighting of a new state-of-the-art LED sign Friday night atop the Scientology complex on the corner of L. Ron Hubbard Way and Sunset Boulevard.

The updated landmark is three times the size of the previous Scientology sign, which had been in place since the late '70s and is recognized the world over. The new sign is 5.2 tons, 84 feet long, 16 feet tall and can be seen for miles - from several Hollywood and Los Angeles freeways, and indeed by aircraft from far above."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Scientology Expansion

This is a copy and paste of the article linked below.

The building statistics are certainly plausible, as can be seen through the Buildings category of this blog, and the Guinness Book one as well (it's official). The other stats, I am not sure, but if true, it would certainly be a major fail for Scientology critics and Anonymous. I have already posted critics' and Anonymous own statistics: that in spite of their claims, they have not managed to close down a single organization or mission, while in fact these doubled in five years to now reach, if we have to believe that article, 8,071 Scientology Churches, Missions and groups - almost one for each protester in the peak of Anonymous protests of Feb 2008.

Scientology certainly has many cultish aspects and there's certainly much to criticize about it, but the bigoted way Scientology critics and Anonymous go about it only helps Scientology expansion. Just take a look at the comment section of that article - instead of addressing the facts of the article, it's just cries of "cult shill" and "ban Louanelee".

The whole Scientology criticism thing has become so pathetic it hardly is worth spending much time one it anymore. It's over, and the CoS will just quietly continue to expand, ignoring the discredited cries of wolf from critics - until at last some sort of intelligent and credible criticism appears.

All critics manage to do eventually with their cruel and unfounded accusations is to draw a lot of sympathy for Scientologists and a fair amount of interest for Scientology - at least enough to keep on "feeding the beast".

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Scientology has its expansion statistics out

Digg this! Share this on Twitter - Scientology has its expansion statistics outTweet this submit to reddit Share This

Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 06:20:29 PM PDT

The Church of Scientology International published its 2009 statistics. Notably everything is compared to a five-year-range which might be an odd way of counting, but impressive nevertheless. What do you have to say about it?

(Source: Scientology Today)

- The Church’s property holdings internationally have more than doubled in the last 5 years. The combined size of Church premises increased from 5.6 million square feet in 2004 to 11 million square feet in 2009.

- The Church has acquired 66 buildings since 2004 in major population centers around the world. For example: Berlin, New York, Greater Los Angeles area.


Church of Scientology

- The Church has completed 401,003 square feet of construction of new premises in the last 5 months. It currently has under construction another 475,887 square feet, including Churches in Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Quebec, Mexico City, Brussels, Rome and Tel Aviv.

- There are 8,071 Scientology Churches, Missions and groups in 165 nations, double the number five years ago.

- 80 million L. Ron Hubbard books and lectures on Dianetics and Scientology have been sold in the last decade, compared to 5.6 million in the prior decade, and 60 of that 80 million have been sold in the last two years-more than during the first 50 years of Dianetics and Scientology combined.

- The number of individuals completing auditing and training has doubled since 2007.

- Since the Church undertook to publish and reproduce its scriptural materials in-house in 2007, the average price of Mr. Hubbard’s books and lectures sold has decreased dramatically.

- There were 12.4 million visitors to the Scientology website in the last year alone coming from 234 countries, with 23 million video views.

- 4.5 million pages of L. Ron Hubbard’s writings have been translated in the last 10 years alone compared to a total of 359,459 for the prior 50 years, making him the most translated author in history-according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

- Today there are 196,000 Scientology Volunteer Ministers worldwide-there were 45,000 in 2004. Volunteer Ministers helped over 1.4 million people in the last year alone, a 300% increase over the 2004 figure of 550,000 people helped.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Scientology Public Affairs Director Receives International Award

American Chronicle | Scientology Public Affairs Director Receives International Award: "Scientology Public Affairs Director for the Church of Scientology of Catania, Italy, Ms. Itria Leone, was awarded the 2009 Silver Chimera Award for the impact she has made on the community through her work as coordinator of the Church’s social reform programs.

The 8th annual International Silver Chimera Awards ceremony was organized by dell’Arte Etrusca to raise awareness of social issues and recognize those who have distinguished themselves through contribution that improves the quality of life. With the theme, “Peace in the World,” the ceremony was held this year at the Museo Castello Ursino in Catania, in Sicily.

Ms. Leone, a native of Sicily, has been coordinating the social reform activities of the Church of Scientology of Catania since 2005. At a grassroots level, she has been working to educate children and teenagers on the effects of drugs, to help them make educated choices and avoid the tragedy of addiction. She also coordinates a chapter of Youth for Human Rights International, through which young people learn their rights and help educate their friends and community on the basic rights to which every individual is entitled."

Monday, June 29, 2009

YouTube - Dancing Inmate's Michael Jackson tribute



YouTube - Dancing Inmate's Michael Jackson tribute

I've seen loads and loads of Jackson-related tributes and what not on YT, but this one is mind-blowing.

I actually saw a bit of it already on the Filipino news, as these are inmates of a Cebu prison, but they have not shown the entire video by far, available now on YT.

It almost seems impossible that they could put such a complex arrangement in such a short notice - even though they say it took them 10 hours to create. And where did all these world-flags came from? And how come there seems to be a show setup with a public? I think it probably is a show they were preparing for a long time already, and the timing just makes it as relevant as it can ever be.

By all mean, it is just f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s, and I must admit I had trouble seeing the whole thing as my eyes were blurred with tears.

Update: Apparently these inmates were already famous through a video featuring a choreography of thriller. I saw that video now, and in my opinion, the tribute video is much much much much better than this thriller video. The Thriller video does not have any kind of complex mass movements to it. It is just a bunch of people moving more or less in synchronicity and if they weren't inmates it would be nothing special, on the limit of bad taste even at the end. The tribute video is just a totally completely different kind of show - of total genius, inspiration and spontaneity.

Update 2: What do you know - it turns out that this goes MUCH further than it looks. Just watch this amazing footage. It explains it all, and shows why that clip which I am sure will become even more viral than Thriller is only the beginning of something MUCH bigger to come...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jada Pinkett-Smith : Scientology, a Religion Just Like Other Religions


Jada Pinkett-Smith gets candid | USA WEEKEND Magazine: "Another subject she wants to set straight: persistent rumors that she and her husband are Scientologists, like their good friend Tom Cruise. She emphatically denies it, and she admits she thought it was a weird religion -- until she met Cruise.

'I'm not saying that I'm not a Scientologist because I think something's wrong with Scientology -- I want to be really clear about that,' Jada says. But, she adds, 'In knowing Tom, I realize it is a religion just like other religions. Tom is happy. And he is one of the greatest men I know.'"

Jackson Knew He Would Die Young


AFP: Jackson feared dying like Elvis: Lisa Marie Presley: "'I can't recall the exact subject matter but he may have been questioning me about the circumstances of my Father's Death. At some point he paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty, 'I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did.''"

I would not be surprised. I suspect that whole spiritual and living purpose of ultra-talented artists is their art. They are out on a sort of mission from heaven. When they see that they cannot perform up to their standard anymore, they must not find many reasons to stay around.

Micheal's come back show due in July must have played a role in this respect. It may be that in spite of all his hard work, he just was not satisfied with his upcoming performance In this respect, to die was the best "solution", if it could be said that way, as he was leaving with his legend intact. The show seemed to have been his last effort to get back to the level he was. Seeing he just could not, he maybe thought, supra-consciously, that it was time to go...

Just a hypothesis, of course, but I have been thinking along that way long before, especially seeing mega-stars die early.

I was a kid when I saw the come-back show of Elvis Presley. Really, for me, it really was not impressive at all, and I was wondering why all the fuss about that guy. He only was the shadow of what he used to be, and all this handkerchief throwing and idolization had little to nothing to do with any form of art anymore. Supra-consciously, he must have felt the same, and then "decided" that there was no more reasons to stay down this earth, and that he had better things to do up there.

For some others, it may not be that dramatic and they may go while still successful, but, likewise, they may feel that they have given enough and that it is time to move on to another level, literally.

Most people, of course, have more mundane goals, and that's perfectly OK as well. But the "mission order" of those who received gifts far beyond the average may not be quite the same. That they would die young, or believe they would die young, is really not surprising to me.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Death of a Fallen Angel


I remember the first time I saw Michael Jackson. It was on TV at home, though at the time I was working in the Scientology Saint Hill organization in England. The clip was Don't Stop and it had some kind of Susan Boyle effect to it in that I was wondering what this guy was doing with this strange look and voice, even though he was the lead singer of the Jackson Five - until he started to dance... The whole thing blew me away and I became an instant fan. I still think it is one of his best clip and dance performance.

Michael then resurfaced with his amazing new look in a clip with Paul McCartney, then of course with Billy Jean, and reached the peak of his career with the ensuing Beat It and Thriller. The top for me was seeing him in a Brussels cafe video fly away into his famous Moonwalk, that, in my opinion, best epitomize Michael ethereal, angelic, character...

As early as Beat It, however, I started to become less of a fan. Michael was obviously a kind, sensitive, and angel type - yet, from Beat It on, he tried to be bad, rough, and a devil type - for reasons best known to him alone. This definitely did not fit him well, and he never regained the success he had back then, even though of course, he was still dancing like a God and was from then on a living legend.

That really... beats me... Had he remained true to himself, the way he was rather than trying to become something he obviously was not, his star would have shone much brighter, much higher. It is not for nothing that the best videos and performances from him, apart from Don't Stop, was the live version of Billy Jean and the tektonic dance he performed in Moscow. That was the real Michael, the real genius.

However, his talent was such that even though being a fallen angel, his light was still shining through, and he will remain imprinted in the collective memory in an indelible manner.

Thanks, Michael. In spite of all, you did bring a tremendous inspiration and message to Humanity. It must not be easy to be taken away just when you were ready for a come back after years of hard work, but maybe there is some sort of message in that as well? Rest in peace and may you find up there the match and reward for all your highest aspirations.

Michael was for a time married to Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis and Scientologist, and it was rumored that the collapse he had at the time was due to him going through the Purification Rundown. This is most probably true. Would Michael be saved if he had become a Scientologist? We will never know - just like we will never know what would have happened had he gone through his come back-show in London. By all mean, I did share his opinion 100% about Diversity, the winner of Britain's Got Talent, whom he wanted to feature on that show. That was the last I heard from Michael. There may be more, if the album he probably finished before he died would ever come out...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kelly Preston Silent Child Birth


Bizarre Celebrity Birthing Trends - Starpulse Entertainment News: "Kelly Preston, a longtime practitioner of Scientology, endeavored to follow these austere, mum's-the-word guidelines during the 13 hour-long, at-home birth of her daughter, Ella Bleu. But in an interview with 'Redbook' magazine, Preston reports that she eventually cracked and hollered at hubby, John Travolta, 'Throw me in the car. I want an epidural!' Honestly though, who could blame her?"

Monday, June 22, 2009

Violence and Scientology

I am usually cautious about horror stories told by apostates, but in the case at hand, that of Miscavige physically hitting other people, I think there may be elements that point to it being true.

Some of these elements are the fact that there are several high ranking ex-members telling about it and that some of them I consider have an aura of credibility and integrity.

If true, it would be completely at odd with the principles of Scientology itself, that would put emphasis on the power of intention alone. There may be some elements of physical control in the form of reasonable an limited prodding (as in the case of TRs), but nothing like hitting, hurting, restraining, or any other form of actual physical force.

Particularly ominous, of course, would be if that violence was conducted against women, but even just the fact that violence at all would happen would definitely put the CoS in the wrong track, in every sense of the term.

If I was a Scientologist, I would be concerned about this kind of allegations and ask that full light be made on them.

The Associated Press: Report: Violence common among Scientology managers

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Angel Stop-Over in Glasgow


I have been waiting for this for quite some time now: Boyle's performance in her home capital: Glasgow. This one is the first video to appear on YT about it. I am sure that loads more will be forthcoming. The best performance so far, because she is giving her very best, and this voice... really just straight from heaven! It was incredibly magnificent. She seemed to reach a new level, if that was possible at all. I think tonight Susan made her mark down history more than ever. It has just become surreal!

Of course never wilder crowd have I seen, except maybe during the Beatles era, and I hope that some professional team is getting the full sound of her, because sometimes it is just impossible to hear through the crowd's cheers.

As the comment below says, there's just something else than just singing happening here. We really are blessed to live through all this as it unfolds!

YouTube - Susan boyle:
"Amazingly, when I listen to Susan sing and watch her, I feel as if I am in the presence of an angel. When she stops singing, she becomes human again."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Toddler Fascination with Susan Boyle


You Tube - My daughter watching Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent

This is an amazing video. Here is a 18 months old toddler watching the famous Susan Boyle video. She claps exactly at the right times, and without being probed into that by the public as it is just at the beginning. There's quite a bit of food for thought in there, both for understanding (?) the mind of toddlers, or maybe some toddlers, and the universal appeal of that Boyle event. Quite fascinating, and the look of that child watching the performance... Well, a video that may go a long way on YT.

I got another demonstration of Boyle's appeal today, as I introduced a friend to the original boyle video, and as so many others around the world, she just started crying genuine tears that lasted long after it was over, then she started to re-watched the video endlessly.

Now I also got on YT and searched for other version of "I dreamed a dream", and, frankly, nothing comes even near Susan's rendition. They are all terrible pale in comparison, even though it's interesting to get other views from that piece, and some of them make me better understand the drama of this song and its power. Nevertheless, there's not a single voice that matches the purity and richness of that 48 years old unemployed cat lady from a tiny Scottish village!

The worry now is whether Susan will sustain what goes with absolute stardom. She gave three mind-blowing performances in the Britain's Got Talent tour but had lapses of memory in Sheffield and had to cancel Manchester.

Well, let's cross fingers... and put that thumb in our mouth too!

PS - I just learn that tomorrow the BGT show is in Glasgow... Now that makes a bit more sense. She wouldn't want to mess that one, so better take a rest than risk a miss in her own capital where the expectation and pressure must be formidable! If the public reaction we saw in Birmingham and Sheffield are incredible, what is it going to be in Glasgow! Really I am not sure I would want to be in Susan's shoe for that one!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wikipedia Has Banned Scientology's More Vocal Friends and Foes

I guess I would be in a good position to edit Wikipedia articles on the basis that I am somewhere on the middle ground, except that I never got the time to get into that, and now with their banning of both sides I really don't feel like working on it at all.

I find Wikipedia stance outrageous and unbearable. It will probably change nothing to the situation. How will they control who edit what? It will only shed a bad light on them and the suspicions that their article are not balanced after all, plus it clearly is an infringement on free speech and as such is frankly objectionable and a real shame.

Hopefully they'll realize they are on the wrong path and lift this shameful and stupid ban.

The Associated Press: Religion news in brief

Carrie Prejean Fired

I was supportive of Carrie Prejean for her right to express her opinion in the contest and not be penalized for it. However, when I watched on YT a press conference she gave, it was not just an opinion anymore, it was outright campaigning. I found it out of place. I don't have time to follow all this in details but based on that impression, I suspect Trump took the right decision again.

I usually like to have pretty babes pics on my blog but every time I see her picture I am reminded of her campaigning and that removes the attraction. Plus anyway I find her plastic with no real sex appeal.

Carrie Prejean fires back after losing Miss California crown | TV, movie and music news | News | EW.com

Monday, June 8, 2009

John Brodie


Deadspin - Whither The Scientologist Athlete? - Athletes and scientology: "San Francisco 49er quarterback John Brodie, who was featured in an SI cover story in 1971, was a practicing Scientologist for 12 years, yet there haven't been anymore popular athletes that have come forward since then. It's kind of odd."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Alexander Rybak


I hate the Eurovision, that show that I remember back from my childhood when it had much fewer countries than at present. I really do hate it. But then, when you see a nuclear explosion of talent such as Alexander Rybak, you tend to revise your idee-fixes about it...

Another revelation. Susan Boyle then Alexander Rybak... Where will it end?

YouTube - Norway - Points: 387 - Place: 1st - "Fairytale" by Alexander Rybak

PS - also here in a splendid, hitherto anonymous, rendition of Foolin'

Susan Boyle Lost Due to YouTube Scam'?

I don't have a TV and after checking with my happy TV-owning friends, they did not have the British channel ITV, so I was left with the Internet to follow the Britain's Got Talent final. Luckily I did find a stream and could follow the whole amazing thing.

Of course it did not surprise me that Diversity came first. But what surprised me was why the third place came to that saxophonist or what. There clearly were much better contenders.

Now I may start to understand the reason if the article below is right. Indeed, after the stream, I followed the news on Youtube and I remember people who through comments urged people to vote for Susan at a certain number,and that number was probably fake. It supposedly directed to Diversity and that saxophonist. That's what I think the complain of the Pro-Susan is, not that it was wrongly posted on an edited photo of the TV screen.

Well, here's for the conspiracy aficionados - thought it may not be that far fetched this time:

Susan Boyle 'lost Britain's Got Talent votes due to YouTube scam' - Telegraph

From an Earthly Vessel Comes Music from Heaven


Magnificent article that translates best of all those I read why Susan Boyle has become such a phenomenon. For once, one of my off-topic blog entry is remotely related to what articles on this blog should be about, i.e. Scientology - and "that's transcendence. That's the assurance of things not seen":
"Sermons are hit or miss. Theology, though intriguing, can get messy, confusing and contradictory. People fight over it. But music can bring us together and raise us up in some mystical manner that defies explanation."
From an earthly vessel comes music from heaven - Kalamazoo, Michigan Living News - The Kalamazoo Gazette – MLive.com

Some excerpt:

I'm sitting at my home computer in tears -- I've just watched Susan Boyle's first performance on "Britain's Got Talent."

I know the whole world's been talking about her for weeks, but I just hadn't made time to listen to her sing.

[...] I google her name, and there she is, in all her dowdiness. I know, from news reports and conversations, that something magnificent is about to break forth. Still, when she opens her mouth to sing "I Dreamed a Dream," and that rich, resonant voice comes pouring out, I'm overwhelmed.

From this antithesis of a superstar comes music straight from heaven.

I begin to cry. Not a lone tear sneaking down my cheek. But a torrent. A deep-hearted weeping that rises up and spills over like a river in springtime.

What's causing this? Is it the lyrics, the melody, the voice, or the fact that this simple 47-year-old woman from a village in Scotland has been given this amazing gift that she's finally sharing with the world? Or is it the fact that she's overcoming all of the world's petty prejudices about her? Is it her triumph over our ignorant idea that only the beautiful and the model-thin have the right to share their talents onstage? Or is it all of these things?

I suspect it's all of them. But it's the music, I think, that pushes my emotions over into tears.

What is it about music that is so intense? That can throw us to the depths or take us to the gates of God?

[...] Music has always been the most direct route to God for me. Maybe it was for my father too.

Sermons are hit or miss. Theology, though intriguing, can get messy, confusing and contradictory. People fight over it. But music can bring us together and raise us up in some mystical manner that defies explanation.

Just look at the faces of the judges as Boyle begins to sing. Or the audience members as they rise to their feet when she's done.

Moments ago they'd been jeering and mocking her when she came onstage. Trivial human concerns about clothes, hairstyle, body shape, sophistication were all that mattered.

Then music broke through. Shattered Earth's illusions. And struck all of us with awe.

For me, that's transcendence. That's the assurance of things not seen.

PS - on the more humorous side, two great videos from the Corrigan Brothers:

Friday, June 5, 2009

David Carradine’s Scientology Connections


Glosslip rag article on david Carradine's death and its connection to Scientology. Lot's of quick blunt judgments and crass ignorance typical of rag-style Glosslip articles, but nevertheless some interesting information about Carradine's Scientology connections in the mix:

GlossLip » New Details Emerge About David Carradine’s Death, Including His Scientology Connections: "”I’m no kind of Scientologist, but I’ve been around it enough to know it’s a very intelligent thing.”"

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Diversity Saves the Day


YouTube - Diversity - Britains Got Talent 2009 The Final

The dance group Diversity put up a stunning performance tonight and well deserved the Britain's Got Talent crown! Fantastic!

Now Susan Boyle... the moment she started singing the very same song that got her famous during the audition I knew that she blew it. It didn't evoke in me anything else but disappointment. Everybody was waiting for a new performance, on a new song, and certainly not on the same very song she so brilliantly performed initially. Even though the final rendition was "better" in a way, it was almost perfect with a lot of nice add ins to it, it will never come up to the quality of the audition version, because it completely lacks the package... Anyway, I also find the audition version better, because though she final version stressed the high notes, the low notes in the audition version were incomparably better.

So, sorry, Susan, but whoever gave you the advise to make a "polished" version of "I Got a Dream" again, should be shot. Or hanged. That was a terrible mistake, and I am almost sure it cost you the title. With the voice you have, you could have given a go at Celine Dion's "Surrender". That would have blown the audience apart - with no chance whatsoever of any competitor to come everywhere near...

Ah, well... In a way, it's better like that. Susan is already famous and on the way, for sure, of a multi-million record to come out soon. I'll certainly be looking forward to that, as that voice really has no equals, especially in the low notes, IMHO. It will also help to lessen a bit the pressure on her shoulder. And then, last but not least, it gives something to a runner up, as Susan had it all already...

Well done Britain's Got Talent - one of the best show, including the final, I have ever witnessed - with a great winner, and a fantastic runner up!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Banning Scientology Doesn't Make Wikipedia More Credible | Education IT | ZDNet.com

Banning Scientology doesn't make Wikipedia more credible | Education IT | ZDNet.com: "Even I quoted the Register, above; the Reg is quite newsy but puts a biting, sarcastic spin on just about everything within its pages. This doesn’t make it invalid, but how skilled are our students at sorting out even satire or sarcasm from a source?"

That's Why I Like Him - That's Why I Don't Like Him

That's why I like him:
YouTube - Raw Video: Obama Stops for Cheeseburgers


That's why I don't like him:
Schwarzenegger proposes closing 80 percent of California state parks - San Jose Mercury News

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wikipedia Bans Church of Scientology • The Register

Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology • The Register: "In an unprecedented effort to crack down on self-serving edits, the Wikipedia supreme court has banned contributions from all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates.

Closing out the longest-running court case in Wikiland history, the site’s Arbitration Committee voted 10 to 0 (with one abstention) in favor of the move, which takes effect immediately.

[...] This is the fourth Scientology-related Wikicourtcase in as many years, and in addition to an outright ban on Scientology IPs, the court has barred a host of anti-Scientology editors from editing topics related to the Church.

Many Wikifiddlers have vehemently criticized this sweeping crackdown. Historically, the site's cult-like inner circle has aspired to some sort of Web 2.0 utopia in which everyone has an unfettered voice. An organization editing Wikipedia articles where it has a conflict of interest is hardly unusual, and in the past such behavior typically went unpunished."

Germany's Battle Against Scientology - TIME

Germany's Battle Against Scientology - TIME: "bringing the full weight of the Federal government to bear on an organization that officials say has only 6,000 members in Germany would be seen as a disproportionate response given the political cost — Germany has been criticized by the U.S. State Department for restrictions it already places on Scientology. As one official put it, 'We have other things to worry about.'"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Biggest Wake-Up Call Ever!


YouTube - Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009 (With Lyrics)

This sandwich-eating lady has made one of the biggest impression on the net ever. A typical anti-hero, old-fashioned provincial British (Scottish actually) lady, with a supremely bad-taste (hair) style and frumpy manners, who made a total fool of herself, twisting her hips during the preliminary interview for "Britains Got Talent" - all of a sudden wiped the whole audience down their knee in just three seconds after she opened her mouth to sing - so fabulous (absolutely stunning) her voice was!

As one of the judges said: "the biggest wake-up call ever" - don't judge the package on its cover!

Because of her incredible talent, that makes one wonder how she could remained hidden for the past years of her 47 years life, in spite of her best effort to pierce through, even her mannerism have become, of sort, a fashion!

Her second appearance was more polished already, but her singing still remained breathtaking, especially on the second part where she literally "took off" switching on a higher pitch! Susan Boyle was back, and stronger than ever! I'll try to squat some TV-owning friends' place to watch the final, like, I am sure, millions of people around the world!

WOW... now that is truly inspirational... and somewhere there really is a strong message in all this, both in her incredible voice and the package it comes up with!

GlossLip's "fun" about Jenna Elfman

Rag type article dashing Jenna Elfman mostly because she's a Scientologist, full of other rag type "fun" at an unpopular religion:

GlossLip » Scientology Ditz, Jenna Elfman’s New Fall Show… A CBS Accident For Sure: "Just when things are looking up and NBC drops Scientologist Jason Lee’s show, “My Name is Earl,” (the dumbest show ever…right up there next to My Mother The Car) CBS says they are coming out with a new comedy this Fall called “Accidentally on Purpose”, and will star Jenna Elfman. Thanks CBS, thanks A LOT!"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Roberta Armani on the Cruises


Life as Giorgio Armani's niece - Telegraph: "‘They’re some of the best people I’ve ever met in my life,’ says Roberta of the couple. ‘When I’m with Tom, afterwards I always get inspired – I want to be more like him. He’s very at ease with himself.’ And has he ever tried to sell her on Scientology? No, she says, ‘But if that’s the effect, then everyone should be Scientologist.’ It’s not so much his religion that’s alienated so much of the public, she says, but something else. ‘It’s too much,’ she theorises. ‘People are jealous. Pure envy. I really get upset.’"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words.


YouTube - President Obama Notre Dame Speech (Part 2)

"How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without, as Father John said, demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?

[...] And I said a prayer that night that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me. Because when we do that -- when we open up our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do or believe precisely what we believe -- that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground. That's when we begin to say, "Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually, it has both moral and spiritual dimensions.

[...] Now, understand -- understand, Class of 2009, I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away. Because no matter how much we may want to fudge it -- indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory -- the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature. Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that has always been the Notre Dame tradition."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Miss Call it for Niah Niah Niah

Another Look at Scientology: Trump Took the Right Decision: "However, I would be outraged at the thought that she would lose [her crown] because she dared express her opinion, even if I completely disagree with it."

That's what I wrote - which does not change the fact that she really is a stupid fascist bitch. I started to watch her press conference today and could not stomach past 2 minutes in it.

Anyway...

Hilarious Craig Ferguson Tom Cruise Parody


On December 1, 2008, I wrote:
Another Look at Scientology: Crusing the Good Wave: "This being said, I did find quite bad the famous interview leaked on to the Internet and which has been the target of numerous parodies (the funniest to date, IMO, being the SuperHero one). I realize that Cruise made the video for an internal audience and not the general public, something critics don't take into account in their mockery, but really he was not good at it. His arguments were weak and his laugh, well... stupid. By far the worst 'role' I saw him in."
The Irony in this is that the parody video I was referring to has been taken off YT because 'This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by The Weinstein Company.".

And when you think that the whole Anonyous thing started for a supposedly abuse of "free speech" as the CoS claimed copyright on that video. Now that video, the original one, is still available on the internet but the parody is not, for copyright reason... That's quite funny by itself and highlights the ludicrousness and hypocrisy of it all.

Doesn't matter - I found an even more funny parody, that makes me laugh way more, even though it's shorter. It's the one of Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show. Watch it - it's truly hilarious...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Survey Pulls Out Fishy Results

What Do Americans Want? Legal Pot, White House Online Survey Reports | 44 | washingtonpost.com

Strange news this one, first time it I hear of it.

Apparently there was some survey, that seems to bear the Obama or White House official stamp, to determine what are the political priorities for the administration to address.

You ought to ponder about the result of such survey, that basically comes up with the top priority being Online Poker!

That the survey led to "results that clearly do not align with recent scientific polling", as the above-referred to Washington Post article puts it, is clear.

Another source draws attention to "the names on the comments. It seems like many of them are the same. One blogger at War is My Concern got 10 mentions in the Citizens Briefing Book. It seems that some citizens are more equal than others …" - pointing to a possible manipulation of the result by groups like Anonymous who in the past managed to manipulate Google results through loads of votes coming from seemingly different persons whereas they only came from a small minority of technical savvy people with a petty and biased agenda. For example, see here, here, and here.

No doubt this piece of news is going to make headlines among critics who are going to pound on it relentlessly, using its semblance of Obama-esque legitimacy to further their cause.

Clearly, though, online poker and Scientology tax ones are in no way comparable to legitimate issues such as the Bush administration tactics in the "war on terror" and other deadly serious issues. So, I'll say something does not sound quite right with that survey.

Link to the "Citizen Briefing" from the White House web site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/Citizens_Briefing_Book_Final.pdf

More info:

National Journal Online -- Under The Influence -- Poker Players Alliance Shows A Winning Hand: "Change.gov received more than 44,000 ideas and people cast more than 1.4 million votes on them. Policy ideas received 10 points for each positive vote and were ranked accordingly. "

[...]

Here are the Top Ten issues overall:

  • Ending Marijuana Prohibition - 92,970 points
  • Commit to Becoming the "Greenest" Country in the World - 70,470
  • Stop Using Federal Resources to Undermine States' Medicinal Marijuana Laws - 66,170
  • End the Government Sponsored Abstinence Education to be Replaced by an Introduction of Age Appropriate Sex Education - 65,350
  • Bullet Trains & Light Rail - 65,100
  • Permanent Closure of all Torture Facilities - 61,250
  • Revoke the George W. Bush Tax Cuts for the Top 1 percent - 57,080
  • Get Insurance Companies Out of Health Care - 55,080
  • Revoke the Tax Exempt Status of the Church of Scientology - 52,470
  • Bring Back the Constitution - 50,160
Note: boosting America's economy with legal online poker rung in with nearly 47,000 points, so is not part of the top ten. However, this is the issue that has been picked up for headlines by virtually all the newspapers reporting on the briefing, which is why it gets to be named the top priority.

Note2: If each each vote counted as 10 points, does this mean that 5,247 only voted for the CoS Tax idea? Divided by 1.4 million votes, that would represent 0.4%. These results continue to be puzzling and not making much sense.

Note3: Why are the newspapers picking up the Poker issue when it does not even make it to the top ten? In fact, it appears that the Marijuana issue is the clear winner. Not only does it come to number one, but it reasonably could be cumulated with the nbr 3 spot, and in total would make for 159,140, leaving the nbr 2 spot far far behind...