Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pickering "Affair" Is Getting Really Creepy

The Pickering lawsuit was first broken by Ipse Blogit, who has done an outstanding job of following through on what was an initial piece of good luck. As I read more about the case, I became intrigued with "C Street" - the place where Pickering lived while in Congress.

Initially, it seemed C Street was a place where like minded Congressmen shared a residence - no big deal. Then it came out they were all Christians. Aside from the hypocrisy of family values Christians committing adultery, still no big deal.

Then it was revealed that C Street was in fact legally a church and tax exempt. Hmmm - the tax payers are paying for these politicians to have a place to stay? Didn't seem right to me.

But it gets worse - much worse. C Street is owned by a group called The Family - a secret religious organization whose goal is to control the world. Now they've got my attention! Who are these guys?

It turns out that we know a lot more about The Family than they would like us to - thanks to a religious scholar and writer named Jeff Sharlet. Because of his interest in religion, he was invited in 2002 by a friend to join The Family - and out of intellectual curiosity, he decided to give it a try. He moved into one of their houses where they train new members. It's fair to say he was shocked by what he learned while he was there. When he left after several weeks, he wrote an exceptionally well researched book entitled The Family, which was published in 2008 and is now out in paperback. I haven't read it yet, but I've ordered it.

However, he wrote an article for Harper's that gives an idea of this group - and sends shivers up your spine. Or if you want a quick summary, look up The Family in Wikipedia - which also give you a long list of references. Because of the association of the adulterous members of Congress (Ensign, Sanford, Pickering, Vitter) with C Street, the media is beginning to pay attention.

Here are just a few glimpses of the horror: Members refer to Manhattan's Ground Zero as "the ruins of secularism". A leader tells a dozen men living there, "You guys are here to learn how to rule the world". This same leader repeatedly urges a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that he compares to the blind devotion that Adolph Hitler demanded from his followers. Some of the other heroes are Genghis Khan, Stalin, Osama bin Laden, and others who know how to control people. The Family urges the US government to establish close ties to cruel dictators around the world, who are also members of the group. It goes on and on. It's just horrible beyond words.

But here's the worst part - at least to me. They do not think they can do anything wrong - because they are the "Chosen". Morality is for the rest of us - not for them. One of their leaders, David Coe, in one of the training sessions said: "King David liked to do really, really bad things. Here's this guy who slept with another man's wife — Bathsheba, right? — and then basically murdered her husband. And this guy is one of our heroes. I mean, Jiminy Christmas, God likes this guy! What is that all about?" The answer: "Because he was chosen." He even gives the example of someone who has raped three little girls. Is this unbelievable? At least we can understand why all these so called Christian members of Congress associated with this group think they can commit adultery without any problem.

The Family is a super secret group that's been around since the 1930s. The members are all rich or powerful or both, and they meet in secret cells all over the world. They're all men - women's only role in their world is to serve them. Remember that their goal is "to rule the world" - and they've been doing a pretty good job of it. Now that a spotlight has been cast on this group, the question is whether the rest of us will do anything about it. I'm not optimistic.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why Congressman Pickering Didn't Become a Senator

WOW! We have a little soap opera going on.

Our former Congressman Chip Pickering chose not to run for reelection and was not appointed to Trent Lott's US Senate seat when he resigned - even though it was always assumed that Chip was being groomed for that seat. There was a lot of discussion in these parts about why. Well, now we have a possible explanation.

On Tuesday, Chip's wife Leisha filed a complaint against one Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd (of the Cellular South family) for "alienation of affections". Don't you just love these legal terms? What she really meant was that Elizabeth stole her husband Chip. Leisha claims she has suffered emotional distress, and she is suing for damages.

As you read through the complaint (which I encourage you to do since it is quite entertaining) you are definitely left with the feeling that Chip is some poor nincompoop with no brains who is totally led around by the evil Elizabeth. These suits are always phrased like this. Does Leisha really think Chip had nothing to do with this adulterous behavior? Why is it always "the other woman's" fault? Why didn't Leisha just sue the nincompoop directly? I'm sure there is some legal reason for filing this, but it sure does illustrate the idiocy of some legal actions.

The most interesting part of this complaint is that (according to Leisha) Governor Haley Barbour did offer the US Senate seat to Chip - which was certainly never made public. (Anyone want to bet that Barbour will deny it?) Leisha says that Elizabeth told Chip he would have to give up his "public life" in order to continue his relationship with her. That's a no brainer. A family values Republican might have a little trouble getting elected while he's carrying on with a woman who's not his wife - even in Mississippi.

This Elizabeth must be one bodacious woman - since Chip gave up his family (five kids!) and his career for her. Usually these relationships do not live up to their expectations. I hope this one runs true to form, because this a**hole certainly deserves to suffer. Eventually, Leisha will learn she - and her children - are much better off without him. I'm proud to say that I always saw his true colors and never voted for him.

I found out about this complaint from two legal/political blogs that I follow: Ipse Blogit and North Mississippi Commentor. But it's all over the regular media now.

UPDATE from Ipse Blogit:

Cellular South parent company (where Elizabeth is on the Board) and Capitol Resources (a lobbying firm representing Cellular South and Chip's employer) have been added to the complaint.

C Street Complex where Chip lived in Washington was apparently the DC residence of Senators John Ensign and David Vitter and Governor Mark Sanford. Must be something in the water!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Crickets chirping under my bedroom window

I moved away from Mississippi about 20 years ago, and one of the things I'd always missed were crickets chirping underneath my bedroom window at night. The sound sort of soothed me when I was a kid.

I came to England to find there were no crickets. The evening was too quiet -- no life out there at night. But I got used to it. (I also missed fireflies -- a lot. But that's another story.)

Today I read in the paper that due to global warming crickets are migrating north and have discovered England. I guess I won't have to wait too long to hear the comforting sounds of crickets chirping outside my bedroom window again.

"The sound of English summer is changing as the skylark is drowned out by chirruping crickets. Global warming has let two species, the long-winged conehead and Roesel's bush cricket spread north."

Another transplanted Southerner in England worries that poisonous snakes might hear of the crickets' discovery of England and migrate north also. Now that's one thing I haven't missed from Mississippi.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Life is a bowl (or two) of cherries

We've talked about tomatoes on the blog, but not about cherries. This must be rectified.

Every summer I look forward to the cherry season. I think I could live on these things. They are only in the British supermarkets for a brief time so I go wild buying and eating them for those few weeks.

Last year, I discovered the rainier cherry - it's got a yellow skin and is incredibly delicious (and expensive).

These cherries are very sensitive to temperature, wind, and rain. About 1/3 of a Rainier cherry orchard's crop is eaten by birds.

Rainiers are considered the "cream of the crop", selling for $5 dollars a pound or more in the USA and as much as a dollar each in Japan.

Here are five things to do with cherries:

Tipsy cherries
Marinate cherries in kirsch and serve with ice cream or chocolate desserts.

Cherry and plum crumble
Mix 250g each of stoned cherries and plums, 3tbsp sugar and 4tbsp water in an ovenproof dish. Rub 75g butter into 150g plain flour, stir in 4tbsp each of oats and crushed almonds and 2tbsp sugar. Spoon over the fruit and bake at 180/gas 4 for 25 minutes until golden.

A sauce for roast duck
Bring 150ml each of chicken stock and red wine to the boil, then turn down the heat. Add 250g stoned cherries and simmer for about 15 minutes until thickened.

Cherry pie
Mix 500g stoned cherries with 1tbsp cornflour and 25g sugar. Line a pie dish with sweet shortcrust pastry, add the cherry mixture, top with pastry and seal the edges. Make a hole in the centre, brush with milk and sugar and bake at 180/gas 4 for 40 minutes until golden.

Instant trifle
Marinate stoned cherries in kirsch. Spoon some crushed amaretti biscuits into glasses. Top with marinated cherries, ready made custard, whipped cream and finish with toasted almonds.

What is your favorite summer fruit or vegetable?

Monday, July 06, 2009

My husband the oil mogul

When my grandmother died a few years ago, I inherited about 1/500th of an oil well in Mississippi. My husband, a poor English boy who grew up watching Dallas on television, almost died himself of happiness.

"Relax," I said. "I didn't really inherit a complete oil well. We aren't moguls now." The checks I get from the oil company might be up to $100 a month but then I have to pay a share of the operating expenses too so that takes a lot out of it. So basically we might get 20 bucks a month out of it.

But my husband is so happy being an oil mogul -- he pores over any statement we get, just like he is JR Ewing.

Today we got papers about investing in some new deep-drilling operation. Mel is in heaven right now, looking over seismic surveys of the area, aerial maps of the proposed site and mineral leases.

I thought it was cute how excited he gets over nothing so took a pic.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Public enemies

The release of the new movie about John Dillinger reminded me of secret family history that I wanted to make sure I told my daughter so the information wasn't lost.

I had a great-aunt who fell in love with one of the Dillingers -- Frank -- got pregnant and wanted to marry him. My great grandfather was so mortified that she would think she could marry into the mobster family (when John Dillinger was Public Enemy Number 1) that he refused and made her give the baby up for adoption. This destroyed her; she was never the same again.

Isn't that sad that she would have to give up the love of her life and her baby because of public opinion against the family? I wonder what happened to her child. She must have worried about the baby for the rest of her life.

What happened with her and the Dillinger boy was considered so terrible, however, that no one spoke of it in the family, and it wasn't until the funeral of one of the elder members of my family that someone told me so I would keep the information alive for another generation.