Friday, September 28, 2012

Did Jesus Have a Wife?

Dear Madame L,

I'm sure you've heard about the newly released papyrus fragment in which Jesus is supposedly quoted as saying something about his wife. Do you think Jesus was really married?


Wondering What This Says About All of Christian "Standard" Scriptures

Dear Wondering,

Madame L does not know if Jesus was married, though she has heard arguments on both sides of that question. 

The papyrus fragment you've asked about, called by some "The Gospel of Jesus's Wife," was translated by a Harvard Divinity School professor, Karen L. King, who said the fragment has this bit: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife ...’ ” And, just below that, this bit:  “...she will be able to be my disciple.”

Madame L thinks the issue here is whether the papyrus fragment is "real": that is, whether it represents an actual piece of an actual text and not a forgery; and, if so, whether the text represents an actual fact or a made-up story like those many stories circulated for centuries after Jesus's life.

Madame L understands that Jesus's celibacy is such a part of standard Christianity that questioning it may cause some Christians to doubt the standard Christian scriptures. Madame L doesn't think that an artifact such as this represents an actual challenge to the idea, though the idea that Jesus might have been married doesn't challenge her faith.

Madame L has read that some Vatican experts have "discredited" the finding.  

Madame L hopes the religious world will wait patiently as this fragment of papyrus with its controversial text goes through the usual rigors of testing before getting upset about it.


Madame L

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Electoral College---But Vote, Anyway!

Hi Madame Elle,

I have a question for you about the electoral college and how it works. My understanding is that it was put into place back when the 13 colonies had no easy way of tabulating each individual vote, so representatives from each state were sent to cast their vote representing the state. Each state got a certain amount of delegate votes based off that state's population.

In this day and age where technology allows the votes to be tabulated, accounted for and reported on the same day as the election, why do we still need the electoral college? Doesn't it essentially cancel out my vote?

Let's say, for example, I'm a Republican in California, or a Democrat in Utah. It's a given that my state's electoral college votes are going to go the majority party of my state, so what's the point of me voting as an individual? (Besides the whole "exercise your democratic right" thing.) That's my first question.

The second (I lied - I have two questions, it looks like) question is - has there ever been a case of the electoral college not going with the majority of the state?

The third (I'm so naughty!) is - do we even NEED the electoral college anymore? Which voting process REALLY counts in the final tally? The electoral college's? Or each individual who actually votes?

Thanks in advance,

I-said-one-but-there-are-really-eight-questions Pal

Dear Eight Questions Pal,

Thanks for asking! This is an issue Madame L has also wondered about, ever since the 2000 election in which Al Gore won the popular vote but George W. Bush won the electoral vote. 

Like you, Madame L doesn't see the need for an electoral college now, no matter how valid the reasons for its establishment in the first place.

And it usually won't make a difference, though if you were Gore in 2000, or Jackson in 1842, or Tilden in 1876, or Cleveland in 1888, it mattered. And Madame L thinks the Electoral College should be abolished altogether, as it actually negates the power of the people to elect their president. As the Wikipedia article puts it: 

   "A result of the present functionality of the Electoral College is that the national popular vote bears no legal or factual significance on determining the outcome of the election. Since the national popular vote is irrelevant, both voters and candidates are assumed to base their campaign strategies around the existence of the Electoral College; any close race has candidates campaigning to maximize electoral votes by capturing coveted swing states, not to maximize national popular vote totals. 

   "The United States is the only country that elects a politically powerful president via an electoral college and the only one in which a candidate can become president without having obtained the highest number of votes in the sole or final round of popular voting. —George C. Edwards, 2011/"

Madame L thinks, though, that if you're voting contrary to the majority in whatever state (great examples you gave, voting as a Democrat in Utah or a Republican in California), it's not the electoral college that is making a difference; it's that you're in the minority.

Finally, then, electoral or popular vote aside, why should you vote if you know the other candidate will win in spite of your vote?

Here's why: In every election, you're also voting for a Representative, and in some years for a Senator, and always for local officials. And so your vote will be important in deciding, for instance, how many federal dollars your district will receive, who will be confirmed as Supreme Court justices, and who will go on to aspire to higher offices.  

So that whole "exercise your right to vote" thing, as you call it, has a purpose beyond being an exercise in futility. 

And then, if your vote for local and state officials seems to have been wasted, and you despair of the newly elected officials, you can become active in your local political party and make a difference for the next election year.


Madame L 

(Who used to live in a state in which it seemed she was the only member of the minority party, and yet she voted; and whose S.O's vote often canceled out hers, and yet she voted; and eventually she came to see the majority in that state switch, and her S.O's political views, Dear Readers, hope on!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weird Word of the Week: Rhotic

Madame L is not ashamed to say she found this word in an answer to a job-interview question that is supposedly asked of people who are trying to get a job at Google.

The question: How many piano tuners are there in the whole world?

One answer: The number of pianos in the world, divided by X. 

Another answer: They do not live in pianos, silly. They live in the ocean. (Works if your dialect of English is non-rhotic.)

So, what is rhotic and what is non-rhotic? The Wikipedia answer to this question is apparently written to confuse people, so Madame L translates it here: If you pronounce "butter" more like "buttah" or "hard" more like "hahd," you speak a non-rhotic dialect. 

But go ahead and read the answer for some great examples of how words have "merged" in pronunciation in non-rhotic accidents. Madame L favorite example is the orphan-often gag from Gilbert and Sullivans "Pirates of Penzance":

 (You have to wait until about the 6th minute for the orphan-often gag, but you get to see the wonderful "Modern Major General" song performed by the best while you wait.)

Madame L speaks an English dialect that is rhotic. That is, she pronounces an "r" if it exists in the written word, no matter whether it is followed by a consonant or a vowel or is at the end of a spelled-out word (and does not pronounce an "r" when it is not written at the end of a word). 

Oh, and here are the the rest of the questions supposedly asked often (not "orphan") when one is interviewing for jobs at Google, Microsoft, and IKEA. (Read through the Comments section to see a variety of clever and even correct answers.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review, Sunday, September 23, 2012: The Count of Monte Cristo

Book Report: The Count of Monte Cristo

By: Elle Madame

Date: Monday, September 24, 2012

Reason for lateness: This book is very long (more than 1,400 pages).

Author: Alexandre Dumas

Plot summary: Edmond Dantes comes into port with money from his latest voyage and the promise to become the new captain of his ship. He is about to marry his sweetheart when an evil man plots against him, lying and using various other characters to put Edmond in prison and take away everything. He's in jail for 14 years, but he meets another prisoner there who teaches him everything he knows and tells him where he can find a treasure.

Is that all? No, but that's as far as I've read. I can give you more, but it would be from memory from having watched the movie a long time ago or from looking it up on Wikipedia. I do remember that Dantes becomes the Count of Monte Cristo, helps the people who helped him, and gets revenge on the people who conspired against him. 

Anything else you want to add? So far, I'm really enjoying this book, which surprises me. I'll report back when I've finished reading it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gangnam Style With Robots

Madame L just had to share this. She promises, or at least she  thinks, this will be the last time she'll be posting about gangnam style. But how could she resist this:

Of course! Why didn't Madame L think of this? and these are ones you can make yourself, from a kit.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gangnam Style, Again

Since calling "gangnam style" her "Weird Phrase of the Week"  last week, Madame L has heard from some of her Dear Readers more details about this phrase and has realized that the hilarious SNL skit of the dance is available on YouTube:

Of course everyone and his dog is now posting their own interpretations on YouTube; but watch out, because some people have been fired for doing it.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the artist PSY graduated from the Berklee School of Music in the U.S. And, he says, "My goal in this music video was to look uncool until the end. I achieved it."

But it wasn't just funny for him. He also says the song "was meant as a commentary on the rampant materialism and emphasis on appearance of today's South Korea - particularly in relation to Gangnam, which Psy terms Seoul's Beverly Hills," according to the Sydney Morning Herald. "It is too hot, and the economy is so bad...So I just wanted the song - lyrics, dances and everything - to be full of gusto.'"

Here's Wikipedia's encyclopedic [sic] page on gangnam style and its almost as extensive page on PSY.

You're welcome, Dear Readers, because Madame L realizes that you never know when someone may ask you, "Hey, what do you know about gangnam style or the Korean pop music sensation PSY?"

And, more importantly, since you never know when someone may ask you to dance this dance with them, and watching Britney Spears on the Ellen Show may not have been enough for you, Madame L hereby provides you with an even more useful class in gangnam style choreography:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Puh-leez, Madame L!

Dear Madame L,

It's me again (Not One of Them), and I wish you would tell the whole story. In fact, I believe Mitt Romney was correct in saying that about 47% of the American people don't pay income tax. 


Not One of Them (Still)

Dear Not One of Them Still,

So, you pay income tax. So does Madame L. So do (let's see, using mathematics, as former Pres. Bill Clinton advised us all to do), some 53% of Americans. 

And now that the fact-checkers have had their say, Madame L finds that they agree that Mitt Romney was correct in that part of his fund-raising spiel to the rich people in the home of the well-known and possibly degenerate (if having sex parties at your swimming pool makes you degenerate) and certainly extremely rich guy. 

According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, actually about 46% of Americans don't pay taxes. Read the whole article for a fascinating discussion of why that is, including the fact that some of them (as Madame L wrote yesterday) are now, finally benefiting from retirement and the years and years of taxes they have paid into the system. Yes, Madame L believes they ARE entitled to the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits they have earned over a lifetime of work.

About 83% of those who pay no income tax live in households with income under $33,542. Madame L wants to know what Mitt Romney expects these people to do? How much tax would he like them to pay? Would he like them to stop receiving Medicaid for their medical issues and/or food aid for their children? If he's upset about Obama's 15-point lead with these people, what can he offer them instead?

For a complete and nuanced and balanced treatment of this issue, please check out the facts and figures in Ezra Klein's Wonkbook discussion. 

Madame L realizes that Mitt Romney said all that disparaging stuff about half the American public because he was begging for money from the 1-percenters, but that doesn't make Madame L feel any more kindly toward Mr. Romney.  Nor does the fact that the following day Mitt Romney told a group of Latino-Americans a whole different story. And these facts both contribute to the chance that she would ever vote for him (currently, and always, at 0%). 


Madame L

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are You One of the 47%?

Dear Madame L,

What do you think about presidential candidate Mitt Romney's remarks made to a group of rich people a few months ago, in which he said that 47% of the American people aren't worth his time because they're leeches who don't even pay taxes?


Not One of Them

Dear Not One of Them,

Madame L is not aware of ANYONE in this country who doesn't pay any taxes at all. Even those who don't pay federal income tax (which is apparently the 47% Mitt Romney was referring to) pay local and state taxes, property taxes, taxes on gasoline, and so on. 

And it appears that those 47% include many Republicans and many people who DO intend to vote for Mitt Romney this year. They include, for example, many who are on Social Security, receiving benefits they have earned by paying into them for the many years they were working hard to make a living. And they include people who are making so little money that they aren't required to pay income taxes; again, many of these non-tax-payers are planning to vote for Mitt Romney and aren't even aware that they fit into his 47%.

Madame L is amused by this attempt to explain that Mitt Romney was "begging for money," not "baring his soul," when he made those statements. The blogger writes:

"Romney is a clean-living Mormon talking to a man who hosts parties wherein sex acts are performed poolside. These aren’t guys who would choose to commune under other circumstances. He is at this event to tell people who can afford to drop $50,000 on dinner exactly what they want to hear... That Romney made these remarks on that night tells us only that this is the sort of bedtime story Marc Leder and his friends ask to hear over and over again. It is perfectly likely that Romney believes 47 percent of Americans sit around being entitled, this being standard Republican fodder, but if we don't buy what Romney says in his convention speech I'm not sure why we'd believe what he says to people he needs even more immediately than he needs voters."

Does the contrast between Mitt Romney's clean-living Mormonism and the decadent lifestyle of Marc Leder et al. resonate with you, Dear Not One of Them?

If you were a candidate for president, from whom would you beg for money?

And whom would you accuse of not being good enough for you to care about?


Madame L

P.S. There are 49 days left, 7 weeks, until the election. Are you getting tired of reading about the candidates and the made-up-by-pundits-and-rabble-rousers issues? Have you decided yet for whom you will vote? Please let Madame L know what you're thinking about all this!

Weird Word of the Week: Degenerate

Do you, Dear Reader, know anyone who is degenerate? Here's the dictionary definition:

Adjective:  Having lost the physical, mental, or moral qualities considered normal and desirable; showing evidence of decline.

Noun: An immoral or corrupt person.

Verb: To decline or deteriorate physically, mentally, or morally.

Madame L is thinking of this word because she has just read an article about how Europeans, beginning in the time of Thomas Jefferson, thought that we, Americans, were degenerate.

The whole thing started with Count George-Louis Leclerc Buffon, who wrote in his Histoire Naturelle (Natural History) that, "because North America was a cold and wet clime, all species found there were weak, shriveled, and diminished—they were degenerate."

Europeans LOVED the idea and the fact that they now had a "scientific" justification for believing they were superior to the New World which seemed to threaten their supremacy. 

But Thomas Jefferson, who met Buffon on several occasions, proved him wrong by arguing against his premises and, eventually, having moose antlers shipped to the Frenchman (not an easy feat in the 1700s), showing that this American animal was NOT some degenerate version of a reindeer. (You are amazed, Dear Reader? So was Madame L!) 

Other Americans joined the fight. The Rev. Jedidiah Morse (Samuel Morse's grandfather) wrote a textbook, The History of America in Two Books (1790), which informed American students of the slanderous theory and how misguided it was.

Madame L recommends the entire article. Madame L also can't refrain from noting that certain right-wing politicians and groups which call themselves "conservative" but which should actually be called "destructive," for that is what they are, have taken to slandering half the American population by accusing them---us---of being degenerate, lazy, unproductive, and unsalvageable.  A pox upon them!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Sunday Book Review, September 16, 2012: Atypical

The subtitle is "Life With Asperger's in 20-1/3 Chapters," and the author is Jesse A. Saperstein. Madame L found this book on the "Our Staff Recommends" shelf as she was leaving her local library the other day; she's glad the staff recommends it, and she does, too.

Madame L has known some people with Asperger's, and this book has helped her understand a little about what's going on with them.

Of course, everyone with "autism spectrum disorder" has his/her own place along that spectrum and unique ways of manifesting the "disorder" and different ways of coping with the rest of us. But this author has a sense of humor and a certain lack of self-pity that enable him to show us his world.

By the way, the big "news" that has recently been trumpeted on TV and on the front pages of airport newspapers, that the risk of a child's having schizophrenia and autism and other disorders on the autism spectrum disorder, including Asperger's, rises with the age of the child's father, is not really news. 

But the latest study being trumpeted has used a new technique to distinguish between genetic mutations of the father and of the mother, showing definitively that it's the child's father, not mother, who is more likely to have experienced the mutation causing these disorders.

Back to the point: Madame L recommends "Atypical" for all her readers, whether they want to understand an acquaintance with Asperger's or be a better teacher or just want to know more about being human.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Weird Phrase of the Week: Gangnam Style

Madame L hopes you'll enjoy this as much as she did:

"Gangnam Style" refers to "a luxurious lifestyle associated with the Gangnam district, an affluent and trendy area of Seoul," according to Wikipedia.

And here's Britney learning the dance from the master Psy himself:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Sunday Book Review, September 9, 2012: Who Ate Lunch with Abraham

The subtitle is "The appearances of God in the form of a Man in the Hebrew Scriptures," and the author is Asher Intrater.   

On the back cover we read, "There is a figure who appears throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. He is sometimes referred to as the Angel of the Lord, sometimes as God Himself, and sometimes as the 'Son of Man.' The appearance of this figure demands a re-evaluation of classic Judeo-Christian world views."  

Madame L loves that Mr. Intrater's purposes in this book and his organization are to (1) deepen the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, (2) describe who Yeshua is from the Hebrew Scriptures, and (3) demonstrate the consistentcy of the Bible from beginning to end.

Madame L has just started reading this book, whose author is the director of "Revive Israel," an organization which describes itself as "an apostolic ministry team dedicated to revival in Israel" and which posts on its home page the following mission statement: 


So,  Madame L is reading the book with great interest. Madame L wonders if the author and others in his movement would like to know about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which also recognizes that Jesus appeared in ancient times to prophets...

At any rate, Madame L certainly understands why Mr. Intrater's teachings are so controversial among Jews and so-called mainstream Christians alike: He doesn't buy into the idea that God has never been seen and can't be seen by humans, he does accept that Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, and he does accept that Jesus, the Messiah, will come again in glory to His People.

Madame L will report more on this book when she has finished reading it. Meanwhile, she would like to hear from any of her readers who are familiar with the book, the author, other authors like him, and other members of his movement.

Friday, September 7, 2012

DNC Final Night: The Prez

Dear Readers,

Madame L watched part of last night's Democratic National Convention live, and loved every minute of it. In fact, Madame L went from laughing at the silliness of the conventioneers to thinking she might like to attend one in person, say, four years from now, when she would probably go as a Hillary Clinton delegate. Yes, really. 

Here are some of the highlights:

Gabrielle Giffords leads the Pledge of Allegiance:

Mary J. Blige performs:

Vice President Joe Biden's acceptance speech:

President Barack Obama's acceptance speech:

Nine great lines from that speech (thanks to the SF Examiner for these):

1) "I will never turn Medicare into a voucher."

2) "You (Romney) may not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't visit Olympics without insulting our closest ally."

3) "Climate change is not a hoax."

4) “They (Republicans) want your vote, but they don't want you to know their plan. And that's because all they have to offer is the same prescription they've had for the last thirty years:
‘Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.’
‘Deficit too high? Try another.’
‘Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!’”

5) "As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together."

6) "Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices women should make for themselves."

7) “I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed – and so have I. I'm no longer just a candidate. I'm the President.”

8) "Yes, our path is harder – but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer – but we travel it together. We don’t turn back."

9) “We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.”

Full transcript of the speech is available from National Public Radio (NPR). And, from that transcript, the concluding lines:

   "If you reject the notion that this nation's promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.

   "If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.

   "If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape, that new energy can power our future, that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers, if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.

   "America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together.

   "We don't turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up.  We draw strength from our victories. And we learn from our mistakes. But we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon knowing that providence is with us and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth.

   "Thank you, God bless you and God bless these United States."

Madame L  hopes all her Dear Readers will vote for Pres. Obama to continue the path he has started, leading us away from the eight years of the Bush administration's disastrous policies and into the future with respect and dignity for all Americans.


Madame L

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Undecided? Try Doc Clinton's Clinic (Night Two of Democratic National Convention)

Dear Readers,

Only two more months until Election Day 2012!

Madame L wasn't able to watch the second day of the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday evening, but she recorded it and watched it today.

And, wow, was she impressed! Here are Madame L's favorite speeches:

First, Sandra Fluke, who had the audacity to stand up for a woman's right to have power over her own body and was vilified by conservative talk-show hosts for weeks afterward, was invited to speak. Here she is:

Elizabeth Warren, who is running against Scott Brown for the Senate in Massachusetts, and who got started in politics when she advocated for consumers, made economic policy interesting and understandable, and gave a great rousing speech:

More people watched Pres. Clinton's speech than watched the NFL season openers. And no surprise. Commentators said afterwards he gave a "clinic" on how to respond to Republican attacks on Pres. Obama's first four years. Here's the speech:

Madame L heard after the speech that Bill Clinton improvised and ad-libbed about half that speech, and what a great job he did (in marked contrast to the lame and pitiful efforts made last week by Clint Eastwood to talk to an empty chair)!

Madame L also heard a commentator say the Democratic strategists should give snippets of that speech to the people who will be going out all over the country to speak in Pres. Obama's behalf in coming weeks, so they will know how to answer Republican claims and insults to the president. Bill Clinton really did cover every single point brought up by the disloyal opposition, and gave a speech that would have made any policy wonk proud, while making ordinary people like Madame L understand the details behind the overall picture.

Two months from today, Nov. 6, will be the election, and YOU, Dear Readers, will get to decide who will be the next President of the United States: The man who has decisively dealt with a disastrous economy caused by the Republicans for the 8 years after Clinton stepped down, brought back millions of jobs, rescued the auto industry, actually done something to fight worldwide terrorism and its leaders, and signed a law providing health care to millions of Americans who would otherwise be without it...or the man who said "Let Detroit go bankrupt," who caused job losses for thousands of Americans by deliberately causing bankruptcies for their employees while reaping millions of dollars in profits from those bankruptcies, who still hasn't made up his mind about women's health rights and refused to stand up for Sandra Fluke when she was vilified by the vilest of villains, and who has threatened to destroy health care reform. 

Undecided still? Listen to Pres. Bill Clinton give the stark facts, and make up your mind to vote for Pres. Barack Obama on Nov. 6, 2012.


Madame L

Pick Your Own Code Name!

Dear and Gentle Readers,

Madame L has just read that the Secret Service's "secret" code name for Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan is "Bowhunter."

Oh, you thought these "secret" code names" were actually secret? Well, they haven't been secret for some time now. And apparently Paul Ryan chose his own code name, in honor of the fact that he likes to kill animals with a bow and arrow. This must be some sign of extreme machismo, the point of which eludes Madame L, but, truth to tell, Madame L doesn't mind being left out of this fun.

The other code names are "Renegade" for Pres. Obama, "Celtic" for Joe Biden, and "Javelin" for Mitt Romney.

What if Obama or Romney had chosen a female vice-presidential running mate? What kind of code names would the Secret Service come up with for women, or, if it's true the candidates get to choose their own names, what would the women have come up with?

Madame L doesn't know, but she wonders what code names you, Dear and Gentle Readers, would come up with for yourselves.

Please let Madame L know by commenting on this page or sending an email to Madame L at [ellemadame{at}]. 

Meanwhile, Madame L hasn't quite decided on her Secret Service code name. 

She's thinking of "Warriorette" because the trend in Secret Service code names seems this election seems to be that they have to qualify you for some violent televised fight show. But that "ette" seems to imply smallness and/or cuteness, neither of which Madame L identifies with herself and both of which would disqualify her for the fight arena.

"Big Mama" doesn't have the right ring, and neither does "Lead-foot." Maybe "Luminator," another one of Madame L's old nicknames.

What about you, Dear Readers?

Not Really Sincerely,

Madame L

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Verizon Phishing

Dear Madame L,

I hope you have time from your busy schedule of watching the various political conventions to answer a question about something else. 

I've just received an email message from Verizon saying I could pay this huge bill online. I don't think it's for real, but it looks pretty official, and it doesn't have any of the usual clues that it's really some scammer in some other country. 

It says I can pay the bill online, but it's more than 4 times bigger than any of my usual bills from Verizon. What should I do?  

Sincerely, Phishie   

Dear Phishie, 

Madame L suspects that you have indeed been scammed, or phished. But it won't work for the guilty party as long as you don't respond to the email message and don't click any thing in the email message.   

Here's some useful information from the state of Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation about this phishing scam. This office offers the same tips Madame L mentions above, and adds one other. Here's what they say are the three things to keep from letting the phishers be successful:

1. Do not reply to suspicious email messages.
2. Do not open any attachments or links, as they may contain a malicious code that will infect your computer.
3. Delete the email message from your computer.

Also, you can check Verizon's own website for information on contacting Verizon and for security alerts. 

Good luck,

Madame L

Democratic Platform: Marriage

Dear Madame L,

Since you're a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I'm surprised you support the Democratic Party, with its support of gay marriage, etc. I mean, wouldn't the government then be able to force Mormon bishops to perform marriages for gays and Lesbians, and whatever?


How Can You?

Dear You Can, Too,

Here's the entire Democratic Party's 2012 campaign platform, and here's the section on marriage:

   "Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

    "We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act."

It seems obvious to Madame L that the Democrats do not intend to force anyone to do anything!

And now, for your amusement, here is one of the best wedding scenes of all time:


Madame L