Bloomberg: Looming Government Shutdown an Embarrassment

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While everyone in Washington is running around with their hair on fire over the looming government shutdown, New Yorkers might want to worry about it a little themselves.

So suggested Mayor Bloomberg Monday, saying a shutdown would make the U.S. look like a third-world country, and adding that could eventually cause problems in the operations of city agencies. "At the beginning, it really doesn't hurt us," he said. "It is as you go into the process and people stop getting checks and services slowly get wound down--yes, if it lasted a long time."

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Homeless Hurricane Sandy Victims To Be Kicked Out of Hotels, Nowhere to Go

Categories: "Disconnection"

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Wikimedia
LES after Sandy.
Carmen Perez, 40, was living under a terrace in a third floor apartment in Far Rockaway when Hurricane Sandy hit. Her AC crashed through the window, water flooded the closets, and she, her husband, their 3-year-old daughter, and their pitbull, Blackie, had to be evacuated by the fire department. They had no water, no heat, no electricity, and survived mostly on canned goods until December 12, when the family was finally able to move into a hotel as temporary housing provided by the city. By that time, though, Blackie had died of respiratory problems related to the mold.

Late last month, Carmen's family, along with roughly 200 other households, received notice from the Department of Homeless Services that they'd be getting evicted from the hotels by April 30. Many have nowhere to go, and 125 people, several of whom have lost their jobs, do not qualify for NYCHA housing--partly because NYCHA lacks single-occupancy homes. Today, City Council members grilled DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond on the issue, and while he testified that the deadline would be extended to the end of May for some already transitioning to new housing, many Sandy victims would still be left out in the cold.

"It was Kafka-esque," Councilman Brad Landers told the Voice. "We had five people testify. The number of appalling answers was high."

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Scientology Relents: Will Hold a Memorial for Son of Church President, Mother Not Invited

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Heber's coming to town!
The Voice has received a reliable report that Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International -- who has not been seen in public since about 2004 -- is being allowed to leave Scientology's desert base east of Los Angeles in order to attend a memorial for his son, Alexander.

A church official told our source that Heber, 76, would be giving a eulogy at the service, which is to take place at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre on Franklin Avenue on Thursday morning at 11 am.

When our source asked the official if Alexander's mother, Karen de la Carriere, would be allowed to attend, the official answered that de la Carriere would be barred because "she opted out of this sector of the universe."

What she meant is that de la Carriere was excommunicated from the church in 2010, and as a "suppressive person," her son was forced to "disconnect" from her. Karen had no contact with him in the last two years of his life.

On Tuesday, July 3, Alexander was found dead at the house of his in-laws in Los Angeles. That news was kept from de la Carriere for more than two days, and she was not allowed to see her son's body before it was cremated on orders from Alexander's wife, who is still a Scientologist. Karen was also told that the church had no plans for a memorial. She then planned her own event, for this Friday.

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Tom Cruise Gets Visitation Rights? Why Don't We, Ask Ex-Scientologists Cut Off From Family Members

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If Tom Cruise is such a loyal Scientologist, why does he get to ignore the rules?
Fans of Katie Holmes are celebrating that she seemed to get just about everything she wanted in her divorce settlement with Tom Cruise -- reportedly, she's getting primary custody of Suri, and Tom will get visitation rights. And with Katie registering with a Catholic Church in Manhattan, it's a good bet that Suri will be shielded from her father's controversial religion, Scientology.

So if Katie seems to have won, and in the process brought Scientology unprecedented bad publicity, why are some Ex-Scientologists greeting news of the divorce settlement with derision?

Because of its hypocrisy, they tell me.

With so many ex-Scientologists cut off entirely from their own children, or parents, or siblings through the church's policy of "disconnection," it's another slap in the face, they say, that Tom Cruise gets to bypass that rule and see his child and communicate freely with his ex-wife.

After the jump, we'll explain.


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10,000 Scientologists Got This E-Mail Today About "Disconnection," their Church President, and a Mysterious Death

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Heber Jentzsch, when he was still allowed to breathe free air
UPDATE: HOLMES-CRUISE DIVORCE SETTLED. So far, looking like how we predicted it in our previous story.

This morning, more than 10,000 Scientologists found an e-mail from Karen de la Carriere in their inboxes, written in jargon that they will understand, and informing them of the controversy surrounding the death of her son Alexander Jentzsch.

As we reported first on Thursday night, de la Carriere learned about the death of her 27-year-old son more than two days after he was found, unresponsive, at the home of his in-laws in Los Angeles. (The manner of his death is still being investigated, but the county coroner says there is no suspicion of foul play.)

She had not been notified that her son had died and was lying in a morgue, and only learned about it through Facebook chatter that eventually was passed to her. In 2010, Karen was excommunicated for speaking out critically about Scientology, and her son had been forced by the the church to "disconnect" from her. Now the church was also keeping her in the dark about his death, and she was barred from the mortuary and could not see his body.

What made the situation even stranger is that Alexander's father is Heber Jentzsch, who since 1982 has been the president of the Church of Scientology International, but who has not been seen in public since about 2004.

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No Memorial Service for Scientology President's Son? "So Despicable, It's Almost Beyond Words"

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Alexander Jentzsch
Thursday evening we broke the surprising news that Alexander Jentzsch, 27, son of the Church of Scientology International's president, Heber Jentzsch, had been found dead at the home of his estranged wife's parents in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.

Last night, about 24 hours after our story appeared, we spoke again with Alexander's mother, Karen de la Carriere, by telephone.

She told us she was standing outside the Cedar Hill Mortuary in Los Angeles, but she was not allowed inside to see her son's body.

"My son is behind this wall. I'm touching the wall and he's just on the other side. But I can't see him because the church considers me a suppressive person," she said.

Alexander will be cremated without his mother having a chance to see him, and she won't be given his ashes. And even though Alexander is the son of the Church of Scientology International's president, Karen has been told there will be no memorial for her son.

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SCIENTOLOGY PRESIDENT'S SON DIES; DEATH OF ALEXANDER JENTZSCH KEPT FROM MOTHER, AN EX-MEMBER

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Alexander Jentzsch at 3
I just received this anguished e-mail from Karen de la Carriere, formerly a member of the Church of Scientology who studied directly under L. Ron Hubbard and who was at one time married to the current (and disappeared) president of the Church of Scientology International, Heber Jentzsch...

My son is DEAD.

My 27 year old son is dead.
Mike Rinder confirmed it and the Los Angeles Coroner's Office just confirmed it.

His body is lying at the morgue.
They had him disconnect from me 2 years ago and now he is dead never to speak to me again.

Born and Bred in Big Blue

The Church is trying to cover it up.
I will send you death certificate

After the jump: I just got off the phone with Karen, who managed to give me the details before she broke down.


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Scientology, "Disconnection," and Homophobia: Derek Bloch's Story

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Join us to change the world! Unless you're gay, that is.
Derek Bloch just wanted to share his story.

He wanted to tell other people what he'd been through, growing up in Scientology, getting kicked out of its hardcore "Sea Org" when it turned out that he was gay, and then increasingly becoming disaffected with his parents' religion as he became more educated and learned something about human psychology.

He wanted to say all that, but he didn't want to harm anyone, particularly his parents, who were still convinced Scientologists.

So Derek hid his identity, writing a lengthy and emotional description of his life growing up a Scientology kid, and posted it in February at the Ex-Scientologist Message Board (ESMB), using the screen name "Adam7986" to disguise himself.

Someone reading ESMB, however, recognized the people in Derek's story and contacted the church, which excommunicated Derek for writing it. Derek's parents, in turn, "disconnected" from him immediately. In other words, they threw him out of their lives.

Yesterday, I called up Derek's father, Darren Bloch, and told him I wanted to talk about his decision to choose his religion over his own son.

"It's really none of your business," he said before hanging up.

I beg to differ.

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In Clearwater for LRH's 101st Birthday: Tales of Disconnection and Scientology Creepiness

One of the highlights of a full day here in Clearwater, Florida -- spiritual mecca for the Church of Scientology -- was meeting Darth Xander and watching him chase a Flag bus to inform Sea Org members that they can leave if they want to.

In town over the weekend to celebrate L. Ron Hubbard's 101st birthday, DX experienced some weirdness and I asked him to tell the story, which I included in the video above. Check it out, and then after the jump join us for some additional Flag Land Base enturbulation.


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SCIENTOLOGY'S DISGRACE: AN OPEN LETTER TO TOM CRUISE

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Tom, your buddy David needs you now
Dear Tom,

It's time for you to start talking publicly about Scientology again.

Your religion is in serious trouble.

In 2005, you ended a longtime policy of not talking about the church by suddenly bringing it up in interviews. Most memorable, of course, was the way you challenged Matt Lauer, telling him that you had a superior understanding of the evils of psychiatry because of your Scientology training. Some wondered if you'd gone off the deep end, especially after the episode involving Oprah's couch. Soon enough, however, you clammed up about Scientology again. But in 2008, a video of you the church had made four years earlier surfaced, and it had a huge effect, both on your reputation and the church's. For better or worse, your strange words about, for example, how only Scientologists can help out at the scene of a car accident cemented in the minds of many that you were not only the truest of true believers in L. Ron Hubbard's unusual religion, but that you had become, in fact, its public face.

And that's why, today, you must come forward and speak for a church in crisis.

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