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There are a lot of annoying things about Huffington Post. Their headlines often lie, if Arianna likes you you can get away with saying anything, and sometimes actors shouldn't be given the chance to write in public. These are annoyances, but Arianas 'Living' section, which should be the most innocuous of HuffPos efforts, has been a den of thieves since it launched. Now one of the thieves has killed.

Update below:Deleted tweets confirmed

A 'Spiritual Warrior' five day retreat in Sedona, AZ ended tragically when two people were killed during the 'sweat lodge' portion of the retreat, and eighteen were hospitalized, some in critical condition. The 'sweatlodge' was very large and consructed using blankets and plastic tarps. Speculation is that the plastic tarps as well as the large number of participants may have led to oxygen deprivation. As reported in the NY Times, local Mescalero Indian Dr. Alton Carrol said the sweat lodge was the , “best example I have seen, sadly, in a long time of why it is extremely dangerous to conduct sweat lodge ceremonies without proper training.”

James Arthur Ray was not even on my radar until the news of this weekends tragedy in Sedona, AZ.  A quick google search came up with his last article on Huffington Post,in their 'Living' section. "Health Care: What  Ever Happened to Personal Responsibility ?".  In the article James Ray, purveyor  of "Harmonic Wealth" seminars goes all Whole Foods on us and scolds about not wanting to pay for the health care of smokers and fat people because he himself works to keep himself healthy."And now, we're consumed with sick care. I'm not too excited to pay for a lung cancer case obtained by smoking two packs of Marlboros per day. What part of "smoking has been proven to cause lung cancer" is unclear?"
Now we learn that he is responsible for two deaths and the hospitalization of a number of others in an amateurish 'sweatlodge' made from plastic tarps and blankets and jammed with a reported sixty-five truth seekers who paid more than $9,000 for the privelege. Yet there is NO coverage of this tragedy on Huffington Post at this time and the censor will not even allow the name 'James Ray' to be posted in the comment section.
Huffington Posts 'Living' section has been a major irritant to me for some time. It's filled with psuedo-Gurus and 'New Age' snake oil pushers who give corporate seminars for large bucks and bad advice for free. It  gets even more dangerous than that. They give medical advice (many Doctors, but not so many M.D.'s in the house).That advice is not only often sheer quackery but sometimes dangerous as well. Risky Chelation therapies are touted, vaccinations are condemned, and all your problems are due to toxins in the environment which they can purge for a price. Smiley face freaks pose as Buddhists while raking in huge sums from gullible seekers and deep pocket corporate customers. All the while they applaud one another and any criticism of them on the page is strictly forbidden.  

All of this was an annoyance to me and I felt frustrated that this parade of idiocy continued unabated with no way to make the opposing arguments. Posting critical comments in the comments section is forbidden, along with a list of words Ariana finds unseemly. Post something on Daily Kos? Yeah right, that'll stop them. So why write now? Because one of the bastards has killed two people. He killed them through greed, he killed them through incompetence. He killed them during the commission of a robbery, not much different than an armed robber whose gun goes off accidentally and kills his victim.

In ancient times there was a Buddhist monk in Japan who was visiting a monastery in a part of Kyoto some distance from his own. That evening his monastery caught fire. He could smell the smoke and see the flames in the distance but there was no way he could return to help save the home he had worked his life to build. The old monk did all that he could though and soaked a blanket in water. He stood on the balcony and waved his wet blanket towards the fire in the distance. He did this because it was all that he could do. So, this is me waving a wet blanket at the Huffington Post Living section.
My deepest condolences to the dead, the injured, and those who love them.

Update: It is being reported that Ray deleted tweets that he sent during the sweat lodge ceremony. The Sydney Morning Herald, of all places, has a good article.
"The organiser of a US spiritual retreat, during which two people died and another 19 had to be admitted to hospital, has been caught deleting potentially incriminating tweets he published during the event."

Here are the deleted tweets:
"The Spiritual Warrior has conquered death and therefore has no enemies, and no fear, in this life or the next," he wrote in one.

In another he wrote: "... for anything new to live something first must die. What needs to die in you so that new life can emerge?"

After deleting those tweets Ray published new Twitter messages saying he was "shocked & saddened by the tragedy occurring in Sedona".

The mainstream seems to be focusing on these tweets. It appears they may have found their 'freak factor' for this story. I don't buy it. Mr.Ray, whatever his other mistakes may be, was speaking metaphorically. The irony and menace is only due to the events that occurred in the sweat lodge.

Update II: This is a personal one. I checked the comments I left on HuffPo concerning Mr.Ray only to find that all of my comments have been deleted. I have been commenting on that board for well over a year and had about 300 comments. Now there are zero and of course, no comments pending. Could be a glitch, I suppose. Check it out.

Update II (b): It is official. I have been banned from commenting on Huffington Post!

"Post a comment
Sorry, but you have been banned from commenting."

Read more at:

Update II (c):
I re-registered using a different Email and user name (Raatboy) and it accepted me.
However, after actually posting 'James Arthur Ray' on a couple of articles I decided to go for it and posted this on an article about women being unhappy. My Comment was "How about that woman who was ki  lled by Huffington Post contributor James Arthur Ray? I'll bet she was unhappy." It gave me the 'comment pending' sign and I continued on, sowing my James Arthur Ray comments. OK, one more comment and then I got this. "Sorry, but you have been banned from commenting."

Read more at: "This profile has been removed. Go to the home page".

So, Raatboy is dead, but I'm OK. For now.

Update III:
I found an article critical of James Ray on HuffPo, written by Christine Whelan and in the 'Living' section, even. It was posted at 11:24 AM on the 12th. I thought I had made a horrible mistake about all of this, but I then checked the front page of the living section and found that the article was not even linked to it. Seems that the only way you can get to this article is through an outside search engine. A site search on HuffPo shows nothing but James Rays posted articles.

Update III (d)
As pointed out in the comments the article is available on HuffPo by going to the blog rolls. Given the amount of material on HuffPo this is like taking a newspaper and sticking it under a 3 ft stack of newspapers and calling it available. Good move on their part because they can say that it is there and available. Let me add that Whelans article was only written
yesterday at noon and never saw the front page. It's a good article and linked above.

Originally posted to T Fitzsimmons on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 04:42 PM PDT.


Do web sites have an obligation to be 'fair and balanced' when the site itself comes under scrutiny?

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