Look Into My Crystal Pen

hile newspapers and online news sites give out articles every day based on new information, magazines will put out their publications for the month about a week or so ahead of time. So, for example, one can pick up a copy of Harper’s Magazine for the month of September in late August. This means that someone who wrote articles for that magazine had to write the article either in July or early August. Regardless of the publication, only the Psychic Friend’s Network claims that they can predict the outcome in the future.

Until, apparently, Lewis Lapham, who writes for Harper’s Magazine and receives high praises from those over at IndyMedia. You see, despite the glaring fact that the Republican National Convention does not begin until August 30, 2004, Lewis has already written an article for the September issue of Harper’s discussing the speeches he heard at the RNC.


He writes:

The speeches in Madison Square Garden affirmed the great truths now routinely preached from the pulpits of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal--government the problem, not the solution; the social contract a dead letter; the free market the answer to every maiden’s prayer--and while listening to the hollow rattle of the rhetorical brass and tin, I remembered the question that [Richard] Hofstadter didn’t stay to answer. How did a set of ideas both archaic and bizarre make its way into the center ring of the American political circus?

The speeches affirmed? The “hollow rattle of brass and tin” stirs up memories for him while he stands there, in Madison Square Gardens, listening to the speeches for the RNC....in the future! It appears that Lewis Lapham has not only successfully reported on the RNC, he’s also cracked the code for time travel! Astounding!

Naturally, there are always skeptics out there who cry foul, as one such reader did in an email to Harper’s Magazine.

I was most impressed to read of Lewis Lapham’s ability to travel in time in “Tentacles of Rage” [Essay, September].

I’m already confused.

As far as I can tell, on the day I received my copy of Harper’s Magazine, the Republican convention had yet to take place, and living in New York, I think I would have noticed. Admittedly, the pablum will be predictable (barring some unforeseen event), but it seems awfully sloppy of Lapham to discuss feelings he had while watching something he has yet to watch, simply in order to put some additional feathers on one of his rhetorical barbs. What is most appalling is that he chose an actual piece of journalism, rather than his accustomed punditry, for this rather silly fillip. This doesn’t exactly give me faith in his understanding of what it is reporters actually do.

On the other hand, if he has in fact traveled in time, I would appreciate it if he could let all of us subscribers know the outcome of the forthcoming election.

Why I believe it’s his civic duty to tell us the outcome of the election! Anyway, Lewis Lapham himself, according to Harper’s, responded to this reader:

Lewis Lapham responds:

As Mr. Ostrowski properly notes, the rhetorical invention was silly.

Not only silly, it’s insulting to all the readers.

The mistake, however, is a serious one, and if I’d had my wits about me as a Jasminlive editor, I wouldn’t have let the author mix up his tenses in manuscript or allowed him in page proof to lapse into poetic license.

Ok, I’m lost again. If he had his wits about him, he wouldn’t have let the author mix up his tenses? Erm...is he not the author? Or is Lewis Lapham trying to be funny again? Does Lewis Lapham know who he is?

Holy Cow! What if, during time travel, Lewis Lapham lost his identity upon returning to the present and now thinks he’s someone else?! This could be an incredible scientific breakthrough in the time traveling community! Quick! Get Stephen Hawking on the phone!

Both of us regret the injury done to the magazine and apologize, wholeheartedly, to its readers.

Both of us? Both of who? Lewis and who? Lewis and Harper’s or Lewis and his alter ego? Is Lewis Lapham neurotic? What is going on in the Journalistic Kingdom anymore? We have journalists who lie, plagarize, leave out half the story, pretend to break stories, (which, thankfully, quickly fizzle and die: Think Jessica and that Wonky blogger), sell out to the enemy, time travel and now have split personalities. It’s a psychologist’s wet dream!

Unless there is a serious overhaul in journalism ethics and standards, the propaganda that spills forth from the pens and keyboards of future journalists will put the Middle East to shame.

Of course, I’m sure if we ask nicely, Lewis Lapham will let us know what will be happening.

RNC Thoughts Day

I love the sound of rabid liberals in the morning. As I’ve stated in the past and as a reader pointed out in comments in the post below, the more the Democrats are riled up, the bigger the sign of their desperation.

Day two of the RNC has come to a close and again we found ourselves listening to some fantastic speeches by the likes of Gov. Schwarzenegar, Laura Bush and the Lt. Gov. of Maryland. The speakers at the RNC talk about America standing together as one. They talk about how at one point in time, we all stood together with compassion, empathy and sympathy and we, working off the energy, resolve and strength of each other, worked hard to heal wounds and rebuild in addition to sacrificing time, effort, money and sleep to make a difference. They spoke about how we shed our Republican clothes, how we shed our Democratic clothes and recognized each other as our fellow man, politics were set aside and we came together as a united country.

The DNC spent their time in the spotlight speaking ill of our Commander in Chief. They spoke of two Americas. They focused on “the other guy” instead of concentrating on why Kerry would make a good president, why John Edwards would make a good vice president. They did the classic game of, “Hey! Look over there! Look at how horrible that guy is!” This is an old game that people play when they don’t want the focus on them lest they have to start answering some hard questions. I still do not know what it is John Kerry is going to do for this country. I know he wants to raise taxes. I know he wants to keep my money. I know he wants to bring the troops home from Iraq well before the need for our troops to show a presence there is no longer needed. I know he says he’s going to create these millions of jobs but what I don’t know is how he intends to do all of this.

The RNC speaks of the future, of not only hope but action. The DNC spoke of hope but never discussed exactly what they intended to do with that hope. Dreaming is one thing but it takes action to make those hopes and dreams become reality. The RNC spoke positively. The DNC was pessimistic.

When I listen to the speakers at the RNC, I feel pride. I am proud to be an American. I know that we have the power to help. We have the power to bring freedom to so many around the world. We have the power to conquer tyranny and oppression. When I say, “we”, I don’t just mean the Republicans, I mean all Americans. The speeches at the RNC make me want to get out there and help make a difference. When I listen to the words from the DNC all I felt was a sense of foreboding. I get a sense of disruption and chaos. While some of that does come from the fact that I do not like John Kerry, most of it comes from how negative the Democrats have been acting over the past couple of years. Most of it comes from the lies that have been spun. But mostly it comes from the attitudes of the liberals themselves.

Although the best thing about watching things like this on C-Span is the fact that you are not interrupted by commercial breaks or talking heads spouting out their opinions every five seconds causing you to miss so much of the speeches, one of my favorite things is when the convention is over for the night and C-Span opens the phone lines to everyone to call in and discuss why they support Bush or why they support Kerry. You see, it’s in these phone calls that the Democrats true feelings, motives and thoughts come out. The true ideas behind the words they desperately try to hide behind.

I just don’t understand the mindset behind the Liberal party. How can someone in one breath talk about how Republicans lack compassion yet call in and are angry that, ”...we shouldn’t be concerning ourselves with the women in Iraq, we should be concerning ourselves with american Chaturbate women...”

Translation: No compassion for anyone else. What about me?

I just don’t understand how a liberal can complain about the Patriot Act because it, “...makes distinctions about people based on their race....” yet they support Affirmative Action which is all about making distinctions about people based on their race.

I just don’t understand how a liberal can completely dismiss the fact that Bush not only inherited a recession from Bill Clinton, he also had to deal with 9/11 and yet he still has managed to boost the economy to such levels that the unemployment rates are down, almost equal to that during the first part of Clinton’s reign, that 50% of “minorities” in this country are now homeowners, the highest number ever and that our stock market is doing well. He did this with two hits during his presidency, the recession handed to him and terrorist attacks which caused many to lose their jobs. But all I hear from the liberal side is the constant complaining about the gas prices and failure or flat out refusal to admit that Clinton was doing such a poor job that he did indeed have us going into a recession by the time he left. “...We shouldn’t be spending all this money to help out Iraq and Afghanistan, we should be spending that money on social programs for the poor here in America...”

Translation: Who cares about them? What about me??

I just don’t understand how a liberal can demand a Robin Hood type atmosphere, “Take from the rich to give to the poor”, yet their very own votes are going to a man who has well over $50 million in real estate alone! That’s just homes/vacation homes. That does not include all his toys. Or how Hollywood Celebrities can claim they care for the “less fortunate” yet live in mansions on the beach. I am not implying that they should not get those luxury homes or beach front properties, more power to them, what I am stating is that if you want to take from the rich to give to the poor, you can start that whole fight with a little “lead by example” action. Talk is cheap. Action is what produces results. Hopes, dreams and fantasy lands are all well and good but dreaming about something doesn’t make it materialize. I think it’s ludicrous to complain that “that guy over there has had it easy all his life! He was born into that, he was born into connections, opportunities, support....Where’s mine?! Why didn’t I get that?!”

Translation: That’s not fair! What about me!?

As the Republicans continue to say, you can have all of that if you get up off your ass and work for it. What makes anyone in this country actually think they deserve it over anyone else? You play the cards you are dealt in life. Jealousy is very, very ugly.

I don’t understand how liberals can actually say, with a straight face, that they support our troops yet refuse to support the reason the troops are where they are. Bringing down the moral of our troops is not showing them support. They are out there fighting for everyone in this country as well as other countries and the least we can do is recognize the importance of their jobs. This country was not founded on people sitting on their backsides “hoping” it would get better, this country and our freedoms were earned because we had such brave people who were willing to make sacrifices so that we all can sit here now and enjoy the freedoms we have and yet so many take for granted.

I don’t understand how the liberals can claim they want a man for President who says he wants the UN to help us decide when and where the United States gets to protect herself. That’s like saying if an intruder entered my home, I would need to go across the street, knock on my neighbor’s door and ask them if they might organize a block meeting of all the neighbors to sit down and discuss my options for self defense. Perhaps maybe they’ll ask me to talk to the intruder and see if I can’t persuade the person to kindly drop the weapon and leave my home if I ask really, really nicely. If that doesn’t work, I should ask again. And again. And again. And again. I don’t understand how John Kerry can sit there and say that he’s for the war now, that he’s for fighting the war on terror when he thinks that asking the UN to take over is a good idea and was against the very war he fought in.

I just don’t understand how one can actually base their vote because it’s “anyone but Bush”. Anyone? How about Saddam? How about another Hitler type person? How about Arafat? How about Castro? Of course these are not viable options but there are people out there who are going to vote and don’t have the foggiest idea what either candidate stands for. All they are going off of is the feeding frenzy of hate when they don’t even have their facts straight about the person they are going to vote for. They don’t care what John Kerry stands for, all they know is that he “isn’t Bush”. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

If someone wishes to vote for John Kerry, go for it. That’s what makes America great. We all have different opinions and we all have the right to voice those opinions. What absolutely disgusts me is when someone is going to cast a vote for the leader of this country and yet have absolutely no idea what that vote may or may not do for them, can or cannot do, will or will not do.

We have a right to vote in this country and I would like people to exercise that vote regardless of who they plan on voting for. I just wish that people would at least know what the hell they are voting for before they pull that lever. What I’ve seen in the past two years in real life, on the internet, in speeches, on the campaign trail and at the National Conventions is that the Democrats focus on dreams and voice the negative while the Republicans take action to get the positive results.

As I’ve stated several times in this blog, I used to be a liberal. I know the mindset. I used to share it. But I’m a Republican now and knowing the mindest of the conservative, I will never go back.

Brief RNC Highlights

Been watching the RNC on C-Span all day long and it was a hell of an opening. First off, for anyone who missed it, that putrid pile of waste, Michael Moore showed up and at first I was disgusted. That is, until John McCain got up and totally slammed Moore in his speech. McCain was talking about why we went to war in Iraq and how it was the right thing to do, that Hussein would, as soon as we all turned our backs, acquire more weapons and try to use them against us. He said, “...and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Not any politician, and most certainly not, most certainly not...most certainly not a disingenous filmmaker...” at which point the whole place lit up and booed Michael Moore for a good two minutes.


Later, Rudy Guilliani got up and gave one of the best speeches ever and poked some fun at John Kerry’s inability to stick to a decision. But aside from that, he gave a most impressive speech that at the end, it made one swell up with pride about being an American.

After the Jasminelive convention was over, C-Span took calls from people. I guess when C-Span says it’s “Live”, they really mean, Live because the second caller, from Long Island, NY was rather....interesting. The point of the phone call ins was to discuss either your support for Bush or your support for Kerry or why you are Independent. However, one caller decided it was the perfect time to phone sex C-Span.

The call went like this:

Reporter: We have another caller, this one from Long Island, NY. Go ahead caller.

Caller: Yah, I’m so excited after watching that.....ooooh yah....oooh yah.....stroke it baby...” at which point C-Span cut him off.

Now, I don’t like to make it a habit to assume things but how much you want to bet that caller was a liberal? Or maybe it was Michael Moore.

Regardless, if the first day was this powerful, the rest of the week is going to be outstanding, hard up callers aside. One thing is for certain, I’ve never been more sure of my decision to vote for George Bush as I am right now.

I only have one question


Of course, that was a rhetorical question, but here are the specifics.

A state correction official, Joe Papy, said that a probation officer had asked a judge on Dec. 30 to declare Smith in violation of his probation because he had not paid all his fines and court costs.

Papy said Circuit Judge Harry Rapkin declined to find Smith in violation, which could have returned him to jail. The judge defended his decision Friday, saying the probation officer never sent him the evidence he requested that Smith had willfully refused to pay.

So the judge is defending his decision to leave a dangerous career criminal out on the streets. He couldn't be any more responsible if he had helped push the girl into Smith's car. I hope the brain-dead apologist eventually goes insane with guilt and takes his own life.

For all you who cry for criminals and make excuses for their actions, understand this. Shitstains like Joseph P. Smith are why every state needs a three strikes law. There are evil people in our society who have no fear or respect for the law. Those people prey on the innocent. Sadly, there are also irresponsible liberal judges who, if able, will keep returning these predators to the streets.

Three Strikes legislation would have saved Carlie Brucia. Her senseless death should serve as a warning to all of us.

I Think, Therefore It Is

Perception can be just as bad as assumption. Perception is based on feelings. Perception isn't always accurate.

I had a boss, (the boss I have mentioned throughout), who tried almost daily to convince me that perception is all that mattered. Facts did not matter if someone perceived something to be true. To rely solely on perception can be a shortcoming, closing one off to a wide variety of people, places or things. It can also be very dangerous when it comes to world issues.

One day I was outside on my break and as I am one of those who likes all different types of people, I was not selective in who I hung out with during those breaks. I am able to befriend many, many people as I'm not "above" or "too good" or "better" than anyone else.

There is a saying out there, "You can often tell much about a person by the company he keeps." Wrong. I don't believe that for a second. This is judging someone on perception and again, perception isn't always right.

I have very few close friends whom I trust explicitly with my friendship and loyalty and I have hundreds of acquaintances. Acquaintances can be a matter of people I see only at work or they can be people I might go do something with, something simple and harmless, like a buddy thing. In those instances, it does not matter to me what their political beliefs are, their religious beliefs, if they drink, smoke, etc. I'm not supplying them with my trust nor are they supplying me with theirs. I have acquaintances who believe the opposite of me in almost every topic. Therefore, it is impossible to judge what kind of person I am based on the person I might be standing next to at any given moment.

So I'm outside on my break and I'm standing with three of my co-workers who I liked talking to when I saw them. Again, they were acquaintencas, not friends, but I enjoyed their company and their stories. This particular incident occurred in December of 2001.

In the days and weeks after September 11, 2001, many people found themselves out of work, laid off. Our company, which dealt in travel, took a huge blow as people were terrified of traveling and cancellations came in large numbers. Many other companies in this field had to lay people off and we were starting to get concerned.

However, the CEO of this company did some cutting of costs here and there, tightened up the budget and some of our little perks were cut out. But not one of us lost our job. Our company took a hard hit and our CEO did everything to ensure we remained employed.

That meant we did not get raises and we did not get our Christmas bonus. Some people don't seem to understand that a bonus is just that. It's a bonus. A gift. The company does not owe it to you and the fact that some relied on that bonus demonstrates their ignorance and basically, stupidity for counting chickens before they were hatched. Never, ever count on money being there until you have that check in hand. Hell, I don't even count on it till it's cleared my account, but that's another post for another day. The point is, we weren't getting bonuses and we weren't getting raises but we all got to keep our jobs. And to be quite honest, while I was grateful for the bonuses I did receive, they and the raises weren't that much to make that huge of a difference in anyone's lives.

But some people are never happy. Some people cannot see the bigger picture. Some people care only of themselves and how they got jipped and not how because of this extremely small sacrifice, (if we must play off of their victimization card), everyone was able to continue on and make it through this really tough time while businesses and companies all around us were laying people off, closing their doors and going belly up.

The three co-workers I was sitting next to, looking at, listening to, were bitching about this very thing. Complaining how they were being screwed while the CEO lined his pockets. Fucking ridiculous. I listened to them for awhile and then I said, "Aren't you all just glad we still even have a job? If losing my bonus and a raise means I get to keep my job, I think that is more important." They all stopped, thought for a moment and eventually agreed that it was a good thing afterall.

Where does my point about perception come in? I'm glad you asked. Before I started working for my boss, I worked in a different department and this is where I was when this incident occurred.

I came back from my break and was called into the manager's office. (Suddenly I'm reverted back to a 12 year old being called downstairs by her parents wondering and going over a list of every possible thing she's done worng...what do they know..what did they find out....wait a minute, I haven't done anything....what did I do?) I get in there and the manager asks me to close the door.

Uh-oh. This isn't good. (Shit! --Racking brain-- What did I do and I better figure it out fast; need to find out just how big this is before she starts asking questions...think damn you, THINK!)

She proceeds to inform me that a manager from a different department overhead MY conversation outside.

Oh. Okay. Cool.

No. Not cool. Seems the eavesdropping manager didn't get her facts straight. Because I was outside, sitting next to these three people, listening to them complain about raises and bonuses, that meant that I, TOO, was bitching and moaning about raises and bonuses.

Which I was not.

I informed my manager that this was not the case that what I actually said was....

"It doesn't matter what you said. The perception is......"

You've got to be kidding me. I tried to tell her again that I did not say these things, I said.....

I was cut off again, told it doesn't matter because again, as long as it was perceived that I had said these things, then it was so.

Facts had absolutely no place in tihs company. The manager continued on to tell me that I did not need to defend myself, I did not need to give my excuse or my side of it. I told her that I, in no uncertain terms, most definitely did need to give my side of it if I was going to be accused of something, especially something which disgusted me as much as it did any manager or supervisor who heard hundreds of employees bitching about this no raise/no bonus deal for a couple of weeks now.

I gave my side and was still told that the facts did not matter. What mattered was how people perceived me.

A few months later, I found myself working for the very manager who had accused me of this b.s. to my then boss. The first time my manager (new one) tried to shove the perception idea down my throat, I told her the above story, not knowing for a second that SHE was the one who had run in to "tell on me" in the first place. My co-worker, who had been working for her at the time, is the one who informed me later that it was this manager who had done this.

From then on, every time she brought up perception and tried to make me believe that perception is all that matters, facts do not, I made a point of telling her the entire story, pretending I didn't know it was her. I made a point of stating that the person who was eavesdropping, number 1, should have minded her own damn business and number 2, ran inside to tattle on me before I had ever opened my mouth to say anything and number 3, what I actually said.

Going over the situation, presenting the facts, providing fricken witnesses did not sway her from the idea that perception is all that matters.

I see this every day from a certain group of people in this country who close their ears to facts, proof, eye wtiness accounts and believe in the hype, the perception and take that to be the truth. The gospel according to the media. And I feel quite the same way about them as I did about my boss. Fools. Absolute fools.

Perception is based on feelings, what you think is there. But perception can be grossly inaccurate and people who base their decisions, believe they know and understand fully, the situation, all because of what they think they see or hear, are foolish. That's all there is to it.

What you think you see, what you think you hear, what you think you know isn't always the way it actually is.

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