Did Tom Jenks and Carol Edgarian, Editors of Narrative Magazine, Fix The 2008 First-Person Story Contest for Friend Gina Oschner?

Getting back to the "Arts" in this blog, I was just tipped off about potential fraud in a recent, showboat-and-yahoo contest held online by one of the biggest players in the literary arts biz: Narrative Magazine. Given Narrative's young history, I found it hard to believe that the editors would really be guilty of anything unethical. Usually that only comes after many years of status and power finally add up to an equal measure of hubris and arrogance.

Upon first glance, it appears that Narrative Magazine is more interested in running a lucrative business than anything else. Everything about it feels corporate. Money-making contests abound. The editors, Tom Jenks and Carol Edgarian, look like celebs with their air-brushed faces poking out in sharp digi-color from the slickly designed web pages. Is this "vision" of corporate cut and egoistic self-promotion the future of literary journals on the Internet? ... Well, argh. Let's hope not. Perhaps good news for some, but a lot is potentially bad news.

Tom Jenks and Carol Edgarian recently judged their latest contest, the 2008 First-Person Story Contest. I find it highly irregular that the editors, rather than choose an independent judge or a panel of judges, picked themselves to judge. Egoistic? Foolish? All the above? Regardless, it definitely opens them up to charges of favoritism, and more importantly, fraud, especially if the winner of their expensive, big pay-off contest turns out to be someone they know, e.g., an associate or friend in the literary world.

Writer blogs across the Internet helped Jenks and Edgarian publicize their contest. Narrative Magazine tapped everyone on their huge mail list (mail fraud?) and generally let out all the stops to push this competition.

Years ago, a poet board run by Alan Cordle, Foetry.Com, made it a holy mission to expose fraud in poetry contests. It made everyone realize (despite the overzealousness of some Foetry followers) that favoritism was rampant in the literary world and that closer scrutiny was needed to asssure contest-paying customers got a fair shake.

Now, back to Narrative Magazine's contest. Here is the announcement of the winners broadcast all over the Internet.

First Place ($3,000) Gina Ochsner On Principle
Second Place ($1,750) Heather Brittain Bergstrom Celilo Falls
Third Place ($1,000) Holly Wilson Night Glow

Now, here is where it gets ugly. A simple google search with Edgarian's name and Gina Oschner, the big $3000.00 winner, reveals what appears to be a strong relationship between the two writers before the judging of the contest in question.

As follows:
Gina Ochsner writes with the delight and knowing of a born conjurer. Her world is that liminal space, that disconnect, between nature and our lives-heaven's winking outside the office window, grass pushing up around the casket, umbrellas opening like the great beating of wings. — Carol Edgarian

Okay, so after reading this gushy blurb we are able to place Oshsner and Edgarian close enough in relationship that the Narrative editor agrees to blurb her book.

Next we have this little eye opener right from the pages of Narrative:

Ochsner's story collection The Necessary Grace to Fall won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction from the University of Georgia Press. Afterward, Ochsner wrote to Tom Jenks and Carol Edgarian to say, "Many thanks for your superb editing of 'Signs: Markings.' It found a happy home with Image: A Journal of Arts and Religion. Thanks to you, Carol, for your encouragement and excellent teaching.

"Thanks to you, Carol, for your encouragement and excellent teaching."

I believe this proves without doubt that Ochsner had pursued a relationship with the editors of Narrative Magazine and had established that relationship effectively. She personally thanks Carol for "encouragement and excellent teaching."
One can't but wonder if Edgarian also helped edit the winning piece that Ochsner submitted to the contest.
Narrative ... I'll be watching you closely, as I hope will thousands of others.



Paul Shanley Deserves a New Trial - When Will Prosecutor Martha Coakley and Judge Lynn Rooney Admit They Were Horribly Wrong?

Was Paul Shanley jailed by people who themselves should be in jail?

Before anyone goes berserk on me, let's agree that facts are facts. You can hate Catholic priests all you want, you can believe all the negative, biased press you want, you can point to the theatrics of sobbing accusers (remember the Salem witch trials?), you can quote Freudian nonsense till you verge on Oedipus Complex, but facts are facts, and only those should matter when it comes to deciding guilt or innocence.

Several years ago, a priest named Paul Shanley was accused by prosecutors Martha Coakley and Lynn Rooney of the Middlesex District Attorney's office (Rooney is now a district court judge who, like Coakley, made her reputation with "recovered memory" cases) of sexually molesting a boy in his parish 20 years earlier. Without a single witness to corroborate a single charge, Lynn Rooney put on a theatrical performance in the court room worthy of an Oscar. Why? Because she had no choice. All she and Martha Coakley had on the accused were the "recovered memories" of a solitary man, Paul Busa, who had a background of gambling and questionable ethics.

Other accusers seeking millions in compensation were shouting to be heard, also claiming the accused priest had fondled them, but apparently the honorable district attorney of Middlesex decided they were utterly unreliable (which they were), dropping three of them (buddies of Paul Busa-what a surprise!) before the trial. God, what I would give to have a video tape of the meeting between Martha Coakley and those guys!

Anyway, let's review the proper sequence of events involving Paul Busa, his recovered memories, and Lynn Rooney's crowning achievement--the prosecution of her victim in a kangaroo court:

- Paul Busa suddenly remembered the sexual abuse on the afternoon of Feb. 11, 2002, when his girlfriend told him about a newspaper article that reported someone he knew (Gregory Ford -- dropped as a credible witness by Martha Coakley because of his changing story and mental history) had alleged molestation by Father Shanley.

- The next day, brimming with recovered memories, Busa was talking to a personal-injury lawyer about pursuing a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Church (according to testimony by his own psychologist, Dr. Drozd, and documents presented in the criminal trial).

- Busa and his personal-injury lawyer, Roderick MacLeish, make the outrageous public claim to the press that the accused was "a founding member of NAMBLA and openly advocated sex between men and little boys." (NAMBLA is the North American Man Boy Love Association -- It was later proven this charge was a total fabrication.)

- The honorable Lynn Rooney decides to prosecute. The public and the press are frothing and demanding justice! The window is open!

- Not a single juror in the case had not heard of the false NAMBLA charge (they had all been biased by the press).

- Busa testifies that Shanley pulled him out of Christian doctrine classes and molested him in the church bathroom, the pews, the church confessional and the rectory.

- Not a single witness of the prosecution confirmed any of Busa's "recovered memories" of Paul Shanley removing him from classes or doing anything else that Busa claimed had taken place over a SEVEN YEAR period in the 1980's. (Not a single teacher or classmate of Busa could be found to agree with him, not a single person who Busa had been in contact with for seven years, SEVEN WHOLE YEARS during which he alleged he was repeatedly sexually abused.)

- At the end of the trial, Paul Busa declares, "I want him [Paul Shanley] to die in prison, whether it's of natural causes or otherwise. However he dies, I hope it's slow and painful."

Wouldn't you say that Paul Shanley deserves a new trial with an unbiased jury?

A few useful links on this subject:

The Railroading of Paul Shanley (interesting facts about his accusers and their mental history)


Uncle Jay Explains The News - August - This One is a Keeper

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

And this one is old news, but still funny.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die


Why Does Katherine Spillar, Editor of Ms. Magazine, Support NOW and Their Bid To Censor "Sexist" Speech?


Once again, Katherine Spillar, editor of Ms., approved a full page ad that attempts to foment a movement against free speech. How? By using that vast and never-satiated feminist reservoir of bitterness and hatred towards men (and female stooges of the Patriarchy) and focusing it on those who make "sexist" remarks in the television news media. And who are we talking about? Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, and Maureen Dowd???

As our eyes glance over this full page ad from NOW, we see a shot of Keith Olbermann with a cartoon balloon coming out of his mouth, and inside the words: KATIE COURIC IS THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD. Um, ok. So this is an example of the pernicious influence of sexist male media? It's laughable! What in hell is Katherine Spillar of Ms. Magazine thinking??? Also, did Olbermann actually say this, or is NOW lying?

Okay, so Olbermann doesn't like somebody who happens to be female. Fair enough. I guess he has that right, yes? So according to NOW and Ms. Magazine he should therefore be censored? ... And by who? The American government? The FCC? What exactly do Katherine Spillar and NOW want? New federal laws that will slap fines or jail time on any male or female media personality who dares criticize or express displeasure with any female human being for any reason?

BTW, is the truth, sexist?

And sure, it's fine if Olbermann slams George Bush, Jr., no problem. But if he doesn't like Katie and says so, he should be jailed, fined, or at least fired from his job? Let's read on: NO MORE SEXIST INSULTS, SLURS AND ATTACKS, NO MORE RACISM, HOMOPHOBIA AND OTHER "ISMS" THAT PROMOTE INEQUALITY. Wow! I have to refer to my piece on Jeremy Waldron and his need to censor speech for similar reasons.

And who makes the rules? Who? ... Very scary.

Why can't supreme hypocrites like Katherine Spillar and her stooges of the Ms. Magazine Matriarchy do something useful for a change, like maybe supporting the boycott of products that advertise on Black Entertainment Television (the most sexist channel this side of the galaxy) or any of the many horrible programs and reality shows that encourage young women and girls to emulate shallow and foolish behavior? (Wouldn't that be more productive than bashing Keith Olbermann?) Why? Because they won't risk making powerful enemies of big corporate advertisers and major media execs, and they especially don't want to attract negative attention by potentially harming popular TV shows watched by millions of young women.

Their consultants won't let them.

It's simply best to stick to the same old formula, i.e., continue to foment causes that efficiently tap the black well of feminist hatred. After all, it's the safest way to assure donations and grants, no?




Proof That a Vesitge of Democracy Still Exists in America - Voting Machines Scrapped - Deborah Hastings of AP Reports

Excerpt of Article By DEBORAH HASTINGS (AP National Writer) From Associated Press, August 19, 2008 6:23 PM EDT:

The demise of touch-screen voting has produced a graveyard of expensive corpses: Warehouses stacked with thousands of carefully wrapped voting machines that have been shelved because of doubts about vanishing votes and vulnerability to hackers.

What to do with this high-tech junkyard is a multimillion-dollar question. One manufacturer offered $1 a piece to take back its ATM-like machines. Some states are offering the devices for sale on eBay and craigslist. Others hope to sell their inventories to Third-World countries or salvage them for scrap.

A few more are holding out hope that the machines, some of which were purchased for as much as $5,000, could one day be resurrected.

"We store them very, very carefully in the hopes that someone, someday may decide that we can use them again," said San Diego County Registrar Deborah Seiler, whose jurisdiction spent $25 million on the devices.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. After the disputed 2000 presidential recount, Congress provided more than $3 billion to replace punch card and lever-operated machines. State officials across the country said the new systems would eliminate human error and political tampering.
But problems with the machines soon followed: vanishing votes, breakdowns, malfunctions and increasing evidence that the devices were vulnerable to hackers.

Beginning last year, states including California, Ohio and Florida abruptly ordered election officials to mothball their electronic machines. Over the last two years, the percentage of registered voters relying on touch-screen technology dropped from 44 percent to 36 percent.


The Comic Book Murder - Prosecutor Steve Kaplan Convicts Michael George After Miraculously Finding a Lost Note in The Cold Case File!

If it takes a great prosecutor to convict an innocent man, can we therefore consider Steve Kaplan of the Macomb County Cold Case Unit to be one of the greats? I believe so. Indeed, it takes art, tenacity, and skill to generate the credible witness testimony necessary to convict an accused "wife killer" after a full 17 years of peace and silence--not to mention the incredible and lucky miracle of finding a crucial, pivotal, personal note concerning THE NEW key witness jotted down by the homicide detective 17 years ago and then mysteriously forgotten and neglected till our hero Steve Kaplan looked in the case file box and just saw it sitting there.

Now we got that wife killing bastard! he must have shouted.

Thank God that you found that overlooked and forgotten note that might have turned the case around 17 years ago, eh Steve? Thank God it was just sitting around, plain as day and waiting for you to find it, eh Steve? What luck! I mean, if not for that homicide detective being so inexplicably careless 17 years ago, you might not be such a big shot now, a real celeb after appearing on television and posturing for the camera, looking all righteous and wrathful! What a career-boosting miracle for you, Steve Kaplan. Will you be running for office any time soon?

Ahhhh, the mystery of fate!

Because of that note, that terrible wife killer, Michael George, is finally behind bars after 17 years of serving a peaceful and productive life as a businessman, father, husband, and pillar of his small community. The fact that he collapsed and wept at the verdict is only further vindication for you, isn't it? As well as for your bosses, the media, and the idiotic jury enthralled by the theater of court you directed like a true professional. Did you test juror IQs before they took their seats? Did they all score in the low 20 percentile? Whatever. At least they had enough collective brain power to take at face value the witnesses you coached before they took the stand a full 17 years later to accurately recall the wife killer and his wife arguing with each other before the murder. And it didn't matter that the defendant had no history of domestic violence, or any criminal history whatsoever. Because your "witness" recalled some "yelling" from 17 years ago, that was enough to help secure a conviction. After all, what did you term the defendant, "The husband from Hell?" Wasn't that it?

And rumors were started, whispers in the media. That husband from Hell, Michael George, had not even cried at the funeral, not wept a tear as he went about town looking cruel-eyed behind his sunglasses. Isn't that what your minions told everyone? Certainly, every juror knew Michael George had it coming! And now, every gullible spectator watching you perform on television knows he had it coming. It takes skill to manipulate the media into tainting a jury pool to help get a conviction. Is that what you did? Hmmmmm ...

And you claim Michael George, the Comic Book Murder guy, did it for the insurance, and oh, because he wanted a new wife? Well, then why wasn't the policy he took out years before well above the minimum? He only got $130K, Steve. That's a small pot for such grand plans. Why didn't Michael George take out $500K, or more? Isn't that what killers almost always do? Such a modest sum. And if he wanted a new wife, Steve, why didn't he just get a divorce? How does a guy with no mental history, zero criminal or domestic violence background, just wander into his own store one day and savagely shoot his wife in the head? Kinda strange. I mean, he doesn't fit the profile at all. Did the jury consider that?

And why didn't the jury believe his mother and daughter who said he was home when the murder took place? Why? Because of the mysterious note you found! ... The note jotted down by the homicide detective, then immediately forgotten, the note that a witness claimed he called the store and spoke with Michael George when the defendant was supposed to be home sleeping on his couch, as his mother said. Then you wheeled out the witness to tell everyone that the note was true. He had told the homicide detective 17 years ago that he called Michael George and thereby placed the wife killer in the store, thus canceling the wife killer's alibi. Finally, the truth was out. The homicide detective had just forgotten all about it!

But wait ... Did you or Judge James Biernat inform jurors of the notorious unreliability of witnesses, especially when it comes to confirming times? No, don't think so. You wanted them to believe that the key witness, Michael Renaud, could accurately recall the time of a phone call (without any corroborating phone records whatsoever) after 17 years. And it was easy, you had the mysterious note to prove it. Police had jotted down Renaud's claim 17 years ago. The note was proof. It must be a fact. Time for a conviction. Besides, everyone knows that mothers and daughters lie!

A note to Judge Biernat: please explain why you didn't throw this incredible crap out of the court room. Did you actually believe a man should spend the rest of his life in prison based on such flimsy and easily corruptible testimony? Did you actually believe that no forensics were necessary in this case? Did you actually believe police overlooked or lost or forgot the presumably crucial testimony of Renaud written down on a note 17 years ago and then quite suddenly discovered it again just sitting there in the cold case file? Or is it more likely that the note never existed in the first place and was invented at the last minute to help bolster testimony in this flashy Comic Book Murder case destined for a two-hour special on the lynch-mob television channel?

Regardless, the networks reaped the rewards of advertising revenue. At least someone is getting rich due to Michael George's conviction.


U.S. District Judge John Bates Denies Immunity To Rove and Other Cretins

At last! A judge who defends democracy, unlike the one who let Bush get away with losing emails.

Judge John Bates rejected Bush's contention that his White House employees don't have to obey subpoenas, thus siding with Congress and handing a victory to Democrats probing the dismissal of nine federal prosecutors.

The ruling undercut three presidential confidants who have defied congressional subpoenas for information that Bush says is protected by executive privilege.

Judge John Bates, who was appointed to the bench by Bush, issued a 93-page opinion that strongly rejected the administration's legal arguments. He said the executive branch could not point to a single case in which courts held that White House aides were immune from congressional subpoenas.

"That simple yet critical fact bears repeating: The asserted absolute immunity claim here is entirely unsupported by existing case law," Bates wrote.