Call me Mr. Claire Voyant
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The Spectator
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 by Ron Cruger
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    My neighbor and I often find ourselves at 6 a.m., picking up our daily newspapers from where they were thrown on our driveways. He’s usually in his pj’s and a bathrobe. I’m in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. It has become an unspoken ritual that we both bend over, pick up our newspapers and wave them at the other. It’s been going on now for almost ten years. It’s a cordial way to start the day.
          Newspapers have always been an important part of my life. I started reading the New York Times as a young boy in the Bronx. Later, newspapers became my life’s work. I’ve worked at newspapers from one end of this country to the other, including a few decades in Honolulu, Hawaii.
          I still love bringing in that daily newspaper, spreading it over the kitchen table and leisurely sipping on a cup of decaf coffee as I catch up on the happenings of my town, state, country and world.
          After spending so many mornings reading my newspaper it has come to the point where I can anticipate much of what the news is going to be. Seems like day in and day out many of the news stories are the same. The world is stuck in a rut!
          On this particular morning I read the front page of the newspaper and noticed the same old familiar themes.
          A top U.S. General says that the war in Afghanistan would be difficult to win. He calls Afghanistan the “Graveyard of Empires.” A Senator announces that President Obama’s plan for withdrawal in Iraq is too dangerous. He agrees with former President Bush that democracy has taken hold in Iraq.
          A series of roadside bombs kills two U.S. soldiers and thirty five Iraqi citizens. A suicide bomber walks into a Baghdad market place, pushes the button and sets off the explosives wrapped around his body, killing forty six Iraqis. The same Senator says that the Iraqis can soon take over their own defenses. He claims we have “just about” won the war.
          In New York City, a famous rapper was arrested for pulling a gun and shooting a club bouncer and an innocent bystander. The rapper attempted to escape in his black Cadillac Escalade, but was arrested by an off duty policeman. The rapper denied any involvement in the killings. Seven eye witnesses named the rapper as the shooter. Police officials had fears that the witnesses will decline to testify in court, fearing that the rapper’s associates will harm them.
          A drive-by shooting was reported in the southeast area of the city. The low income housing area has been the scene of a series of shootings in the past month. A large SUV with darkened windows stopped at the scene of a neighborhood birthday party and gave some gang hand signs. Later that evening the SUV returned, firing thirty seven shots from automatic rifles at the departing party goers. A seventeen year old boy, without any gang affiliations was hit by six shots and killed. Two fifteen year old girls were wounded and were taken to a local hospital. Their conditions are not known. Police have no clues to the shooters. Gang activity is suspected.
          Two women were raped early yesterday morning near a run-down section of the city. They identified the attacker as a convicted rapist. Evidently the rapist was accidently released from state prison last month, where he was serving a twenty year sentence for rape. He was recently employed at a woman’s health clinic in the downtown area. Police are currently searching for the suspected rapist.
          Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton attended a birthday party for a famous hip-hop artist in a Soho area night club in New York City. The pair posed for photographers and appeared unsteady.
          Jessica Simpson held a press conference in Los Angeles to report on her unusual weight gain. Simpson stated, “I still have a great butt.”
          Locally, a sixty-nine year old man was found dead in his car at the junction of the two major freeways. The man, who police say, had been drinking, was found after his pick up truck struck a freeway overpass structure. The man died immediately. It was estimated that the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed when it hit the concrete barrier. A bottle of vodka and six empty beer cans were found in the truck.
          California and Kansas were among a host of states declaring that they are broke and do not have enough money in their accounts to pay state workers. Emergency sessions of state legislatures are attempting to pass legislation to raise taxes, plan employee layoffs and cut back on state services.
          A six foot eleven inch professional basketball player was arrested this morning by local police on the charge of assaulting his five foot four inch girlfriend.
          Mexican gunmen burst into a popular restaurant in southern Tabasco and murdered three rival gang members. Seven innocent people were wounded in the attack. In other news, four headless bodies were found in an abandoned lot near downtown Tijuana. The killings were all believed to be drug related. Mexican police are investigating.

          A sports panel suggested that any major league baseball player found using illegal steroids should be banned for a full season. The Major League Baseball union is claiming that the drug tests are inadequate.
          A U.S. missile strike killed thirty eight Pakistani citizens yesterday. Pakistan officials reported that the thirty eight killed were innocent residents of the area. U.S. officials claim the thirty eight were Taliban militants. Pakistani leaders say that such attacks fuel extremism and anti-American sentiment.
          And now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go read this morning’s newspaper – especially the comic page and the horoscopes.