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Thursday, January 29, 2009

How NOT to discipline your child - Lesson 1

By now you all know that the news that grabs my attention is not what Jessica Simpson is wearing today (or dating) or whether Oprah did some cocaine at a party years ago (which according to the tabloid covers has Stedman seeing RED). Yes, I do confess to a slight addiction to the Enquirer. LOVE that mag. It has the most fantastical articles and is a great read when there's nothing worth watching on TV and I am just not in the mood for a book. Although the black and white rags that feature cover stories of alien babies and 110 year old women who give birth to sextuplets are a very close second. So there. Confessed.

However, when it comes to reading actual news put out there by actual reporters, I pass over the fluff and get down to the matter! I'm not really into reading about the Middle East problems (the Middle East to me is like Africa - they have always had major issues and they will always have major issues. Not going away. Same story - different decade).

What really catches my eye are the stories about murder. The who, where, why and how of them. Mostly the why and how of them.

So, it should come as no surprise that I am following the case of the mother and stepfather down in Galveston who murdered little Riley Ann Sawyers. The why and how is really beyond my comprehension. Thus the title of this blog "How not to discipline your child".

For a little background for those of you less morbid than myself, Riley Sawyer was found floating in the Galveston Bay area in a plastic container partially filled with concrete. She had multiple fractures to her skull and had been dead for a while.

The police put out an artist sketch of what little Riley may have looked like and low and behold, Riley's paternal grandmother up in Ohio contacted them and said it looked like her grand daughter whom she had not seen in a while and was told had been taken away from her mother by the department of human services.

This lead them to the mother and stepfather down in Texas who had met while playing games online.

Apparently mom and step had devised a list of things to teach little Riley and had "discipline sessions" whenever Riley was "bad". Now exactly how bad can a 2 year old be that she requires "discipline sessions"??

The police found this list in their home after their arrest. It contained nine things that 2-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers' mother and stepfather wanted to teach the toddler to help her behave better.

The list, called "Rules for Riley," included such things as "being polite," "behaves in public," "toys stay in her room" and "listen to mom & me." Sounds innocuous enough. These are all things we want to teach our children.

"But as the capital murder trial of Riley's mom, Kimberly Dawn Trenor, resumes, her attorneys will continue arguing before jurors that a discipline session to teach the child these behaviors spun out of control and their client never intended for her daughter to die as a result". I would ask, how can a discipline session spin out of control on a 2 year old? Did she grab a gun and threaten to shoot her mom? (no, but she should have).

Both Trenor and Riley's stepfather, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, were charged with capital murder for the child's death. Prosecutors are arguing both Trenor and Zeigler are equally responsible for Riley's death on July 25, 2007.

After Riley was killed, the couple bought a plastic container, partially filled it with cement, stuffed her beaten body inside and stored it in a shed at their home before dumping the remains in Galveston Bay in September 2007, according to authorities.

Even though Zeigler is set to be tried later, he has been constantly referenced during Trenor's trial.

Trenor, in a four-hour videotaped statement to police that was played in court earlier this week, admitted to whipping Riley with a belt and helping to repeatedly dunk her head in a bathtub of cold water.

But she said the discipline session was Zeigler's idea and the three skull fractures that resulted in the toddler's death were caused by him when he threw the child across a room in their home after getting frustrated that the discipline session wasn't working.

"The discipline session wasn't working". When you are beating a child and dunking her head in a bath tub of cold water, do you honestly expect the child not to cry and struggle? How exactly did they know the discipline session wasn't working on a 2 year old? What did they expect her to do exactly?

Another problem I have with the mothers "defense" is her saying she shouldn't be charged with capital murder because the discipline session was her husband's idea and she only "helped" dunk Riley's head in the tub "repeatedly". OOHHHH. That makes all the difference in the world. Uncuff that woman and set her free!!

Now students, if you want your child to behave (i.e. stop crying, stop struggling, stop gasping for breath, stop bleeding, etc.) you should first and foremost NOT BEAT HER, THROW HER AGAINST A WALL AND DUNK HER HEAD IN A BATH TUB! OR allow anyone else to do it either.

I would probably just give her a time out or at the most extreme slap my hand on her little butt a couple of times. Yes, students, I spanked my son when he was growing up. Now, I never spanked my daughter. Not because I loved her more than him or because she was perfect (nearly, but not quite). I just didn't have to spank her. She would respond positively to a time out whereas my son would only use that time to color on the walls, or sing a song, or (if I put him in a time out in his room) play with his toys. Time out to him was fine. Sometimes when I went to get him after his time out was over, he would beg for me to shut the door and leave him in time out longer.

She, on the other hand, would cry as if her heart was broken in two. She hated to get in trouble. He, didn't phase him ONE iota.

She responded to time out. He responded to getting his little butt spanked. Plain and simple.

Now back to Riley. Killing her is bad enough and both the mother and stepfather deserve death row because of it but if you have to allow one of them to live, I say let the stepfather get life in prison but definitely put the mother down!

Why would I say that if the stepfather is the one who actually caused her death by throwing her against the wall fracturing her skull in 3 places?? Because the mother bore 100% responsibility for her daughter's protection and safety. The mother should die before allowing her child to be harmed by anyone in any way. That is the way it is. She refused to do this in order to keep her man and she needs to die because of it.

Anytime a parent (mother OR father) allows their child to be abused, neglected or harmed in any way, they should die.

Had the step father kidnapped both the mother and child and was holding them hostage and took Riley out away from the mother and did this to her so the mother couldn't intervene, then there might be a touch of mercy afforded to the mom. However, that wasn't the case was it? She was there. She was in a position to have protected her child and she made a conscious decision not only to not protect her child but to actually participate in the torture and murder of her child. She needs to die.

And if participating in the torture and murder of her child wasn't bad enough, she assisted her husband in hiding the body and then threw it in the ocean like some bag of garbage. I don't care if Riley was the worst child in the universe, NO child deserves to be discarded like trash. Especially after you have put her through the terror of torturing her and murdering her.

THEN (it just keeps getting worse) she STAYED WITH THE STEP FATHER! She continued to live with him of her own free will. She continued to keep her mouth shut about what they had done of her own free will. She continued to have sex with him and go out on the town with him and bought him Christmas presents and did his laundry for him and in all reports given by their neighbors and "friends" they had a relatively happy marriage after this event.

She's whining that he "forced" her to keep quiet about it. He "threatened" her. She was "afraid" of him. PLEASE!

She was afraid of going to prison and possibly getting the chair (or whatever they give you now - "getting the injection" just doesn't sum it up like "getting the chair" does).

Had she AT ANY POINT during this nightmare walked into the police station and told the police what happened and where little Riley's body was, I might recommend showing her mercy. But she didn't do that did she?

She continued to love the man who murdered her daughter and only spoke ill of him after she was arrested and is now in a fight for HER life.

I swear, there are some people in this world who need to be fixed. They should never have children. Women like her seem to have the idea that so what if one of them gets murdered. If I miss them at all, I'll just have another one and maybe this one will be better behaved. OR, at least with the next one, I'll know not to throw them against the wall.

In closing, I sum it all up with this...........NO MERCY!

But that's just me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Actors and Musicians

I'm going to use my blog today to rant and rave about the "entertainment" industry. Remember when you could go to the movies, get popcorn AND a drink all for under $5? Well, I do. I also remember when you could get every channel available AND the premium movie channels all for under $100 a month. That actually wasn't really all that long ago.


Let me start this part by stating that just because you sing a song that someone else wrote (and produced)and you can get on stage and do a good rendition of that song, it does NOT make you an artist. It makes you a good entertainer or a good musician or a good vocalist, a good interpreter, but not an artist. That word is pretty much useless these days. Brittney Spears has been called an artist (???) I don't wince whenever I hear Prince called an artist because, let's face it, the guy is a musical genius and he does actually create his work from beginning to end. But Brittney? Celine? Cher? Kelly Clarkson? Michael Buble? Or any of the other too numerous entertainers to mention who don't create their music are interpreters at best.

Why is it that Diana Ross or the Temptations (as examples)are considered artists but Holland-Dozier-Holland are considered "song writers"? Holland-Dozier-Holland were three guys who pretty much created the Motown sound and kept it going for all those years. Look on practically any Motown song and the chances are you will find they wrote them. They are artists. They created these great songs out of nothing. That is the definition of artist. Creating something out of nothing. Diana Ross and the Temptations interpreted THEIR creation and probably did it with a LOT of direction from the producers and writers. From that point on, all they had to do was sing it as they had instructed them to sing it. That's not being an artist. That's being an entertainer.

Prince; Paul Simon; Elton John & Bernie Taupin; Billy Joel; Dan Fogelberg; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Pink Floyd; John Lennon; Paul McCartney; Johnny Cash; Garth Brooks; Mozart; Beethoven; Joni Mitchell; Carole King - THESE are artists. You may not like some (or all) of their creations but they CREATED what they sang. They are artists. Beyonce, Brittney, Cher, Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, Elvis (no death threats please), The Temptations, Diana Ross, Celine (why are there more girls than guys in this equation?). THEY are entertainers. Albeit great ones - but entertainers none the less.

Let's take Beyonce and Brittney for a second. They have it written into their contracts that they must have their names included as partial contributors to any new songs that are on their albums so they will get writing royalties. This is apparently a growing scheme with entertainers who don't write their own music. As a result of this the Academies have instituted a rule that if a song wins an award only the first two writers will receive that award. Hmmm?

Beyonce and Brittney are puppets. They sing what others have written for them. They sing it the way their producers tell them to sing it. They then have choreographers who tell them where to stand and how to stand. Where to dance and how to dance. They then have costumers who design their outfits for them. Why would they be considered artists??? They should be labeled mannequins.

Remember when you could buy an album for $4.99?? AND you only had to buy it once because you could record it onto as many tapes as you wanted to AND put it onto your computer and it never stopped you?? Now, you have to buy CD's and most of them these days are programmed to only allow you to record their contents once or twice (if you're lucky) then they won't record anymore.

Remember when they were changing the format from Albums/cassettes to CD's? I do. They marketed these new CD's as being virtually indestructible! Completely scratch resistant, heat resistant, unbreakable. Wow! That sounded so much better than my albums plus I didn't have to get up and turn the record over to hear the other side AND I could search and only play what I wanted to hear! AND they took up less space? I was pumped!

Then I started buying them (or I should say I was forced to buy them because they stopped making vinyl albums - didn't have a choice). Let me just say, I HATE, LOATHE, ABHOR CD'S! I have yet to buy a CD that I haven't had to throw out within 6 months and replace because they do indeed scratch, they do indeed break (rather easily) and they most certainly are NOT highly heat resistant. NOTE: If you buy your albums from Europe you can still get them in vinyl, they just cost more.

And those "covers"?? Open them more than once and they break apart! And when you have to throw the cover away and unlike albums that were clearly marked with its contents printed directly on the vinyl, you don't know what's on that CD without the cover - if you can read print that small!

People like me who loved vinyl albums (I own in excess of 300 of them) are very particular with them. I have them standing up on their sides (always so they won't warp) and in their original dust covers (both of them - for those of you who aren't vinyl lovers there are two dust covers per album) and I am extremely picky about who touches them and how. Everyone that I ever knew who collected albums were the same way. I have albums from the mid-1960's and not a scratch or warp on any of them. The sound quality might not be as good as CD's but I can record them onto my computer and clean up the sound quality and be just fine. AND I can do it as many times as I want.

So now I understand. Everyone involved in making vinyl were actually losing money because we only had to buy ONE of them ever!

Musicians whine constantly about the lack of sales (the lack of money) they are getting and how no one should be allowed to share music anymore. Because it belongs to THEM!! I truly feel that unless I am selling their music, once I buy the album/CD, I should be able to do with it as I please.

The radio stations are now all programmed. They buy entire blocks of music at a time. The companies they buy them from determine the content. That is why on the very extremely rare occasions that we hear a new song, we have to google part of the lyrics in order to find out who the hell it was so we can go out and buy the CD. The "DJ's" don't tell you anything about the song that just played or the one coming up. That is also why we hear the very same song 100 times a day (filler).

The DJ used to be our music education back in the day. He (or she) was the guy who introduced us to new acts and told us the behind the scenes stories about the artists and the making of that particular album. Sure there was a little bit of fluff during his shift but the majority of his shift was spent talking about the music he played and the artists who made it. Now, it's all about their kids, their religions, stupid phone calls and them advertising a restaurant or car lot with about 10 minutes an hour worth of repeated music thrown in for good behavior.

This is exactly why new bands have to pay to have their albums cut and they have to market them independently. The days when a band could throw a bunch of their albums into the trunk and visit each radio station passing them out and trying to get them played are gone.

Before I leave the subject of musicians, let me say that they wouldn't be struggling for album sales IF they allowed us to share their music. This is how, since the beginning of time, that they have received free marketing. Ever gone to a house party packing an album or tape filled with your favorite songs? Sure you have. Ever have anyone at that party ask you who that band was?? Sure you have. Ever recorded a mixed tape of your favorites and given it to someone as a gift? Of course. Did they ever ask you about any of the songs on that tape? Sure they did.

This is how I was introduced to my personal favorites. Dan Fogelberg (received a mixed tape with Wisteria on it and then went out and bought his Home Free album and every album he put out afterwards). Leon Russell (same thing). This was FREE marketing for these guys! It's as if they don't have confidence in their music.

If I hear a song that I love, I will buy the album to discover more music by this musician and if the rest of the album is good, I am hooked. I will buy every album that they put out from that point on (stinker and all). If a musician has confidence in their music, if they think their music will speak for itself, then what's the problem with allowing the songs to be shared? NOT sold, I completely understand that. But what's the harm in a DJ playing one of their songs in a club or at a party without paying them or them royalties? It is free marketing and when the DJ's have to pay to play a musician's music, they will simply go with the free ones.


Lord please! If I hear ONE more actor/actress calling themselves an artist, I think I will puke.

Did they invent their characters? I especially felt sick to my stomach that actors who portray real people get Academy awards. Ben Kingsley for Gandhi?? That was the year I stopped watching the awards shows. How hard is it to watch footage and mimic a real person? How hard is it to interview folks who knew him and read his writings and then mime the man? How about Joaquin Phoenix getting a nod for Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon winning for June Cash?? Dear God! Same thing!

Miming does not make you an artist. IT DOES NOT! Play acting does not make you an artist. I used to play dress up as a child. I used to pretend I was Diana Ross and my two neighbors were the Supremes and we would mime them in my carport on rainy days. We were damned good too! However, we weren't artists! We were playing dress up!

These people forget what their job is!! It is always so refreshing to hear any of them talk about their "art" as a job. Angelina Jolie (put the daggers back girls) is one of these. She doesn't call herself an artist. She plainly states that acting is what she does for her job and freely admits that she is paid outrageously for what she does. Everything else aside, I have a great amount of respect for her because of that.

Then you have Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. Excuse me just a second while I get some Pepto.

These two people literally make me sick to my stomach. They have the attitude that they are so far above the rest of us. They are SO much smarter and aware than anyone else. They have this attitude that their opinions (on ANY subject) are so far above our comprehension that we should just bow to them and kiss their feet.

When did being an entertainer make you smarter than everyone else? When did being an entertainer make your opinions more important or thought out than mine? A short list of pukable entertainers that I lump in with Susan and Tim would be: Tom Cruise, Oprah (only because she is SO easily led by the nose by her "adviser of the month"), TINA FEY (GOD I hate her!) and last but certainly not least, Jane Fonda. Jane is fodder for a blog all to herself as she is the biggest puppet I have ever heard of and I doubt she has EVER had a single independent thought in her life. She is a lemming of the highest degree. Oprah is second only to Jane in that category.

There are a couple of entertainers who, although I usually disagree with their political views, appear to have put in the work to qualify their opinions and normally do not appear to hold themselves out to be the Gods and Goddesses of opinion (unlike Susan and Tim). These would be Sean Penn, Bruce Sprinsteen, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. These entertainers appear to do their homework, make up their own minds and act accordingly. They actively support their political views but don't shove them down anyone's throats or denounce those that don't agree with them as being stupid (unlike Susan and Tim).

To close this tirade, let me state this. If I buy a car from Ford, it's my car. If I choose to use it in a movie they don't get a royalty off of it. If I choose to turn it into a taxi - no royalties to Ford. If I choose to sell it, no royalties to Ford. I understand the difference between a car and "intellectual" property. However, I think it's crap for the most part. I think as long as I'm not making a profit off their music or movies, then as long as I pay for the CD or Video, it should be mine to do with as I please. If I want to copy it and give it to my best friend for Christmas, then that is my business because I OWN the CD.

Who knows that my friend isn't going to get hooked on the actor or musician and become their biggest fan buying all their future, CD's/movies and going to all their concerts/movies?

It is for certain that these "artists" are losing a lot of their fan base through their greed. We hear how they have sued to stop DJ's from spinning their records at clubs one day because of the $.99 royalty owed to them on that particular song and then the very next day we see a photo spread in People or Time magazine that shows their private jets and their multi-million dollar vacation homes in the Bahamas. And they're bitching about $19.99 for a CD/video??

I am sick to death of this. This is all about entertainment. Their greed is exactly why movie theaters are closing in record numbers. Why record stores are out of business and why radio stations are playing CRAP (over and over and over).

So I say, let's support the indies. Let's not buy CD's from the top dogs or go to movies made by the top dogs. The last movie I ever saw in an actual theatre was the Sixth Sense (long time ago). I paid $8 to see that movie and another $12 to get popcorn and a coke. I walked through the sticky residue of spilled coke and after squeezing past other customers to get to my seat had to watch the movie trying to hear it above the constant noise of the teenagers behind me. Now back in the day when I could have gotten all of the above for $5 or less, it wouldn't have mattered. But for $20 I want quiet and space and clean for my money.

I now watch movies once they have hit the small screen or I will get them on Netflix or Fancast and will watch them in the controlled environment of my home. I realize they will still get paid a small amount for my watching them on HBO or ABC or whatever BUT not nearly as much as if I watched it in a theater.

I will buy my vinyl albums from England or France and will pay the extra shipping to be able to have the vinyl and record it as many times as I please and I will NOT support the likes of Susan and Tim by contributing to their already massive fortunes. After all, why should they make money off stupid people like me?

But that's just me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fallen Clergy

Anyone who knows me knows that I dislike (to put it very mildly) organized religion. I have a great disdain for it (read my very first blog if you doubt this). However, today, there was yet another article in the news about the Rev. Haggard. Geez! Enough already!

So, I started thinking. How many high profile religious leaders have fallen in recent times? Just the Christian ones, I'm not concerned about the Jewish Rabbi who is serving life because he had his wife murdered so he could be with the church secretary or the Buddhist (whatever they are called) who while mandating that all of his priest(?) live a life of poverty was raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year at their expense for his own pleasure. No, I wanted to look for the Christian leaders who have fallen. Maybe because there are more of them? Maybe because they are certainly more colorful and WAY flashier. Maybe because they are just closer to home for me since I was raised Christian? Who knows, don't really care. I was just curious and the list below represent just the ones I could remember or find. I truly have to take a class on my keyword abilities because they really do suck.

You won't be surprised to find out that I actually knew 2 of them.

Now this list contains several who actually went to prison but most of them just got canned from their day job (preaching) for a spell with very few of them out of their chosen line of work permanently. (that's the great thing about being a Christian preacher. Get fired? Heck, no problem. Found a different church and call it something else and you are right back in business!)

1972 - Jerry Falwell - Greed (phony bonds)
Jerry Falwell was on the board of directors for a company I worked for years ago. I was so prepared not to like him. However, I did. As much as I vehemently disagreed with every view in his peanut head and every word that came out of his narrow bigoted mouth in public, I couldn't help but love his personality away from the press. He was hilarious and I looked forward to chatting with him at every meeting.

1987 - James Bakker - Sex and Money (did prison time - has a new church in Branson, MO)

1988 - Jimmy Swaggert - Sex
1988 - Marvin Gorman - Sex
Now this one is funny actually. Marvin and Jimmy were competitors for the all mighty TV dollars. Marvin found out about Jimmy's honey and went to the press with it which temporarily toppled Jimmy's empire. But don't shed any tears for Jimmy - he hired a private investigator who followed Marvin around and got photo's of Marvin with prostitutes in New Orleans. When was the last time you heard Marvin's name?? Still remember Jimmy though don't you ?

1991 - Robert Tilton - Money

1999 - Henry J. Lyons - Sex & Greed (sentenced to 5 years in prison)
I knew Henry Lyons as he served on the same Board of Directors for a company I once worked for. (The same one that Jerry Falwell sat on. Seeing a pattern here with this company??) I was required to attend the Board meetings so we interacted on several occasions. I did NOT like Henry. I found him to be extremely rude, sexist, racist and overbearing. However, Henry had the nicest wife. A long suffering woman with a heart of gold. However, one day she discovered that while Henry refused to put their child into a private university and the entire time that Mrs. Lyons was pinching pennies and trying to be the good Bishops wife, he had a multi-million dollar home on the water down in Florida that he shared with his much younger mistress. Mrs. Lyons promptly went to that house and finding her husbands vehicle parked in the driveway tried to get him to answer the door. When no one would come to the door, Mrs. Lyons set the house on fire. THEN they came outside (for sure). Come to find out, both the house AND the mistress were being paid for by the church coffers. He went to prison and Mrs. Lyons got a divorce.

2002 - Father John Geoghan - Sex with underage boys
2002 - Cardinal Bernard Law - Covering up priests sex with boys
2003 - Terry Hornbuckle - 3 counts of rape - currently in prison. But his wife is now the senior pastor at their church raking in nearly $24K a month. Not a bad gig for her.
2005 - Father Paul Stanley - Sex with underage boys
2006 - Warren Jeffs - Sex, kidnapping and intimidation (the list goes on and on - currently in prison)
2007 - Ted Haggard - Sex
2007 - Richard Roberts - Greed
2007 - Lindsey Roberts (the wife) - Greed
2007 - Kenneth Copeland - Greed
2007 - Creflo Dollar - Greed
2007 - Benny Hinn - Greed
2007 - Eddie L. Long - Greed
2007 - Joyce Meyer - Greed
2007 - Paula White - Greed - All of 2007's batch - except for Teddy - stem from the misappropriation of the donations coming into the coffers at the Oral Roberts University. I'm not talking about keeping the money from the candy sales here. I'm talking about stuff like the University paying for Richard Roberts daughter (and all of her friends) to go to the Bahamas on spring break in the University's private jet all expenses paid by the University. I'm talking about Lindsey Roberts teenage boyfriend getting a free ride at the University including clothes, new sports car and vacations all at the University's expense. All of the Robert's children's friends getting full ride scholarships at the University regardless of aptitude or participation (as in actually going to class). I'm talking about numerous multi-million dollar mansions for the Roberts all over the country. That kind of stuff. When asked what he thought about this entire situation, Eddie Long replied "well, Richard was raised wealthy. His idea of frugal and your idea of frugal are probably very different". Yeah, that's true.
2008 - Terry MacAlmon - Sex
2008 - Todd Bentley - Sex

To sum it up, in a religion that publicly places so much emphasis on wealth, rewards and riches, the accompanying downfalls regarding the abuse of sex and power/money is not at all surprising but inevitable.

In the end, are they fallen or just plain found out?

But that's just me.

Caylee update

As you all know by now, they have released the facts that Caylee was found with duct tape on her mouth and on that tape was a star sticky. Does that sound like a random pedophile to you? Not to me. It sounds like something that an immature adult female would do (Casey). It also would dispel the common thought a lot of folks have that Casey gave her too much cough syrup to make her sleep and accidentally overdosed her. (She was known to do this whenever she wanted to party and Caylee was getting in her way).

Like everyone else, I have had numerous chats with my friends over this case. Most of my friends believe 1 of 3 scenarios.

1. Casey did it to rid herself of an unwanted child that severely handicapped her social life and dumped the body herself before being arrested or during the short period of time she was out on bail, (Remember her parents had "forced" her into not having an abortion and raising her child),

2. They believe that Casey did it and her mother hid the body to protect Casey (didn't do a great job of that).

3. They believe that one of Casey's men friends killed Caylee and Casey hid the body and came up with this conspiracy story that she has brandied about for months and months.

I believe Casey did it and when her mother called the police and started putting the pressure on her, Casey spilled the beans to her and grandma put the body in the woods to get it off of her property.

The area where the body was found was perfect for this as you can go from Casey/Caylee's backyard through the woods and right to the place where they found the body without ever having to be observed from the road. Perfect if you are being watched by the media and/or the police and you just want the body off your property before someone finds it.

Another reason I believe grandma is deep into this (well, more than one reason) is:
1. She called the police and was all about "Where is my grand child?" then all of a sudden she is Casey's biggest advocate. Seemingly she has swallowed each and every crazy story that has come out of Casey's mouth no matter how insane and contradictory it sounds. Not even the most hopeful of mother's would fall for the crap spewed out of Casey's mouth. Not even.

2. It has been reported that during all of the searches for Caylee's body that have occurred (and there have been many), grandma comes and talks with the press and then goes home. She doesn't beat the bushes looking for her grand daughter. Now that tells me one of two things. Either she just doesn't care enough about finding her to participate in the search and is only showing up for the press OR (and this is my bet) she knows full well that they won't find her because SHE knows exactly where the body is.

I go with the second reason. Most normal grandmothers would be out there beating the bushes back until it became so dark that she couldn't see any longer and to hell with the press.

This morning I read through the timeline of this case and it surprised me to find out that the grandfather tried to commit suicide last night.

He took photo's of his family and a lot of medication and went to a hotel room where he texted his wife and told her he didn't want to live any longer. The police found him and he is currently doing 72 hours on sucide watch at a local hospital.

When this whole thing started, apparently, Casey's car was impounded (I don't know why) and George Anthony, a former cop, and his wife, Cindy Anthony, went to pick it up.

He later told the police and the press, (and I quote), “I had bad vibes the very first day when I got that car," he told investigators on July 24, adding: "I don’t want to believe that I have, have raised someone, and brought someone in this world that could do something to another person. I don’t want to believe that."

The former cop told police that he was concerned about a familiar odor wafting from the trunk of his daughter's Pontiac Sunfire. As a former investigator, he said, he recognized the smell of death.

George Anthony's wife Cindy, who told the media the smell was that of decomposing pizza, noticed the odor in their daughter's car too, he said in interviews with detectives.

"After we pulled inside the garage ... her exact words were, ‘Jesus Christ what died?’" George Anthony told police. "That’s exactly what she said. But then she said it in a way, she says, ‘George, it was the pizza right?’ And I said, 'Yeah, it was the pizza.’

"And that’s what I left it go at that, but, I’m sitting here as the grandfather, as the father, as George Anthony and as a guy who smelled the smell before years ago, and you just never forget it. I even stuck my nose down on it and I’m, I’m concerned."

Forensic tests confirmed that hair found in the trunk of the vehicle came from a decomposing body. DNA evidence suggests a corpse had been in the car's trunk.

Personally I believe that Cindy Anthony did not participate in Caylee's death but through some misguided guilt over feeling she forced Casey to keep the baby or that she didn't protect Caylee enough or that she raised a monster or whatever, has decided to lie and obstruct justice for her daughter and has done just that.

I firmly believe that George Anthony knows FAR more than he is saying and simply couldn't take it anymore.

In previous blogs, I have talked about this case and the oddness in the fact that George Anthony stopped speaking publicaly to the press or to his daughter once she was arrested. I have spoken of the video's released from their prison visits where George is sitting there quietly and Cindy and Casey are doing all the talking. I think that is how he has handled this entire ordeal.

He sits back, keeps his mouth shut and his ears open and tries to pretend he isn't even there. That none of this is happening. He doesn't want to participate in bringing his daughter and wife down but at the same time, I don't think he is going to cover for them either. He is just going to let the police do their thing and let the chips fall where they may.

I can see how he would feel that way. However, it makes him just as culpable as Cindy in this matter by virtue of his silence. Actually it makes him MORE culpable because they are seriously deranged and have excused their behavior to the point that they don't think they are doing wrong. They think what they are doing is absolutely right and justifiable. Mr. Anthony's weak bid at suicide shows me that he, on the other hand, knows that this is wrong and not justifiable and is wracked with guilt over it. He apparently still have some control over his faculties to the point that he knows right from wrong. Having said this, he needs to go to the police and spill his guts to them. He needs to tell them each and every inconsistency he has heard or witnessed. He needs to cooperate with them fully and completely.

Of all the players, George is the only one who can really truly get to the bottom of this entire mess by the simple fact that he is a former cop who is trained in the investigation of crimes and in getting to the truth of the matter.

He is Caylee's only hope in getting justice for her murder.

If Cindy and/or Casey Anthony are innocent, then no harm done but if they are not, it's not his fault if they get caught. At least he will be able to live with himself if he does the right thing. How can he ever live with himself if he remains quiet and they get off scott free? Or, God forbid, someone else is convicted for the murder?

Let them be forced to take responsibility for their actions. They are grown after all.

I really feel badly for him. I think he is stuck in a very bad place in his life. At the same time, I feel that a part of him created the monster that is his child. I think Cindy is the one who groomed Casey to be the egotistical narcisist that she is but I also think that George sat back and watched and allowed it to happen.


But that's just me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Eccentric people I've known - Part One

You might wonder what the above picture is about. Well, you know I'm going to tell you.

I don't know why but at some point today the old adage "a pound of flesh" flashed in my head. That led to the memory of a man who I knew years ago that deserves to be in the upper echelon of the "Eccentric people I've known" category.

This man (we will call him Larry) was an architect AND an attorney back home in Memphis. His wife was an architect and an interior designer. His daughter was an attorney.

I met Larry when I worked for the first attorney I ever worked for way back in 1990 or 91. My attorney represented a stripper who fled the strip club in her car and was chased through the streets of Memphis by her boss in his car. She stopped at a light and he didn't causing him to crash his great big pimp mobile into her little bittie stripper car. Needless to say, she sustained injuries in the crash. He refused to pony up and she sought legal counsel (my boss).

One day, Larry walked into our office. He was an older man (in his late 50's or early 60's) with gray hair that hung down his back. He was gaunt and dressed as if he hadn't changed clothes since at least 1964. Our office was on the street level at the corner of Main street and Adams so we were accustomed to vagrants walking in the doors and begging or simply staggering in not knowing where the hell they were so when I saw Larry walk in the door, I thought he was a vagrant and got up from my desk to escort him back outside. But then he introduced himself to me and told me that he represented the strip club owner and that if we knew what was good for us, we'd drop this matter and mind our own business.

My boss, being the junk yard dog that he was, promptly called our client and fired her. Larry, being satisfied gave me his card and told me if I ever wanted to work for a real attorney to give him a call.

My boss and I sat in his office for a while after Larry left and he regaled me with stories and urban legends about Larry that had circulated Memphis for years. I thought them all too fantastical to be true so I made it my mission to find out. Below are my findings:

Legend number 1.
Larry owned a modest ranch style house on Mendenhall that he rented out to whomever had the cash in their hands to give to him. Needless to say, he kept the house full of destructive partying college students, drug dealers, crackers and the like. The neighbors would tolerate it just so far and then they would get together and petition the courts to force Larry to evict the offenders of the month.

A couple of years before I met him, Larry got into a very heated disagreement with the company from which he rented his office space and decided to turn the house on Mendenhall into his and his wife's offices since it was zoned both residential and commercial. It was in a very visible location on a very busy street with plenty of parking available (he had poured concrete over the front yard so he wouldn't have to make sure his tenants mowed the lawn which was another one of the neighbors complaints). However, the simple one level ranch house just didn't have the umph that was necessary to be his office space SO he set about re-designing the house to make it more suitable for their offices. Several years went by. He had taken the roof off the house and had framed in a massive upstairs addition complete with a turret-type thing on the roof (on a ranch house - what a sight!) but then for some unknown reason, he stopped working on it.

And for about 5 years the neighbors were faced with this topless monstrosity whenever they returned home from work. SO they again circulated a petition asking a Judge to either tear it down or force him to finish it in a style that behooved the rest of the neighborhood so as to not lower their property values.

Larry's solution was to buy all of their houses. He bought about 30 of the houses on and near that intersection and the neighbors moved away. End of problem for Larry. Then he let THEIR houses sit empty for a couple of years. I guess he didn't want to deal with renters?? For nearly 10 years whenever you would drive down Mendenhall you were greeted with a nice street filled with modest homes whose lawns were immaculate. It was a pleasant drive until you reached Larry's block. On the right side were nice houses that were well taken care of and then you turned to the left and there was Larry's block of empty houses with overgrown lawns and the last house on the left was Larry's never finished office/ranch house.

Finally the city took action and Larry finished his office space (picture above) and rented the houses around it out on a "lease to own" basis which made him even richer.

Lease to own was a very popular scam in Memphis for years and years. The owner would put a price on the house (we'll say $100,000) and he would demand 20% down and then would owner finance the rest of it at an enormous monthly amount with 20% of your payment (and the down payment of course) going towards the principal and you were responsible for all repairs and/or renovations. So if you stayed in the house for about 75 years, you just might get it paid off. Don't want that - there's no profit if they stay, so owners like Larry would get folks with the worst credit in the world (don't know where they got the $20K to put down) and sure enough he could turn the house over again and again. It should be noted that if you lost the house, you didn't get your down payment back. Nice gig.

The photo above shows you what the house looked like after he was finished with it. Today the house is actually for sale listed at $149,000. I have actually been inside it both before and after he finished with it and I have to say it is VERY nice inside. The atrium is to die for! Lovely inside.

Legend number 2:
When Larry's daughter passed the bar, she went to work for her dad. Now I have heard several different versions of why she and her father got into a very heated and protracted argument that eventually landed them both in court in adversarial positions but the end result was that she won and Larry lost.

Now it should be said that when the argument started Larry's weight had blossomed up to about 300 pounds but by the time the case went to trial, Larry had lost so much weight that rumors were rampant around town that he either had AIDS or he was on drugs because he lost all that weight in a flash!

As a side note, he later bought into the company that marketed the diet pill he used and again made a ton of money. Once the FDA started making noise about pulling it, he was quick and smart enough to see the proverbial writing on the wall and sold his shares so when the company went belly up - Larry was still sitting pretty.

Anyway, after he lost the case to his daughter (who, I might add, was still practising law with him) he decided to go to a plastic surgeon to have all the excess flab removed. He had the doctor save a pound of it.

After he had recuperated, he took the pound of his flesh and he Fed-exed it to her with a note that simply said "Here is your pound of flesh". Larry was very nearly disbarred over that one! Didn't phase him. He got a chuckle out of it and didn't take the whole possible disbarment thing too seriously since it wasn't the first (nor the last) time he had been threatened with that.

At some point, I got into the habit of dropping by to visit with Larry whenever I was in his neighborhood. He was just such fun to listen to and he loved an audience.

Legend number 3:
Larry represented a client in divorce proceedings. His client's spouse was murdered prior to the completion of the divorce. (Rumors flew all over town about that!) Larry's client was a suspect in the murder and Larry was aware of this. With the assistance of a lock company, Larry entered the deceased's home without the authorization of the court or the owner of the residence and removed certain personal property. During the criminal investigation, Larry did not initially admit taking certain property, but in a later deposition acknowledged doing so.

Another sanction by the Board of Professional Responsibility. He was banned from practicing law for a while but continued to do so and actually served a tiny bit of jail time as a result.

Legend number 4:
Rumor has it (and Larry did not refute this nor affirm it. When I asked him about it, he simply shrugged his shoulders and smiled at me) that Larry made his fortune representing local mob figures.

It should be noted that until probably the early part of the new millennium Memphis had a fair amount of mobsters who were very active and visable. There were a handful of attorneys in town (and we all knew who they were) that made their names and fortunes representing these guys. No one thought anything about it to my knowledge. Mobsters were something Memphis had always had and like Elvis and Beale Street, it was just part and parcel of life in Memphis. Everyone took it in stride and didn't give it another thought.

My daughters best friend all through school was the son of a prominent mobster lawyer. When "Aaron" turned 16 one of the mobsters delivered a brand new paid in full Jaguar to his house for him to drive. Of course before his dad would allow Aaron to drive it, he had a bomb expert sweep it to make certain it was safe. Doesn't everyone have to do that?

I know the above legends are true. There are other legends that are much more colorful and enticing about Larry but I think I'll stop with the ones above. The others could land me in some really hot water. As much as Larry likes me, he would have no qualms about taking swift action against me should I divulge any legends that weren't fluff.

I miss our chats and wish I got back home more often so I could sit in his office and listen to him for an afternoon.

But that's just me.

Serial Killer???

Since October or so, I have noticed reports of missing women and bodies found in and around Birmingham, Alabama. A couple of the missing women have been found alive. Women who decided to start over or were running from the law (such as the case of the Alabama woman who disappeared after being charged with child neglect or the Alabama preacher's wife who disappeared and then surfaced in New York living under an assumed name). But there are many who have not been found alive and well. There are also bodies that have been found but not identified.

When I decided to write this post, I tried to find reports of these bodies and missing women, but could only come up with a few. Most of the time, I find the Internet highly over rated when it comes to research. Or at least FREE research. Honestly I think it's more of a "users" issue.

So below is the list I have been able to compile. I will update this list as necessary. Hopefully I can become more adept at "keywords" because apparently I kinda suck at it right now.

I have only gone back as far as 2006. However, when I have more time available, I intend to take a closer look at the years 1995 - 1999 because most of the missing women I have found were from that time period but right now, let's concentrate on more current dates. Fodder for my next post I suppose.

Sherry Milton. Age 26 - from Tuscaloosa. Disappeared 08/2006 while visiting in Birmingham. Her car was found the next day in the Ensley area (near the same spot that a more recent missing woman's - Nadia Kersh - car was found abandoned). Sherry was slender and had collar length light brown or dark blond hair (this is the most common thread among all of these women).

Lori Ann Slesinski. Age 24 - from Auburn. Disappeared 06/2006. They found her brand new car on fire 5 days after she went missing. Again, slender with shoulder length blond hair.

Britney Jenae Wright. Age 19 - from Vernon. Disappeared 07/2007. She was last seen at her residence. All of her personal items were still there when the police investigated. She has not been seen or heard from since that date. She again fit the general description of the other women.

Lisa Green. Age 44 - from Brookwood. Disappeared 07/2008. Now Lisa is well over the "normal" age bracket if these are all connected. However, Lisa is a slender blond who easily could be mistaken for someone years younger in that she dressed & wore her hair in a style much younger than her age and her facial features belie her age well. Lisa was last seen at a grocery store in Brookwood.

Jennifer Lee Hampton. Age 21 - from Florence. Disappeared 9/2008. Jennifer was last seen at a hotel where she was attending a conference for work. Same general physical description as the others.

Shannon Ellis. Age 31 - from Birmingham. Disappeared 9/2008. Had darker hair but otherwise is the same general physical description as the other ladies.

Nadia Kersh. Age 23 - from Homewood. Disappeared 10/2008. Her abandoned car was found blocks from where Sherry Milton's car was found. Same description. Slender, blond or light brown hair above the collar length.

Brianna Parish. Age 21 - from Daphne. Disappeared 11/2008. Body located. Last seen at a local bar. Killer unknown.

Emily Phillips Milling. Age 23 - from Leeds. Disappeared 11/2008. Body located. Suspect has been arrested but no conviction or confession at this time. Same description.

In January a body of a young female was discovered just off Rocky Ridge Road. She was nude and her clothes were near her body. She has not as of yet been identified. Police have stated that she was not at her location for very long after her death.

That's 10 total that I have been able to find. How many more are out there that I have not been able to find out anything about? My rule of thumb has always been if I can find 1 then there are probably 2 more out there.

None of the above may be related or they may all be related. Also, there are other missing women and found bodies, that I have run across during my informal searches that I neglected to bookmark and now cannot find them.

Alabama doesn't have the history of making serial killers that some other states "enjoy". We had a few home grown serial killers. Daniel Siebert (killed 13 total - 5 of which were actually in Alabama), Donald Wayne Darling (I can't find a total on his victims) and Jack Trawick (6 known kills). We had the 18 year old girl (from Alabama) and her much older husband who traveled around Alabama and the surrounding states killing people and then in the early 1900's we had the infamous "Axe killing" serial killers. These were a small group of black men who roamed Birmingham, Alabama killing folks with an axe. I guess I should include Rhonda Belle Martin in this list. I hesitate only because she killed only family members. She poisoned 6 and attempted to poison another 9 before she was caught and eventually executed in 1957.

Am I excited about the possibility of an Alabama serial killer on the loose? Lord no! However, I am curious about it. As I said before, I will research the '90's timeline and see what else I can come up with. Maybe the northwest and states with cold/wet climates are not the only places that breed serial killers? We shall see.

Be on the lookout for updates on this subject. Gruesome as it may sound, this subject matter intrigues me greatly. I mostly hang with the ultra liberal crowds and our hottest debates have always been about environment causing predatory behavior.

You see I believe that predatory behavior and the ability to act upon that behavior, is born - not caused in 99% of these cases. I believe that people are just more evolved animals who, for the most part, have learned how to restrain their basal animal instincts.

However, from time to time there comes along the human who for whatever reason either cannot or will not restrain that urge. When that occurs ultimately a serial killer is born into our society.

I never understood people who were shocked at this occurrence. After all it is animal nature to prey on the weaker animals. Only in the animal kingdom it is done for food or survival. Somehow once it crosses over into the human arena, it becomes more for sport than survival. It's more a case of "I do it because I can" scenario.

That is the part that intrigues me. The total and complete lack of empathy for their victims. The part of them that actually enjoys the pain and fear that they are inflicting upon their victims. The complete and utter control they have over their victim(s). The part of them that doesn't even attempt to explain their behavior. the "it is what it is" kind of attitude.

Many of these killers mouth excuses "my parents beat me" or "I felt I had no control in my life and this gave it back to me" but I have always felt they were simply mouthing what they had read or what shrinks had told them as a last ditch effort to either make themselves appear less of a monster or as an attempt to influence their possible future endeavors to either get out of prison or at a minimum off death row.

We can study these killers from here to eternity and we will never know how to actually spot them early on and prevent them from allowing their killer instincts to run rampant. We simply must admit and accept the fact that there are people born into this world with this need and drive to kill. The best that we can hope for is that we will be more vigilant in protecting ourselves from them and in our ability to catch them early.

But that's just me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Leading Civil Rights Lawyer Charles Morgan Jr., 78, Dies

In my opinion, Charles Morgan was one of the finest individuals ever produced in this country. I am saddened to see his voice silenced. His book "A Time to Speak" published in 1964 is an absolute MUST READ for every child and/or adult in this country. It should be mandated to be included on the reading list at every public school in this nation.

The following is from an article posted today by the NY Times.

Charles Morgan Jr., a leading civil rights lawyer who was often vilified and threatened by fellow whites during the turbulent 1960s in the South but who pressed on to win a landmark lawsuit that helped establish the so-called one-person-one-vote rule, giving blacks more equitable representation in legislative districts, died Thursday at his home in Destin, Fla. He was 78.

The cause was complications of advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, a family spokesman said. In 1962, Mr. Morgan and other young Alabama lawyers filed a lawsuit to force the reapportionment of the Alabama Legislature. The rural counties of south Alabama had many times the voting strength of the more urban north, allowing the old planter elite to control the Legislature. In 1964 the Supreme Court ruled in the case, Reynolds v. Sims, and ordered a more equitable apportionment. Along with similar cases from other Southern states, Reynolds established the doctrine known as one-person-one-vote, which increased the political power of African-Americans and urban voters.

Among his many cases as a civil rights lawyer, Mr. Morgan sued to desegregate his alma mater, the University of Alabama; forced a new election in Greene County, Ala., that led to the election of six black candidates for local offices in 1969; and successfully challenged racially segregated juries and prisons.

After the civil rights movement began to subside, Mr. Morgan, as a leader of the American Civil Liberties Union, fought three celebrated court cases involving protests against the Vietnam War. He represented Muhammad Ali in his successful court fight to avoid being drafted. He represented the civil rights activist Julian Bond in the early stages of an ultimately successful lawsuit after Mr. Bond had been denied a seat in the Georgia legislature because of his antiwar views. And he defended an officer when he was court-martialed for refusing to help instruct Green Berets headed for Vietnam.

Mr. Morgan lost the Green Beret case, but his attack on the military judicial system brought international attention to the restrictions on the free speech of soldiers.

Mr. Morgan, who was known as Chuck, also led the A.C.L.U. effort to have President Richard M. Nixon impeached.

Mr. Morgan, one of the most colorful lawyers in a region known for them, first came to public attention because of a speech that got him run out of his hometown, Birmingham, Ala. The day after the Ku Klux Klan bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and killed four black girls at Sunday school in 1963, he had taken to a podium and blamed the pillars of Birmingham for the killings: politicians who catered to racist votes and newspaper editors, church leaders and business leaders who refused to take responsibility for the pervasive racial hatred in the city.

“Every person in this community who has in any way contributed during the past several years to the popularity of hatred is at least as guilty, or more so, than the demented fool who threw that bomb,” Mr. Morgan said.

The speech destroyed his budding law practice, which he had already damaged by taking on unpopular civil rights cases, and it led to death threats against his family. He moved to Atlanta to become the Southern director of the A.C.L.U. in 1964, the same year he published a book on his Birmingham experience, “A Time to Speak.”

Charles Morgan Jr. was born March 11, 1930, in Cincinnati and reared in Kentucky. When he was 15, the family moved to Birmingham. He met and married Camille Walpole at the University of Alabama, where he earned a law degree. They had a son, Charles Morgan III. Besides his wife and his son, Mr. Morgan is survived by four grandchildren.

A bulky man, Mr. Morgan held court every day after work in his smoky, whiskey-stained office in Atlanta or, if he were traveling, propped up in a hotel bed in some distant town. His visitors were fellow lawyers, reporters, civil rights advocates and liberal politicians who hovered at the center of the 1960s civil rights movement. He enjoyed performing, whether in the company of friends or in the hearing room of the Supreme Court.

He moved into the campaign against the Vietnam War in 1967, when he represented Capt. Howard Levy at his court-martial at Fort Jackson, S.C. Captain Levy had refused an order to teach dermatology to medical aidmen in Special Forces, known as the Green Berets, saying he considered them “killers of peasants and murderers of women and children.” A military court sentenced him to three years in prison; he served more than two years and became a cause célèbre in the antiwar movement.

Mr. Morgan’s best-known case after he became head of the Washington office of the A.C.L.U. was Mr. Ali’s. Citing his Islamic religious beliefs, Mr. Ali had claimed conscientious-objector status in refusing to be drafted and had been stripped of his heavyweight boxing title because of that stand. After Mr. Ali was convicted of draft evasion in a lower court, Mr. Morgan and the A.C.L.U. took over an appeal of the case, which went to the Supreme Court. It ruled in Mr. Ali’s favor in 1971.

Mr. Morgan’s growing disaffection with the national headquarters of the A.C.L.U. came to a boil in early 1976. At a Washington party, a New York liberal told him that he opposed Jimmy Carter of Georgia for president because, he said, “I could never vote for anybody with a Southern accent.” Mr. Morgan replied, “That’s bigotry, and that makes you a bigot.”

When the encounter was reported in The New York Times, Mr. Morgan was reprimanded by Neier, the executive director of the A.C.L.U., and Mr. Morgan resigned.

Mr. Morgan spent the rest of his career in private practice. He earned large fees and incurred criticism from old friends when he represented large corporations against what he portrayed as government efforts to abridge their rights. He once represented the Tobacco Institute in its opposition to no-smoking laws. He also won major cases for Sears, Roebuck & Company over accusations of race and sex discrimination brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

But it was as an effective voice for civil rights and equal treatment under the law that Mr. Morgan was most remembered in public statements after his death. Less frequently noted was that he also considered himself a proud son of the South and an optimistic champion of its better nature.

“The civil rights movement is freeing the Negro from the bondage of slavery,” he once told a group of Southerners in the 1960s, “and the South is being freed from the bondage of the Negro, and the nation will be freed from the bondage of the South. And then you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to recreate America.”

RIP Mr. Morgan (and thanks)

But that's just me.

What's in a Name????

Adolf Hitler Campbell and his younger siblings (JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Campbell) were removed from their parents home in New Jersey by DHS. The Chief of police in their township said there were no reports of abuse or neglect. Apparently, the children (ages 3 & under) were removed because their of their parents choice of names.

Hmm. My very obvious concern about this is, what right does the government have in removing normal, healthy, happy children from parents who are not on government assistance and have admittedly NOT abused or neglected them simply because of their name?

This whole nightmare started when mother (being the monster she is) ordered a birthday cake for little Hitler and the "cake lady" upon hearing of the child's name, called DHS. I see. Ordering a birthday cake for your child ranks right up there with chaining him in the basement to a radiator while systematically starving and beating him. Good job DHS!! You are on top of these nasty abusers!

Who do you think paid to yank these kids from their homes? Who do you think paid to emotionally scar and terrify these kids AND their parents? Taxpayers. Yep. What a great use of taxpayer money. Now, who do you think is going to pay to defend the county/state when these parents sue (and pay the monetary damages when they win) because of this? Yep. Taxpayers again. I don't live in New Jersey so it won't be any of MY tax dollars at stake but if I did, there would be a lot of hell being raised in the state capital right about now.

Are there no other children in New Jersey that really are actually being neglected and/or abused that DHS could have targeted? No one beating their kid for being so loud that mom couldn't hear Jerry Springer or because he left the trailer door open when he went outside? No?? Well then I guess buying a frigging birthday cake for your kid will just have to do then won't it?

Now, I agree with the governmental agencies on one thing (and one thing only). These are just not great names for their kids. Really not good choices. But, they're not illegal choices. To my knowledge no laws have been passed stating you could not name your child after Hitler and his henchmen. They have admitted there were no reports or evidence of abuse or neglect. They said they thought the parents were causing their kids trauma when they got older because of their name choices. WHEN THEY GOT OLDER??!!

Still, that doesn't equal abuse/neglect. It equals ass beatings in the school yard and drunken fights outside bars (when they're MUCH older - at least 12 or so) it equals pissed off kids at their folks and it may even equal kids going to court when they're older and asking to have their name(s) changed. But it doesn't equal abuse/neglect.

If they are going to start snatching kids with inappropriate names who is the decider of what names are inappropriate?? I remember when I was a teenager there was this Mexican family that moved into our town (the ONLY Mexican family in the entire county - at that time). The dad's name was Jesus. What an uproar that caused!! You would have thought that he had a burning upside down Jesus effigy in his front yard. How blasphemous the town cried!! I thought the poor guy was going to get lynched before it was all over. Update: He and his family moved out of state within a few months of hitting our little town. But I digress.

So, is there going to be a list published of the "offending" names? Will Shithead be on it? Let me digress one more time here while I explain Shithead.

When I worked for DLF back in Memphis, part of my job was to interview prospective clients to see if we would be interested in their case. One day this HUGE ghetto lady rolled into our office dragging the largest 5 year old girl I have ever seen (even to this day) with her.

I took her (and her mammoth daughter) into my office and began to find out what kind of case she thought she had. Mammoth girl was like a spinning top. She simply could not be still. She was playing with the blinds (until they fell) she was grabbing stuff off the desk, she was trying to fool with the phone. Each time she would act out, her mother would scream obscenities at her threatening to beat that ass and then would reach into her purse, pull out some sugar candy and toss it to her like she was tossing treats to her dog. Like the child needed more sugar.

As for their reason for being in my office, it would appear that ghetto lady and her mammoth child had just been to Walgreens doing a little shopping. Ghetto lady saw a friend from church there and was standing in the aisle chatting with her and not watching mammoth girl when all of a sudden ghetto lady heard this loud crash followed with immediate wailing coming from mammoth girl. Ghetto lady rounded the corner and saw that mammoth girl had decided she wanted a bag of chips located at the top of the wire display shelf and had tried to climb up to it when the wire display filled with potato chip bags came crashing down on top of her. The clerk at the Walgreens had the audacity to ask ghetto lady to please keep an eye on her kid. Now ghetto lady wanted to sue them.

Trying as hard as I could NOT to roll my eyes and heave exasperated sighs, I began to take her identifying information (so I could send her a letter stating we would not be interested in her case because I was NOT about to tell this woman to her face for fear that both she and her mammoth child would sit on me and I'd never be seen again). After I got ghetto lady's name and address I asked for mammoth girls name. It is pronounced she-theed so I asked how it was spelled and she (with a straight face) said, "S-H-I-T-H-E-A-D". Wow. It was all I could do. That was the toughest interview of my life.

Now I would say that this lady needs mammoth girl taken away from her because of that grossly inappropriate name but, something tells me that between ghetto lady and mammoth girl, they will be able to trounce anyone who dares to tease her about her name. I was one of the 2 people who watched Norbit (the movie with Eddie Murphy?) The entire time I watched it, I thought, "Norbits wife is shithead!!" She is exactly how I would imagine Shithead would grow up to be. Exactly. Big, mean and abusive.

To this day whenever I hear that someone has come up missing in Memphis, I always wonder if they made fun of Shithead and are now just a greasy spot on the sidewalk. Maybe the detectives should focus on all sidewalks within a mile radius of any school that shithead attends for clues whenever anyone goes missing. Might find some DNA in those grease spots that could lead to closing many files on their desks.

Then there was Whatupmaman Jones. (I'm not making this up) I don't mind using this man's last name because I seriously doubt he and/or any member of his family can read and I have always thought it hilarious that he had such a common last name. When I asked him his name and he said "What up my man", I thought he was giving me a greeting again so I answered, "nothing, what up with you?" He looked at me humorlessly and repeated himself at which time, it dawned on me that was his name. This guy was in our office because he stepped in a hole in a vacant lot which happened to be owned by the city and twisted his ankle. He was on Medicaid and unemployed so he didn't have any medical bills or lost wages to get replaced, so we declined to represent him on that basis. But, it should be noted that this particular vacant lot was surrounded on all 4 sides with an 8 foot chain link fence and was heavily posted with no Trespassing signs. Mr. Jones admitted having to crawl under it at a spot where water drainage had caused some of the dirt to have been washed away causing there to be about a 2 foot space between the fence and the ground. He never told me (and I never asked) why he wanted in that vacant lot so badly. Another rejection.

Now in case whoever is reading this is thinking "she is just so racist" please let me explain. There are stupid people in every race. EVERY race. Hell, little Adolph's parents are lilly white. However, the 2 examples listed above just happened to win the award as far as my personal experience with stupidity goes.

SO, the point of this blog is, who has the right to decide that a child's name is so horrendous that they should be taken away from their parents and put into an already overflowing and traumatising system "for their own protection"?? Why is this okay? Someone really needs to check out the Sheriff or Constable (whoever) as well as the DHS workers who made this decision. They obviously do not know the laws or their jobs well.

But that's just me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quotes of the Day

Let's begin with a little story. Since the presidential campaign is over, I figured some political

humor might be in order. The following is a funny and true story told by KC Williams who

teaches High School Government. In one of KC's classes, they were discussing the qualifications to be president of the United States .

It was pretty simple. The candidate must be a natural born citizen of at least 35 years of age.

However, one girl in the class immediately started in on how unfair was the requirement to be a natural born citizen. In short, her opinion was this requirement prevented many capable individuals from becoming president.

KC and the class were just taking it in and letting her rant, but everyone's jaw hit the floor when she wrapped up her argument by stating .. "What makes a natural born citizen any more qualified to lead this country than one born by c-section".

And someday she'll vote!

Now how about some "Quotes of the day"? I wish I had a machine that made bumper stickers!! These are great!

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." George W Bush, Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

"sometimes they misunderestimate me" President George W. Bush

"Life's tough......It's even tougher if you're stupid." -John Wayne

When Shaquille O'Neal was asked if he had visited the Parthenon on a recent trip to Greece, he replied, "I can't really remember the names of the clubs we went to."

No list would be complete without a quote from Dan Quayle "It's great to be here in the great state of Chicago!"

Friday, January 9, 2009

Becky Marzo case


Yesterday (or maybe the day before) I blogged about the Becky Marzo/Carl Rodgers case. Then much to my surprise and excitement I found the video that aired on 20/20 last night about this same case. Of course, I watched it.

Below are a few "afterthoughts" of mine concerning this case and a few inconsistencies that I have noticed on both sides. Please feel free to comment.

Karren Kraemer is just not a sympathetic spokesperson for this case (or any other) in my opinion. It is very obvious that since she has gained her "celebrity" status, she has had a major make over and to that point, she looks better (MUCH better) but still, she absolutely GRATES on my very last nerve.

She appears to be doing rather well for herself now that she is the poster child for grieving mothers everywhere. She also appears to consider herself an expert in this field without having to go through all the pesky hassle and expense of actually going to college and getting a degree in counseling that the rest of us had to suffer. Bully for her!!

Also, Ms. Karren (yes, this is how she spells her name - it is not a typo) also seems to "color the truth" a lot to her benefit. Now she is the first to shout LIAR!! at anyone else, but she apparently feels it's okay for her to lie. Oh yeah!! She's the grieving mother. I keep forgetting that. That's probably why she feels so entitled (there's that word I bandy about in every blog) to destroy the lives of everyone she encounters. I get it now.

To be fair to Ms. Kraemer, I truly feel that in the very beginning of this entire mess, her intentions were to prove that Carl had murdered her daughter. I don't doubt that. However, VERY early on, it is obvious to me, that her motivation changed from proving Carl murdered her daughter to more of a "I'm not a bad mother and didn't raise a bad daughter" motivation.

Had I read that when they first learned she was missing the father went over to Carl's house and beat the crap out of him in an effort to get at the truth, I would have gladly ponied up some money to help with his bail/defense. Sure. Or even if I had read that Karren had gone to his job and confronted him square on. Same thing. But the odd thing about all of this is, neither of them ever did that. Instead a behind your back, shadow, sneaky cat and mouse game was initiated. I have no patience for that or for the people who do it. I don't care what your reasoning behind it is. Of course, I'm from the South and we tend to handle these situations a little differently down here.

Let's get to the inconsistencies and outright bull of the matter shall we:

1. Karren said Becky never missed a day of work. Everyone else said Becky never could keep a job.

2. Karren said Becky was studying for her CPA. Becky hadn't even finished community college. I doubt seriously she was studying for her CPA.

3. Karren stated a manager of one of the T&A clubs in Florida told her that Becky was given a job bartending because they felt sorry for her. The FBI in their official report stated Becky was a pole dancer who was prostituting herself and selling drugs. Now who does she think we are going to believe?? A manager of a club who more than likely felt sorry for Karren and didn't know how to tell her that her daughter was being pimped out (IF indeed a manager actually even said that) OR the FBI who put it in their official report! Come on here! If you are going to go on national television - you need to tell the truth. The good, the bad and the ugly of it. If you want people to back you in your "quest" then you need to be honest and present all sides or just stay the hell at home. If she truly wants to find her daughter, she needs to put it all out there in the hopes that someone will say "hey, I remember this hooker/dancer/addict who sounded like her!" You don't need to color it too far in any direction because if you insist that she is a church going saint if someone sees a hooker that they think might be Becky, they'll just shrug it off - couldn't be her! She's a hooker and Becky is a saint.

4. Karren would have us believe that Becky and her 4 siblings and her entire family were so very close. Then why is it that whenever Becky did one of her disappearing acts, she never (not once) contacted one of her siblings or her parents? As a matter of fact, Becky told the FBI when they found her in Florida (this is also in their official report) that she hated her family and wanted nothing to do with them which should be evidenced by the fact that she and her family had not spoken in over 8 months before her final disappearance. When Becky came back from Florida did she move in with her parents or a sibling or an aunt? No, she moved in with a friend and then went back to Carl. Doesn't sound so very close knit to me. Karren didn't even know that Becky had gone back to Carl until she was told that Becky had disappeared again.

5. Karren wants to say that Becky was this innocent, simple, God fearing, selfless perfect virginal girl. Again, if you are going to go on national television, you need to be honest. If you want to perpetuate that illusion don't go on national television. Especially if you are going to allow her closest friends to be on there too. They were on the 20/20 show last night. ROUGH looking girls. All of them. ROUGH. There is NO way I would let any one of them inside my house if they were going to hang out with my daughter. No way. Carl's stepfather said it succinctly when he stated that there was a "hardness" about Becky. That she had this "edge". I believe that if her friends are any indication. He further said he felt it was as if Becky had been through some things in her life that had hardened her. Well, being a prostitute at the age of 21 should do that to you. Along the lines of Karren's spin on the virginal Becky is the ever present sickening Pooh bear story. If I hear one more time how a grown woman is in love with Pooh bear and all Disney movies, I will puke. To me that either indicates Becky had emotional issues (seriously, I'm not being facetious. Whenever a grown woman still sleeps with teddy bears and watches Disney movies rather than material more suited to her age group, it usually indicates a deep and severe emotional fear of abandonment, insecurities and a plethora of other possible issues) or that Karren didn't know Becky past the age of 12 OR that she is trying to spin Becky's image so we will forget all about the prostitute thing. Didn't work. Only made me nauseous. Word of advise, Karren, slow down the spin machine a bit. You have cranked it up WAY too high.

6. Karren states that when Becky disappeared this last time and she was told that Becky might be back in Florida she went down there with thousands of posters and thousands of dollars in cash in her pocket to walk around the prostitutes and drug addicts paying for information about Becky but she didn't get any so to her that was proof that Becky was not there! Wow. What a Sherlock Holmes this woman is don't you think?? One might think that until they discover that not only did she have cash and flyer's but was also flanked by police. I don't hang out with prostitutes as a rule but I can imagine that were I a prostitute or drug addict and I was approached by this old white woman flanked by cops and she began to ask me questions, I am pretty sure I'd feign ignorance too. I doubt they'd get any information out of me. Pretty sure of that. What a putz.

7. Now about this whole Becky's terrified of Carl thing. I actually did counsel abused and battered women for about 5 years as a licensed professional. I realize that just may not be as high a qualification as those of Karren but let me just try to get this right. Bear with me here. Becky is terrified of Carl yet she goes out most nights with her friends and they stay out at the bars until closing time and she comes home as late as 3 a.m. Carl calls and texts her numerous times during the evenings and she turns off the phone and goes back to her partying. Do I have that right?? Here is my take on that. Becky is most certainly not afraid of Carl. No way. Women who are in abusive relationships and who are genuinely afraid of their abusers do nothing that would risk enraging their abusers. NOTHING. Were she truly an abused woman, first she probably would never have gone out with her girlfriends without him, secondly had she been brave enough to have gone out without him when he called or texts her, she would have answered each and every time and third when he said come home - you can bet if she had to walk there, she would have gone home immediately. Another reason I do not see Becky as a battered woman is the fact that it breaks all known patterns. Abusers use control (mostly through isolation) and fear to keep their mates. Carl never would have allowed Becky to "run the streets" if he had been an abuser. He would never have allowed Becky to even have friends if he were an abuser. Abusers isolate their victims. That's part of the control and fear process. They convince them that they (the abuser) is the ONLY person in the entire world who really loves them. LOOK IT UP KARREN!

8. Karren and Becky's friends cite as proof that Carl killed Becky the fact that the last time she disappeared, he never called any of them looking for her. Most people, when they have a fight with their mate and the mate leaves do indeed try to track them down so they can talk with them because they want to make up and reunite. However, once any person is done trying to make a relationship work, they are finished which means they no longer try to track the other person down. It means they start rebuilding their lives and try to find someone new. If he's done with her - why would he call any of them to try to find her?? Come on.

9. Karren states that another bit of proof that he killed Becky is that fact that several months after her disappearance he traveled to Canada to meet a woman he had met online. Yep. That's what she said. Makes you turn your head to the side and say "huh?" doesn't it? Well, the good "Dr." Karren says that when a person wants to know if the police are watching them, they ALWAYS take a long trip to see if they are followed. AHHHHH. NOW I get it. Of course! It wasn't that he wanted to be in a relationship or find a wife who would share his and his children's life. It was just so he could see if he was being followed. Why didn't I see that???

10. Karren said she knows her daughter is dead because she let her Wisconsin DL expire and hasn't renewed it. Well, Karren, if she's not living in Wisconsin why would she want to renew it? Hello?? Also, by Karren's own admission it was nearly 2 years before Becky was listed with NCIC as an endangered missing person. If Becky, during those 2 years, got a new DL in a different state I doubt NCIC would have picked up on that 2 years later.

11. She also states that her social security number hasn't been used. If she's hooking, I don't believe they declare taxes - do they? Maybe she's not hooking. Maybe she's living with a guy (or girl) who makes enough to support them both and she's not working at all? Maybe she's in Mexico or Canada at which point her social would be pretty useless. Ever think of that?

12. Karren also states she left behind her last paycheck and her credit cards. Look. If I were going to run away at the spur of the moment and I knew that the last time I ran away mom had the FBI all over me, do you think I'd bother with waiting around to pick up my last paycheck OR my credit cards? No. I wouldn't.

13. Karren (and Becky's friends) went on a bit about her not taking her cell phone with her and how she was practically addicted to her cell phone. Just because you don't take the cell phone with you doesn't mean you can't get another one where ever you land. Also, if she is trying to disappear, why would she want to take a cell phone with her that everyone has the number to? That would really be stupid.

NOW. Let's turn to Carl's inconsistencies:

1. Why didn't he put a stop or at least try to put a stop to this harassment? Why didn't his family at least try? Did they try and I just don't know about it? Could be. From all I've read no one tried. I find that really odd. Carl had no obligation to prove his innocence but at the same time, when you are getting fired from job after job because of this crazy woman coming to your job and passing out flyer's stating that you killed her daughter and your family is being stalked, wouldn't it be a good idea to speak to the police or a lawyer about making her stop this nonsense?? I mean really?

2. Carl continued to pay her cell phone bill for several months after she disappeared. I do find that odd. Why would he do that? I can think of only two possible reasons that he might do this. One to make people think she was still alive for a time or secondly to be able to see who is calling her so he can maybe get a reading on where she might be? Still, that part doesn't look too good.

3. Why would he tell the police and Karren during his first interrogation (possibly his only interrogation I'm not sure on that point) that 2 black men kicked in his door and kidnapped her telling him they were taking her to Florida to be a prostitute? Do kidnappers often tell the witnesses they leave untouched where they are taking the victim and for what reason?? Mighty polite of them I'd say. And if the above really happened, then why didn't he call the police? I find that very strange. As an extra note, this is the only time that I could find that he ever repeated this story. From that point on, he simply stated he kicked her out because she was hanging with some people he didn't want around his kids. Maybe when he was being interrogated in front of Karren he decided to spit that at her to hurt or frighten her? I don't know. People do and say stupid stuff when they are cornered.

Now on this point, I'm not sure whether to slap this onto Karren or Carl's list so I'll just put it out here by itself. What about Becky's stuff? If she was living with Carl wouldn't her stuff be there? Was her stuff there when the police finally came and tested his apartment with the luminol? That is never mentioned in anything I've read or watched and I find that odd. For one thing, as far as the police are concerned, I would think if her stuff was still there when they came to test for blood it would raise a large red flag. Or at least it would with me. Women don't usually leave their stuff. They might leave their man but they're taking their shoes. So what happened to her stuff? Did the police go through it for clues? Did Karren get it? Did Carl refuse to let anyone have it? Did some of her stuff turn up in a dumpster or in the Goodwill donation boxes? This point bothers me because it's never addressed. If I were Karren and Becky's stuff was still there or found its way to a dumpster or whatever, I would be telling the world about it because to me, that might indicate that she might not have left alive. So it almost tells me that all of her stuff was gone because I can't believe Sherlock Karren would miss the opportunity to throw that bit of information around.

Okay. Let's tally up now. I have 13 issues with Karren and 3 with Carl and 1 that is just kinda out there. Still, a little top heavy wouldn't you say??

Now let's move on to the "witnesses" shall we?

First there's the EX-stepmother of Carl. Operative word being EX. Karren and the ex are BFF's. Of course they are. Ex-stepmother dislikes the Rodgers family. She is ready, willing and able to spew whatever dirt she can think of at the Rodgers family. Just not a credible witness to me. Really not. Besides the only information she had to offer was that Carl had a bad temper. She didn't cite any examples or say she ever actually saw his temper. Just that she knew he had one. (get the electric chair ready! That's enough for a conviction!).

Then there is June. She was the most recent girlfriend after Becky. She was the girlfriend that Carl had broken up with just very shortly before he committed suicide. June was on the special last night. Please forgive me when I say that June appeared to (how can I say this?) have a very low IQ??? She didn't appear to be "all there"?? She had all the class of a wet mop used last to clean up the overflow from a public toilet. I have no idea what Carl saw in that person. Seriously. Does this tell you that I didn't buy one single word that came out of this person's very oddly shaped mouth? Does this tell you that I firmly believe - it is my fervent opinion - that she was paid to file rape charges against Carl and she gladly did it? Her story last night about how he chased her around the house with a belt actually made me chuckle. The reporter asked her for specific examples of the abuse she said Carl bestowed upon her and that was as good as she could get?? She also never said the word rape. She said he had "intercourse" with her after she told him no. She told her story without emotion, without detail, without conviction. I found it reprehensible that 20/20 would even allow her to tell that story without following it with the disclaimer that Carl had an airtight alibi for the time June said he had raped her and that the charges were dismissed. Three days after she filed the charges against him, he committed suicide. CARL WAS OUT OF STATE WHEN THE ALLEGED RAPE OCCURRED. HE HAS AN AIRTIGHT ALIBI. The police were in the process of dropping the charges against him when he killed himself.

When Karren was asked about this last night she replied that she felt if she couldn't get him on murdering Becky then just maybe she could get him for raping June. Her eyes literally gleamed when she said this and she leaned in towards the reporter. She was gleeful with her "master plan". It literally sickened me to watch.

Although I can't find proof of this, many people have alleged that when Carl kicked June out of his house, Karren let her live with her and June was well taken care of for her role in the whole rape charge business. I don't doubt this at all. I feel confident that Karren would resort to this type of behavior and I feel equally as confident that it wouldn't take much to convince June to do it.

It should come as no surprise when I say that Karren Kraemer is a phony. She actually could be suffering from a form of Munchausen Syndrome. While Munchausen Syndrome refers to a factitious disorder with primarily physical symptoms, the term is sometimes used to refer to factitious disorders in general. I believe Ms. Kraemer to exhibit the general factitious disorder whereby she is uncontrollably seeking attention in a grandiose manner. This would be considered a personality disorder.

To further explain (please forgive the technicality my blog has taken for a second - I just want to qualify my feelings in this regard) A personality disorder would be characterized by the chronic use of mechanisms of coping in an inappropriate, stereotyped, and maladaptive manner. Personality disorders are enduring and persistent styles of behavior and thought, not atypical episodes. The personality disorders encompass a group of behavioral disorders that are different and distinct from the psychotic and neurotic disorders. The official psychiatric manual, the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association , Fourth Edition), defines a personality disorder as an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that differs markedly from the expectations of the individuals culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment. Personality disorders are a long-standing and maladaptive pattern of perceiving and responding to other people and to stressful circumstances.

Karren is certainly behaving and has behaved throughout this ordeal in a pervasive and inflexible manner. Her behavior certainly has differed markedly from the expectations of her culture.

To end this tirade, I will say that if Karren Kraemer has anyone that loves her, they need to step in and get her the help she so desperately needs. Karren does not need to be counseling prisoners or victims of abuse. She does not need to be the keynote speaker at "womens luncheons". She does not need to receive (not does she deserve to receive) awards for her "work" in furthering victims rights. She needs to be hospitalized with intense psychiatric help and if she had anyone in her life that gave two shakes about her, that is exactly where she would be right now rather than systematically ruining an entire family's lives and means of support by her vigilantism.

Let's be frank for a minute. Becky had a long and turbulent history where her relationship with her family (especially her mother) was concerned. She had exhibited long periods of complete abandonment of them. Couple this with the fact that maybe (if Karren is to be believed) her relationship with Carl wasn't going so well (Carl himself told his family that he had kicked her out that night). Undoubtedly Becky had friends from her days in the T&A club that she still knew. After all it wasn't that long ago from the time she finally disappeared for good. Maybe Becky decided that Wisconsin and all the headache and heartaches associated with it was just not for her and she left.

People up and leave every day of every month of every year in this world. They aren't all killed. Most of them are starting their lives over without the pressures of their old lives. She may never again contact her friends and family in Wisconsin but then again, she might.

When asked last night if Karren would feel bad for her actions if Becky walked in the door alive, she said no.

That in a nutshell should sum up the entire character of Karren Kraemer.

But that's just me.