Friday, October 25, 2013

Kanye Takes A Chance On Love

Photo Credit:  Courtesy of Clyde Haygood
What a difference eight years can make. In 2005 rapper Kanye West soared to the number one spot on the Billboard chart with an infectious little ditty called "Gold Digger". Kanye rapped about a woman who was always wearing the most fashionable clothes, being seen at all the "in" places and ruthlessly leaving one man for the next spurred by the size of their bank accounts. During the song Kanye urgently warns his listeners "If you ain't no punk holla we want prenup. WE WANT PRENUP! Yeah".
Fast forward to Monday, October 21, 2013. Kanye West rented out the San Francisco Giants' stadium and proposed to Kim Kardashian in grand fashion, complete with a 15 carat sparkler to seal the deal. The proposal was especially touching because that was Kim's birthday. Now many late night comedians back in the day joked that young party women of the Kim type (although not her specifically) were the basis of Kanye's song.
Kim was catapulted into the limelight when a sex tape of her with R&B singer Ray J was leaked to the public. She had a media-spotlighted relationship with NFL star Reggie Bush, and a 72-day marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries. Like the song says she doesn't mess with broke or struggling. In light of her track record, there was a flurry of fan disbelief and backlash when Kanye West announced that there would be no prenup.
Let's give love a chance. This is Kanye's first marriage and Kim's third. He is stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing by putting a ring on the mother of their child. This might even be an example to the ever fruitful and multiplying Kourtney and Scott.
Kim and Kanye have named their baby North West, but that's a story for another day. Suffice it to say she probably won't have to fill out too many 9-5 job applications where human resources personnel might question her name. Kanye said he loves Kim and she has enough money so that she doesn't have to ask him for anything; and because of that he wants to give her everything. You can't argue with that. Congratulations to the happy couple.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Yes Bullying Should Be A Crime

Rebecca Ann Sedwick
Photo Credit:  Courtesy of

Most of us were shocked and saddened at the suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick. Rebecca lived in Lakeland, Florida, and according to the website, she was last seen alive leaving for school on the morning of September 9, 2013. She was reported missing at 7:00pm that evening. Around 2:30am the morning of September 10, 2013, Rebecca's lifeless body was discovered.
Rebecca's parents and the community were stunned at this news. As investigators struggled to get to the bottom of why a child would commit suicide, frightening details began to emerge. What unfolded was a real-life tale as ugly as the 70's movie “Carrie”. We all knew that that something was amiss when the police arrested two female suspects just this past Monday, October 14, 2013. It turns out that these girls had somehow managed to allegedly play Pied Piper to at least 15 other kids and lead them in a savage bullying attack on Rebecca.
Even after Rebecca's parents removed her from school in 2012 to protect her from the constant harassment, the assaults took on a cyberistic twist. The same things that make the internet and social media advantageous to companies and advertisers, e.g. it’s instantaneous, far-reaching, and easily accessible, is the same thing that can make them deadly in the wrong or ignorant hands.
This case seems to be a mixture of many things that went wrong. The facts are chilling. It includes: a gang pack mentality reminiscent of the manic neighbors in the Twilight Zone's “Monsters are Due on Maple Street” episode; girls barely old enough to see PG-rated movies without an adult insanely jealous over lost "love"; and this hotbed of tortuous emotions targeted at a young girl who could not escape the darts of cyber arrows because she, like many of us adults, are intrinsically attached to mobile devices, computers, and social media as a way of life. It's become a way we communicate, while becoming more isolated. Whether we call them friends, followers, or fans, it’s implied that these people like us. So more time we spend in front of our devices, the more real and personal these hurtful insults can be.
This young lady lost her life over meanness, plain and simple. Yes, we have to continue to instill in our young people a kinder, gentler nature. At the same time we must warn them that everyone is not kind. Let's give them the names and phone numbers of specific people they can go to in the schools who have committed themselves to squashing out the bully epidemic.
Finally, many people are in an uproar that these children have been arrested. I too believe in the innocent nature of children. But someone or something has exposed these girls to a hardness of heart well beyond their years. Doing something wrong and regretting it is one thing, but the 14-year-old's response on Facebook "Yes IK I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF," the Facebook post read. Grady Judd, sheriff of Polk County, Florida, said the online vernacular meant "I don't give a (expletive)." absolutely lent itself to an arrest being made.
There have always been bullies trying to rule the playground. But the difference is their weapons are now much more sophisticated and in many cases, deadly. Let's continue to love, protect, and train our kids about life, feelings, and consequences.
My prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Rebecca Ann Sedwick. May she rest in peace.
**1-800-273-8255 - Please call this number immediately if you think you cannot go on, or have any thoughts of suicide. Or share this number if you know someone you think might feel this way. This is the toll free number for the Suicide Prevention Services of America. They are there to help children, teens, and adults. They will listen to you.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Time To Do Right By Our Military

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Defense One
America, to me and the majority of its citizens, will always be the "land of the free and the home of the brave". A place that is home and stirs the embers of our hearts. Oh of course like any other country we have had and continue to have our ups and downs. Like any family we squabble with our brothers and sisters. I have been angry with, happy for, and sometimes nonchalant about the everyday goings on of this great country. But rarely have I literally hung my head in shame, that is until yesterday.
The details are in this article courtesy of Defense One Newsletter. The first line "Call it a promise placed on hold." immediately gripped my heart with a what now feeling. The government is already partial shutdown while our two Houses of Congress play tug of war with our livelihoods. All manner of thoughts having to do with the economy, politics, and even scandals ran through my mind. But never in my wildest dreams, or in this case nightmares, did I ever think I would read something as dastardly as this.
I am a product of, and pretty familiar with military life. My father proudly retired from the Army and served two tours in Vietnam. My sister and brother are both Army veterans. And I have many family members and friends in all branches of the military. So from time to time I would hear complaints of some benefit or other that the person who was serving was promised when they enlisted, that over time changed, even though the person serving had completely fulfilled their part of the bargain. Usually it was something like a certain medical procedure, or dental procedure that was no longer covered.
Just as recently as earlier this week I shared a conversation with a retired veteran who is now paying for parts of Tricare that were promised free when she enlisted. I want to go on record as saying that these veterans can't go back and renegotiate their actions on the field, so neither should their care now be renegotiated after the fact. If financial challenges require cutting back benefits, let those who served under past promises be grandfathered in and new recruits be signed up fully aware of what the terms are now.
As bad as these changes were, I never felt the disgrace slapped harder in the face of our military as when I read the story of these soldiers who gave their lives in service for this country. The soldiers who defend our freedom to even stupidly shut down the government with our partisan shenanigans; these same soldiers' families were told that our country's solemn word to care for their families would still hold, but would be delayed. Congress their blood is on your hands for every tear their spouses and children shed. And it will be on ours if we continue to elect such callous, stiff-necked representatives the next time we go to the polling booths.
Any Congressman or woman who is still okay with the shutdown and benefits being "delayed", please put youself in these soldiers' shoes as they flew out of our homeland at peace because the government had their backs and their families would be taken care of. They did not hesitate. When they stepped onto the battlefield and into the line of fire for America, they did not falter, nor did they "delay". In all good conscience, how can you "delay" their due and sleep well at night?
To the military that are in harm's way daily, and the families of those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice, we honor you; our condolences and prayers are with you. We thank you for your services and our hearts are grateful. I hope you don't even get to see stories like the one above. Just know that we support you and your services. And we will call, write, text, tweet and do everything we can to get Congress to no longer "delay" a key mission and that is "fulfilling President Lincoln's promise 'To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan' by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans". And may God Bless and guide America.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Are They Laughing At America?

United States Congress
A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand
Photo Courtesy of:

One second after midnight, October 1, 2013 will be remembered as a dark (pun intended) time in American history.  The last time the United States shut down the federal government was in 1995 and it lasted 22 days, according to political website Policymic.  You can refresh yourself on all of the gory details here and see how things were eventually resolved.  And there is good reason to relive that era of our political befuddlement because as philosopher George Santayana so eloquently put it “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”; alas, and so it appears we have.  At least we have begun to repeat it with the shutdown of what have been deemed the non-essential services of our federal government.  Although I am positive the missing work pay is considered very essential to the affected families.

So after 18 years for congress to ponder, rethink, and improve their professional communications and interactions, guess what?  We have allowed the government to again shut down, largely over arguments about Obamacare.  I say we because we the people elect the good congressmen and women who believe in a government “for the people”, but we are also responsible for electing the people who say my way or the highway and fiddle while Rome is burning.  If we learn nothing else from this fiasco, let us think long are hard as we enter the voting booths in the future.  Let us remember who really represented their constituents’ best interests versus who had tunnel vision for their own agendas regardless of how many innocent everyday workers became collateral damage.

One thing we must remember is that any nation considered as great and powerful a leader as the United States is always under the microscope of the world.  I shudder to think that Syria and their friends might be laughing at us this morning.  After all, a few weeks back we all but hog-tied and forced them to negotiate on a world stage or else.  Yet our own House and Senate of Congress could not or would not negotiate with each other in our own backyard, over business pertaining to us right here in this country.  Let us do better ladies and gentleman of the Congress.  Our neighbors are watching.  And may God Bless America.