Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Don't regret the choice you didn't make today; exercise your rights and power by voting

Please be sure to vote today. Your choice of candidates is your business once you are in the booth. But the world, your country, your community, your family and your conscious need you to participate to make the process work. Yes, your one little vote will make a big difference. Again, please vote today.  And remind your friends.

Need to find out where you vote and get directions?  Click here to find out where you vote and get directions. You can even call your polling place to find out how to get a free ride. Let's all be doers, not just complainers. Have a Blessed day and make a difference in your community.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ebola doesn't discriminate neither should medical personnel

Video Credit:  CNN via YouTube

This is the question that I hate to ask, but it really needs to be addressed.  What is going on with the treatment for the Ebola virus?  Can it be that the treatment is melanin-resistant?  And the reason I’m asking is that the outcomes for those treated were so drastically different.

Thomas Eric Duncan presented himself at Texas Presbyterian Hospital on September 25, 2014, and was sent home even after he told medical personnel that he had traveled from Liberia.  Yes, the same Liberia that has been in the spotlight all over the world due to the deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus and its possible global implications if it isn’t contained.

Then when he went back to the hospital, by this time terribly ill, days went by before he was given an experimental treatment.  Oddly, two humanitarian workers who contracted the Ebola virus while working in Liberia were treated with an experimental drug almost immediately when they were flown back to the United States.  Both workers’ health improved after the treatment.

Both of them were on a noble mission risking their lives to help others, both were going over and above the c all of duty, both received top-notch medical treatment, and both just happened to be white.  If, even in the onset of a possible universal outbreak, color cannot be put aside, race relations are in an even more deplorable state then we knew.

Let us keep those suffering with this virus, as well as their family and friends, in our prayers.  And let us all take this opportunity to remember that people are people and we should all be afforded the same quality of care in the time of illness.  I thank you.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11/2001: From Horror to Hope

That horrific day changed life in America and touched us all in some way.  We never thought we'd live to see an attack on our own land.  And such a ferocious, deadly, and vicious attack.  

But 13 years later we are still standing.  Amidst wars and rumors of wars we just have to keep praying and believing God that He didn't bring us this far to leave us.  And we have to hold on to the fact that if God brought us through before, He's the same God today that He was yesterday and will be forever more.  

I just wanted to share this picture in memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11/2001, and in thanks to the many first responders who worked around the clock trying to rescue survivors.  And prayers to those who lost family and friends.

Former Raven Ray Rice caught on tape abusing fiance; punches her in the face

Palmer looks utterly defeated and resigned at a press conference shortly after elevator assault.
(photo credit:  Rob Carr/Getty Images) 

TMZ must know the keeper of every piece of elevator surveillance tape in the country.  Whatever they are offering these hotel or security employees to leak proprietary information must be enough to make them take the risk of losing their jobs.  Yesterday they leaked the video of NFL player Ray Rice landing a horrific blow to the face of Janay Palmer (his fiancĂ© at the time, and now his wife) that sent her crashing to the floor, banging her head against the hand rail on the way down.

The Baltimore Ravens terminated their contract with Rice and the NFL has suspended him indefinitely.  President Barack Obama (who has two daughters) commented on the situation saying, "Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that's true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors. Stopping domestic violence is something that's bigger than football, and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it."

That is one of the elements that is so disturbing about this situation.  This isn’t some kid off the street who doesn’t know what fatherly love feels like.  No, Rice is a grown man and the father of, believe it or not, a precious beautiful little girl.  He presumably feels this fatherly love whenever he gazes down into her eyes.  One wonders did the thought even cross his mind momentarily how he would be sickened at the thought of someone beating down his baby girl?  That should have been enough to draw back his fist before it met flesh because even though Palmer is his wife now, she too started out as someone’s bouncing baby girl.

Palmer expressed anger and frustration in an Instagram post today saying, “No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his [butt] off for all his life just to gain ratings is a horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don't you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you've succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is!”

And that perhaps is the saddest commentary of all.  Palmer, and many other victims of domestic abuse have convinced themselves, or allowed their significant others to convince them, that this is what “real love” is.  If you or anyone you care about is in this situation, please convince them to get help before their partner loves them to death.

National Domestic Violence Hot Line Number 1-800-799 (SAFE) 7233  has operators at the ready to help 24 hour a day, seven days a week.  They only have the power if you don’t tell.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Protesters looted Ebola clinic; patients and possibly contaminated items missing

Authorities fighting Ebola virus, as well as looters
(photo credit:  John Moore/Getty Images)

Fear can cause people to go to extreme measures to protect themselves.  But sometimes those actions can backfire, potentially manifesting what was feared in the first place.  CNN is reporting today that angry young men attacked a facility in Liberia housing patients being treated for the Ebola virus.  The attack occurred on Saturday and is a sign of the violence that ignorance can spur.  Fortunately, in this case, no one was hurt, at least not during the melee.

The facility is located in the West Point area of Monrovia.  The invasion led to many of the patients panicking and fleeing the clinic.  This was one of the worse things that could have happened, because they can now possibly contaminate others they come in contact with.  According to George Williams, head of the Health Workers Association of Liberia, "Of the 29 patients, 17 fled last night (after the assault). Nine died four days ago and three others were yesterday taken by force by their relatives.”  Those 17, as of Monday, are still considered missing.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

SC winning battle to keep weapons out of the hands of mentally ill

New law helps ensure that the mentally ill will no longer have easy access to guns in SC
(photo credit:  en.wikipedia.org)

Sometimes laws are passed and they seem to never be heard of again.  Well in South Carolina (SC) a law concerning guns has a reached a milestone that is cause for celebration.  The State newspaper reported Sunday that there has been a marked decrease in the number of weapons that are being sold to the mentally ill.

One of the problems with crimes committed by someone that is mentally ill is that because they are mentally incapacitated, the courts often have to refer them to treatment. This is beneficial for the person receiving rehab or clinical treatment, but it does nothing to lessen the anguish of the victims.  The perpetrator is taken care of and society’s desire for justice or accountability is left hanging.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Maxwell's Summer Soulstice Tour rocks Columbia, SC, leaves them begging for more

Maxwell ignites the stage during his live performances
(photo credit:  Juan Ocampo/Bernstein Associates)

A force of nature slammed into Columbia, SC, Wednesday July 30, but in a very good way.  Gerald Maxwell Rivera, better known as soul singer Maxwell, brought his Summer Soulstice Tour 2014 to the Township Auditorium, leaving the audience stunned and delighted.

This is Maxwell’s first major tour since 2010 and his music just gets better with time.  The opening act was Kevin Ross, a young singer out of Washington, DC.  He is making strides in the music industry and seems to be the whole package.

It has to be intimidating to open for a talent like Maxwell, but Ross held his own.  He sang a selection of songs that showed his vocal range nicely.  He covered “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze, as well as some of his own music.  He did some ballads and then ramped it up with some hip hop.  All in all Ross was a pleasant surprise as opening acts go, and he is definitely one to watch.

The only downside of the whole evening was the overly long intermission.  At first people milled around in the lobby softly grumbling.  Then the crowd gave in to its impatient anticipation by stomping the floor, clapping their hands and yelling “Maxwell” to the top of their lungs.  There’s a saying that music soothes the savage beast and  (Continue reading full story here.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

John Boehner dragging GOP down with sore loser lawsuit

John Boehner’s pointing the finger again.  Continues to play the blame game. 
   (photo credit:  Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Kim Jong-un (Supreme leader of North Korea), Boko Haram (violent militant group in Nigeria) and their ilk cause people around the world to shudder at their atrocities.  Fortunately, the United States has long been spared having to deal with such reckless abandonment in their leadership.  But out of the shadows has stepped a rarely glimpsed terror.  Starring as the living personification of hatred is House speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, Boehner’s controversial plans to sue President Barack Obama won the vote in the House Wednesday, 225 to 201.  As expected, no Democrats voted in favor of the lawsuit but, surprisingly, the crazed manhunt proposed by Boehner was also shunned by some of his own fellow Republican legislators.   (Continue reading full story here.)

Monday, July 28, 2014

There may be more to pork Pres. elect Ronald William Prestage than meets the sty

Though he tried to enter U.S. Capitol with a gun, Prestage (center) 
once presented President Bush with Katie, the first pardoned female turkey.
(photo credit:  Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

When Ronald William Prestage, 59, was arrested last week for trying to take an unlicensed gun into the U. S. Capitol, many wondered what the frequent lobbyist was thinking.  According to the New York Daily News, Prestage did nothing suspicious to bring attention to himself, but the 9-mm. Ruger handgun was found during a routine search.  Prestage was arrested and taken into custody by the U. S. Capitol police.

Well reports and sources that have surfaced afresh after Prestage’s arrest indicate that his bag might not be the only thing that bears looking into.  Prestage is the president of Prestage Farms of South Carolina, LLC (PFSC), which provides turkey to the Louis Rich brand of Kraft Foods.  The parent company, Prestage Farms (PF) lists on its website that their mission is to “produce top quality pork and turkey at a competitive cost”.   (Continue reading full story here.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pork President elect caught trying to enter U.S. Capitol with unlicensed gun

Prestage arrested after trying to enter U.S. Capitol with a gun.
(photo credit:  Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

A story in The State newspaper today underscores just how easily a tragedy can happen and why tightened security is still imperative.  Ronald William Prestage, 59, was stopped this morning as he tried to enter the U. S. Capitol with a loaded 9mm handgun in his bag.  This is the 2nd time in a week that someone has been caught trying to enter the Capitol with a gun.

Prestage is the president of Prestage Farms of South Carolina, LLC., and is a well-known pork and turkey lobbyist in the hallowed halls of the Capitol.  Fortunately even frequent visitors are required to submit to a routine search and this is when security found the gun in Prestage’s bag.  He was arrested and taken into custody by U. S. Capitol Police on charges of “carrying a pistol without a license”.

Monday, July 21, 2014

R.J. Reynolds' case goes up in smoke, loses lawsuit, must pay $23.6 billion

From ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
(photo credit:  Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Chalk one up for the little guys.  According to a CNN report today, tobacco kingpin R. J. Reynolds lost a lawsuit to Florida widow Cynthia Robinson and will have to fork over $23.6 billion.  Representatives for R. J. Reynolds called the verdict “excessive and outrageous” and are planning to appeal.

The company has repeatedly won lawsuits levied against them on the grounds that people willingly smoke cigarettes and the tobacco company should not be held responsible for something that they are not forcing people to do.  They simply make the product available and, if a person chooses to buy and consume the product, the manufacturer should not be held responsible. (Continue reading full story here.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Piggybacking on immigration, Ku Klux Klan sweetens the pot, delivers candy

The Ku Klux Klan in their Sunday Best
(Photo credit:  ni.wikipedia.org)

With much of America being riveted by the scenes of abandoned children left, defenseless, on this side of the border, an old dragon has reared its head to take full advantage of the situation.  The Campus Lately is reporting today that the residents in one Seneca, SC, neighborhood awoke Sunday morning to find that the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) fairy had visited during the night and left bags of sweets in their driveways.

The small plastic bags contained peppermints and other candies, as well as a pamphlet bearing the title “Save Our Land Join The Klan”.  Robert Jones, the Imperial Klaliff of a local sect called the Loyal White Knights said that the event was part of a scheduled recruitment drop that many KKK chapters participate in three times a year.  He said all of the immigration hoopla underscores the need to protect our country and that all of the hype over illegal immigration is doing “all of our recruiting for us.”  He claims to have received over 20,000 interested calls as a result of this weekend’s drive-by goody bag drops. (Continue reading full story here.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's his prerogative; Arlen Escarpeta cast as Bobby Brown in Lifetime's biopic

Introducing the actor that snagged the Bobby Brown role.
(photo credit:  Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

Essence magazine reported yesterday that Lifetime network has chosen Arlen Escarpeta, 33, to play the role of Bobby Brown in its upcoming biopic about Whitney Houston’s climb to fame and the over-the-top crazy love of the couple.  They had already cast actress YaYa DaCosta in the role of the legendary Houston.

Director Angela Bassett has chosen not to rehash the painful memories and questions surrounding the drowning of Whitney Houston in a hotel bathtub on February 11, 2012.  Bassett said, “We’re not interested in dragging her life again through, you know, the muck. She had to play out her choices, and the consequences of them, in a very hot, glaring spotlight, but we’re not interested in dragging that through again.”  (Continue reading full story here.)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Rosie O'Donnell will be bringing the drama; returning as host on 'The View'

She's back!  Rosie to return to 'The View'
(photo credit:  Andrew H. Walker)

With hosts dropping from ‘The View’ like flies recently, the big question was would Whoopi Goldberg be left to make small talk with an endless stream of guest moderators.  Well ABC lived up to their promise that the show would be moving in a “new and exciting direction.”  The network confirmed yesterday that Rosie O’Donnell will be returning as a host on ‘The View’ next season.

Even though it may not be new, many are looking forward to the excitement that always seems to follow O’Donnell.  When O’Donnell was a host for ‘The View’ from 2006-2007, there were so many hosts that the network would have been hard pressed to even slide a sheet of paper between them.  They were often accused of cutting each other off in mid-sentence as each host scrambled to voice their opinion.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Texas teen survives mass murder spree; her tips help capture Ron Lee Haskell

Ron Lee Haskell finally surrenders after killing six people.
(Video via YouTube)

Police were able to capture a mass murderer thanks to the help of one of his victims.  A 15-year-old girl survived being shot in the head and identified Ron Lee Haskell, 34, as the shooter.  Haskell held police at bay during a tense standoff for several hours, but finally surrendered without further incident about 10:00 p.m. Wednesday.  Authorities credit the brave teen with saving her grandparents’ lives because she tipped them off that Haskell was on his way to kill them next.

According to the girl, the lone survivor of the slaughter, she didn’t recognize Haskell at first.  He showed up at her home in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday afternoon disguised as a Fed-Ex delivery man.  He asked for her parents and left when she told him they were not at home.  A short time later he returned and asked for her parents again, but this time he identified himself.  She recognized him as what she termed an “ex-uncle” and tried to shut the door.  Haskell became enraged and kicked his way in.  (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Six Flags horror: Ninja roller coaster slams into branches on track, derails

Authorities worked frantically to rescue passengers from dangling car.
(Video via YouTube)

People flock to roller coaster rides for the same reason they flock to horror movies.  They know they’ll   be screaming, they know they’ll be scared out of their wits, but they also know deep down inside that they are in a controlled and safe environment.  And while that is usually the case, up to six people were injured near Los Angeles Monday when a roller coaster derailed.

The incident happened at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA, around 5:30pm.  Passengers on the Ninja were shocked when they heard what one witness called a “big boom”.  Many people thought an explosion had occurred, but in reality, the Ninja, described by Six Flags as the “Black Belt of Roller Coasters", crashed into some pine tree branches that had fallen across the track and caused the cars to derail.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Monday, July 7, 2014

RHONY star Countess LuAnn de Lesseps works for free to prove worth to BravoTV

Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and her beau Jacques Azoulay
(photo credit:  Countess LuAnn de Lesseps via Facebook)

All of the employment and finance blogs advise that if you are out of work, one of the best things to do is to volunteer in the industry you would like to work in.  Apparently that goes for show business veterans also.  According to a story in Radar Online today, Real Housewives of New York City (RHONY) star Countess LuAnn de Lesseps is not getting paid for being on the show this season.

The height of de Lesseps’ popularity on the show peaked around 2010.  She was the toast of the town with her book on etiquette “Class with the Countess”.  And at almost every high society party she attended the guests would beg her to sing her hit single “Money Can’t Buy You Class”.  But over the last few years things began to change.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day, July 4th: time for freedom from bad memories

Confederate flag in Columbia, SC
(photo credit:  commons.wikimedia.org)

July 4th stands for freedom and independence.  Upon reflection, those who favor the Confederate flag flying on the State Capitol grounds of Columbia, South Carolina, do have this right.  But why in the name of compassion and empathy would they want to?

The Confederate Flag is a banner that yet waves over the State Capitol grounds of Columbia, South Carolina.  It has been waving since 1962. It is time that the proud citizens of Columbia, South Carolina, take down the Confederate Flag.  Columbia’s city slogan is “Famously Hot”.  South Carolinians should be hot about this embarrassment hanging over our city.

Many people in favor of keeping this flag flying argue that it is a part of history, and as such, should not be forgotten, or removed.  This, however, is a part of history that is nothing to be proud of. Many of the Confederate Soldiers fought for the cause of the Confederate states to have the right to continue owning their slaves.  No one living in 2011 was responsible for this. But to many minorities, this is a painful reminder of being thought of as property, rather than human beings with the same God-given right to freedom as any other citizen of this great country.  So painful in fact, that in a state that is trying desperately to boost its tourism income, this flag has actually become a burden.  Several religious, political, and even athletic groups, whose events could have brought hundreds of thousands of dollars into the state, have cancelled and moved their events and conventions to other states in a boycott of the Confederate flag.

In 2000, the Confederate Flag was moved from the state house to fly in front of a monument to fallen Confederate Soldiers on the State Capitol grounds.  This was a good first step, but clearly not enough.  The October 28, 1999 edition of The Economist stated that “So far, the NAACP estimates that South Carolina has lost at least $43m that would have come in from visitors: more than 40 organizations have cancelled events in the state, and at least 70 families have moved reunions to other places.”

An article by Sam Eaton published on July 31, 2009 on the news website WLTX.com stated that the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) “voted to move its 2010 convention from South Carolina after the NAACP reminded them of the organization’s tourism boycott of the state over the Confederate flag.”  According to this article, the Christian Church has about 700,000 members. This is a profound loss of tourism dollars to the local hotel and restaurant industry if even a quarter of the members had attended a convention held in South Carolina.

South Carolina also continues to lose out on much needed athletic tourism dollars.  A  July 9, 2009 article by Gene Wojciechowski on ESPN.com emphasized the long-term detrimental effect the Confederate flag is having on South Carolina’s economy.  He states “The Atlantic Coast Conference has had enough of that flag: Earlier this week it pulled the 2011, 2012 and 2013 ACC baseball tournaments out of Spurrier’s  (referring to University of South Carolina’s winning head football coach Steve Spurrier) state and relocated them to neighboring North Carolina. Myrtle Beach’s loss becomes Durham’s and Greensboro’s economic and tourism gain.  Meanwhile, the NCAA won’t touch the state of South Carolina with a vaulter’s pole. Same goes for Spurrier’s home conference, the SEC. And all because of a Confederate battle flag that first flew atop the state Capitol dome in 1962 and still flies prominently, defiantly and wrongly at a Confederate soldier’s monument on the Capitol grounds in Columbia.”

Where do things stand on the Confederate flag in 2011?  An Associated Press article by Seanna Adcox in the HeraldOnline on January 17, 2011, shows that the Confederate flag is still a hot issue.  This article highlighted the views and opinions of people who attended the January 17, 2011 rally in Columbia, South Carolina celebrating the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday.  According to the article, “Georgia’s NAACP president, Edward Dubose, said the NAACP is renewing its commitment to “not spend one dime in South Carolina until that Confederate flag comes down.” He said he and his wife led by example on the drive, by stopping in Augusta, Ga., to order food, then waiting until they arrived in Columbia to eat it.”

From another attendee, “This is more in-your-face. That’s just heartbreaking,” said Markita Primm, 37, who, along with her 14- and 11-year-old children, boarded one of two buses that traveled overnight from Detroit to attend.  Primm, who’s on dialysis and in a wheelchair because of a leg amputation, said she wanted to protest the flag in person. “This flag flying is not right,” she said.  Primm came with 120 people on a trip organized by Detroit talk radio personality Mildred Gaddis, who pledged to keep coming every year with more people until the flag is down.”

The Confederate flag should be completely removed from the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol.  This building and its grounds and its employees represent all of the citizens of South Carolina.  To those who somehow have fond sentimental thoughts over what this flag represents, they can hang replicas of the flag in their own living rooms or front yards. This flag can also be hung in a South Carolina museum to preserve its historical value.  This is an example of a historical period that many South Carolinians are not proud of.  Events represented by the Confederate flag happened so long ago, that an apology, though necessary, cannot erase the tragedy.

The best solution is to remember history, so as not to repeat it.  Remember it yes, but not arrogantly wave around the symbol of that tragedy.  South Carolinians must now contact their local Representatives and Senators.   In the spirit of the rebels…..the Confederate Flag must come down.

*I will re-post this article every July 4th until progress is made.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cargo Plane carrying khat crashed Wednesday morning in Nairobi, Kenya; four dead

Cargo plane crashed in Nairobi, Kenya this morning
(photo credit:  NBCNews.com)

At approximately 3:35 am this morning a plane crashed into an airport shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya.  According to authorities on the scene it could have been much worse if not for the time the accident occurred.  So far ABC NEWS is reporting that four people died in the crash.  The known victims include the pilot, flight engineer, and two other crew members.  Two guards at the plaza were also injured.

The plane was a white Fokker 50 propeller plane.  The plane was flying to Somalia when it crashed into the shopping area.  The force of the impact ripped the plane in two with the front half of the plane buried in the building, and the back half sticking out into the parking area.  

(Continue reading full story here.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bruno Mars makes recovering fan feel like a true 'Treasure'

Bruno Mars sings to cheer up young girl recovering from a horrific tragedy

Not many people know Peter Gene Hernandez.  But almost everyone knows Bruno Mars.  Even the stage name is almost other worldly.  Bruno Mars is a star.  His singing has been compared with the likes of Marvin Gaye; and his dance-filled, high-energy live performances have been compared with those of the late great Michael Jackson.  Well onstage theatrics aside, Bruno Mars proved he is one of the nicest guys in show business Saturday when he singled out and performed for a very special fan.

The Plain Dealer is reporting today that the show was in Cleveland, OH, and was a part of Mars’ Moonshine Jungle Tour.  This is Mars’ second tour and he is getting rave reviews and sold out shows all over the country. Mars was already a hot up and coming artist, but his name recognition, bankability and star power shot through the roof after he gave what many called the best half-time show in years at the 2014 Super Bowl.

Mars made one young lady in Cleveland super happy with some up close and personal attention.  The brave Zumyah Thorpe, 11, is another victim of the horrible epidemic of drunk driving that is plaguing the nation.  These drunk drivers seldom realize how drastically a split-second foolish decision can alter someone else’s whole existence.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Drivers stunned to see man hanging on back of speeding car

Man hanging on the back of car on I-77 in traffic
(Brenda Cruz via YouTube)

It’s something you never expect to see in real life.  Drivers along I-77 in North Carolina were stunned Saturday to see a man hanging onto the back of a car that was traveling on the interstate.  The incident was captured on video by Brenda Cruz.

Cruz and her family were driving along the busy highway and suddenly her kids started screaming that there was someone on top of the trunk of a car.  At first she didn’t believe them, but then she saw it, pulled out her phone and started filming.

Traffic along that stretch of I-77, near Charlotte, NC, is usually speeding along at 70 mph.  However, Cruz says that she and other motorists had slowed down to catch a glimpse of the unbelievable sight.  She estimates that at the time they witnessed the incident, the car the man was clinging to was probably going about 50 mph. (Continue reading full story here.)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fired nanny refuses to leave; family turns to Facebook for help

The Bracamontes just want to be home alone
(via their Facebook page)

It’s a scene that could have been lifted straight out of Tyler Perry’s hit TV show “The Haves and the Have Nots”.  On the show, both Jim and Katheryn (the husband and wife characters of the wealthy and powerful Cryer family) have often told their maid Celine that she is fired, but she refuses to leave.  Well CNN reported today that an Upland, California, family has fired their nanny Diane Stretton, 64, and Stretton refuses to move out.

Ralph and Marcella Bracamonte said they hired Stretton as a nanny on March 4.  She was supposed to help with the children and also pitch in with chores around the house in exchange for room and board.  The Bracamontes followed the usual protocols of caution and investigated her background.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dashcam video: Cop drags woman off tracks seconds before train mows her down

Caught on tape!  Cop rescues woman from train tracks
seconds before train speeds by.
(Dashcam video:  Richmond Police Department)

With so many stories of law enforcement authorities (from officials to beat cops) being exposed for corruption, it’s easy for people to forget the many officers out there who continuously uphold their oath to protect and serve.  The Huffington Post reports today that one heroic officer snatched a suicidal woman off the train tracks mere moments before the speeding train would have shred her to pieces.

Police Officer Ramon Morales, 27, of the Richmond Police Department (RPD), was hailed by a passerby early Sunday morning.  The person told Morales that there was a woman on the train tracks.  When Morales arrived he says that he saw a woman on the tracks crying, the crossing guard was coming down, and he sprang into action.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pastor uses gun giveaways to lure young men to church

Baptism by rifle?
(Pastor Heath Mooneyham via his Facebook page)

Giving away fish dinners, CDs, and crocheted blankets in order to lure people to church is one thing, but Ignite Church in Joplin, MO, has raised eyebrows with its radical membership drive.  According to a story in the NY Daily News today, Pastor Heath Mooneyham has crossed the line.  He is using semi-automatic weapons as bait to get young men to attend church.

Mooneyham advertised via Facebook, Twitter, and his website that he was looking for men to join the church.  He said that he especially wanted young men between the ages of 18-35 to become a part of Ignite Church’s ministry. To capture their attention, he promised to raffle off two Black Rain AR-15s on Father’s Day.   (Continue to reading full story here.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Man ordered to take down U.S. flag because it makes Muslims feel threatened

Should Muslims be threatened by this flag?
(Photo Credit:  Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Our great nation is often referred to as a melting pot.  Everyone is invited to enjoy the opportunities America offers.  But when does the hand held high in welcome become bruised from being ungratefully trampled on once more and again?  Well Headline News reported yesterday that Duy Tran, of Texas, was ordered by his apartment complex to remove the U.S. flag from his balcony because it is a “threat to the Muslim community.”

Tran said that he moved into the Lodge on El Dorado Apartments just a couple of days ago.  As he was getting settled in and putting things away, he decided to put up his U.S. flag.  He didn’t fly it on the carefully manicured apartment lawns, or near the centralized pool area.  He draped this flag from his very own personal and private balcony.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Woman videos herself having stroke after doctors say it was "just stress"

Stacey Yepes of Thornhill, Ontario, was out for a drive when she started to experience numbness and tingling on the left side of her body.  She quickly pulled over and made a video showing and describing what was happening.  (YouTube on.aol.com) 

Have you ever sat in front of a doctor and you can practically feel the breeze of him brushing off your symptoms and rushing on to the next appointment?  Well you are not always imagining it.  CTV news ran a story yesterday showing a video that Stacey Yepes, 49, of Ontario, Canada, took of herself having a stroke.

Yepes was home watching TV one evening and suddenly her whole left side started feeling numb.  She drove to the hospital to get checked out.  She says she felt that something was very wrong and she might be having a stroke.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Backhoe used to find body of woman buried under rubbish after floor collapsed

Authorities used a similar backhoe to locate
Beverly Mitchell's body.
(photo:  handout by Getty Images)

Many fans tune in to shows like “Hoarders” to have a few chuckles over the pile and stacks of things that people refuse to throw away.  But hoarding can be very dangerous.  Connecticut police found Beverly Mitchell, 66, dead Saturday.  Her floor collapsed under the weight of all of the rubble accumulated over the years.

According to Cheshire Patrol Sergeant Kevin O’Donnell, they found Mitchell buried under a collection that included mail, packages, magazines, bottles, etc.  He said it was “piled to the ceiling in most rooms. There was a waist-high layer of clutter in the room she had been living in.”  (Continue reading full story here.)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

#GoKillYourself: the latest fast-growing trending hashtag; danger ahead

You have the power to delete and protect yourself.
(Photo Credit:  Cyberbullying via Facebook)

Commentary:  There is a disturbing trend emerging on many internet discussion forums and social media sites.  Tried and true manners and etiquette are fast disappearing.  The problem seems to stem from the fact that some people no longer appreciate the challenge and beauty of a lively debate.  Instead some seem to want to use these threads as a platform where their opinion is the only one that matters.

Whereas before the only thing such commenters blew up was their own ego, now we are living in a time when you never know what they might do.  More and more we are seeing the particularly ugly comment #GoKillYourself.  It was probably there all the time, but with all of the recent stories of children, teens, and adults killing themselves over cyberbullying, these vicious comments seem to jump off the page.

The comment is usually preceded by a hashtag for emphasis and may contain other instructions.  Some of the more common ones are #ShutUpAndGoKillYourself,  #LogOffAndGoKillYourself, #StopTalkingAndGoKillYourself, #LockYourselfInARoomAndKillYourself, #GoJumpOffABridgeAndKillYourself.

Forums are meant to be places where people can safely gather and contribute their opinions and views to the topic of conversation.  What is alarming is that there no longer seems to be any appreciation of the fact that people can agree to disagree and still be civil.  It is certainly fine to attack someone’s point of view with a stinging rebuttal.  In fact, these very differences of opinion can lead to a thread with pages of engaging and entertaining comments.  But it is never okay to attack the person who made the comment.

Why do people want to shut down a conversation if it isn’t going their way?  Why not just silently excuse themselves and find a thread more suitable to their liking?  There are many theories.  The person may have no, or very little, control in their own lives, so it gives them a sense of power to badger other commenters; especially while remaining invisible behind a computer screen.

Maybe they are a part of a group or culture that uses #GoKillYourself as a figure of speech and mean no harm.  For example, the highly offensive “B word” and “N word” have been so overused in  everything from TV programs and movies, that many people use it in regular conversations as if it is a term of endearment meant for friends and loved ones.

Whatever the reason, it needs to be stopped now.  How can we get rid of this virus?  Well that seems a monumental task, but there are some steps we can take to move in that direction.  Moderators can block or delete commenters who do this.

Some threads have thousands of replies and the moderator, unless comments have to be approved, often does not see every response.  Readers can be a great help by flagging any comment that contains the phrase #GoKillYourself  or any of its variations which will bring it to the moderator’s attention.

Why is this vitally important?  A look at any news site will reveal an alarming number of recent mass shootings and murder-suicides.  It is impossible to tell which commenter is almost to that point, or mentally ill, and for whom that simple command will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

We must do everything possible to make sure a silly hashtag order is not taken seriously by the wrong person who mistakes it for “voices in their heads” telling them to do it.  So if you or any of your friends do this, start a campaign to stop it immediately.  Because the person you tell to #GoKillYourself might do just that, but not before taking many other innocent bystanders with him or her during a real life rampage.  Let’s #KeepItClassy and #TakeBackTheInternet.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Newlywed couple dead; crashed head-on into each other while texting each other

Nicolas Cruz and Christina Munoz died while texting each other.
(Photo Credit:  Nicolas Cruz via Facebook)

A sad story out of Texas that demonstrates, once again, just how quickly life can change.  On June 5th, a Texan newlywed couple was killed in a car crash.  Authorities just released new information yesterday that the couple was texting each other during the wreck that landed both vehicles in a ditch.  The ironic part is that they were driving to meet each other.  The ill-fated couple was identified as Christina Munoz, 26, and Nicolas Cruz, 31.

As the couple was approaching each other from opposite directions, something happened and Munoz apparently lost control of the car.  Her 1999 Saturn veered into the oncoming lane and she crashed head-on into the 1990 Mazda pickup truck that her husband Cruz was driving.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Yaya DaCosta to portray icon Whitney Houston in Lifetime's biopic

Yaya DaCosta has been tapped to portray the legendary Whitney Houston.
(Photo Credit:  Rommel Demano/Getty Images)

The wait is finally over.  The Huffington Post reports today that model and actress YaYa DaCosta, 31, has been selected to play the role of the late singer Whitney Houston on Lifetime Network’s upcoming biopic.  The movie, as yet untitled, is scheduled to air sometime in 2015 and will be actress Angela Bassett’s first turn at directing.

The choice of DaCosta to star as the beloved Houston is already causing negative backlash and critical questions.  Many on social media are fearful that she won’t be able to do the role justice because she is known more for modeling, rather than acting.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Shootout at Forsyth County GA courthouse; deputy injured, attacker dead

Scene of shootout at Forsyth County GA Courthouse
(Photo Credit:  MyFoxNewsAtlanta.com)

CNN is reporting that a man is dead after trying to attack and take over a courthouse in Forsyth County, GA.  Just hours ago today the man, identified as Dennis Ronald Marx, 48, of Cumming, GA, drove his SUV straight up to the courthouse steps with intentions of wreaking havoc.  Authorities are calling it a “frontal assault”.

Marx screeched to a stop practically on top of the courthouse doors and immediately began throwing out spike strips that appeared to be homemade.  Spike strips are used, usually by police, to slow down or stop a criminal by causing his tires to go flat.  He also fired through the windshield hitting a deputy in the leg.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

'Keeping Up With The Kardashians' star Kourtney pregnant again; still unwed

Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian are
expecting their third child, but have made no move to get married.
(Photo Credit:  John Parra/Getty Images)

Kourtney Kardashian, 35, and her children’s father Scott Disick, 31, are officially statistics.  US Weekly is reporting today that the eldest Kardashian sibling is pregnant with her third child.  Kourtney and Disick are not married, although maybe her sister Kim Kardashian West’s recent nuptials with Kanye West will start her to thinking along those lines.

This was no teenaged “oops”.  Kardashian has always made it known that she wants a lot of children.  She knows what it takes to get them and this pregnancy was planned.  Where she differs from many is that she is showing no interest in making it a priority to bring her children into the world under the covering a covenant marriage household.  Not every marriage lasts till death does the couple part.  Some shatter in divorce long before the silver anniversary.

But Kardashian is travelling down a parental path that is seemingly widening day by day.  (Continue reading the full story here.)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Chris Brown released from jail this morning; like his song, he's a 'Changed Man'

Chris Brown in happier times.  Hopefully he is on his way back.
(Photo Credit:  Chris Brown via his own Facebook page)

Singing and dancing sensation Chris Brown is once again a free man.  Brown was released from prison at 12:01am this morning, according to Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Tony Moore.

Brown was convicted of beating pop star Rhianna after an argument in 2009.  Pictures were released of a bruised and battered Rhianna that left no doubt that she had been savagely attacked. Rhianna told police that she had been punched and bitten.  Brown served time for that beating, did community service and was out on probation.

(Continue reading full story here.)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Anonymous donor giving away cash via Twitter clues; your city could be next

Profile picture of the anonymous man passing
out money via Twitter.
(Photo Credit:  Hidden Cash via his own Twitter profile)

The Huffington Post reported yesterday that the anonymous wealthy do-gooder who has been spreading money all over San Francisco has moved his game to the lucky city of Los Angeles.  The modern-day Robin Hood posted on his Twitter account that he is a billionaire who just wants to bring some joy into the lives of ordinary struggling people.

He said that while he was dining with a friend last week he came up with this idea as a way to give back out of his abundance.  The fun-loving mystery man decided to make his donations in the form of a scavenger hunt.  He posts tweets giving clues of where and when the next drop will be made.  The prize is cold hard cash sealed in an envelope.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Husband: Ibrahim won't renounce Christianity despite 100 lashes, death sentence

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was sentenced to
100 lashes for marrying Daniel Wani, a Christian
(Photo Credit:  Meriam Yehya Ibrahim via her own Facebook page)

CNN is reporting today that Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, is not likely to back down on her Christianity despite the death sentence hanging over her head.  Her husband Daniel Wani described her as moody and frustrated during his recent visits.  She is distraught that exercising her choice of religion has landed her in a cell.  The moodiness is not unheard of given the fact that the prison-bound Ibrahim gave birth last week to a baby girl.

What is unheard of is the two-for-one policy the Sudanese government is displaying.  Not only is Ibrahim in prison, but her 20-month-old son is being held captive with her. (Continue reading full story here.)

Update: Reporter that slapped Brad Pitt now on Hollywood security watch list

Brad Pitt was slapped in the face
by a prankster at the 'Maleficent'
movie premiere.
(Photo Credit:  Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Update May 30: Today Yahoo News, is reporting that "Sediuk's publicist (?!) has dumped him ("After the Pitt incident I … was as shocked as anyone," Christa Scherck told The Insider With Yahoo) and his attorney has issued a statement proclaiming Sediuk's innocence. Oh, and his former employer, 1+1 TV channel, put out a press release announcing his termination a few weeks ago after the Ferrera attack at Cannes. "From now on, the journalist no longer represents the interests of the company," they declared. I wish him good luck with all that."

Original report below:
Last night as crowds thronged the red carpet for the premiere of Disney movie “Maleficent”, Vitalii Sediuk jumped over the barrier and struck actor Brad Pitt in the face.  Pitt was attending the event in support of the star of the movie and mother of his children, Angelina Jolie.  Sediuk was taken away and arrested.

This is not the first time Sediuk has turned out to be a thorn in the side of Hollywood’s elite.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Are police responsible for Isla Vista shooting massacre?

Balcony of one of 10 crime scenes
in Isla Vista Shooting Rampage.
(Photo Credit:  David McNew/Getty Images)

Time and time again, we hear stories of mass shootings and wonder why no one in the perpetrator’s circle saw any signs of trouble.  If they did see signs, why did no one care enough to report these signs to someone who could help?  CNN is reporting today that the Isla Vista killing of multiple innocent people last week had been carefully planned over the past few years and there were many close calls that could have derailed the scheme.

There were more than enough red flags and, sadly, some of the blame must be squarely placed on the shoulders of those charged to protect and to serve…the police.  To be fair, the police probably get tips all day, every day about this or that.  And often they might have to make decisions on whether to give priority to a robbery in progress (potentially saving lives now) or to a tip called in by a concerned family member about a relative exhibiting odd behavior (potentially saving lives in the future).

Sadly the mass slaughtering of innocent people by Elliot Rodger, 22, was a tragedy that could have been prevented.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Toni Braxton: God punished me with autistic son because of my past abortion

Toni Braxton makes some startling confessions
in her memoir "Unbreak My Heart"
(Photo Credit:  Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

The Huffington Post reported today that six-time Grammy winning singer Toni Braxton was weighed down for years under a load of guilt.  Braxton revealed that she felt so guilty about a 2001 abortion of ex-husband Keri Lewis’ child, that she believed God had punished her by giving her son Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis, 11, autism.

Braxton shared her struggles in her new book, a memoir called “Unbreak My Heart”.  Braxton said that she was raised in a very religious household.  Viewers of her reality show “Braxton Family Values” are familiar with her parents Michael and Evelyn Braxton, now divorced.  Even though their children are adults, Mom and Pop Braxton often appear on the show and do not bite their tongues about what they feel is right and wrong in their children’s lives.

Both Michael and Evelyn are pastors and Toni said that bible study was more important than school homework when she was growing up.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

From 'Say My Name' to 'Say Yes'; Destiny's Child reunites on gospel song

Destiny's Child, seen here performing for the 2013 Super Bowl
halftime show, released a gospel song Wednesday.
(Photo Credit:  Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Well Hallelujah, some good news for the ladies of former power group Destiny’s Child.  When Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland joined BeyoncĂ© Knowles onstage for an electric set during the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show, fans were hyped that the group was finally getting back together.  It wasn’t to be at that time; however the divas dropped another tease Wednesday with the release of “Say Yes”.

Don’t grab your miniskirts in glee and dash out to the clubs just yet.  The masters of reinvention have surprised us again.  “Say Yes” is actually a gospel song.  It is a remake of a Nigerian hymn.  This version is a high-energy, drum-filled song that promises to have the church ushers dancing in the aisles. (Continue reading full story here.)

Twin brothers, 21, charged with running sex for money ring on Facebook

Tyrelle Lockett, 21, along with his twin brother Myrelle
was convicted of running a human trafficking ring on Facebook
(Photo Credit:  Tyrelle Lockett via his Facebook page.)

Children worldwide are becoming more vulnerable every day.  There is a massive search effort currently underway for hundreds of young girls snatched from school in Nigeria, and feared to be at risk for being sold into human trafficking.  Sounds very far away, but beware because twins Tyrelle and Myrelle Lockett are every parent’s nightmare come home to roost right here in America, Chicago to be exact.

The Lockett brothers, 17 at the time, were the first to be convicted in Illinois under the charge of trafficking people for forced labor or services in 2010.  Sadly the young men, now 21, are at it again.  NewsOne is reporting that Tyrelle is currently in jail and scheduled to appear in court today.  Tyrelle and Myrelle have been recruiting girls on Facebook.  They lure them with the promise of quick and easy money.

The alarming fact is that (Continue reading full story here.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Channeling Elvis; Chris Brown and James DeBarge making jailhouse pop

Chris Brown (left) and James DeBarge (right) are locking down the beats while in jail.
(Photo Credit:  Chris Brown via his Facebook page/ 
James DeBarge via his Twitter Page)

The old saying goes that politics makes strange bedfellows.  Well now it can also be said that prison makes strange bedfellows.  The Los Angeles County jail is currently playing host to two of the smoothest voices in R&B music.  Chris Brown and James DeBarge are prisoners in adjacent cells and making the most of their time.

Brown was on probation stemming from his altercation with pop star Rhianna.  He allegedly assaulted someone who was trying to photobomb his picture with a fan and was thrown in jail for violating parole. He was originally scheduled to be released July 6th, but may be set free as soon as sometime in June.  Brown has been charting since the early 2000’s and is known for such songs as ‘Kiss, Kiss’, ‘Run It’, ‘Fine China’, and ‘Wall To Wall’.

DeBarge, once married to Janet Jackson, (Continue reading full story here.)

Friday, May 16, 2014

High School student arrested; turns out she is 31, lied to family and school

Yes it's the same person.  Gregg County Police mug shot (left),
Charity Johnson via her Facebook page (right).

Two teens arrested for suspected arson in California, and a student arrested for filming women taking showers were among some of the stories involving teens that made the news this week.  But perhaps one of the most shocking arrests was the arrest of Charity Johnson, a high school student in Texas.

Everyone thought the 10th grader was 15, but she was at least twice that age.  According to her arrest records, Johnson is 31 years old, older than some of the teachers who were educating her.

The story unfolded like something out of a Charles Dickens novel.  (Continue reading full story here.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Coal mine explosion in Turkey; 363 safe, 238 dead, rescue efforts ongoing

Miners wait amidst the rubble of exploded coal mine in Turkey
to hear word of their fellow workers.
(photo credit:  Ahmet Sik/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared three days of national mourning in Turkey after a huge explosion ripped through a coal mine in Soma yesterday.  A few hours ago President Erdogan confirmed in a press conference that 363 miners have been found alive and 238 dead bodies have been recovered.  There were 787 working in the mine at the time of the explosion.

Prior to the killing fires surging through the mines yesterday, Turkey’s worst mining disaster was the 1992 gas explosion in a mine close to Zonguldak (near the shores of the Black Sea).  The death toll in that tragedy was 263 miners.  Authorities fear that this explosion is on track to far surpass that one in the sheer numbers of lives lost.

Many of the miners Tuesday were working approximately 460 yards below ground, but (Continue reading full story here.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Don Jones rams Michael Sam with 'Mean Girls' tweets; fined and suspended

Don Jones apologizes to Michael Sam for "OMG" and "Horrible" tweets.
(photo credit:  Don Jones via his Twitter page)

Donald Sterling isn’t the only sports figure whose mouth is getting him in trouble these days.  Athletes have often had not-so-delicate locker room conversation, but what was said in the locker rooms stayed in the locker rooms.  These days social media (in this instance Twitter) makes it so much easier for bloopers to go viral.  Sunday the NFL’s Miami Dolphins organization fined safety Don Jones for mouthing off about fellow football player Michael Sam.

Michael Sam is the first openly gay player taken in an NFL draft. (Continue reading full story here.)