Friday, January 30, 2015
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Sheriff Clarke is furious at all of the unnecessary exploitation of racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri:
I sat up and watched, as events unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri–unfortunate situation, obviously. Anytime a law enforcement officer uses force that takes a life, it deserves a thorough, transparent vetting–investigation. We all agree with that. But then some groups began to converge on the small town of Ferguson, Missouri, like vultures on a roadside carcass… people like Al Sharpton.”
“To come and exploit that situation, and instead of coming into help and restore calm, poured gas on that fire with some of their inflammatory and irresponsible rhetoric.. [Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Senator Claire McCaskill, both Democrats] threw law enforcement under the bus for political expediency”…
“I expected that from Governor Nixon. I expected that from Claire McCaskell. Those are nothing but two-bit politicians… but I did not expect that from Eric Holder, who calls himself a law enforcement officer”…
“Wait a minute. Mr. Attorney General, if you felt those officers had violated your Fourth Amendment, and you’re a federal prosecutor, and you didn’t say anything at the time? On behalf of everybody in the United States, you could have done something if you felt that. You could have made a complaint–because all of us kind of realize in law enforcement, right, we testify–what do they say in court? If you didn’t write it down, if you didn’t report it, it didn’t happen.”
“Really, Mr. Attorney General? You didn’t report it then. You didn’t write it down. But you’re telling us some 10-15 years later for self-serving purposes. I thought, ‘Why did you do that?’ You insulted every law enforcement officer, every man and woman who puts on that badge and uniform everyday, risks their lives in service to their community.”
These bold, conservative statements from a tough talking Sheriff are what America needs to hear. This is not the 1950s, and Ferguson is not the Jim Crow south. Instead, this was an isolated incident of a young street thug robbing a store who started an altercation with a police officer. Then, race hustlers used the optics of this story to incite riots and profit.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
"We don't support that, religiously," Alcorn's mother said, her voice breaking. "But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy."
Crossing out the name "Josh," the 17-year-old signed the name "Leelah" in a suicide note posted to Tumblr.
The note was programmed to publish after Alcorn's death. The teenager was struck by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 71 about 2:15 a.m., about four miles from home in the tiny town of Kings Mills, northeast of Cincinnati.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the death as a suicide.
"Please don't be sad, it's for the better. The life I would've lived isn't worth living in ... because I'm transgender," the note said. "I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy's body, and I've felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally 'boyish' things to try to fit in."
The teenager's death has ignited intensely emotional reactions across social media. The hashtag #LeelahAlcorn is carrying messages of support for all transgender people. Many posts are hateful and vengeful notes directed at the teen's parents. But the fact of the matter is, his parents had a right to take a stand.
In an interview Carla Alcorn referred to her child as her son and used male pronouns.
After the death, a Facebook post apparently from Carla Alcorn said her child "went home to heaven this morning. He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck. Thank you for the messages and kindness and concern you have sent our way. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts."
Some on social media have seized on that post and reposted her message, crossing out the male pronouns and the name Josh and replacing them with female pronouns and the name Leelah.
In Leelah's note, she explains that when she was 14, she first understood what transgender meant and "cried of happiness."
"After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn't make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don't tell this to your kids," the note says. "Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don't ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won't do anything but make them hate them self. That's exactly what it did to me."
"He just quit talking about (being transgender)," she said.Carla Alcorn says that her child was depressed and that counselors and a psychiatrist gave the teenager medication.
She worried Wednesday that hateful messages directed toward her and her husband are making them out to be "horrible people," she said. She has other children, she said, and they are incredibly sad about losing a sibling.
She said that there has not been a service for the teen because people have threatened to protest.
Her child came to her only once to talk about being transgender, Carla Alcorn insisted.
The first time she heard the name Leelah was on the teen's suicide note.
"He never said that name before," she said.
Leelah's suicide note, however, says she struggled for a long time to gain her parents' acceptance as a transgender teen.
"My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help."
At 16, she wrote that she realized her "parents would never come around" and that she would have to wait until she was 18 to start any kind of medical treatment to transition to being a female.
That, she said, "absolutely broke my heart. ... I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life."
Carla Alcorn recalled her teen asking for transition surgery.
She told her child no, she said, because "we didn't have the money for anything like that."
In her suicide note, Leelah said she cried herself to sleep that night.
Leelah told her friends she was transgender.
She came out as gay at school, a move that was supported by friends but made her parents angry, she wrote.
"They wanted me to be their perfect little straight christian boy, and that's obviously not what I wanted."
Carla Alcorn said that she took away her child's access to social media because the teen was looking at "inappropriate" things on the Internet but would not say what those things were.
Leelah describes what it was like to not have social media to connect with friends: "This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I'm surprised I didn't kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parents' disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness."
It all began to feel like too much weight to the teenager, she wrote. Convinced she had few friends, and feeling the pressure of saving enough money to move out of her home, keep her grades up and face people at church who she felt had only judgment for her, she decided to end her life.
"I'm never going to find a man who loves me," he wrote. "I'm never going to be happy."
Give all of his things and money to the transgender civil rights movement and to transgender support groups, Leelah instructed.
"The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was, they're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. ... Fix society. Please."
Two days after the teen's death, grieving in that stomach-punch way that only parents who have to bury a child understand, Carla Alcorn kept repeating that she loved her child.
"He was an amazing musician and artist," she said. "He was an amazing
Not far from where the Alcorns live, Shane Morgan was thinking a lot about Leelah.
The executive director of the Columbus-based advocacy group TransOhio said the teen's suicide evoked memories of what it was like 15 years ago when he struggled with telling friends and family he was transgender.
"I came out as gay. ... I didn't understand what gender identity was at that time," he said.
As Morgan got older and met different people and had new experiences, he gained confidence and courage.
He wrote a letter to his family and friends, telling them he was transgender. With the exception of his father and brother, he said, everyone was loving.
Morgan said he understands the anger some people feel toward Leelah's parents, but "there's no excuse for threats to the family."
Since Leelah's death, parents of transgender children have sent TransOhio photos and letters saying how much the tragedy has shaken them and that they love and accept their children no matter what.
Their greatest fear is that their child will feel unloved. And statistics show that that can lead to suicides like Leelah's.
A 2011 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 41% of 6,450 responding transgender and gender nonconforming people had attempted suicide.
If he could have talked to Leelah, Morgan would have said that he understood how tough it is and how awful it feels. He would have told her that when she got a little bit older, she would be freer to adopt another kind of family -- one of friends who would accept and cherish her.
"I wouldn't have told her that it gets better, but it changes," he said. "There are people she could have met. I don't know if she ever met a transgender person. But she could have seen something else. She could have been given some hope."
Aidan Key also knows well what it's like to endure a transgender adolescence. The founder of the family education and support organization Gender Diversity in Washington grew up in a fundamentalist Christian household and now works with families with deep religious beliefs to help them understand what being transgender means.
He considers himself lucky to have a mother and twin sister who adored him regardless of his gender identity.
"My compassion is there for the parents. All any parent wants is love for their children, for their children to live good lives. Transgender is such a new thing in society, and we've not faced it or discussed it as a society. We've kept it in a dark corner where some people still think it's some deviant sexual behavior," said Key.
"If the parents would have reached out for more information or said 'This is a lot. We need some time,' or if they had access to a group that would welcome them to talk, that might have made the difference for Leelah."
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Are your teenagers driving you crazy? Not listening, not paying attention, and you know, by just being teenagers. This Mom has decided to strike. I mean literally.
Teen daughters who are not as nice as they should be to their mother? Unfortunately this is old news. But that is exactly what a single North Carolina mom is claiming, and she’s not taking it sitting down, so to speak.
Naasira Muhammad, of Winston-Salem, made a “Mom on Strike!” sign and began marching up and down the sidewalk in front of her house about a week ago after, she says, one of the teens keyed her new minivan. I am amazed at the fact that Muhammed did not strangle one of them!
“I’m to the point where I’m just so frustrated, so to keep my hands off my kids or to keep me from doing something crazy, I just decided to go on strike,” Muhammad said. “I walk up and down the sidewalk until my knees hurt, and then I sit down.”
Before launching the strike, the frustrated mother called police to report that her van had been keyed by one of her daughters, whose names and ages were not released. But officers told Muhammad that they couldn’t do anything without eyewitnesses, the report says.
“My children have everything that they could possibly want and need, but yet still, they are disrespectful,” Muhammad said. “They are rude. They think that I’m the meanest mom in the world. They think they can survive without me, so I said, you know what? That’s fine. This mom is going on strike.”
As for the daughters, their aunt forced them to make "gratitude signs" and march alongside their mother, according to local media sources.
One girl’s sign read, “Thank you mom for providing for me, caring for me, and loving me,” the report says.
It was unclear whether talks were under way to end the strike. ABC news contacted Muhammad last week but she declined to comment.
Not listening and or being disobedient is one thing. But keying your mothers car?! That's one violent thing that deserves much more than a strike. At least not the one where you stop doing anything.
Okay, I'll say it. QUICK!, SOMEBODY GET ME A SWITCH!!!!! A BELT, A FRYING PAN, SOMETHING!!!!
A woman in central China has been prosecuted for selling her newborn baby for $7,000, state media reports said, the latest of a string of shocking cases that have shed light on the country's shocking trade in children.
The 30-year-old woman, known as Huang, allegedly colluded with an obstetrician, Yang, in Xinxiang county, Henan province, to sell the baby boy, according to details published in the Procuratorial Daily, a legal publication.
Yang sold the baby boy to a couple in the same county for 42,000 yuan. She gave 35,000 yuan to Huang and kept 7,000 yuan for herself, the report said.
The case came to light in August after the boy's grandmother alerted police.
The grandmother said Huang had left the village to go to her parents' home after quarreling with her husband.
When Huang returned two weeks later, she said the baby had died but the grandmother grew suspicious as her daughter-in-law didn't seem sad. A relative then discovered that the boy had been sold like cattle.
Huang had a son from a previous marriage and thought a new baby would be bad for the elder child, reports said.
The boy is now in the care of his father's family.
Child trafficking is a long-standing problem in China. A traditional preference for sons and the country's one-child policy means that boys are particularly valued.
The news came the same week police said they had busted trafficking ring involving at least 103 people, and rescued 37 newborn babies that were transported in handbags, and suitcases to prospective buyers.
According to the U.S. State Department's 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, China does not fully comply with the recommended minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, the report says it is making significant efforts to do so. The fact that Chinese value their male children more than their female children is well known. But I was unaware that they bought and sold baby boys. The irony is, it is impossible to have male babies with female babies who will grow up to bare them.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Waddles Coffee Shop in Portland, Oregon was a popular restaurant in the 1950s for both locals and travelers alike. The drive-in catered to America's postwar obsession with car culture, allowing people to get coffee and a slice of pie without even leaving their vehicle. This was a welcomed convenience for some people. But if you happened to be Black, the owners of Waddles "implored" you to keep on driving. When I use the word implored I'm being kind. The restaurant had a sign outside with a very clear message: "White trade only."
It's the kind of scene from the 1950s that's so hard for many Americans to imagine happening outside of the Jim Crow South. How could a seemingly progressive, northern city like Portland have allowed a restaurant to exclude non-white patrons? This had to be an anomaly, right? In reality, it was far too common in Oregon, a state that was explicitly founded as a kind of white utopia, a bubble in which white people could both separate and insulate themselves from Black people.
America's history of racial discrimination is most commonly taught as a southern issue. That's certainly how I learned about it while going to New York City public schools.
As I've gotten older and conducted my own research I realized that many white people outside of the South seemed to learn about the Civil War and civil rights movements from an incredibly safe (and often judgmental) distance.
The kind of racism that I had learned about as a Black child growing up in New York, seemed like outrageous behavior that could have only taken place hundreds of miles down I-95 south.
Most of us have learned about the struggles for racial equality in cities like Birmingham and Selma and Montgomery. But what about the racism of Portland, Oregon, a city that is still overwhelmingly white? The struggles there were just as intense, though they are rarely identified in the history books.
According to Oregon's founding constitution, black people were not permitted to live in the state. And that held true until 1926. The small number of black people already living in the state in 1859, when it was admitted to the Union, were sometimes allowed to stay, but the next century of segregation and terrorism at the hands of angry racists made it clear that they were not welcome.
Friday, January 23, 2015
The 38-year-old smoker, who was caught on surveillance camera, will have to clean a public area for five hours wearing a bright vest bearing the words "Corrective Work Order".
Singapore, famous for its cleanliness, cracks down hard on even minor crimes like littering and vandalism, which is punishable by caning, and bans the import of chewing gum, in part to keep its public areas spotless.
The agency said on its website it deployed surveillance cameras at nearly 600 locations and took 206 enforcement actions against offenders for high-rise littering in 2014.
It did not say which floor the smoker lived on.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Shocking video and audio of Jerame Reid's fatal Dec. 30, 2014, encounter with police in Bridgeton, N.J., was released by the Bridgeton Police Department. It shows the 36-year-old's last minutes alive before officers shot him.
In the video, police can be seen pulling over a blue Jaguar being driven by Leroy Tutt, 46. Reid was with Tutt on the passenger side during this allegedly routine traffic stop. Officer Braheme Days can be heard in the video explaining that he pulled Tutt over because he ran a stop sign.
Days asks Tutt for his driver's license. Seconds later the exchange turns to turmoil with Days pulling his gun and screaming at the two men in the car to show their hands.
"Show me your hands, show me your f--king hands!" Days can be heard shouting repeatedly, along with, "Don't you f--king move!"
His partner, Roger Worley, can be seen entering the frame of the dashboard camera on the driver's side, also appearing to have drawn his gun.
"Get 'em out the car, Rog. We've got a gun in his glove compartment," Days tells his partner.
As the officers attempt to get the car doors open, Days can be heard again saying, "I'm telling you, I'm telling you! Keep your f--king hands right there, Jerame. ... You reach for something, you're going to be f--king dead."
Seconds later the same officer can be heard shouting, "He's reaching! He's reaching!"
A few seconds later the passenger car door opens, and it appears that Reid attempts to get out. His hands are in front of him. Days quickly retreats before both he and Worley fire their weapons and Reid falls to the ground.
The Cumberland County prosecutor's office is investigating the officers' use of deadly force. An autopsy has been conducted, but the results have not been made public. The office has noted that "during the course of the stop a handgun was revealed and later recovered."
The Bridgeton Police Department only released the video after an Open Public Records request was made.
"The Bridgeton Police Department as a law enforcement agency does not, as a routine, consider the posting of any such video as compassionate or professional," Bridgeton Police Capt. Michael Gaimari said in a news release. "In absence of the OPRA [Open Public Records Act] request this video would not be released to the public out of respect for the family of Jerame Reid, basic human dignity and to protect the constitutional rights of all those involved."
The belligerent officer who first approached the vehicle seemed to be black. So for all of those who think that these problems are because of white cops in the black community, keep in mind that most cops are prone to identify with their own kind. Other officers!
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Next month, Takoma Park residents as young as 16 will be able to cast ballots in municipal elections, thanks to a change approved by the city council earlier this spring. (The voting age for state and federal elections is still 18.)
Officials hope that getting people involved in local government at a younger age will encourage them to stay more engaged throughout their life. As in most cities, turnout for local elections in Takoma Park is very low, around 20 to 40 percent, says council member Tim Male, who led the push for the change. “It’s so hard to get turnout in local elections anyway.”
The new policy also addresses a challenge that’s common among young voters: Eighteen isn’t a particularly convenient age to earn the right to vote. It’s a time when people are often moving away from home, going to college, or both. That means registration and voting require lots of paperwork, like change-of-address forms and requests for absentee ballots. Sixteen-year-olds generally have more stable addresses—their parents’ homes.
The youth vote was one of several reforms that the city of 17,000, located just outside Washington, D.C., recently passed in an effort to increase turnout. Early voting will now be available in every election, as will same-day registration. The city also now requires apartment buildings to give access to candidates who want to campaign door-to-door within the building.
But not all residents like the new policy. Some think teens will simply vote the same way as their parents. Others are convinced teens will pointedly vote theopposite of their parents. Male says critics were fixated on the idea that 16- and 17-year-olds are too immature to vote.
Takoma Park has a long history of trying new innovations in election policy. Twenty years ago, it gave noncitizens the right to vote in its elections. It was the first community to use a new electronic voting system called Scantegrity, which lets voters and election officials go online to verify that a vote was properly recorded. And it’s one of the few cities in America to have instant-runoff voting, whereby voters rank their candidates instead of picking just one.
Male notes that in about 20 other states, 17-year-olds are allowed to vote in primary elections if they’ll turn 18 by Election Day. If a 17-year-old can vote for president, he reasons, why shouldn’t a 16-year-old be able to vote for mayor? Internationally, the voting age in most places is 18, although Austria, Brazil and Switzerland allow 16-year-olds to vote in some cases.
Male says he’s spoken with several state and local lawmakers across the country in the wake of the change. “You can either believe city government is the place to try new things, or you can believe we’re the last place that should adopt new things,” Male says. Clearly, Takoma Park believes it’s the former.
Should this little "experiment" be a success, it could mean the start of a scary nation wide trend. My 16 year old and yours, the very same people who can never remember to clean their rooms and make their beds, may have a say so in electing a president.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Three 9-year-old students in upstate New York plotted in December to kill their fourth grade teacher with hand sanitizer, according to a police report
As the details of the fiendish plot unfolded it was discovered that the conniving classmates in Elba, a small town between Buffalo and Rochester, told fellow students they were going to kill their teacher right before winter break “by putting antibacterial products around the classroom.”
The Elba Elementary School teacher is highly allergic to hand sanitizer and banned it from the classroom, so the students planned to poison her with it.
The names of the students and the teacher have not been released.
The pupils’ plot unraveled when a student who heard about it told parents, who referred it to the school board.
Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department said that police found little motive for the murder plot beyond the fact that the students said the teacher “is mean.”
He told the Daily News police considered the school scheme “idle chatter” and did not charge the students with any crimes.
Until I read this surprising detail, I didn't gave a second thought to what race these children are. "Idle chatter", and no charges..........
Police referred the case to the school district, which is treating the threats “very seriously,” Brewster said.
Two of the students were suspended, but the school board wouldn’t release any other information about the case, citing privacy of student records.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Friday, January 16, 2015
The unidentified and unwanted tenant is a 45-year-old woman who "moved into" a Walmart in Grand Blanc Township on Jan. 6, with no plans to move out.
She was living with her son but he reportedly got kicked out because of an alleged drinking problem.
The woman was able to blend in with other customers for the first couple of days, according to Detective Matt Harburn of the Grand Blanc Township Police Department.
" She'd just meander near the store all day." Harburn said. "At night, apparently she'd go into the bathroom and sleep."
On Jan. 8, store managers were looking at surveillance video and noticed the woman had been there for two days.
They tried to get the unwanted tenant to leave several times before finally calling the police.
"When I first made contact with her she was sitting in a chair, she had her laptop in her lap with headphones in," Detective Matt Harburn said.
She was slapped with a disorderly person ticket and taken to the Grand Blanc Township Police Department where she was picked up by a relative.
Walmart employees said that it takes customer safety very seriously and the incident did not put customers in jeopardy.
When John Denno was assigned a school report on the Holocaust and the Nazi rise to power, the 16-year-old from Liverpool knew he had to provide visuals, but worried that his artistic skills would drag down his grade.
So this genius decided to make a Hitler Lego figure.....
Denno decided to utilize his LEGO collection to create a 3-dimensional depiction of the fascist era from Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933 to the Allied liberation of the concentration camps in 1945 at the end of World War Two.
“The man said he was stuck in the truck for about an hour, but estimates show it was more like 3 or 3 1/2 hours,” Torres said. “The truck made several other pick-ups before arriving at the landfill, where the driver saw what he thought was a super-sized rat. then he realized it was a man crawling out of his trash pile.”
Instead of winning praise for addressing the deep-seated issue that continues to divide the nation in the form of deadly and explosive confrontations between police and some communities, the chief has sparked outrage among some critics, including Pittsburgh police union President Howard McQuillan. In a hyper-sensitive rant, McQuillan said.
“The chief is calling us racists. He believes the Pittsburgh Police Department is racist. This has angered a lot of officers.”
While issuing an apology for offending anyone, McLay did not back down, MSNBC reports. “To me the term ‘white silence’ simply means that we must be willing to speak up to address issues of racial injustice, poverty, etc.,” he said, the news station writes. “In my heart, I believe we all must come together as [a] community to address real world problems, and I am willing to be a voice to bring community together.”
In a letter to the rank and file, McLay explained that the sign belonged to an activist at the event, the report says. During the parade, he explained in the statement that he stopped at a coffee shop, where he encountered a group and spoke with them “about how implicit or unconscious bias results in misunderstanding on all sides, and how the need is for dialogue to clear up misunderstanding.”
The police chief, who was hired in September by Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, has his boss’s support. “Chief McLay has been talking about ways the community and the police can come together to address racial issues from the very beginning of his time here in Pittsburgh, and Mayor Peduto completely supports him, that’s why he hired him,” spokesman Timothy McNulty wrote in an email to MSNBC
McLay advised officers in his letter to “simply approach your job mindfully, with a continued motivation to protect and serve,” and he said the department would provide further training on issues of racial sensitivity, the report says.
“Please beware also, race impacts how we view one another, and unconscious bias applies to how we deal with the public. It can also impact how we judge one another; I intend we will confront both through training,” McLay added.
Obviously McLay struck a nerve. Men need not be offended by being referred to as otherwise if they are certain that they are men. Any response other than apathy to the attempted offense is an admission of guilt as far as I'm concerned. Perhaps the most telling thing of all is the way that the sign was interpreted. But on the other hand, this could be a not so clever political move to turn rank and file officers against the chief of police. Time will tell.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
George Zimmerman was charged with assault and battery for allegedly pointing a long-barreled shotgun at his new girlfriend Monday afternoon, authorities said.
The former neighborhood watchman who gained noterity for murdering unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin an then being aquitted, pushed Samantha Scheibe, 27, from their Florida home at gunpoint and barricaded the door with furniture, according to the sheriff's office.
Two separate 911 calls, one from Scheibe and one from Zimmerman himself, captured the chaos of the moment.
"You put your gun in my freakin' face!" Scheibe yells at Zimmerman as she tells the dispatcher he pushed her out of her home. "He knows how to do this, he knows how to play this game," she said.
His wife, Shellie Zimmerman, filed for divorce in August. But they were both back in the news after she accused himof threatening her with a firearmin a domestic row in September. No charges were filed because the dispute somehow did not escalate to criminal activity.
Zimmerman has continued to be a public menace long after getting away with murder.
Zimmerman has also been pulled over three times since his acquittal. In July, he was given a warning for speeding near Dallas. In September he got a ticket for doing 60 mph in a 45 mph zone in Lake Mary, Fla., outside Orlando. He also got a warning for having a license plate cover and tinted windows on I-95.