Posted in Amber Wright, Charlie Kay Ely, Current Events, Hate, Murder, News, Relationships, Seath Jackson, True Crime

Seath Jackson, Facebook and the Farmhouse

So much can change in what seems like the blink of an eye.

In March of 2011, Seath Jackson was a happy guy. Just 15, he was in love, had lots of friends, and had dreams of becoming a UFC Champion.

Seath’s girlfriend, Amber Wright, was also 15 years old. The two were close that spring, as evidenced by Seath’s regular Facebook status updates. Many were just like this one, in March, that reads, “I love you Amber”.

Quickly- perhaps in the blink of an eye, even- the tenor changed.

Less than a month later, in the first week April, Seath is observed switching from love-speak, and suddenly begins referring to Amber as a slut, accusing her of cheating on him.

The drama, of course, teen love gone awry- one party moving on, losing interest, meeting someone else- is nothing new.

The terrifying twist in this story does not lie in the fact that Seath and Amber’s relationship, at 15 years old, did not last. It does not rest in the ugliness of the allegations Seath made against Amber; Nor does it have to do with Amber’s returned accusations, her allegations of suffering both verbal and physical abuse at Seath’s hands .

What was so horrifying, what put an extra-ugly edge to an already-ugly dance of angsty teenage-drama, was the public way in which it all played out. An added layer of humiliation was served cold by both Seath and Amber, and they dished all of it on Facebook. This is where they aired their dirty laundry, their relational dysfunction, their anger and heartache. Their large circle of friends began to take notice, and before long, they were chiming in too.

The more others began weighing in, the more bitter the battle of words became between Amber and Seath, until finally, they both declared themselves…

… DONE.

On April 8, 2011, after railing on Facebook (with the help of his friends) about Amber for almost 24 hours, Seath announced that he was ready to move on. He was finished with the “dumb shit”, and had decided it was time to let it go. Amber, for her part, seemed to have a difficult time believing Seth was really “done”, and told him so.

How are yuu done with it. When you continuously write shit about me. Talk shit about me. Hate on me. Fucking say shit to me? Huh tell me bc I really wanna fucking know! Exactly yuur not done with it if yuu keep bringing my name into shit! So learn the definition on DONE!

And with that public exchange, it seems there was finally…

… Silence.

The silence, however, was misleading.

Amber turned to her new boyfriend, 19 year old Michael Bargo, who already hated Seath, and began to share. Michael’s jealously raged, and with Amber’s help, began hatching a plan.

A chilling, deadly, horrible plan.

The kind of plan that causes everything to change, in the blink of an eye.

On Monday, April 18, 2011, police began looking for Seath. It didn’t take long for them to learn what had happened to the teenager, and by Tuesday afternoon, the truth began to unfold in gruesome, chilling detail.

Seath had last been seen Sunday afternoon, April 17, by friends. He had seemed fine, in an upbeat mood, until later in the day, when he began receiving phone calls and text messages.

The calls were coming from Amber and a friend of hers, Charlie Kay Ely.

Amber, it seemed, wanted Seath to come see her at Charlie’s house. Charlie, 18, had a home of her own, and it was isolated- a farmhouse, of sorts. Amber wanted Seath to meet her there so the two of them could patch things up.

She wanted to get back together, she said.

Seath, initially, declined. Amber, with the help of her friend, was able to change his mind, convincing him to meet the two at Charlie’s place.

When Seath arrived at the home, he realized- too late- that this was not to be a happy reunion. Immediately he was ambushed by Michael Bargo, who had help from Amber’s 16 year old step-brother Kyle Hooper, and 20 year old Justin Soto, a mutual friend of theirs.

The three men began beating Seath in the head with wooden objects. Later, Soto and Hooper held Seath down while Michael Bargo shot the teen several times with .22-caliber gun.

Next, the boys placed Seath in a bathtub, where they proceeded to break his knees in an attempt to fit him inside of a sleeping bag.

Bargo, realizing Seath was still alive, shot him again.

Jackson was placed inside the waiting sleeping bag, and his body was taken to the backyard of the home.

They lit a bonfire and burned him.

Seath’s remains were scooped into empty paint cans, and the step-father of Amber Wright and Kyle Hooper, 37 year old James Young Havens III, helped them clean up by bleaching the premises. Law Enforcement believes he knew about the plan in advance, and did nothing to stop it.

It was Kyle Hooper who, on that Tuesday afternoon, one day after they began looking for Seath Jackson, confessed to police the details of what had happened. Tracey Wright, Amanda and Kyle’s mother, had learned of the role her children had played in the death of their peer, and forced Hooper to tell the authorities.

Amber Wright had lured her one-time love to his death.

Michael Bargo, 19, has been charged with first degree-murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Justin Soto, 20, is also charged with first-degree murder, and faces the possibility of a death sentence as well.

Amanda Wright, 15, Kyle Hooper, 16, and Charlie Kay Ely, 18, were all charged with first-degree murder, though prosecutors have declined to seek the death penalty in each of the three cases.

James Young Havens III, 37, has been charged as an accessory after the fact.

Charlie Kay Ely is the only one of the five defendants who refused to waive her right to a speedy trial, and was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury voted to convict after deliberating for barely more than an hour. She will automatically receive a sentence of life in prison.

The others are still awaiting trial.

Posted in C-Haze, Current Events, Dating, News, Off The Wall, Porn, Pornography, Relationships, True Crime

The Stalker, the Student and the Stud

A woman was being stalked.

For three and a half years, Ruth Jeffery lived in fear. Someone, somehow, knew every detail of her intimate life. He knew her schedule, and even had access to her e-mail accounts.

Once, he posted “intimate” pictures of her on an adult website, prompting a stranger to show up, announced, at her home.

Ruth was at her wits’ end, and counted heavily on the support of her boyfriend, who she’d been dating for more than three years; a man she’d known for more than a decade.

In fact, her boyfriend, Shane Webber, was the one person she could lean on during the ordeal. “We did everything together. I would tell him everything”. She believed he was telling her everything in return.

When her stalker created an online profile that was similar to her own, and started reaching out to her friends, pretending to be her, she got scared. This person simply knew too much about her. Was it a friend? A classmate from school?

Who could do such a thing?

Ruth stopped eating, fell into a deep depression, and was filled with fear and paranoia. She began taking anti-depressants. At one point, her studies were impacted, she was so drastically affected, she had to retake her final exams.

She was suicidal, and told those closest to her, she wanted to die.

“I don’t want to be alive anymore”

 Finally, in desperation, Ruth turned to police. By this time, her harasser had pretended to be various classmates of hers, and had even hacked into her computer, sending intimate photos of her to all of her contacts from her own e-mail address. Ms. Jeffery found herself bombarded with sexually explicit photos and videos.

The desperation, depression and fear continued to spiral, Ruth was terrified, humiliated and ashamed.

Police diligently tracked the  stalker, meticulously documenting incident after incident of harassment.

At one point, authorities thought they were closing in on their perp. They arrested and interrogated a close friend of Ruth’s boyfriend. Police, briefly, believed they’d found their stalker.

They were wrong.

Undeterred, police refused to give up.

Finally, they got their break, and after nearly four years of constant harassment, arrested Ruth’s long-time boyfriend, Shane Webber.

Webber is charged with causing Harassment, Alarm or Distress.

He had been harassing, stalking and intimidating his own girlfriend for the entire time they had been dating.

He has pled guilty.

Upon hearing the news, Ruth issued a statement proclaiming, “I want him to be put in prison because he has wrecked the past three-and-a-half years of my life… I’ve known him for 10 years, so in a way it feels like the past 10 years have been wasted.”

Webber is due to be sentenced on October 6, 2011.

Posted in Abuse, Clay Waller, cold cases, Domestic Violence, Jacque Waller, Marriage, Missing, Murder, News, Relationships, True Crime

Exceptional Women Are Not the Exception

I’ve been closely following the case of Jacque Waller. Jacque was a woman from a town near Cape Girardeau, MO who disappeared in June of this year. Jacque had gone to her estranged husband’s house to pick up their son after a divorce hearing, and was never seen or heard from again.

The husband, Clay Waller, told authorities that the two had gotten into an argument, and that Jacque had stormed off. Her car was later found abandoned on the highway about three miles from the husband’s home, with no trace of the missing mother.

After months of denying his involvement, Clay Waller reportedly confessed to his father in federal court that he killed Jacque and dumped her body in a hole.

As yet, he has not been charged.

There is an epidemic involving the disappearance of women.

Almost daily we hear the news that another woman has vanished, only to be found brutally murdered days, weeks, months, or even years later.

Sometimes, they’re never found at all.

Too often, the last people to see these women alive are their boyfriends, fiancées, spouses or ex-lovers.

Rather than deal with the issues that come with involving themselves in a troubled or failed relationship, many men turn to murder, turn to making their “problem” disappear-  and quite literally so.

This, unfortunately, gives a whole new- and terribly morbid- meaning to the term “Til death do us part”.

The numbers certainly support the fact that domestic violence is an epidemic, with some studies listing homicide as anywhere from the second to the fifth most common cause of death among women. That said, I don’t want to get too caught up in statistics. One doesn’t need to be an expert to realize that women are being victimized by their male partners at an alarming rate.

I’d like to shift the focus from the numbers to the empowerment of women.

No one chooses to be the victim of homicide, obviously. A woman doesn’t get involved in a relationship thinking that her other half is the one who will kill her some day.

Be that as it may, many women tend to make terrible mistakes when choosing their partners.

All too often the warning signs are ignored, the writing on the wall has been scrubbed away by women who are willing to take deadly risks to be in a relationship. We are all too capable of working against ourselves, and against our best interests. Women have to stop wiping away the writing on the wall- and need to start paying attention to it.

I am in no way blaming victims of homicide or victims of domestic violence. I have experienced domestic assault first-hand and have an intimate knowledge of the pure evil that comes part and parcel with those who prey on women.

What I have learned, as part of my personal journey, is to identify the warning signs, listen to my gut, and trust my instincts.

Perhaps the most important lesson of all was to learn to love myself for who I am- not who someone else may want me to be.

I submit that learning to understand our value as women, learning to appreciate who we are as individuals, understanding that which we can contribute to the world is not just vital to our self-esteem, but is also critical to our safety and our survival.

A woman who loves and respects herself, a woman full of confidence and purpose, a woman with goals and solid plans, is less likely to be victimized.

No human deserves to be victimized by anyone, and they especially don’t deserve it at the hands of their spouses, lovers and ex-lovers. It’s true that no one, including women, can guarantee their safety in every situation, but we can be empowered, and we can make better decisions.

We can decrease the likelihood that we will find ourselves victimized, missing…

… Dead.

Once we can learn to appreciate who we are, we can make better choices involving men who do not love and respect us at least as much as we love and respect ourselves.

When it comes to dating and marriage, we need to stop thinking of ourselves as the exception, rather than the rule.

Yes, ladies, we are wonderful and unique. We have different talents and abilities, and what we bring to our relationships cannot be duplicated by any other human on this planet.

None of that, however, means we’ll be treated any differently than any other woman has ever been treated when it comes to certain men.

Some men are abusers, and it really is just that simple.

The fact that they abuse women has nothing to do with who we are- including our flaws, or our shortcomings- and has everything to do with who they are. Some men may try to convince us otherwise, but their words do not make reality.

If a potential suitor has a history of violence, the chances are good that this man is still capable of being violent. This is true regardless of all the wonderful things we may feel we can do for this suitor that all the other women in his life were unable/unwilling to do.

If a boyfriend’s temper seems a little close to the boiling point over minor issues while dating, it will get worse once married, worse still during pregnancy, and will continue escalating in the years following childbirth.

Yes, it will.

We are exceptional women- all of us- but we are being irresponsible to assume that we are the exception.

It’s time we stopped being victims.

Dedicated to Jacque Rawson Waller. My thoughts and prayers are with your children, family and friends. RIP, and know you were loved by many, near and far.

Posted in C-Haze, Marriage, Relationships

My Him

In many ways, I feel as if I’ve lived a lifetime since October, 2006. It was during that time I seperated from and ultimately divorced my (now ex) husband.

Since then I have experienced much- I lived through the effects of substance abuse and domestic violence; I have learned the lesson of financial independence and been taught to live the life of a single mother; I have had more fun than I ever could have imagined, and cried more tears than I ever thought possible; I discovered passions I never knew existed- social justice, politics and writing; I have learned about the holes unresolved pain and anger can burn into our souls…

… But most importantly, perhaps, I have learned the lesson of unconditional love, the lesson of how to forgive and the lesson of what it means to be forgiven.

It wasn’t long after I seperated from my ex-husband that My Him came into my life. We quickly became fast-friends- kindred spirits- conversating constantly about anything and everything; the time we spent together… stolen moments here and there… rarely, a night or a weekend… but never enough, became my lifeline. 

We laughed, we cried, we fought, and we loved like crazy… though we did so in such completely imperfect fashion that somehow, through all the twists and turns,  we managed to make it perfect nonetheless.

I quickly found myself relying on him for many things: emotional support, companionship, intense political debates and so much more. He was my shoulder to cry on, my biggest, proudest cheerleader, the most fierce, passionate man I had ever met. He knew how to pick me up, and just when to push me hard.  

I learned, through that friendship, what it means to have a partner. Even when forced to deal with me at my ugliest, he never flinched… perhaps he knew what I didn’t… that soon, our roles would reverse, and it was he who would be in need.

I, like My Him for me, was there.

Hurdle after hurdle, we cleared them all. We were not graceful, my Him and I, but we certainly worked harder than we’d ever worked at anything in our lives. More than once, we almost didn’t make it, the speedbumps too large, the blindspots too wide…

… Always, however, we pulled through.

Our bond became stronger through each and every trial and triumph, until finally, we knew.

Ours is the stuff steel is made of. Ours is not to be broken.

As I reflect on the last few years of my life, I realize that through a single person, I have learned more about myself, my potential, my very inner core than a thousand men could ever have hoped to teach me. While there are many unknowns that lay ahead, one thing is certain- no matter the journey or distance I am to travel, I am to do so with My Him right beside me.

My life is in transition again… things are changing quickly… but I am not alone. My rock is here to support me, to stand strong next to me.

To Him who has become my heart, I have to say thank you.

Thank you for allowing me in, thank you for accepting nothing less than the best from me… thank you for loving me, for forgiving me… thank you for finding me and never giving up on me…

… Thank you for making me your wife.

I will live the rest of my days making sure you never regret it.

Posted in C-Haze, Children, Conservative, Current Events, Dating, David Letterman, Democrats, Family, Funny, Humor, John McCain, Liberal, News, Parent, Parenting, Politics, Relationships, Sarah Palin, Sex, Willow Palin

David Letterman, John McCain and Willow Palin

Ok, so David Letterman may have crossed a line with his recent jokes regarding Sarah Palin and her daughter, with some people even calling for his termination from CBS.

I thought the jokes specifically about Governor Palin were pretty funny- and not the slightest bit out of line- though perhaps slightly off-color.

I did, however, cringe at his quip about Palin’s daughter.

The Governor had taken her 14 year old daughter to a Yankees game while recently visiting New York. Letterman joked on his show that during the Seventh Inning Stretch, Willow, the daughter, got “knocked up” by Alex Rodriguez.

Disgusting, for sure.

I’m not here to condone Letterman’s comments. Personally, I feel that for the most part, children of politicians should be off limits for all of us- late night comedians included. I do make an exception for people such as Megan McCain (John McCain’s daughter) and Bristol Palin (Sarah Palin’s oldest daughter) because A) they are not minors and B) they have chosen a life in the public eye- Megan as a popular blogger, Bristol as a public advocate for abstinence.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the double standard here.

Can you imagine, for example, had Conan O’Brien quipped, during Michelle Obama’s recent trip to London with her daughters, that Sasha (or Malia- pick a kid), had been knocked up by Hugh Grant?

Or worse, Boy George?

David Beckham?

I realize that politically incorrect, often distasteful humor, is par for the course in late night comedic television… but sometimes, as we all know, lines do get crossed, and feelings get hurt.

Unfortunately, and it pains me to say this- as I am a Letterman fan- his so-called apology on the matter was grossly inadequate. Letterman claims that his joke regarding Palin’s daughter was actually geared towards Bristol Palin, but I’m not buying it. Everyone knows Bristol was not the one who accompanied her mother to the Yankees game, and surely,  considering all of Letterman’s staff, if not the big man himself, someone would have picked up on this fact.

This, at best, was a terrible gaffe on the part of his research department. At worst, he knew exactly what he was saying and who he was saying it about.

Regardless, it was a completely inappropriate thing to say.

What enrages me, however, even more than Letterman’s false and disengenuous apology, is certain Republican politicians’ reactions to his comments.

John McCain, for example, when asked his opinion by news source Reuters, stated, “I don’t understand why Letterman would say that about a young woman… They deserve some kind of protection from being the butt of late-night hosts.”

Really?

Funny, considering McCain’s own comments about then-President Bill Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, on the Letterman show back in 1998:

Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?  Because Janet Reno is her father.

It makes one wonder… are John McCain and friends truly against the idea of people attacking the children of politicians… or does it only become a no-no when said politician is a fellow conservative?

Letterman was wrong for saying the things he said about Willow Palin, and that family deserves a genuine apology.

… But as we all know, peoplewho live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Willow Palin deserves our outrage on her behalf. Unfortunately, when it comes from such sources as John McCain, the anger appears phony, crafted, politically motivated and most of all, horribly hypocritical.

Pedophilia, rape and teenage sex are not humorous topics- regardless of who is making the joke, or who the joke is about.

It is, after all, a national epidemic, as Sarah Palin and family know first hand.

Perhaps, instead of duking it out over which public figures’ children are and aren’t off limits, our time would be better spent advocating on behalf of the children who find themselves the butt of these most reprehensible jokes.

Posted in C-Haze, Conservative, Current Events, Family, Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, Homosexuality, Liberal, Marriage, News, Policy, Politics, Relationships, Same-sex Marriage

Carrie Prejean, Crowns and Closed Minds

Let’s talk about Ms. Carrie Prejean, shall we?

For those who’ve been living under a rock, she was this year’s Miss USA pageant’s runner up- the current Miss California USA- who has recently found herself embroiled in a whole lot o’ controversy.

During the pageant, celebrity (and openly gay) judge Perez Hilton asked Prejean to explain her views on same-sex marriage.

The contestant was very forthright, explaining that she believes in marriage in the “traditional” sense- as in, between a man and a woman.

Thus, the controversy.

Since that fateful night, Carrie Prejean has seen her name and her character mecilessly dragged through the mud.

Well-known people- especially celebrities- have been quite outspoken in their outrage. Michael Musto (a columnist for the Village Voice) even went as far as to compare Prejean to Klaus Barbie… a notorious Nazi war-criminal who was responsible for the deaths of about 4,000 Jews.

Ouch… Harsh, much?

All this anger is completely misguided, and misdirected- and certainly doesn’t win many points for left-wingers (such as myself) who claim to be all about the preservation of personal freedoms.

Anyone who has read anything I’ve written on the subject of homosexuality knows that I am a supporter of Gay Rights. I believe that same-sex marriage should be legalized in all 50 states.

I am completely unapologetic about my views on the topic.

Obviously, I do not have the same opinion as Ms. Prejean when it comes to this particular subject.

She is, however, being attacked for the wrong reasons.

Just as I have the right to express my opinion in support of gay marriage, Carrie Prejean has the right to express her opinion as well- even when, or maybe especially when- her views are not the same as mine.

This is the U.S., for cryin’ out loud.

She was not wrong for answering Perez’s question honestly.

Perez Hilton, on the other hand, came across as a complete idiot.

I realize he wasn’t going to be happy with Prejean’s response.

But to act shocked?

Give me a break.

His entire home state of California- Carrie Prejean’s home as well- just passed Proposition 8 less than a year ago- banning same-sex marriage- and yet Hilton acted as if he was surprised that this is a controversial issue.

He knew better.

Rather than take issue with someone for expressing their honest opinion- something the Constitution affords all of us the right to do- how about taking issue with the fact that she is now a spokesperson for the National Organization for Marriage?

This is a group that actively lobbies to “protect” marriage, fighting to keep homosexuals from being allowed to wed.

It is an organization that’s sole purpose is to make sure that an entire group of fellow human beings- gay people- never enjoy the same rights that the rest of us take for granted.

Personally, I will never have a problem with someone who has a different opinion than me.

I will always, however, have a problem with a person who works to take fundamental rights away from others.

Ironically, it is Ms. Prejean herself who best described my own views on this issue. When Carrie appeared on the “Today Show” on April 30th, Matt Lauer interviewed her, asking if she thought she should have held “her fire” when asked about gay marriage. Her response:

No. I think this is a huge issue right now. People are very passionate about this issue and I think that regardless of our opinions, Matt, I think that we just need to respect each other, even when we disagree. It’s all about respect. (Emphasis added)

She is absolutely correct.

Where’s the respect for another’s opposing views?

A reader once commented to me-

It seems there is such a hard push from one side over what they see as inequality that they are in effect pushing so hard that they may become and in some cases already are oppressive.

The fact that he’s correct- and that he’s referring to people whose views and visions I always believed I shared is shameful.

Posted in C-Haze, Change, Dating, Relationships, Sex, Single Mom

Steve Harvey, Standards and Dating

I have been a fan of Steve Harvey’s for years.

I loved the original Kings of Comedy, and faithfully watched the Steve Harvey Show for years.

Nowadays I listen to his radio program every morning on my way to work, and his book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” is definitely on my list of must-reads.

Recently Mr. Harvey was on Oprah promoting the book.

One of the things he talked about really struck me as a single woman.

Steve believes women have set the dating bar way too low.

I agree.

We have no standards anymore.

Harvey tells Oprah, “Women talk about [how] chivalry’s dead. Chivalry’s not dead– it’s just not required anymore”.

Again, he’s right.

Dating is tricky- it’s exhausting, and really isn’t that much fun- not for me, at least.

I hate those first few initial dates… everything is all formal and uncomfortable…

… Nervewracking.

Inevitably, just as I’m starting to feel ok around Mr. Wonderful, as I’m getting to know him better, I begin to realize…

He really isn’t all that wonderful.

Great.

Back to the drawing board.

It gets exhausting, and at times it’s hard to keep my chin up.

I find myself wondering if the problem is me… am I asking too much?

Steve Harvey believes that women need to have strict standards… and that we need to stick to them.

Personally speaking, I have 3 iron-clad requirements:

  1. He must have his own transportation
  2. He must have a job- and currently be supporting himself
  3. He must have his own place

I think my 3 criteria are pretty basic…

… But you’d be amazed.

Seems that looking for someone who has a car, a job and his own place puts me into the “picky” category.

I don’t want to date a man who lives with his parents- this inevitably means we have to spend all our time, when not out, at my house. Some days I don’t feel like cleaning. Sometimes I don’t feel like being the host. It’s nice to have options every once in a while.

I don’t want to date a man who does not have his own method of transportation. I am not willing to do all the driving anytime we go out or just want to see each other.

I don’t want to date a man who cannot support himself.

I am a single mother- I have to take care of myself and my 2 daughters.

I simply do not have the means or the energy- let alone the inclination- to take care of a grown ass man.

I have too many responsibilities of my own.

None of my requirements seem unreasonable to me… afterall, I am not asking anything of anyone that I, myself, do not have.

I have my own place.

I have my own car.

I have a job, and I support myself.

Yet, when I try and explain to people that these three requirements are non-negotiable with me, I am called a gold-digger.

Seriously.

After a while, I find myself making excuses…

“Well, we are in a recession… times are tough… it’s not so bad that he lives with his parents…”

“The job market sucks… unemployment is really high… it’s not so bad that he doesn’t have a job…”

The problem is that while lowering my standards I am  increasing my odds of actually landing a date- I am also drastically decreasing my chances of finding someone I can respect… someone whose company I can truly enjoy… someone I feel is worth getting to know.

So many of us need to remind ourselves that a relationship is not the end-all-be-all in this world.

It’s not necessary to our survival.

Let’s stop lowering our standards… let’s stop being afraid of being alone…

… And let’s show the men out there that we are women worth working hard for.

Thanks to Steve Harvey for reminding me that if chivalry’s dead, it’s only because I have killed it.

Posted in C-Haze, Change, Current Events, Dating, Hope, News, Policy, Politics, Relationships, Religion, Science, Sex, Single Mom

AIDS, Andino, and The Diva

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the AIDS epidemic- both in the U.S. and abroad.

I’ve blogged about it myself on more than one occassion.

It’s been my stance, since day one, that one of the keys to curbing what is fast becoming a plague is education.

The abstinence-only approach isn’t just unrealistic- it is dangerous.

It simply isn’t enough.

Some people may take well to a lesson on abstinence, but many others will ignore it entirely.

Too often, parents use abstinence as a cop-out. It’s an excuse not to have to talk about things we do not feel comfortable discussing.

As parents, we need to get over it.

We must educate our children. We must remove the stigma that is currently attached to having open, candid conversations with them.

AIDS will kill our babies if we don’t.

My oldest daughter, The Diva (she’s 10), was trying to make some money by doing extra chores the other day.

She decided to clean out The Hippie Andino’s car- he’s my 25 year-old baby brother.

I thought this was a wonderful idea.

When she was done with the job, she came back inside, and I immediately noticed the look of horror on her face. She was holding something in her hand, though I couldn’t tell what it was.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

She answers, in an accusing tone, “Look what I found in The Hippie Andino’s trunk…”, and shoves the contents of her hand in my face.

When I saw what she was holding, I could immediately feel the heat in my cheeks. Though I really had no reason to be, I found myself embarrassed for her.

She was holding a tattered box of condoms.

Oops.

I was confused by her tone… why is she being accusatory? Why is she acting as my brother is doing something wrong by having safe sex?

I decided to take this opportunity to speak candidly with my child- and hopefully turn this into a teaching moment.

So I asked her, “Why would you be upset?”

She responded, “Because- they’re condoms. Gross.”

I said to her, “He is being responsible. He’s having safe sex. He isn’t getting anyone pregnant, and he is protecting himself and his partner from sexually transmitted diseases.”

I explained that while condoms may seem “gross” to her right now, they are important.

They save lives.

The Diva’s world opened up just a little at that moment.

She didn’t view those condoms in disgust or contempt any longer, and with great relief I realized, she gets it.

It isn’t necessary to constantly harp on our children, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week about the horrors of sex and AIDS.

This particular exchange took less than five minutes, from start to finish.

We can educate our babies a step at a time- provided we start the process early enough. By the time they find themselves old enough to be faced with these grave decisions, they will have already had all the information they need to make the right choices.

Hopefully, by then, it will be second nature.

With absolutely no bombarding whatsoever- by taking advantage of the little teaching moments life throws our way- we can raise our kids to be responsible adults…

… One educational opportunity at a time.

Posted in C-Haze, Conservative, Current Events, News, Policy, Politics, Race, Relationships, Religion, Science

The Pope, AIDS and Abstinence

The Pope has spoken.

Unfortunately, I spend more time wishing the man would shut up than anything else… but…

Still.

Most recently, Pope Benedict XVI has decided to weigh in on the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

What a hoot.

It seems the Vatican considers itself in the forefront of the battle against HIV/AIDS and as such, the Pope felt the need to express his opinion on the issue.

The epidemic, he claims, can’t be “resolved with the distribution of condoms”…

… And he believes condoms actually increase the problem.

While I tend to agree that condoms will not resolve the AIDS epidemic- at least not by themselves- I cannot imagine, for the life of me how their use actually makes things worse.

The Pope, as you might have guessed, has a solution… an idea that, like so many of his other thoughts, is at best narrow and unrealistic.

At worst, it’s dangerous.

What is it, you ask?

Why it’s the catch-all, of course… the ol’ standby!

He wants to fix this problem the same way he wants to fix all problems even remotely related to sex- be it teen pregnancy, out of wedlock pregnancy, abortion- and now AIDS.

The answer is abstinence, of course.

It’s the only way.

Tell those damn African heathens to stop fornicatin’ and…

…POOF!

No more epidemic.

Damn.

I’m certain the entire world… all the scientists, medical professionals, world powers, human rights organizations… everyone who has been working diligently to try and curb this epidemic…

… All wish they had thought of that.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Change, Current Events, Economy, Elections, Hope, News, Policy, Politics, President, Race, Relationships, War on Terror

Beyond War: A New Economy Is Possible- Part II- Racism

 Part II of Andrew Heaslet’s (Coordinator, Peace Economy Project) talking points, dealing with Racism.

 

Racism

 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

            Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

 

While the election of Barack Obama represents a giant landmark in overcoming racial barriers, Racism is far from behind us.  The income and healthcare gaps illustrated above show clearly that minorities, particularly Blacks and Hispanics, are significantly disadvantaged compared to their white counterparts.  The following statistics further show the distance still to be overcome by minority citizens in order to be at a level of prosperity equal to their white peers.

 

 

Criminal Justice System

Racism runs rampant throughout the “justice” system and must be stopped.

 

“At year end 2007 there were 3,138 black male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,259 Hispanic male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 Hispanic males and 481 white male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 white males.”

            (US Dept of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics)

 

Dr Manning Marable, a Columbia University Professor and director of the Center for Contemporary Black History, has written, “In practical terms, by 2001, about one out of every six African-American males had experienced jail or imprisonment. Based on current trends, over one out of three black men will experience imprisonment during their lives.” (Incarceration vs. Education: Reproducing Racism and Poverty in America)

 

An organization called “the Rights Working Group,” explains how immigrants are often targets and victims of profiling by law enforcement officers:The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regularly conducts warrantless and aggressive raids on homes and workplaces to round up hundreds of immigrants, often sweeping up legal residents and citizens. Raid victims are often detained without access to counsel or a phone call to contact family members…

 

“Individuals detained by DHS, including vulnerable populations like the elderly, infirm, refugees and children, are being held in inhumane and overcrowded conditions often without charges for months and even years.”

 

The Washington Post tells us that between 2003 and 2008, “Some 83 [immigrant] detainees have died in, or soon after, custody.”  Conditions are dangerous and inhumane.  The same article quotes a former detention center nurse saying, “Dogs get better care in the dog pound.” In a recent case of blatant disregard for human dignity by law enforcement officials, “more than 200 men in shackles and prison stripes were marched under armed guard past a gantlet of TV cameras to a tent prison encircled by an electric fence” under the orders of Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (NY Times 2/5/09)

 

Since 2001, Arab Americans and Muslims have been victims of racial and religious profiling by local and federal law enforcement, especially via the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) “Operation Front Line.” The Yale Daily News notes, “’Though Operation Front Line claimed to target terrorist suspects, it was actually targeting people from Muslim majority nations…’ But in looking at a random sampling of hundreds of cases, it became clear that there were no crimes or immigration violations shared by those targeted… In fact, 250 of the 300 random sample cases given to the [Yale] Law School cited no immigration-related violations. The only feature the targeted group shared was that 79 percent of those targeted were from mostly Muslim nations.”

 

Black and Hispanic Poverty

Estimated Median Income 2007: White $52,115 – Black $33,916  – Hispanic $38,679

(2007 Census data, pg 7)

 

“Predatory lending practices and slumping real estate markets threaten hundreds of thousands of American families with the imminent loss of their to foreclosure. Given the disparate number of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minority Americans who have been and continue to be targeted by predatory lenders, the foreclosure crisis is certain to be especially severe in communities of color across the nation.” NAACP letter to the Senate, Feb. 22, 2008 (Center for Responsible Lending)

 

“A United for a Fair Economy estimate in January (2008) put the wealth loss for people of color at between $164 billion and $213 billion, roughly half [emphasis added] the nation’s overall loss. “

(The Subprime Swindle – How Banks Stole Black America’s Future, by Kai Wright.)

 

 

Education

Thirty percent of white adults had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2005, while 17 percent of black adults and 12 percent of Hispanic adults had degrees.

(MSNBC: Census report: Broad racial disparities persist)

 

Statistically, African-American youths are two to three times more likely than whites to be suspended, and far more likely to be corporally punished or expelled. Also from the ACLU study, “nationally, African American students comprise 17 percent of the student population, but account for 36 percent of school suspensions and 31 percent of expulsions. (Incarceration vs. Education: Reproducing Racism and Poverty in America)

 

Just because a minority has reached the highest level of power, this nation cannot allow itself to become lazy when it comes to confronting the very ugly reality that racism and disparity between races that exists.  Continuing with Affirmative Action, supporting home-ownership among minorities, investing in education, especially in urban centers, a re-evaluation of policies imprisoning non-violent offenders, and widespread, frank discussions of the realities that exist regarding attitudes towards minorities may represent a path towards overcoming racism and racial inequalities.