Sunday, August 31

“Might as well say I’m dead” – Teen gets 162 years for non-violent crime

A 19 year old gets 162 years without the possibility of parole for non-violent crimes, yet a rapist  'has his lifestyle inconvenienced' by probation after raping a 14 year old!! And he did it more than once!! I just cannot understand what is happening in this world, or why more people can't see it and put a stop to it.

19 year old gets 162 years for robbery

by April V. Taylor
Despite recent efforts to reduce the number of prisoners serving ridiculously long sentences that essentially relegate inmates to dying in prison, it is still happening, and the case of Quartavious Davis is a perfect example of how sentencing can go terribly wrong.  The Huffington Post reports that Davis has been sentenced to 162 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
There are many factors about Davis’s case  that make his sentence harsh and unjust.   He was a first time offender,  and at the age of 18, if had he been just a few months younger, would have qualified under a recent ruling to not receive a life sentence.   Davis also has  multiple learning disabilities as well as bipolar disorder.
Another thing that makes the sentence unwarranted is that Davis did not harm anyone.   He was convicted of a series of armed robberies in Florida, and accomplices testified that he did discharge a weapon at a dog that chased them during one of the robberies, but even the dog was unharmed.  One of the contributing factors that makes Davis’s long sentence possible is what is known as ‘stacking’,  which allows each individual count of an indictment to be counted as a separate crime which allows a  first time offender like Davis to be considered a ‘ habitual offender’ who can be sentenced to multiple sentences under mandatory sentencing guidelines.
Regarding his sentence,  Davis states “Might as well just say I’m dead.”  Davis’s attorney, Jacqueline Shapiro, is arguing that his sentence is ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’  stating ” Just as the Supreme Court recently held that the Constitution bars taking away all discretion from judges in sentencing juveniles to life imprisonment for committing murder, so also is it cruel and extreme to allow unfettered prosecutorial discretion to force a sentencing judge to impose a life sentence on a teenage first offender convicted to lesser charges.”
Those who committed the crimes with Davis all cut plea deals and received sentences that ranged from 9 to 22 years.  They also testified against Davis, allowing prosecutors to throw the full weight of the law against him.  While U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wilfredo Ferrer believes that Davis’s sentences is a reflection of his office’s commitment to combat violent crime, Davis’s sentence would not have been possible in many other states as Florida has some of the harshest mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the country and leads the nation in the number of juveniles sentenced to life without parole.  Davis’s original court appointed attorney Michael Zelman, who resigned from the case when it went to appeal, states, “Any law that provides for a mandatory term of imprisonment for a 19-year-old first offender that exceeds a century has got to be unconstitutional.”  If Davis’s new attorney, Shapiro, has her way, Davis’s fate will ultimately be decided on by the Supreme Court and is currently being appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Saturday, August 16

Well, well, well....

It would appear that whatever the problem was it's been fixed, although nothing has 

ever been said to me in response to my pleas for help. Now I am not only able to post, 

but all the other attempts I'd made (when nothing but the title line was showing up)

 are appearing as drafts in the posts list. That's a lot of daggone empty'drafts'! 

I'm torn now. I was really having issues with taking my blogs somewhere else, but 

I'm scared of this happening again and being forced into this position all over again. 

Ah well,  we'll see....

But thanks Blogger, whatever you did!

Saturday, June 14

UPDATE: Severely Beaten Detroit Driver Discharged After Six (6) Weeks

This is an update I found from May 18 on the condition of the beaten truck driver who accidentally hit a child and stopped to see how the boy was. (As he should have.)
Beaten father & grandfather Steve Utash
By Kevin Conlon, CNN
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Sun May 18, 2014
 (CNN) -- A 54-year-old Michigan tree trimmer -- beaten nearly to death after going to the aid of a child he accidentally struck with his vehicle -- is home after spending more than six weeks in a hospital and rehabilitation center.
The "Help Steven Utash" Facebook page posted the news Saturday night. Cheryl Angelelli, a spokeswoman for DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, confirmed Utash was discharged on Thursday.
Steven Utash was set upon by about a dozen people April 4 after his truck struck a 10-year-old boy, police said. After Utash stopped his vehicle to help the boy, he was "severely beaten" with "fists and feet," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement.
Jennifer Moreno, a police spokeswoman, told CNN that all of the alleged assailants were African-American and that none are known to be related to the boy or his family. She said the beating was "a spontaneous response."

The prosecutor's office said the boy who was struck by Utash's truck was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated for a leg injury and released.
Five suspects ranging in age from 16 to 30 have been charged so far for their roles in the attack.
The four adult suspects are charged with attempted murder while the fifth, a juvenile, is charged with assault and ethnic intimidation.
Michigan's penal code says a person is guilty of ethnic intimidation "if that person maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person's race, color, religion, gender, or national origin, causes physical contact with another person (or) damages, destroys, or defaces any real or personal property of another person." It can carry a prison sentence of up to two years.

Worthy spokeswoman Maria Miller said the adults are scheduled to go to trial in August and the juvenile in June. She said that there was not sufficient evidence to charge the other suspects with ethnic intimidation, but that the case remains open and the investigation ongoing.
A petition demanding that Moreno charge Utash's assailants with a hate crime had 124 signatures Sunday morning. Daughter Felicia Utash told CNN affiliate WXYZ that she doesn't want to believe the assault on her father was a hate crime, but she is pleased that suspects have been apprehended.
Utash's other daughter, Mandi Marie Utash, set up a page for her father -- who she says does not have health insurance -- with the goal of raising $50,000.

By Sunday morning, more than 4500 donors had contributed $186,298.

Monday, April 7

Arrests Made In Attack On Detroit Driver Who Struck A Boy

When it comes to accidents while driving, in my opinion there is nothing worse than a cowardly hit-and-run driver. They are the lowest form of slime, to leave a person lying in the street hurt, while they speed off for fear of their reputation being tarnished, or having their license taken way, or even just being 'grounded'.  Wait, there is one lower form; a hit-and-run driver who has hit a child. To me they are on the same level as a pedophile. They could possibly have taken that child's life and then left like it was nothing!

That's why, when I see that someone has been hit by a car and the driver stayed, I think that should carry a lot of weight when it comes time for that person to go to court. Not that they should go free or anything, after all, they only did what they were supposed to do in case of an accident. However there are so many who don't that I think it makes those who do just a bit more special.

This is why I find this story so difficult to understand. Even if it was a hate crime, done because of his race, accidents happen! The man was willing to stop his vehicle and get out to try to help the boy (who as it turns out wasn't even seriously hurt!) and was apologizing, so what was the reason for this?? Stupidity, in my book. Blind hate of a man because he had dared to accidentally sideswipe a child who ran out into the street while playing, straight into the path of the man's vehicle. Stupid.

Here's a video on the arrest:

Posted April 5, 2014 on

And here's the USA today story from April 3, 2014 on the accident and the beating.
If you want to donate to the fund to help the driver, Steve Utash, with his medical bills (he has no insurance) there's a GoFundMe page for that purpose.

Tuesday, April 1

When Will This Discrimination End??

SEATTLE—The Boy Scouts of America on Monday banned an openly gay Scoutmaster from the organization, saying its national policy barred gay adults from membership.
Geoff McGrath, 49, leader of Troop 98 in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, is believed to be the first gay adult to be booted from the Boy Scouts of America since it held a controversial ballot last May allowing gay youth—but not adults—to participate in one of the country’s most popular youth organizations. The Scouts had severed ties with gay adults in previous years, before the vote to admit gay youth, but McGrath, an Eagle Scout, had been hoping for a different response in this new era of Scouting.
“It’s extremely disappointing to not be fully supported and defended in my membership,” McGrath told NBC News. “They are complaining that the problem [his status as an openly gay man] is a distraction to Scouting and they don’t seem to understand that the distraction is self-inflicted.”
The BSA confirmed that the organization has “revoked” McGrath’s membership.
“Our policy is that we do not ask people about their sexual orientation, and it’s not an issue until they deliberately inject it into Scouting in an inappropriate fashion,” BSA spokesman Deron Smith said in an email. Until NBC’s inquiry, “he [McGrath] hadn’t deliberately injected it into Scouting in an inappropriate fashion,” he wrote.
“We spoke with Mr. McGrath today and based on the information he provided, the National Council has revoked his registration,” Smith added.
Until Monday, McGrath believed himself to be the only openly gay Scoutmaster in the nation, having won approval last fall to run a troop despite the organization's ban against gay adults. McGrath said he didn't hide his sexual orientation from Scouting leaders, but Seattle’s top BSA official told NBC News that she never knew he was gay.
McGrath said starting the unit was not a publicity stunt but a bid to serve youth and rejoin the contentious discussion around gay and lesbian adult membership.
“If you don’t participate, you're not part of the conversation,” McGrath, a 49-year-old software engineer, said in an exclusive interview. “Yelling from the outside is not conversing. So we're on the inside doing good work. Talking about the gay and lesbian issue is not the biggest part of what we do—it's the smallest part.”
In recent years, the Scouts have wrestled with the question of whether or not to allow gays into its ranks. The controversy came to a head last year after the Boy Scouts' National Council voted to allow gay youth as of Jan. 1 but not adults, a decision that left people on both sides of the debate feeling shortchanged.
To read the rest of this article, click here.


Tuesday, March 25

No One Should Be Denied Any Treatment They Ask For!

After Being Denied Simple Diagnostic Test, 19-Year-Old Dies of Cervical Cancer (via Americans Against The Tea Party)

Access to proper healthcare should be available to everyone regardless of age, gender, or race. Had 19-year-old Sophie Jones received the proper treatment, she may not have died from cervical cancer. Sophie Jones was denied the smear test that could…

Saturday, March 22

I know they say "Politics makes strange bedfellows", but......

This is so utterly ridiculous that I can't even say anything about it! That the public, even the Republican public, would give any credence to this woman's views just totally blows my mind! I wonder if the Phelps family would open up and welcome her now that Fred is dead?

Susanne Atanus, Who Blames Gay Rights For Tornadoes, Wins GOP Nomination For Congress

 | by  Samantha Lachman
Posted: Updated:
Susanne Atanus, Republican candidate

A Republican candidate who believes that God dictates weather patterns and that tornadoes, autism and dementia are God's punishments for marriage equality and abortion access won the GOP nomination to challenge Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) in the Chicago-area 9th Congressional District.
Susanne Atanus, of Niles, Ill., garnered 54 percent of the vote in her Tuesday win over David Earl Williams III.
"I am not in favor of abortions, I am not in favor of gay rights," Atanus told the Daily Herald, a suburban Chicago newspaper, in January.
She blamed natural disasters and mental disorders on recent advances in LGBT equality and legal abortions.
"God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions," she said. "Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it's in our military, it will weaken our military. We need to respect God."
Atanus also reached out to the Windy City Times, an LGBT publication, in an attempt to explain her views.
"Everybody knows that God controls weather," she told the news site in January. "God is super angry," she added. "Gay marriage is not appropriate, and it doesn't look right, and it breeds AIDS."
Jack Dorgan, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, and Adam Robinson, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, both condemned Atanus' comments and distanced the party from her candidacy.

Well, at least this time the Republican Party had good sense, and cut ties with her!

All opinions voiced on this blog are strictly those of the author. 

Sunday, March 16

And We Think Unemployment Is Bad Here!!

I've been unemployed (through no fault of my own, the contract ended) for over a year now; 14 months to be exact. I couldn't even begin to guess how many applications I've filled out, or how many people I've talked to... Job hunting has been my full-time day job, and unfortunately it's an unpaid one! I've talked to all kinds of agencies, learning along the way that there is no longer just one kind of agency, the "temp" kind. 

I've also learned that it's no longer only the biggest companies which use an agency for their hiring and firing. It turns out that HR is one more thing that American companies have outsourced.

Nothing in my experience compares to this though!

At Least 16 Nigerians Killed in Stampedes Over Jobs

ABUJA, Nigeria — At least 16 people were killed in desperate stampedes for government jobs in Nigeria when hundreds of thousands were invited to apply for fewer than 5,000 positions, officials and activists said Sunday.

Interior Minister Abba Moro held the applicants responsible, saying they "lost their lives through their impatience." Activists blamed his ministry and called for him to be fired. Emergency officials said the death toll could rise.

Stadium in Abuja, Nigeria on March 15, 2014 where several people were killed.

Nigerians are desperate for work, with official statistics putting the unemployed at 24 percent of the 170 million people or nearly 41 million unemployed. Unemployment among young people aged under 24 is even higher — 38 percent according to official statistics and nearer 80 percent according to the World Bank. 

Moro was quoted as saying by the official News Agency of Nigeria that many of the applicants "jumped through the fences of affected centers and did not conduct themselves in an orderly manner ... This caused stampedes and made the environment unsecured."

The Education Rights Campaign blamed his ministry for inviting more applicants than centers could accommodate and not providing enough security. The campaign, which called for Moro to be fired, gave the example of Abuja National Stadium, which has a capacity for 60,000. It said 65,000 applicants were invited and seven people died. The other deaths took place in Minna, Port Harcourt, Dutse and Benin City, Moro said.

The campaign said scores of people were killed. The Nigerian Red Cross and some hospital officials said many seriously injured patients were admitted, and some could die, raising the toll.
About 500,000 applicants were invited to apply for 4,556 vacancies at the Nigeria Immigration Service, according to Education Rights.

Applicants said they each paid 1,000 naira (about $6) — apparently for the right to write tests on Saturday at the application centers. The Education Rights Campaign said it was scandalous that the government had collected about $3 million from applicants and demanded the money be returned.

—The Associated Press

First published March 16th 2014, 3:47 pm

Saturday, March 8

I Wanted to Share Knowledge of Black History, In Return I Get This!

I've always felt that the younger generations of children of color are not well educated when it comes to their history; society today is so hell-bent on erasing prejudice that they are also erasing something very important that young people need to have: a sense of their own identity, knowledge of who they come from and what their ancestors accomplished. It amazes me that most young people don't know who some of the most famous people in Black History are, and even if they recognize the name, they have no concept of the importance of that person life in relation to their own. Sure, they know the story of Rosa Parks, but how many of them really understand what it was she did? How many young people know who Dred Scott was? Or who Emmett Till was?  How many can tell you about the three young men who disappeared in Mississippi for helping black people to vote? (And they were not all of color!) Or about the four little girls killed in a church bombing?

I'm saying all this to sort of explain why I started doing 'The Little Known Black History Fact'. I have heard people on various radio stations and in print do them on occasion, and I found that I was learning about a lot of people and events that I knew nothing about (and I'm 50+!); if I didn't know about them I'm quite sure a lot of younger people didn't either. Hence, my choice to do it, partly because I love learning and partly because I'm hoping that others will learn some of these facts and keep history alive for our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on. I'm not racist, I'm not prejudiced; I just want our children to know who they are! I want them to remember the past so it will not be repeated.

I got a message from someone I've considered (for years) to be a friend. She's also a blogger, and a popular one, so I'm thinking wow, someone giving me a review!! Imagine my shock when the message read "Your just so black."  That was it. No lol, no j/k, no nothing, just that one line. When I caught my breath, I began to try to make excuses; after all, she was a friend, so she didn't mean anything bad or hurtful by it, right? I couldn't come up with anything remotely innocent or humorous in it at all. Saying that to me made me feel like she thought I was being 'too' black; i.e. militant, angry, a revolutionary type. Just So Black. Makes me feel like this house nigga has fallen from grace and been denigrated to the fields...

So then I replied asking if she had a problem with that, I got no response. I don't know if I should be happy or not.

I wanted to share some little known knowledge! The month of February is not enough time to teach all the things that so many people of color have done. I wanted to give people a few small facts to hopefully make them proud of themselves, and look what I get in return… Sad.

Friday, March 7

"Black History Facts" Has Moved!

I've decided to give the Black History Facts feature its own space; popular opinion let me know that it could stand on its own, so, if you like reading them you'll find them at Little Known Black History Facts . I know I said I wasn't going to call it that, but it just seems to fit so well! Of course if someone has an idea for a better title, leave me a comment and let me know, I welcome your suggestions!

As for Bikini Bottom, it will still be here, lurking in the deep....

Wednesday, March 5

Black History Facts I Bet You Didn't Know!

March 5, 1770 - The Boston Revolution

There are many stories told about The Civil War, and about the part which blacks (then slaves) played in it. There's one name that most of us are familiar with though, and that is Crispus Attucks, the first  African American to die for the revolution, and one of the first patriots to give his life for the cause.
Crispus Attucks

There is an anonymous account of the bloody start to the Revolutionary War, The Boston Massacre, which is where Crispus Attucks lost his life. Here is an excerpt from that account:

This party in proceeding from Exchange lane into King street, must pass the sentry posted at the westerly corner of the Custom House, which butts on that lane and fronts on that street. This is needful to be mentioned, as near that spot and in that street the bloody tragedy was acted, and the street actors in it were stationed: their station being but a few feet from the front side of the said Custom House. The outrageous behavior and the threats of the said party occasioned the ringing of the meeting-house bell near the head of King street, which bell ringing quick, as for fire, it presently brought out a number of inhabitants, who being soon sensible of the occasion of it, were naturally led to King street, where the said party had made a stop but a little while before, and where their stopping had drawn together a number of boys, round the sentry at the Custom House. whether the boys mistook the sentry for one of the said party, and thence took occasion to differ with him, or whether he first affronted them, which is affirmed in several depositions,-however that may be, there was much foul language between them, and some of them, in consequence of his pushing at them with his bayonet, threw snowballs at him, which occasioned him to knock hastily at the door of the Custom House. From hence two persons thereupon proceeded immediately to the main-guard, which was posted opposite to the State House, at a small distance, near the head of the said street. The officer on guard was Capt. Preston, who with seven or eight soldiers, with fire-arms and charged bayonets, issued from the guardhouse, and in great haste posted himself and his soldiers in front of the Custom House, near the corner aforesaid.
– Anonymous, "An Account of the Boston Massacre," (1770)

On March 13, 1770 William Warren was found guilty of the crime of shooting Crispus Attucks twice in the breast, mortally wounding him. 

 How Did He End Up A Patriot Hero?

Crispus Attucks was considered to be the first hero of the Revolutionary War. He was a sailor on a whaling ship who may possibly have been forced to join the British Navy. Whether he was or not, Attucks did not like the way the British treated the American colonists, especially the high taxes the British charged them. He gathered a group of like-minded sailors, and led them in a revolt in protest of  British tyranny. Crispus Attucks and his band of angry sailors encountered a group of soldiers and began to throw snowballs and sticks at them. The British soldiers responded by shooting into the crowd of sailors and bystanders, killing Crispus Attucks and ten other people.(Biographies Crispus Attucks 1723-1770)
While there are differing accounts of how and why Crispus Attucks died, most accounts have one fact in common; Crispus Attucks was the first patriot, and person of color killed in The Boston Massacre, which is considered by some to be the start of the Revolutionary War.

Biographies Crispus Attucks 1723-1770. (n.d.). Retrieved March 4, 2014, from Houghton Mifflin Social Studies Civil War to Today: