Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Children fed 'silly pills,' forced to perform sex shows
- Story Highlights
- Defendants convicted of grooming kids for sex shows in "kindergarten" classes
- They gave Vicodin to the kids and called the drugs "silly pills"
- Residents thought there were swinger parties going on; didn't know children involved
- The kids are now in therapy, a Texas Child Protective Services caseworker says
MINEOLA, Texas (AP) -- In the windowless front rooms of a former day care center in a tiny Texas community, children as young as 5 were fed powerful painkillers they knew as "silly pills" and forced to perform sex shows for a crowd of adults.
Two people have already been convicted in the case. Now a third person with ties to the club, previously known in town only as a swingers group, is set to go on trial Monday not far from Mineola, population 5,100.
"This really shook this town," said Shirley Chadwick, a longtime resident of Mineola. "This was horrible."
Patrick Kelly, 41, is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, tampering with physical evidence and engaging in organized criminal activity.
In all, six adults have been charged in connection with the case, including a parent of the three siblings involved.
Jurors this year deliberated less than five minutes before returning guilty verdicts against the first two defendants, who were accused of grooming the kids for sex shows in "kindergarten" classes and passing off Vicodin as "silly pills" to help the children perform.
Jamie Pittman and Shauntel Mayo were sentenced to life in prison. Kelly also faces a life sentence if convicted, and Smith County prosecutors hope for another swift verdict.
Thad Davidson, Kelly's attorney, said his client passed a lie-detector test proving his innocence and worries about getting a fair trial in Tyler, 25 miles southeast of Mineola, which is in Wood County.
"I think it's impossible to get a fair trial within 80 miles of Smith County," Davidson said.
Mineola, about 80 miles east of Dallas, is a close-knit, conservative bean-processing town of with more than 30 churches. Residents there want to put the scandal behind them as quickly as possible.
The one-story building where prosecutors say four children -- the three siblings, now ages 12, 10 and 7, and their 10-year-old aunt -- were trained to perform in front of an audience of 50 to 100 once a week has been vacant since the landlord ousted the alleged organizers in 2004.
Down a slight hill is a retirement home, and even closer is the office of the local newspaper. Doris Newman, editor of The Mineola Monitor, said rumors of swinger parties spread around town but that no one mentioned children being involved.
Newman, who can see the building from her office window, said she remembers the parking lot filling up with more than a dozen cars at night.
In August 2004, an editorial under the headline "Sex In the City" opined that if the swingers left quietly, "we'll try and forget they've infiltrated our town with their set of moral standards."
"It's not that we're trying to look the other way," Newman said. "But there's a lot more to Mineola than that."
According to a Mineola police report, the department first investigated a complaint in June 2005 in which the siblings' foster mother said one of the girls described dancing toward men and another child saying that "everybody does nasty stuff in there."
In the second trial, Child Protective Services caseworker Kristi Hachtel testified, "I've seen a lot and I never in my wildest dreams imagined this. They were preyed upon in probably one of the most heinous ways possible."
The children are now doing better, the welfare agency said.
"Through counseling and therapy sessions, these children are now finally feeling secure and safe," agency spokeswoman Shari Pulliam wrote in an e-mail.
Permanent custody of the three siblings was given to John and Margie Cantrell. This week, prosecutors in California charged John Cantrell with sexually assaulting a child in the state 18 years ago. Margie Cantrell said her husband is innocent.
Kelly's attorney moved Friday asking to postpone the trial in light of the allegations against Cantrell, a state witness. Texas Child Protective Services said it would be "common" for the agency to investigate.
The Rev. Tim Letsch is opening a church in the yellow-plastered building where the children were abused. He acknowledges that building a congregation might be difficult because of the stigma attached to the property.
"You got to decide whether you're willing to forgive those kind of things," Letsch said. "It's a hard deal. Especially for a spiritual person to walk in and say, 'This happened here."'
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Is there a special place in hell for people like this? I mean REALLY now people. This world is going to hell in a hand basket. I have several problems with this situation.
- That parents pimped their kids for this
- That ADULTS paid to watch this
- That parents got paid for their kids to do this
- That these children were DRUGGED with Vicodin
- That ADULTS paid to watch this AND not one thought it was wrong and went to the police
Friday, June 20, 2008
Mass. girls may have made pact to get pregnantI don't know if these girls really know what they are getting into. Having a baby is easy - raising a baby is a different story. What would you do if your found out your daughter was trying to get pregnant on purpose and couldn't even legally drive a car? Here is my train of thought:
By MELISSA TRUJILLO, Associated Press Writer
The girls showed up repeatedly at the high school health clinic, asking for pregnancy tests. But their reactions to the test results were puzzling: high-fives if they were expecting, long faces if they weren't.
School officials in this hard-luck New England fishing town say an alarming 17 girls — four times the usual number — became pregnant this year. And even more disturbing: Some of the girls may have made a pact to have babies and raise them together.
"A typical girl you would think would say, `Oh my God! What am I going to do now? How am I going to support this baby? How am I going to finish school?'" Superintendent Christopher Farmer said. "These young women clearly have not seen that."
The story exploded after Joseph Sullivan, the principal of Gloucester High School, was quoted by Time magazine this week as saying the girls confessed to making such a pact. Sullivan was on vacation Friday and did not return calls for comment.
The superintendent said he had no independent confirmation of a pact. But he added: "What we do know is there was a group of students being tested for pregnancy on a regular basis, which would suggest they were not taking steps to avoid becoming pregnant, and that when some of them had their babies, they appeared to be very pleased."
None of the girls or their families have come forward to confirm any type of pact, and school and health officials have not identified any of the youngsters.
The girls are all 16 or under, nearly all of them sophomores. The superintendent said they have been reluctant to identify the fathers, many of whom are older. But one of them "is a 24-year-old homeless guy," the principal was quoted as telling Time.
City and school officials in this town of about 30,000 people 30 miles north of Boston have been struggling for months to explain and deal with the pregnancies, where on average only four girls a year at the 1,200-student high school become pregnant.
Just last month, two officials at the high school health center resigned to protest the local hospital's refusal to support a proposal to distribute contraceptives to youngsters at the school without parental consent. The hospital controls the clinic's funding.
Mayor Carolyn Kirk said Friday there are many contributing factors to what she called a "blip" in the pregnancy rate, from glamorization of teen pregnancy in pop culture to cuts in funding that have reduced teachers and health classes in Gloucester.
"We have fallen on hard times," Kirk said of her city, which has suffered in recent decades with the decline in the fishing industry that has defined Gloucester since the colonial era.
Gloucester is the town that lost six fishermen in the 1991 shipwreck that inspired the book and movie "The Perfect Storm." Its high school teams are known as the Fighting Fishermen.
Student Council member Emily Spreer said many of the girls came from difficult socioeconomic circumstances: "Their circle or clique, they're not the most fortunate family-wise."
"If you're a young person who really is struggling to find an identity for herself, absent the support and the guidance, it can become almost a default option for some to become a mom," said Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. "We need to do more for young people and show them more paths."
Gloucester — a heavily Roman Catholic town with a large Italian and Portuguese population — has long been supportive of teen mothers. The high school has a day care center for students and employees.
Christen Callahan, a former Gloucester High student who had a child when she was 15, said on NBC's "Today" show that some of the girls would ask her about her own pregnancy. "They would say stuff like, `Oh, I think my parents would be fine with it and they would help me,' stuff like that," Callahan said.
Sarah Brown, chief executive of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, suggested some of the blame lies with the nation's Hollywood-obsessed culture, in which stories about pregnant celebrities abound.
Just this week, 17-year-old TV star Jamie Lynn Spears, the unmarried sister of Britney Spears, gave birth. "Juno," a wry comedy about a 16-year-old girl who gets pregnant, was one of the most acclaimed movies of the year.
"Baby bumps get written about the same way designer handbags do. It's just one more lifestyle choice, just another personal expression: these shoes, this bump and that handbag," Brown said. "It's not surprising that teenage girls can get confused or even seduced by the allure of celebrity pregnancy."
AP reporters Pauline Arrillaga in Phoenix and Nancy Kelsey and Karen Testa in Boston contributed to this report.
- She isn't allowed to get an abortion. She got pregnant on purpose she gets to see the pregnancy through to the end. But - would you let her put the baby up for adoption?
- I'm split on adoption. One part of me says that realistically, grandma would be raising the baby while my daughter tries to finish school and work (cause sister needs a job to buy diapers and clothes and pay for daycare). Another part of me thinks that someone else might be able to give the baby the love and care that he/she needs
- My child would not know freedom any more - although with me she wouldn't have known it in the first place but she would be under even stricter who, what when and where's. As in who are you going with. What are you going to be doing? Where are you going to be and when will you be home? Plus surprise visits to verify her story
- You have to finish school and you need to be working on college plans
- The Brook on ning.com
- Illinisoul on ning.com
- The Brook on ning.com
- Illinisoul on ning.com
- Mix in a little Facebook
- This little thing called work
Friday, May 16, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Barack Obama gives speech on race in U.S.
Text of Obama's March 18 Address on Race Text of Barack Obama's remarks in Philadelphia. "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union." Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy.
Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.
The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.
Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.
And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States.
What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.
This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America.
I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction- towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.
This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story. I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas.
I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.
IT'S A STORY that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one. Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity.
Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans. This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign.
At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.
And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn. On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap.
On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.
I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.
Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed. But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice.
Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.
As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.
GIVEN MY BACKGROUND, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough.
Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man.
The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor.
He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity: "People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters . . . And in that single note- hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones.
Those stories -of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world.
Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about . . . memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild." That has been my experience at Trinity.
Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor.
They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.
And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.
Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.
I CAN NO MORE disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love. Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable.
I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.
But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.
The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect.
And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American. Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past."
We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African- American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.
SEGREGATED SCHOOLS were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.
Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations.
That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities. A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened.
And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.
This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African- Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted.
What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.
But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination.
That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future.
Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years.
That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings. And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews.
The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning.
That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change.
But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.
IN FACT, A SIMILAR ANGER exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race.
Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor.
They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
it has been a while
the time has come for good news
and it's really big
just shot a great film
the character name - haiku
all lines, in this form
the movie's called BREAK
i'm a badass assassin
you can check it out
Wash and Curl
A woman stuck her head into a hair salon and asked, "How long before I can get a wash & curl?" The beautician looked around the salon full of customers and said, "about 2 hours." The woman left.
A few days later, the same woman stuck her head in the door and asked, "How long before I can get a wash & curl?" The beautician looked around at the salon and said, "about 3 hours." The woman left.
A week later, the same woman stuck her head in the salon and asked, "How long before I can get a wash & curl?" The beautician looked around the salon and said, "about a hour and a half." The woman left.
The beautician turned to her girlfriend and said, "Hey Juanita, do me a favor. Follow that woman and see where she goes. She keeps asking how long she has to wait for a wash & curl, but then she doesn't ever come back."
A little while later, Juanita returned to the salon, laughing hysterically. The beautician asked, "So, where does that woman go when she leaves?" Juanita looked up, wiped the tears from her eyes and said, "Your man's house!"
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
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