Category Archives: Rants and Tantrums

Chicago Torture Video is More Than a Hate Crime

This is one of my NO BARS HOLD blog posts.

I am always up late, so at 2:30 this morning I finally decided to watch the Chicago torture video.  In case you are unaware of what I am referring to, this is the video where 4 African-Americans, 2 males and 2 females, tortured a white, special needs male for hours.  One of the female suspects live streamed it on Facebook.

I literally cried and gasped during the nearly half-hour long video, only pausing it twice to watch CNN’s Don Lemon and a panel of commentators discuss this heinous act.  It is actually beyond horrific.

I am the mother of a special needs child.  My 10 year-old son has a rare disease called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC).  He also has Autism and a multitude of health issues.  So as a special needs mom, I know exactly what that young man and his family are going through right now.

I definitely feel it is a hate crime, especially with one of the attackers yelling, “Fuck Donald Trump” and “Fuck white people.”  They repeatedly called him “nigger.”  But I also feel what they did is more than just a hate crime.  What those four imbeciles did was a COWARDLY act.  Those no good, sorry ass clowns are merely cowards.  Not only what they did was wrong, but they kidnapped and tortured a person from the vulnerable population (children, elderly, disabled).

We need to stop being divided as to whether that senseless act is a hate crime or not because to me, it’s just a CRIME.  I just read the attackers are being charged with a hate crime, felony aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, residential burglary, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.  I hope they get the book thrown at them.  Truthfully, I want  them to receive the maximum sentence for each charge they face, even if it means locked up and never seeing daylight again.

My heart nearly dropped to the floor as I watched that Chicago torture video.  Tears heavily flowed down my face.

I have two children, sons ages 14 and 10 (special needs as mentioned above).  My oldest told me that he heard about the video but that he’s not going to watch it.  I talked to him about it today, telling him some of the events that took place and he ignored me.  So I stopped talking.

You see, my boys aggravate each other, but they also love each other.  The oldest bothers his little brother all the time,  but at the same time he is very protective of him, and is ready to fight at any given moment over him.

If you are reading this and are special needs or the caregiver of a special needs child or adult, then you definitely understand where I’m coming from.

As I step down from my soapbox, I would like to say that I might sound harsh in this blog post but guess what?  I don’t care.  What those cowards did was senseless.  Pure evil.  Not only did they disrespect that young man and his family, they DISRESPECTED the ENTIRE SPECIAL NEEDS COMMUNITY.  Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, physically challenged, mentally challenged, etc.  When one hurts, we all hurt because the special needs community is one big family.

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Once Again Michigan Uses Voter Suppression Tactics

I stood in line a little over an hour to vote in yesterday’s Presidential Election 2016, and I can honestly tell you that voter suppression tactics in the battleground state of Michigan was in full force.  The powers that be worked their magic to try to discourage Michigan residents from voting.

Crowded polling sites.  There are four precincts at my polling site.  I vote at a church of a nice size but it is not large enough to hold a crowd we all know and expect on Election Day.  Some stood in line for a long time before realizing they were actually in the wrong line.  It was very crowded, and not only did voters threaten to leave, some actually left.  I am sure there was a poll supervisor somewhere in the mix, but said person was in dire need of assistance with crowd control.

It was so catastrophic at my polling site that I would have about-faced with a quickness,  and went home had I not been the strong person that I am.  I walked inside and had to ask several people whose line they were standing in just to find the line for my precinct.  There is no such thing as a straight line, by the way.  They all wrap around here, there, and everywhere.

Additional polling sites need to be put in place because it is ridiculous to have that many precincts in one room.  Did I mention that some sites has 5 precincts?

Some of the schools were closed yesterday, others remained open.  I am referring to schools that serve as polling sites.  I feel that all schools should be closed on Election Day and be used as polling sites.  The middle school and high school in my district both have two gyms.  Those are excellent polling sites.

By the way, schools that are polling sites and remain open on Election Day is dangerous, a safety issue.  You have hundreds, if not thousands, of strangers entering in and out of schools to vote.  But if I want to drop my kids lunch off at school on a random school day, I have to get buzzed in.

Not enough polling stations.  I noticed over the past few elections that my precinct always have the longest line on Election Day.  So it is upsetting to see that there were only seven polling stations per precinct.  I am sure you are wondering how I know all of this if the place was crowded.  Well that’s easy, I am an observant person.  Anyway, one of the election workers set up an additional polling station while I was in line.  Voters received their ballots and walked right past it because there was not a light attached to it.  It would have been difficult to read the ballot in the dimly lit room.

Older workers.  The poll workers are usually old.  Those lines moved so slow yesterday because all the workers were elderly, especially at my precinct.  It took the lady nearly forever to tear the bottom portion of the ballot off and you could hear voters sigh loudly.  My precinct always has the longest line so I knew in advance what I was in for when I saw the workers were all old.

One thing I was thankful for is the worker that greeted voters at the door.  He yelled out that you could just go over to your precinct if you already knew it.  He also handed out voter applications.  Receiving that application was a great time saver because it was already filled out by the time you got to the table.

Broken ballot machines.  The machines that you feed your ballot into kept breaking down at some polling sites.  Voters didn’t have a long wait time to vote, but they waited nearly an hour for the machine to accept their ballots after several tries.

No early voting.  I know a lady whose work shift begins at 8:00 a.m.  She showed up at her polling site when it opened at 7.  The line was moving slow and she was not allowed to move ahead.  She ended up leaving without voting so she wouldn’t be late for work.  There are a lot of registered voters that are unable to vote because their jobs are a good distance from their homes.  They drive at least an hour one-way to and from work.

Michigan does not offer early voting.  We have absentee voting but there are strict requirements.

I was voter #179 at precinct 7 in Flint Township, Michigan yesterday.  Michigan really needs to make the voting process easier to encourage registered Michigan voters to get out and vote instead of discouraging them.

But then again, Michigan is a battleground state.  Battleground means a place or situation of conflict.  I love challenges which explains why I love my battleground state of Michigan,  and I am always ready to tackle its’ wild and crazy voter suppression tactics.

 

Don’t Wait Until They’re Gone to Start Claiming Them

WARNING:  Rant mode.  No bars hold.

Don’t wait until I’m dead and gone to be buying me no flowers.  Give me my flowers now while I can still see and smell them.

My mother has been saying those words for as long as I can remember.  I guess I never had to worry about it because I always gave her a handful of flowers, even if I did pick them out of someone’s yard while walking home from school!  She talked to me about that but I kept doing it anyway.  I also gave her flowers, including dandelions (you thought they were pretty, yellow flowers too), from our own yard.  My kids are 14 and 10 and they still give me dandelions, I mean flowers!

I am just now realizing that my mother was referring to more than just flowers.

When my brother passed away back in July, all kinds of folks came out of the woodwork claiming he was their friend, homeboy, and how they had love for him.  But not one of those so-called friends visited my brother once he was rendered non-ambulatory the last few years of his life.  Not even a phone call or snail mail.

My mother is not just talking about flowers, about how she does not want anyone to wait until she is dead to buy flowers for her grave.  She wants visitors at her home while she is still alive.  Call her on the phone and say hello.  She does not want anyone to wait until her funeral to give that little 2-minute talk about how nice she was and much she was loved because she won’t be able to hear any of it.

I am not on a certain social media site often, but I wanted to read an important notification I had received.  When the site pulled up on my phone, my brother’s obituary was staring me in the face.  I started sweating and my heart dropped to the floor.  His complete obituary was posted on social media.  That shocked the hell out of me because at that time, I hadn’t even seen the obituary in its entirety yet.

I wanted to yell, “WHAT THE FU*K, but I couldn’t because I was in my son’s hospital room (admitted 2 days after my brother’s death).  Why post an obituary and say a lot of good stuff for the world to see on your social media page when you didn’t even call or visit?  Someone posted that he had planned to visit my brother on a certain day.  Yeah right.  The day mentioned was the day AFTER he died.  Put a lid on it.  Where were you while he was on the ventilator (life support) the last 1 1/2 months of his life?

My sister attended a funeral a couple weeks before our brother’s.  A man sat two rows behind her and loudly talked to someone about how he visited the deceased when he was alive in the hospital and at home.  He said while at the hospital he asked the man if he remembered him and he said yes.

That was a lie.  My sister was the caregiver of the deceased.  She said the man had gotten very ill and had stopped talking.  So there was no way a verbal conversation was held in that hospital room.  She also described the so-called friend to the owner of the deceased’s home because she didn’t recognize him.  The owner said no one fit that description had visited the home.

You can’t pay a visit or phone call, but you can run your mouth on social media and out in public.  This type of behavior is not only attention-seeking, it is also disrespectful.

I don’t care who you are and where you are.  You can live next-door to Santa Claus at the North Pole for all I care.  DO NOT wait until a person leave this world to start claiming your love for him or her.  Do it now while your voice can be heard, your smile can be seen, and flowers can be smelled.

This blog post is not just for so-called friends, it is for family members as well.

As I step down from my soapbox, I would like to give everyone reading this blog post a flower.  You are a great person and I appreciate you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my blog.

Really?

FlintTownship

WHAT?  REALLY?  That was all I could say as I drove past the above sign, located at an apartment complex in Flint Township, Michigan, a suburban area located just outside the city of Flint.  I am a resident of Flint Township and I found the sign to be of poor taste, as if the city is under quarantine.

The apartment complex is located near the high school and across the street from a prominent subdivision.  The sign is huge, an eyesore.  Flint Township is an area of demand, so there is no need for this type of gimmick.

But I blame the media for the Flint water crisis hype.  People are not understanding what is really going on.  Yes the city of Flint, Michigan stopped using Detroit’s water and switched to the Flint River.  But lead is not in the water.  It is in the infrastructure, and the city failed to properly filter the water from the river.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, every residence in the city does not have brown and foul-smelling water.  It depends on the age of the pipes.  I know of a home in the city whose water was tested for lead.  The levels fell within the normal threshold, 0.01 and 0.03.  The couple lives in a section of the city that has newer buildings.

Please stop giving into all the gimmicks and misrepresentation.

My Two Cents Worth on Flint’s Water Crisis

I had intended on keeping my blogs free of any mention of the current scandal in my hometown, Flint, Michigan.  But after spending countless hours reading and watching the news, and skimming over hundreds of comments and political cartoons, I decided to pull out my soapbox and give my two cents worth of input on the Flint Water Crisis.

Although I currently reside outside the city, I still knew that problems would arise with Flint’s water supply before the switch from Detroit to the Flint River took place.  That’s  because I am a Flintstone.

I was born and raised in the city of Flint, Michigan.  I grew up on Green St., Edgewood Ave., and Birchcrest Dr.  I attended M.L. King Elementary, Longfellow Middle, and Northern High schools.  Therefore I know what contaminants are in the Flint River.  I know what has been pulled out of it, and what’s probably still in there.  Improperly treated,  contaminated water flowing through aging pipes will of course produce elevated levels of more than just lead.

The Flint River flows behind my subdivision in Flint Township. It's pretty much in my backyard.
The Flint River flows behind my subdivision in Flint Township.

Donations are pouring into the city by the masses.  I don’t care whether you are a celebrity or lesser known group or individual, I am beyond grateful for your monetary and water donations, and for your prayers and support.

A few days ago I read an article about how Bill Ballenger, a Flint native and Michigan political analyst, has come under fire for his opinions.  It’s a shame that you are criticized for having your own say, instead of following the popular crowd or opinion.  Well you might as well put me in the same boat as Ballenger because I have my own opinions formed and some of them are in agreement with his.

I find it disturbing that Flint is being misrepresented.  I have read so many articles and comments, both containing stereotypes and satire, that it’s sickening.  I saw the following cartoon online a few days ago.

Flint Water

That image pissed me the fuck off.   I rarely use profanity, so you know I’m furious.

Take it from me, an African-American female born and raised in Flint, Michigan.  This water scandal is NOT a RACIAL attack.  The media are brainwashing you into thinking the city is nothing more than a poor, black community and that is bullshit.

The news only show the lower-income sections of the city, depicting it as a mini third world country.  And I noticed they’ve been focusing heavily on the African-Americans.  Well, there’s more than just black people living in the city with low incomes.  The east side of Flint is heavily populated with low-income white people.

Not all residents of Flint are poverty-stricken.  There are still middle-income residents and neighborhoods in the city, but the news won’t show you those parts of the city.  I have yet to see footage of the College Cultural neighborhood, or the Miller Road mansions.

Not everyone in the city has dangerous levels of lead in their water.  There are homes with levels that are within the normal threshold, especially if their pipes are updated.

Not everyone’s tap water is coming out brown and foul-smelling either.  My mother lives in the city and her water has never been brown or odorous.  She moved to the other side of the city at the end of 2014 and the water in her current home is okay as well.  It all depends on the age of the pipes.

The city of Flint, Michigan is home to several prominent structures such as:

  • Mott Community College
  • Baker College – Flint Campus
  • Kettering University
  • University of Michigan – Flint Campus
  • Flint Cultural Center including the Longway Planetarium.  It was renovated last year, and it is the largest planetarium in Michigan.  It’s new projection system is the first of its kind in the United States and it is breathtaking.
  • McLaren Regional Medical Center
  • Hurley Medical Center (I work in the ER), the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center

As I step down from my soapbox, I would like to say that I hope this scandal serves as a wake-up call to all non-voters, no matter where you live.  I always stress how important it is to vote because you’re helping to put these jokers in office by NOT voting.

If you DON’T exercise your right to VOTE, then you DON’T have a right to COMPLAIN.

*Drops mic and walks off*

Your Father is not the Reason for Your Shortcomings

  1. To be such a small dot on the map, the city of Flint, Michigan has a very high crime rate.  Most of the crimes are committed by males.
  2. I have recently read several social media posts from guys talking about their current or past bad behaviors.
  3. There are a lot of men with poor father-son relationships.

What does the above three sentences have in common?

Most of the males blame their fathers for their flaws, or shortcomings.  This blog post will focus on the latter of the three.

As a father, you are a role model for your son.  You are to take over once he leaves infancy and enter the toddler stage.  Your son’s personal growth, emotional development, and masculinity depends on you.  You are supposed to teach him how to be a man.  The more involved you are with your child, the more of a man he will become.

I am sick and tired of always hearing and reading I grew up without a father, my dad wasn’t there for me, my dad wasn’t around, and all the other my dad this and my dad that bullshit.

Last year a male family member told me the reason he does not play with his sons (especially outdoors) is because his father didn’t play with him, and did not show him how to throw a football (when asked why he won’t play ball with them).  Again, BULLSHIT.

Men need to be physically active with their sons.  Play games, hold a race, throw a frisbee.  Don’t just watch them play, get out there and PLAY WITH THEM.  Boys are more active and aggressive than girls, so it’s important that dads get involved in their lives as early as possible in order to foster a healthy father-son relationship.

Encourage and support your son’s choice of play and activities, and participate.  So what if his likes are different from yours.  Remember that he is your son.  He is NOT YOU.

Fellas, if you are on that blame your dad bandwagon then jump off, stop your bullshitting and listen up.  It is never too late to have a meaningful relationship with your son.  Just because your father may not have been there for you does not mean that you have to hinder your own child’s personal and emotional growth.

You are getting a fresh start when you become a father.  Talk to other men about how they spend quality time with their sons.  Attend father-son activities (the YMCA Camp Copneconic in my area hosts weekend overnight family camps including father/son).

My two older brothers were constantly in and out of jail back in the day.  The oldest is 15 years older than me so I don’t know much about him.  But I do recall that he would stay in jail for a long time.  I am talking years.  My other brother is 4 years older than me.  My earliest memory of him getting into trouble was while he was in junior high school.

Our parents separated when I was a child, and to this day neither of my brothers has played the blame the father card.  They were just being boys.

The younger brother always played and roughhoused with his sons.  He also loved model cars and electronics.  Whenever I visited him and his family, they would either be working on model car kits, fixing radios, or wrestling in the center of the floor.  My brother now lives in a nursing home, paralyzed from MS (Multiple Sclerosis).  He spent quality time with his two sons all the way up until he was physically unable to do so.

Whatever the reasons are for your lack of involvement, get over it and teach your sons how to be men.  Teach them how to be a leader and take charge.

If you have social anxiety then seek counseling.  But you don’t have to give all of your money to a therapist when I’m giving you free advice right here and now.

Get your asses up from in front of that Xbox and Playstation and spend some quality time with your child.

As I step down from my soap box, I would like to leave you with this.  Guys, your father is NOT the reason for your shortcomings, especially your lack of involvement in the lives of your son(s).  YOU are the reason.  So grow a pair and use them.

 

I Prefer Autism Over Normal Anytime

BEWARE:  I am in full rant mode right now, and my tongue is explosive.  No holds barred.  Anything goes.  Consider yourself warned.

Last week I worked as a substitute in an autistic classroom, at a school for special needs, of adult students ages 20-26.  Their speech levels ranged from nonverbal to hyperverbal.  Before I left the building for the day, I decided that I would prefer to associate myself with people in the special needs community, especially autism, over the so-called normal people anytime.

Special:  Unusual, unique, exceptional, better.  In other words, different from the usual. 

Normal:  Typical, standard, or what’s expected

So why would I prefer autism over normal?  Well, the entire time that I was inside the school, not just in the classroom, but as I walked through the building interacting with other staff and students:

  • I didn’t see or hear anyone poke fun at someone else
  • There was no gossiping
  • There were no cliques
  • I didn’t hear the ‘R’ word (retarded is not in my household’s vocabulary)
  • Everyone minded their own business
  • Intelligent conversations
  • Extremely smart
  • Problem solvers

So how does that compare to so-called normal people?  Come on now, do I really need to go there?  Since this is a ranting blog post, I’m definitely going there.

As I look back over my K-12 school years, college, and now the workplace, I can see why special needs is called just that, special.  Look at my bulleted list above.  Isn’t that amazing?

Now let’s take a look at my list of qualities of a normal person.

  • Gossip
  • Cliques
  • Ridicule
  • Belittle
  • Hatred
  • Envy
  • Prejudice
  • Discrimination
  • Greed
  • Arrogance
  • Corruption

This list is nowhere near finished, but I just got home from work and I’m tired.  Otherwise, I would type until my fingers get numb.

Can you see why I prefer to associate myself with autistic individuals?  There was a hyperverbal student with a superhero obsession.  For those of you who don’t know, I’m a lifelong comic book nerd, so I was excited to talk with him.  But what I didn’t know was that he was allowed to talk about superheroes at snack time only.  He knew it, but as one of the other teachers said, “They know the new people!”

The students made Valentine’s Day cards.  The handwriting of one of the students’ was perfect, as if she used a ruler and a stencil.  Everything on the inside and outside of that card was positioned perfectly.

I would go on with my bragging about the students at that school, but I don’t want to make us normal people jealous.

My 8 year-old son is a special needs child.  He has a rare condition called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC).  Those with the disease have a range of issues, including autism.

My son is also autistic.  At one point he lost his speech, but he regained it a few years later.  I met several students at that school, that reminded me of my son.  He is verbal, loud, make sounds, has behavior challenges, and other issues.  But, my son is intelligent.  His obsessions are trains, geography, and numbers (including dates and years).

My son also holds mature and highly intelligent conversations.  Last school year, I closely observed his interaction with one of his classmates at the bus stop every morning.  He eventually stopped talking to that child, because his responses weren’t good enough for my son.  He’s like that with adults too.  If you can’t hold a mature and intelligent conversation, then he will have nothing to do with you.

I kept to myself when I was in school.  I was on the honor roll, and I participated in sports and other activities.  I was quiet and shy.  I had specialty classes in math and science, and most of the students I associated with, when I did talk, were quiet in nature like myself.  No gossiping.  No poking fun at others.  No cliques.  No jealousy.  Intelligent conversations.  We minded our own business.

Hmmm, am I special?  I don’t know, but with the definitions I provided above, and all the smack I ranted about in this blog post, I would say that I am special.  And guess what?  I don’t care.