Sunday, May 31, 2015
"I'm sitting on a United airlines flight in the air 30,000 feet above and I am in tears of humiliation from discrimination," posted Tahera Ahmad.
Tahera Ahmad, 31 is a Muslim chaplain and director of interfaith engagement at Northwestern University and she was traveling from Chicago to Washington for a conference that promoted dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian youth. Ahmad's problem began when they were serving the complimentary beverages during the flight. The flight attendant asked her what she would like and she stated that she wanted an unopened can of diet coke.
The attendant returned with an opened can which Ahmad objected to. She stated that she wanted the unopened can for hygienic reasons and even though the attendant stated that no one drank from the can, she still did not want the drink. She again demanded the unopened can and the attendant explained that they could not give out unopened cans to passengers. Ahmad was further upset when the attendant handed an unopened can of beer to a passenger in her row.
In her post she has already begun to explain that she was being discriminated against because of her style of dress so I am going to guess that she was already escalating the demand for a can. She somehow thought that the other passengers would come her aid and chime in on demanding Ahmad be given a full, unopened can of soda. They did not according to her statements but instead verbally attacked her. She added that she was crying because she thought that people would defend her demand and they instead attacked her.
United has stated that the crew talked with Ahmad when the plane landed as well the attendant trying multiple times to work out the situation while in the air. The company had also reached out to Ahmad on Saturday to apologize to her but it seems that Ahmad is not happy with their attempts. She posted on Sunday that she felt that United failed in it's labeling the incident as a can issue and not a discrimination problem. She is waiting for a written apology for the pain and hurt she experienced as well as the hurtful words.
I am not sure what world Ahmad lives in but any time I have flown in the past years......... it is extremely rare if I can get an entire can of soda when they are serving drinks. It has been opened every time that I ever got one as well. I never realized that I was being discriminated against while I flew all those airline flights. I should have loudly stood up for my right to demand a service from the one I was paying to fly me, even though it is not guaranteed?
I do feel that she should not have had to take the brunt of the name calling but I think just from her description of incident, she did a lot to escalate it in the beginning. As I have said, I fly often and I know that there are many uncomfortable, cranky people jammed in too small seats who would use it as an excuse to vent their own frustration. I don't think United needs to crawl on it's knees to apologize to Ahmad and the online rant parade supporting you has missed a very important point........ the airlines don't make it a habit of handing out a full can of soda to anyone who asks.
The simple solution would have been to do what I do on flights, if you were so concerned about hygiene Ahmad....... buy a bottled soda before you board the plane and you have it all to yourself and you can verify that it is clean enough for you. Stomping your feet and trying to claim this "horrible" thing happened to you because you are Muslim is a cop-out and whiny excuse for not getting what you thought you should get.
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Monday, May 25, 2015
The 4 year old white rhino named Hope was attacked in Lombardini, a wildlife preserve in Eastern Cape Provence, South Africa and staff found her several days later horribly wounded. Poachers had darted her and while she was sedated, they hacked off her horn and left her to live or die.
Hope did not die and last week veterinarians worked to save her life. They removed dead tissue and maggots from the wound that measured 20 by 11 inches long, the largest they have worked to close in recent years. The team has worked on at least ten rhinos with similar injuries in the past three years as well as having to euthanize many others who were too badly injured to save.
The vets applied fresh dressings and a fiberglass cast that was screwed into place to cover her fractured nasal bone. They believe that it may take up to year before she is well enough to return to the wild and her care is estimated at about $75,000 or more if she does survive. it is hoped that she will get well enough to return to the wild and reproduce as Thandi, another rhino who has survived an attack 2012 has done.
South Africa is home to the largest population of rhinos in the world and while great strides have been made in protecting them, it is not enough. There are still hundreds of them slaughtered for their horns and some parks have gone to the extreme of removing the horns themselves to try and remove them as potential targets. Sadly, many are still found alive with horrific injuries from their horns being hacked off but few have a chance to survive the butchery. They are more often shot with bullets rather than sedated and they are often not found soon enough to save them.
The struggle to save majestic creatures from extinction because of human greed is a battle that must be won......
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Police received a tip to review the video tape that was taken at a local 7-Eleven in Baltimore MD the day of the riots and they have now made two arrests based on what they saw. Tamika Cobb and Kendra Richard were both caught on video walking out of the store on the corner of W Baltimore and Howard St on April 25th as the caller had stated.
Cobb could be seen walking out of the store with Tostito chips and Richard exited with her hands full of Slim Jims. That may not seem as though it is a crime worth the police time and man power but it certainly is. It seems that both women are Maryland State Correctional officers and both were assigned to work in facilities downtown at that time. Cobb and Richard were given a tip that they would be visible on the video tape and police state that they identified both women by the clothing they had on that day.
Cobb and Richard had dedicated nine years to the job and had worked at the Baltimore Reception Diagnostic Classification Center and now have been suspended without pay. They have both been charged with theft and burglary and released on $35,000 bond each. There has been no one answering their phones or addresses for any comment.
I would hate to hear their excuses for choosing that time, as officers of the law, to steal from a neighborhood business. What reasons could they have for breaking the law themselves and how did they think this supported the "protests" that had gone on that day. It is definitely a dumb idea to lose your job over a few bags of chips and some beef jerky and I hope that they get the book thrown at them for being that dumb.
As for the chants of black lives mattering......... there have been 40 people shot..... none by police, in the city of Baltimore since April 28th. Where are the protests and meetings now or does that mantra only matter if the police were involved?
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Jennifer Burbella was accepted into the nursing program in 2010 at Misericordia University in Dallas PA. She knew in 2010 that she had an existing predisposition that caused her to suffer from anxiety and depression. Burbella was seeing a school psychologist for her depression, poor concentration and anxiety by the 2011 school year.
In the spring of 2014, Burbella failed Functional Health Patterns of Adults IV, which is a required course for nursing students. Students are required to pass the class with a minimum grade of 78 percent and Burbella failed to meet that minimum. She then states that she was pressured into retaking the class during the summer session which began in four days. It should be noted that Burbella's lawsuit is centered around her failure in this particular class twice but this is an example of failure in one course preventing someone from graduating.
Burbella had struggled through her courses throughout her attempt to receive a Bachelor degree in nursing with average and below average grades. Her lawyer, Harry P McGrath stated that she struggled through her college career with anxiety in social and academic challenges and family medical issues. The university had agreed to make special accommodations for Burdella when she took the final exam for the class the second time. Unfortunately, she did not pass the test the second time either.
Now Burbella is suing the university, the president, the nursing professor and the head of the nursing department for violating the Federal Rehabilitation Act. She contends that they did not follow through with making good on the accommodations she expected to have during her second final exam. The university had agreed to have her take the test in a separate, distraction free environment, extra time to take the test and the instructor had offered to be available to answer questions she may have had while taking the exam.
They had set Burbella up in a separate building that was distraction free and unfortunately, her instructor was now scheduled to proctor the same exam to the rest of her class in another building. Burbella is complaining that another student with disabilities was given a better deal in that that student could take the exam in the same building as the instructor. Another of her problems is that she had been told the instructor would be available to answer questions and because she was proctoring an exam, she did not answer Burbella's frequent cell phone calls.
The school counselor witnessed Burbella's unanswered calls and confirms that she became stressed even more, to the point of crying. Burbella is suing for $75,000 because they did not give her enough help to pass the class and graduate but she would rather have the chance to retake the exam and pass. Burbella is no longer enrolled in the university though. Other students on campus have a different view of the accommodations she demanded....... they felt that if she was unable to keep up with a demanding degree program, maybe she was not cut out for a career there.
There is a federal law to assist those people with disabilities for a reason but for a student who has struggled throughout a degree program and then demands even more special care so they can pass, make me wonder if they really should have a job in such a stressful environment.
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Sunday, May 10, 2015
"The men and women who go out every day to protect us, the men and women who go out every day to make sure that we're safe, they were turned on (Saturday) night," stated Mayor Johnnie DuPree.
Officer Benjamin Deen, 34 and rookie Officer Liqouri Tate, 25, made what started as a routine traffic stop in Hattiesburg MS during the evening of May 9 2015. Two residents, Tamika Mills and Pearnell Roberts were driving down Fourth St when they noticed what they described as a bunch of lights. One of them noticed what she thought was someone lying on the ground and they turned the car around to investigate.
They found one officer down and noticed a second one moving on the ground nearby. That officer was gravely wounded and stated "Am I dying? I know I'm dying. Just hand me my walkie-talkie." Mills and Pearnell called 911 to report that the officers had been shot and were down. Both officers were transported to Forrest general Hospital where they were pronounced dead.
The police state that one of the pair of officers had stopped a 2000 Gold Cadillac Escalade at about 8:30 pm and the second officer had arrived to assist on the call. The shots rang out after the second officer had arrived on the scene. One of the police cars had been stolen and used as a getaway car after the shooting. The residents were warned to stay inside while they searched for whoever was responsible for the shootings.
The hunt for the suspects was very brief and they have all three people they believe are responsible in custody now with no resistance. Marvin Banks, 29, was arrested by police at 1 am at the Northgate Inn Hotel nearby and the Hyundai he was driving with retired Army plates was towed from the scene. His brother Curtis Banks, 26, was arrested at the Plantation Place apartment complex at around 3 am and police report that both of the banks brothers lived close to where the shooting took place. Curtis's only statement then was that he had not shot the officers. Marvin's girlfriend, Joanie Calloway, 22, was also arrested overnight since she had been riding in the car when the shooting happened.
|Curtis Banks & Marvin Banks|
|Curtis Banks arrested|
Marvin and Calloway have both been charged with two counts of capital murder, Marvin is also charged with one count of grand theft auto for fleeing in the stolen police car and one one count of a felon being in possession of a firearm. His brother Curtis has been charged with two counts of accessory after the fact so far. The police did not report if there would be other charges added yet. They did state that both men have multiple arrests for weapons and guns charges in the past and they both have felony convictions but they did elaborate on those convictions.
Officer Tate had only been an officer for less than one year and had been excited to announce when he had graduated from the police academy in June of 2014. Officer Deen was a decorated K-9 officer who had been named the city's Officer of the Year in 2012. Officer Tate was unmarried but Officer Deen was and leaves behind a wife and two children, a 9 year old son and a 13 year old daughter. Their deaths are the first in the past three decades for the town of Hattiesburg MS, the last officer to be killed was Officer Jackie Dole Sherrill who was killed on Dec 31 1984 while she was serving a felony warrant. She was also the first female officer to serve in their department. The families of both Deen and Tate have stated that being a police officer had been lifelong dreams for the two of them.
|Officer Jackie Dole Sherrill|
|Officer Deen and his K-9 Tomi|
We have just buried another young officer whose lifelong dream was to be a police officer in New York City. Today is Mother's Day and two mothers will be without their sons because they were killed doing their jobs. There were no mass protests when Officer Brian Moore, 25 was shot and killed by Demetrius Blackwell, 35, in NYC NY. Thousands of officers came to attend his funeral but there was no representative from the White House attending.
President Obama did send representatives from the White House to the funeral of Michael Brown in MO and has "honored" Freddie Gray and always manages to get Trayvon Martin's name into speeches about young black men dying at the hands of the police. Somewhere along the line our administration and a large portion of the public has lost sight of who we really should be worried about.
Michael Brown had just robbed a store and minutes later wrestled an officer for his gun. Freddie Gray had a long history of arrests and Trayvon was not killed by a police officer. Trayvon was killed by a hispanic civilian while he tried to pound that man's head into the concrete. Blackwell had already served 8 years in prison for an attempted murder conviction in 2000 and yet when the news stories point to the "plight" of the poor black young men who are dying at the hands of the police, they skip right past the point of criminals returning to the streets to continue breaking the law.
The riots in Baltimore have seemingly been put on hold by the rush to charge the officers who are being charged with Gray's death. The crowds insist that they are trying to protest the police brutality that exists in their cities but once the identities of the officers were released, the protests died. Three of the officers charged are black and the officer charged with the most serious charge for driving the van is black. It seems very strange that the protests died that suddenly. There were protests in NYC in support of Freddie Gray but there were none in support of Officer Moore who died at the hands of a black repeat criminal.
The nation is again having to face the deaths of two young officers who lost their lives to criminals while they were doing their job. I doubt that there will even be a protest and I also doubt that President Obama will even mention their deaths. It is a shame to try and spin police brutality as the reason behind the recent riots.............. they are criminals who do not care whether they kill people of any race.
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The police have arrested a fourth person connected to the shooting of officers Deen and Tate. Cornelius Clark was arrested later on Sunday and has been charged with obstruction of justice. There has been no statement yet as to what the possible motive for the shooting is but there has been more information released as to the criminal records of the Banks brothers.
Marvin Banks had been convicted of possession of stolen property in November 2010 and was sentenced to serve a year and a day for the conviction. That sentence was to be followed by four years of probation which was revoked and Marvin was back in jail until June 2012. He was released then with an earned release under supervision which ended in May 2014. Marvin and his brother Curtis were both charged with the sale of crack cocaine in July 2013 but there was no further report as to how the charges were handled.
Update May 11 2015:
Marvin Banks's mother has spoken out about her son and his arrest. Mary Smith states that she knows that he has been smoking synthetic marijuana, "spice" on a daily basis and that he has been hearing voices since he had been hit on the head with a pipe several years ago. Marvin and his six year old son live with his mother Mary and she works the night shift at a nursing home. She stated that she was resting before she went to work on Saturday when she received a phone call that told her there had been a shooting of two officers and that Marvin was involved. Soon after that she received a call from her son Curtis and he told her that he had nothing to do with the shooting and had been home in his apartment the whole time.
Smith went on to say that she believed that Marvin was probably high when he was arrested because he looked it in the pictures of him. She stated that Marvin had been attacked several years ago and hit with a pipe. He spent time in intensive care and Marvin began hearing voices after that. Katie Walmon, the mother of Marvin's son stated that Marvin had changed after the head injury and she thought it was the devil. Smith went on to say that she had tried to get Marvin to seek help for his drug addiction and mental problems but that he had refused to do so.
The preliminary report from the police states that Officer Deen had pulled over the vehicle that Marvin was in for speeding and he then called for back-up. Officer Tate arrived on the scene and the shooting then occurred. They have not released any details as to what they think happened before both officers were found shot and lying in the street. They did add that Marvin had stolen one of the police cruisers and managed to drive it only a few blocks before he abandoned it.
Smith complained that the police make it a habit of pulling young black men over, sometimes just to ask where they are going. She felt that something would happen eventually but she did not think that it would have involved either of her sons. The four that had been arrested all appeared in court today and the charges of capital murder against Calloway were reduced to accessory after the fact while the rest of the charges against the three have stayed the same.
In a related story, Sierra "C-Babi" McCurdy of Laurel MS was fired from her job at Subway after she posted comments praising the deaths of Officers Deen and Tate on her Facebook account. Twitter users not only reported the comments but stated that they were outraged by her comments in favor of the deaths. I applaud Subway for firing her because of the image it presents to consumers worldwide. A Facebook account is someone's place to state whatever they feel they want to say but if you think that you will not suffer the consequences for your actions there, you are very wrong.
What is outrageous is that Officer Tate is a young black man who graduated from South Pike High School, attended Southwest Community College, worked, applied to and graduated from the police academy all during a time when protests are demanding more "help" for black young men. There are numerous debates about how much the deck is stacked against those young men growing up and yet, Officer Tate beat those odds.
Officer Tate proved that you don't need to be given a dozen handouts and coddling to become a young man to be proud of. To read that a young black woman was praising his death at the hands of another black man is more than sickening....... it shows the depth of the real problem involving racism in the protests. It seems to begin with a very real dislike of anyone in authority.
Saturday, May 9, 2015
"I think there is more trouble to come," stated Teresa Rivera-Avelar.
Jesus Ismenia Marinero, 45, had been living in constant fear for the past few months and now, her fears have been realized. Her troubles had begun as far back as January of this year when she reported that she had her home burglarized at least five times. She added that at least one time, the person who had broken in had spray painted on the walls of the home.
After that, she had seen men following her in various trucks as she traveled through town. They followed her every time she made a turn and where ever she went. On April 22, her home on 1932 South 18th St in Omaha Nebraska caught fire and burned the basement and first floor. The fire which did $45,000 worth of damage is being investigated as arson but there have been no suspects named yet. Jesus and her family then moved in with her sister and were living near 48th Ave and O St.
The break ins continued even after she moved in with her sister and a next door neighbor confirmed that report. He stated that the sister's home had been broken into several times and they had recently installed a new security system to try and prevent more break ins.
On May 5 2015, Jesus was out driving with her two children and was supposed to meet with Jose Ramirez, her partner for the past five years, at her sister's home that evening. Ramirez states that he kept calling her cellphone all evening but her phone was turned off. He added that he did receive a text at around 11 pm from her phone that stated that she had been at the hospital and was now heading home. Ramirez then stated that he got no further responses to his texts or phone calls after that. He looked for her all of that evening and by the next morning, he called the police to report her missing.
Ramirez went to Jesus's sister's home in the morning as well, looking for Jesus and his two children but she was not there and they reported that she had never come home. It was late in the afternoon when a man noticed what he thought were noises from an animal coming from a nearby dumpster in La Vista. When he went over to investigate he found that it was not an animal, it was one of the missing boys. Eleven month old Angel was found sitting in the dumpster, bruised and wearing only a diaper and he was taken to a local hospital.
Jesus's sister recognized Angel's picture went it was posted on social media and notified Ramirez immediately. Angel had been found at 5:44 pm and was identified by family by 8:41 pm but there had been no reports of the location of Jesus and five year old Josue, Ramirez's other son. At 7:54 pm, Omaha police were called out to Fourth and Cedar Streets for a person down call. They found a deceased woman and began investigating it as a murder.
They had not connected the dead woman yet to the missing Jesus. At 6:51 am on May 7 2015, the police ask for the public's help in finding the missing Jesus and Josue as well as her 2000 Jeep Cherokee Larado which she had been seen driving before she went missing. The police issued an Amber Alert for Josue, officially identify the boy in the dumpster as Angel and report that they believe that there is a connection between the woman's body found by a couple walking near a ditch near Lauritzen Gardens the previous evening and the missing Jesus.
By 4 pm that afternoon, the police had cancelled the Amber Alert for the missing Jeep but state that Josue is still missing. They also report that the woman who had been found dead has been identified as Jesus. The Jeep had been found near 21st and Arbor Streets and they had to cancel the alert because it could no longer be tied to a missing vehicle. The police had been questioning Ramirez and other family members in an attempt to discover what had happened to Jesus and her sons. Ramirez was held briefly for questioning and on immigration issues but he was released that evening after Jesus's older son, Roberto C Martinez-Marinero, 25, walked into the Douglas County Corrections office.
Roberto told staff there that he was involved in the death of his mother on May 5th and was turning himself in. He told the police that he had been arguing with his mother about money before he stabbed her to death and dumped her body. He stated that he had thrown his five year old brother Josue into the Elkhorn River after his mother had been killed.
The police began their search for Josue at 8 am with numerous teams working in the Elkhorn River. Roberto was booked into the jail and charged with suspicion of first degree murder and use of a weapon to commit a felony. The charges are only related to the death of his mother Jesus and they did not state that they were looking to arrest any other suspects. Angel was returned to the custody of his father that evening after being in the custody of child services for two days.
Josue was not found on Friday and the police continued their search of the river on early May 9th with as many as seven boats and dive teams searching both the water and the banks of the river. The police did announce though at about 9 am that they had made a second arrest in the developing case. They had arrested Roberto's girlfriend, Gabriela Guevara, 24, and charged her with suspicion of being an accessory in the murder of Jesus. A relative of Jesus's stated that Guevara had never liked jesus but they did not know why she felt that way.
The police had also searched and removed items from the rental home of Roberto's near 20th St and Poppleton Ave where he had been living with his girlfriend and two small children. Neighbors had reported that they had often seen Roberto out in the fenced yard playing with his children in the past. The police have stated that they are still not looking for additional suspects in the case but family members of Jesus have stated that they would not be surprised if there are others involved.
As much as it is hoped that Josue is found alive, the longer the search continues, the smaller those chances become.
Update May 12 2015:
The body of 5 year old Josue was found on May 11th along the riverbank about a mile south of the West center Rd bridge. The police report that he and his younger brother probably witnessed the murder of their mother and were kidnapped by their half brother after her death. Angel was dropped off in the dumpster and Josue was thrown from the bridge while he was alive.
The police state that Jesus and her son had been arguing about money for the past few weeks leading up to the murder. She was over at her son's home that evening and he stated that she slapped or swatted at him sometime during their argument and he claims that he lost it then. He beat her in the face and head with a baseball bat and then stabbed her multiple times. His girlfriend Guevara was in the home when this happened and went with him to help dump her body. She was also with him when he dumped both of the children but there is no report as to where their two children were at that time.
Guevara is facing up to 55 years for the five accessory charges she faces now and prosecutors have stated that they will seek the death penalty for Roberto. He is being held without bond and Guevara has received a $1 million dollar bond.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
The public nationwide got to meet Dorian Johnson, 23, on August 9 2014 when he became the outspoken witness to his friend Michael Brown's shooting death. Johnson seemed to enjoy his more that 15 minutes of fame before any member of the media who was interested in hearing his eye witness account of that day. What Johnson "forgot" to mention in those early news stories was the part he played in a store robbery only minutes before Michael Brown lost his life and what he did while Brown was being gunned down.
It was later discovered that Johnson had a problem with telling the truth and he vanished from the public eye for a time. The public had been led to believe that he was the "smoking gun" of witness's and he would blow the case of Brown's death wide open. Instead, Johnson was not even a very credible witness for the grand jury even after he had been cleaned up and taught how to enunciate his big words. He never did state in public what he had done during the last few minutes that Brown was alive........ did he run for cover or did he try to save Brown or was he even standing there with his hands up as he claimed Brown had been doing.
Johnson is back in the news though, first for the lawsuit he has recently filed and secondly for another arrest to add to his record. His lawsuit has been filed against the former police chief Thomas Jackson and former officer Darren Wilson. He is alleging that he has suffered emotional distress and psychological damage from the arrest and death of his friend Brown and he is seeking $25,000 in damages. He claims that Wilson targeted him without probable cause, assaulted him and violated his constitutional rights. His lawsuit is also asking for an injunction to prevent the city of Ferguson and it's police from engaging in unlawful arrests, engaging in assault and using excessive force.
On May 6 2015, police were called to the 5700 block of Acme Ave in St Louis MO at 3:21 pm to investigate a call about a large group of subjects who were possibly armed with firearms. The officers that had arrived tried to disperse the men there and that was when trouble began. The police noticed one of the men had what appeared to be bulge in his clothes and tried to detain and pat him down. While they were trying to do that, Demonte Johnson, 21, grabbed the arm of the officer and tried to prevent him from patting down the other man.
At this point, Dorian Johnson approached the officers who were trying to now detain Demonte for interfering and resisting them. He stood very close to the officer and was yelling at him to try and prevent his brother Demonte from being arrested. He was also observed tossing what was later described as cold medication mixed with an illegal narcotic on the ground. All three men were arrested and it was reported that they are all brothers. One of them was also found to have a warrant for armed robbery and armed criminal action in Bridgeton but they did not name which brother that was.
Demonte was charged with resisting or interfering with an arrest and third degree assault on an officer and Dorian was charged with resisting or interfering with an arrest. I am sure that his lawyer can try and spin this into an additional trauma for Johnson but it certainly sounds as though Dorian just has not learned yet how to straighten up and fly right. Most people try to better themselves after a brush with the law........... evidently johnson has a different view on what better means.