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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Christmas Present

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Judge took spanking too far in video

The story of a Texas judge’s use of physical discipline on his daughter continues to be of high interest to readers, as local authorities has opted against pressing charges. For federal prosecutors, the decision may differ
Yes, the judge took the spanking of his 16 year-old daughter too far when he gave her 16 lashes for downloading music that was illegal. In the November 3 story featured on the Today Show, it was reported that their were welts on the 16 year old’s legs, arms and behind. Any time there was a mark left on a child after a spanking it was considered abuse and this was considered crossing a line between discipline and abuse.
Child Abuse, defined as physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. The law noticed the parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child; rather, the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment. Physical abuse was the second most reported form of child abuse, defined as physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. Physical abuse would occur when of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child, rather the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment.
What are the most effective methods of punishing disobedience? He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 13:24 (KJV) My mother used spanking and time out. In some extreme cases, she sent me to bed early. She also made me leave the table or took me away if any nonsense occurred. For punishing disobedience, Dr. Phil suggested taking away something the child valued, in other words, restricting them from a favorite privilege such as, a favorite t.v. program, toy, or activity. The use positive reinforcement was also more effective because it gave a sense of value to the child. Yelling, screaming and hitting the child just caused confusion and tension in the child. Being 16, the judge could’ve done this instead of physically spanking his child.
What changes in society had made parental discipline such a hotly debated topic? Most parents saw spanking as a form of abuse. California tried twice in 2007 and 2008 to regulate spanking first by making it against the law when a parent spanked a child under two and again which made it illegal to spank a child with any object. Both attempts failed. For this reason, it was doubtful whether the use of the paddle or corporal punishment would be outlawed in schools both public and private. In 1977, it wasn’t against the law to use the paddle in school. The major concern here was whether it would have been overused in spite of the opinion that it was ‘cruel and unusual’.
In Texas, many schools in larger cities have outlawed corporal punishment. Others in rural and religiously conservative areas, however, still use the paddle regularly. In Wichita Falls, Texas, it wasn’t advertised. It wouldn’t be banned outright, not without a two-thirds majority or 38 of 50 states for a constitutional amendment that got passed.
Temple's school board voted unanimously to revive its use of the paddle after parents requested it. I don't know what I consider more shocking: that not one person on the school board disapproved of hitting students after it had already been banned, that it was these students' own parents that wanted it revived, or that this is all took place in a modern city much larger than the one I grew up in the northeast.
Schools usually claim that paddling is reserved for only the most severe misbehavior and is used sparingly as a last resort, but corporal punishment can easily devolve into physical child abuse. This was consequence of the fact that each school district in Texas was free to act according to its own guidelines when administering corporal punishment. There was no law—whether local, state, or federal—clearly limiting its use. Each school board decided how they interpreted the word ‘severe' when considering misbehavior and how loosely to apply the term ‘last resort.' Moreover, administrators must handle the question of how hard is too hard when hitting a child. Other questions include how often the same student can be paddled, if certain students deserved more than three licks and how to deal with a situation where parents didn't give consent.
Some parents go the opposite direction on the issue of paddling or corporal punishment though. Nearly half of parents of secondary school children say corporal punishment such as the cane or slipper should be reintroduced, a survey suggests. Nearly all surveyed thought teachers should be able to be tougher on pupils. The research, carried out by YouGov, showed slightly less support for corporal punishment than a TES survey in 2000 – which found 51% of parents in favour. And when parents were asked specifically about “smacking/caning children,” support dropped to 40%, with 53% disagreeing.
In spite of the on-going debate of whether spanking was a form of abuse, the judge took things too far when he spanked his daughter in the November 3 video seen on the Today Show, leaving welts on her legs arms and bottom. He crossed a line when that occurred even though he didn’t intend to hurt her.

Movie not that hard to find on Black Friday

For me, finding the DVD “Love Begins’, a prequel to the “Love Comes Softly Saga” was a thrill before Black Friday. The only movie unwatched by me was this one. The prices for this movie were reasonable too.
Local stores like Mardel, Wal-Mart, Books-A-Million, and Sears would carry this movie, so it was advised to get to these stores early for the best chance of not being disappointed about the price. Most of the time a good price would be found if one got there early enough. For me, shopping on line was easier than paying a cab and facing the mad house on Friday and Saturday at Sikes Senter Mall. and The Hallmark Channel also had good prices on this movie too. At the store or on line the price for this movie ran from $15.00 to $16.49, not that expensive as a Christmas present. The Love Comes Softly Saga was better bought from as seller because it was almost $60 brand new.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fight for ramp an uphill battle.

Earlier this month, December 3, 2007 after I paid rent, the management at my apartment complex threw a comment over my shoulder about the ramp while I was on my way out the office. I was so angry, I don’t remember what she said. But it spurred me into action. I came home, put my keys and mail on the table, and went in search of the PrePaid Legal number they sent with the packet in November. I spoke to a female lawyer the first time. She recommended three things 1) finding a new place to live, 2) getting MHMR to fix it and 3) paying to fix the ramp myself. My answers were: 1) my lease was not up for renewal till the end of February 2008, so moving wasn’t an option. 2) I had no affiliation with MHMR. My needs were physical not mental. and 3) I wasn’t responsible for placing the ramp there so I was not going to pay to get it fixed. The complex put it in.

I did a search on the Internet trying to find an ADA number or web site. The first time I e-mailed some office located in Massachusetts. They answered back saying they had no affiliation with Texas only in their state. I located a regional office in Colorado and e-mailed them. They answered me back December 4; saying <em>The Fair Housing Act (FHA) took care of this type of thing, not the ADA. But they sent me two attachments: a joint statement from The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and The Justice Department in addition to Guidelines from the ADA on how to fix the ramp. They told me to take these papers to my landlord along with a written request to get that ramp fixed.</em> I am grateful to have an elastic memory. My sister had to write a few requests to get maintenance off their duff at her place. I drew from that. The male lawyer I spoke to said to give them 30 days from the date of that letter to get the ramp fixed any longer was too generous. I could take other legal measures if they fail to comply. For five-and-half years, they were violating the Fair Housing Act by putting obstacles in the way of fixing that ramp

Well, on December 5, I turned in my paperwork as advised by my lawyer and the ADA. I was afraid of the reaction I’d get from management. She told me she doesn’t react. I was allowed to speak freely in her office. While I could have named who was responsible for building the ramp in April of 2002, I didn’t name names because they were still on staff. I got a lot of praise for the way in which my request was written and my poise during the situation. She said I was correct in requesting safe access into and out of my apartment. And yes, they may have to redo the whole thing from scratch. She told me that she would copy and fax the paperwork to maintenance. 

On December 20, they started work on that ramp. My friend, Penny, came over to pick up my Christmas Cards for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. When I opened the door, they had coned off access to that space and made my neighbor move her car. Management told me not to attempt using the ramp while they were repairing it. If I needed anything to let them know.</p>
Here’s what they did:

According to ADA guidelines, the ramp was to be 6 feet in length from the top to bottom. It was 1 ½ feet too short. If they were to extend it any further than the required 6 feet, the complex would have had to place a rail on the ramp. It would be a liability for the complex if anyone living next door or upstairs had a young child who hurt themselves on it. They were going to remove the gulley or dip that made the ramp so steep by putting on more cement. Also according to ADA guidelines, they took the second parking spot to the right of the ramp. That way, anyone that has a van or bus with a lift has a wide enough space to raise and lower it safely.

The barrier came down December 23. My mother and sister made sure to have me test it before leaving for Christmas. I went up and down twice.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reinvention of oneself not easy, but necessary after a trial.

Between March and October 2011, everything was turned upside down. Covering my stories became more difficult because there was not any way for me to get to church Wednesday night. For more than a month, no one from the local children’s ministry took the van that night partly because of a trust issue, whether the driver were there to take the riders home at 7:30. Parents were picking up and dropping off their children to ensure they got there. The current driver told me last Sunday that the van was full, meaning he had riders but they came from a local mission and it took him at least thirty minutes to return them there, drive back to the church, pick me up and take me home. Most of the articles in the works during the late spring and summer fell through because of a lack of understanding of my situation and the six months of extreme heat.
The people that took me to Wednesday night service didn't work out. It was time for me to step out. This still left me with a big dilemma, how to cover my stories for the Examiner. Well, since getting to Sunday service was easier, doing things by phone, Internet, and writing questions on paper were the best option. A writer never went without pen and paper. For me, this reinvention of oneself was not easy but necessary after a trial like that. There was an answer to prayer, the van was being used. It felt as if my right arm was removed in not having a ride to Wednesday night service.

For the rest of the story, follow this link:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Favorite Novelist: Stephen King Excerpt

My favorite novelist would have to be Stephen King. Most of his writing is too scary to read, like the books, Tommyknockers and Pet Semetary. Tommyknockers scared me so bad, I couldn’t get past page ten. My sister bought the paperback book, The Eyes of the Dragon, published in 1987 right after graduation in 1988. I read it while she went on vacation in New York for the entire month of June.

What makes Stephen King attractive as a novelist and one of my favorites is that he is diverse, he can easily move from horror to science fiction to non-fiction. That means I will always be able to find something to read without having to scare myself half to death. 

For the rest of the story, go here:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Paris Mystery Excerpt

AIf you tell anyone what happened, I=ll beat you again. I should >ve sent you to an orphanage when your father died, but I promised I=d take care of you.@
Christine refused to cry, no matter how the cane bruised her flesh. If she could just hold out till Philippe=s return, the cruel treatment from his mama would be at an end.
AAre you in much pain?@ asked Philippe, pouring water into the washstand. 
ANot till you started using cold water,@ Christine winced as her wounds were cleaned.
AThat is the best I can do. My mother means you harm if not with the beatings, then by starvation. Pack your bags. We=re leaving at nightfall.@
AWhere are you taking me? I have no one else.@
AI know of someone who will feed and care for you till your wounds heal. Then you will join the Paris Opera as a chorus girl. Would you like that?@
AYes, very much. I can=t wait to leave this place.@  Christine lowered her eyes, AI didn=t mean to be ungrateful.@
AYour words do not offend me. I know who took my money. When Richard returns, I=ll deal with him. The little sneak will get himself killed one day.@ 
AThat=s a horrible thing to say about your brother.@
ARichard thinks he owns the world because he=s firstborn. The only reason I get better treatment then you are because I look like my father. And I can keep the books.@
@Surely your brother has some talent.@
AHe spends large amounts of money on women of questionable character. I have been running this farm since my father died. I=d better leave before mama gets suspicious. Eat this. Get some rest. We leave at dark.@ Philippe was gone before Christine uttered a word of thanks. She took three generous bites of bread and cheese before lying on the cot to rest, but not before wrapping her meal in cloth.

Christine woke before sunset and packed her meager belongings in the carpetbag her father left her. Most of what she had was cast offs from other farm girls who outgrew their homespun dresses and didn=t have sisters. Christine knew the roads weren’t=t safe, especially at night, so she sewed her money in the hem of her gown.
Philippe entered the garret after sunset as promised, AWhere did you get that money?@
AI sold papa=s clothing after he died. The rest people gave me. I sang at the local fair last year, remember?@
They left using the back staircase. AI bought you this. You=ll need it now that we are out of the house,@ he said, clicking his tongue to move the horses. Christine knew better than to question Philippe. AThank you.@  She winced, gritting her teeth as the pain of those wounds on her back throbbed
AWe will have to get those tended to when we get where we are going. Don=t worry. I know this person is a lot kinder than my mother was.@  Christine doubted the old woman would even know she left. After what seemed to be a long time, they stopped in front of a small house. 
AWalk behind me and be silent.@  Philippe knocked on the door using his cane. A  girl, about nine years old,  with chestnut hair, bobbed a curtsy, and stepped aside to let them in. 

ASo, this is the young lady you=ve been telling me about, eh Philippe?@ asked a tall lady with a booming voice as they were shown into a parlor.
AMadame Giry, May I present Miss Christine Daee.@  Christine bobbed a curtsy.
AAfter she recovers from her malady, perhaps she could audition for the chorus.@
@Auditions won=t be for two months, but I=m sure we can arrange to keep her occupied till then. How much schooling have you had, Christine?@
AVery little, Madame. My father taught me my letters and numbers, but it was Philippe=s papa that taught me to read with his boys.@
AAnd, what is it that you read?@
AThe Bible, Madame.@
AVery good. Enough questions for now. It=s time to rest. Meg will show you to your room.@  Meg came from where she sat, motioning Christine to follow.
AThank you for your kindness, Madame, Philippe,@ she said, bobbing another curtsy before leaving the room.
AThat young lady will make a wonderful wife someday,@ Madame Giry said, cleaning her spectacles.
AI know.@

AWhere is the little brat?!  I swear I=ll cane her within an inch of her life when I find her!@
AYou can stop yelling, mother, Christine is gone.@
AGone. Went where?@
AI took her away last night to someone who will look after her properly.@
ATell me where she is!  I must know!@
AI think not!  All you=d do is beat her when she speaks the truth!  I know who took that money, by the way.@  For the first time in his life, he saw the color in his mother=s face drain chalky white. Richard grimaced and turned red.
AYou have no right to raise your voice to me! I am your mother!@
AI have every right where Christine is concerned!  All she wanted was love and understanding. You and Richard treated her like a servant.  You broke your promise to look after her mama, for that you will burn in Hell!@
AI can have you tossed out of here, Philippe.  I=m the heir, remember?@
AAn heir with no trust fund or farm.  That=s right, Richard.  On my way back home, I spoke to Mr. Barnes, our lawyer.   Instead of paying your debts this time, you will work as a servant here.@
AI know nothing of servant life.@
AYou will learn.  I=m giving you the rest of the day to prepare.  You will need your rest.  Servants rise at five.@
AWhat if I refuse?@
AThen I=ll hand you over to your creditors and let them deal with you.@  This time, Richard=s face paled. 
AWhat about me? Surely, I=m too old to work.@   

AI haven=t forgotten about you, my dear.  It=s the nunnery for you.  Perhaps you can find forgiveness among those that are trained to forgive.@  For the moment, no one said a word.  Richard rose first and went to his room, mother followed ten minutes later.

AYou are your father=s son.  Punishment was always swift and severe.  Can=t you reconsider and let me stay at the farm?@
AWith Richard in Debtor=s Prison, there=s no one to look after you.  I=d never forgive myself if you were all alone and there was trouble.@
AAt least see me to the door.  You owe me that much.@
AA nunnery is far better than you deserve, mother. A
@Good-bye then.@  Philippe watched as his mother climbed the steps to the old stone building.  She did not look back as the iron gate creaked shut behind her.  Once her skirt cleared the doorway, it closed with a thud.  He heard the bolt as it slid into place.    He crossed himself and climbed into the carriage.

Unseen by anyone in the Giry household, a shadowy figure entered the upper chamber where Christine Daee lay sleeping.  Horrified by the wounds that marked her back, Erik resisted the urge to swear an oath.  Instead, he cleaned her wounds and sang to her when she whimpered.  Christine=s cries ceased when Erik held her.  Once her body went limp, he placed her back in the bed, covered her up, and left as quietly as he came.
AWhat do you think?@
AI won=t know until I hear her sing.  Bring her to me at sunset.@
APeople will be suspicious if I leave the house.  I=m being watched.@
 AThen let me take her with me.  She can=t stay here and remain unnoticed by the patrons of the Opera.@
AI don=t trust your motives either.  Christine is too young for what you have planned.  Besides, she needs time to heal inside and out.  Removing her now would upset her emotionally.@
AI want her.  I will have her.@
ANow isn=t the time to be spoiled and selfish, my friend.  Christine stays with me.@ 
Maestro considered her words. The cape and half-mask would frighten the child, which was the last thing he wanted.
AThree weeks then.  The Paris Opera has open auditions.@  Madame Giry nodded her approval, but was uneasy.

AShe looks wonderful.@ 
ASee what love and kindness would do?@
AThe cuts and bruises on her back are gone too,@said Meg.  This bought stares from both Philippe and Madame Giry. Meg left.  Having some excuse to make tea.
AI have an empty house now.  I=m going to close it up while I=m away.@
ASo your mother is at a nunnery, huh?@
AAnd Richard is in Debtor=s Prison. Apparently, he refused to work off his debts.@  Meg=s hand trembled as she poured the tea.
AI=ll do that. Go back to your lessons.” Meg curtsied and turned to leave.             

AMeg is upset with me because I want to send her away to boarding school. I want my daughter to have an education. She has outgrown the textbooks in my library.@
AChristine should go too.  Just for a few weeks until Meg settles in. I can arrange it.@
AThank you, Philippe, said Mdme Giry, smiling a weary smile. At least with both girls gone, the old lady didn=t have to worry about protecting them from Erik. 

AYou anger me, Giry,@ Maestro said, slamming his fist on the table. 
@Well, I am not sorry for sending the girls away to school.  Your attraction to Christine is unhealthy. The girl is only fourteen. And Meg didn=t need to be exposed to the trappings of the Opera House or its Ghost.@  Erik remained silent.  He knew what Madame Giry did was for the best, but being separated from Christine was more than he could bear, even if it was for a few weeks. 
AI can find Christine.  I know  Paris.@
AIf the girls disappear from the Convent School, I will call the authorities. Yes, I am threatening you.  Keep you distance, Erik.@ Instead of arguing with the old woman, Erik rose from the table and left.  Madame Giry felt uneasy at the self-imposed silence.  She must alert Mother Superior to keep an eye on her two new charges at the Convent.  Grabbing her shawl and a lantern, she slipped out the back door to the stables, unaware that she was being watched by a pair of gray glowing eyes.

 For the whole story, go here:


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