Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Half-Ass Apologizes For Poisoning Children Of Flint

Well butter my buns and call me a biscuit!

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has issued a formal apology and a public oath to do something about the Great Water Poisoning of Flint's Children and has accepted the resignation of the DEQ Director Dan Wyant.

It only took many months?

Well, now, perhaps the Governor may want to finally take a position of leadership and start advocating for the well-being of Michigan's children living in poverty by swaying his fan base to end their public rally of schadenfreude, more readily recognized as complete and utter revelry in the suffering of children.

I say, my good man, why not take your newly ordained, half-ass apologetic approach to the Republican Governors Association and lend colleagues a hand on how not to implement policies which will decimate a major portion of the nation's future human capital through the promulgation of pervasive polices of keeping future generations in perpetual poverty.

Always remember, it is the role of society to invest in the best interests of the child to garner a future, profitable return of a productive, tax paying citizen.

The public trusted you with this task when you were elected.

As of now, the world sits back and waits to see if you truly are a leader, because as of right now, I am not really impressed.

Snyder apologizes, Wyant resigns in Flint water crisis

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Los Angeles Needs New Child Welfare Leadership, Seriously.

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services is justifying dropping big money on upgrading "equipment".

Philip Browning
Philip Browning,  Los Angeles Department of Children and
Families Director, and  all around incompetent 
Alright.  But something tells me these "technological upgrades" were done under the advice and consent of this dufus who thinks he can construct an algorithm to predict, uh, I guess, before a child is born, if that child is going to be abused and neglected by maintaining a secret database.

Of course, there were no room for audits in this fantasy "technological upgrade".

Seriously, I called him out on it.  He tried to compare his validation for a behavioral prediction model to credit scores.


And since the Department is already under state investigation for being run by the Toga! Toga! administrators, it was probably a good idea at the time to make it look like they knew what they were doing.

So, once again, we leave the year 2015 with the national child welfare system still in a complete and utter mess, with Medicaid Fraud still alive and kicking with no one doing a damn thing about it, except for me.

Happy New Year.

A $374 headset? A $153 tape dispenser? DCFS faces fresh criticism over its spending

The Department of Children and Family Services, which Los Angeles County auditors have criticized for poor fiscal oversight, now is facing questions about its spending practices — specifically its office equipment purchases.

Among the items acquired in recent months: $374 headsets and a $153 automatic tape dispenser.
Philip Browning, head of the department, said that he has made equipment and technology upgrades a priority following years of neglect. Outfitting case workers with iPhones, dictation technology and ergonomically sound furniture makes them more efficient, he said.

"It's appropriate to keep employees safe and healthy," he said. "We spend a huge amount of money on workers' comp. We need to address that."

According to department records, the DCFS paid $348,000 in fiscal 2014 for supplies and equipment. That amount more than doubled, to $709,000, in fiscal 2015. And in the first four months of the current fiscal year, the department spent $700,000-plus on the equipment — more than the similarly sized probation department did the last two full years.

A review of invoices by The Times showed that the DCFS bought the wireless office headsets when a comparable, wired alternative was available for $20 — a potential savings of more than $350 each.
Officials said that employees were not required to choose the most cost-effective products to meet their ergonomic needs. And if workers say they need an item to prevent injuries, department policy dictates that they probably will get it, even if the same product has been provided to the same worker before.

No doctor's note is required, according to department policy.

The variety of products available is vast. One employee requested and received the $153 electric tape dispenser. Another, records show, asked for a $49 doze alert — a device that wakes up someone who has drifted off. Request approved.

"In a time when foster children and foster parents struggle to have their basic needs met, we should be buying solid, cost-effective office equipment — not some of the most expensive stuff on the market," said Aubrey Manual, president of a foster parent association that has lobbied unsuccessfully for more money to be spent on reversing a critical shortage of foster homes.

"I think it's appalling that money meant to keep abused and neglected kids safe and improve their lives is instead being wasted on this stuff," Manual said. "Someone over there needs to use better judgment."

Germaine Key, of the department's health and safety management division, said the prices being paid were appropriate. "This seems to be standard for what good products cost," she said.

This year, the L.A. County auditor-controller criticized other DCFS fiscal practices, blaming poor inventory control for the loss of thousands of dollars in bus tokens meant for clients.

Auditors found that the tokens had been left in open cabinets accessible to anyone in the office, and paper logs didn't show who had removed them.

The tokens, auditors said, "should be safeguarded in the same manner as cash to prevent theft or misuse."

According to Browning, ergonomics spending in earlier years might have been artificially low because fewer employees were assigned to interview staffers about what they needed to prevent workplace injuries.

The department also is in the midst of hiring hundreds of new social workers, which could account for some of the increased supply costs, he said.

That hiring will increase staff 7% this fiscal year, while the spending on ergonomic equipment could reach 300% if the outlays continue at the current pace. Typically, spending is evenly distributed across all seasons of the year, according to department records.

The DCFS director said that it was important to factor workers' compensation into any cost-benefit analysis. "This spending can help to avoid claims down the line," he said.

Workers' compensation payouts for injures have remained steady at $14 million a year for the last two years.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Michigan Poor and Disabled Children Are Considered Collateral Damage

Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan's Governor, put out a winter advisor for the western part of the state.  Being snarky, I commented the following:
"This is a really nice warning. Too bad you did not warn the children of Flint the same way."
Someone responded by expressing the mentality of the entire water situation in Flint. He posted, 
"Flint created its own destiny"
Manifest destiny?

Then I read some of the comments posted on the following article and I realized that there are people, who just do not care about about the welfare of a child, nor will they ever.

Not even the Governor of Michigan cares about children living in poverty, with disabilities, in his own state, as a result of his own policies.

I have yet, to date, to hear from the mouths of "The Elected Ones" a single word about ameliorating the struggles of parents caring for disabled children, a rapidly growing population in Michigan, as a direct result of its policies.

Maura Corrigan did not care about Ricky Holland.
Absolutely nothing.

I know this story all too well, but it took me back to another time in Michigan's dark history of child welfare.

The date was December 8, 2006.

His name was Ricky Holland.

Ricky Holland was considered collateral damage by the state's administration in dealing with his mother's crime of poverty.

Collateral damage is what the Governor's Office and his stakeholders consider the children of Flint and Detroit.

To date, there has only been one elected official who has my back.

That's all I need.

On a mission...

Homelessness, asthma force family to give up children

Mother decides to turn over kids to the state, including son whose asthma worsens sleeping in the car

On a cold Monday in late October, Siretha Lattimore decided to turn her children over to state child protection workers.
The temperature in Detroit had dropped into the 40s overnight, too cold for 9-year-old Malik, who has asthma, to spend another night sleeping in the family’s car. His chronic breathing difficulties had worsened.

“It just takes a lot out of him, and I don’t want nothing to happen to him to get pneumonia again,” Lattimore said.

About two-thirds of Detroit children are dealing with adversity of some kind — extreme poverty, homelessness, broken families or other problems. There is scientific evidence that these experiences are making it difficult for Detroit kids to breathe, and Malik Cole is one of them.

“I can’t have air. Or it feels like somebody is choking me,” Malik said of his asthma. “... I feel like I am dying.”

Cole is among 24,000 Detroit kids with asthma. A sweet boy whose favorite school subject is science, he has been raised in a nuclear family with his mother, father Dwayne Cole and siblings Jaretha Cole, 11, Shamika Cole, 7, and 4-year-old Jaden, who has autism. But Malik’s childhood has been marred by struggle.

Dwayne Cole, 40, works full time for an auto parts manufacturer, but the family has been without a home for about a year. They lost their rental home after they purchased a car and got behind on their rent.

Cole earns about $12.25 an hour, Lattimore said — about $24,500 annually, or $2,250 monthly before taxes. The family gets food stamps but no cash assistance. Lattimore said caring for one child with severe asthma and another with autism makes it impossible for her to hold a job.
“Because of our finances ... we had to choose between ... getting a vehicle to keep his job” and making the housing payment, the mother explained.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the number of adverse childhood experiences faced by children in the nation’s 18 largest cities. They looked at parents’ answers on the 2011-12 National Survey of Children’s Health to questions about whether their child was affected by extreme poverty, crime or other stresses.

More than 50,000 Detroit kids have had at least one such experience, and more than 77,000 are affected by two or more such experiences, the researchers found. For example, Detroit has more children — 34 percent — living in extreme poverty than any of the nation’s 50 largest cities, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Extreme poverty is defined as a family of four living on about $12,125 or less annually.

Detroit’s children are the least likely among kids in the country’s 18 largest cities to avoid stressful experiences that can help trigger asthma. About 34 percent of Detroit children face no stressful experiences, compared with a national average of 52.1 percent. Philadelphia had the next lowest measure with 40 percent of kids facing no traumatic experiences.

Malik appears to be one of the children affected by stressful situations. Throughout a year-long ordeal of homelessness, Lattimore carried Malik’s inhalers in a backpack and met regularly with Elizabeth Milton, an asthma home educator. Milton works for Better Life Learning, a Birmingham-based company hired by the family’s Medicaid health maintenance organization to provide case management for kids with severe asthma.

During a meeting at a Detroit community center in early October, Milton examined Malik, noting that his shoulders were hunched and he had dark circles under his eyes, signs he was struggling to breathe. She told Lattimore how to step up Malik’s medication and explained when to go to the hospital.

“If (his) lips or fingernails turn blue or gray, that is a 911 situation,” Milton said. “If it’s faster to go in the car, because unfortunately (Detroit’s EMS) response time is low, then you get in the car and you go to the nearest emergency room.”

The family started living in shelters, but most limit stays to 30 days. Then they lived in “transitional housing,” a shelter that required $400 a month for one room with a half-bath. They had only a microwave for cooking, but stopped using it because cockroaches were getting inside, Lattimore said. Cockroach feces, a known allergen, were aggravating Malik’s asthma.

“When we was in the shelter, it made it (worse) because of the mice, roaches and the deplorable conditions that was in there. It wasn’t safe,” Lattimore said.

The family struggled to pay $100 per week for their room, partly due to the expense of restaurant meals. They also have the expense of a storage unit where they keep all of their possessions. If they missed a weekly payment at the shelter, the electricity in their room was shut off, Lattimore said. Eventually, they were evicted from transitional housing.

“One of the biggest problems this family is facing is that she doesn’t want to go to a shelter without the father, and there are very few places for families,” Milton said. “Siretha wants to keep the family together.

Lattimore estimates it would cost about $700 monthly for housing that meets the minimum needs of a family of six, slightly less than 40 percent of their pre-tax monthly income. The family has been on a waiting list to receive state emergency assistance for a down payment, damage deposit and other requirements.

“I’ve written a letter to (the state) trying to let them know about the issues,” Milton said about the state Department of Health and Human Services.

“I explained to them about conditions at the shelter that they were in so they could get some help for this family. They just weren’t responsive immediately for this family.”

A relative took in the children for a while, and the parents slept outside in the car. But the relative found it too stressful to care for the children because of their special needs, and they soon were no longer welcome.

“Ms. Lattimore’s story is not unique, unfortunately,” Milton said. “There are families that are dealing with a lot of psycho-social stressers.”

At a playground near his school on Oct. 26, Malik sat listlessly on a swing, watching his feet brush the ground. Asked if he felt sad, he nodded his head.

“He’s taking it real hard, but he’s not showing it yet until it happens,” said Lattimore, who told the children of her decision earlier that day to surrender them to state child welfare officials.
Soon, the children were bundled into the family car. The kids wore their winter jackets and carried their school backpacks. Jaretha hugged her stuffed bear.

Then Cole, Lattimore and their four children entered the state Department of Health and Human Services office together, knowing they soon would be separated.

The children now live in four separate foster homes, while Lattimore and Cole have found separate beds at shelters on opposite sides of the city.

During a Monday visit at a playground, Malik sobbed and begged his parents to keep him with them. Clinging to Lattimore and Cole, he said he didn’t want to go home with his foster mother, who waited nearby in her car.

“It’s going to be soon,” Lattimore said, reassuring Malik that they would be reunited. “The days (will) fly by quickly”.

“It’s too long!” Malik wailed.

The family’s housing challenge, and the question of when they will be reunited, will be considered at a Thursday hearing in the family division of Detroit’s Third Circuit Court.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Michigan and The Generational Genocide of "The Poors" of Flint

The following is the reasoning as to why I am absolutely repulsed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Maura Corrigan, and their national , conservative think tanks when it comes to the well-being of children.

The Effects of Lead Poisoning

Michigan intentionally poisoned the children of Flint and actually believed they could get away with it because their conservative leaders have been incrementally promulgating the destruction of the welfare of the U.S. child for a few years.

The rhetoric has been brilliantly crafted to form the image of "the poors" as a "war on poverty" or even "ending generational dependency of welfare" by the likes of the warm, familiar faces of the Republican party.

Michigan did it to tap into the piggy bank of the Social Security Trust Fund.

They call the impoverished population of Michigan "gamers".

The following is an 2013 EPA Memorandum from the Office of Children's Health Protection:

And here is the Executive Order of 1997 on the EPA and child protection.

As part of the terms of accepting federal funding, the States, each state, including Michigan, agrees to abide by the federal policies by establishing its own state childhood lead prevention policies and programs in child protection.

MDCH Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Michigan's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Michigan knew through its grant compliance as a recipient of federal funding and as a monitor of its sub-recipient, the City of Flint.

This is the reason there has been so much push by national conservatives to get rid of regulation through the push to privatization.

The Michigan Emergency Manager Law has a privatization provision revoking state immunities though the ability to throw an EM under the bus.

Privatization has no regulation mechanism over its contractual entities which are "not-for-profits" and there is an inherent conflict of interest in the Attorney General's contemporaneous advisement and advocacy.

The Flint water system is going to a regionalized authority as a privatized, municipal, not-for-profit corporation.

So, now the question is why did Michigan intentionally poison the children of Flint?

The answer is to maximize revenues of the state through Medicaid and its expansion, or rather "Medicaid gaming".

Medicaid gaming is simple.

Michigan has been penalized by the feds for Medicaid fraud, cutting federal funding.  Michigan has to pay it back, so they came up with the game of unnecessarily billing, and even taxing, Medicaid

"The poors" of Flint will immediately benefit with Medicaid cost reimbursed services and Michigan will automatically maximize its revenues while reducing welfare dependent generations by the genocide of lead poisoning.

Then "the poors" will qualify for SSI and no longer be dependant on state social welfare programs, and if they do, they will die off quite soon.

Ergo, the City of Flint is in a national state emergency.

This is why Governor Rick Snyder and his Executive Cabinet needs to be held accountable by the U.S. Department of Justice.  #DOJ

Michigan DEQ and DHHS needs to be snatched and placed under federal receivership.

State's handling of Flint water samples delayed action

LANSING — Lead levels in Flint's drinking water would have spurred action months sooner if the results of city testing that wrapped up in June had not been revised by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to wrongly indicate the water was safe to drink, e-mails show.

The records — obtained by the Michigan ACLU and by Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech researcher who helped raise concerns about Flint's water — show how state officials first appear to have encouraged the City of Flint to find water samples with low lead levels and later told Flint officials to disqualify two samples with high readings. The move changed the overall lead level results to acceptable from unacceptable.

The e-mails also show that DEQ district coordinator Stephen Busch told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 27 that Flint had "an optimized corrosion control program" to prevent lead from leaching into the drinking water from pipes, connections and fixtures. In fact, the city — disastrously — had no corrosion control program.

Why those DEQ officials took the actions they did is a question at the center of a tragedy that has left an unknown number of children and other Flint residents poisoned by lead, and has led to a federal lawsuit and calls for a U.S. Justice Department investigation. The questions surrounding the testing are in addition to the broader question of why Flint, which was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager at the time, switched its drinking water source, starting in April 2014, from Lake Huron water supplied by Detroit to the much more polluted and corrosive water from the Flint River.
Brad Wurfel, a spokesman for DEQ Director Dan Wyant, declined to say Tuesday why Busch gave inaccurate information to the EPA, why another DEQ official told Flint officials he was hoping they would send him water samples showing low lead levels, or why the DEQ was strict in disqualifying certain water samples with high lead readings but not strict in disqualifying other samples showing low lead levels that did not appear to meet the sampling criteria.

"Most of these questions regard issues presently before the governor's independent after-action review panel," Wurfel told the Free Press in an e-mail. "We don't want to get in front of that review."
On June 25, Adam Rosenthal, of the DEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance, sent an e-mail about the water samples, required under the federal Lead and Copper Rule, to Michael Glasgow, a utilities administrator with the City of Flint.

"Just wanted to remind you/confirm that Flint is on track for a few items," Rosenthal wrote in the e-mail, which he copied to two other DEQ officials.

"We hope you have 61 more lead/copper samples collected and sent to the lab by 6/30/15, and that they are will be (sic) below the AL (action level) for lead," the e-mail said. "As of now with 39 results, Flint's 90th percentile is over the AL for lead."

If 100 lead-in-water samples were listed in ascending order, the 90th percentile would be the 90th sample, meaning 10 samples would have higher readings. To stay below the "action level," which triggers requirements for public notification and steps to reduce the amount of lead in the water, the 90th percentile for Flint's drinking water samples had to be at or below 15 parts per billion. To put it another way, Flint's water would reach an action level if more than 10% of the samples exceed 15 parts per billion.

Melissa Mays, a Flint resident who drank the contaminated water along with her three boys, said there is only one way to read the Rosenthal e-mail.

"The MDEQ informed the City of Flint that they were in danger of going in violation, and they asked for low samples," Mays told the Free Press.

Wurfel wouldn't comment when asked if that's how the e-mail should be interpreted. Rosenthal did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Busch, who was copied on the e-mail Rosenthal sent to Flint, sent an automated e-mail reply that said he is out of the office until Jan. 4.

Had Flint's water sampling come in above the action level, it would have triggered action in July. Instead, it was not until October, after blood test results showed elevated lead levels in Flint children, that the DEQ admitted making a mistake about failing to require the addition of needed corrosion control chemicals to the Flint River water. The state also provided funds to help Flint reconnect to Lake Huron water supplied by Detroit.

The EPA requires that water sampling be done at "high-risk" locations whenever possible. To comply with that, the American Water Works Association says cities such as Flint should collect 50% of samples from homes with lead service lines. For the samples taken in 2015, the EPA rules also required that Flint sample the same 100 homes it sampled the previous year, between July and December of 2014.

But the City of Flint didn't get 100 samples in 2015. After receiving Rosenthal's e-mail expressing a hope for samples below the action level, the city in the next five days collected 30 additional samples, all of which were below the action level.

The DEQ decided that fewer than 100 samples would suffice because Flint's population had dropped below 100,000.

But Edwards said the smaller number of samples the DEQ allowed still should have come from the group of 100 homes tested a year earlier and should have all come from homes at high risk for lead.

The Michigan ACLU, and later the Flint Journal has reported that seven of the additional samples the city collected, or nearly 25% of them, came from a single stretch of Flushing Road in Flint, where the city had replaced a lengthy session of water main in 2007. Not surprisingly, all of those samples measured very low for lead.
In all, the newspaper reported, only 13 of the homes sampled were from the same list of 100 homes tested in 2014. All the homes that were sampled for a second time in 2015 had tested low for lead in 2014. None of the homes that in 2014 had lead levels above the 15 parts per billion action level were sampled a second time.

Edwards told the Free Press the samples were "cherry-picked," and that's a violation of federal law.
Wurfel would not comment when asked if that was the case.

Even then, the 71 samples Flint relied on would have put the city's water above the action level under the original report Flint prepared, dated July 28. Only after two high lead samples were disqualified at the direction of the DEQ, bringing the total number of samples used down to 69, was the water found to be at 11 parts per billion for lead, below the action level.

The revised report, dated Aug. 20, included the following comment from Flint utilities administrator Michael Glasgow: "Revised report after conference call with DEQ staff. Two samples were removed from list for not meeting sample criteria ..."

One of the disqualified samples, which showed lead at more than 100 parts per billion, came from the home of LeeAnne Walters. Walters had subsequently been retested with results coming back even worse and was visited by an EPA official in April. That EPA official, Miguel Del Toral, found that Walters' indoor plumbing was plastic and could not be the source of the high lead readings, as the DEQ had suggested to him.

The DEQ disqualified another high lead-level sample because it did not come from a single-family residence.

On Aug. 4, Walters, other community activists, and concerned pastors met at the Capitol with top aides to the governor and officials from the DEQ. Walters asked why her sample wasn't used and didn't get an explanation. She and others at the meeting say Harvey Hollins, an aide to Gov. Rick Snyder who was last week named the state's point man on the Flint water issue, instructed DEQ officials to get back to her on why her sample wasn't used.

Walters says she never received that explanation, but the DEQ produced a letter sent to Walters by e-mail in response to a FOIA request from Edwards.

In the Aug. 25 e-mail, Liane Shekter Smith, who at the time was the chief of the DEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance but was reassigned in October after the DEQ acknowledged oversight mistakes in connection with Flint's drinking water, tells Walters her results were disqualified because she uses a water filter.

Walters said that she had been instructed to remove the filter before taking any water samples and always did so.

Though it was strict in disqualifying the high samples from Walters, the DEQ did not strictly enforce other requirements related to the samples, such as that they all come from the same group of homes sampled a year earlier, or that they come from homes at high risk for lead.

"The state is the one monitoring these decisions," Walters said. "They should be doing their job accurately. Someone should be holding them accountable for not doing things the way they were supposed to."

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Lies About Child Welfare Under Direction of Maura Corrigan

What manner of asshatterry is this?
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder learning how to lie about
child welfare operations from The Madame Maura Corrigan

What we have here is a news blurb, that has not been picked up by any other news source outside of the state's capitol, with no identified sources of authority, sans any mention of any press release or formal statement.

As a matter of fact, if Michigan was in federal compliance, that is what it is called, then there would be pomp and circumstance in the waiving of the federal determination.

If Michigan's child welfare and foster care meets national standards, then, please, someone answer why:

Oh, and while I am at it, allow me to ask how and what happened to the $2 million the state has "saved"?

Report, please, #OneToughNerd #RickSnyder ~

You really need to let The Madame Maura Corrigan do it directly for you, as she is a Brilliant and Refined Liar,

I am calling BS on this until someone proves me wrong.

Michigan now meets national standards for child welfare and foster care

LANSING, MI. (WLNS) – Six years after federal officials determined the State of Michigan did not meet national requirements for child welfare and foster care, Governor Rick Snyder announced that’s not the case anymore.

In 2009 federal officials said the Great Lakes state didn’t meet certain standards.
Michigan officials made a list of goals.

According to the governor’s administration, all of those goals have been met including enhancing our capacity to provide for children and families and enhancing accountability and workforce development.

Not only that, but the state saved more than $2 million because of those improvements.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Officials, interfaith and civil rights activists condemn bigotry

Officials, interfaith and civil rights activists condemn bigotry
Congress members Brenda Lawrence (L), John Conyers and Debbie Dingell stand at the podium in front 
of a group of activists and officials at Charles Wright Museum of African American History, Dec. 21

DETROIT — Heads of civil rights organizations, interfaith activists, government officials and religious leaders gathered at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American history to condemn the rising tides of Islamophobia, which are manifesting as hate crimes across the nation.

Speakers from the group dubbed "One Nation, One Voice Against Bigotry and Hate Coalition" took turns denouncing xenophobia and promoting unity at a press conference on Monday morning. 

Nabih Ayad, chairman of the Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL), said those on the path of hate are on the wrong side of history.

"We know very well that diversity inherently is very strong for this nation and for this community," he said. 

Democratic U.S. Reps speak out
U.S. Reps. John Conyers (D-Detroit), Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) took part in the event and voiced support for the local Muslim community.

"How wonderful it is to see in this important hall a group of men and women, leaders of many different organizations, coming together to speak out and encourage the diversity that marks us a great area," Conyers, the dean of the House of Representatives, said.

Congresswoman Lawrence urged Americans to speak up against discrimination.

"History has taught us that the biggest threat to our democracy is silence," she said.

She said allowing bigotry to go on against one group puts the entire society at risk.

"Collectively, if we raise our voices and not be silent, we can make a difference," Lawrence added. "We can show those who are misinformed that hatred will not be tolerated; not in this country, not in southeast Michigan."

Rep. Dingell stressed that metro Detroit residents are united. She described Arab and Muslim Americans as friends and colleagues.

"They are our neighbors; they are our small business owners; they are our doctors," she said. "Steve Jobs’ father was a Syrian and he [Jobs] was one of the greatest inventors of this country."

She said anti-Muslim sentiments violate the fundamental founding principles of the United States.
"Stop," Dingell said, addressing those who promote anti-Muslim bigotry. "Enough is enough. It's not who we are as Americans."

The congresswoman said she will scream if she is asked about Muslims' denouncing terrorism again.
"They're speaking out every day, but the media is not covering it," she added.

Barbara McQuade
"False narrative"
Barbara McQuade, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said the backlash against Arab and Muslim Americans harms national security.

"We know that terrorist organizations like ISIS use this rhetoric as propaganda," she said. "They love to use that false narrative that America is at war with Islam."

McQuade said "misguided stereotypes" about Arabs and Muslims are spreading because people are afraid to interact with others who are different."Why is it when Timothy McVeigh commits a terrorist attack in Oklahoma City, no one blames all Catholics?" she asked. "When a White supremacist shoots up a Black church, no one blames all Whites. Yet, when there is a terrorist attack committed by a Muslim, we paint with a broad brush. Why is that? Because we demonize that which is different."

McQuade said during World War II German Americans were not put in internment camps, but Japanese Americans were— "because they look different."

To suggest that Muslim Americans are less American than the rest of us is insulting to all of us,"

McQuade said. "When it comes to national security, united we stand; and divided we fall."

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans acknowledged the contributions of local Arabs and Muslims to the county.

"Diversity is important to being successful," he said.

Evans said bigotry and lack of respect are a problem for the development of the county, state and nation.

Steve Spreitzer, president of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, said people should come to know the larger human family around them.

"Dr. King marched to Selma for voting rights and to Washington for human rights," he said. "What we need in southeast Michigan is to march across these artificial barriers for human relations and for people to come to know people who are different."

Nabby Yono, vice president of community relations at the Arab American and Chaldean Council (ACC), said prejudice is the same whether against Arabs, Chaldeans, Christians or Muslims and should be condemned.

"We're in it together," he said. 

"Did you get it?"
The Arab American News Publisher Osama Siblani, who emceed the conference, reiterated Arab Americans' stance on terrorism.

"Just in case you did not hear it before, here it is again — we, the Arab and Muslim communities in the United States, condemn terrorist acts, whether they are acted by individuals, groups or governments," Siblani said.

"Did you get it?" he asked reporters. "Did everybody hear it? Should I repeat it again. Stop asking us to apologize for the terrorists, because we are their first victims."

Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly paid tribute to the Charles H. Wright Museum, which chronicles African Americans' historic struggles with slavery and segregation.

The mayor said it was fitting to hold the press conference at the museum because it details some of the greatest mistakes the United States has committed.

"We can't go back and we can't slide back," O'Reilly said. "What I'm most concerned about particularly is our citizens who feel threatened and are afraid."

The mayor added that politicians with supposed credibility are promoting xenophobia at the national level, adding that Muslim citizens fear for their constitutional rights.

"We just can't let that happen," O'Reilly said. "We have to protect everyone."

Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad stressed public safety, reaffirming his department's commitment to protecting the civil rights and liberties of all residents.

"I'm proud to stand here with our group," Haddad said. "We're going to make sure that — from a public safety perspective — we do all we can."

Brenda Rosenberg, the founder of Pathways to Peace Foundation in Action, emphasized the importance of dialogue between ethnic and religious groups.

Rosenberg said she sent an email last week with a list of 12 Jewish civil rights, religious and political organizations that stood with the Muslim community.

"We have to come together and stand together like we're doing today," she said.

The message against Islamophobia was also reiterated by Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, president of Detroit Chapter of the NAACP; Fatina Abdrabboh, executive director of ADC-Michigan; Shirley Stancato, president of New Detroit; Najah Bazzy, of Zaman International; and former State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, campaign manager of Take on Hate.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Price Of Santa's Lap: The Real War On Christmas

This is a true Christmas story and it eerily foreshadowed the current political culture of those who claim there is a war on Christmas.

December 13, 2001

The Friends of the Detroit Public Library, Inc.
5201 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202

Dear Friends,

The 33rd annual Noel Night at the Detroit Public Library brought back precious memories for me as a child, listening to the yuletide chamber music and the wonderful enthusiasm of the brought-to-life story book characters. Even the merriment of the Klezmer student ensemble was a wonderful treat for the children of Detroit to experience. Unfortunately, there was one thing I did not recall as a child: purchasing the right to sit on Santa’s lap.

This was my youngest son’s first time in his life to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him all the toys he wanted for Christmas. Needless to say, the excitement was overwhelming for him when the volunteer staff announced that Santa was ready to meet the children. My eldest son, 11, took his younger brother by the hand and quickly scurried to be the third persons in line to meet Santa. I stood, anxiously, at Santa’s side to hear my children’s Christmas desires and to perpetuate the belief of Ole Saint Nick.

My little boy jumped onto Santa’s lap with the most lighted eyes I have seen in quite some time. My oldest son stood by to make sure his brother did not fall off Santa’s lap. I hovered closely over the scene, so that I may enshrine it in my memories and pass on the stories to my grandchildren. Out of both their mouths were holiday greetings, but Santa responded, “Where’s your picture frame?” With dismissive smiles the boys were prepared to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas when Santa pushed my youngest from his lap and told the boys that they had to have purchased a picture frame.

My oldest son stood there in shock. My youngest attempted to climb back up into Santa’s lap, only to be met with, “Get off, you did not buy a picture.” I do not ever think I will be able to put into words the pain I experienced ~ but I will try.

Close your eyes and imagine a six year old innocent, with blood red eyes from holding back his tears, tell his mother, “Santa is only for the rich people”. Continue seeing this moment in your soul by envisioning an 11 year old, who, instantaneously morphed into a young man, stoically vow to his mother, “I will never celebrate Christmas again.”

My duty as a mother and an analyst was to first, investigate. I was informed that the “Pictures with Santa” was a fundraising event and the purchase of pictures was mandatory to sit on Santa’s lap. I inquired as to why no one had stated anything prior to the children getting in line. I asked why there was no sign expressing this policy. I probed into the reasons behind the economic discrimination and why there was no alternative for parents who could not afford the 4 dollar fee (there was no notification that this was to be a donation and no receipts for tax purposes were provided). The replies were uniform: “Hey, we just volunteer, here.”

The purpose of this letter is to further research into the economic discrimination of the right to sit on Santa’s lap. I purport it was process of weeding the children of residents, who hail from the nation’s most impoverished major city, to ensure a seat in Santa’s lap for the children of prospective Detroit residents, who can contribute to the economic tax base of the city. I will set my alternative hypothesis as poor organization because no other organization did this.

Is this what The Friends of the Detroit Public Library consider to be “A vision for the future”, and “Laying the groundwork for the community”? I am, currently, not financially able “To join your circle of friends”, but I am able to offer my skills, knowledge, and abilities to consult for any future fundraising activities you will have. I would like to ensure the inclusiveness of Detroit, Public, and Library.

The Friends responded by sending two t-shirts, which were too small, and an honorary year-long membership to become a Friend of the Detroit Public Library, for whatever that meant.

Christmas is expensive and terribly painful if one is poor.

Instead of giving an empty holiday greeting or a plastic toy present which will break in a few hours, how about society gets together by giving the parents training and a job that pays a living wage, investment opportunities to start a business, access to quality and affordable housing, or simply creating the ability to feed a child healthy and nutritious food for the next year so they may finally be able to flourish in a productive learning environment?

Think twice before you attack someone who does not celebrate Christmas.

Merry Christmas,

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Modern Sex Slavery Is Also In Michigan Foster Care

This is  a beautiful, moving piece of art by Free Press cartoonist Mike Thompson, introducing the powerful story of sex trafficking in Michigan.

There is only one part left out, of which many probably do not know about.  Sex trafficking happens in Michigan foster care, too.

Modern slavery: Sex trafficking hits home

Signs of trafficking

Know the red flags that may indicate sex trafficking. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office has compiled this list of signs of potential trafficking:
  • Are there bruises or other signs of physical abuse?
  • Are there signs of psychological abuse?
  • Is the person submissive or fearful?
  • Is the person being controlled?
  • Is the person being deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care or other life necessities?
  • Is the person allowed to be in public alone?
  • Can the person freely contact friends or family?
  • Is the person a minor engaged in commercial sex?
  • Does a minor appear to be in a relationship with a much older person?
  • Does the person fear his or her employer?
  • Can the person leave their job situation if they want?
  • Has someone threatened the person's family?
  • Does the person have identification?
  • Does the person know his or her own address?
To report a potential case of trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Center at 1-888-3737-888.


• Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, a 90-member agencies committed to identifying and rescuing victims of trafficking and prosecuting offenders.
Protected Innocence Challenge, which grades each state's anti-sex trafficking laws. See Michigan's grade for 2015, and compare Michigan's laws to combat sex trafficking to those in other states.
University of Michigan Human Trafficking Clinic, a  clinical law program solely dedicated to the issue of human trafficking.
• Alternatives for Girls, which focuses on helping homeless and high-risk girls and young women avoid violence and exploitation.   
• The Polaris Project, which focuses on helping trafficking survivors rebuild their lives.
• The Michigan Abolitionist Project,a grassroots organization that increases awareness through training, projects and community engagement.  Check the organization's calendar for community group meetings in your area.
• Women at Risk, International, which "unites and educates women to create circles of protection and hope around at-risk women and children" in Michigan and around the globe.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Michigan EAA: It Only Takes One

The results are in!

Let us celebrate the one singular sensation of the Michigan EAA, Detroit Public Schools and the Elected Ones!

Here is a fun little historical fact for the 2015-2016 school year for DPS.

When school commenced, the Special Needs Department of DPS re-routed its calls to Transportation because it would not be in for another two weeks.

So, in the mean time, kids were just...well...just left...sitting...sometimes in an auditorium, sometimes in a desk, the entire day.

But fear not!

Some of the Elected Ones have a plan for balancing the Detroit School District's budget woes, I just wish the other Elected Ones had a plan to better care for the kids of Michigan.

I just do not understand why it is so difficult to understand that a state cannot treat its kids like this.

M-STEP results: Just 1 EAA 4th-grader passed math

Detailed results from Michigan's tough new standardized exam paint a worrisome picture for many schools in Detroit and will likely boost state efforts to fix what many see as a broken educational system in the city.

Just one fourth-grader in schools run by the Education Achievement Authority — a state district created to turn around the worst-performing schools in the state — passed the math portion of the exam, according to results released this morning. Overall, only 1.2% of the students in the district passed in math and 5.6% passed in English language arts. In some grades and subjects, not one student passed.

The EAA includes 15 schools, 12 of which are directly run by the district. The three operated as charters did better, with 6% passing in math and 11.6% passing in English language arts.
In Detroit Public Schools, 7.9% of students passed in math while 14.56% passed in English language arts.

Across metro Detroit, performance varied. Oakland County schools performed above the state average in both English language arts and math, while Macomb and Wayne county schools performed below state averages.

The new test — called the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) — was given for the first time in spring 2015 in English language arts, math, science and social studies. The Michigan Department of Education released a breakdown of individual school and district results Thursday.

Demographic results showed the gap in achievement between white and minority students persists. There was a gap of 32 percentage points in proficiency between black and white students in English, 30 percentage points in math, 27 percentage points in social studies and 21 percentage points in science. The gap between Hispanic and white students was largest on the English and math portion, at 19 percentage points.
More than a month ago, state results were released. Thursday's data provides a more detailed picture of just how well students did on the exam, which is largely based on the ambitious Common Core State Standards. Those standards, adopted by Michigan and more than 40 other states, spell out what students must learn to be prepared for college and careers.

Statewide, 50% of third-graders passed the English language arts exam — the best result among the grades. Elsewhere, the results ranged from 45% proficient for sixth-graders to 49% proficient for fifth- and 11th-graders.
In math, results ranged from 28% of 11th-graders passing to 49% of third-graders passing.

The standards didn't change for science and social studies, but those results also were cause for concern. Just 12% of the fourth-graders who took the science test passed it. And only 22% of the fifth-graders who took the social studies exam passed it. The State Board of Education approved tougher standards for science last month and the same likely will happen for social studies next year.
Because the exam was far more difficult than the state exam it replaced, fewer students passed the M-STEP than previous assessments. The same occurred in other states that adopted tests based on the Common Core standards.

But it wasn't just the more rigorous standards that made M-STEP harder. It was given online to about 80% of the students who took it. And it was interactive, requiring students to do far more than fill in multiple choice bubbles. For instance, students had to type in answers to some questions, plot data on a graph, listen to a presentation and then answer questions, and draw shapes.

The test also included a performance task in math and English language arts, which required students to complete an in-depth project during the course of the exam that demonstrates their analytical and problem-solving skills.

Robert Floden, codirector of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, said the poor performance overall isn't cause for panic.

"It’s a new exam and so any time you have a new exam, there’s always a dropoff in the first year and things pick up in two to three years," Floden said.

But he said there is reason for concern about results in Detroit.

"With results that low, things aren’t going well. You can’t expect kids performing at those levels to leap ahead and be ready for career or college when they finish high school."

Because the M-STEP is new, the results can't be compared to results from the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, the 44-year-old exam that was retired in 2013. The exam starts a new trend line as students try to reach state expectations that by 2025 require 85% of Michigan students to be proficient in English language arts and math.

EAA Chancellor Veronica Conforme said Thursday that while the scores provide a baseline "for where our students stand academically and the educational gap we urgently need to address, it does not represent the future of our schools, the ability of our students, or the dedication they and our staff demonstrate on a daily basis."

Conforme said the district has made progress in other areas, including in developing teachers and leaders, implementing a quality curriculum and providing social and emotional support services for students and families.

Michelle Zdrodowski, spokeswoman for DPS, said the district's performance is "fairly consistent with the lower outcomes achieved by school districts across the state."

"While we know that there remains work for us to continue to do to help our students improve their academic outcomes, we must keep in mind that this is a new test that was designed to be a much more rigorous measurement tool, raising the bar on content in all subject areas and that scores were expected to dip."

She said improving academic achievement is at the center of efforts now under way in the district.
The gaps in achievement between white and minority students were described as "deeply troubling" by Education Trust-Midwest, an education research and advocacy group.

"These results reinforce the need for strong leadership in Michigan to provide strategic action and investments to help all Michigan students, no matter where they live or who they are," said Amber Arellano, executive director of the group.

The best results were posted by suburban schools created with a focus on rigorous, world-class standards — like those that have adopted the rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Performance was also predictably high for schools that educate gifted and talented students and those in suburban, wealthier school districts.

At the Washtenaw International Academy and the International Academy of Macomb, both of which use the IB curriculum, every student passed the English language arts exam, and at the Crestwood Accelerated Program, a gifted and talented school, all of the students passed the math exam.

But those holding up the rear? They're located in high-poverty, economically distressed areas and include a number of alternative schools and many schools that have consistently been among the worst-performing in the state.

Gov. Rick Snyder has been promoting his plan for fixing the financial and academic problems facing DPS, the EAA and the dozens of charter schools in the city — a plan that would involve splitting the district into two and having an education commission provide oversight. But his plan has yet to result in legislation.
These are the 10 public schools in the state with the highest passing rates in math and English language arts on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress:

English language arts
• Washtenaw International Academy, Ypsilanti, 100% passing
• International Academy of Macomb, Clinton Township, 100%
• International Academy, Bloomfield Hills, 98.84%
• Crestwood Accelerated Program, Dearborn Heights, 97.87%
• Webster Elementary School, Livonia, 97.36%
• Dearborn 6/7 STEM School, 94.83%
• Musson Elementary School, Rochester Hills, 92.77%
• Handley School, Saginaw, 92.7%
• Brown Elementary School, Byron Center, 92.65%
• Schroeder Elementary School, Troy, 91.95%

• Crestwood Accelerated Program, Dearborn Heights, 100%
• Webster Elementary, Livonia, 98.68%
• International Academy, Bloomfield Hills, 98.26
• Martin Luther King Elementary School, Ann Arbor, 92.06%
• Brown Elementary School, Byron Center, 90.69%
• Savage Road Elementary School, Belleville, 90.4%
• Hemmeter Elementary School, Saginaw Township, 89.71%
• Angell School, Ann Arbor, 88.19%
• Musson Elementary School, Rochester Hills, 88.09%
• Dearborn 6/7 STEM School, 87.93%