• The 2006 Weblog Awards

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The ACLU’d Version of Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before RamaHanaKwanzmas, when all through the living area

Not a living organism was stirring, not even a mouse, cat, dog, parrot, oh, none of them.

The foot coverings were hung somewhere in the living area with care,

In hopes that the appropriate holiday figure soon would be there.

The people of a certain age were nestled all snug in their sleeping areas,

While visions of whatever appeals to them moved about in their favorite way in their heads (or other parts of their body if that makes them feel better).


MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy linked with Links awards stuff
sisu linked with "The foot coverings were hung somewhere in the living area with care"
She Doesn’t Need a Trial

…just let me have 5 damn minutes with her as pissed as I am right now.

BOGALUSA, La. A mother was booked on a charge of first-degree murder for allegedly placing her 3-month-old son in a clothes dryer and turning it on.

The infant had third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body and suffered blunt-force trauma to the head, the St. Tammany Parish coroner said.

This non-parent murderer, Lakeisha Adams, also has a 1 year old child that the state had to remove from the home and from custody.  This monster tried to tell police at first that someone else had violently murdered her 3-month old.

If convicted, Adams faces death by injection or a life sentence. The first-degree murder charge is mandatory under Louisiana law because the victim was under age 12.

I know everyone is entitled to a fair trial, but when she admits that she did it, tries to get out of it, and the life of another child was at risk, I would much rather see a one-liner in the news stating "Since she confessed, she has been sentenced to death and justice will be carried out at sunset today."  What a waste of time and energy to go through a trial for such a disgusting act.

Thank God these Freaks are Being Caught!

Even catching one of these slimy, disgusting, low-life evil freaks is worth the effort.  Especially because they are just too damn close to home.  Enough said.

Kids in Cages

Back on September 9, social workers and law enforcement removed 11 adopted children from their home when it was discovered that their adopted "parents" kept them in CAGES.  This is how the social worker described these "cage-like enclosures" during the hearing today:

"I saw wooden structures that had a solid wooden piece for a door, an alarm to left of the opening. There was a small handle on it. They were piled one on top of another. They looked like a kennel," said Jo Ellen Johnson, of Huron County Children and Family Services.

She also said cages with alarms and locks are not appropriate for children. 

Folks - this is a CUSTODY HEARING.  This isn’t a criminal trial as these two miscreants have not been charged with anything…yet (and that’s a very skeptical yet, I might add).  These people adopted 11 special needs children and because they couldn’t handle the challenges these children’s disorders presented, they chose to stick them, ages 1-14, in cages.  CAGES!  They aren’t "cage-like enclosures" or merely "enclosures" as their attorney would attempt to tell you.  They are CAGES…containment designed so the child can’t get out.

The custody hearing will determine if the children were abused or neglected, Cleveland TV station WEWS reported.

Michael and Sharen Gravelle said before court that they were optimistic about getting custody of their children back.

For the love of God - they shouldn’t get their children back.  We have people in DC worried about Gitmo and the conditions for vile terrorists who would love to see us sizzle at sunset but someone is still entertaining the idea that it ISN’T abuse or neglect to lock a child in a cage?

The Gravelles have said they adopted children with special needs and behavioral problems, and built what they have described as enclosures with alarms where the children could sleep for their own protection.

The Gravelles have said the children have health and behavioral problems such as fetal alcohol syndrome and pica, a disorder in which children eat nonfood items such as rocks or dirt.

Yes, these disorders are very challenging.  My mother worked with special needs adults and children for years and saw her fair share of both disorders.  They are challenging to deal with - even in a medical institution.  But even in the most sterile halls of hospitals and institutions that Mom worked in, I never ONCE saw a cage.  Those with these syndromes and disorders needed a higher level of monitoring and observation in order to protect them from their environment and their disorder.  NOT a cage.  While it is entirely possible that this couple felt they were doing great deeds by adopting these children, they obviously didn’t think about what they were doing.  And because they didn’t think through what a challenge one special needs child would be in terms of care, let alone 10 more, who pays the price?  The kids, of course. 

Discretion and common sense don’t seem to be at the top of the list when a couple decides "hey, let’s build some ‘enclosures’ for them to live in…wow, that will solve everything!"  My heart aches at the thought of a fire breaking out in their home.  Those kids would have potentially been trapped in cages without a fighting chance to get out…how safe is THAT?!?!?!

Lastly, the thing that really got to me was the pictures their attorney released, showing how "happy" the children are (you can see the photos on the article I linked to above).  Every picture was one that showed them at family functions, the holidays, special events, etc.  And of course they were happy - they weren’t trapped in their cages!


Update: Just saw this article on Fox News.  Talk about blood boiling.  If the story is accurate, this was brought to the attention of child welfare workers 2 years ago and because the parents weren’t cooperative, a full investigation was never pursued.  If that is the case, they are almost as guilty as the parents of neglect in my opinion. 

But this….this makes my blood boil:

Insurance agent Edward Clunk said that he visited the couple in summer 2004 to sell them policies. He observed two children — one sleeping in a cubbyhole and another in what he described as a cage.

"I’ve been in thousands of homes. … This was something just a little bit out of the ordinary," Clunk said, adding he did not file a report because he did not believe the children were being abused by the Gravelles.

"I thought it was very admirable for them to adopt children of that nature that nobody wanted," he said.

Admirable that they adopted them?  Perhaps.  Admirable that they would keep those adopted kids in cages?  Hardly.  …and didn’t file a report because he didn’t think they were being abused or neglected?  For real?  Get a clue! 

Christmas Musings

Tonight we put up the Christmas tree and hubby and I shared in our annual tradition of listening to Christmas music with no lights, except for those on the Christmas tree.  Add some champagne, and a few recognitions of a French Horn or a piccolo, and viola - it’s the Eric/Merri Christmas hour….hehehehe!  Actually, it’s much more than that….it is many fond memories of Christmas traditions….in particular the years that the bubbly cost less than $10 (a.k.a. the "saving for a house years" or the "living paycheck to paycheck years" or the "I can’t believe babies cost so much years.") and when we could have the best and most favorite bubbly without worry.

Christmas this year is somewhat frightening to me, but good at the same time.  I have two amazing children, and the best husband I could ever dream of having.  I have my health, we have a roof over our head and we aren’t hurting for anything, truly.  I feel so incredibly blessed.

At the same time, I’m constantly reminded that I lost my mom last January.  She had been in the hospital last December.  I clearly remember hubby and I having to put full garb on in the hospital in the event she was contagious.  I remember them ruling that out and allowing us to bring her home on Christmas Eve.  Mom had been released from the hospital on Christmas Eve two separate times.  Once when she had a lobe removed from her cancer-ridden lung.  Last Christmas, we were just thrilled to have her with us - the cancer had taken its toll on her.  She was bound and determined that she would NEVER spend Christmas in the hospital, and she never did, either!

She chose hospice care not long into January, but just had to have one more Christmas with her family before she said goodbye.  I am so grateful that she allowed us that, even though we knew she was suffering we relished our time with her - every moment.

As we unpacked the ornaments tonight, everything reminded me of her.  She was the "queen of Christmas" as far as I’m concerned.  At her memorial, we even displayed a Christmas tree with all of the homemade ornaments she made in years past.  We didn’t have enough room to display all of them.  I knew this Christmas was going to be hard, but I didn’t know how raw the emotions would still be. 

But Christmas, just like every other time, goes on.  We will forge new traditions and will transition the old ones.  Mom will never be forgotten - every Christmas will contain her legacy.  Beautiful Christmas angels and reindeer and santas on my tree…and in particular a beautiful angel ornament made especially for me…brown hair and a red rose, my favorite color.  I feel like I will shed tears each year for her, but will always be grateful and blessed for the time I had with her and for the gift she has given me - the love of the Christmas season…no matter what.   

Vince Aut Morire linked with Simply The Best
Stephanie Dietrich…an Every Day Hero in My Book

…I wouldn’t call this an "obsession."  I’d call it a personal sacrifice.  A gift for a mother grieving for her missing children.

AKRON, Ohio — The Ohio woman who found the bodies of two missing New Hampshire children said Monday she had been searching with her dog for months on a personal mission that her friends and family considered an obsession.

Stephanie Dietrich, a grocery store cashier, said she was motivated to look for Sarah Gehring, 14, and her brother Philip, 11, by their mother’s public plea for help.

Most of us pale in comparison to Stephanie Dietrich.  We read the news each day, or hear it on TV or the radio, and think "how awful that someone has to worry about where her children’s bodies are."  This amazing woman, Stephanie Dietrich, didn’t just listen - she took action.

Dietrich, 44, said she went out searching with her dog more than 40 times since July near her Akron home because of clues suggesting the gravesite could be in the region. Investigators had concluded in 2004 that pollen found on dirt on Gehring’s minivan and shovel suggested that the soil most likely came from northeastern Ohio. 

How often have you inserted yourself in a mission such as this?  Me?  Never.  I would venture that most of you have not. I look to Dietrich as an everyday hero.  A person who sacrifices in order to assist others.  Because of her persistance, a mother can move forward.  She knew her worst fears were true, but can now lay her children to rest because of one brave and persistent soul.

Dietrich said she kept a 2-inch-thick folder of news articles and tips from the Internet and often woke up in the middle of the night to read it.

"It was like a personal challenge. Not like it was a game. I knew it was serious," she said. "My family members and friends were like ready to have an intervention because I was obsessed with it."

No intervention needed, Ms. Dietrich.  Because of you, a mother was reunited with her lost children and she can give them a proper burial and gain some closure on her loss.  You are a hero in my book.

2005 Weblog Award Finalists!

…and the finalists have been announced!

Merri Musings is in the running for an award for Best New Blog! Polls are open tomorrow (and you can vote every 24 hours if you’d like)…if you enjoy my site, please be sure to stop by and slip a vote in the ballot box for me!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few of my favorites!  Please be sure to drop them a vote, too!

Best New Blog (but only if you don’t wanna vote for me…wink, wink, nudge, nudge):

Common Sense Runs Wild and Soldiers’ Angel Holly Aho

Best Group Blog

The Cotillion (who individually received a number of nominations….excellent job, ladies!)

Best Humor / Comics Blog

Six Meat Buffet (didn’t you know there were six meats?)

Best Conservative Blog

The Jawa Report (a MUST read!)

Best Culture / Gossip Blog

Knowledge is Power (SondraK - bringing a bit of culture to the Cotillion ladies!)

Best of the Top 250 Blogs

My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (go Beth!)

Best of the Top 501-1000 Blogs

Vince Aut Morire (there are many I could mention here, but by and far my hubby stands out for me for many reasons, so I’m pitching his site!) 

Best of the Top 2501-3500 Blogs

The Wide Awake Cafe

Congrats to everyone that was nominated!  I think it’s an honor just to be nominated, let alone be a finalist!  It affirms for me why I like keeping up this little corner of the web.

Good luck to all and happy voting!

The True Cost of Christmas?

I love stuff like this!

You think saving for a new flat-panel plasma television or iPod Nano for the holidays is daunting? Be thankful you don’t have to save for the original gifts of the "12 Days of Christmas."

To buy the partridge in a pear tree, the 12 drummers drumming and all the gifts in between in the verses of the famous song you’d have to shell out $18,348, according to PNC Advisors’ annual survey. And if you were really true to the song, buying all the gifts including the repetitions? Those 364 items would cost a cool $72,608, up 9.5% from last year’s $66,344.

Sure, gold rings are on the rise, increasing a cool 27.5% year-over-year.  But the real inflation comes with the birds (what with the avian flu scare and all…).  While the partridge in a pear tree only increased 12.90%, the six geese-a-laying increased a whopping 42.90% (!!!).  My dearest husband, I won’t be getting you any geese this Christmas, sweetheart!

What was the priciest item on the list?  Well, it was close, but the nine ladies dancing edged out the swans-a-swimming.  I wonder what kind of dancing they were doing?  Hehheheheheehehehe!

Click on the link above and check out the itemized list - it’s pretty funny to think about!

basil's blog linked with Breakfast 12-05-2005
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