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Meet BAMN (By Any Means Necessary)

This “fine”, “upstanding” group of citizens is opposed to Michigan’s MCRI (Michigan Civil Rights Initiative) having gathered enough signatures to have the issue put before the voters.

At age 19, Jennifer Gratz, denied admission to the University of Michigan, fought the university all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It endorsed her argument that it was an unconstitutional denial of equal protection of the law for the university to add 20 points to the scores of black, Hispanic and Native American applicants. (The maximum score was 150; a perfect 1600 SAT earned just 12 points)

Jennifer Gratz is the Executive Director of the MCRI. We will see the following proposal placed on our ballots this November:

“A proposal to amend the state constitution to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes.”

…with liberty and justice for ALL!

Where’s Your Blog Hostess?

Sorry for my absence, but quarter-end deadlines loom! Be patient with me - be back soon!

UPDATED: Tiffany Hall in Custody in Slaying of Pregnant Woman

Tiffany Hall Sought in Slaying of Pregnant Woman


How awful:

CHICAGO — An Illinois woman who was found dead apparently had a fetus cut from her stomach.

State police said Tiffany Hall , a 26-year-old East St. Louis woman, is being sought in the killing.

The police chief of East St. Louis, where the victim was found Thursday in a vacant lot, said authorities were alerted to the suspect after a funeral for a baby that she said was stillborn.

Allegedly, Hall told her boyfriend, a sailor home on leave, that she had killed a woman and taken her baby. This was during the baby’s funeral. The boyfriend reportedly alerted police, and that information appeared to have led police to the body of the deceased woman.

An autopsy will be performed Friday to determine if the child that was buried was the fetus removed from the dead woman.

The Belleville News-Democrat reported that neighbors said Hall, a mother of two, had appeared to be pregnant.

Police said that Hall went to a Centreville, Ill., hospital with the deceased baby, according to the paper. Mister said that Hall told the hospital that she had gone into labor and delivered the stillborn baby after being raped.

Hall may be driving a maroon Lincoln Town Car with temporary Illinois registration and may still be in the area.

I pray for the family of the deceased mother and the little baby. Words can’t describe the feelings this story brings to my heart.


UPDATE: All Three Missing Children Found Dead in Illinois, FOX News Confirms

This story has a terribly sad ending. The woman accused of slaying a pregnant woman to attempt to take her baby is in custody, but the pregnant woman also had 3 other children ages 7, 2 and 1 and they were missing. The sad news is that these young children have been found dead, stuffed into a damned dryer in an apartment complex.

Tiffany Hall, 24, was jailed on $5 million bond, and faces charges of first-degree murder and intentional homicide of an unborn child in the death of 23-year-old Jimella Tunstall, said St. Clair County State’s Attorney Robert Haida.

Relatives of both women told media outlets the two grew up together and attended alternative schools. The woman in custody often baby-sat Tunstall’s children, and Tunstall never expressed worry about leaving them in her care, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

An autopsy showed Tunstall bled to death after sustaining an abdominal wound caused by a sharp object, believed to be scissors, said Ace Hart, a deputy St. Clair County coroner.

Hart said he believes Tunstall was knocked unconscious before her baby, seven months into gestation, was removed during a slaying he called “very graphic and very brutal.”

I pray that none of these children endured suffering at the hands of their killer - I pray that it was swift, or in their sleep or something. I cannot bear the idea that someone could be so evil they could look down into the face of a child and take their life - and if, indeed, Tiffany Hall killed them (the evidence is surely leaning that way from my vantage point), then she has a level of evil most will never know since she’s known these children, taken care of them, seen them grow. I am saddened about these wee ones losing their life, and know they have a special place in Heaven.

I believe there is also a special place reserved for Tiffany Hall as well.

Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Orange Cookware Set (10pc)

For those of you who have been watching Rachael Ray’s new talk show, she’s using her new cookware. You can find them on Amazon here.

I can’t help it. I love my Calphalon too much, and the orange handles don’t quite fit my decor. But they look to be of good quality.

For those of you who shop at Kohl’s, they are carrying her cookware as well!

Congratulations to My Favorite Wild Thing!

My dear friend Chrissie is celebrating a year of blogging! Chrissie - you do so much for our soldiers and really help me renew my patriotism every time I visit your blog! We are so fortunate you chose to share yourself with us!!!

Please stop over and wish her the best!!!!

Our Soldiers are Heroes!

Beth over at Yeah, Right, Whatever did an outstanding tribute to our men and women in uniform. It is a must read and will remind you of what we take for granted and what they are doing to protect our freedoms! A quote from her piece:

Your alarm goes off, you hit the snooze and sleep for another 10 minutes.
He stays up for days on end.

…and another…

You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they’ll ever meet.

Sure makes ya think twice when you complain about rush hour traffic, doesn’t it?

Baby Abigale Woods Has Been Found Alive!

Thank God this little newborn was found alive. A second “Thank God” because the criminal who kidnapped her is in custody!

UNION, Mo. — An newborn abducted after her mother was slashed was found alive Tuesday in excellent condition, and a woman who had recently miscarried was arrested, officials said.

Dr. Peter McCarthy, an emergency room physician at St. John’s Hospital in Washington, Mo., said 11-day-old Abigale Lynn Woods has been reunited with her mother, father and other relatives. She was expected to be released from the hospital later Tuesday.

“The family is elated and thankful to everyone in the community who prayed for them,” McCarthy said. “The baby was hydrated, nourished and in good condition when she arrived at the hospital.”

FBI agent Roland Corvington identified the suspect as Shannon Beck, who lives a few miles from the home of the mother and baby.

…and a third “Thank God” for the relative who turned Shannon Beck in.

Vinson Filyaw - Bond Denied in Kidnapping Case

The kidnapper of a 14-year girl, Vinson Filyaw, 36, is showing no remorse and is not being cooperative. Luckily bond was denied for him. Thank goodness the 14-year-old was resourceful enough she was able to send a text message to her mom, likely saving her life!

Filyaw had been eluding police since being charged last year with criminal sexual conduct involving a 12-year-old girl. He now faces additional charges including kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct and impersonating an officer.

So this guy is - guess what - a repeat offender. You *cannot* convince me these monsters who prey on our kids are able to be rehabilitated so PLEASE quit trying. The reason they reoffend? We don’t have harsh enough sentences. These people need to be put away for good. There isn’t a pill or a treatment for lack of remorse or lack of a conscience.

September: What Day Is Today?

I love whacky days of observance, recognition or celebration. Here’s a few to mark on your calendars!

September 19 is “Talk Like a Pirate Day!” (truly a day for Teach! Congrats and Arrrrrrrgh!)

September 22 is Elephant Appreciation Day (for my Republican readers) as well as Hobbit Day (for my fanatical LOTR readers!)

September 23 is Fish Amnesty Day, so I think I’ll have some fish sticks (I mean, if they are frozen fish sticks they weren’t caught on Fish Amnesty Day, right?). There is some irony, though, in that September 23 is *also* National Hunting and Fishing Day. I think we’ll confuse the fish, won’t we?

September 24 is Punctuation Day, a day dedicated to my good friend Beth. When is Spelling Day, I wonder? Hmmmm…..

September 25 is National One-Hit Wonder Day, dedicated to you “Soft Cell” fans everywhere!

In preparation for October’s monthly commemorations, please be sure to stock up on trinkets and decorations to celebrate October as the month of….

…Celebrate Sun Dried Tomatoes Month

…Go Hog Wild, Eat Country Ham Month

…National Pajama Month

…National Poppin’ Popcorn Month

…National Toilet Tank Repair Month

…National Spinach Lover’s Month (…and National Talk About Prescriptions Month, which is what you’ll need if you celebrate National Spinach Lover’s Month!!!)

…and there you have it. Be sure to mark your calendars, plan, and celebrate!

MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy linked with Quick links
Rachael Ray’s First Day Musings

So I have to first off admit I’m not really “into” daytime talk shows. I think I’ve seen Oprah, oh, like twice. Never saw Rosie’s show unless I was flipping channels. Springer? Blech. I’d occasionally watch Montel Williams with my mom (she loved it when he had Sylvia Browne on). I’ve never seen Dr. Phil, Ellen, or any of those shows. I tried to watch Tony Danza once, but it was painful at best.

That being said, I have to admit I was a bit concerned about Rachael Ray starting her own talk show. I had a chance to watch it today, thanks to my handy DVR, and for a first day it wasn’t all that bad. I do think she stumbled a bit and likely will find her “groove” over time, but all in all, it was better than I expected. I loved the set - it was very much “Rachael Ray.” I liked the fact that she jumped out of a plane and took one of her fans - who was afraid of heights - with her. I like how she treated the very pregnant fan who couldn’t come to the studio after getting tickets for the opening show.

Conceptually, I liked what she was doing. I think over time she’ll find her rhythm so she can balance being herself with being a “live” talk show host. I got the sense in reading some reviews that some just don’t get her energy and multi-tasking mentality, panning the show completely. Others gave lukewarm readings. But it was one day of programming, right? It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out over time.

Admittedly, I would have never watched the talk show if I didn’t enjoy “30 Minute Meals” with Rachael Ray. I do think she’ll have a good following out of her already existing fan base, but her ability to broaden her audience may be the key to keeping the show on a long term basis. My fear is that her fan base will reach saturation with so many shows, cook books, websites, magazines, etc. Some of us probably spend more time with Rachael Ray than John Cusimano (her hubby) does, honestly. Heh.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I loved the dog collar Diane Sawyer gave Rachael for Isaboo - how cute was that? Oh, and did anyone recognize that she has yet MORE new pans? Gahhhh….I’m going to have to build an addition on the house just to have room for all the nice pots and pans I now want to get. And even more ecclectic bowls and plates. She never bores me with her kitchen items!

Anyone else watch the show? Do you have any opinions on what the future holds? If so, please don’t hesitate to drop me a comment! :-)

Final Countdown to the Premiere of The Rachael Ray Show

My DVR is set…the first showing of the Rachael Ray Show starts tomorrow! Lineup for the week:

Monday: Rachael prepares her first 7-minute meal, Diane Sawyer, Rachael jumps out of a plane.

Tuesday: Oprah Winfrey stops by, piece on buyer shoes.

Wednesday: Recipes and advice for brown bag lunches kids will eat; on the set of “CSI:NY”

Thursday: Audience picks a potluck dinner.

Friday: Rachael creates a tasty meal for polar bears; actor Josh Duhamel.

I, for one, am anxious to see how things go for her on her show. If you stop over at the show’s website, you can get a sneak peek (here). Also, here’s a little snippet for those of you die-hard RR fans (although if you are *really* die-hard, you’ve already seen it!!).

Johnny Gosch - Why Would Someone Do This?

Back in 1982, Johnny Gosch’s picture was one of the first to appear on milk cartons as a missing child. West Des Moines was where he was abducted, while carrying papers. It hit home as I, too, was carrying newspapers around that time. It was a big story here in the Midwest as another paper carrier, Danny Joe Eberle was abducted in 1983 out of Bellevue, Nebraska…just a few miles from my hometown. The difference between the two cases? They found 13-year-old Danny’s body, arrested, tried and convicted serial murderer John Joubert. They’ve never found Johnny and they have never arrested anyone in connection to his disappearance. Undoubtedly, both families have suffered a terrible loss, but I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to not know where your son is, and to know he had been abducted.

Twenty-four years later, photos that appeared to look like Johnny were put on the doorstep of his family.

The photos were left Sunday at the front door of Noreen Gosch, the mother of Johnny Gosch, who disappeared on Sept. 5, 1982, while delivering newspapers in West Des Moines.

Lt. Jeff Miller, a spokesman for the West Des Moines Police Department, said the photos were given to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s computer crime task force.

Miller said police have not positively identified the boy in the photographs as Johnny Gosch. He also said it was not immediately known when the photos were taken.

“That’s one of the reasons we’re going to the DCI and let the experts take a look at them,” Miller said.

Noreen Gosch found the photos Sunday and said she gave them to police on Tuesday. It wasn’t clear why Gosch didn’t immediately give the photos to police.

While police said they have not positively identified the boy in the photo as Johnny Gosch, Noreen Gosch said it is her son.

She said one photo shows her son with his mouth gagged, his hands and feet bound, and he is wearing the same sweat pants he wore when he disappeared. She said the other photo shows him with two other unidentified boys, also bound and gagged.

Today, an investigator from Florida - Nelson Zalva - said that he’s pretty certain the photos are too old to be that of Johnny and that he thought the photo was one he reviewed in a different case prior to 1982. You can see the photos at the Johnny Gosch Foundation’s website here.

However, Noreen Gosch told the Register that Zalva has yet to provide evidence the photos are not of her son, who vanished before dawn while readying for his paper route a couple blocks from the Gosch home in West Des Moines.

“One of the photos is definitely Johnny,” she said. “I’m glad police are investigating, so we can find out who the other two kids are.”

Florida authorities sifted through scores of records Wednesday, hunting for the police report and photos connected to the case that Zalva said he investigated. In the meantime, Iowa authorities said they were also tracing other connections to the photos.

So at this point, it’s unclear whether these photos are those of Johnny - I’m sure there will be more to come in this unusual case. Interestingly, Noreen Gosch also had previously reported that Johnny had contacted her briefly in 1997, but said he wouldn’t give any details about where he was as he felt he needed to hide his identity. The most compelling question for me surrounds why someone would leave a mother photos of her missing son from 24 years ago. If they truly are pictures of her son, what was the purpose of someone leaving the pictures? If it was the abductor, I find it particularly cruel, especially if Johnny is no longer living. If these photos are not pictures of Johnny, but someone with a similar appearance, why would someone leave them? Is it some kind of cruel joke?

Either way, we may still never know who abducted Johnny Gosch or if he is still alive. It brings back those memories of fear when I was out in the early morning darkness delivering papers. My hope is if these are, indeed, photos related to Johnny’s disappearance they will lead to solving this case. One minute is too long for a family to be missing their son. Twenty-four years is a lifetime.

Marriage, my ass!

Man accused of having knife in airport

ROMULUS, Mich. A Michigan man is charged with possessing a weapon at an airport.


Authorities say the man attempted to board a flight in Detroit Thursday with a knife hidden in a book.


They say he had a one-way ticket to his native Yemen.


The 21-year-old was arraigned yesterday and jailed. If convicted, he faces up to ten years in prison.


A spokesman for the Detroit Metropolitan Airport says the knife had been placed in a carved-out section of a book.

His lawyer says the man was returning to Yemen to get married.

Was the knife a gift for his bride-to-be? Perhaps this “bride-to-be” was one of the seventy-some-odd virgins waiting for her martyr?

2996 Tribute: A. Todd Rancke

I’m certain his day probably started out like every other work day. September 11, 2001. The sky was clear, and the sun’s reflection likely shimmered all over the windows of his building, World Trade Center South, on the 104th floor, in the office of Sandler O’Neill & Partners. Do I know Todd Rancke? I never met him, which is certainly my loss. I feel as though I’ve learned a lot about this man because of the tragic event that drew Americans together that day. I hope I can do some justice in sharing what I know about Todd through the posts and memorials I read about him. On the highest level, Todd was a husband, a father, a brother, a friend. It’s evident he touched many lives well before his tragic passing on 9/11. He is survived by his wife, Deborah; his daughters, Christina and Brittany; his son, Todd; two sisters, Pamela Rancke Schroeder and Cynthia Rancke Biennmann and many other family and friends.

When family and friends heard of the attacks, and knew that Todd would be in the building, they called him to see if he was okay and to also encourage him to evacuate to safety.

When we heard of the attacks and knew his office was located in one of the Towers-we immediately called him and heard a busy signal or got connected into his voicemail. We left several messages asking him to call us back-hoping he was running behind schedule — late for work that day.

Todd was on the phone with his wife, Debbie, when the first plane hit One World Trade Center, the other tower. He had called, as he did daily, at about 8:45 a.m. to wish her and their three children a good day, and he told her about the plane crash.

I called Todd shortly before 9:00 a.m. to check on him. He described a “smoky ticker-tape parade” outside of his window. He had just finished speaking with his wife, Debbie, on the phone and was obviously aware of the plane crash in the North Tower. Todd said that he was alright and that the public address system in the building had advised that they were safe. He had decided to stay in the building. I told him to keep his head down and stay out of trouble, and with that he spoke to me for the very last time and said “thanks for thinking of me buddy.”

Deborah’s statement to those watching an episode of “60 Minutes” soon after 9/11, as she continued the search for her husband: “please find him — he’s my whole life.”

Todd had a strong impact on many during his life.

Todd was always an awesome guy, popular with everyone. I knew Todd as a Christian young man, and I know in later years he grew to become an influential part of the church we spent all those youthful years in. I remember church youth group, watching Todd play sports in school, and school student coucil. He was always involved!

I spent that summer babysitting for Todd’s two beautiful little girls, Christina and Brittany…At the time Mrs. Rancke was pregnant with little Todd. I remember the girls would be so excited at the end of the day when their dad would arrive home from work. They would always ask me if it was “the weekend yet” because that was when they had dad for a full two days…I also remember how very happy he was the day his son was born. I remember he gave his wife flowers that day and the card read “thank you for our beautiful son”…that always stuck with me. He was such a nice man and a great father.

I know he’s looking down at us and is frustrated at not being able to take our sadness away-he was such a cheerful soul. I think he would like us to remember him with a smile, and as a loving husband and father more than for his working role (although he was very good at what he did). Again, I am convinced he has not entirely left us and am comforted by it.

Todd had a teasing sense of humor that played on people’s flaws but did not generate any ill will, said his sister, Cindy Bienemann. “He could crack on you in a way without making you feel bad,” she said.

Todd was a Duke graduate, earning his degree in ‘81. Todd’s sister Pamela, also a Duke graduate, shared these thoughts about Todd - thoughts that really helped me better understand how great a loss it is that he is gone:

Duke was so special to Todd. He was married in the Duke Chapel. Our family was there for that, and to have had a wedding down there was special. His in-laws live outside of Durham, about a half an hour out, so he was able to come back to Duke quite often, and go to Chapel.

Duke was a special place. He had a lot of great memories. He did meet Debbie there—she did not go to Duke, she went to another school in Carolina. Then they met seven years later on a business trip; they were both up in Canada and saw each other again. The wedding was beautiful.

It was always a special place, to have a wedding there, and to go back and go to Easter Sundays there, and I think Todd was lucky that his in-laws lived there, he could just go back and walk around and share with his kids and go to Chapel and go to baseball games. For his children to run on the quad with their cousin—it’s just such a special place.

Debbie just told me that somebody is getting her tickets to a Duke basketball game (in New York) with the children. The kids were all telling me that they’re going to a Duke basketball game. He used to take them to that game. He was a big fan.

His sister also reflects on life without Todd in their lives.

Still, when I see things on TV, I still will sit there and the tears just come. It’s going to take us a very long time to realize that they’re truly gone. They’re young, and he was just so full of life, and with his children… it just breaks your heart to see those children. It’s just sad how their lives have changed so quickly. They’ll be okay—hopefully they’ll be okay. They would ride bikes with him, he could take them everywhere, he’d bring them to the football games, he’d bring them anywhere with them on his back, he coached the basketball, he coached the soccer… he was really a hands-on father.

Little Todd, when something comes up, I can see him wipe at his eye, and I think he’s afraid a tear might come and he can’t go there. We’re surrounding them. Debbie, she doesn’t think she can do it but I’ve told her, you can do this.

Todd was full of life. And he danced. We teased him about that, because our husbands can’t dance. His sisters loved to dance with him.

A former classmate and roommate at Duke hadn’t been in touch with Todd for awhile, but Todd’s passing left a lasting impression on him.

I somehow feel his death places a greater responsibility on me to live my life—and maybe on you, too. I now understand—really understand—that tomorrow may not come, and that what I do today needs to be done so that I have no regrets if there is no next day.

How? First, I must pursue the career, the activities, and the people that evoke passion in me. It is so easy to fall into a career, for example, that is comfortable, or begets comforts, yet is uninspiring. I was trained to achieve, to succeed, and the process of getting there was of secondary importance. September 11 and Todd’s death make that not good enough any more.

Second, I need to do more to nurture my relationships, because I know more than ever that it’s the people in my life that make it special. Todd was one of those people, but we both let things fade as we pursued career and family on opposite sides of the country. I wish I’d called.

The final realization I have is the need to make sure I’m giving something back to others. Todd gave me a lot—he was upbeat, enthusiastic, and nonjudgmental. That he should be taken away, that someone so positive should disappear for no good reason, leaves me grasping for a way to fill the void. As I look now at my two-year-old son, so excited by each day, so constantly curious, I’m reminded to do more for those around me. I have no illusions about changing the world, but rather the need to make sure I’m doing my part to make it better.

I think his thoughts hit home with me and why I feel loss for a victim of this attack that I’ve never even met.

Why did Todd not survive that day? The family and others who knew him believe that, despite being urged by his wife to escape, it’s likely the Eagle Scout chose to help others get out of the doomed skyscraper. It sure seems that how he lived likely influenced him to help others live that day. Todd was a hero, but likely never thought twice about getting others to safety.

Being so far away from the tragedy here in the Midwest, emotions were raw and people were deeply affected.

The Rancke’s pastor, Richard Kannwischer, summed up the confusion, the sadness, the grief and, yet, the hope we all had that day…

The last house I went to was of a good friend and elder, Todd Rancke. The door to the house was open and I walked into the entryway. Because I am about the same height as Todd, his wife, Debbie, mistook me for her husband. With relief she sprang up to hug me, but reality slowly crept in. She collapsed in my arms, saying, “Oh, my God! I thought you were Todd. I thought he came home! Where’s Todd? You’ve got to find him.” I have never felt more helpless as a pastor.

Todd, the husband, the father, the brother, the uncle, the Eagle Scout, the church elder, the hero…Heaven became an even better place the day Todd arrived. I can only hope and pray that God has laid His healing hands upon Todd’s family and friends so they can have some peace in their hearts. I know I cannot begin to understand their loss, but in writing this tribute to him, I have done a bit of grieving on my own…me, a perfect stranger.

I knew no one who died on that day, but it has profoundly affected who I am. I think many of us changed that day.


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