Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dekia Mattox Update

An update to this post...from the JS Online:

A social worker from the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare investigated an abuse complaint about baby Dekia Mattox just seven weeks before authorities say she was killed by a homeless drug addict in a filthy, cold home, according to a statement released Wednesday by the state Department of Children and Families.

The bureau's Nov. 4 investigation - which stated "the home was in order," contained food, had a well-heated bedroom for the baby and contained no evidence of drug use stands in sharp contrast to the medical examiner's report, filed shortly after the baby's death Dec. 26.

According to the medical examiner, the dilapidated cottage in the 2700 block of N. Richards St. had two broken windows and was heated by three space heaters. Knives were found on the floor of nearly every room. The bathroom contained a leaking toilet and a broken sink. Dirty dishes filled the kitchen sink. Investigators found empty liquor bottles and beer cans, piles of dirty clothes, discarded baby bottles and little food.

"Do I think something dramatically changed in the home? Clearly that's the case," said Arlene Happach, director of the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare. "I don't have a clear explanation for it."

Further, Dekia's aunt, the woman who authorities say left the baby in the care of her drug-addicted boyfriend, was a licensed foster parent, the department confirmed.

The sole complaint about the baby came to the bureau's hotline Nov. 3, according to a summary from Department of Children and Families. A caller said the baby had scratches, cuts, cigarette burns and a knot on her face. The caller said there was no heat and no stove in the house. There was a portable crib in the house, the caller said, but the baby could not sleep there because it was filled with dirty clothes. The caller also said both Coleman and Diamond Mattox were drug users.

The following day, Nov. 4, a social worker met with the family inside the home. She examined the baby and found no bumps, scratches or bruises, Happach said. "There was food, diapers, plenty of formula," Happach said. "She saw no drug paraphernalia, no knives, nothing like that. What she saw at the time wasn't alarming in any way. The baby was alert, laughing, smiling, interacting with mom."

The child welfare case was closed.

Social workers who investigate abuse complaints do not routinely check with the police to find out about prior calls to an address, Happach said. If they had, they would have learned Milwaukee police had previously been called to the house to investigate complaints of drug dealing and misuse of 911, according to police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz.

Neighbors said the house was a trouble spot and was known to be a drug house.

I call bullsh*t!! There is no way...that the house went from a "well heated" home with "no evidence of drug use" to a broken down, unheated drug house in seven weeks. There is evidence of that by the police involvement with this home.

The bureau says "I don't have a clear explanation for it". Well, it's clear to me that there are one of two explanations. Either A) The social worker didn't actually go to the home and lied on the report, or B) The social worker DID go to the home and lied on the report. Either way, a baby is now dead.

I am so FREAKING sick and tired of the social workers who clearly fail the system and are not held accountable. Don't get me wrong - I know there are plenty of good, caring people working in the system. Unfortunately, one bad apple can spoil the bunch, and those are the ones we hear about once a tragedy occurs.

Granted, I don't know all the details yet. However, by the looks of things, there are MANY who should be held accountable for Dekia's death, from the addict who killed her, to the aunt who left her with the addict, to the 15 year old mother who was "gone for days" to the social worker who clearly dropped the ball. They should all pay a price.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another Tragedy

From JS Online

Darius Woodley, a drug-addled homeless man who police say was left in charge of 6-month-old Dekia Mattox in a filthy, barely heated Milwaukee cottage, was charged Tuesday with killing the baby and stuffing her body between a couple of mattresses.

The state-run Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare was involved with Dekia's family, which was the subject of an ongoing investigation, said Erika Monroe-Kane, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families. The DCF, which runs the Milwaukee bureau, is preparing a report that will outline the bureau's involvement, she said.

"The death of baby Dekia is a tragic one, and our thoughts are with those that loved her," Monroe-Kane said.

According to the complaint and a medical examiner's report:Mattox left the child with the aunt, Sharon D. Coleman, 48, on Christmas Eve in a cottage the three shared with Coleman's boyfriend, Willie McElroy, 39. The cottage, a dilapidated structure that neighbors said was a drug house, is behind a house in the 2700 block of N. Richards St.

Around midnight Christmas Day, Coleman left the baby with McElroy and Woodley while she went out with another man. McElroy told police he and Woodley, 36, had spent most of Christmas Day robbing stores and using the proceeds to buy drugs. He said the two smoked marijuana laced with crack, snorted heroin and drank beer.v Coleman, McElroy said, was gone for hours, and the baby began to cry.

McElroy said he left the baby with Woodley while he went searching for Coleman, once at 2 a.m. Saturday and again sometime between 2:30 and 3 a.m. McElroy told police he stopped to buy $10 worth of crack and then returned to the cottage, which was heated by three space heaters. The temperature on the main floor was 40 degrees. Knives were found on the floor of nearly every room. The bathroom contained a leaking toilet and a broken sink. Dirty dishes filled the kitchen sink. Investigators found empty liquor bottles and beer cans, piles of dirty clothes, discarded baby bottles and little food.

When McElroy returned to the house the second time, he found Woodley passed out on a bed but did not see Dekia. McElroy woke up Woodley and began searching the house for the baby. According to the complaint, McElroy looked in a bedroom where he found "a hump in the mattress." He lifted the mattress and found Dekia's body. The child was not breathing.

McElroy said he gave the baby to Woodley, who said, "Man, I didn't mean to do that."

Where to begin?? This is a tragedy of epic proportions. A 15 year old mother. A drug house. Knives on the floor. Homeless drug addicts. Did that child ever stand a chance?

What I would like to know is why was this family the subject of an "ongoing investigation"??? Why the hell didn't they get that baby out of there post haste?? You have an infant living in an abandoned building (love the "cottage" euphemism) with no heat, most likely no hot water, and you're investigating??? For the love of all that is holy, WHAT is there to investigate?

I will be following this to see what the child welfare bureau has to say about their involvement. As sad as it is to say, given the family conditions and the history of the child welfare bureau in Milwaukee, death may have been a better option than life for this poor innocent.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Here's wishing all of you a very safe and blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Get Real!

Although not the point of this article, this just pisses me off...

Vick won the Ed Block Courage Award, voted on by his teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles, after the once-disgraced star quarterback returned to the league after spending 18 months in a federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.

"It means a great deal to me," Vick said Wednesday. "I was voted unanimously by my teammates. They know what I've been through. I've been through a lot. It's been great to come back and have an opportunity to play and be with a great group of guys. I'm just ecstatic about that and I enjoy every day."

The Ed Block Award honors players who exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Each of the 32 NFL teams selects a recipient.

"I've overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can handle or bear," Vick said. "You ask certain people to walk through my shoes, they probably couldn't do. Probably 95 percent of the people in this world because nobody had to endure what I've been through, situations I've been put in, situations I put myself in and decisions I have made, whether they have been good or bad.

"There's always consequences behind certain things and repercussions behind them, too. And then you have to wake up every day and face the world, whether they perceive you in the right perspective, it's a totally different outlook on you. You have to be strong, believe in yourself, be optimistic. That's what I've been able to do. That's what I display."

Are you KIDDING me??? This asshole made horrible decisions, participated in the mutilation, torture and killing of dogs, and this is what comes out the other side??

DUDE - get a clue. Take a look at the real world. YOU probably couldn't endure what 95% of people are going through. Everyday folks are suffering out here...some losing homes, some losing jobs, some trying to figure out which bill to pay this month and which can be put off till next month. What you endured?? YOU put yourself into that situation. By the way, whatever you had to "endure" doesn't come CLOSE to what those dogs had to endure.

Pssssst...Hey want to see REAL courage, start with this.


Monday, December 21, 2009

It's inevitable!

Totally swiped from Fred!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I've always had an issue with people who abuse those who are unable to protect themselves, particularly children, the elderly and animals. Which is why this pisses me off...

Maybe it was nine lives, but one feline is lucky to be alive after he was found with his paws glued to a Minnesota interstate, reported.

A couple saw the cat on the side of the road and thought it had been injured by a car, the reported. But the cat was stuck, though its paw pads were ripped off by the glue when the couple removed him from the road, the site reported.

Members of animal adoption organization, Second Chance Rescue, expressed outrage at the treatment of the cat, which has been named Timothy.

"It's a mouth dropper because you are just like are you kidding me? But they did it," Rosey Quinn, member of Second Chance Rescue, told

Timothy is currently with a foster family as he recovers. Second Chance members say he may be up for adoption eventually.

Seriously??? Why would someone do something so cruel? For grins & giggles?? What kind of jackass would think this sort of thing is funny? I have cats, and I'll admit I sometimes do things that make them look foolish, but NEVER would I think to do anything that would hurt ANY animal.

The scary thing is that any person whose twisted mind would think of something like this is capable of much worse.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

An Even Better Thank You!

To get a better take on Bloody Brunch, you MUST read this! Thanks Sara - you're awesome!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A HUGE Thank you

Okay, you may or may not have noticed my relative absence lately. I've been just a tad bit busy. Doing what, you ask?? Well, I'll tell you! I mentioned in this post that I was helping organize an event called Bloody Brunch. You can read much more about Bloody Brunch here. Well my friends - the event was on Sunday, and it was a HUGE success!!! We raised well over $1,000 to be split between the Blood Centers of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes Hemophelia Foundation, and collected five HUGE boxes of toys for Toys for Tots.

So I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers. We had soooo many people who selflessly gave their Sunday afternoon to help make this happen.

Here's our Toys for Tots Marine and our volunteer Santa Claus!!

I also want to give kudos to Stack'd Burger Bar. The manager and staff did an absolutely outstanding job. They diligently worked with us prior to the event, and I couldn't have asked for a better staff to handle the 150 or so people that showed up on the day of the event.

You guys did an EXCELLENT job!!
I'd also like to express my appreciation for all of the local business who donated items for our silent auction and/or swag bags. It was your donations that made this whole thing happen!! Check out the swag bags!!

Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank everyone who came out to support our event. In these economic times, I can't tell you how much it means that y'all were so generous in your donations. I think just about everyone who walked through the doors brought at LEAST one toy...many brought more than that. I was, and still am, overwhelmed by the donations we received, both monetarily and with the toys. I can't say enough about how awesome y'all are. I wish I had a chance to chat with more of you, but we were busy little elves!!!
This was a lot of hard work, some sweat and yes, even some tears in organizing this, but the result was MORE than worth it. The charities will benefit, and more importantly (in my eyes anyway), hundreds of children will have a smile on Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On Grief and Twitter

From Florida Today...
MERRITT ISLAND — A child’s jumbled train tracks and a toppled plastic dinosaur lie on the floor by the Ross family’s Christmas tree, left behind by 2-year-old Bryson before he drowned in the family’s swimming pool Monday evening.

But it’s what has been happening on the Internet that has people talking about the tragedy and what is acceptable in today’s world of instant communication and tell-all messaging.

Bryson’s mother, Shellie Ross, posted on about his accident a half-hour after she called paramedics — and then was attacked by strangers nationwide in follow-up tweets and blogs for doing so.

Social media experts said Ross did nothing wrong. Her friends call the 37-year-old a caring, devoted mom.

On Monday, as usual, she tweeted throughout the day about what was going on in her life, including decorating the family’s Christmas tree with breakable ornaments — despite having a 2-year-old in a house they had just moved into on Dec. 1. At 5:22 p.m. Monday, she tweeted about the rare fog that rolled over Brevard County as she worked in her chicken coop.

According to 9-1-1 records, a phone call from Ross came in at 5:38 p.m. that she had found her son at the bottom of their screened-in swimming pool.

She posted a tweet at 6:12 p.m.: “Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool.” That was followed five hours later with “remembering my million dollar baby” and photos of a smiling Bryson. Those posts and pictures have since been removed from her Twitter account. There is nothing in Ross’ posts that indicate she was on the computer or cell phone at the time of the tragedy. It is unclear what Ross was doing between 5:22 p.m., when she tweeted, and 5:38 p.m., when she called for help. In a tweet posted Tuesday morning, Ross wrote, “I was outside with him and it took two seconds for him to slip away.” The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office called it an accidental drowning.

Once Ross posted her call for prayers, Twitter users started weighing in with words of support, as well as comments and questions about the boy’s fate and Ross’ Twittering to friends, family and strangers at such a difficult time.

But social media specialists said criticism of Ross is unfair, noting that she’s simply tech-savvy and using a familiar way to communicate. They added that it’s inappropriate to question her actions at such a horrible time in her life.

Madison McGraw, who does not know the Ross family, tweeted about the incident and also posted an item on her blog titled “Mom Tweets While Son Drowns.” “The person that I have compassion for is her son — who might still be alive if (Ross) interacted with her son like she interacted with people on Twitter,” McGraw wrote. “To me, that shows the repercussions for social media gone awry.”

Asked by FLORIDA TODAY if she thought it was appropriate to attack a woman she doesn’t know who just lost her son, McGraw responded, “If she didn’t want questions raised at such a painful time, perhaps she shouldn’t have tweeted immediately after her child died. A child is dead because (of) his mother’s infatuation with Twitter.”

Unlike McGraw, Shari Keating knows Ross and considers her a friend. They met via blog and social networking conferences. Keating spent Monday night at the Ross home comforting her before Ross’ husband, Steve, arrived from out of town. Steve Ross is a sergeant stationed at Patrick Air Force Base.Keating called Ross a fantastic mother who is devoted to her children. Ross has two other sons, 18-year-old Cody and 11-year-old Kris.“To judge her, I think, is appalling,” Keating said. “You have to realize that blogging is a community.”

Peter Post, great-grandson of etiquette expert Emily Post and director of the Vermont-based Emily Post Institute, agreed. He called McGraw’s comment “horrendous in its implications.”“I’m not sure this is the appropriate time or place to be chastising anyone,” he said.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am a twitterholic. I LOVE Twitter. It's great for getting breaking news before any other outlet. It's a fabulous marketing tool. But above all, it IS a community. I have TONS of new acquaintances, and have made several very good friends via Twitter. When we had to put one of our cats down, I mentioned it on Twitter. The outpouring of support was amazing. We all share happy news, bad news, and just the mundane goings on at that particular moment. Shoot - my tweeps (twitter people) know more about my day than my husband!!!

That being said, there are also things I don't share on Twitter. If something is very personal to me, usually bad news, and I want support I do one of a few things. I'll pick up the phone. I'll send an email. Or, using twitter, I'll send a DM (direct message) to specific people. I believe that there are some things that shouldn't be broadcast. But...BUT...that's me.

Since I follow Ms. Ross on Twitter, I watched this whole thing go down. I'll admit, my first thought, after saying a prayer, was "Why the hell is she tweeting at a time like this?" But people use Twitter in many different ways, so it's not for me to judge. I think the comments that Ms. McGraw made were so far over the line, they were in the next county. Who is she to jump to that kind of conclusion? How in the world does she know what was going on at that time? Sad as it may be, perhaps this is the only community Ms. Ross has.

I guess there's no real point to this post, except to say that unless we've walked a mile in another person's shoes, we shouldn't judge. Would I have tweeted at a time like that? I can almost guarantee the answer to that is no. But that's me. What I do know is this family is suffering a terrible loss during the holidays, and I'll be praying for them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Chadcast: Global Warming

Hello my friends! I know I've been absent, and I will explain in another post. In the meantime, allow me to introduce you to The Chadcast. Some of you may have seen my reviews on The Chadcast here and here.

There are many times that I add my commentary to what Chad has said. This is not one of those times. In this podcast, Chad takes on global warming. Quite simply, I have nothing to add...he says it all. Go on - take a listen...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

MIke Huckabee Explains

Note I said explains, not excuses. From Newsmax:

I take full responsibility for my actions of nine years ago. I acted on the facts presented to me in 2000. If I could have possibly known what Clemmons would do nine years later, I obviously would have made a different decision. But if the same file was presented to me today, I would have likely made the same decision.
Each state is different, but in Arkansas, a governor doesn’t initiate a parole—the Post Prison Transfer Board does after it conducts a thorough review of an inmate’s file and request. The board then makes a recommendation to the governor, who decides to grant or deny.
If the decision is made to grant any form of clemency (the broad term for a commutation or a full pardon), the governor gives notice of intent and the file is sent to the prosecutor, judge, law enforcement officials, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State as well as to the news media. A period of 30 days is then started for there to be public input as well as response from the above named officials. At the end of the public response period, the final decision is rendered.
Between 1,000 and 1,200 requests for some form of clemency came to my desk each and every one of the 10 ½ years I was governor. Ninety-two percent of the time, I denied the requests. When I did grant them, it was usually based on the recommendation of at least five of the members of the PPTB, with consideration given to the input from public officials.
Maurice Clemmons was 16 years old when he was charged with burglary and robbery. He was sentenced to a total of 108 years based on the way in which the sentences were stacked. For the crimes he committed and the age at which he committed the crimes, it was dramatically outside the norm for sentencing. The PPTB recommended in 2000 by a 5-0 vote for his sentence to be commuted. He had served 11 years of his sentence. A pardon would have set him free and cleared his record. A commutation to “time served” would have set him free and released him from any parole reporting. As per the recommendation, I commuted his sentence to the term of 47 years, still a long sentence for the type of crime he had committed, but it would make him parole eligible. It would not parole him, as governors do not have that power in Arkansas. He would have to separately apply for parole and meet the criteria for that.
Despite news reports to the contrary, the only record of public response to the notice to commute was from the trial judge, who recommended the commendation in concert with the board. There were letters of support, but no record of letters of opposition. Following the commutation, he met the criteria for parole and was paroled to supervision in late 2000. When he violated terms of his parole by participating in additional crimes, he was returned to prison and should have stayed there. For reasons only the prosecutor can explain, charges were not brought forth in a timely way and the prosecutor ended up dropping the charges, allowing him to leave prison and return to supervised parole.
He moved to Washington state and had intermittent criminal activity that increased in violence and frequency. He was allowed to post bail in Washington state and while on bail from there committed the unspeakable acts of murdering four valiant police officers. I can’t explain why he wasn’t prosecuted properly for the parole violations or why he was allowed to make bail in Washington state and not incarcerated earlier for crimes committed there.
I wish his file had never crossed my desk, but it did. The decision I made is one that I now wish were different, but I could only look backwards at his case, not forward. None of this is of any comfort to the families of these police officers nor should it be. Their loss is senseless. No words or deeds by anyone will bring them back to their loved ones. Our system is not perfect and neither are those responsible for administering it.
The system and those of us who are supposed to make sure it works sometimes fail. In this case, we clearly did.

Now I'm not a big Huckabee fan, but if the facts were as he presents them, I doubt any of us would have done anything different. Huckabee's role in this is, in my opinion, minor. The failure of the system went WELL beyond his actions. It's easy to look back now that we know what this animal has done and point fingers, but in this case, the fingers need to be pointed at many, many people, not just Mike Huckabee.