What the hell is wrong with people?

Taken from the Associated Press:

Texas’ Baby Grace case sees first trial this week

GALVESTON, Texas – Even the most grizzled investigators were reduced to tears by the disturbing details of the death of 2-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers.
The tot’s already decomposed remains had been stuffed into a plastic container that was dumped into Galveston Bay. A fisherman found the container and its contents on a tiny island about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the shore of the huge bay in October 2007.
On Monday, jury selection is set to begin for the capital murder trial of Riley Ann’s mother, 20-year-old Kimberly Dawn Trenor. She and her husband, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, are accused of beating the toddler to death in July 2007.
After the gruesome discovery in Galveston Bay, the toddler was dubbed “Baby Grace” until authorities were able to identify the tiny remains as Riley Ann.
“I saw a lot of real tears from a lot of old-time, seasoned detectives who took this home with them every night,” said Tim Miller, director of Texas EquuSearch, a volunteer search organization that helped in the investigation.

Finding jurors might be tough
That community reaction could easily complicate the task of choosing jurors.
Trenor told police the beating began during a discipline session when Riley Ann forgot to say “please” and “yes, sir” to Zeigler, her stepfather.
According to an arrest affidavit, Trenor said she and Zeigler used two leather belts to beat Riley and also held her head under water. But she claims it was Zeigler who grabbed Riley by her hair and flung her across a room onto a tile floor, fracturing her skull in three places and killing her, an autopsy concluded.
Authorities said the couple hid the little girl’s body for a month or two in a storage shed at their home in Spring, a northern Houston suburb, before dumping it in the bay 70 miles (113 kilometers) away.
The break in the case came when Sheryl Sawyers called authorities from her home in Mentor, Ohio, saying she had seen an artist’s sketch of the unidentified little girl and believed it was her granddaughter, Riley.
Trenor had moved to Texas with Riley from Mentor, a Cleveland suburb, in June 2007 to be with Zeigler, whom she had met playing the online game World of Warcraft.
Sheryl Sawyers is scheduled to testify at the trial.
A guilty plea on one charge
Last week, Trenor pleaded guilty to a charge of evidence tampering and will be sentenced for that after her murder trial.”
It is a small relief to hear Ms. Trenor is taking some responsibility for her role in this tragedy,” said Laura DePledge, an attorney for the Sawyers family, referring to Trenor’s admission that she tampered with evidence. “Most of the shock having passed, the family has been focused on dealing with their loss. The onset of trial, however, will force them to relive the trauma and expose them to extraordinary pain again.”
If convicted, Trenor faces up to life in prison
If convicted, Trenor faces up to life in prison without parole. The jury could also convict her of a lesser charge. Zeigler, 25, will be tried later.
“The charges against her are she intentionally killed her daughter and we contend that is not what happened,” said Trenor’s attorney, Tommy Stickler Jr.
Zeigler’s attorney, Neal Davis III, points the finger at Trenor.
“Royce didn’t kill, didn’t murder Riley,” Davis said. “I think her trial will hopefully refute some of her story.”
Galveston County District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk declined to comment about the case before the trial starts.
Prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty against either defendant because they didn’t think they could prove that the pair would be a future danger, a requirement for such a punishment. Trenor and Zeigler remain in the Galveston County Jail in lieu of $850,000 bail each.
Gave birth to boy while awaiting trial
Last June, Trenor gave birth to a boy, Shawn, while awaiting trial. She relinquished her parental rights and the boy is living with distant relatives in the Dallas area. Zeigler has not relinquished his parental rights, child welfare officials said.
Image: Dawn Trenor, Royce Clyde Zeigler II
Galveston County Sheriff’s Offic / AP file
Kimberly Dawn Trenor and Royce Clyde Zeigler II.

Riley’s killing and the investigation generated intense media coverage and Galveston County District Judge David Garner tried to weed out people in the initial jury pool who already had made up their minds about the case.
The island where the toddler’s body was found was officially renamed “Riley’s Island.” A wooden cross bearing a plaque with her name was placed there as a memorial, but Hurricane Ike washed it away on Sept. 13.
Miller, who made that cross, said he is making a new one and hopes that he and Riley’s family can place it on the island at the end of Trenor’s trial.
“It’s sad the cross is gone. But as much damage as the hurricane did, I was afraid the whole island would be wiped away,” he said. “God did not want that to happen. The cross will be put there again in her honor.”
When I think of all the wonderful families out there that would have given this little girl a wonderful, loving home, I am sickened. She was just a baby of 2 years old! I am constantly wondering why so many people out there, who would make wonderful parents, have to suffer with infertility, while there are these horrible, child-abusing, scum who can procreate at will. I am angry!


Fair Pay Friday

This is the letter I got form MomsRising.org today:

Hello Marisa,

We have great news: Last night, the U.S. Senate passed, by a strong majority, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Since this bill also recently passed the U.S. House, the bill will soon go to President Obama, who has promised to sign it into law.

Thank you — you helped make this happen! Your nearly 100,000 messages to the U.S. House and Senate; nearly 9,000 resumes to Senator John McCain’s office after he refused to support this legislation and said that women don’t need fair pay, they need “more education and training”; tens of thousands of petition signatures; and work organizing more than 40 local, in-district meetings with your U.S. Senate offices last year was key to this success.

Take a moment to savor a job well done. Great to be working with you!

— The MomsRising.org Team

P.S. See more about what MomsRising members have done to advance the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, including pictures, at: http://www.momsrising.org/victoryfairpay

I’m so excited that we finally have someone in office who is going to sign good legislation into law. It makes me nostalgic for the Clinton era.

Archival blogs

Long before I blogged on blogger, I blogged on LiveJournal. They’re nice and all, but I prefer the easy access of blogger better. Here are some of the past posts from 2007.

November is… – October 26, 2007
We have 6 days until November and November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. The awareness ribbon is purple. If you were going to pick a cancer this is the worst one to get. Not only does it ravage your body, it ravages the people who love you. There is nothing you can do to stop it. Chemo only holds the cancer at bay. The tumors lie in wait seeking to destroy every cell, every ounce of life in your body. It’s disgustingly, unimaginably, horrifically unfair. If you’ve seen the professor at Carnegie Melon’s last lecture on youtube, you might think that the best way to die from pancreatic cancer is through hope.


Hope is a plane of being that I can’t even imagine aspiring to as I watch my mother, a shell of her former self, with the contents of her bowels being sucked up through her nose, and poison being pushed in her chest in a last ditch effort to save even a month of life, and asking me to find someone to kill her. Yes, hope. Right now I wish I could even feel the comforting embrace of despair. Even that seems too far above, on another planet, of what I feel.

Graduation was a Farce – September 22, 2007
Update (10/11/07): Everything has been solved and I am once again a college graduate. My minor department didn’t clear me for graduation in the computer (even though I was cleared by the department Head in Feb. 2007). I now have a job and just passed the Social Work Boards/licensing exam. Yay for me!
For the last month and a half I have been thinking that I was a college graduate. I put that on all the resumes I sent out to potential employers fully believing that this fact was true. Yesterday I got this lovely letter from Weber State University:

Dear Marisa,

We have processed your graduation application for August 2007 graduation. Upon review of your records, we have found that you did not complete the requirements for the degree that you applied for. Please contact our office blah blah blah.


Graduation Office

This is was pisses me off — I applied for Graduation back in February 2007, seven effing months ago! It took them this long to process my graduation application and find deficiencies on my transcript for graduation? I had my transcript looked over by my academic adviser and my major and minor departments and they all cleared me for graduation. I am left wondering WTF? What really pisses me off is, if I am missing something, they let me know too late for me to take whatever class(es) I need to finish my requirements for Fall Semester. I had a lot of school pride until yesterday.

Not only am I angry and want to punch someone, but I’m embarrassed. I sent out graduation announcements, attended my graduation, took pictures, celebrated, received gifts, brushed up my resume, all for naught. When it rains, it effing pours.

Britney Spears is fat??? – September 11, 2007
I can’t believe I’m commenting on something so vapid and inane, but I think there might be an underlying valid social message. Did Britney Spears performance on Sunday night’s VMAs suck? Yes. Did she do a half-assed job? Yes. Did we all witness a spiraling down of a girl who was probably too famous too soon? Yes. That said, is she fat? No! She’s had two babies for crying out loud (within the last 2 years I might add) and most women I know would die to look like that after having two children. The media criticizing her weight is so misogynistic, it’s sickening. And I know that Britney has contributed to this by never offering up anything more to us than just sex (because really, who is going to argue that she can sing?). But if Britney at a size 6 is considered fat, God help us all. I don’t really want my value as a human being determined by a number on a scale or by how toned my abs are.

Pantene’s Response – May 5, 2007
This is Pantene’s Response to my 12 inch Hair Donation:

“On behalf of Pantene Beautiful Lengths, with heartfelt appreciation, we thank you for giving so selflessly of yourself to women who are faced with hair loss from cancer treatment. Your healthy ponytail will help give self confidence back to a special woman who is battling cancer so that she can fight the disease with a little more dignity. Your generosity is touching and we hope it will inspire many others. As you may know, it takes six to eight ponytails like yours to create one wig, so please spread the word to your friends and family about how important their donation is to this cause as well. More information can be found at www.beautifullengths.com. Together, we can help bring some joy into the lives of women living with cancer.”

So grow out your hair people and donate it!

Bags n Bears – April 15, 2007
At the beginning of the semester in January, my Community Practice professor informed us of our major assignment for the semester. We were divided into groups and charged with seeking out a need in our community and fulfilling that need. My two group members put our heads together and started brainstorming ideas. One member wanted to put a light out on the street in front of the Social Science building because he was having to walk a lot of women to their cars at night after class because Weber State University has a ridiculous rule about parking in the A-1 lot. My other group member and I wanted to do something a little more heart-warming. So I proposed an idea to provide duffel bags or backpacks to the 379 children in foster care in our city. My friend who works at DCFS told me that most foster children enter foster care with little more than the clothes on their backs, and the few belongings that they do acrue are taken around in garbage bags. We decided this was the project we wanted to embark on. Unfortunately, companies and corporations are decidedly less generous at the beginning of the year as they are at the end of the year. The only company that did respond was Build-A-Bear, who donated 20 bears to our project. Along with bags, we wanted to provide a teddy bear or stuffed animal for every child. The only other organization that responded was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Their Humanitarian Services provided about 30 bags to our projects. Two weeks ago we were nearing the end of our project and semester and we realized we only had 29 bags and 56 bears. We decided to reach out via e-mail to our friends and families and have been overwhelmed by the out-pouring of generosity. In less than two weeks I alone was able to raise about $1800 and cleaned out the local Target of it’s duffel bags and stuffed animals. The moral of my story is that most people (not corporations) want to be involved and help their community, they just don’t know how. All you have to do is ask and most people will respond. I know that I am humbled by my many friends and family members’ response to my call to action. And just so you know, there are over 1/2 a million children in foster care in America and only 141,000 licensed foster care homes to accomodate them. These children are most often in foster care through no fault of their own. I don’t have a job lined up after I graduate in a couple of months, but this project has made me aware of the foster children in my own community and now I have a resolve and a commitment to help them in whatever personal or professional capacity I can.
Murphy’s Law – March 26, 2007
Why is it that if one thing goes wrong in your day, everything goes wrong from that point forward? My father was late coming to babysit my son, so I was late taking my daughter to school. My husband forgot to fill up the gas in the car like he said he was going to, so I had to stop at the first gas station I saw, after I dropped my daughter off and before I ran out of gas. And of course, this gas station has the highest prices in town. When I pull up to the gas pump there is a large sign posted that says “Please Pay First.” Exasperated and late for my own 9:00 class that morning, I went inside to pre-pay. When I opened the door to the gas station, the smell was so over-powering I literally felt the hairs in my nose shriveling up in protest. I worked in a deli for four years so I know the smell of fryers when the oil needs to be changed, and let me tell you, the oil in their fryers NEEDS TO BE CHANGED! So I tell the lady I want to prepay for gas and I hand her my debit card. She starts laughing at me saying that I could have paid at the pump. Not so, I tell her, the sign says “Please Pay First.” She said that’s just for cash customers and I say, “and yet, that’s not what the sign says.” So finally my card goes through and I can get out of the fog of fried oil and I fill my car up with gas. And of course my hand reeks of gas later because everything at that gas station reeks. Finally I’m off to school and I still have a few minutes to spare. On my way there, I notice that my hair smells exactly like the inside of that gas station. And I thought the days of my hair smelling like grease were over the day I quit the deli. So I get to school where my parking pass dictates that I park in a lot that is a 10 minute walk to the building where all my classes are. Since I have only 5 minutes to spare I decide to park at the meters and then move my car after class when I have a break. And of course all the meters are full so I decide to parallel park across the street from my building. And as luck would have it, the space I was waiting for was taken five seconds before I reached it. I ended up parking in my regular lot and was 20 minutes late to my 50 minute class. Sometimes life just sucks. At least when I got to my English class, my professor handed back a paper I had written and wrote “Perfect” and “Amazing” on it. I guess that makes up for smelling like grease, gas, and being late.

Wow, that really takes me back. Thanks for reading. I feel like I’ve come a long way in the blogger world.

Right here, Right now

Right here, right now, there is no other place I’d wanna be.

Right here, right now, watching the world wake up from history.
-Jesus Jones, “Right here”

Forty-five years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the mall in Washington, D.C. and told America about his dream. My mother lived in D.C. at the time. She was there. She felt the change. She lived through much of modern history. Growing up she taught us kids that everyone was equal, racism is disgusting and wrong (in all forms), and to love and respect our neighbor. Because of who she was, because of what she taught me, I am a social worker seeking to create social justice and humane social policy. I wish she could have been here today.
Because today we swore into office America’s first African-American President. Part of Dr. King’s dream was fulfilled today. We have much work to do. There are still people who want to separate others and put them in marked boxes with their race, social-class, gender, and religion on the outside. They don’t understand that we are more alike than we are different. Roosevelt said we have nothing to fear, but fear itself. Now is the time we need to unite as a nation and say “no more.” We are better than that. We are all AMERICANS, despite our different accents, religions, customs, culture, races, socio-economic status, and political ideologies. We all deserve to have a better America for ourselves and for it’s future citizens. What will be our legacy?

We gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day we come to declare an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics. We are a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our better history, to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation, that God given promise all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of their happiness.
-President Barack Obama’s Inauguration speech


Apparently, every time you raise your hand and commit to do something, Jesus is watching you. At least that’s the new guilt tactic that is being foisted upon the members of my ward in an effort to increase attendance to ward temple night.

Today in Relief Society, when it was announced that ward temple night is this Thursday, those who were planning on going were asked to raise their hands so that those names could be written down. What are they going to do? Check the roll at the temple? And what is going to happen to the person who said they were going to go, but doesn’t? What’s the consequence then?

Then in Sacrament meeting, the person who was conducting the meeting had the audacity to tell people that if they raised their hand in an earlier meeting saying they were going to ward temple night, that Jesus saw them do that.

So now we’re using guilt and shame tactics, as well as peer pressure, to get people to attend the temple? Is this what Jesus would do? You should go to the temple because you believe in the principles not because someone saw you raise your hand at church and now you feel obligated to go. Is that the spirit we should have with us when we go to the temple?

“We teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.” -Joseph Smith

Things I’m wondering about

How can they call it “The Biggest Loser: Couples” this season if on the first episode they made 9 of the 11 couples send one of the partners home?

How come my local Gold’s gym doesn’t have a place for people to stretch out before they exercise? Isn’t that kind of important?
How come the price of tuna doubled? It went from 50 cents a can to $1 a can. Why? Are tuna’s endangered now?
Since when did weight be a factor in how well someone parents? In England this week a couple was told they were too fat to adopt. This angers me when I think of all the children in the world who are in need of loving stable parents.
Why are stupid people allowed to blog?
Was the character of Darth Vadar or the Penguin based on Dick Cheney?
Who invented binkies? And when I get to heaven, can I thank that person?
Has Oprah started a new religion? The Church of Oprah? All of a sudden she’s lecturing me on spirituality and having “webinars.” (I hate the word webinars). I don’t know what you’re selling Oprah, but this chick ain’t buying. You can shove you’re spirituality up your failed diet plan and Dr. Oz’s creepiness.