Books are the gateway to imagination

Books are the gateway to imagination
Morgan welcomes you to her personal blog

Sunday, May 27, 2012

So glad I'm not a politician: A RANT

Well, they are at it again. This morning on Meet The Press the Newt sang the praises of Mitt Romney only a few short months after he profiled him as "the devil incarnate" and unfit to run the country. There is no better time than during a presidential campaign to chant "An honest politician is an oxymoron."

I don't care whether it is on the Democratic or Republican side. They are all willows in the wind when it comes to backing up former claims or accusations if it is detrimental to the party. Meanwhile us folks out here in Regular Citizen Land are bombarded with veerrry expensive ad campaigns, robo calls and lots of plain, unmitigated BS.

Where are the statements like, "I don't have the sole power, but if elected President I will strive to do the following things with Congress. Here is my plan." Then lay out actual steps that make sense. Not empty aspirations or policies that have been put through the wringer so many times they are tattered and the colors have faded. How about some real world stuff? Things that can ACTUALLY be done? Real solutions agreed to by both sides.

And all of that money being spent by not only official campaigns but Super Pacs. The Super Pacs will spend so much with no hard restrictions about vetting information or how skewed or nasty it can become. Sort of like the buying of public office. Millions struggle to survive while billions are spent on hogwash and hurling dirt. Did you ever stop to think that a portion of those billions is taxpayer money? Dollars scraped out to try to elect someone who will have the ability to live up to their broad promises.

I for one am sick of it. I don't know a lot about Bain Capital and probably should do some research. What I do know is what can happen when a conglomerate acquires a company, raids its assets and then throws the employees and independent contractors to the wind. That happened to me several years ago.

I had a great job with a commercial lighting manufacturer. Then it was bought by a conglomerate. Overnight I was transitioned to straight commission/independent contractor status, but that seemed okay. They said they would pay me a guaranteed base against commissions so I could survive and stay on. However, now I was paying my own expenses including travel for business and insurance, etc. 

For the next several months it went on that way. I was exceeding my draw so it seemed okay until with no prior notice the letter went out that the 27-year-old, $25 Million a year company was closing due to bankruptcy. They had been drained. The assets and goodwill were sold to a major company and every independent rep and many more were screwed. I lost more than $10,000 in commissions due me plus the charges for expenses on my credit cards. In case you don't know it, independent contractors are at the end of the line when it comes to bankruptcy settlements. They rarely recover anything and I was no exception.

Let's look at reality. We've spent trillions on wars during the years since 911, our infrastructure is crumbling in many places and rebuilding it definitely would result in jobs, many wealthy investors have made big bucks while the unsavvy, small investors have lost their shirts, the internet has streamlined many areas where independent businesses formerly thrived and those businesses have crashed along with their employees, automation has stolen more jobs that will never come back and that's just part of the big picture.

We can't blame one person, one party or one targeted "villain". This is big and it takes recognition of the multilayered situations that have created this toxic environment. If parties work together, there's a good chance we can pull out of it, although it will be slow work. It didn't happen overnight. If the cat fights and finger-pointing continue, well, folks, then it's anyone's ballgame! 

Saturday, May 26, 2012


"Fight On" for Brian Shaw Facebook page created.
After 10 years Brian Banks is exonerated of crime he didn't commit 
Every once in a while a story on the news really grabs you. It makes you consider other issues triggered by what you've just seen. I often say that too many parents feel like their kids are born with an operating manual, so they don't have to put the time into teaching them what's right and what's wrong. I don't know if this was the case in the story I saw on CNN this morning, but it also brought home the fact that often youngsters don't realize or care about the full impact of their actions. 

As a writer and columnist, I felt compelled to blog about this one and add my two cents.
In 2002 Brian Banks was a 17 year old student, on the track to a full football scholarship. The future looked bright until one lie changed his whole life. Wanetta Gibson, a girl at his school, lied to her mother and school officials. She said he raped her in a stairwell at Long each Polytechnic High School. Who knows why she did that, but because of her insistence it was true, instead of becoming a football hero, Banks spent five years in prison, another five on monitored parole and was listed as a sex offender. Once he was on parole, the designation as sex offender impacted his ability to get a job and many other things. Meanwhile, Wanetta received $1.5 Million as a settlement from the school district.

Here's where the story really grabbed me. Recently Wanetta found Brian on Facebook and asked him if they could let bygones be bygones. She admitted that she lied and even added that she didn't lose her virginity until years later. Wow! No apology? Just "can't we be friends and let bygones be bygones?" In his interview, Brian said that he'd managed to record her comments and that's the only thing that exonerated him. His attorney, also part of the interview, said without that recording there would have been no justice for Brian. Wearing a tee-shirt with the replica of a license plate that proclaimed XONER8 he listened calmly. 

Finally free, he is enjoying the results of that incredible Facebook contact. He said he's still hoping for a football career with the NFL, and I wish him God speed. May his dreams come true. He said he doesn't hold hate for her in his heart. He just wants to get on with the life that was stolen from him. 
The commentator asked whether Wanetta has apologized for this heinous miscarriage of justice. He said she never did but told him she'd had a hard life, too. The commentator's eyes widened as she said how hard that must have been with $1.5 Million of the school district's money.

This whole interview raised many questions in my mind. First of all, if the girl was still a virgin at the time, where were the rape kit results? Was one even used? Was she mad at Brian for something and using this as a way to  "get him," never considering the consequences in her teenage mind? How did she feel over the years knowing that she had received a good deal of money for destroying someone's life with a lie? Why did she never express remorse for her actions?

Things like this happen more often than any of us would like to believe. I personally know of one instance where a high school student wanted to get back at a handsome teacher. She kept flirting and he ignored her so she told the principal the teacher was making inappropriate advances. This resulted in the school getting involved and almost destroyed this young teacher's career. However, in a confrontation in the principal's office with her parents present, the girl broke down, cried and confessed that it was all a lie and that one of her girlfriends had known the truth all along, but confirmed the lies on record. She said she was angry because he didn't pay attention to her and wanted to teach him a lesson. The black mark was removed from his record, but what if she hadn't caved under the pressure? What if her friend, when brought into it, continued to say she was telling the truth?

False accusations like this make it all the harder for the legitimate rape cases. Women who have really been raped hesitate to come forward because, although it's gotten much better, in so many instances they are treated like the perpetrator, not the victim.

Parents need to impress upon their kids that lying can have very serious consequences. In order for it to be effective, however, the kids need to know that they can tell the truth without punishments so severe that they would rather stick to their lie than be honest. That's hard. What is too severe, anyway? That's a question to be answered on a case-by-case basis, but I implore parents to go back to some of the practices that were prevalent in more innocent years. Teach your kids what's right, what's wrong, what's rude and what is commendable.

Help to prevent more cases like Brian Banks. Please add your comments and share this post.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The time is growing near for the release of "Who's Got the Money?"

This is exciting! 

The time is growing closer for the release of my latest funny crime caper, Who's Got the Money? co-authored with Meredith Holland. 

Forget about the notion that little prison factories manufacture nothing but license plates.  Manufacturing in prisons is big business with modern factories.

It’s a fact that federal prison factories manufacture $800 Million of merchandise every year, but most people don’t know that. Although the book is fiction, by using our first-hand knowledge of this little-known government business, Meredith and I cooked up a clever scheme equal to anything splashed across the headlines or featured on the Ten O’Clock News.

The funny antics of the whistle-blowers in Who’s Got The Money is guaranteed to lead you on a merry chase filled with twists and turns. Follow three sharp women as they unravel a clever misappropriation of government funds plot.

To be released by Oak Tree Press in mid-July.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Go Grease Lightning!

I love looking at high performance and vintage cars, so for Mother's Day I wanted to go to the Petersen Automotive Museum. They had some fabulous cars on display and I stayed as long as I could get hubby to have patience. I'm a browser and looker, so I could have stayed longer than the couple of hours we were there. 
Remember the hot rod from Grease? Here it is along with other Hwd. cars

Back in the day, cars had unique looks. You could always tell what brand and often what year it was just by looking. I saw cars from the early 1900s, right on up to a rocket car which I will post a photo of later.

Hmmm. I'm leaving for a few weeks at the Las Vegas home Tuesday, but when I come back to L.A. I'll have to go back to the museum by myself and browse to my heart's content. Going to watch 60 Minutes now.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Love my new cover for CONFESSIONS OF A COUGAR

I love my new cover for CONFESSIONS OF A COUGAR, due to come out in September. Kudos to cover designer Karen Phillips.
Oh yeah, Audrey has lots of secrets and the only way to find out what they are is to read the book. As I've already said, I was the model for Audrey and this is creative non-fiction, meaning that an extremely large percentage is true.

Yesterday, I had lunch  with the friend who was the model for Sue, and we laughed our heads off at some of the things we got into back then. Both of us have traveled extensively since that time, but our escapades during this trip made for hot, steamy...

And it didn't stop after we got back to the States.

Oh yeah!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Traffic in Los Angeles - UGH!

Yesterday around 5:00 we left Marina Del Rey (near Venice beach) to meet our cousins for a 6:00 dinner in the San Fernando Valley. As Flossie, the 80 year-old mother in our Silver Sisters Mysteries would say, "Oy vey!"

Anyone who lives in our City of Angels knows that you don't take the freeway at that hour because it is a veritable parking lot. So you figure out the best alternate route using surface streets. Hubby decided the best thing was to take a route he used to use back in the day. Bundy to Barrington to Sunset to Church to Sepulveda to the freeway entrance. Can you say snail's pace? That would have been speeding.

We inched along as the hands on the clock (to be proper I should say digits since clocks in cars generally don't have hands now) seemed to speed forward. Almost an hour and we hadn't even made it to Sunset. Where did all the cars come from?

We finally made it into Sepulveda Pass and looked over at the 405 freeway. Cars were actually moving along at a decent pace, unlike the crawl we'd been doing. You never know, do you?

We arrived at the restaurant a little after 6:15. Not bad. An hour and fifteen minutes for a drive that would have been about 20-25 minutes in off peak traffic. Oh well. That's life in L.A.