Category Archives: Breaking News

Eight Men Arrested in Fort Worth on Federal Child Sex Trafficking Charges

Web

Eight men are in federal custody on charges of sex trafficking of children. They were arrested following an investigation by the Fort Worth Police Department’s VICE Unit. The men went before a federal judge in Fort Worth on Tuesday and were officially charged and remain behind bars.

  • Pierre Lagrone, aka “P” or “Pedro,” 33
  • Robert Roseberry, aka “King Rose,” 29
  • Herman Sanders, aka “Pooh,” 29
  • Reginald Smith, aka “Green Light,” 28
  • Demarcus Davis, aka “Zigg,” 25
  • Kentrell Davis, aka “Zeal,” 24
  • Cederrick Clarkson, aka “Ced” or “Spazz,” 25
  • Terroderick Watts, aka “Silk,” 27

According to an affidavit in March of 2017, the Fort Worth Police Department’s VICE Unit conducted a recovery operation in response to a lead sent from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in reference to a suspected victim of Child Sex Trafficking.

Fort Worth police found a Backpage.com ad containing photographs of a minor female, Jane Doe 1, that advertised commercial sex acts. As a result of the operation, Jane Doe 1 was recovered. Additionally, two other minor females were also found in a closet located in Jane Doe 1’s hotel room at the time she was recovered.

The three females, and others, were victims of a child sex trafficking organization. Investigators say Lagrone, Roseberry, Sanders, Smith, D. Davis, K. Davis, Clarkson and Watts were members of that organization and recruited, advertised and sold several women, both adults and underage for the purpose of sex.

The suspects worked together as an organization by using some of the same underage and adult female victims to engage in sex acts, often working out of the same hotels. They transported female victims for the purpose of commercial sex acts, utilizing and sharing cellphones that were used to post ads for commercial sex on Backpage.com,

They also took pictures of the girls and women either nude or in their underwear and posted them as Backpage.com ads . The defendants were also frequently violent if the females angered them or did not follow their directions.

If convicted, the men face life in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Source: U.S. Justice Department >>U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas

CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING IS MODERN DAY SLAVERY

Backpage.com is where many child sex traffickers do their business according to this mother called Nacole. She says her teenage daughter became a sex slave and ended up “in the hands of a very evil man.” He posted her daughter’s photo also on backpage.com.  Listen to this very emotional story.

 

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Mika Brzezinski threatens to pull book deal with Weinstein unless he resigns, Lisa Bloom quits his legal team

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Photo courtesy: MSNBC

 

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski is taking a stand. She has a three-year book deal with Harvey Weinstein’s publishing company, but she’s ending that relationship if he doesn’t resign. Saturday morning she took to Twitter to explain why.

 

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A New York Times investigation “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades” uncovered three decades of sexual harassment allegations and at least eight legal settlements with accusers. They were everyone from  two actresses to assistants.

Weinstein put together a legal team before the New York Times story came out.
It came as a surprise to many women that attorney Lisa Bloom had joined his team. She is known as a crusader for victims of sexual harassment who represented several of Bill O’Reilly’s accusers.  Maybe she had a loyalty to Weinstein since his company is planning to turn Bloom’s book on Travyon Martin into a miniseries.

Bloom took a big turn on Saturday afternoon when she also quit Weinstein’s team of lawyers and consultants. She said the following on Twitter.

 

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It is not known if Bloom’s decision was influenced by the backlash of angry women and no word yet on whether she still wants Weinstein’s company to produce the miniseries. I did send her a tweet with those questions since she made her resignation statement on Twitter.

Weinstein took a leave of absence after the Times published its story. He put out a statement trying to explain himself,  blaming his behavior on growing up in the 60’s and 70’s when according to him the workplace culture was different. Here is part of his statement:

 

I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces
were different. That was the culture then.

I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office – or out of it. To anyone.

I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with
the people I work with have changed.

 

The New York Times story has had a domino effect. Board members have quit the Weinstein Company board of directors as reported by the Times.

So far, Weinstein has only threatened to sue the New York Times for its investigative report. To be continued…

 

SOURCES:

New York Times (10/5/2017) Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.

Los Angeles Time (10/5/2017) Harvey Weinstein to take a leave of absence amid sexual harassment claims, threatens lawsuit over report.

The Hollywood Reporter (4/19/2017) Attorney Lisa Bloom Declares Victory After Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Exit. 

Harvey Weinstein Statement 

New York Times (10/6/2017) Company Scrambles as Weinstein Takes Leave and a Third of the Board Resigns

 

 

Vivian Castleberry: trailblazer for women in journalism, dies at 95

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Archive photo: Vivian Castleberry

95-year-old Vivian Castleberry passed away Tuesday morning at her daughter’s home in Georgia. The former newspaper editor will always be remembered as the woman who opened doors for females in journalism starting in the 1950’s.

Journalism was always in her blood. She was determined to have a career at a time when most women stayed home to take care of their families.

Castleberry was a journalist at her high school in East Texas. She went to Southern Methodist University (SMU) where she joined the newspaper. There she started as a writer and eventually moved up to feature editor and then to assistant editor.

From 1956 to 1984, Castleberry held the position of women’s editor for the Dallas Times Herald’s Living section. She was known for being objective and exposing cultural taboos and didn’t let resistance from other editors at the Times Herald stop her.

She was one of the first reporters who wrote about topics like domestic violence, inequality at work, and child abuse. Castleberry also became the first woman elected to the newspaper’s editorial board. She won numerous awards for her work.

The JFK Assassination 

Castleberrry covered many interesting stories during her career.  She was working the day President John F. Kennedy visited Dallas on November 22, 1963. She got first hand information of Kennedy’s assassination from her cousin who was standing next to Abe Zapruder. He was the photographer who took what has become the most important film documentation of Kennedy’s assassination.  Castleberry said her cousin was Zapruder’s assistant but was never interviewed by the Warren Commission which looked into the case.

The many stages of Vivian Castleberry

Castleberry was one of the first women to show that a mother can work and raise her children. She and her husband had five children, and Castleberry kept on working.

She wrote four books: Daughters of Dallas, The Texas Tornado, Sarah the Bridge Builder, and Seeds of Success. In 1984, Castleberry was inducted into the Texas Woman’s Hall of Fame.

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Vivian Castleberry & Anita Marcos, President of Peacemakers. Photo courtesy: Lucy Huffstteter

Castleberry also founded Peacemakers Incorporated. In 1988, she served as Chairwoman of Peacemakers’ First International Women’s Peace Conference, which was attended by over 2,000 women from 57 countries.

In 2010, the University of North Texas established the Castleberry Peace Institute. Today it offers cutting-edge research and educational programs on the causes of war and peace.

Vivian Castleberry will always be known as a true Texas Trailblazer.

More sources on Vivian Castleberry

The Portal to Texas History: Oral History Interview with Vivian Castleberry

Castleberry Peace Institute

The Senior Voice

CalBuzz “Oswald’s been Shot”

Dallas Morning News:  Vivian Castleberry

Peacemakers, Inc.

Jimmy Kimmel calls out Republican Senators after the Las Vegas massacre

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Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Once again it takes Jimmy Kimmel to make us sit back and think about gun violence, the politics behind gun control and the senseless murders of innocent people.

Kimmel has become the voice of reason on late night talk shows. A few weeks ago taking on Republican lawmakers on a health care bill that he believed was not good for Americans. It appeared his influence had an impact. The Graham-Cassidy bill died when Republicans decided not to vote on it because they they didn’t have enough committed votes.

Monday night Kimmel opened his monologue choking back tears as he reminded us about the deaths, injured and wounded left behind in Las Vegas by one gunman.

Here is a transcript of Kimmel’s powerful and emotional message:

“No way to know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings”

As you know, at least 59 people are dead, hundreds of people are wounded in what they’re saying is the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history coming about a year and a half after the previous deadliest mass shooting in modern American history in Orlando when 49 people lost their lives. And of course we pray for the victims and for their families and friends and we wonder why, even though there’s probably no way to know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings who are at a concert, having fun and listening to music. Jason Aldean was on stage, Luke Combs who was here with us tonight, he played the show, too. And obviously no one could have ever expected that something terrible would happen, but it did.

“…we have children without parents and fathers without sons…”

A very sick person smuggled 17 guns into his hotel room and smashed out the windows, started firing indiscriminately from the 32nd floor into a crowd of 22,000 people across the street. And as a result of that, this morning, we have children without parents and fathers without sons, mothers without daughters. We lost two police officers. We lost a nurse from Tennessee. A special ed teacher from a school here in Manhattan Beach.

It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to throw up or give up, it’s too much to even process. All these devastated families who now have to live with this pain forever, because one person with a violent and insane voice in his head managed to stockpile a collection of high-powered rifles and use them to shoot people. The guy was an accountant, he has no criminal record. His brother who lives in Florida seems totally shocked, genuinely dumbfounded, he said he saw no sign of any of this. The owner of the store that sold the killer some of the rifles said he passed the government-mandated background check when he was in the store. He wasn’t on any watchlist. He didn’t seem to have been a religious or political extremist. Came out of nowhere.

“Of course there’s something we can do about it”

Because of that, because there weren’t any of the usual signs, I’ve been reading comments from people who say, “This is terrible, but there’s nothing we can do about it.” But I disagree with that intensely. Because of course there’s something we can do about it, there’s a lot of things we can do about it. But we don’t, which is interesting. Because when someone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every possible precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, then there’s nothing we can about that.

The Second Amendment, I guess, our forefathers wanted us to have AK-47s is the argument, I assume. Orlando, Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino, every one of these shootings the murderer used automatic or semi-automatic rifles, which are not weapons you use for self-defense. They’re weapons designed to kill large numbers of people in the shortest possible amount of time. And this guy, reportedly he had 10 of them in his room, apparently legally. At least some of them were there legally. Why is that allowed? I don’t know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen. Or better question, why do we continue to let them allow it to happen?

“…we’ll move on to the next thing, and then it will happen again and again”
Five people got shot in Lawrence, Kansas, last night, three of them died, it didn’t even make a blip because it’s just a regular part of our lives now. And you know what will happen, we’ll pray for Las Vegas. Some of us will get motivated, some of us won’t get motivated. The bills will be written, they’ll be watered down, they’ll fail. The NRA will smother it all with money and over time we’ll get distracted. We’ll move on to the next thing and then it will happen again and again.

Last night, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said this is not the time… actually it was today, this morning, she said it was not the time for political debate. I don’t know, we have 59 innocent people dead, it wasn’t their time either. So I think now is the time for political debate.

“lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because NRA has their balls in a money clip”

President Trump is visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, he spoke this morning, said he’s praying for those who lost their lives. In February, he also signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip, also sent their thoughts and their prayers today, which is good. They should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country, because it’s so crazy.

“These are the faces of the senators…voted against a bill that would have closed those loopholes”

Right now, there are loopholes in the law that let people avoid background checks if they buy a gun privately from another party, if they buy a gun online or at a gun show. So I want to show you something. These are the faces of the senators who, days after the shooting in Orlando, voted against a bill that would have closed those loopholes. These are the 56 senators who didn’t want to do anything about that.

“So with all due respect, your (Senators) thoughts and prayers are insufficient”

Ninety percent of Democrats, I’m not talking about politicians here, I’m talking about people and 77 percent of Republicans support background checks at gun shows. Eighty-nine percent of Democrats and Republicans are in favor of restricting gun ownership for the mentally ill. But not this gang! They voted against both of those things. So with all due respect, your thoughts and your prayers are insufficient.

By the way, the House of Representatives is voting on a piece of legislation this week. It’s a bill to legalize the sale of silencers for guns, this is what they’re working on. We have a major problem with gun violence in this country, and I guess they don’t care. If I’m wrong on that, fine, do something about it. Cause I’m sick of it.

“It feels like someone has opened a window into hell”

I want this to be a comedy show. I hate talking about stuff like this. I just want to laugh about things every night, but that it seems to becoming increasingly difficult lately. It feels like someone has opened a window into hell. And what I’m talking about tonight isn’t about gun control, it’s about common sense. Common sense says no good will ever come from allowing a person to have weapons that can take down 527 Americans at a concert. Common sense says you don’t let those who suffer from mental illness buy guns.

In June of last year, the NRA fought to make sure people on the no-fly list can buy guns. They aren’t allowed to get on a plane; they’re allowed to own a very dangerous gun. Who thinks that makes sense?! Them, I guess, the people who voted with the NRA. Maybe I’m nuts, but I would like to think we could put politics aside and agree that no American citizen needs an M-16 or 10 of them. And maybe that way, we don’t do this again. And that seems very reasonable to me.

You know, in 1980 we had a big fire at the MGM in Las Vegas. It was horrible, 85 people died, you could see the fire. I was 13 years old, I’ll never forget it. A man jumped out the window, it was a terrible thing to see. Then a few months later there was another fire at the Hilton and five people died. So you know what they did? They changed the laws. They made major changes to the fire safety codes and it hasn’t happened again. Why would we approach this differently? It’s a public safety issue, and something needs to be done already.

“Tell your congress people to do something”

So tell your congress people to do something. It’s not enough to send your love and prayers. We do, we send our love and support and whatever else is needed to Las Vegas, and to the families from all over the country and Canada who had the worst night of their lives last night.

Vegas is a funny town, it’s easy to forget people live there, but they do. Lots of good people. These people showed in droves today to donate blood, because it’s the only thing they could do, and so they did it. But there is more that we could do, and we need to do it.

“Don’t forget them”

Thank God for the police in Las Vegas, who risked their lives trying to locate the man with the gun. Thank God for the doctors and nurses and firefighters and paramedics who rose to the occasion, as they always seem to do when we need them to. And the concertgoers themselves who helped each other, who threw their bodies on top of each other, who drove their private cars full of people who were bleeding to the hospital. Don’t forget them.

“…don’t forget what’s going on in Puerto Rico…”

And don’t forget what’s going on in Puerto Rico, either. Just because they’re not the lead story today, they still need help. And if you want to help either one a good way to do that is to give to the American Red Cross … and we send all our love to our family and friends in Las Vegas and everyone affected by this terrible event.

I’m sorry for getting emotional, I’m not great with this kind of thing. But I just think it’s important, you know?

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Google tools provide updated information to locate earthquake victims and property destroyed in Mexico

 

Google has created a map that shows where the destroyed and heavily damaged buildings are located in Mexico City after Tuesday’s earthquake. It is constantly being updated.

 

Google has also created a locator site. Visitors can share who they are looking for or information they may have about a victim or survivor of the earthquake.

Google Locator

Google-localizer

 

 

Good tips on what you can take away from the James Comey hearing

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Screenshot: C-SPAN3

My father taught me at an early age to write down everything: the good, bad and ugly. As I watched James Comey testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I realized the former FBI director was teaching us the importance of documentation on the job. Good notes can never hurt. These are tips I share with everyone I mentor:

  • Keep notes when a manager pulls you in the office for “a talk”. Take notes during the meeting or immediately afterwards. Write down what you talked about, who was present, date and time.
  • Good documentation should include a follow-up email to the manager “Review what we talked about today.” Always follow up with an email.
  • Keep detailed notes on any observation you make at work especially if does not seem right or a coworker is the target: Date, time, witnesses etc.
  • Documentation will come in handy for your annual evaluation. Some managers tend to forget the good but over emphasize the bad.

The rest of the tips at LinkedIn: Take Away 

USA Today takes down tweet comparing United Passenger to Rosa Parks after backlash

The USA Today tweet got my attention. It read “Is United Airlines passenger Dr. Dao an “Asian version of Rosa Parks?”

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As a reporter, I knew they were quoting someone who made that statement.  My relatives who are not journalists thought USA Today was making the comparison between Dr. Dao and civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

It appears they were not the only ones, because USA Today immediately faced backlash on Twitter.  One tweet read “Point out the lady or gentleman who gave the thumbs up on this article.” Another tweet posted “Congratulations, this by far, the most ignorant headline of the week.”

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USA TODAY HEADLINE TOLD THE STORY, TWEET WAS UNCLEAR

The USA TODAY headline on its website read “United passenger’s lawyer says he’s gotten emails comparing client to Rosa Parks.”  Now that should have been the tweet. 

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USA Today chose not to use the same headline that was on their website, a decision that does not make sense. It could have been shortened, made the story crystal clear and avoided criticism.

AVOID WHAT MAY APPEAR TO BE CLICK-BAIT TWEETS

Today we want everyone to click into our stories because competition is tough. And I know that writing interesting and sometimes bizarre headlines can attract readers.

Let us not forget that many people make up their minds and quickly over one tweet without ever clicking into the story.  That’s why it is important to be clear and informative in 140 characters.

A reader will give you one chance and you can blow it in one tweet.

USA Today corrected its mistake. As I was writing this blog, I noticed it took down the original tweet and replaced it with a new tweet that makes more sense ” United passenger’s lawyer says he’s gotten emails comparing his client to Rosa Parks:”

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As I say over and over “Think before you tweet.”

The United Airlines PR nightmare that could have been avoided

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United Airlines has made a lot of mistakes and now it finds itself in a big PR nightmare. The proof ended up on a video that went viral and passengers left in shock.

HOW IT STARTED

United had an overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday. Why do airlines oversell flights?

United needed four seats for four employees who were flying on standby. How come they get priority over passengers who already dished out money for a ticket?

United offered up to 800 dollars in travel vouchers to passengers if someone would give up their seat. No takers. Why didn’t the airline offer more money? Everyone has a price.

United decided to randomly pick passengers off the flight when no one gave up their seat. Three passengers were apparently fine with it but one man was not.  He said he was a doctor who insisted he had to go home.  How did the airline randomly pick passengers?

When the man would not leave, the airline called in airport officers who forcibly dragged the man out of his seat. It was a violent scene. The passenger hit his face on an arm rest and started bleeding. Why were the officers rough with him?

While some passengers were recording video on their phones, others were left in shock and in tears. Who is going to help the passengers now dealing with their own trauma?

Audra Bridges caught everything on video.

UNITED’S CEO RELEASES STATEMENT THAT MADE THINGS WORSE

Problems continued when United’s CEO Oscar Munoz came out with a statement that sounded like a pity party for the airline. He called the situation an “upsetting event” for United.  Did he hear the passenger’s outcry as they dragged the man down the aisle? Did he see the passenger’s bloody face? Now that’s upsetting.

The CEO apologized for “having to re-accommodate”  customers.”  Dragging a man in an airplane is the CEO’s version of re-accommodate?

United_Response,

CNN reported Monday that one of the officers has been placed on suspension. Why weren’t all the officers put on leave?

United’s CEO says the matter is being reviewed. Too late, the damage is done.

My advice to CEO Oscar Munoz is get a better PR team and find the doctor, apologize in person and offer him and his family flights for LIFE.

It’s a start.

Sources: New York Times, CNBC,

 

Dallas Mega Marchers show commitment to unity and push for immigration reform

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Photo courtesy: DPD

The Dallas Mega March did not draw the 100-thousand people that organizers expected, but the ones who did show up were just as passionate as the ones in 2006. That’s when 500,000 marchers took to the streets of Dallas.

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Photos by Rebecca Aguilar 

Ashley of Sherman, Texas was at the rally in front of Dallas City Hall with a sign that read “Got White Privilege?” She thought it was important to take her little boy to the Mega March on Sunday, because she said it was history.

Thousands at the rally waved signs, some read “Will trade racists for refugees” and “Keep hope alive.” Dallas police estimated around 32-hundred people marched on Sunday.

I did a Facebook Live while I was there and walked through the crowd. People of different backgrounds, ages, and religions were there to show their support.

Best cold weather live shot, thanks WGN’s Nancy Loo

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YouTube Screenshot: Nancy Loo at WGN

Standing in freezing weather delivering a live shot is part of the job of any television reporter. We’ve all done them.

We’ve also heard the news anchor in the warm studio toss it to us out in the field with “How cold is it?” That made me cringe every time.

Well Nancy Loo of WGN in Chicago gets my kudos. She had one of the shortest weather reports, got a standing ovation and left me thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I love this live shot. Nice job Nancy!