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Look! There Goes a Foreigner.

After having lived in South Korea for the past three years. There is a phrase that irks me  tremendously; it sits atop of my words-that-disgust-me-list. Most South Koreans go bunkers when they see a non-Korean. And when they do, they belch out in unmistakably precise unison, “외국인 있다.” It doesn’t matter if you are a total stranger minding your damn business while going home or going shopping, kids primarily will let you know that they know, you are a foreigner. Each time they shout at me, they remind me, they are literally saying There goes a foreigner!

Most foreigners in Korea are from English-speaking countries. One would think television would have already paved the way for us. But it seems the many images of people who clearly look different from Koreans continue to evade them on TV. No wonder they can’t help but scream aloud in our faces that they see us because they just can’t contain their excitement. For a nation that is so wired technologically, I wonder to what purpose does it serve? Any rational soul should have deduced  he would look “country” if he is always animated when he sees a non-Korean. Clearly information and knowledge is no longer power even if one has unfettered access to technology.

All I am asking for is one day when my students and kids on the street and elsewhere will not notice me. I have concluded I’d probably pass up the opportunity to be a celebrity–thanks a lot South Korea, there goes my side dream to make it in the big league. Those damn kids traumatized me. And of course, I have heard all the lame attempts at justifying the  kids’ stupidity and their inconceivable astonishment in seeing a non-Korean. Here’s a classic justification, “Korea has had so many invaders, as a result, they had to fight for their land and property. That explains why they struggled to trust outsiders.” Countries that are now invaded and plundered don’t matter. They’ve haven’t seen anything yet. Their conflicts are “Small fries” compared to South Korea’s. South Korea appears to have a monopoly on foreign invasions. It was the country that suffered the greatest number of foreign invasions. And they have patented their misfortunes. So all other nations, take a number and join the queue. Koreans are proud to believe their suffering was greater than other nations’. South Korea’s misfortunes happened in a vacuüm; therefore, their future  worldview and perceptions are justifiable good no matter how nonsensical they are.

I swear to God the next time some sugar laced, semi-developed frontal lobe kids decide to get on my ugly side and utter these two words “외국인 있다,” they better hope I’m in a good mood. Of course not! I wouldn’t hurt the little ones, but I’m sure as hell gonna yell the shit out of them. I’m gonna yell at them so loud and then impart a smile. Yes, I know I sound grumpy. How about you try experiencing kids pointing at you and shouting those stupid words? It is not like they say it and check it off their list of interesting things to see. They take it up a notch and will follow and badger you saying the same words repetitively. One would think they would get tired and avoid the person if they see him again but no, they have to utter those stupid words again like clock work.

Am I saying it is unheard of to see someone or something and be surprised about him or it? No, absolutely not! I have seen a nice car before and have blurted out, “What a sweet ride!” I have seen a celebrity before and have said, “Hey look there goes so and so.” But imagine this, I can’t picture myself chasing down that celebrity or running after the car as if I am crazy. And let me guess, some of you may say, “Well they are kids they don’t know any better.” I say they do and if they don’t, well, they ought to know better. After all, they have parents for this reason, to teach them how to carry themselves in public. But guess what, the parents are worse because they also know very little or nothing about “Foreigners.” So before you jump on the apologist band wagon and defend South Korea. Remember it is a homogenous society and the programs on TV cater to a homogenous society. TV is a  medium that can help to connect South Korea to the world but Korean TV fails to show Koreans what the outside world is like. So while I am here I’ll have to take pleasure in the kids shouting “외국인 있다” incessantly until I take the first plane out of here. Or I could do that which would put a smile on my face, yell at them and call them a bone head in Korean.

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This film was Jim Carrey’s debut on the drama scene. Clearly fans from his In Living Color and Ace Ventura days probably couldn’t stomach him not being the slap-stick comedic genius that he is.

The Truman Show is a must see movie. If you enjoy a good satirical-comedy-drama then this movie is a great rep of that genre. The overall movie setting primarily depicts the American 1950’s life. It does this masterfully while masking a completely different world behind the scenes. You can draw parallel life application from it in this way: you are being watched.

The world as you know it is not what it seems. Your perception is not sacrosanct.   You must trust your instincts, question conventional wisdom, push the envelop and you’ll discover a whole new world waiting out there for you. This movie shows an hapless soul who suspected the world as he knows it is not real.

He embarks on an aimless quest to get to the bottom of it. Of course, what better way to do this than to have love guide you? I don’t want to be all sappy now. Just watch the damn movie and see for yourself. Do you like a proper character development? Then do yourself a favor and watchThe Truman Show.

Do you believe in biblical inerrancy or evolution? Inherit The Wind is an old classic. The movie is about the Scopes Trial. A duel between two great minds: Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan both were played by fictional characters Henry Drummond and Matthew Harrison Brady respectively. This movie sets a precedent in film making. It covered a significant point of reference in history. Avid movie goers should take note, this movie is not only packed with intense dialogues, passionate emotions but it is also very educational. If you cherish the pursuit of knowledge and you love education then this is a must see. It does not matter on which side you reside. If you are religious or a naturalist, this film is timeless. Today there is an ongoing debate happening in America: should intelligent design be taught in schools along with evolution? Some thought the actual trial of 1925 had settled that question but it didn’t. Inherit The Wind portrayal of said trial is fantastic so make yourself comfortable and go back in time and watch a classic.

Do you want to laugh so hard until your own glee drugs you? Then watch this movie. The Farrelly brothers definitely whacked this comedy out of the ball park for a home run. Do you like a little bit of irreverence? A no-holds-bar-approach-to-comedy? Tired of comedies that tread too softly? You won’t be of this one. It is even worth watching again if you already did. Feeling down, well Dr. comedy has a prescription for you; there is this effective laughing drug name There’s Something About Mary it will be good for you.

Word to my mother, this flick is tight. A true depiction of what really goes down in some black communities.  Boyz N The Hood displays a near perfect dichotomy between two brothers one on the road to success and the other a gang member. The movie is simply dope. The Library of Congress labels it as ‘culturally significant’ (Wikipedia). Movies mostly don’t paint life in practical and real pictures but Boyz N The Hood certainly does.

O yes! Pulp Fiction is off the chain. Do you like Quentin Tarantino? This is one of his best flicks to date. It’s filled with crafty but hilarious banter and complex characters.  Do you like some violence? Pulp Fiction came out in 1994 and even though the level of violence was over the top, the violence displayed does not get in the way of the story. This is not a careless movie. It is worth watching especially if you like dark comedies. Please watch it again if you like.

Guys, 300 is non-stop kick ass action movie. Fantasy action or not, 300 is worth watching. There are some must see action sequences and the story line is pretty good too if you are into ancient Greek history.  There are some one-liners worth repeating. The over the top display of abs would probably enthrall ladies. But that aside, watch this movie because it is the first feature of its kind. It paved the way for a new genre of films in which style and visuals sort of trump characterization. This is not a bad thing if the movie promoters are honest about the movie’s contents.

One word–epic.  Some movies shouldn’t even dare to pass the 2 hour mark. Braveheart did and it ended too quickly. The story is awesome. The action is terrific. And the ending? You’d have to watch it to know for yourself.

I am not going to spend a lot of time convincing you about this one. The Last Samurai is the first film I saw that meticulously developed a character. I believed Tom Cruise’s character became a samurai. The action is intense. Sometimes your visual cortex needs stimulating and this movie would surely do it.

Mission Impossible paved the way for top of the line spy action thrillers. Before, we had James Bond. But Ethan Hunt sets a higher bar. The stunts are unbelievable. The plot is thick alright. Three other films came out after this one to form a franchise but where would they be without a firm foundation? Mission Impossible deserves a sit down, some food, your favorite liquid and a chunk of your time.

There are plenty reasons to hate some people. This movie does its fair share of making sure you do just that. The lion share of your hatred will probably target the Confederate side rather than the Union one. Both participants were on opposing sides during the American Civil War. Andersonville is a horrifying story about Union POW soldiers who ended up turning on each other instead of hatching plans to go free or out best their captors. It shows mankind at their lowest. If you want your sanguine juice to run on low then watch this while at the same time, you have to wait patiently for the underdogs to triumph.

As for biopics, this is my favorite. Ray Charles is a legend. Jamie Foxx did a hell of a job portraying him. He won an Oscar too. The casting was perfect. After watching this, you will feel like you know Ray Charles personally.

I don’t particular enjoy being caught off guard in life generally speaking. But I make exceptions for movies because I rarely stumble upon flicks that catch me off guard. I feel safe knowing that it rarely happens. However, there were a few movies to do this: the first was The Sixth Sense and A Beautiful Mind. Then of course, Fight Club came out and joined the lot. Movies that cause you to say “Wow!” They are worth watching. I dig Fight Club and so should you.

Hands down The Bourne Identity is a sophisticated, smart and an adventurous-action packed movie. The soundtrack is awesome. The film maker took extreme care to present a world that is unknown to the average person and he demonstrated it with such craft, it makes the movie goer feel he is Jason Bourne and that the scales have fallen from his eyes. You will watch this movie and think that you can pull of the same things as Jason Bourne. Watch away and be sure to take in the other movies in the series.

One cannot have a list of favorite movies without a great war film in it too. Needless to say, I fell for this one, because I was born on the fourth of July and the title resonated with me. Beyond that, this movie covered the awful story of a soldier who got back from the Vietnam war and it showed how miserable and lost he was. Again Tom Cruise puts out his best and he played his part well. This is worth watching even though the Vietnam war was not one of America’s proudest conflicts.

This movie made science-fiction movies sexy again. Okay maybe the word sexy sounds strange coming from me. How about wicked? That is more like it. I was intrigued with Neo. The character development in The Matrix is top notch. The villain is a bit annoying but his somewhat indestructible nature works well for the story and for a good battle between the forces of good and evil. Before you watch another Sci-Fi movie, please watch this one first if you haven’t already.

In a nutshell, if a movie can make you sit down for over two and half hours and makes you root for the success of an Italian mob family then it is worth watching. The Godfather is a compelling account of a man who came from nothing and started a mob empire through grit and bloodshed. The characters will grow on you. The movie was so good they had to continue the story. Just watch it and re-watch again.

Thanks for reading my blog. Perhaps you have seen all of these movies or just some. They are great movies. You won’t waste your brain cells watching any of them–trust me.

Musings From a Diaspora Yardie.

Recently Prince Harry visited Jamaica bam! People were in a frenzy. The local government pulled out all the stops to make sure he saw the best of JA. I say if the Jamaican government is comfortable wallowing in the ‘mire’ when no dignitaries are around, they shouldn’t be uncomfortable when dignitaries visit the island. It just shows they care more about those that are beyond the island and not those who are within.

So it seems Mr. Bolt is not only mashing up (doing great) the 100 meters and 200 meters. He seems to be mashing up with his new beauty–Belle Lubica, a Slovakian fashion designer. The local women of Jamaica are very critical of Bolt because he was too quick to leave them to run to an Eastern European. Well, ladies that is what happens when one travels, he or she develops new infatuations. Solidarity is a bit over-rated because not everyone is looking forward to ‘settling down.’ When one has to think about a huge commitment such as marriage, solidarity is a key consideration. I imagine Bolt saying, “Bwoy dah nice girl deh a pree me whacha, mi ago mek my move.”

 

Lol. I remember way back when Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) were completely ostracized in Jamaican society. Most SDA were known as the Saturday church goers. The other protestant churches would warn their parishioners not to mingle with SDA people because they belonged to a cult. It is 2012 baby and Jamaica has got a SDA Governor General (A Governor General is a figure-head who represents the British monarchy in countries that are in the British commonwealth). Plus the SDA church is the fastest growing one on the island. There are many SDA in high places and in the police force too. They are not at ease. The constant question is how does one keep the sabbath and go about his day-to-day responsibilities? Most Adventists feel their vertical relationship is more important than their horizontal ones. God reps the vertical and people the horizontal.  So allow me to sum up: That’s too bad chum if I am an Adventist cop and I see someone is robbing you, but I am in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is your sacred duty to me to make sure you’re in the right place at the right time in order for me to help you. Have a happy Sabbath!

In 1988, Hurricane Gilbert struck Jamaica and brought the small island nation to its knees. Our house was lucky because the storm spared it. Our home was a temporary shelter to those who had lost theirs and they stayed with us during the duration of the storm. The winds were strong and scary. By the fifth day, the storm had caused the rivers to swell. Many animals and some people lost their lives.  Amidst all the chaos, some of the people who were staying with us suddenly had a profound religious experience. My family was already religious. But the newly inducted hobos were singing from hymns and praying their hearts out to God. Some of them had ghastly characters but those same guys were renouncing their wrongs. I saw other unsavory characters on their knees begging the Lord to spare their lives. The funny thing is after the storm, these same overnight Christians went back to their former selves as if nothing had happened. Jamaican culture and people are vibrant. The people are very expressive and passionate. They can also be stirred to various radical behaviors. But seriously, can a ghost out deejay and blokes who like blokes cause the earth’s tectonic plates to shift or to produce hurricane wind gust up to 185 mph/295 km? Can wicked, degenerate, immoral people cause natural disasters? Here is some advice for the wicked. The next time you encounter a deadly blizzard; run into a church because their heating system is far better than all others. Who am I kidding? Blizzards aren’t earth shattering like hurricanes and earthquakes; it’s just too damn cold. I’m just saying the church should be able to save from all disasters not just some. If you’re still not convinced, please run into a church and stay there, sit in the pews or kneel down at the pulpit instead of staying inside of a basement the next time you encounter a massive tornado.

O Florence Nightingale where art thou? ‘Bump that,’ the nurses in Jamaica said decisively, they want theirs. Of course no humane person would allow a patient to deteriorate to skulls and bones but hey, a pay check hike would have renewed the nurses’ sense of duty pronto. I get it, if everyone else can strike so should nurses right? I remember when being a nurse was such a revered profession. Now, it can be perceived to be something of a more sexual nature. A sexy woman in a nurse’s outfit at a Halloween party is without fail a boner magnet. But those damn scrubs are such a bonercide. Plus a bunch of dudes now are becoming nurses and just killing the mood. Any nurses demanding better wages and working conditions are not sexy, not cool and it is downright ghastly too. Look at that poor fellow in the bed. Go on and laugh, it does look funny.

 

Being a soccer/football enthusiast and player, I sort of live, eat and breathe soccer. I remember witnessing Jamaica’s debut on the world stage at the 1998 World Cup (WC) in France. I was proud. That was some feat. Jamaica was the first Caribbean nation to qualify for said world stage. Crap! I take that back it was Cuba. It would have been nice if it were Jamaica but hey to many; the Cubans’ achievement doesn’t count because hey (I have to whisper) most people are paranoid about Cuba and their communist worldview.  Many commentators and observers tended to overlook their achievements. Here’s something funny. When the Cubans first qualified it was in 1938. The other times they qualified during CONCACAF the Caribbean’s governing soccer body, the host countries and FIFA rejected them. When the US hosted the WC, the Cubans withdrew. Future WC fixtures are to be determined, so good luck Cuba. The picture above is not of Cuba’s soccer team. It’s their neighbor, Jamaica. It is no secret the Jamaican senior soccer team sucks. The Jamaican Football Federation is now banking a lot on the under 17 (U-17) football team because they lost confidence in the senior one. Hey team Jamaica, the Cubans have a perfect excuse, they are communist and the world and FIFA honor the trade embargo against them. You team Jamaica haven’t been able to qualify because you suck and you lack the discipline to rise above.  Maybe the U-17 team is the new hope.  So hire another Brazilian get your football house in order.

Slackness! That was my grandmother’s favorite word. Some people think it is cute when children emulate adult themes or actions. But there should be a line that should never be crossed. A child getting down and booty popping to the latest dancehall songs is not cute. I feel kids these days need to learn very early how to be self-reliant, educated, smart and to remain child-like. It seems every generation finds a more sinister way to cause high blood pressure among the elders. Regardless of that intent, thoughtful care and effort should be used in instructing a child. So kids here’s a message from uncle Brown-Voltaire, instead of listening to Vybz Kartel listen to Kid’s Bop or Sesame Street, you’ll stay innocent for now until you are close to 18 years old or older.

Jamaican athletes have long been the default ambassadors of Jamaica because the politicians are swine-like. But most locals feel that anyone who enters the world stage probably will sell out Jamaica. What does that mean? If Bolt blows up even bigger and makes a ton of cash, is he suppose to bring a big bag of cash and dump off some of his surplus on people’s lap from his hometown? I don’t think anyone would be that shallow and narrow-minded to expect that. But let’s be real, Bolt is fingered in the line up because he is rather chummy with his new European girlfriend. Please follow my use of this euphemism: Jamaican politicians screwed, screws and will continue to screw over the people. The people don’t like to be screwed. And further, they don’t like when their national figures literally screw others. So Bolt watch it! Don’t screw over Jamaica by screwing a non-Jamaican.

Here is a tip: Take my advice. Given our tendency to attribute animal like characteristics to our daily discourse and to define some of our actions, it is very fitting that Tiger Woods was indeed a ‘Tiger’ in bed and like some Jamaican men like to say “Mi ago tek mi wood and….” Get the picture? Mr. Tiger Woods certainly lived up to both of his name.  No wonder he could not decline to offer some invaluable advice to Mr. Bolt. And I agree but I might I add that he should be too quick to chase after too many foreign women. The locals are not feeling it.

Ah…Cricket, not the insect, but rather the second most played sport in the world, yeah that one. The West Indies used to be gods of the cricket arena. Now they are like a bunch of ‘school boys’ attempting to have a knock about. I don’t have much to say except I’ll join in concert and say the West Indies team is indeed worthless. They don’t need to restore the old pride they once had. They should find and maintain a new sense of pride and competitiveness but as long as they’re continuing to perform poorly, I’ll keep saying, “Di West Indies Cricket team wutless enuh star!”

Our Child Welfare System is Always Under Construction..

I don’t know about you but as for me, when I see the sign Under Construction on the web or while driving; my Spidey sense warns me of impending inconvenience. We live in a world in which nothing is monolithic. There is always room for improvement. But for some, improvements happen quickly while for others very slowly. Government entities are notorious for dragging their feet. Things rarely move quickly.

I wonder why are people so selfish? Leaders in the Department of Children and Families (DCF) only care about the here and now. Their tenure is of greater importance than the future of the kids. When something is under construction it means it is not complete.  It means progress is ongoing. To be fair, I think it is not always wise to beg for change as if when it comes everything will remain perfect and static. We know that is not possible. Life’s challenges are far from static. The world around us is constantly changing. So it is with organizations that have flawed people running them. People are flawed but that is not an excuse to allow mishaps and horrendous mistakes to go unnoticed. What bothers me is the disgusting subculture that DCF harbors. Their values are very vague. They have the standard goals, vision, mission statement and policy and rules. But that does not do anything substantial to assure the citizenry they have a firm grasp on the social trajectory in their State.

DCF talks the talk but does not walk it. They are forever changing and less relevant. Case in point, the DCF in Florida abandoned its mantle and gave it up to the private sector. So picture this, it is like a building was being built and then the contractors abandoned it and left it incomplete. Another group of contractors arrived on the scene with a different set of plans. So with new directives, the path to relevancy is delayed because now we have new construction taking place and who knows when they will be finished.

DCF will continue to evade the final date of construction. They will remain a work in progress. Must I remind you that while they seek to get their affairs in order, many kids–the clients fall between the cracks. They languish in a fragile system. They become addicts of the state–forever expecting a handout. The social fabric of each state is forever marred because its DCF is always under construction and the building will not be ready to provide shelter to those who need it the most. But of course dilapidated houses serve a function too. It provides shelter for hobos, addicts, women of the night, orphans and other degenerates, right? That is how DCF views the people they serve and seek services for. They are a bunch of degenerates they have to serve.  It is time someone of influence in government realize that we cannot build a house without a sturdy foundation. Nor can we build a house upon sand. DCF cuts corners and shovels around mediocre services for people they know will come back again into the system. They laud dilapidated houses as the ultimate place to call ones homes. They will find excuses to delay fixing said houses because the people who need better living conditions don’t deserve an upgrade. DCF is content with being under construction still for it helps them to pass the buck and skip out from being held accountable.

The Seven Deadly Sins of the Child-Welfare System.

Who would have thought the Catholic church’s arbitrary list of sins could inspire someone? Well it did! It inspired me to write this tell-all on the child-welfare system. Our child-welfare system is not a metaphysical thought that’s devoid of shape, form or reality. It is not an absurd idea like the War on Drugs or the War on terror. It is an actual system with real people and responsibilities. But it is a severely broken and bloated one. So I coin the term the actual War on the Child-Welfare System.

The forthcoming list of The Seven Deadly Sins of the Child-Welfare System are my observations. I have been studying the facts. I have witnessed these sins of commission and omission. I did not pull them out from a dark place. I heard some people verify their validity; therefore, I am compelled to share them with you.

1. Incompetency. You don’t have to wait too long to spot this one in the open. Most people who work for the child-welfare system use a-one-size-fits-all approach to their daily responsibilities. I submit they are incompetent because most of the parents they serve are delinquent. When they meet parents who are sharp they hardly know how to handle themselves. Most caseworkers are not versed in the knowledge of state laws and statues. They frequently violate them. Though they will adhere to some basic policies and rules of their respective agency; they lose their footing when faced with situations and scenarios that do not fit the norm. They are incompetent because they can not adapt well. They aren’t versatile and knowledgeable.  They make terrible mistakes and expect another agency or the court to gloss over them.

2.Apathy. It is no secret that some jobs wrought and enveloped in misery make people miserable. Child Protection Investigative Services and child advocates are some of the most apathetic people you’ll run into. And why not? I presume ninety percent of the families they deal with have nothing nice to say to them and I’m sure an expletive package is always sent their way. Who needs that?  But let’s beg this question. Why pursue a job or career if you haven’t counted the cost? A job in child-welfare care is a calling. It is about self-sacrifice. Soldiers, doctors definitely know what I’m talking about. It would behoove an advocate or an investigator to go into another line of work where issues of the heart are not important to them. I stand firm saying most advocates, child-welfare workers are apathetic and some of them who started out  feeling excited about their career outlook may change their sunny disposition for the worse over time. The job is draining but the poor kids don’t need someone to add more misery to what they’ve already.

3.Wantonness. Child-welfare agencies do not fight fair when they run into parents who dare to defy their directives or recommendations. They will bring down fire and brimstone on parents who insist they are innocent of the allegations against them, that the government cannot tell them how to raise their kids or to decline services. Child-welfare agencies can be deliberately malicious and callous. They are known to fabricate narratives and produce false witnesses to discredit parents who seek to undermine them. Most parents find themselves drained financially, spiritually, physically and psychologically. Child welfare agencies are very good at soliciting the help of other governmental entities ‘to gang up’ on parents, overwhelm and ‘pummel’ them to a pulp until the parents consent to the recommendations or just simply concede.

4. Corruption. One assumes that our nation’s most vulnerable and broken children would be taken care of and for the most part would be shielded from the ill behavior and corruptible influences of society. But no sir! Kids who enter the foster care system do so at their own peril. It is a terrible place to traverse. The people who supervise them seem to think the only reason they are there is to make sure the kids do not eat each other. And as long as that doesn’t happen everything else is excusable and peachy. Sadly, most young people who go through our nation’s child welfare system become the very scourge society clamors to punish. I’ll even say emphatically that most kids in foster care are groomed to be wayward and untrustworthy. Our child-welfare system is a corruptible place and the kids there are very lucky if they leave unscathed or morally intact.

5.Indolence. I think I am preaching to the choir when I say that governmental entities are all sloths. We are used to a slow-moving government. We long for the day when most government services are efficient. Child-welfare agencies love to drag their feet. Let’s say a Senate committee wants information about how they are utilizing the money to alleviate certain child-welfare problems or let’s say they are being investigated. They are almost always reluctant to cough up the requested information. Parents notice that child advocates are very swift to produce paperwork for them to sign but are very lazy to do mandatory supervised visitations. Simply put, child-welfare agencies are always reluctant to play ball when the parents or outside parties want things done for their benefit. Said agencies will drag their feet when it is evident said requested things could make them look bad or culpable.

6.Extortion. I think it is safe to say only cold, calculating and malicious people would extort responses from parents by using their kids as bargaining chips. Child-welfare agencies are good at extorting responses and actions from parents. It doesn’t matter how undeserving a parent is, one should not stoop so low to keep knocking him down when he’s already abased. Parents are loaded with emotions especially after their children were wrested out of their care and sheltered by the  dependency court system . One would think they would be excused to gather themselves, but no! Child advocates and those who work for child-welfare entities swoop in for the kill. They are like sharks. To them, that is the optimal moment to strike the parents when they are the most vulnerable. The juvenile court system does not help parents for that matter. They operate on the preconceived notion basis.  Again whatever the circumstances surrounding a child being taken from the parents; it is wrong to use the children as bargaining chips to get parents to comply. I say, the next time child-welfare entities are faced with this decision; they might as well just put an AK-47 in the kids’ hands and tell them to kill their parents like the warlords do.

7.Immorality. I am disgusted when I see child-welfare agencies go to great lengths to fabricate documents, obtain personal information without a court order, being petty, fib during depositions or while on the stand, take cover behind immunity clauses, punish fit parents but laud unfit ones who consign to their plans, accept filthy lucre (money) off the backs of broken kids, call themselves faith-based community-lead-care agencies and placate their walls with lofty promises, goals and objectives but knowingly fall short to live up to them. Child-welfare entities are immoral in the truest sense because they make money from misery. Decent people swiftly denounced and ostracized those who’d earned a living from those who suffered during the Nazi occupation. We  should do likewise. Please denounce the heartless  child-welfare workers who just show up to collect their paycheck. They lack compassion. Me thinks most of the kids in foster care have no one to look up to because like I said, most of the people who work for child-welfare agencies are immoral. No wonder, most child-welfare agencies are compelled to solicit the help of volunteers namely church folks and  people with a heart to come and mentor the kids. It is a sad state when they can’t find anyone within their organizational sphere whose moral compass is pointing north. Here, here for the volunteers who are the very few candle lights in an immensely dark place.

There, I have written them. The Seven Deadly Sins of the Child-Welfare System. My beef is strictly with the system in Florida. I know I am not alone. I believe families in the other forty nine states can attest to my thoughts too. It is a shame how devastating the system is. The government continues to ignore the biggest elephant in the world. I know why, the system has to implode first before anyone takes notice. The citizenry must demonstrate against it before they’ll act. Honestly, it would too late by the time the government does something about the child-welfare system. The government’s actions are usually conciliatory. A mere band-aid patch used to reconcile the public’s concern in the hopes they’ll calm down. Then later we’d eventually end up back to square one. I, for one, am just a simpleton voicing his concern and calling a spade a spade. I say the government must either put up or shut up. Addressing this problem should be seen entirely as a black and white issue, either they fix it completely or admit to moral failure. Dear Mr. Government, it’s no longer expedient to embrace inaction anymore, it’s time to be proactive and do something constructive about our failing child-welfare system.

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I guess most states’ Department of Children and Families (DCF) dodge calls to reform because their rationale is why re-invent the wheel. The wheel is the ever so available revolving funds states receive from the federal government to take care of their horrid child-welfare system. One would think I am just a disgruntled person seeking to ruffle feathers. I enjoy doing that–yes. But that is not the sole purpose for this piece. Florida’s reckless child-welfare management history blows me away. Here is a state that threw its hands in the air and said it can no longer take care of its vulnerable members of society. So they sold their ‘birthright’ to the highest private bidder. The lucky bidder was and still is ChildNet. Let’s pause here and focus on this brief anecdote. For illustration purposes please pay close attention to the following analogy.

DCF is like a parent. They have many children. At one point they gave up their rights to raise and instruct their children. They hired someone else (ChildNet) to do the job for them. ChildNet almost has full autonomy to act independent of DCF. DCF watches from a far and provides monetary assistance to ChildNet. Now, flip the analogy to reality. DCF threw in the towel because they admitted they were not ‘fit’ to raise their own children. They gave up their responsibility to ‘outsiders.’ Parents who have to deal with DCF in Florida should scream foul and hypocrisy. DCF is not in any moral position to dictate to parents how to raise their children. DCF abandoned their duty and yet they expect parents to take moral and social instructions from them. What irony! So here’s why it is absolutely imperative DCF keep their chaotic child-welfare system intact.

1. Without clients (children and their families) there won’t be any money to line the pockets of DCF executives. Just recently, Florida’s legislature gave DCF more money to raise investigators income and to streamline its abuse hotline. Don’t panic it is just only 2012 decades after DCF’s inception. But trust me they have gotten very sophisticated, for example, if  kids aren’t taken from deserving or undeserving parents the federal government would have to slash the funds sent to Florida. In the 90’s and early 2000’s DCF would just grab up all the children even if one was allegedly abused. This lead to the state asking for more money from the federal government. Then Florida brilliantly decided to emphasize adoption and to minimize the number of kids they took away from parents. The same budget request was always granted, it was mildly adjusted to meet inflation. The funds receive stopped matching the number of kids who needed services because the government figured how to maintain a high salary for the executives and keep operational cost at a low for decades.

2.The number of children who end up maimed, killed or further abused isn’t enough to alarm the leaders within DCF. More kids would have to suffer before they would swiftly take action.

3. There aren’t any serious discussions/debates going on in Florida to pool together ideas to fix Florida’s failing child-welfare system. But what we do hear and see on media outlets is that one child who barely made out of Florida’s foster care system by the skin of his or her teeth and went on to be somebody.

4. The following entities have grown accustom to the way things have been: the juvenile justice system, the dependency-family court, the assistant attorney general’s office, DCF and the department of health and human services. So any calls to re-invent the wheel is overlooked. It works. People are entrenched in their positions.

5. Almost everything is done in house. The Senate Committee on Children and Families is even in the dark concerning DCF and their subcontractors. Senators on said committee are flabbergasted when they read about DCF carelessness in the papers. DCF has friends in other government bodies too who watch out for them and keep things under wrap: the Assistant Attorney General’s Office, State Attorney’s Office, police departments, the court system, hospitals and clinics. They all work together to keep things going. But they are very non-cooperative with those who seek to scrutinize them or hold them accountable.

6. DCF would have to care first about children and families in order to change their bad practices. It is just a job–a means to an end for most DCF leaders. Some leaders are put there because they were ineffective elsewhere and the new administration (governor’s office) shuffles people to new positions rather than putting them there to enact change.

7. It (DCF) is a bureaucracy with a large lobbying presence. When was the last time you heard a bureaucracy undergo significant changes? Change won’t come to DCF as long its bureaucratic columns are well intact.

8. Most families hardly ever deal with DCF investigators because they no longer lead the charge in taking care of Florida’s disadvantaged and abused kids. DCF subcontractors shoulder their responsibilities and  community-based agencies carry them out. These agencies usually have a positive influence in their communities. So DCF is well insulated. If things go array, the lead agencies suffer the initial setbacks but by the time whirlwind gets to DCF; they often offer up one supervisor as a sacrifice. So again, DCF goes untouched.

9. The US Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) enable DCF. The federal government is selectively prudent when it comes to regulating entities like DCF. On the one hand, the federal government summons wisdom and respect the state’s prerogatives, while on the other, they clamp down when it suits them best. I think the (ACF) shies from holding DCF accountable because they themselves failed the Native Americans. Why should the pot call the kettle black?

10. Many years ago, the child-welfare system was terrible. In fact there wasn’t a system. Have you heard of any orphanages lately in the US? What about almshouses? They are things of the past. You are now looking at a well oiled machine capable of turning a sizable profit off the misery and pain families go through. The formula is simple most parents who end up at DCF’s feet are reckless, dangerous and undeserving. They are entitled to receive services. DCF knows they will return in the system again just like a crack whore or a meth addict. They will quickly send the children home to their parents even though they are vagabonds. But they will come back because the federal government is giving ‘free money.’ DCF is smart and calculated. All they did was study the past and concluded that the system of old lack care and oversight. They championed a system where they could create a facade that they care. But their true purpose was to make a profit eventually. I’ll admit the government’s handling of the child-welfare system is much better than the past but their intentions are very sinister. Yes, they’ve welcomed some noticeable changes. We can see them but they occurred gradually over time. While we continue to wait for more radical changes so many terrible things happen to the children under DCF’s watch.

I predict that within the next five years, the state of Florida’s child-welfare system will implode. I’ll even go out on a limb and say other states’ child-welfare system will implode too. Said systems can’t last long. The federal government will have to re-evaluate the entire system and do something before it is too late. States can no longer independently fund their child-welfare system. The federal government now has to be fiscally conservative. Every dollar and dime have to be accounted. They can no longer just send money to states because it is the right thing to do. Social Security and Medicare are tied up in the mix too. Kids do not work to contribute to said financial nets. So the federal government is forced to look at the elephant in the room.

I am fearful the federal government will soon employ stringent measures to punish states like Florida with a horrendous child-welfare history. The will no longer keep that revolving child-welfare funds door open to help bolster the states’ budget. I do not wish to see the system thrown out and the kids pay the price. I think the federal government should make visible and pragmatic attempts to work hand in hand with trouble states to get their houses in order. But I fear they will cut off Florida without any intervention first. By that time, the kids in Florida’s child-welfare system will suffer the most because they will truly be in a debunked system that has lost all if not most of its capacity to help them reach adulthood. But of course Florida will not heed this warning bell because everyone is doing their best at work–which simply means collecting their wages, doing what’s least expected of them and literally passing the buck. DCF is very good at passing the buck and after all, that detestable behavior my friends, makes it next to impossible for them to change.

The Invisible Children organization recently stirred up major buzz on all the social media outlets by posting the picture and the awful CV of the bloke pictured above. Imagine, an obscure warlord–at least to those outside of Uganda, who went from obscurity to becoming the number one villain. His Modus Operandi is snatching away little boys and recruiting them to become juvenile soldiers. He exposes them to carnage and instructs them in it too. Perhaps many terrorists are taking a breather because currently, he  surpassed them as the most hated man in the world. As of this week, the viewership on YouTube catapulted pass 50 million and is gaining close to 100 million soon. But enough about Kony. What does my title mean. It asks, “Will the Real Joseph Kony Please Stand Up? I am not prepared to overlook Mr. Kony’s vile existence. But I think there are many like him in the US. They are nestled and entrenched in our society. In fact they work for our government. Who are these people? They are non other than the Department of Children and Families (DCF) of every state in the US. To be fair, not everyone in Uganda sympathizes with Mr. Kony’s immoral actions. So in the same way not everyone who works for the Department of Children and Families are culpable.

Some readers may disagree with this juxtaposition. And that is fine. Those who will continue to read this blog will see the main correlation I am making between Mr. Kony and DCF is the exploitation of children. Of course, Joseph Kony’s exploitation of the children of Uganda is riddled in violence and mayhem. DCF’s exploitation is more sinister, discreet, calculating and legal. For one, investigators do not have any authority to make an arrest or to prosecute parents. But it so happens if there is an allegation out on the parents they are suddenly granted powers that the US and the state constitution never gave them. Parents find themselves watching in slow motion as their children become a bargaining chip. If the parents are wayward and their kids are expendable; they will do the dance and find that as long they fulfill the suggested tasks their lives will go on. But the parents who choose to maintain their innocence and persist in denying the allegations against them, they have reserved front row seats of their gradual demise.  DCF exploits children. Kids who end up in foster care face terrible hardships. In this age of information, I don’t need to inundate you with facts and statistics. Just peruse the internet and see for yourself.

Many kids under the supervision of DCF become career criminals. Most of them are ‘club members’ of the juvenile system. That is where they receive their training to become dependent upon the state. DCF knows most of the children leave them at age 18 and when they do; they are not fully equipped to sustain themselves or to live fulfilled lives. So what happens? They end up again in the same system they have grown accustomed to.  Simply put, prison tragically becomes an accepted place of abode. They are guaranteed shelter, food, clothing, health and dental care and job training/work. This inexcusable action goes on because the premise for doing so is one, kids placed in foster care are eventually dependent on the state. Two, they are exposed to the highest exposure of degradation and filth. Three, most are repeated offenders in the juvenile system. They come from brokenness but the system in place to ensure they move onto the road of recovery is severely incapacitated and sadly most of them end up again in misery and filth. Therefore, the children who come out of foster care partially or fully unscathed are extremely lucky.

DCF should admit that they are in favor of this vicious cycle. They will shut down or delay attempts to ‘re-invent’ the wheel. Should the wheel be reinvented that would prove catastrophic for them. So it is of the utmost necessity the current chaos within DCF remains intact. Having kids in foster care help line their pockets. They receive their filthy lucre based on the number of kids they pillage from unworthy and worthy parents. DCF the secret is out. You morally fail the kids of each respective state–namely Florida.  You are an overseer of the future of society. You oversee the social economic fabric of each state. Your actions determine the trajectory of social longevity, wealth and growth. But because of your inaction, many have perished. Kids’ well-being and future are snatched away. They are disillusioned. They go through the mechanics of the court system, listen to countless unknown persons speaking with much confidence on how they care and wish the best for them. They listen to DCF officials equivocate on how they have society’s most vulnerable best interest at heart. When we know that the kids and their parents are their clients. The pain and the misery both the parents and the children go through are the sources for DCF to bilk Medicare and Social Security.

But wait! Why is it most people  within DCF aren’t held responsible? Because most states (Florida the leader in this regard) somehow received an epiphany a while back that they lack the resources and moral leadership to carry the weight of their child-welfare responsibilities. So it is through their supreme wisdom and understanding that they doled out said responsibilities to private contractors. In Florida’s case, DCF handed over their baton to ChildNet in Broward County.  This clever maneuver helped masked their gigantic failures.  Florida out of all the states boast of its Sunshine Law, and its Sunshine policies. But hey, even a mole knows the sun does not shine everywhere and it goes down quite early in Florida. And when it does, the vampires i.e. the child-welfare investigators lurk for families to devour. Joseph Kony indeed has run out of luck. He’s got a bull’s eye on his back because he got caught. He is brutish and cold. His inhumane actions are quite visible. He has been able to pull this off through fear.

But DCF like I said before, is calculating and discreet. May I add even cunning. They being the government doled out their responsibility to private entities. They assume a supervisory role at a distance. Because they know the government cannot really meddle in the affairs of private entities because there aren’t any elected officials present. They being the government will not attempt to hold anyone accountable because they are already aware and since everyone benefits from the arrangement, it is better to remain neutral.  So will the real Joseph Kony please stand up? Kony is a symbol too. Some would say he is the personification of the devil. He symbolizes a problem within a group that everyone is aware of but is either unable or ill-equipped to do something about it. DCF is within the government. The private entities for the most part commit the same egregious things to kids. They know they have to work hand in hand with DCF to ensure it doesn’t get out. They cross their fingers and hope parents with a trained eye and keen senses don’t caught on. If parents are on to them they will activate their friends in high places: the attorney general office, the state attorney’s office, juvenile/dependency/criminal court, hospitals, counseling centers, schools and police stations too. Those who get close enough realize that in light of the recent hype concerning Joseph Kony, the public hasn’t seen anything yet. For if they were vigilant, they would realize there are greater abusers than Kony within their midst. On the one hand, Kony is all brute and brawn, while on other, DCF is all brains; you get to decide who’ll last longer.

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