All posts by Larry Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, and author of Book/CD titled "Things Are Gettin' Outta Hand" (Steuben Pub.) www.amazon.com. He writes Human Interest articles and entertainment reviews for various newspapers across the country. He is also an editor, and provides services for press releases, interviews, business letters, resumes, etc. A native Detroiter, he is a former Motown songwriter.
Seeds of Deception

LGBT Supporter Blasts Gay Tactics in Indiana

Seeds of Deception 2

*A law professor who has won over 100 anti-discrimination legal actions, and is on the record against discrimination based upon sexual orientation or sexual identity, nevertheless is critical of the LGBT community for misrepresenting the effects of Indiana’s new RFRA statute, and trying to use it to pressure the state into extending them protection.

Since Indiana has no state-wide law requiring businesses to serve individuals who are gay or transgender, the new statute – which in some rare cases may make it more difficult for the state to require citizens to do something which conflicts with their religious beliefs – would not take away any existing rights, because no such rights exist.  A photographer, for example, can go so far as to refuse to allow gays to enter his shop.  In a more likely situation, he can lawfully refuse to photograph a gay wedding if it conflicts with his religious beliefs or for no reason at all.

Only a small number of municipalities in Indiana have ordinances on the books which require businesses to serve people regardless of their sexual orientation or identity, and in those few municipalities the new RFRA might have an impact in rare cases, but that is certainly not the impression most people have been given, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Moreover, many LGBT advocates and their supporters seem to suggest that the appropriate remedy is for the state to follow only a minority of states and ban such discrimination on a state-wide basis.  But neither the federal government nor a majority of states have laws which ban discrimination by businesses on the basis of sexual orientation, and an even smaller number of states extend that protection to sexual identity. Thus, that proposed remedy goes far beyond any impact the RFRA statute might possibly have, says Banzhaf, and appears to be contrary to what the governor and many if not most Indiana legislators are interested in doing.

While many, including Banzhaf, favor such statewide laws, he suggests that it’s inappropriate if not unfair and deceitful to seek to pressure the state to pass such laws based upon exaggerating rather than reasoning.

Others seem to be arguing that the RFRA statute should be amended to provide that it can never be applied in situations where the alleged discrimination is based upon sexual orientation or sexual identity, but that would seemingly elevate those two protected classes above all others.

For example, if that were done, and there were a state or local law prohibiting discrimination based upon race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, a photographer asked to take pictures for a gay wedding would have no legal defense, even if the requested acts violated his deeply seated religious convictions.

On the other hand, a photographer asked to take pictures for a wedding of two Palestinians, during which he and she will pledge to wipe Israel off the map, would have a possible defense based upon his religious beliefs.  Similarly, a Jewish deli which caters weddings might have a defense under the RFRA statute if it were asked to include pork barbeque; a female Muslim photographer might have a defense if called upon to take photographs in such a way that her head would have to be uncovered; and any photographer who objected on religious grounds to photographing a wedding of nudists or swingers could at least go to court and argue his case.

But, in the cases of gays, their rights to services would be far stronger than in all the other discrimination situations. Those supporting the new law in Indiana, and other similar statutes being considered in Arkansas and other states, have seemingly misrepresented or at least obscured their purposes, and even in some cases the effect of such statutes.  But, says Banzhaf, there is a chorus of people bringing that misconduct to light.

On the other hand, few are speaking out about the tactics of the LGBT community, perhaps because of fear of being branded as homophobic, or worse.

Decisions as to whether or not a state should force business to provide services to any class of people – whether its gays and lesbians, transvestites, transgendered people, smokers, nudists, etc. – should not be based upon a governor’s bad performance on one TV program, nor on exaggerations generally, but rather upon the merits of the proposal, and how many legislators support it, argues Banzhaf.

John Banzhaf

John Banzhaf

JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D. Professor of Public Interest Law George Washington University Law School, FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor, Fellow, World Technology Network, Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) 2000 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20052, USA (202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418 / http://banzhaf.net / @profbanzhaf

Indiana Sticker

Indiana Attacked Over ‘Anti-Gay’ Law Most States Also Have

Indiana Sticker

Indiana Sticker

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Indiana and its governor are being furiously but needlessly attacked, and even threatened with boycotts and other hardships, over a new law which critics incorrectly claim authorizes discrimination against gays.

But a similar federal law has been in effect since 1993, and in a great majority of states there are similar protections for religious freedom, notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who opposes such laws, and wonders why they haven’t been fought in all of the other states in which they are now in effect.

If Indiana is only the latest of more than thirty states which have now adopted this same protection, why is that one state and its governor being singled out for condemnation, boycotts, and other measures, he asks, suspecting that the answer may be ignorance of how widespread such laws are, and serious misunderstandings about how they work.

The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA] was signed into law in 1993 by then-president Bill Clinton after being adopted overwhelmingly 97-3 by the U.S. Senate.

After the Supreme Court in 1997 held that this federal statue generally provided no protection against state laws, some 20 states – blue as well as red – adopted similar statutes, and another 13 have the same protections for religious freedom as a result of court rulings.

Despite the claims of discrimination against gays, “no business has been given the right to discriminate against gay customers, or anyone else,” in the decades these laws have been effect, says Stanford law professor Michael McConnell.  Rather many of the cases have involved other and diverse issues, including funeral rituals, Amish buggies, etc.).

None of these laws automatically establish a right to discriminate against any group, explains Banzhaf.

Rather they permit individuals and businesses to challenge laws and regulations which allegedly impose substantial burdens on their religious freedom.

Once challenged in court, they will be upheld only if the government can meet the heavy burden of proving that they were adopted in furtherance of a legitimate governmental interest which is “compelling,” and are the “least restrictive means” of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Since that dual test is often very difficult to meet, it means that anyone who can show that they have a genuine religious-type belief about anything the government tries to regulate to protect public health, safety,  etc., can force the government to prove that its purpose is overwhelmingly important, and cannot be achieved by any less intrusive means – or the government must abandon efforts to enforce it.

Thus, it could apply to – and in some states might even thwart – mandatory vaccination-for-children statutes, enforcing laws against sex discrimination on municipal buses, state colleges refusing to have female-only gym time to accommodate Muslims, access to mind-altering drugs including marijuana, and in many other situation.

Thus, suggests Banzhaf, these laws may go too far – further than the Constitutional separation of church and state require, according to the Supreme Court – and give too much protection to any religious-type belief any person might claim to hold, even if it hinders important laws or regulations relating to public safety or health, anti-discrimination, etc.

For these reasons, while such RFRA laws may be too far reaching, and provide more protection than is necessary to many varied religious beliefs, it makes little sense to fight only the law in Indiana, and to fight it on the largely specious ground that it is an anti-gay law, says Banzhaf, who has fought against many different kinds of discrimination, including that based upon sexual orientation.

john banzhaf

John Banzhaf

JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D. Professor of Public Interest Law George Washington University Law School, FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor, Fellow, World Technology Network, Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) 2000 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20052, USA (202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418 http://banzhaf.net/ @profbanzhaf

bucket list

Bucket List Employees – PsychTests’ Study Reveals Why Managers Should Hire For Ambition

long term goals *Montreal, Canada – What do Mark Cuban, J.K. Rowling, Jim Carrey, and Oprah all have in common? They knew that they were destined for greatness and were driven to make something of themselves, no matter how much hard work it required or how many obstacles obstructed their path. Ambitious people not only challenge the status quo, but as research from PsychTests’ Ambition Test reveals, job candidates with strong aspirations are more likely to become the top performers in a company.

long term goals 2

It’s a standard (i.e. clichéd) question that most interviewers ask:

“Where do you see yourself five years from now?”

And most job candidates will respond with a perfect yet equally clichéd answer, like:

“In a position…here…with more responsibility, because I enjoy learning and love challenges.”

Ask a useless question and you’ll get a useless answer, but inquiring about a person’s aspirations has merit. In fact, research conducted by PsychTests indicates that the degree to which an employee is ambitious has a significant impact on his or her performance.

When they compared below average, average, and top performers, PsychTests study reveals that:

  • Top performers are much more driven (score of 70 on a scale from 0 to 100; 63 for average performers, 56 for below average).
  • They are more likely to have several professional aspirations (score of 76 vs. 65 vs. 61).
  • They are more likely to have several personal aspirations (score of 67 vs. 63 vs. 58).
  • They have a stronger sense of self-efficacy (score of 71 vs. 62 vs. 52).

In addition,

  • 94% of top performers believe that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to (compared to 75% for average performers and 70% for below average performers).
  • 89% set high work standards for themselves (compared to 73% and 64%).
  • 88% consistently look for ways to improve their performance or complete tasks more efficiently (compared to 71% and 61%).
  • 87% are “very motivated” to improve themselves and become a better person (compared to 77% and 58%).
  • 73% strive to achieve top honors at work, like Employee of the Month (compared to 46% and 31%).
  • 70% make it a point to regularly learn new skills, aside from those they learn in school and during job training (compared to 66% and 53%).
  • 58% have a long-term career plan (compared to 47% and 46%).
  • Only 21% of top performers have turned down an opportunity because they didn’t believe they could live up to the challenge it offered (compared to 31% and 49%).
  • Only 13% would be content with a “Satisfactory” job performance rating (compared to 20% and 29%).

“While it may seem that these top performers can walk on water, one particularly enlightening statistic from our study reveals that these ambitious go-getters are not immune to self-doubt,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “In fact, 35% of top performers indicated that they get discouraged when faced with obstacles to their goals. However, what differentiates them from average and below average performers is their persistence and refusal to allow these obstacles to turn into permanent roadblocks. Determining whether you have a future Mount Everest climber on your hands or an underachiever is a matter of asking the right interview questions – and avoiding the standard ones that most job candidates can answer on cue.”

In order to dig for information on a job candidate’s level of ambition, researchers at PsychTests suggest asking the following interview questions:

“Describe a goal you achieved that no one else believed you could. Why didn’t they believe in you, and what made you want to keep trying?”

 “What does failure mean to you? How would you define success?”

 “In the past two years, how have you upgraded your work skills and abilities? Tell me about any classes, extra reading, or training you have taken part in.”

 “Would you prefer to work with a group of people who are less accomplished than you, or a group of people who are more successful than you? Why?”

 “What is the most disappointing feedback you received in a performance review? What changes did you make as a result?”

 “What type of initiative have you taken in previous jobs? Have you ever approached a manager with a new idea or task that you wanted to work on?”

Want to assess your level of ambition? Go to http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3294

Professional users of this assessment (therapists, life coaches and counselors) can request a free demo of the Ambition Test or any other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr

About PsychTests.com

PsychTests.com is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc. PsychTests.com is a site that creates an interactive venue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun. The site offers a full range of professional-quality, scientifically validated psychological assessments that empower people to grow and reach their real potential through insightful feedback and detailed, custom-tailored analysis.

PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com). The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

 

Contact:
Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D.
President of PsychTests AIM Inc.
1558 rue Viel, Suite 103Montreal, Quebec, H3M 1G5
[email protected]
tel: 514-745-3189, ext. 112

germanwings

One Cause of Germanwings Crash Was Negligent Switch Design

germanwings

*WASHINGTON, D.C. — While the immediate cause of the crash of a Germanwings jetliner appears to be the criminal act of the co-pilot, plaintiffs’ attorneys seeking entities likely to be able to pay the huge resulting damages seem to be focusing on the carrier’s allegedly deficient cockpit-occupancy policy and/or its pilot screening, but it appears that negligence in the design of the 3-position cabin door lock switch of the A320 could make the French company Airbus Group liable.

To establish negligence, plaintiffs would have to show that the event was reasonable foreseeable, and that it could have been prevented easily without great cost or inconvenience in operation.

The first is very easy because incidents where one aviator deliberately crashed an airplane are well known.  Indeed, the U.S. rule requiring that one person can never be left alone in the cockpit is designed to prevent exactly what apparently happened over France.

Even if that rule had been followed by Germanwings – and Airbus was certainly on notice that this carrier and many of the other users of its planes did not follow it – it might not have prevented a determined co-pilot from taking over the plane if the pilot was outside the cockpit.

Although, under the American rule, a flight attendant must take the pilot’s place in the cockpit if he leaves, it is certainly reasonably foreseeable that a flight attendant – especially a small female one – would not be able to stop a typical much larger and stronger male co-pilot from crashing a plane one way or another.

The A320 is designed so that the crew can unlock the cockpit door from outside by entering a code on a pad nearby.  But a co-pilot alone in the cockpit can easily defeat any attempt to thwart his suicidal plans by pushing a switch in the cockpit to a third position which locks out the code-unlocking mechanism.

However, although there may be times when it is appropriate or even necessary for the pilot and co-pilot together to lock out or override the crew’s code-unlocking mechanism, there seems to be little purpose in permitting a solo occupant of the cockpit to do so all by himself.

Thus, if there were a simple and well-known mechanism to permit two aviators to jointly securely lock the cabin, but which would not let a single aviator do so on his own, it would appear that the A320 manufacturers would be negligent as a matter of law for deliberately choosing not to use it.

Fortunately, such a mechanism is well known, and is used in somewhat similar circumstances – to prevent one deranged individual from launching a nuclear or other deadly missile.         Launching a missile, it should be noted usually requires having two individuals take the same action almost simultaneously in such a way that one person could not do it by himself.

Typically, two or more senior officers on a nuclear submarine or land-based missile-launch facility must each turn a key at the same time to permit a launch to take place.

The same principle – and the same protection against a single rogue wrongdoer – could easily have been [and still be] incorporated into the A320 cockpit design, so that defeating the crew’s code-unlocking mechanism could be done only if two switches on opposite sides of the cockpit control panel were activated at the same time – something impossible for one person to do.

That’s the analysis under American law, and it appears that at least some of the cases will be tried in American courts.  On the other hand, many countries apply the same simple definition and analysis to determine if an entity was negligent because they could have easily prevented a tragedy.

John Banzhaf

John Banzhaf III

JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D. Professor of Public Interest Law George Washington University Law School, FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor, Fellow, World Technology Network, Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) 2000 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20052, USA (202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418 http://banzhaf.net/ @profbanzhaf

john dolphin

Before Motown, there was Dolphin’s of Hollywood

Dolphin Story

World premiere of Recorded in Hollywoodtells fascinating true story of black businessman and music producer John Dolphin — a little-known slice of L.A. history

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.  — In 1948, a decade before Motown, black businessman and entrepreneur John Dolphin opened his soon-to-be world famous Dolphin’s of Hollywood record store in South Los Angeles, just off legendary Central Avenue. Bringing this little-known slice of L.A. history to life on stage, the world premiere of Recorded in Hollywood opens at the Lillian Theatre on April 11.

Featuring a live on-stage band and a 19-member ensemble, Recorded in Hollywood, based on the biography “Recorded in Hollywood: The John Dolphin Story” by Jamelle Dolphin, features a book by Matt Donnelly and Jamelle Dolphin. The score includes 16 original songs by Andy Cooper plus covers of hit songs launched by Dolphin in his store, including Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me,” The Penguins’ “Earth Angel” and “Wheel Of Fortune” by The Hollywood Flames.

Four-time NAACP Best Director recipient Denise Dowse directs; musical direction is by Stephan Terry and choreography is by Cassie Crump.

John Dolphin recorded a host of R&B, blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and even western music talent on a series of labels with evocative names like “Lucky,” “Money,” “Cash” and “Recorded in Hollywood.” The many great artists whose careers he advanced included Sam Cooke, Jesse Belvin, Charles Mingus, Pee Wee Crayton and Major Lance to name a few.

Dolphin 3

Note the ‘On The Air’ sign in the window

For nearly ten years, Dolphin’s of Hollywood was the most famous record shop in the country – perhaps the world – with legendary DJs like Dick “Huggy Boy” Hugg, Hunter Hancock and Charles Trammel spinning records all night from the front window. Recording artists appeared at the store and performed live on-air interviews, greeting and signing autographs for customers. Dolphin’s was the first business to stay open 24 hours – even on Sundays – and to popularize a brand new marketing strategy: “Buy One, Get One Free.” An innovator who pioneered the crossover music concept, John Dolphin went on white radio station KRKD and played a black music format, marketing black music to whites. White kids would pack the Dolphin’s of Hollywood record shop in the all-black neighborhood of South Central L.A. every night, bringing the races together during a time of segregation — and leading to increasing tension with Police Chief William H. Parker and the L.A.P.D. In 1958, Dolphin was murdered in his office by a disgruntled “wanna-be” songwriter. Teenaged songwriter and piano player Bruce Johnston was a witness; he had come with the hope that Dolphin would sign his unknown band, The Beachboys.

Dolphin 4

“John started from scratch and evolved into one of the most important figures in the history of American music,” says Jamelle Dolphin, whose biography of his grandfather, inspired by years of colorful stories he heard growing up, was based on extensive research of historical records and hundreds of hours of verbal interviews with family and friends. “When he realized that no one was going to let him open his record store on all-white Hollywood Blvd., he brought Hollywood to Central Avenue. By naming the store ‘Dolphin’s of Hollywood,’ he was telling the world that he was going to stare discrimination in the face and not blink.”

Stu James (Benny in RENT on Broadway, First National Tour of Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple) stars in the role of “Lovin’” John Dolphin; Jade Johnson (recent graduate of USC’s School of Dramatic Arts) is his wife and partner, Ruth; Eric B. Anthony (Broadway casts of The Lion King, Hairspray, and Mary Poppins) plays songwriter Percy Ivy; Godfrey Moye (The Color Purple at Celebration Theatre) takes on the role of Sam Cooke; Nic Olsen (Avenue Q at Repertory East Playhouse) is Dick “Huggy Boy” Hugg; Rahsaan Patterson (recording artist, “Bleuphoria”) plays Los Angeles Sentinel founding publisher Leon Washington; and Nic Hodges (Children of Eden, Once On This Island at AMDA) portrays Jesse Belvin. The ensemble, with each member playing multiple roles, includes Brooke Brewer, Justin Cowden, John Devereaux, Richie Ferris, Jenna Gillespie, Franklin Grace, Philip Dean Lightstone, Jake Novak, James Simenc, Matthew Sims, Jr., Sha’Leah Nikole Stubblefield and Katherine Washington.

“The pre-rock ‘n’ roll epoch is not at all unlike the independent hip-hop world from which I come,” notes Cooper, a founding member of hip-hop trio Ugly Duckling who jumped at the chance to create original songs that capture a key era in American musical history. “Street-wise entrepreneurs like John Dolphin had to be two steps ahead of the industry and faced all the risk and peril of a highly competitive and unregulated business. The predominantly black music, sometimes called “race music,” was promoted and sold on a local level, and places like Dolphin’s of Hollywood set the trends that the mainstream would soon emulate.”

Set design for Recorded in Hollywood is by Joel Daavid; lighting design is by Christina Schwinn; costume design is by Mylette Nora; graphic design is by Jason Meza; and casting is by Michael Donovan, CSA. The stage manager is Ronn Goswick, and Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners produces.

“Recorded in Hollywood” opens on Saturday, April 11, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. through May 17. There will be two preview performances – Thursday, April 9 and Friday, April 10 – both at 8 p.m. Tickets to all performances are $30 except previews which are $15. The Lillian Theatre is located at 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood, CA 90038 (1½ blocks west of Vine). For reservations and information, call (323) 960-4443 or go to www.RecordedInHollywood.com.

John Dolphin

John Dolphin

magetta chantiloupe1

Dennis Moore Book Review – ‘Driven: When Obstacles Take Center Stage’

Magetta Chanteloupe

Magetta Chantiloupe

*(San Diego) – Looking from the outside at Magetta Chantiloupe and all that she has accomplished in life, one would think that this San Diego resident and author of Driven: When Obstacles Take Center Stage (2014 Austin Macauley Ltd. London) has always had it together. But looks would be deceiving, as this Certified Financial Planner with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards – retired General Stock Broker and native of Jamaica West Indies, and mother of four adult children has fought and struggled to attain all that she has accomplished. Also the author of Iraq: The War That Shouldn’t Be – You Decide, Chantiloupe has been a world traveler – she has cruised the world, 41 of which were on the CUNARD Line. Her actual achievements and overall story could fill several books.

This long and sometimes tumultuous journey of Chantiloupe, actually started in 1967, when she left Jamaica West Indies on a 6-month visa borne for New York. She had to make the heartbreaking decision to leave her children behind for her to start a new life in America, eventually going back to get them.

Driven is about betrayal, deception, abuse, infidelity and abandonment. Driven can be a panacea on how to overcome extreme difficulties by determination, the will to overcome and desire to succeed. Driven tells how she fought to keep her family of five off the government’s payroll by having four jobs, each feeding off each other enabling her to go from poverty to become a successful entrepreneur. It tells how having the right mind-set she built a cohesive and loving family in spite of the many obstructions and how will power, faith, hope and positive thinking enabled her to overcome difficulties.

Driven  tells how she won her custody battle of almost a decade, refusing to give up until she won. Her children, having seen her success in her career and child rearing, emulated her not only in their education and careers, but as successful parents as well. One daughter said, “Mom! When I grow up I want to be just like you.” The other said. “I hope I will be as good a mother as you.” And, they certainly are!

In approaching this review I personally had to overcome the residue of the author’s past, as she is still guarded due to the betrayal and abuse that she suffered, possibly thinking that if she let her guard down for a minute, even in my attempt to interview her, she would be taken advantage of. In reading this insightful book, all of that is now understandable. She admits in her book that she is and has been a private person, even more so at this point in her life.

There is a very profound passage in this well-written book that speaks volumes about the author and her life experience. She states: “I believe I have a trait in me that draws men to me – those who would take my goodness for a sign of weakness and would invariably use and/or abuse me.” She further states and puts into perspective this trait she feels she has: “I can recall Helen, one of Anne Bronte’s characters, when her aunt said: ‘Keep guard over your eyes and ears as the inlets of your heart, and over your lips as the outlet, lest they betray you in a moment of unawareness.” She indicates that her ex-husband Lenbert wouldn’t be the last one to use and abuse her, stating that during her custody battle, she was used and abused by others all over again. Of particular note was when her estranged husband tried to gain custody of her daughter. Chantiloupe states: “One day my husband physically attacked me. I was holding my daughter. He pulled her away from me and kicked me in my stomach. Then he took her and left. I called my attorney and she filed a writ of habeas corpus demanding my husband bring my daughter before a judge. She also advised me to go back to family court and file for an order of protection.” In further regard to the reference made to Anne Bronte, the fact that Chantiloupe has been married and divorced by three men in her lifetime, lends credence to what Bronte says and this so-called trait that she feels she has regarding men.

The author is candid about her experiences with men in her life, as well as some of the obstacles and challenges that she had with her children due to these men. Her first husband, Clifford Daire, she pointed out as an adulterer, and the second, Lenbert, Chantiloupe indicates that he only married her as a ruse to stay in the country from Jamaica. She also indicated that Lenbert was mean-spirited towards her children from a previous marriage, which at times had them in fear. Only his daughter Michelle with the author did he show warmth and a sense of caring, as indicated in the book. It is very interesting to note that many years later she actually named a company that she had formed after her first husband, Daire. Perhaps this is something subliminal! There are many interesting and complex issues in this memoir, which makes it well worth reading.

Perhaps the most profound act of betrayal in this well-written and soul-searching book, came from an unlikely source, that of one of the author’s siblings. Chantiloupe reveals how hurt and disillusioned she was after one of her beloved and trusted sisters “stole” more than 3 million dollars in a jackpot that she had won at a casino in Las Vegas. As a matter of fact the author titles the chapter; Betrayal: Broken Trust – My Sister Took My Windfall. That was a devastating experience to endure, and in a telephone conversation with the author I commiserated with her, indicating that I had experienced something similar in my own family. I tried to lessen the blow that the author felt by indicating to her that sometimes the most painful hurt can come from a family member. Chantiloupe did indicate that she actually did receive half of this windfall that she won, through a long and protracted legal fight, but the damage caused has never been repaired between her and the sister. As a matter of fact, Chantiloupe indicates in this very same chapter that her sister actually changed her name and went into hiding to avoid what was rightfully that of the author. She even indicates that her other sisters became aloof and did not believe what had transpired regarding the stolen windfall. Needless to say, when something like this happens in the family it can cause lasting and irreparable damage.

The author demonstrates her sense of social consciousness in Driven (379 pages) by referencing the Trayvon Martin killing, and putting it in the context of her own two sons and her fear for their safety when they all lived in New York. She stated in Driven that as a parent who had raised two boys, she was deeply disturbed that Trayvon Martin, a seventeen-year-old black boy, was shot in the heart and killed while walking home by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman. I shared this same concern as Chantiloupe, for many years ago in my hometown of Chicago, two of my sons aged 11 and 16 were both shot at the same time while walking home from a movie. The outcome for them was decidedly different from that of Trayvon Martin, for they survived. The author even shares the thoughts and viewpoint of President Obama on the Trayvon Martin killing.

Magetta with Congresswoman Waters

Magetta with Congresswoman Maxine Waters Waters

She also indicates in her book that being a concerned citizen of the United States – she couldn’t just sit idly by and not vent her views. Hence, in 2003, she wrote her book; Iraq: The War That Shouldn’t Be – You Decide. This actually says a lot more about Chantiloupe than first impressions. She is more than just a pretty face and intellect. As a result of this book about the Iraq war, she received an invitation by Congresswoman Maxine Waters to speak before her “Out of Iraq” Congressional Caucus. Chantiloupe indicates that the panel discussion was held in the Ways and Means Room in the Longworth House Office Building and was conducted by Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey. She describes the event as surreal when Mrs. Waters escorted her and others into the room. The author even received accolades from Vice-President Joe Biden and President Obama resulting from her writing of the book about Iraq, a book that provides very critical analysis of how and why we got into that war. I also hope and plan to review that book for our readers.

Having never travelled on a cruise ship before as the author Chantiloupe has done numerous times, I and readers of this insightful book can vicariously travel to such sites as the Great Wall of China, a “Millennium Cruise with her family,” a world cruise in 2006 on the Queen Elizabeth II, Cape Town in South Africa, as well as visiting the TaJ Mahal. Chantiloupe shares with us numerous photos in Driven of various travels around the world, and provides tantalizing anecdotes that has the reader feel as if they were actually along for the ride. This is an amazing woman – that has me thankful that she has shared her story with me.

Driven is replete with numerous photos of the author and her family at different stages of her life, along with some from her numerous travels around the world. One that stands out is of her on the Great Wall of China. The photo of her with Congresswoman Maxine Waters is indicative of how far she has come in life from that young girl in Jamaica West Indies many years ago. This memoir tells a complete story of a very accomplished woman who has overcome the obstacles that once took center stage. The author indicated to me recently that her numerous travels around the world was a respite for her from the numerous situations and travails referenced in this book. Of comfort to her at this stage of her life is having nine grandchildren and expressing the pride of her children for the structured lives that they are living and bringing up their children in a manner that she feels is consistent with faith, hope and charity. I can’t wait to one day meet this charming person and personally indicate to her how appreciative I am of her for sharing her complete story with me, and I in turn, to the rest of the world.

Dennis Moore is the Associate Editor with the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor with SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, along with being a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. Mr. Moore can be contacted at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.