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.) 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.

The Drought and Fireworks!


Note: We wrote about the dangers of fireworks – particularly unsupervised firework displays – a few years ago. Here’s a reminder especially for California and other western drought-stricken states where extremely dry conditions are prone to devastating fire events. It’s also a reminder about general public safety.

[In 2002, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that fireworks accounted for about 9000 injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms. The most common injuries were to the eyes, hands, head, and face. The most inflictions were suffered by bystanders rather than the activators of the fireworks themselves. Injuries caused by fireworks, rockets, and sparklers are the most common.

After a comparatively dry winter season, what makes this Fourth of July holiday potentially more dangerous is the fact that southwestern states like California, Arizona, and Nevada are now experiencing record high temperatures (127 degrees in Death Valley) which makes for some pretty dry grass and foliage. With an abundance of fireworks in the hands of young unsupervised pranksters, and other irresponsible citizens we have a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately the fireworks are not limited to just one day, but may continue on for days after until the supply is gone.

In California alone during the period from 1992 to 2001, fire damage caused by illegal fireworks averaged 2.2 million dollars per year (although there was a noticeably significant decrease in the years 2000 and 2001).

In 2011 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released some highlights of the 2010 fireworks-related incidents as follows:


  • CPSC staff received reports of three fireworks-related deaths during 2010. In the first incident, a 22-year-old male died after he fell from a cliff when he detonated unspecified fireworks. In the second incident, a 49-year-old male perished when the fireworks he made illegally in his garage exploded. In the third incident, a 55- year-old male died in a house explosion caused by teenagers’ mischievous use of Roman candles. CPSC staff has reports of two fireworks-related deaths in 2009. Reporting is not complete for either year, and the actual number of deaths may be higher.


  • Fireworks were involved in an estimated 8,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2010 (95 percent confidence interval 6,600–10,700). CPSC staff estimated that there were 8,800 fireworks-related injuries during 2009. The difference is not statistically significant.


  • There is not a statistically significant trend in estimated emergency department- treated injuries from 1996, when estimated injuries were the lowest (7,300), to 2010.


  • An estimated 6,300 fireworks-related injuries (or 73 percent of the total fireworks-related injuries) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the 1-month special study period between June 18, 2010 and July 18, 2010 (95 percent confidence interval 4,500–8,100). CPSC staff estimated that there were 5,900 fireworks-related injuries during the 2009 special study period.


  • Of the fireworks-related injuries sustained, 65 percent were to males, and 35 percent were to females.


In 2011 the Los Angeles Times reported: [A 12-year-old girl from South Los Angeles has lost sight in her right eye and may lose the eye following an accident involving the use of illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Erika Rodriguez “suffered a very severe injury to her right eye from a direct hit by an exploding firework that resulted in severe trauma,” said Thomas Lee, an eye surgeon at the Vision Center of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“The firework actually went straight into the eye,” Lee said. “I’ve never seen a case like this before. The target zone this had to hit is less than half a centimeter.”]

Fireworks – said to be invented by the Chinese some 2000 years ago – were used at the start of a new year to scare away evil spirits. Why it has become such a fixture in America for the Fourth of July is beyond me when there are so many people who don’t even know the history or meaning of Independence Day. To them it’s just another day for a risky thrill!]

rosie milligan

Dr. Rosie Milligan: The Malignant Hate Cancer Took Nine Lives

rosie milligan

Dr. Rosie Milligan

Deep-rooted hatred is a deadly poison. What took place in Charleston is unfathomable. It’s hard for me to conceive how such deep hatred could fill the heart of a person who has only experienced twenty-one years of living. I remember after the September 11 (9/11) tragedy, a little child asked the question, “Why do they hate us so much?” Now I’m asking myself the question, “Why do some white people hate black folks so much?”

Black people are America’s best friend. We have been more loyal than any other race. With our sweat, tears and blood, we significantly helped build this country, and—even though we never got the forty acres and a mule as promised—we continued to love white folks. We nursed their babies from our breast milk. We took care of their children while leaving our little children at home to fend for themselves. We birthed babies from seeds their men implanted in our wombs, with no consideration given to that offspring. Black men accepted the white man’s seed and provided for the child, without complaint; he went along to get along.

Blacks were beaten and killed for attempting to learn how to read. The welfare system refused to assist a needy black family when the father was in the house, therefore forcing the black man to leave home in order for his wife and children to get a little help to survive. (Revisit the movie Claudine). Black men had to leave town, leaving their wives and children behind for merely talking back to a white man or for an accusation of looking at a white woman. Remember Emmitt Till, the young teen murdered in Mississippi in 1955? Many black men escaped the South because they feared for their lives. Some of them never got enough money to return for their families and they started new families, therefore causing fatherless children. Maybe Tulsa, Oklahoma needs to be revisited when black folks had an enclave community with thriving businesses that was destroyed by a white mob.

Maybe America needs a review of black history, where black families, children, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands were separated and sold as slaves to new masters. Let’s teach on how white men have continued to perpetuate wealth from inventions they stole from blacks—inventions that changed lives for all Americans for the betterment. The list is too long to include in this article—Google “black inventions.” Let’s fast forward to the “NEW SLAVE SHIP” that does not sail—the prison industrial complex that separates black men and women from their children and families.

My point is simple. It is time that all races learn the history and conditions forced upon blacks in America. If the shooter had known the history of how America has treated the black race as a whole, I believe his hatred for the black race would not have been as such. Black folks’ condition is a by-product of the inhumane treatment and injustice served them by the establishment.

We cannot undo what has happened, however, we can all work hard at doing our part to ensure this type of tragedy – based on race – never happens again. As adults and parents, we must teach love in our homes and not leave that responsibility to our children to learn on their own. The love blacks have for white folk was demonstrated via the response the victims’ families shared nationally toward the shooter when they expressed forgiveness.

I pray we all learn a great lesson concerning sharing our views with our children. They know how their friends feel about other races, they hear their thoughts, they see and hear the media’s perspective, but they also, more than anything, need to hear from us—their parents and elders. We must do a better job in communicating about social issues and we cannot omit discussing race in our homes, our churches and schools. I want to share much more, but I realize this is an article and not a book. I know what has happened is real; I still want to see it as just a dream/nightmare or something like that. This should not happen in America in 2015.

Dr. Rosie Milligan, minister, author, senior estate planner/credit consultants, talk show host of Express Yourself Hour, and owner of Professional Business Consultant and LA Credit Consultants, 1425 W. Manchester Ave., Ste. B, Los Angeles, CA 90047, 323-750-3592, email: [email protected].

diana ross

New Book! ‘Diana Ross Reflections’

Diana Ross Reflections

Diana Ross Reflections

*Fans are raving about it! Just when you thought you knew everything about Motown star Diana Ross, out comes a new book, “Diana Ross Reflections” (210 pages; New Haven Publishing Ltd) with new details and rare photos of the music legend.

Author Ian Phillips examines all of Ms. Ross’ recording work from The Primettes (before the name change to The Supremes) up through to the present day, as well as highlighting her many career highlights and accomplishments, including her work in film, television and on stage. To set the tone Phillips – a long-time Diana Ross fan – called upon Al Abrams (former Motown promotion director) and Janie Bradford (former Motown songwriter) who both worked closely with Ross to write the foreword.

Florence, Mary and Diana - The Supremes

Florence, Mary and Diana – The Supremes

With a career now spanning over five decades, Diana Ross remains one of the most successful recording and performing artists of all time. It’s hard to imagine that her group was referred to as the “no-hit-Supremes” during the early Motown days before their breakout hit “Where Did Our Love Go.” As lead singer of The Supremes, the group amassed a total of twelve number one hit singles between 1964 and 1969. Ross’ career continued to flourish after going solo with such hits as “Touch Me In The Morning,” “Love Hangover,” “Upside Down,” “I’m Coming Out” and so many, many more.

This is an essential read for all Diana Ross fans. The book spotlights not only her ground-breaking artistic success but also her revolutionary cultural impact – overcoming so many obstacles as a black woman and breaking down so many racial barriers.

A fan Lou Rattacasa writes, “The author’s insights into her career are interesting food for thought and quite astute. He examines each album through every phase of her career from the earliest days with the Supremes through her last album of new material, I Love You. And the pictures! Most of them I have never seen before. That is very exciting for me.”

Read more five-star reviews (HERE)

Order your copy today and see what the buzz is all about!


rings & cross

Larry Buford: Congratulations LGBT but what’s your DBA!?

rings & cross

*Congratulations to the LGBT community on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote decision that the Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage. I have accepted the fact that regardless of what the people say, judges – especially those non-elected – will pretty much do what they want.

The problem I have is that there has been no discussion about differentiating the marriage of a man and a woman versus those of the same sex. I recently wrote about it in an article titled “Marriage: Sorry that User Name is Taken” and I’m serious about it! I am very concerned that my grandchildren and generations to come will not be able to distinguish between what type of gender union will sustain life as we now know it on planet earth. I’m concerned when I see fictional TV shows like “Wayward Pines.” Will future generations be led down a misguided path to such waywardness?

In the beginning (yes, I’m going there) “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth…” [Gen 1:27, 28, KJV]. Let’s not be confused – God created opposite sex/gender for procreation. The Bible also defines marriage as between a man and a woman. So why are we now allowing it to be redefined?

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority decision, “No longer may this liberty be denied. No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.” That’s man’s decision – to shake a fist at God Almighty who created the universe. I’m glad Kennedy went on to say that marriage is a “keystone of our social order.” Same-sex unions are not marriage in God’s eyes, so I feel it should be renamed to something more identifiable with the Marriage Equality Act (MEA) – the same equal rights but under a different moniker – something unique. How about a hypocorism like “Meaqualed” (pronounced ‘mee-qualed’) as in “We’d like to be meaqualed.” I do not suggest this as a mockery but rather to encourage LGBT’s to have their own term of endearment for something they fought so hard to attain. By the same token the Bible says God will not be mocked. Think about it!

As it stands, the federal government (state) stands in violation of the church for infringing upon a very sacred union that represents the relationship it has with Jesus Christ – the bridegroom of the church. It’s so ironic that as America clamors to have the Confederate flag removed due to its offensiveness and insensitivity, the government raises the Rainbow flag at the White House under an assumed name (marriage) that’s already been taken, which is just as offensive and insensitive to those – the majority – who believe God’s word. What say ye America?

Dylann Roof

Families of the Charleston Victims: ‘I Forgive you’

Dylann Roof in custody

Dylann Roof in custody

*At an unprecedented bond hearing where Charleston families of victims were allowed to make statements before bond was set – something usually reserved for sentencing – suspected killer Dylann Roof was showered with unexpected forgiveness. One family member even went so far as to give Roof an invitation to accept Christ as his Savior.

Roof reportedly intended to start a race war, but what he thought to be a score for evil, God’s people scored for good. The reaction of Black America was counter-intuitive. There was no civil unrest, no call to arms, and no hatred being spewed – only love and compassion from Americans in general at the realization of such a dastardly act being carried out in a place of worship. I can only imagine the gut-wrenching anguish the victims experienced as their lives were at the mercy of a madman whom they had moments earlier received with kindness into their Bible study. Roof said he almost got cold-feet because of their kindness, but said he had to carry out his “mission” anyway. It doesn’t get any lower than that.

One family member said she was very angry, but thankful that the collective efforts of the law were not allowing hate to win. She said she forgave Roof “Because we are the family that love built.”

Sorry all you racist hate-mongers who were waiting in the dark shadows to commence all-out war; those internet illiterates who drum up hateful rhetoric and propaganda behind the cloak of anonymity. The true spirit of America is bigger than that!

I feel sorry for all you politicians who are so afraid of losing a vote for calling the sickness just what it is – racism. If you’re not for a solution, then you must be for the minority who taint your political record and your very soul. I hope you can live with yourself. Ninety percent (90%) of Americans were for stricter gun control laws after the Sandy Hook massacre, but you failed to act. How many more tragedies like this must America suffer at the hands of those who obviously should not have access to guns? As President Obama so clearly stated, the reforms won’t stop all the gun-related crimes, but if it will reduce the numbers (11,000 in 2013) that will be a step in the right direction.

The Bible says if our actions cause another to stumble, don’t do it. Since the confederate flag that waves over South Carolina’s state capitol seems to be doing just that, Governor Haley please show some moxie and take it down. Surly you can see how it contributed to Roof’s downfall. There are reportedly 19 hate groups in your state that rally around that flag. Do not let what you regard as good be evil-spoken of (Romans 14:16). That flag was not raised until 1962 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement as an act of defiance. It had nothing to do with honoring heritage/ancestry or it would have been raised long before.

In honor of the victims, following is a list of each of their names. I hope when there is another tragedy that neither our so-called leaders nor any of their family member’s names appear on such a list due to senseless violence:

The victims are: Sharonda Coleman-Singleton; Cynthia Hurd; Susie Jackson; Ethel Lance; Reverend Depayne Middleton; Reverend and Senator Clementa Pinckney; Tywanza Sanders; Reverend Daniel Simmons; and Myra Thompson. We’re so proud of the families and our prayers are with them. Their statements showed their hearts were nurtured in love; Roof’s actions showed his heart was nurtured in hate.

Child thinking

Larry Buford: Are Your Kids Within Earshot?

Child thinking 1

*My father used to talk negative about people so much that I grew up disliking most of them for what I was taught to be true even though they did nothing wrong to me personally. I was under his influence only to later learn for myself that many of those people were not as bad as he said. What child doesn’t want to believe his parents?

I once had an employee who was a mediocre performer, but I was forced to place her in a leadership role according of our Facilities Management contractual obligations. I had a mixed staff – black and white. It was in a Midwest town before diversity became a big workplace initiative, and where whites were lukewarm to blacks in authority. As a matter of fact there were at least two whites who quit rather than adjust to my management style. The blacks got it and we worked together well. The person that I selected for leadership needed polishing, so in working to help her develop she took it that I was being harder on her than the others. She called our main office to complain that I “favored all the ‘coloreds’.” When I was told about it I was amazed that this young woman, in the 1990’s, was using a word that was so outdated socially. She wasn’t even born when they’d stopped using that word. We’d transitioned to negro, then black, then African American, and she went all the way back! Where did she get it? No doubt from her parents – her environment.

Law enforcement believes he acted alone, but where did young 21 year old Dylann Roof who is the primary suspect in the church massacre in Charleston, S.C., get the notion that [quote] “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country…and you have to go.”? From his environment – from being within earshot of those negative, ill-intended words spoken in the dark, behind closed doors that his parents and others (we assume) never thought would come to light. Well they did and they’ve come back to haunt them.

The Bible tells of life and death being in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), and that the tongue, a small member of the body is like a small fire that can set a great forest ablaze (James 3:5). Think your words don’t matter? Think again!

How many times have you heard your child repeat something you said when you thought they weren’t even listening? What are you filling their head with? This goes for us all. We should get to a place where how we conduct ourselves in public, in the workplace, we do the same at home behind closed doors. They say the true character of a man is how he conducts himself when no one else is around. To all the blacks who get offended if a white person uses the ‘N’ word, why do YOU use it? It is NOT a term of endearment. Why does each race seemingly have its own derogatory slang towards another race? It’s just a satanic ploy to keep us at odds against one another.

So if we’re serious about improving race relations let’s watch what we say especially around young impressionable children who may be within earshot, and who may put your words into action just as young Dylann Roof did.

Let us pray and work towards something good to come out of the unfathomable tragedy that took place at the historic “Mother Emanuel” Church.

larry buford

Larry Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub)  E-mail: [email protected]    Visit the author at (213) 220-8101