education, poor judgment, stupid people, true crime

I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record!

Good morning, y’all… It’s my third Wednesday as a pseudo single person. Bill is supposed to come home sometime between tomorrow night and Friday night. Originally, the plan was for him to come back Friday night, but he needs to get a new ID card or he can’t work. Our cards expire on the 23rd, even though we just updated them in September. Bill is now on a new contract and that means new cards. Come to think of it, before long, I’ll also need a new regular military ID– the one I’d use in the USA if we were there.

In any case, Bill tried to get a new card made at an installation somewhat close to where he is right now, but that office ran out of ID cards on the day he was going to go. The other ID office near his current location is closed until the 29th. So then Bill said maybe he’d come home on Thursday night and get new cards made in Wiesbaden. I assume he’d be taking me, too, since I also need a new card, not that I spend any time on the installation during the COVID-19 mess. But then last night, he said getting one in Wiesbaden is also not possible. So now he says he will try to get one in Hohenfels, which was his original plan. Maybe they have a restock of IDs by now. If he does that, he says maybe he’ll be home Friday morning. That would be good.

It occurs to me how lucky we are to like each other so much. Yes, we love each other, but we also LIKE each other a lot. And we miss each other when we aren’t together. Bill’s business trips are boring for both of us. Sometimes I go with him, but then I end up hanging out by myself all day in a hotel room or wandering aimlessly. I am actually glad I got to go with him to Poland in November 2019, though. That was a pretty interesting trip. It would have been even better if we could have driven ourselves there rather than flown.

Anyway… on to today’s topic. I cannot, for the life of me, understand the mentality of some people– mothers especially– who feel the need to commit crimes on behalf of their children. Especially crimes that are more about their egos than preserving life or limb. I mean, I can understand a woman going all “mama bear” on someone who literally threatens or hurts her child somehow. But what about the moms who feel like they need to engage in fraud, harassment, or computer crimes to make sure her little darling(s) is/are on top of the heap? We’ve spent the last two years hearing about Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin committing fraud and cheating to get their daughters into good schools. But more ordinary moms of more modest means also commit these crimes on behalf of their children.

I ran across two such stories yesterday involving meddlesome moms who are now in legal trouble because they couldn’t or wouldn’t let their daughters achieve things on their own. In one case, the mom and daughter were both involved and BOTH of them got arrested. I’m sure that will look good on the girl’s permanent record.

Case #1

Meet Raffaela Spone, a 50 year old mom from Chalfont, Pennsylvania. She is currently facing misdemeanor charges for producing “deep fake” nudes of her daughters’ rivals on her high school cheerleading team. Ms. Spone was arrested on March 5, having been charged with three counts of cyber harassment of a child and three counts of harassment. In her mug shot, she stares blank faced at the camera, her heavily lined eyes glaring, her thin, maroon lips pursed into a line. She wears a chartreuse colored top and a necklace, indicating that fashion and looking snappy is important to her.

Ms. Spone allegedly doctored photos of her daughters’ rivals on a Doylestown area cheerleading team, creating realistic looking images that make it look like the girls were photographed nude, vaping, or drinking beer in bikinis. She sent these fake photos to cheerleading coaches in an effort to get the girls kicked off their team. She also texted the photos to the girls themselves and suggested that at least one of them should kill herself. The three victimized girls were all on the same team as Spone’s daughter, but investigators don’t think she had anything to do with the harassment or was aware of what her mother was doing.

A case like this has all the trappings of a Lifetime movie. In fact, back in the 1993, HBO made a satirical movie about Wanda Holloway, a mother in Texas who actually hired a hitman to kill her daughter’s cheerleading rival. Fortunately, the would be hitman turned Wanda in and the plot failed. In that film rendition, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, Holly Hunter played Wanda Holloway. In 1992, ABC also made a movie about Wanda Holloway, Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story, with Lesley Ann Warren playing Wanda. I haven’t seen either film. Maybe I’ll seek them out today.

I wonder if Raffaela Spone thinks someone might portray her on film someday. I’m sure Lifetime would be all over it. At least in this case, no one was physically hurt and murder was never on the table. If she is convicted, Raffaela Spone could spend six months to a year in prison. Mitigating matters is the fact that in one of the doctored photos that was supposed to appear to be a nude, Spone had digitally removed the bikini in the photo and overlaid flesh colored bars that gave the photo a “Barbie doll” effect, with no genitalia showing. Had anything private been showing, Spone would be facing much more serious charges.

Meanwhile, I’m sure everyone in their town now knows who Spone’s daughter is, even though she wasn’t implicated in the case. In her quest to cheat for her daughter, Spone has made things much worse for her. Even though the daughter wasn’t involved, her permanent record now has a blight. Hopefully, the people of that community are empathetic. I can only imagine Spone is probably a nightmare when she’s behind closed doors, particularly if she’s willing to go to these lengths to cheat for her daughter.

Case #2

We now move south to Florida, where a 17 year old high school student and her mother, Laura Rose Carroll, who also happens to be an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, have been arrested for hacking the school’s computer system. Ms. Carroll is alleged to have logged into the school’s computer system and casted 246 votes for her daughter, who was on the Homecoming Court. Ms. Carroll’s efforts, had they not been discovered, would have resulted in her daughter winning the contest under false pretenses.

The list of charges against Laura Rose Carroll and her daughter is long. According to The Hill, “the mother and daughter will be charged with offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, criminal use of personally identifiable information and conspiracy to commit these offenses.” Arrest records also indicate that Ms. Carroll’s daughter also had improper access to her mother’s “FOCUS” account. I’m assuming that FOCUS is some kind of school computer system that has all of the permanent records of the students in the school system. Naturally, that would include personal information that should not be accessible to anyone who doesn’t specifically need access to such personal and confidential information. A witness claims that the daughter had access to the FOCUS account for a long time and use it frequently to get information about test scores and grades. The daughter also allegedly divulged private information about other students to her friends.

Given who Ms. Carroll is, it’s highly likely that everyone knows who her daughter is, despite her name not being printed in the media due to her age. Not knowing anything at all about this duo and not finding the news articles about them particularly illuminating, I wonder what the conditions were that led to this mother-daughter crime spree. Which one of them is the more toxically ambitious of the two? Is it mom who wants to see her daughter crowned in a means to stroke her own ego and, perhaps, vicariously live through her daughter’s achievements, even if they were ill gotten? Or is it the daughter who convinced her mother to help her cheat? It will be interesting to see if the media reveals any more details about this case.

I suspect Ms. Carroll is now unemployed. If she’s not unemployed yet, she probably will be very soon. Her bond was set at $8500, while her daughter was carted off to juvenile hall. I wonder if it was worth it to them.

These cases make me appreciate my mom more. I mean, hell, my mom won a beauty contest when she was 16 years old. I’m sure she would have loved it if I had been pretty and popular instead of outspoken and obnoxious. Fortunately, my mom is not ambitious for anyone but herself, and she pretty much stayed out of my life once I was at puberty. She stuck to paying the bills and encouraging me to get a job and GTFO on my own. She sure as hell wasn’t involved in my horse shows, which was what I was doing when I was a teen. She didn’t even look at my report cards. At the time, I thought that made her uncaring, but now I think she did me a solid. Anything I achieved, I did so legitimately and mostly on my own. At least neither of us were ever arrested for cheating or harassment or any other embarrassing misdeed that would have wound up on my permanent record. I have the satisfaction of knowing I can do things on my own… which I’ve been unhappily proving for almost three weeks now.

On another note… for some reason, as I type this, I am reminded of this classic song by Violent Femmes… the album this song comes from never ages, even though the lead singer can’t sing. What he has is vocal charisma. I’m sure it’s served him well over the years.

“I hope you know that this will go down on your PERMANENT RECORD!” Oh yeah?
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education

Gaming the system… a couple of moms flunked the test.

I suppose it’s about time I offered my opinions about this college admissions scandal involving Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. If you haven’t been living on a distant mountain top, you’ve probably already heard about it. Apparently, both of these well-known actresses are in deep shit with the feds because they paid bribes to get their daughters’ college admissions packets shored up so they could attend elite universities. Huffman is married to actor William H. Macy, who apparently wasn’t involved or arrested when federal agents showed up to take Huffman into custody. Loughlin is married to fashion designer, Mossimo Giannulli, who was reportedly complicit in the affair.

Huffman and Loughlin are probably the best known of the dozens of people caught in this sting. Both are beautiful, successful, and most importantly, wealthy, actresses who live in California. Loughlin reportedly wanted her daughters, Isabella and Olivia, to attend a top flight college because she’d never had the opportunity. As for Huffman… I really don’t know what the motive was. I guess she just wanted her daughters, Sofia and Georgia, to have the “best” education. Unfortunately, these parents all resorted to cheating and bribery to get their daughters ahead. Sadly, I think their tactics have backfired spectacularly.

I read in one article that Lori Loughlin and her family would probably suffer more from this than Huffman and Macy will. That’s because besides Loughlin’s acting gig, the family is heavily tied to corporate America. 19 year old Olivia Jade has a very successful Instagram gig with millions of followers, as well as a burgeoning YouTube channel. She has publicly stated that she doesn’t even care about going to college and, in fact, isn’t available to attend classes due to her work schedule. Why she couldn’t just work, instead of taking away another student’s spot at a top tier school, is beyond me. She’s absolutely gorgeous, and obviously making more than minimum wage… at least for now. There is no shame in working and/or skipping college. It looks like Olivia Jade is about to learn a hard lesson, Paula Deen style. Brands are already distancing themselves from her. What’s more, if she ever did decide to pursue a more “normal” profession, are people going to take her seriously? She’s been publicly outed as an academic fraud! Lori Loughlin has been dropped from Hallmark and will not be making any appearances on next season’s Fuller House episodes.

What is especially sad to me, though, is the idea that the children of Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli, Felicity Huffman, and William H. Macy feel like they even need to attend a school like the University of Southern California. There are so many great schools in the United States. It just seems like a shame to me that they had to resort to fraud to find one that suits their needs.

I have written in depth about my college experiences before on my old blog, but here’s a very quick recap. When I was 18, I wanted very badly to go to James Madison University. I didn’t have the grades or the SAT scores, so I went to less competitive Longwood College (now Longwood University) instead. It turned out to be a fabulous place for me. That’s where I learned to sing. Discovering that gift and having the chance to develop it changed my life. If I had gone to JMU or Virginia Tech, I sincerely doubt I would have ever had that opportunity. Mike Pence, who debated Tim Kaine at my alma mater in 2016, might have helped put Longwood on the map. Alas, he called my school “Norwood” instead. For that gaffe alone, I’d never vote for him, not to mention his penchant for calling his wife “Mother” and obsession with controlling the uteri of all women.

Twenty-five years after I graduated, there are still professors there who remember me. My husband, who graduated from much better known American University, often marvels at how close-knit and nurturing Longwood obviously is. I keep in contact with several former professors, thanks to social media, and still have so many friends from those days. To me, that is a big part of what college is supposed to be about, besides learning. If you don’t care about college, why go? Especially if you’re already gainfully employed!

Olivia Jade Giannulli is only 19 years old. She’s legitimately beautiful, and simply being that beautiful will open a lot of doors for her. Add in the fact that she has very successful parents who are obviously interested in seeing her succeed and you have someone who really didn’t even need to be a Trojan. Maybe she could have gone to college later, if she wanted to, but she’s clearly not even ready for college and doesn’t want to be there.

And then there are the schools themselves. Clearly, this is something that has been going on for a long time. How seriously can a person take the colleges that were identified in these scams? Obviously, the admissions staff lets these frauds through. I have mentioned that I once worked as a temp at the College of William & Mary’s admissions office. I know how overwhelmed those offices are, particularly at this time of year. But the whole reason for having an admissions office is to find the best students. Somehow, Olivia Jade and her sister got into USC as “athletes”, even though they weren’t actually athletes. How does that happen?

I read that Lori Loughlin and her husband paid about half a million bucks to get their special snowflakes into USC. I bet she’s going to pay a hell of a lot more, once all of this is said and done. Felicity Huffman supposedly paid about $15,000 to help her daughter cheat on her SATs. Although she was considering helping her younger daughter in the same way, she ultimately decided not to. I think Huffman has done her older daughter a huge disservice, since it will now be harder for people to trust that her accomplishments are her own. In her desire to “help” her daughters get the “best”, she has saddled one of them with the stigma of public humiliation. That will probably be difficult for her to overcome.

Well… everyone makes mistakes. This mistake is definitely a “whopper” for Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and all of the other people out there who felt they needed to cheat in order to get their kids into the “right” college. Maybe I haven’t set the world on fire with my own post collegiate endeavors, but at least I know I got into my school entirely on my own merits. There’s a lot of value in that knowledge. I think Huffman and Loughlin would do well to watch some public television or something… they need to be reminded that cheaters never win.

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