How I learned to read — and trade stocks — in prison

I was 14 years old inside of a bowling alley, burglarizing an arcade game, and upon exiting the building a security guard grabbed my arm, so I ran. I ran down the street, and I jumped on top of a fence. And when I got to the top, the weight of 3,000 quarters in my book bag pulled me back down to the ground. So when I came to, the security guard was standing on top of me, and he said, “Next time you little punks steal something you can carry.”

I was taken to juvenile hall and when I was released into the custody of my mother, the first words my uncle said was, “How’d you get caught?” I said, “Man, the book bag was too heavy.” He said, “Man, you weren’t supposed to take all the quarters.” I said, “Man, they were small. What am I supposed to do?” And 10 minutes later, he took me to burglarize another arcade game. We needed gas money to get home. That was my life.

I grew up in Oakland, California, with my mother and members of my immediate family addicted to crack cocaine. My environment consisted of living with family, friends, and homeless shelters. Oftentimes, dinner was served in breadlines and soup kitchens. The big homey told me this: money rules the world and everything in it. And in these streets, money is king. And if you follow the money, it’ll lead you to the bad guy or the good guy.

Soon after, I committed my first crime, and it was the first time that I was told that I had potential and felt like somebody believed in me. Nobody ever told me that I could be a lawyer, doctor or engineer. I mean, how was I supposed to do that? I couldn’t read, write or spell. I was illiterate. So I always thought crime was my way to go.

And then one day I was talking to somebody and he was telling me about this robbery that we could do. And we did it.

The reality was that I was growing up in the strongest financial nation in the world, the United States of America, while I watched my mother stand in line at a blood bank to sell her blood for 40 dollars just to try to feed her kids. She still has the needle marks on her arms to day to show for that.

So I never cared about my community. They didn’t care about my life. Everybody there was doing what they were doing to take what they wanted, the drug dealers, the robbers, the blood bank. Everybody was taking blood money. So I got mine by any means necessary. I got mine. Financial literacy really did rule the world, and I was a child slave to it following the bad guy.

At 17 years old, I was arrested for robbery and murder and I soon learned that finances in prison rule more than they did on the streets, so I wanted in. One day, I rushed to grab the sports page of the newspaper so my cellie could read it to me, and I accidentally picked up the business section. And this old man said, “Hey youngster, you pick stocks?” And I said, “What’s that?” He said, “That’s the place where white folks keep all their money.”

And it was the first time that I saw a glimpse of hope, a future. He gave me this brief description of what stocks were, but it was just a glimpse. I mean, how was I supposed to do it? I couldn’t read, write or spell. The skills that I had developed to hide my illiteracy no longer worked in this environment. I was trapped in a cage, prey among predators, fighting for freedom I never had. I was lost, tired, and I was out of options.

So at 20 years old, I did the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life. I picked up a book, and it was the most agonizing time of my life, trying to learn how to read, the ostracizing from my family, the homeys. It was rough, man. It was a struggle. But little did I know I was receiving the greatest gifts I had ever dreamed of: self-worth, knowledge, discipline. I was so excited to be reading that I read everything I could get my hands on: candy wrappers, clothing logos, street signs, everything. I was just reading stuff!


Just reading stuff. I was so excited to know how to read and know how to spell. The homey came up, said, “Man, what you eating?” I said, “C-A-N-D-Y, candy.”

He said, “Let me get some.” I said, “N-O. No.”

It was awesome. I mean, I can actually now for the first time in my life read. The feeling that I got from it was amazing.

And then at 22, feeling myself, feeling confident, I remembered what the OG told me. So I picked up the business section of the newspaper. I wanted to find these rich white folks.

So I looked for that glimpse. As I furthered my career in teaching others how to financially manage money and invest, I soon learned that I had to take responsibility for my own actions. True, I grew up in a very complex environment, but I chose to commit crimes, and I had to own up to that. I had to take responsibility for that, and I did. I was building a curriculum that could teach incarcerated men how to manage money through prison employments. Properly managing our lifestyle would provide transferrable tools that we can use to manage money when we reenter society, like the majority of people did who didn’t commit crimes. Then I discovered that according to MarketWatch, over 60 percent of the American population has under 1,000 dollars in savings. Sports Illustrated said that over 60 percent of NBA players and NFL players go broke. 40 percent of marital problems derive from financial issues. What the hell?

You mean to tell me that people worked their whole lives, buying cars, clothes, homes and material stuff but were living check to check? How in the world were members of society going to help incarcerated individuals back into society if they couldn’t manage they own stuff? We screwed.

I needed a better plan. This is not going to work out too well. So … I thought. I now had an obligation to meet those on the path and help, and it was crazy because I now cared about my community. Wow, imagine that. I cared about my community.

Financial illiteracy is a disease that has crippled minorities and the lower class in our society for generations and generations, and we should be furious about that. Ask yourselves this: How can 50 percent of the American population be financially illiterate in a nation driven by financial prosperity? Our access to justice, our social status, living conditions, transportation and food are all dependent on money that most people can’t manage. It’s crazy! It’s an epidemic and a bigger danger to public safety than any other issue.

According to the California Department of Corrections, over 70 percent of those incarcerated have committed or have been charged with money-related crimes: robberies, burglaries, fraud, larceny, extortion — and the list goes on. Check this out: a typical incarcerated person would enter the California prison system with no financial education, earn 30 cents an hour, over 800 dollars a year, with no real expenses and save no money. Upon his parole, he will be given 200 dollars gate money and told, “Hey, good luck, stay out of trouble. Don’t come back to prison.” With no meaningful preparation or long-term financial plan, what does he do … ? At 60? Get a good job, or go back to the very criminal behavior that led him to prison in the first place? You taxpayers, you choose. Well, his education already chose for him, probably.

So how do we cure this disease? I cofounded a program that we call Financial Empowerment Emotional Literacy. We call it FEEL, and it teaches how do you separate your emotional decisions from your financial decisions, and the four timeless rules to personal finance: the proper way to save, control your cost of living, borrow money effectively and diversify your finances by allowing your money to work for you instead of you working for it. Incarcerated people need these life skills before we reenter society. You can’t have full rehabilitation without these life skills. This idea that only professionals can invest and manage money is absolutely ridiculous, and whoever told you that is lying.


A professional is a person who knows his craft better than most, and nobody knows how much money you need, have or want better than you, which means you are the professional. Financial literacy is not a skill, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a lifestyle. Financial stability is a byproduct of a proper lifestyle. A financially sound incarcerated person can become a taxpaying citizen, and a financially sound taxpaying citizen can remain one. This allows us to create a bridge between those people who we influence: family, friends and those young people who still believe that crime and money are related. So let’s lose the fear and anxiety of all the big financial words and all that other nonsense that you’ve been out there hearing. And let’s get to the heart of what’s been crippling our society from taking care of your responsibility to be better life managers. And let’s provide a simple and easy to use curriculum that gets to the heart, the heart of what financial empowerment and emotional literacy really is.

Now, if you’re sitting out here in the audience and you said, “Oh yeah, well, that ain’t me and I don’t buy it,” then come take my class

Syria photographer takes action instead of pictures, picks up injured boy

(CNN) Every so often, a photograph cuts through the grim cacophony of the war in Syria and pierces viewers’ hearts.

It happened in 2015 with an image of the lifeless body of Alan Kurdi , face down on a beach in Turkey, who drowned in the Mediterranean fleeing the war.

It happened last year when a photographer captured little Omran Daqneesh sitting in an ambulance , his body bloodied and dusty after his home was bombed in Aleppo.

And it happened again last weekend, when a bomb hit a convoy of buses carrying evacuees from besieged Syrian villages, killing 126 people.

Photographer and activist Abd Alkader Habak was there working and was briefly knocked out by the blast. When he came to, he began trying to help the wounded.

“The scene was horrible — especially seeing children wailing and dying in front of you,” Habak told CNN. “So I decided along with my colleagues that we’d put our cameras aside and start rescuing injured people.”

The first child he checked on was dead.

He ran towards another. Someone shouted at him to stay away — the child was already dead, they said.

But he wasn’t. Habak could see the boy was barely breathing.

He picked him up and began to run towards safety. His camera was still on, recording the chaos.

“This child was firmly holding my hand and looking at me,” he said.

An image taken by another photographer, Muhammad Alrageb, shows Habak dashing towards an ambulance, the child and his camera in his arms.

Algareb said he also helped some of the injured but then began taking photos.

“I wanted to film everything to make sure there was accountability,” he said. Also, he added, “I feel proud that there was a young journalist there helping save lives.”

Habak said he left the injured boy, who must have been only 6 or 7, at the ambulance. He doesn’t know if the boy survived.

Then he ran back to scene of the bombing to help others. He came across another child on the ground. This one, too, was dead — one of 68 children killed in the attack.

An image, shot by another photographer, shows him on his knees sobbing near the boy’s body.

“I was overcome with emotion,” he told CNN. “What I and my colleagues witnessed is indescribable.”

Little girl finds stray puppy and hides it in her bag

We all have our favourite pet when we were little. For four-year-old Qi Qi, she loves the stray puppy she picked up on her way to school.

The little girl has become an internet star in China after a video emerged showing her taking the pet dog to school by hiding it in her bag.

And when she was caught by a teacher, a terrified Qi Qi cried and begged the teacher as she mistakenly thought the teacher would throw away her dog.

The footage was filmed on April 7 at a kindergarten in Suining, south-west China’s Sichuan Province, according to the video provider Pear Video.

The report said that Qi Qi had found the dog on her way to the kindergarten. She liked the puppy so much that she decided to take it with her to school by hiding it in her school bag.

The puppy, however, barked in the class. Qi Qi’s teacher heard it and called the girl to the office afterwards.

The four-year-old thought her teacher was going to get rid of her pet. Terrified, she cried and begged the teacher: ‘Don’t throw it away. It won’t bite!’

The teacher, who is unnamed, later said to Pear Video: ‘I told her to come to my office. She kept telling me the dog wouldn’t bite people. She told me not to throw it away.’

The teacher explained that there is a river outside the kindergarten and the pupil, by mistake, thought she would dump the puppy into the river.

She also said Qi Qi has a twin sister.

Apparently, Qi Qi adored her puppy so much that she would share her lollipop and lunch with it. Her grandmother went to the kindergarten the next day and explained the matters to the teacher.

The video has been viewed nearly five million times since it was published earlier today on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.

Some also said that the girl would get rewards in her future life for being so loving and sympathetic.

Clever Dog Escapes Animal Hospital Opening Multiple Doors With His Snout

A dog that escaped from a Virginia animal hospital early Monday morning has been found and reunited with his owner.

The Aquia-Garrisonville Animal Hospital in Stafford said General, a 10-year-old Great Pyrenees, left out of the clinic’s back door at around 4:17 a.m.

Surveillance video from inside the animal hospital shows the dog opening the latch to his kennel and opening three other doors in order to make his great escape.After making his way through one large door with a smooth snout move.

he makes his way to a vestibule and through another, strutting down a hallway sniffing his way past heaps of dog food — and into what appears to be an office area before casually exiting through a side door of the building and strolling into the night.

Firefighter Andrew Klein pulls unconscious dog from burning apartment, gives him CPR to save his life

LOS ANGELES — California firefighters who spent 20 minutes performing mouth-to-snout resuscitation on a dog they rescued from a burning apartment are being hailed as heroes.

The dog’s owner, 35-year-old Crystal Lamirande, had just returned to her Santa Monica apartment Tuesday when a neighbor yelled there was a fire.

Lamirande frantically tried to save her dog, a 10-year-old Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu named Nalu, but the smoke was too thick for her to go inside, she said Thursday.

Moments later firefighters arrived and Lamirande told them her dog was trapped inside.

That’s when firefighter Andrew Klein sprang into action, getting on all fours to search the apartment for Nalu as another firefighter sprayed water to keep the flames at bay. Klein found the unconscious dog a few feet from the fire in a bedroom.

“He was totally lifeless,” Klein said. “I picked him up and ran out of the apartment because time is key, especially with a small dog … Failure was not an option.”

As Lamirande knelt nearby crying, Klein and his crew spent the next 20 minutes working on reviving the dog using oxygen, CPR and what’s known as mouth-to-snout resuscitation.

Video taken by a passerby and posted on Facebook shows Klein and another firefighter patting Nalu’s belly as he starts breathing again with the help of oxygen.

“Alright, bud,” Klein tells the dog as he continues to rub him and encourage him to walk.

Lamirande, a radiology nurse, said she couldn’t believe how much time the firefighters took to save her dog, who she describes as family.

“His eyes were glazed over and he was not breathing and I assumed he was dead,” she said. “The firefighter said ‘I’m a positive person. Let’s just get him back.’”

Lamirande said Nalu spent the next 24 hours recovering in an oxygen chamber and was almost back to his normal self again Thursday.

“He’s been coughing but right now he’s fine and he’s so happy and smiling,” she said.

Klein, a self-described dog lover with two four-legged friends at home, said he felt proud of the outcome.

“He was essentially dead, so to see him kissing people and walking around wagging his tail was definitely a good feeling,” he said.

“He’s very happy, and we’re very happy, too.”

88-year-old man honors wife’s legacy by making blankets for children in need

What started as a hobby his wife enjoyed has now become a beautiful way for Clayton Shelburne of Indiana to both honor her legacy and leave a positive mark on the world.

Clayton and Dolores Shelburne were married for 66 years before she passed away in May 2015. Clayton told CBS 4 Indianapolis that his wife initially started making blankets with a camping club, which would donate them to different organizations in the area. As the years went on, however, it became an activity that the couple could enjoy together — with one key distinction.

“She was the seamstress,” he said. “I was never a seamstress. This is a new ballgame because I was always an outside person.”

In his wife’s absence, Clayton has found himself with the time and resources to continue the charitable activity on his own. He now wields a yardstick and scissors, carefully measuring playful fabric and cutting it into patterns.

“My time is nothing,” Shelburne told CBS 4. “I’m 88 years old. I can do this when it’s raining outside and I enjoy doing it. I’m sure if my wife was here she would be happy I’m doing this too.”

In deciding what to do with the blankets when they’re done, Shelburne was particularly moved by a story about a father leaving his sleeping son in a vehicle along the highway while he went to get help with their broken-down car. It inspired him to help police in his county. So, he has now donated enough blankets to the Zionsville Police Department and the Boone County Sheriff’s Office that every patrol car can have one.

“We could show up to a crash and the weather could be like it is now where it’s nice and cold and that blanket will come in real handy when you wrap it around somebody in need,” said Sgt. Adrian Martin of the Zionsville Police Department.

He’s given the officers more than three dozen homemade blankets so far.

“For an individual, a civilian for that matter, to take it upon themselves to not only to take their time and invest their money and their personal stake into a product or event that benefits any law enforcement agency, particularly Zionsville, we appreciate that,” Martin said.

Now that he’s fully stocked the local police, Shelburne is turning his attention to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis — further ensuring that his warm memories of his wife become a source of warmth for others as well.

In a first, women judges head all major High Courts in India

NEW DELHI: In the male-dominated world of higher judiciary, there is a silver lining — women now head the four major and oldest high courts in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.With the appointment of Indira Banerjee as chief justice of the Madras HC on March 31, women created history by heading the four historical HCs, which were among the first few created in colonial India. Madras HC has six women judges, including the chief justice, while there are 53 male judges. Bombay HC is headed by Justice Manjula Chellur , who first headed an HC on September 26, 2012. She became Bombay HC chief justice on August 22 last year.Incidentally, Bombay HC has the highest number of women judges, 11, against 61 male judges.The number two in the HC is also a woman, Justice V M Tahilramani. Delhi HC has been headed by Justice G Rohini since April 13, 2014. The HC has nine women judges and 35 male judges. Here too, the number two is a woman, Justice Gita Mittal.Calcutta HC has been headed by acting chief justice Nishita Nirmal Mhatre since December 1 last year. But this HC has a poorer women-to men-judge ratio — 4 to 35.Among the 632 HC judges in 24 HCs, there are only 68 women judges, a mere 10.7%. There is just one woman judge, R Banumathi , among 28 judges in the Supreme Court.

JUSTICE SERVED : Texas Man Who Intentionally Swerved into Bikers Sentenced 15 Years in Prison

Justice Served to this grumpy old man

Late 2015 this horrendous video clip surfaced, depicting an angry Texas man  intentionally swerving into bikers. Firstly let’s figure why he did it, well according to the video it was because the bikers crossed the double yellow. Although this is illegal, his reactions was definitely too far.

Furthermore he severely injured the passenger, 38 year old Debra Simpson, who was admitted into the intensive care unit. She received  a broken arm and multiple other injuries. The driver, 37 year old Eric Sanders got off lucky with only minor injuries. You could tell something was wrong when you saw the passenger just laying on the ground not moving.

The 69 year old man in the video was proclaiming, ” I don’t care”, multiple times but in court he had a different story and suddenly began to care when it came jail time.

He was claiming a spider bit him and he lost control, not the strongest of defences when you outright admit to your crime in the video. Lucky for the riders and everybody else on the road a fellow biker recorded everything with his helmet cam.

The man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. One more crazy off the road  and justice served , woo!

Woman found wet, mostly naked – says she is a mermaid

FRESNO (KSEE) – A woman was found near Table Mountain on Tuesday morning, and she doesn’t seem to know who she is, the Fresno Police Department said.

“She was wet, she said she had been in the lake, said she needed help and needed to be taken to the hospital,” said Fresno Police Lt. Mark Hudson.

The woman was found about 3:15 a.m. walking in the middle of the street on Millerton Road (Friant Road) about a mile south of Table Mountain.

When she was found, her hair was wet, and she was mostly naked. She told officers she had been in the water.

She answers, “I don’t know” to most questions, police said. She has claimed to be a mermaid named “Joanna.”

“We did go through records after fingerprinting her and we still did not come up with her identity,” said Hudson.

She is 5-foot-4, weighs 150 pounds and has webbed feet.

“There are some strange things that happen up here,” said neighbor Karon Renwick. “We’re in the mountains.”

Anyone with information on this woman should call (559) 621-2455 or email the missing persons unit Detective Paul Hill at

Dutch men walk hand in hand for solidarity after gay couple attacked

Hundreds of people have walked hand in hand through Amsterdam to show solidarity with two gay men who were badly beaten at the weekend in the eastern city of Arnhem.

The peaceful march on Wednesday was part of a national outpouring of emotion over the beating of the married couple, who were attacked on the way home from a party in the early hours of Sunday morning. Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes told police the confrontation started because they were holding hands.

Five suspects, all in their teens, would be charged on Thursday with causing serious bodily harm, prosecutors said, adding that they were still investigating the motive for the attack.

Marcher Marion van Hees said she had campaigned for gay rights during the 1960s. “I thought we were finished with it, that we had achieved it. But that is not the case, and that is very sad,” she said. “So I’m going back on to the barricades.”

Sjag Kozak, who married his husband in Amsterdam and has lived in the city for 21 years, said he wanted to show solidarity with the beaten men but also “show the world that it is possible to walk hand-in-hand in Amsterdam”.

Politicians had given prominence to the show of defiance, with Alexander Pechtold, leader of the Democrats D66 party, and his finance spokesman Wouter Koolmees arriving hand-in-hand for coalition talks in The Hague on Monday.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, condemned the attack. “It’s terrible what happened. Awful,” he said, adding that addressing homophobic violence would be a “top priority” for his new government.

The action was sparked by journalist Barbara Barend, who tweeted a call for “all men (straight and gay) please to just walk hand in hand”. The hashtag #allemannenhandinhand took off from there and was followed by images from the Netherlands and across the world of Dutch men showing solidarity.

Associated Press contributed to this report.