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(Self-) Maintenance Is An Expression of Gratitude -- Keep MENS In Your Life

My 2007 Honda Accord's leather driver's seat is cracking. I can count on one hand how many times I've had the leather treated and the car detailed since I bought it new in 2007.

The used yellow Huffy girl's bike I got when I was six, with too-high handlebars and a too-wide banana seat with ripped pleather?  I adored it.  I cared for it.  I cherished it.  I even made sure that the banana seat's condition didn't deteriorate further.

The difference?  Gratitude.

When I got that Huffy bike, it didn't matter to me that it was used.  It was new to me.  And it represented freedom.  It meant that I could travel as far as my legs could pump those pedals.  It meant that I didn't have to ride on the handlebars or the back of other people's bikes (and risk getting injured) to know the joys of riding a bike and feeling the wind in my face.  It meant that I didn't have to outrun anyone who meant me harm -- I could get on my bike and ride off.  I was grateful f…
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Changing Police Policy on Discharging Firearms/Use of Lethal Force (So Stephon Clark's Death Won't Be In Vain)

We need legislation -- state and national -- to change police policy on discharging firearms/use of lethal force.  Unless we change the laws,  police will continue to fatally shoot suspects whom they "believe" to have a gun.  Here are two principles and six changes proposed by Terrie L. Robinson (Twitter @IAspire) to the Sacramento City Council:
Two Principles
1. “Reasonable belief” shall no longer be enough for a police officer to shoot an unarmed person when the only people who are potentially in danger of harm are police officers. Police officers should not be allowed to shoot anyone without actually seeing a gun or a knife in the suspect’s hand, instead of “reasonably believing” that the suspect has a gun or a knife, because “reasonable belief” can be colored by unconscious racial bias.
2. If there is a risk of imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm to a police officer, the risk of error should fall to the officer who assumed the risk of putting his or her life on …

Black Woman Blogging's Gun Control Proposal

Thanks to a relative who sent me death threats, I became a gun owner. Reluctantly.  What can I say.  You don't choose your family.

That said, I'm for gun control.

As far as I'm concerned, America lost its moral compass when we didn't do squat after Sandy Hook.  If you can allow a madman to murder children and not be moved to do nothing, you have no moral compass.  Period.

Now that we've broken an unfortunate record for the number of people killed in a mass shooting, perhaps we as a country are ready to get our minds right about gun control.  Perhaps.  So in that spirit, I offer my gun control proposal.

First, we need to agree on some real (not alternative) facts and principles:

1.  There is no such thing as an unlimited right.  Yes, people, there are no unlimited rights protected under the Constitution.  Your right to free speech?  Well, not all speech is protected under the First Amendment and even protected speech can be limited by time, place and manner.  Your…

What White House Journalists Can Learn From the Chauncey Bailey Project: How to Journalistically Crowdsource the Trump/Russia Investigation

With President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, one thing has become apparent:  A truly independent investigation of any ties between the Russian government and the Trump presidential campaign will only be accomplished by the free press, for however long it remains free.

There is precedent for journalists coming together across a variety of platforms to conduct an investigation together and report on it:  The Chauncey Bailey Project.

Those of you who know me personally know of my brief interactions with the late Chauncey Bailey, a respected Oakland journalist who was killed investigating criminal activities of the Your Muslim Bakery in Oakland.  Journalists from television, print, radio, the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the Center for Investigative Journalism, and the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism came together to pick up where Chauncey Bailey was stopped in his investigation by murder and to investigate his murder themselves.  The…

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…

Poverty of Imagination Is A Sin Against Yourself

Sometimes in life, you have to imagine yourself to where you want to be.  You have to create where you want to be in your life in your mind first, see what no one else can see, and speak, create, and work what only you can imagine into existence.  You especially have to do this when you don't see around you what you aspire to be, see, or do.

The inability to do this is what I would call "poverty of imagination."  I see it all around me.

I even accused a dear friend of mine of suffering from this.  She was taken aback, offended.  I told her that, in imagining all the possible ways a legal conflict could be settled to the benefit of her client, she failed to imagine other options for no other reason than that they had never been done before.

"That, my friend," I declared, "is poverty of imagination."

I then told her the story of my dad and uncle that epitomized  poverty of imagination, as told to me by one of my younger uncles.

When my dad and my uncle,…

Progressives, Liberals, Democrats and Trump: No Quarter Asked Nor Given

Now that Donald J. Trump is the president of the United States, progressives, liberals and Democrats need to wrap their mind around a wartime concept that violates The Hague Convention:

No quarter asked nor given.

What does that mean?  According to Wikipedia,  in war, a victor gives "no quarter" (or takes no prisoners) when the victor shows no clemency or mercy and refuses to spare the life of a vanquished opponent in return for their unconditional surrender.

No amount of protest or persuasion is going to change the fact that President Trump has no intention of compromising on the more inflammatory ideals he campaigned on -- the wall, repealing Obamacare, not acknowledging climate change, rolling back regulations because they are regulations,  a Muslim registry, the deportation of Dreamers.

Republicans are so drunk with their power that they don't care what ideological compromises they made to get it.  They backed a sexist, racist, xenophobic, Islamaphobic candidate wit…