Sunday, March 29, 2009

Profile Posting Guidelines

Folks we are not putting our best foot forward. Our online profiles are more than just the who, what, when, where, and how. They are often either an invitation to get to know us better, an advertisement for networking opportunities, or the most popular, a means of selling (not literally) ourselves to the members of the opposite sex (not me, I'm taken).

That said I feel its justified in saying WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? I get that it is your favorite picture, right after you got a new outfit and a fresh hairstyle...but you took the picture in your messy room....with the clothes on the floor!? I understand the bathroom is the only place for private picture taking in the mirror, but some soft scrub and a little tidying up can go a long way. I get that you are leaning on some strangers Mercedes or BMW, but what are you going to say when they ask you to 'pick them up'? I know that they are your best friend since grammar school, but a boogah-bear is a boogah-bear, and you are likely to scare someone off just lookin at your ugly friend. Now I am by no means advocating not being yourself. If by all means you are a slob with ugly friends, then so be it. But most online profiles offer the opportunity to meet new people, to open new avenues of commerce, or to find a new mate. Just be sure that what you are selling, people actually want to buy. For the young ladies out there...what you show, is what they want...if you are half-naked, that is what they will expect when they meet you...learn ladies, sexy is not naked, they are not the same..a little class will net you the right friends.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Do You Support Domestic Violence?

If you know someone in trouble, and you do nothing, you may as well answer yes. Folks lets set the record straight, don't count on being the exception to the rule. The rules are simple; hit once will hit again, love does not hurt, and blaming yourself or their life situation only adds fuel to the fire and enables the abuser. Parents, if your child is rough with their mate now, you are raising a beater. C'mon people, we're all smarter than this, they always say they'll never do it again, and they always do it again! you don't both need counseling, the abuser needs counseling. The abuser needs to learn how to address issues that transpire in the relationship without violence. If you read through the above statements you will soon notice that it is not gender specific...neither is domestic violence. In light of the Chris Browm/Rhianna incident, here is a situation that did not turn out so well;

(CNN) -- Slain attorney Chiquita Tate was such a believer in the legal system that she had a tattoo of Lady Justice on her back, college friend T. J. Crawford recalled.

Greg Harris, Tate's husband, is charged in her slaying and is being held on $500,000 bail.
2 of 2 "She just had an attachment to justice and doing what's right by people. She was always very serious about that," said Crawford, a teacher and community organizer in Chicago, Illinois.

But Tate, described by colleagues as a tenacious defense attorney who fought for her clients, could not save herself.

Family members and friends in Chicago; Atlanta, Georgia, and Tate's adopted home -- tiny Baker, Louisiana -- are reeling from the grisly details of Tate's slaying, and police say it was at the hands of her husband, Greg Harris. They had been married about 14½ months.

Harris, 37, is in custody, accused of stabbing Tate to death. He is charged with second-degree murder and the illegal use of a dangerous weapon. A judge last week set his bond at $500,000.

In a phone interview with CNN, Harris' attorney, Lewis Unglesby, said police have the wrong man.

"Greg Harris by all accounts ... is innocent. I don't know anybody that thinks he did it, except the police," Uglesby said. "There's nothing in his background. He has cooperated completely with the police; he's signed everything they've asked him to sign. He's let them search his house, his car."

Tate, 34, had started her own law firm in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was doing well, family and acquaintances said.

"She was up and coming," said Cpl. L'Jean McKneely, a police spokesman in Baton Rouge.

Tate was representing a defendant in a high-profile murder trial when, police say, she became a homicide victim herself. Her body was found inside her law office on February 20. Tate was stabbed 38 times, according to a police warrant for Harris' arrest obtained by CNN.

While questioning Harris about Tate's death, police discovered an outstanding warrant for him in connection with a battery-domestic violence case. It stemmed from a December 22, 2007, incident at the couple's home.

Harris was accused of using "force and violence" against Tate, according to Baker City Court records. The court said Harris entered a not guilty plea on March 6, 2008, but did not appear for a May 8 pretrial conference. A warrant was issued for his arrest for contempt of court.

When Tate met Harris in late 2007, she fell for him, head over heels, said East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court Judge Pam Taylor Johnson, Tate's mentor and former boss.

"She came in my office one day: 'I met the most wonderful guy! I need you to perform our marriage -- tomorrow,'" Johnson recalled Tate gleefully telling her.

"I told her she had to wait three days," as required by Louisiana law, Johnson added.

Tate did wait a bit. The couple's marriage license is dated January 10, 2008, just two and a half weeks after the domestic violence report from Baker police. They married on February 8, their marriage license shows.

Only the couple's immediate family members and two friends attended the ceremony at Green Chapel in Baton Rouge, said Tate's friend Shawn Collins, who was one of those on hand for the wedding.

Neighbors in suburban Baker said the couple seemed to settle into a good life in their home on Charry Drive.

Baker, population 13,000, was one of the cities that absorbed hundreds of families from the FEMA trailer homes after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The last families housed in Baker moved out last spring.

Neighbors recalled seeing Tate frequently driving down the street in her late-model Hummer and Harris steering a Mercedes.

Ethan Koobs, who lives across the street from the couple, said Tate was a "really nice lady, very upper-class, presented herself very well."

Koobs said he didn't see any discontent in the couple's lives.

"They seemed like a pleasant couple, just real nice," said neighbor Don Patton, who lives two houses down. "They kept their house and their lawn very nice."

He recalled the couple's concern for their neighbors after Hurricane Gustav, which raked south Louisiana on September 1, 2008, before petering out in southeast Texas. It knocked out power to 1.5 million homes in southern Louisiana, and thousands of homes were damaged by the wind.

Harris, a carpenter, found his skills useful.

"[Harris] was just generally concerned about everybody's well-being," Patton said. "We'd huddle in the street and he'd ask if anybody needed anything."

The couple helped their neighbors rebuild. But the warrant for Harris' arrest in the murder case revealed a fracture in the marriage. Tate was "planning on divorcing the defendant due to marital problems" and had leased her own apartment, the warrant stated.

As far as their friends were concerned, there was no trouble in the marriage and Tate appeared to be a doting wife.

She also enjoyed battling it out on behalf of her clients in the courtroom.

Tate, who was raised with six siblings, was tenacious even as a youngster, recalled childhood friend Ursula Bryant-Hill.

"She was always strong-willed and she analyzed everything. Everybody told her 'You'd be a good lawyer,'" said Bryant-Hill, of Hueytown, Alabama.

"If you knew Chiquita when she was growing up in Baton Rouge, she was always cautious about who she let in her intimate setting. 'Watch your surroundings,' that's how she was," Bryant-Hill added.

Upon graduation from college, Tate worked briefly as a legislative secretary, recording minutes at Atlanta City Council meetings.

But she longed to return home to Louisiana to attend law school at Southern University.

"When she told me she was in law school, I screamed," Bryant-Hill said.

Her friend, Juvenile Court Judge Johnson, said Tate lived by one creed: Justice for all, especially for those more vulnerable in society.

"I couldn't get her to accept the fact that 'things happen.' I told her some things you can't change [about the system], but it is our duty to see if we can equalize things," Johnson said.

Tate is remembered as someone who fought tirelessly for what she believed in. Now her loved ones hope the legal system will work for her.

The days have been long for Tate's family. Asked how she has been coping, Denita Tate, the victim's sister, said, "I'm not. It's harder every day."

"We want closure with our family and with our sister, and we want justice," Denita Tate said.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Which facet of Tammy Bruce do you hear?

Is it racist? is it jealous (catty)? or is it just plain trashy?

In her stint as a replcement for Laura Ingram's conservative radio show, she stooped so low as to refer to the First Lady of the United Stetes of America as trash. Now to me, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but for some reason, and I prefer correction here, there has never in the history of the American Presidency been such viscious attacks against the First Lady. It is unheard of... No one attacked Laura, no one attacked Barbara, no one attacked Nancy, and even when a few didn't agree with Hillary, it was never like this. So lets put our thinking caps on and think about what is different about Michelle Obama, that makes it okay to visiously attack her on a public forum...I got it! Its because she is taller than the rest...right?

listen to her outrageous comments here

Monday, March 23, 2009

Training prepared her for the inevitable

CANDICE CLARK: 'I'm comfortable in my skills.....I have a wonderful support system'
Sunday, March 22, 2009
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Candice Clark prepared herself for the inevitable. With the economy shrinking and positions being eliminated at her company, she made sure she received the latest training skills in her field and kept in touch with her sphere of influence.

"The writing was on the wall. After two years with my last company, they decided to downsize the department. A lot of the work that we did was outsourced," said Ms. Clark, a computer software specialist.

She was laid off in December. "I'm still in contact with quite a few people there. And, they are still doing layoffs."

With 20 years worth of experience in the telecommunications industry, the Graniteville resident is confident she is marketable.

"I know a lot of people who work for other companies and I just put my resume back out there. I also know a lot of headhunters. I made sure I got a lot of training for the future, and I made sure my bills and mortgage were caught up," she said.

Ms. Clark felt comfortable enough in her skills to take some time off before job-hunting to work as a volunteer last month during the special City Council race on Staten Island. She filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last month.

"I know that God will make a way and I'm comfortable in my skills. My boyfriend is very supportive and I just know that I will be OK. I have a wonderful support system, if I ever had to lean on them -- but so far, I'm OK. I have a savings," she said.

Recently, a company called Ms. Clark for independent contract work.

"Hopefully, I won't be on unemployment long because, quite honestly, it doesn't pay the mortgage," she said.

Employers with a job offer for Ms. Clark are invited to e-mail Stephannia F. Cleaton at

courtesy Staten Island Advance/

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'll do Anything for You...

now that I have embarrassed myself, embarrassed you, possibly ruined my career, and brought to light an illicit May/December affair I've been having (or had, kinda doesn't matter at this point)

I didn't want to do it, but there has been so much pressure. Besides everybody is getting in on it, why not me too? I mean Oprah, Joy Behar, Denise Brown, heck they even dredged up Robin Givens from why not me? What because I'm a man, does that automatically make me the enemy? Maybe I'm just a spectator, or I'm reformed.. you know; rehabilitated. Maybe I'm a facilitator, or worse an excuse maker and enabler. Nah none of those things...I have remained quiet to give this thing enough time to let nature take its course...well I didn't have to wait long (that's where the title comes from; you know the song from Denroy Morgan - I'll do anything for you, I'll give the world to you, if you want me to.

Rhianna and Chris Brown - seems like he's willing to do anything, rather suddenly too... fire his manager/lover? no problem!....spend some hideaway time at P. Diddy's house? sure! I'd bet he would bend over backwards right about now. And as he does whatever she wants, the immaturity of their years shines through. He gets his lawyers to work behind the scenes trying to get her to drop charges. Typical...and sad.

I didn't weigh in until now because I wanted to see how they would act, in public, apart or together. I have to say that the timetable did surprise me. I certainly didn't expect him to apologize and beg forgiveness so soon, and I certainly didn't believe she would so readily take him back. Now I'm not about to sit here and lecture anyone about the ills of hand to hand combat in a relationship, nor am I going to debate who hit who first or if it is appropriate to over-defend yourself against the onslaught of a woman scorned. What I will talk about as it relates to this drama is the role of a male friend to Chris Brown...people like P. Diddy, Jay Z, or any number of people that genuinely call him friend. You see I feel it is the man-friend's place to help him out. Not necessarily to scold or lecture...more to encourage and enlighten. The only corrective measure that is known to work for abuse is self-enlightenment and a word we love to say in church repentance.

See repentance means more than saying I'm sorry, more than making it up to the offended party, and more than moving on from the past. Repentance requires a shift in your way of thinking about a particular subject or behavior. Repentance does not come from the outside in, it must come from deep within the heart of the offender. It must be born, not of necessity or fear, but of genuine love and concern. If Chris Brown is sent to jail, he might not repent...If Jay Z pops a cap in his ass, he may not repent...If Rhianna sues him, he may not repent. Chris Brown is the one who has to convince Chris Brown that what he did was wrong, and that no matter what the issue or problem, violence solves nothing. As has already been proven, it just makes matters worse. This lesson is not confined to affairs of the heart, it is a lesson that can be applied across a broad spectrum of issues we face every day. As children of a very wise God, we all enjoy the gift of free will. As citizens of the United States we enjoy practically limitless freedom to do whatever er like. There is and always has been only one stipulation...

"we always have to be willing to accept the consequences of our decisions and actions."

Police Given an Open Season Pass to Kill Innocent Blacks

This is going to anger you. This is going to get you riled up. This may even prompt you to action. When did it become okay to murder our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and what makes them think they can get away with it? Here is a sample of some recent cases, most are well known, and links are provided if you wish to dig deeper. They are presented chronologically;

In June of 2006, in Atlanta, GA, 92 year-old Kathryn Johnston was shot dead in the apartment she occupied for 17 years. Police using an illegally obtained no-knock warrant burst through her door dressed in fatigues. As they were breaking in, she fired a single warning shot into the air, to no avail. After they entered, shot her, left her without care to bleed to death on the floor, they began to plant marijuana in her basement to 'justify' the shooting. see -

The three officers involved were later convicted of a slew of charges, the worst mansklaughter, and including falsifying the initial warrant request, lying to investigators, and civil rights violations. The maximum sentence any of the three will serve is 10 years...less time off for good behavior.

On New Years Day, 2009 Bay Area Rapid Transit police had stoppped a train due to a fight on the platform. As they tried to sort out the incident, they detained some of the people who appeared to be invloved, for questioning. Among those detained was
Oscar Grant a 22 year-old, father of a 4 year-old daughter, who worked as a butcher. While most of this was happening, many people on the train were using cell phones to document what they felt may have been ill treatment of the detainees. These same phones recorded the fatal shot from Officer Johannes Mershle's gun.

Johannes Mershle has been charged with murder, an extremely rare charge for any law enforcement officer for a line of duty killing. A charge prompted not by the outrage or even the overwhelming evidence. The charge largely stems from the fact that the officer to date still refuses to explain why he shot Oscar Grant.

Most recently, on February 20th, while enjoying the presence of his children and grand children, 73 year old, retired electric utility worker, Bernard Munroe, was killed in the doorway of his home. See -,0,7686526.story Though there are conflicting reports, the police presence that day was a routine patrol, and for apparently no good reason, moments after engaging some of the people on the street, Mr. Munroe was shot and denied medical attention until he died. The one consstency of the story is that it is well known that Mr. Munroe maintained a firearm on his porch at all times. Witnesses state they saw the police remove the firearm from its usual place and put it next to the body of Mr. Munroe. See -

As if the entire incident were not tragic enough, the police Chief, Russell Mills, highlights the racial insensitivity and profiling that mirrors the actions of his officers. It is statements like these that support the level of tension and mistrust between the opolice and the citizens of Homer. During an interview, he made the following chilling statement on the heals of the words, "Thats how it should be" as he responded to the complaints by the NAACP about the harrassing stops and searches; "If I see three or four young black men walking down the street, I have to stop them and check their names," said Mills, who is white. "I want them to be afraid every time they see the police that they might get arrested. We're not out there trying to abuse and harass people—we're trying to protect the law-abiding citizens locked behind their doors in fear."

I read an interesting part of this story that jumped out at me and prompted this rage against these injustices. Rather than paraphrase, I have taken an excerpt directly from the article. The horror is not that such a thing can exist, the horro is if you really think about it; there is NO WAY to correct it. That can only mean, more of our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, dead for no good reason.

"All the anecdotal information demonstrates that African Americans are the most frequent victims of zealous, inappropriate police activity that often winds up in a shooting," said Reggie Shuford, a senior attorney with the racial justice program at the American Civil Liberties Union. "It's a shoot first, ask questions later approach to policing."

The evidence is not merely anecdotal. The most recent national analysis from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that blacks and Hispanics were nearly three times as likely as whites to be searched by police—and blacks were almost four times as likely as whites to be subjected to the use of force.

Psychologists are stepping up research into the implicit, unconscious racial biases that may be driving such statistics and affecting police behavior.

"If in fact police have implicit biases—if they automatically associate blacks with crime—then that would be relevant to an officer in a split-second, shoot-or-don't-shoot situation," said Lorie Fridell, a criminology professor at the University of South Florida who is creating a new anti-bias police training program with funding from the Justice Department. "Is the officer more inclined to believe he sees a gun in the hand of a black person, rather than a cell phone? I think that is possible."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

American Violet - based on a true story

If you haven't heard that title yet or if you haven't seen the trailers...get ready! This will literally turn your stomach. To think that this sort of thing happens in a so-called civilized society, within the same legal system we all depend on to keep us safe from the criminal element...its simply outrageous.

In short, American Violet is a movie based on the real life situation that faced a single mother in a small town in Texas. Her name, along with 26 others was given to police by an informant facing charges himself. All but one (allegedly, there was a single white defendant, but to date, his/her name has not been made public)of the defendants named were black. I would love to tell the story, but watch the trailer for a better depiction of what happened in the year 2000. Come back after you've viewed the trailer....I promise you there is more. See -

Truly a sad way to provide entertainment. I watched the trailer and became intrigued when the trailer mentioned that it was based on a true story. After some hunting I came across the story upon which it is based. Hear the story from the people who lived it and continue to live it today - (click on Chapter 2 the entire story is there) See -

That this could take place, and these people, people like District Attorney John Paschall is STILL the District Attorney in Hearne Texas. The end result, a lawsuit won by the young woman who held her ground and the other 14 defendants that did not plea might seem as though some measure of justice had been met. But those that plead guilty, and even some that were released continue to suffer the consequences of that fateful day.

This happened, this is recent, its not the first time (research shows a similar incident in a neighboring town involving 45 defendants from a period just prior to the 2000 arrests and nothing is preventing this from happening again. The laws may have been addressed but the laws were never the problem... Here is yet another situation where we need to educate ourselves and know enough of the law to stand on the side of right until you prevail. Never admit to anything you haven't done, always remember the police are allowed to lie in order to obtain a conviction, and you can never go home if you tell their version of the truth.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

School Vouchers; Good idea or Accountability Escape

The debate has obviously not ended... Roland Martin, of who I am a huge fan, is wrong on this one. In his recent commentary posted to his CNN blog, he chides the president for not giving some the opportunity to send their kids to a private school the way the president does. He references the new spending bill which effectively kills the voucher program for Washington schools.

Now before I go on, of course I believe that every child is entitled to the best education they can receive, and that if it is a public school education, that it should be just as valuable as private schools. That said, to say that the only way to get a good education is in private school is wrong. To say that private school education, simply by virtue of being privately funded is always superior to public school education is equally wrong. Lastly to say that it is impossible to receive a quality public school education is equally wrong. Mr. Martin does NOT say these things, he implies them, and through ignorance most believe them. The truth is none are true and all are true.

There are so many factors that make up the education of a child, that can go so far as to make the learning institution irrelevant. A child that wants to learn, can learn under adverse conditions, and sometimes due to those conditions be better prepared than a more 'coddled' child. My personal issue with private school is that it is, before anything else, a business. Businesses have a single driver-make money. The education business does not do well if students fail, so in my opinion, that becomes a hidden factor in the assessment of each student.

I believe that having a private school voucher program opens the door to many issues. Even if by the fairest lottery, the system of distribution is inherently unfair. There will be some student or family, truly deserving, that will be disappointed. By effectively stating to our public school system that no matter how well they perform, they will still never be better than private school is a travesty. It not only calls the system a failure, but it gives no encouragement nor incentive to better itself. The problems with public schools has been the same since I was in school - bureaucracy. The red tape, the layers upon layers of administration. The rules, the unions, and all the other things that simply get in the way of opening the mind of a child to the world.

Take the money intended for vouchers, I know its not much,and put into the public school system. And as you do that, hold our teachers and administrators to a higher standard, call them to the importance of the task at hand. Everyone, regardless of whatever school they attended remembers the one teacher that made learning interesting or fun. That teacher had no special gift, the talent he/she used is called caring. That where it starts. President Obama is right on track...get rid of vouchers, give merit pay to top performers. Hold the schools accountable for doing the job we hired them to do. You would not be happy with your roofer if he got the job 50% done....and gave up on the rest.

link to Roland Martin Commentary -

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Q: When is a bias attack, NOT a bias attack?

A: When the racial component is NOT the original reason for the attack.

But that doesn't make it ok! On Sunday morning in Roosevelt, a 52 year old black man was attacked , allegedly for loiteing in front of a grocery store. During the attack, the n-word was used and the victim was told to go back to Africa. What makes this attack more significant is that one of the assailants is an off duty NYPD officer. Now, I'm aware of how the law works with regard to classifying bias attacks, but for me the larger question is with regard to the presence of an officer of the law. Someone with a sworn duty to uphold the law, not only NOT stopping the assualt, but being an active participant as well.

Oddly the assailants stated they attacked him because they believed he was loitering and panhandling in front of the store...I guess he wont have to beg anymore pretty soon...maybe next time they'll just call a cop....oh wait...yeah.

see -

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

'Hanging' email joke leaves Community Education Council member hung out to dry.

Sal Ballarino stepped down today at the insistence of the Borough President amid controversy surrounding an insensitive email he distributed to friends and colleagues. The facts are clear, this man was clueless as to legal requirements for public systems as well as lacking in judgement. His callous atitude toward the affair underscores the racial insensitivity of many Staten Island residents. Racial issues persist on Staten Island, some highlighted by the election of Barack Obama. On election night, a group of teens set out to pay back black people for electing Obama, they assaulted two people and ran over a third. While all will see justice to some degree, it does nothing to address the issue. There is no push for dialogue. There is no push for sensitivity training in our schools. There is no push for taking the steps necessary to prevent issues like the titled one from occurring again and again.