Petition to Congress: Stop the militarization of local police.

Please sign and share this petition if you are willing and able (via CREDO* Action):

stoppolicemilitarizationDonald Trump recently rewarded the country’s biggest police union for their endorsement of his dangerous, racist candidacy. He is going to give state and local police military-grade weapons of war.1

In 2014, police in combat gear driving mine-resistant tanks violently confronted people protesting the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The national outrage and organizing, including from more than 100,000 CREDO members, helped force President Obama to dramatically scale back the 1033 program.

Recently, police in St. Louis in full riot gear were chanting “whose streets, our streets” as they violently confronted people protesting yet another not guilty verdict for another police killing of a Black man.3 But Trump, whose racist, xenophobic agenda depends on demonizing communities of color and unleashing law enforcement, wants to bring 1033 back in full force.

Fortunately, there is a bill that would stop Trump’s dangerous escalation and help keep weapons of war out of our communities, the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act. The more of us who speak out, the more pressure on Congress to act.

Tell Congress: Pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act and block Donald Trump’s attempt to militarize local police.

Police militarization contributes to the over-policing of communities of color and the erosion of trust between communities and police. When police departments are armed with military-grade weapons and trained to use military tactics, they are more likely to treat the people they are meant to serve as enemy combatants.4 In many communities, fully militarized SWAT teams routinely issue search warrants, terrorizing people in their homes and neighborhoods.5

Police militarization also undermines people’s right to peacefully and safely protest. The hyper-militarized and clearly disproportionate police response to largely peaceful protesters in Ferguson is far from the only example. In the summer of 2016, Baton Rouge, Louisiana police responded to peaceful protests of Alton Sterling’s murder as if they were going to war.6 Last fall in North Dakota, police in riot gear confronted peaceful Standing Rock protesters with armored vehicles, automatic rifles, sonic weapons, concussion grenades, pepper spray and beanbag bullets.7 Surveillance devices like the Stingray, which can secretly download cell data and disrupt cell service, are also part of the 1033 program.8

It is no surprise that Trump, who condoned white supremacist Nazi violence against peaceful protesters last month in Charlottesville, wants to further weaponize police, terrorize communities of color and stifle peaceful dissent to his hateful regime. That is why it is more important than ever to pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act now. The bill would shut down the direct pipeline between the Department of Defense and police, ban the transfer of a long list of military equipment, require extensive documentation and reporting, and prohibit the militarization of departments under investigation for civil rights violations.9

Donald Trump’s extreme agenda has already emboldened law enforcement agents across the country, at the local, state and federal level. Making sure that his administration cannot arm police with weapons of war is a powerful way to fight back.

Can you add your name today to tell Congress to pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act and block Donald Trump’s attempt to militarize local police?

Thank you for everything you do.

References:

  1. Tom Jackman, “Trump to restore program sending surplus military weapons, equipment to police,” The Washington Post, Aug. 27, 2017.

  2. Matt Apuzzo, “War Gear Flows to Police Departments,” The New York Times, June 8, 2014.

  3. Nicole D. Nelson, “When Will Black Lives Matter in St. Louis?” The New York Times, Sept. 20, 2017.

  4. ACLU Foundation, “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing,” June 2014.

  5. ibid.

  6. Tess Owen, “Baton Rouge cops dressed for war to confront protesters,” Vice News, July 11, 2016.

  7. Standing Rock Special: Dallas Goldtooth on Police Violence & Repression of Movement Against DAPL,” Democracy Now, Nov. 24, 2016.

  8. Jeremy Scahill and Margot Williams, “Stingrays: A Secret Catalogue of Government Gear for Spying on Your Cellphone,” The Intercept, Dec. 17, 2015.

  9. H.R.1556 – Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act

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*CREDO is a lefty activist mobile telecom company: every month it allocates a portion of its revenue to various activist non-profits, as voted and allocated by its customers. CREDO is, for example, Planned Parenthood’s largest corporate donor. Please consider switching to CREDO as your mobile carrier, and stop supporting anti-democratic corporations that fund conservatives like AT&T. Yes it is true that CREDO runs on Verizon’s network and it’s also true that Verizon is a ginormous shitweasel, so some of CREDO’s revenue is indeed funding conservative shitweaselry. But compared to the telecom behemoths CREDO is a tiny company, and yet it still manages to donate $150-200k per month to well-vetted, worthwhile organizations.

Petition to St. Louis Mayor: Protect protesters, investigate cops.

[CONTENT NOTE: white supremacy, racist police violence (no images).]

Please sign and signal boost if you are willing and able. Thank you.

via Color of Change:

Police are out of control in St. Louis, and the Mayor has done nothing to stop them. Over the weekend of protests following the not-guilty verdict absolving Jason Stockley of accountability in the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, police have taunted protesters saying Ferguson-era chants like “Whose streets? Our streets?”1–in the same manner of neo-nazi terrorists in Charlottesville2–and police even trampled over an older woman and pepper-sprayed the people who tried to help her.3

Mayor Lyda Krewson still has not condemned the rampant excessive force police are using to suppress the peaceful protesters she claims to support. After the verdict came down, Krewson was quick to express her disappointment and also made a statement in support of the peaceful protest.4 And today she said internal affairs division of the St. Louis police would investigate misconduct. But we know we can’t rely on the police to investigate themselves. We need Krewson to take REAL action to protect protesters. That’s why we’re calling on her to widely condemn any use of excessive force against protesters and call an independent commission to investigate the actions of police during this time. She won’t have a choice if enough of us join together in making the demand. Will you sign the petition?

Tell the St. Louis Mayor: Take a stand against police violence. Protect the right to protest in your city.

This weekend’s events are history repeating itself again and again since the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement. When Black people gather to demand an end to state violence, the state doubles down on the violence people were there to protest in the first place. We saw the St. Louis Police Department’s militarized response to protest in Ferguson in 2014, and we’re seeing it again today. St. Louis police department has one of the highest rates of police-involved killings.5 And instead of encouraging peaceful protest, St, Louis police invoked fear and provoked the confrontation. Using tear gas and riot gear, the police in St. Louis have arrested over 100 people since Friday that the police chief called “criminals.”6

In fact, the St. Louis Police Department has been overstating the supposed crime and vandalism to excuse their overly aggressive actions against mostly peaceful protests. Just yesterday, the police department tweeted a picture of a spray bottle filled with apple cider vinegar–a remedy protesters use to alleviate the symptoms of tear gas–and called it a “chemical agent” they confiscated from people trying to use it “against police officers.”7 The truth is that St. Louis police agitated protesters, and none of their actions were centered in de-escalation. They came dressed for a riot. And it’s what they got. Taunting at protesters is not how police officers should be engaging during this time.

It’s unacceptable. Mayor Krewson has said she wants to come together as a united St. Louis–and that means speaking out against behavior that seeks to divide us and push back against the change our communities need. Protest is a right that should be protected. And the actions of St. Louis police need to be investigated by an independent commission immediately.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

— Arisha, Rashad, Scott, Clarise, Anay, Malaya, Enchanta, Katrese, and the Color Of Change team

References:

1. “St. Louis officers chant ‘whose streets, our streets’ while arresting protesters,” Washington Post, 09-18-2017

2. “A new generation of white supremacists emerges,” Louisiana Weekly, 08-21-17

3. “St. Louis cops trample, arrest woman at protest,” New York Post, 09-16-2017

4. “Mayor Krewson’s statement on verdict,” Twitter @LydaKrewson, 09-15-2017

5. “Letter to Mayor Krewson re: Police Conduct at Sunday Night Protest,” ACLU of Missouri, 09-18-2017

6. “St. Louis protests continue, police arrest more than 100 people and vow: ‘This is our city,'” Washington Post, 09-18-2017

7. “St. Louis Police Claim an ‘Unknown Chemical’ Labeled ‘Apple Cider Vinegar’ Maliciously Used Against Them,” The Root, 09-19-2017

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Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

Petition to Las Vegas PD: Release the video.

[CONTENT NOTE: white supremacy, racist police violence.]

Full disclosure: I have no idea who Michael Bennett is. I loathe men’s sportsball with the burning intensity of ten thousand suns. This campaign is the only reason I know that Bennett is a black man—but of course that is the only thing that matters to far too many police officers in this country. Please consider signing this petition, and signal boosting. Thank you.

via Color of Change:

bennetCampaign created by
Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, Black Lives Matter Global Network

Release the names of the officers and footage from the police assault on NFL player Michael Bennett on Saturday, August 26, 2017.

Why is this important?

Continue reading

Attention fellow New Yorkers: please sign & share.

From our friends at Refuse Fascism and Stop Mass Incarceration Network [NOTE: I live in the 6th Precinct]. [NOTE: I live in the 6th Precinct.]

Iris —

#RiseUp!
eNewsletter of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network NYC * March 25, 2017

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Drop the Charges Against the Stonewall 4!

WE DEMAND – DROP THE CHARGES ON THE STONEWALL 4

Monday, March 27, the trial of the Stonewall 4 is scheduled to start.  The Stop Mass Incarceration Network is calling on everyone to stand up in support and demand that NYC drop all the unjust charges against them.

Who Are They?

The Stonewall 4 are members of the NYC Revolution Club who were part of a Refuse Fascism contingent at the February 4 Solidarity Rally at the Stonewall Inn, a beautiful outpouring of thousands who rallied to protest the Muslim Ban & come together in support of LGBTQ rights.

At the end of the rally and as the Revolution Club was packing to leave, they were confronted by NYPD officers for no apparent reason and 4 Revolution Club members were arrested.  They are charged with 7 misdemeanor crimes including Obstructing Governmental Administration and Resisting Arrest which carry a possible year’s sentence on Riker’s Island.  The charges are outrageous.  People of conscience must not stand aside while dissent is criminalized.

Take these actions in support:

SIGN the Petition!

Add your name to the Petition to NY District Attorney Cyrus Vance and Mayor DeBlasio: Stonewall 4 – DEMAND ALL CHARGES DROPPED!   Spread this widely on social media, to your friends, family and colleagues.

Court Support!

Monday, March 27, 8:30 a.m. – COME TO COURT!  Rally in front of 100 Centre Street, and come into the courtroom with the Stonewall 4.   We will show the Court that we have their backs and that there are people throughout the community who will not be silent in the face of this attack. Invite on facebook. Facebook Event

DONATE!

DONATE  for legal expenses. $3,000 is needed.  Your donation of $100, $50…even $10 will make a difference.


Sunday March 26 Potluck: Meet the Stonewall 4!

Please note time date and time change

6:30 – 8:30 pm Location: Asian American Writers Workshop, 112 West 27th Street 6th Floor, Manhattan (between 6th and 7th Avenues).  Trains: F/C/E to 23rd Street; #1/R to 28th Street

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Demand the NYPD Stop the surveillance and political suppression of Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism activists!

Demand the DA drop these outrageous charges immediately

Stonewall4@100Centre

Originally published from March 21, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

There is a pattern of NYPD stalking and surveilling political speech coming to light— from the moment Refuse Fascism first published a full page ad in the New York Times individuals have been targeted for political and legal persecution for spreading the urgently needed political message, “NO! In The Name Of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America!”

What you can do:

  • We need to raise $2,500-$3,000 to cover legal costs for a mainly volunteer legal team so please donate generously here: https://RefuseFascism.org/donate and indicate it is for legal expenses.

  • Sign and spread this petition and video on social media.

  • Next Monday, March 27, pack the courtroom.

  • Join a fund-raising potluck on Sunday, March 26.

On January 4, the day that Refuse Fascism printed a full-page ad in the New York Times, Refuse Fascism activists including several Revolution Club members went outside Fox News headquarters in New York City with a five-foot tall enlargement of the New York Times ad. As they were marching down the sidewalk towards the subway they were followed by NYPD vans, flashing their lights, and an entourage of around 8-12 NYPD officers. These stalkers followed them throughout the city, and all the way 35+ blocks downtown to a Refuse Fascism meeting happening in Greenwich Village, making sure to switch to cops from a different precinct as they got closer downtown and entered that precinct’s jurisdiction on the way to the meeting.

On January 12, New York police [from the 6th precinct] stalked, arrested, and brutalized a young person associated with Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club. She and a friend were walking through Greenwich Village, on their way to a publicly announced Refuse Fascism event. She was carrying Refuse Fascism posters tucked under her arm. When her friend went into a store to pick up some food, a woman walking behind her read her sign aloud: “Stop Trump/Pence.” Seconds later, this woman—an NYPD cop in plainclothes—and two other cops, also not in full police uniform, grabbed the young woman and began manhandling her. Several police cars arrived, and the assembled NYPD force pushed her up against a car, and shoved her face against the trunk. The police subjected this woman to hours of abuse—political, physical, sexual, and psychological. And in addition to this she has been charged with three misdemeanors facing up to a year in jail. To read the fuller account, go to revcom.us.

On February 4, 2017, as the “LGBT Solidarity Rally” at the historic Stonewall Inn was drawing to a close, four people, revolutionaries with the NYC Revolution Club, and volunteers with Refuse Fascism, were brutally attacked and arrested by the NYPD. They are being charged with seven misdemeanor crimes carrying up to a year’s sentence on Rikers Island.

In a statement Noche Diaz and the other defendants said, “We were at Stonewall to stand with people against the first iteration of the inhumane Muslim Ban. We challenged and connected people with the need to confront the fascist nature and direction of this regime, and that protest alone would not be enough; we need to build a movement and drive the regime from power, and do so not just for ourselves, but in the name of humanity. We were attacked for bringing out this message. We have previously been stalked and arrested by the authorities, followed, and harassed by police and Trump fanatics.”

The stakes of these cases are very high—a key part of fascism is the trampling on and tearing up of civil and legal rights, and there are moves across the country to further criminalize protest, to erode and eliminate the room to even oppose the moves by the regime against the people and the planet. [Read more]

Should the NYPD be able to get away with stalking, harassing and arresting those people who are putting before society the horrors facing humanity with the installation and consolidation of the fascist Trump/Pence regime? NO! THIS CANNOT STAND!

Should the message of Refuse Fascism—the necessity to drive out this fascist regime—be politically and legally suppressed? NO! THIS CANNOT STAND!

Should those people who recognize the horrific consequences for humanity and the planet and are acting to bring this to millions more be surveilled, targeted, brutalized and thrown into prison? NO! THIS CANNOT STAND!

Should the message of those revolutionaries who while doing this sharply put before people the real history of this country, the nature of the system and how things could be radically different, be silenced and suppressed? NO! THIS CANNOT STAND!

This struggle against repression is an important part of the overall struggle to drive out the Trump/Pence regime and YOU are needed.

We are calling on all people of conscience to express their outrage at the illegitimate suppression of political speech, to demand that these charges be dropped, and the surveillance, in particular by the 6th precinct, of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club members be STOPPED. StopMassIncarceration.NYC http://www.stoppoliceterror.org/

Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Box 941 Knickerbocker Station
New York , NY 10002, United States

#muschniwogdowis of the day: “parallel construction.”

It is simply an invariable truth in the history of politics, in the history of government, that whenever a new power is acquired in the name of some threat, it always — not sometimes, not often, not usually —it always extends beyond its original application, beyond its original justification.
Glenn Greenwald (video @36:30)

Hey kids, it’s time to revisit the World’s Bestest Ever and Most Useful Ever Acronym Ever: #muschniwogdowis! And it will continue to be the bestest ever and most useful ever acronym ever until it is no longer true that Most US Citizens Have No Idea What Our Government Does Or Who It Serves.

Today’s fun topic is “parallel construction.” It comes to our attention via this piece in The Daily Beast:

AT&T Is Spying on Americans for Profit, New Documents Reveal
The telecom giant is doing NSA-style work for law enforcement—without a warrant—and earning millions of dollars a year from taxpayers.

Continue reading

The beginning of the end of police violence?

Talk is notoriously cheap of course, and at particularly cut-rate discount when it comes from the mouths of government officials. But this sounds really, really good to me.

U.S. police chiefs group apologizes for ‘historical mistreatment’ of minorities

Continue reading

Gangs of New York.

Over at The Nation, Simon Davis-Cohen has a piece up that will surprise no one who follows #blacklivesmatter. What’s new here, at least to me, is not the NYPD’s over-the-top militarization, or the disproportionate targeting of communities of color for aggressive over-policing. It’s not even that in the United States of La-La-Land, the criminal justice system does not work the way we whites think it does, the way were propagandized to believe it does. It’s that as the system’s tactics morph, new and different harms continue to befall these communities in unexpected—and unexpectedly devastating—ways. With apologies to our cephalopod friends for the unfair comparison, the tentacles of state violence are constantly shape-shifting without reason, compassion or constraint.

Continue reading

Korryn Gaines #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter

The following is a post by my friend and Freethought Blogs colleague Nathan Hevenstone. Nate requested that it be reposted far and wide. I am happy to oblige.

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Just when I thought I could start posting lighter stuff…

Cops shoot, kill woman barricaded with little boy wounded in Baltimore standoff (I don’t know if the video in the link shows the shooting… I can’t get it to play. I’m sorry. Be wary just in case.)

In a fit of road rage, Anthony Vigilotti pointed a handgun directly at a police officer, but was arrested later that day without incident. From his mugshot, it doesn’t even look like he received a scratch in the process.

Jed Frazier pointed his handgun directly at police, but “officers and medics took shelter and continued to make contact with Frazier. Shortly before 3 a.m. Police say they broke the windows in the truck and extricated Frazier. Frazier was treated for minor injuries before being taken to the Lawrence County Jail.”

In a quick search, I found a dozen similar stories from July alone. White men, be they mass shooters like Dylann Roof (Charleston), James Holmes (Aurora), or Jared Lee Loughner (Tucson) — or men like William Bruce Ray, Anthony Vigilotti, or Jed Frazier — all live to face a jury of their peers.

Korryn Gaines doesn’t have a violent history. She was a cosmetologist and, according to her friends and family, a doting mother. She should’ve received the treatment that all of those armed white men received. Somehow, in each of those cases, police found in their hearts to overcome their fears without unloading their guns on those men.

That’s white privilege.

It should be noted that at least 682 people have been murdered by the police this year.

korryngaines

Korryn Gaines posing with her son over her back. Both look very happy.

I really want to say more. I’d like to say how enraged I am, how every time I post something like this, I do it through tears. And that is 100% true. I’m in tears now.

But so fucking what? What do my rage and my tears accomplish?

For those who are already dead, nothing.

I can support Black Lives Matter, and they are still dead.

I can post about them, and they are still dead.

I can show pictures of them being people, and they are still dead.

I can vote, and they are still dead.

I can donate money, and they are still dead.

I can talk about my white privilege, and they are still dead.

I can get out in the streets, and they are still dead.

These people, whose lives did fucking matter, at least to me, are now dead, never to see their children grow up, never to see or meet their grandchildren, or great grandchildren, never to see how there lives would progress into the future…

Because they were murdered by the damn state. Everything I try to do to make some kind of small change, to support a future where this doesn’t happen, doesn’t help the ones who are already dead.

But it can help those who are still alive, and still in danger. I can at least do something for all of you still breathing because, so far, the cops have seen fit to let you live.

God I’m sorry. It means nothing, but I’m sorry. We white people have to make it stop. Things have to change. And I’ll keep using my privilege and my platform to speak up, for those of you who are still alive, because your lives DO FUCKING MATTER. And until this country accepts that, I won’t stop saying it.

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Thank you, Nate.

blacklivesmatter

 

NYC FTW.

One of the things I love most about this city is that it is constantly recycling itself. If you’re a fan of urban hiking, you can walk the same streets day after day and almost always discover something new. Sometimes you notice something old that somehow escaped your attention. And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you get yelled at by the police for taking pictures with your iPhone in a public fucking building.

Anyway.

On Friday I had some business at the New York County court house at 60 Centre Street. The subways on the West side don’t get you very close, so when you come up from the station on Chambers Street you have to zig and zag your way North and East for several blocks. I guess I had never taken this particular path before, or at least not for a long time, because I stumbled on something striking: the African Burial Ground National Monument.

IMG_5665

It reads:

For all those who were lost
For all those who were stolen
For all those who were left behind
For all those who were not forgotten

From the plaque by the street:

A Place of Remembrance

From the 1690s until 1794, an estimated 15,000 enslaved and free Africans were laid to rest in the African Burial Ground. In 1991, during construction of the Ted Weiss Federal Building, 419 skeletal remains were exhumed. The rediscovery of the cemetery sparked vigorous efforts to preserve this hallowed ground. In 1993 a small portion of the original 6.6 acre cemetery became the first below-ground New York City landmark and a national historic landmark. African Burial Ground National Monument was proclaimed on February 27, 2006. Widely regarded as one of America’s most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century, it is also a place of remembrance and reflection.

Ancestral Reinterment Ground

On October 4, 2003, the exhumed ancestral remains were reburied on this site. The bones and accompanying artifacts were placed in hand-carved wooden coffins made in Ghana and lined with Kente cloth. The coffins were placed in seven crypts as close as possible to the original burial positions with heads facing west. Seven burial mounds mark the locations of the reinterments. If you wish, you may place flowers on top of the burial mounds.

The plaque also gives an overview of the layout:

plaque

Circle of the Diaspora

The African Diaspora is the forced removal of Africans from their homeland to different parts of the world. It is also Africans’ unwavering spirit and ability to adapt. This circular wall, ramp, and interior court display cultural and spiritual images from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and other areas throughout the Diaspora.

Ancestral Chamber

The 24-foot-high Ancestral Chamber represents the soaring African spirit and the distance below ground from which the ancestral remains were exhumed. It is made of Verde Fontaine green granite from Africa. The heartlike Sankofa symbol from West Africa means “Learn from the past to prepare for the future.” The interior recalls a ship’s hold and provides a place for individual contemplation and prayer.

I found all of this quite moving.

It was a cool gray day, raining on and off. There was a long line to get inside the visitor center, but the monument itself was practically deserted: I saw only two people, both black, come and go separately. (You will be happy to learn that I waited until they were well out of sight before I started snapping pictures like a maniacal tourist.) The monument’s web site has some interesting resources, but I’d really like to explore the visitor center when I have a little more time. It has a book store, which I’m hoping houses a treasure trove of titles that can rarely be found all in one place.

I love New York City, and I’ve learned over the years that its history has at least as many facets as people. Sometimes its stories are sad or strange, sometimes surprising or even exhilarating. But at the rate this city reinvents itself, it seems unimaginable to me that any one person could learn all that much about it, relatively speaking, even over the course of a lifetime.

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A few blocks away, I was standing in line to clear security in the lobby of the court house. It’s pretty much the standard airport security theater setup: x-ray for bags and coats and whatnot, walk-through metal detectors and a phalanx of people in uniform, inside-joking with each other while waiting for someone to set of an alarm. Except unlike TSA agents, these d00ds were armed—NYPD, I think—and I couldn’t help wondering if they were also waiting for an opportunity to pull their guns. You know: to break up the monotony of Keeping Us Safe™ by killing someone.

As I waited my turn, I took in the stunning architecture, not for the first time. Soaring columns, vaulted ceilings, gorgeous details—lit up, unfortunately, by a monstrous chandelier ablaze with fluorescent glare.

IMG_5669

“Hey! Hey! You can’t do that!” I heard one of the uniformed gentlemen barking. I ignored it —it couldn’t possibly be directed at me—as I snapped another shot with my iPhone.

IMG_5668

“HEY!” Much more emphatic this time.”YOU CAN’T TAKE PICTURES IN HERE!”

“Oh. Really?” I was a bit miffed. What Sooper Seekrit stuff could there possibly be in the lobby of the same building where millions of New Yorkers serve jury duty, FFS.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I didn’t know.” It’s not like there was a big sign that said NO CAMERAS or anything. I slipped the phone into my pocket. “Did you want me to delete them?”

“WHAT?” he snapped back.

“The pictures, do you want me to delete them?”

He seemed to think about it for a second or two before shaking his head in exasperation. Or disgust. Hard to tell, really.

Later I wondered if I were black whether he might have opened fire instead.

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On my way back to the subway via a different route, I spotted a Lot-Less store. It’s one of those discount/closeout/outlet operations that pepper the city, promising (and often delivering) all kinds of brand-name retail items, from food to shoes to housewares to electronics at, like, 80% off. I’ve always been a sucker for these shops, not least because when I’ve been poor, I could always score a deal there on some necessity. And when I’m not-poor, I take pleasure in paying a small fraction of the retail price for my gym socks and bathroom rug. Another opportunity to stick it to The Man!

I decided to take a quick swing through. And lo, it came to pass that I did scoreth The Deals.

For myself, I found an amazing dress for $20.

lotlessdress

It fits me really well, which is a small miracle because there are no fitting rooms at Lot-Less and also because NOTHING EVER DOES GODDAMMIT. I almost didn’t buy it. But then I figured what the hell: worst case, I donate it to Housing Works with the tags still on it. (They’d probably get more than $20 for it too.) It seems well made, of 97% cotton 3% spandex, and it has deep pockets. WIN.

But this dress? This dress is nothing compared to what I scored for My Amazing Lover™. That’s right, people: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles boxer underwear—with a detachable cape! As I’m sure you can imagine there were precious few of them left, so I breathlessly pawed through the racks hoping to find a pair in his size. And find them I did.

tmnturtlesboxers

L-R: front view, back view, back view with cape. 

I cannot fathom how one could possibly experience more joy for $3.99. Unless it’s happy hour, obviously. And yes, he loves them and will wear them to work under his business suit.

Possibly sans cape.

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Speaking of happy hour, I was shortly back in my neighborhood, treasures in tow, and headed for one of my local watering holes for a late lunch and some very good Rosé. The weather here this winter has been all kinds of fucked-up, but somehow the Bradford pear trees have rallied to put on their annual show of snowy white blossoms.

christopher&gay

The streets of the West Village never look more magical than they do in the spring, even on a dreary day. Soon all the white petals will fall to the sidewalks, and everything will seem snow-covered for a day or two. But the breezes will be warmer. And then I’ll get to wear my new dress, with open-toed shoes.

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[cross-posted at death to squirrels]