Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We're in it together

A couple months back now, bfp wrote a post wherein she talked about nature. And I found myself nodding along.
I think that nature or the natural world, or ‘mother earth’ or whatever you choose to call it, is also a violent, horrible, overwhelming place where our worst fears as human beings are located. Nature has an ugly underside to the incense breathing, chirping bird loving life bearing woman. It is a destructive place, a life taking place–a place where children are stolen from mothers much too early and whole groups of people are starved to death through the denial of rain.

The problem I have with a lot of the earth mother goddess types (trust me, I live in Ann Arbor–this is a *very* common belief here) is that 1. there is often a blatant refusal to admit to the brutal side of nature, or 2. if they do admit to it, that brutal side exists almost exclusively as a reactionary force against The Patriarchy. That is, men have fucked the world up with factories, pollution etc, and now the earth is gonna get them.

I think that it’s true that the Earth is getting ready to beat the holy shit out of us for all the shit we’ve done to it. But I think that the Earth had some pretty unsavory elements to her before we fucked everything to hell.

Since coming to Paganism I have been seduced by the virtues of many disparate pagan and Neo-Pagan beliefs. That of the loving and bountiful Mother Goddess, after a life of Jesus and his Dad, so removed from the natural world and our biological bodies, was especially appealing.

But as I grew older in my "faith" and began pondering the Earth as sacred I couldn't help noticing this other side to her as well. There is terrible hardship visited upon us children of the Earth in our lives upon it. That cannot be ignored. In fact, I think there is something profound in that. I've spent years now considering what that profound thought might be, and I have yet to adequately figure it out, but it seems like it is a truth of our existence. That the nature of life is hardship and joy. That our nature as thinking beings is the capacity to impart more hardship on each other, or to work together to create lasting joy for us all.

This has become a bit of a driving force behind my activism, such as it is at this time. It drives home to me the knowledge that, for better or for worse, we're in this shit together. That it is important for each of us to work with each other to make things better for all of us. Because, just as it is in the Earth and the Spirit/Energy which created us, it is within us to do create harm, to cause destruction for and to each other. I am reminded of this capacity often. I am, at the moment, reminded of it daily, as Israel and Palestine continue to duke it out for the scraps given them by more powerful Western countries. Though to be honest, I'm mostly reminded of it daily; there is always someone in the news working to make things better, and someone else murdering or stealing from their fellow humans.

I'm getting philosophical here at the end of the Western calendar year (it's an odd thing for me since Samhain is more of a new year to me but hey...). But I can't help thinking that if there is one thing I want my work to do, it is to show people just how we are all in this together. How the white single mother who just lost her job, the transgender woman praying her therapist will approve her surgery, the young man praying his insurance company will allow his life saving surgery, the migrant worker just hoping he'll make enough to be able to bring his family here, and the undocumented fearing she'll be deported; the gay couple fearing annulment of their marriage, the Palestinian and the Israeli, both fearing their friends and family may be dead in the morning; the black man being beaten by police and the cop killed while trying to protect a civilian, the soldier hoping to come home...and even the Republican who wishes San Francisco would be swallowed up by the Mother's oceans... For better or for worse, we're all in this together, and our lives to interact, even when we don't see it on the surface.

So happy new year to those who celebrate it now and I hope we can remember that simple fact better in the days to come.

Dr. Horrible on DVD and Easter Eggs

So as you can probably tell from my other posts on it, I loved Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog.

So of course I was one of the first to grab it for pre-order when it was offered (exclusively) on Amazon. Well, I got it the day before Christmas, and needless to say the husband and I sat down to watch it that night, starting with "Commentary! The Musical". Pretty damn funny, I must say. Of special note was the song "There's No Asians in the Movies" performed (and I assume written?) by Maurissa Tancharoen is searing and rather brilliant. Good to know people on the inside realize how white Joss's main casts sometimes are.

I have yet to figure out the Easter Eggs. I did see the number that pops up when you play it with the Wiccan subtitles. Apparently this is the ISBN to a Mariah Carey album? And if you hit "enter" when they discuss how Felicia Day would "go all Mariah Carey" from time to time in practice it will take you to a countdown. But what to do then?! I haven't figured it out yet. But I will. Oh yes, I will.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekly Links That Are Too Important to Just Go In My Widget

I think this will become weekly! We'll see...

From TransGriot a letter to the new policy adviser to Barney Frank, "Dear Diego." I hope he hears you Monica.

Bint point to why "gay marriage" is the wrong issue. I want to echo her call not to let us (social justice activists) be divided and conquered by the opposition.

Renee talks about the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards another black transwoman in Memphis meeting violence.

The Angry Black Woman takes on the dictionary. I'm with her on this, it may be a useful took but it is not the end all and be all of "what words mean" to anyone. And just because your definition isn't in it doesn't invalidate that definition either.

Recently Emma Bee Bernstein of the GirlDrive blog and book project passed away in Italy. RIP Emma. :(

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Free Palestine

This has got to end.

As sympathetic as I am to the desire for a Jewish state this constant back and forth has got to end, and Israel should be the one to end it, and we should not continue supporting them until they do.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Yule!

I'm at my mother's house, spending time with family. But I want to wish everyone a happy Yule, merry Christmas, happy Hannukah, Solstice, Kwanza, Diwali, and any other holidays I might not be familiar with. Mostly I just hope people take some time out to feel happy and be with people they care about. There's not enough of that in this world.

Sweet gorgeous moment, we pray with you
There is a heartbeat in the faraway night
pulling her dress away from her slippered feet
There it is - the burning star set on the hill
The precious light uncurling from the Mother
The holy secret, the hush, the breath of newness
The night falls away, rolling over in joy
May we keep these songs we learn in the dawning
May we sing them as the crocuses unfold in light
May we cry out at the fullness of the hush and the humming of our bodies
May we be full and never full of You, Holy Holy
The light gilds the bare trees and we are dancing in it
May it always be so.

A Solstice Prayer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Honoring my moon time

I was inspired by two posts to give some love to my "moon time" otherwise known as my period. Why would I give love to something that women are universally understood to hate or at the very least only sort of put up with?

Well, I don't know exactly when, but at some point I realized my perspective on my period was reflective of how I felt about my body in general. Therefore, I set about reframing how I thought about my body, and I figured my period was the best place to start.

I learned about my period at school and it basically became this thing that wasn't unnatural or anything to feel exactly shameful of but it was something to dislike and get through as quickly as possible. Certainly something I only heard spoken of in disparaging ways in conversation. I definitely hid the fact that I was on it when I was and had a mingling sort of curiosity and discomfort with it.

I didn't really come to terms with my period as an ok thing until I bought my first Diva Cup.

And of course that was part of that already mentioned process of choosing to come to terms with it. Along the road to that decision were other realizations like of my saying "I hate my period!" and wondering why, especially seeing as after a few years I didn't have terrible cramps or anything (nothing a couple Advil didn't solve anyway). I had decided by the time I bought my cup that I wanted to have a positive view of my period as part of a positive view of my body and the biological realities of what it meant to be a female sexed person.

But even with all that somehow until I stopped using tampons I still had an "icky" view of the whole thing. I didn't touch my vagina during that time, it felt very detached from me in general but especially during my period. I was starting to befriend it at other points (previously it had mostly functioned as a part of my body I didn't interact with much but was used by others to bring me pleasure so I can't say I had an unfavorable view of my cunt but just sort of a distant from it...) but there was a big disconnect during period time.

Something about using a cup, having to really make friends with my vagina, figure out how she worked, see the blood in it's whole state, realize the discomfort I had always felt because of tampon use soaking up all my natural moisture along with the blood... I dunno. That truly brought me to terms with it. I talk quite comfortably and openly about these things now, and no I don't work for Diva Cup, in fact I hear some brands are better, but that's what I have and it's worked well enough.

This is not my greatest post ever and I will probably revisit the topic in the future, but maybe it'll spark conversation. Unfortunately for writing, this evolving relationship with my body has been a rather convoluted journey, and therefore not chronologically easy to discuss. I guess, to come back to where I started; I give some love to my period. She's not so bad, pretty easy to manage really, she's part of a natural cycle of hormones that are sometimes frustrating, sometimes fun, and reassurance that I am still child free. All just part of being a woman in this female body, and I'm ok with that.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Two Poems, Two Videos

Both found at Womanist Musings.


To: UK Government
* The tragic murders of five young women in Ipswich caused an unprecedented outcry. Each of us deserves to be safe regardless of gender, occupation, sexual preference, race, age, nationality, immigration status or lifestyle.
* Prostitution is a survival strategy to deal with poverty, debt, rape, low wages, homelessness, unemployment… Most sex workers are mothers or young people; often they are both. Many have been in care or have had their children taken from them.
* Criminalising consenting sex – targeting sex workers, clients or both – pushes prostitution underground. It deters women from reporting violence & exploitation. Fines & ASBOs force women into isolated, less well lit areas.
* When prostitute women are not safe, no woman is safe. Serial rapists & killers often have a history of attacks on partners & prostitutes. (The conviction rate for reported rape is a shocking 5.7%. Over 200 women are murdered each year.)
* Raids on premises increase street prostitution which is 10 times more dangerous.
* Criminal records prevent sex workers from getting other jobs.
* “Rehabilitation” for drugs or anything else doesn’t work if it is compulsory.
* New Zealand has successfully decriminalised prostitution, improving health & safety.
1. The decriminalisation of prostitution. Sex workers must have the same rights and protection as other workers.
2. An end to Community Rehabilitation Orders, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Anti Social Behaviour Orders which reintroduce prison for street offences through the back door.
3. The enforcement of laws against domestic violence, rape and other violence against women and children must be a priority.
4. An end to the use of anti-trafficking legislation to deport immigrant sex workers. Trafficked women must have the right to stay so they can report violence.
5. Viable economic alternatives to prostitution. Voluntary drug services, affordable housing, benefits, training, pay equity.
The Undersigned

H/t to Caroline.

The Hidden Race War of Algiers Point During Katrina

If you haven't read A.C. Thompson's "Katrina's Hidden Race War" yet pick up your copy of, or head on over to, The Nation and check it out. Truly disturbing accounts that have gone all but ignored from the aftermath of the storm.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yay more links!

Weekly Immigration Wire from The Unapologetic Mexican

Vivir Latino: Are Latin@s Being Targeted?

Vivir Latino: A Way That Latin@s are Targeted

The Angry Black Woman: NPR Cancels News and Notes


On Bettie Page :(

Audre Lorde, Carol Hanisch, Sadomasochism, Free Love, and Feminism from Let Them Eat Pro-SM Feminist Safe Spaces.

"A Crime Against Society": Rape in the Congo from The Nation, c/o The Diary of an Anxious Black Woman.

Cara at The Curvature asks, Why is Victim a dirty word?

A story out of Gaza from Bastard Logic

Ultra Violet: Dogs and women not allowed.

Trans Group Blog considers the potential of Diego Sanchez being named senior adviser to Barney Frank

A woman in Georgia is arrested as she's leaving a court for refusing to take off her head scarf.

Internation Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers from Better Burn That Dress Sister.

HIV Researchers Make Critical Discovery for Women.

From Renee again, If you're a [12 year old!] black girl you must be a prostitute, a horrific story.

At guerrilla mama medicine we are asked to consider the definition of motherhood.

OK! That cleared out my Reader. ^.^ Of course in the subsequent day 47 new posts have popped up... -.- Oh Well. :D Regular posting will resume in the near future, until then, keep checking back on the "whatsername shares shit" widget for interesting stories and posts!

It's Time for a Round Up

I've been virtually out of action for a while, barely keeping up on my current events board and studying for finals (as well as reading Harry Potter, my brain rejoiced at the break). So now I'm going through my Reader and there is so much to share, I figured my little side widget just won't do this time.

She's been up to her usual challenging brilliance but in my catching up with Womanist Musings I was most moved by Renee's post about her son "Destruction" and how people's responses to him have changed as he grew up.

Want to know what Bush is up to as he gets ready to leave the White House? I found an answer through Feministe.

There's a new CD hitting the interwebz on January 1st called Speak! and it features the singing and spoken word (among other things I gather) of some of our favorite radical womyn of color from the blogosphere.

From ms. cripchick:
"I had the honor of joining radical women of color (many of who are your favorite bloggers, BrownFemiPower, Black Amazon, Little Light, Mamita Mala, Sudy, Nadia, and sooo many more) in putting together an amazing album that chronicles experiences around struggle, love, motherhood, redemption, healing and community. You can cop the CD in January, along with a zine and listening party curriculum, so be prepared! More details to come soon but stay on this— there are only 200 copies currently available. This is an effort towards sustainability and self-funding and all proceeds from this album will go to supporting mamis wanting to attend the Allied Media Conference next summer. Album will be offered on a sliding scale."

The Wild Hunt talks more about Pagan - Christian dialogue and religious pluralism.

Babeland's blog says if you like it then you shoulda put a (cock) ring on it.

Monica of TransGriot tells us why she can't stand the "Gay is the New Black" slogan, and newsflash, neither can I.

La Macha at Bitch Blogs talks about how Fat girls don't do that!

Yolanda at The Kitchen Table expresses her concerns about Caroline Kennedy representing New York state as a Senator.

los anjalis takes a moment on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to acknowledge how much it is not being lived up to in my home state.

Vivir Latino brings to light the rules Bush hastened to make against the mostly Latin@ migrant farmworker industry as well as an appalling story of NY police beating a public school kid for bringing a cell phone on campus.

In a related story, Nezua at The Unapologetic Mexican spreads the word about a NY/NJ Spanish Language ICE Raid Rapid Response Hotline. This is really useful, it's incredibly important that everyone living in the U.S. know their rights!

That's it for now, I still have over three hundred posts to look through though. So as I catch up I will probably be doing another one of these. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Found this documentary through a link to the trailer at bfp's place.

I've been captivated by the short clips from it hosted here. I hope I'll have the chance to see it! There's black diaspora Sundays at the local Speakeasy theater, I wonder if they'd be interested...

Regular posting will resume after finals, but I had to share.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Captain Hammer Will Save Us"

I'd just like to jump for joy right now that my final paper on Dr Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog is finished! And it could have been longer, even though I went to the max length. Good times! \o/

My Victory's complete so hail to the king! ^.^

Monday, December 08, 2008

I can only shake my head

"The only moral abortion, is my own!"

That's just, wow.

"As the Fires Die: The Terror of the Aftermath"

I was given a link in my class: Gender and the Culture of War, to a story regarding the recent terror attacks in India. I feel compelled to pass it on, as the story continues to unfold and the media continues to spin, spin, spin...


A snippet:
I certainly don't know the truth. But I do know that there is more than enough reason for skepticism. The problem is that we need a new theory of the State. We need to re-understand the State.

There is such unanimity when it comes to analyzing the Pakistani State - that the ISI, and if not all of the ISI, at least a segment of it, is a rogue element Furthermore, that its bosses may not be sitting in Islamabad, but perhaps elsewhere in the country or even abroad. If we can accept that about the Pakistani State, why is it so difficult to accept it about the Indian State? We all know that Colin Powell was a kind of a patsy - a fall guy, who trotted out some lies on behalf of a segment of the neo-conservative movement firmly entrenched within the American State (which Obama will not touch). We also know that if the ISI has a rogue element in it, it was in good part created by the CIA. Then why do we think that the same guys couldn't render another State - such as the US - itself hollow from the inside.

The contemporary State is a different being. For every story of money-corruption you hear, there could just as well be one of political-corruption. Every vested interest who locates himself inside the State apparatus is not just a vested interest going after money but could just as well be securing the space for creating a certain politics. The RSS has a long history of trying to take over the bureaucracy, doesn't it? So do the neo-cons and so do the jamaatis. Then why do we believe in a theory of the State that is unified and with liberal goals?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Canadian National Day of Rememberance

From Uppity Brown Woman:

Today is December 6th, otherwise known in Canada as the anniversary of the Montréal Massacre in 1989, or the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This day consistently gets me angry with the way it is taken up by mainstream media and many feminists, and I don’t want to take a moment of silence. I want to take a moment of non-silence, of speaking out, of yelling, of non-complacency about many forms of violence against many people.

I take a moment for the 14 women killed by Marc Lépine, who was not a ‘madman’, but an anti-feminist/misogynist who knew exactly what he was doing.

I take a moment for the hundreds of missing and murdered Native women across Canada who are ignored every day by the police, government, mainstream media, and many feminists.

I take a moment for the trans people who face wide amounts of violence, are murdered, beaten, intimidated, because of their gender identities.

I take a moment for the disabled women facing violence because they are seen as helpless and easily controlled.

I take a moment for non-status women in Canada who face all sorts of violence, systemic and otherwise, but have no reprieve or support because they are considered ‘illegal.’

I take a moment for the queer women who face violence (PDF) because they are queer, or from their partners, and have little support available to them because partner violence is seen as mainly heterosexual.

I take a moment for homeless women, who encounter gendered violence because they are invisible and not ‘real’ women.

I take a moment for all the women who have been raped or sexually assaulted, and those who will never tell anyone, because they see it as their fault and responsibility.

I take a moment for the intersections of the above.

I take a moment for the people whose plight apparently isn’t enough to get a national day of remembrance from the State, and remember them today.

Also from Renee: Women of École Polytechnique we have not forgotten you.

I had never heard of this until today, so I pass my new knowledge on to you.

Friday, December 05, 2008

We all live in Bhopal

Remembering Bhopal: 24 Years ago Wednesday

Clearly I need to watch more History channel, as I didn't know about this. What a horrific piece of history.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Why My Edenfantasys Widget Is Gone

Just in case your curious, here's why.

I don't need to do business with people like that, tyvm. I don't plan to review for them anymore either.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


If Jack Black as Jesus and Neil Patrick Harris as a special guest won't convince them... I don't know what will!

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Prop 8 the Musical, starring: Jack Black, John C. Reilly, Margaret Cho and Neil Patrick Harris (plus lots of people who's faces I recognized but names I don't know).

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

EZLN - First World Festival of the Digna Rabia


Sixth Commission and Intergalactic Commission of the EZLN
26th of November 2008.

To the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from the Lacandona Jungle in Mexico and in the world:
To the guests of the First World Festival of the "Digna Rabia":
To the people of Mexico:
To the peoples of the world:



Check out all the information at Zapagringo!!

Very cool stuff, I wish I could go. And that I wouldn't feel like such a tourist if I did. Maybe someday...

Monday, December 01, 2008

New Commenting Method

Renee installed a new commenting system and it looks rather cool so I thought I'd see how I liked it too. Perhaps over the Winter Break I'll try and figure out how to import the old comments to this format, but for now it's just going to apply for new comments.

Sort of cool, you can now reply to specific comments.

Astrological Update

Once again from Astrobarry, my favorite astrological forecaster.

As of tomorrow (Wed Nov 26), Pluto is back in Capricorn to stay. To review, Capricorn is a sign of structure and authority, symbolizing that which we build and sustain over time as part of our strategy to realize the goals we set. Only, when left to concretize and harden too crustily over time, such structures become way too inflexible, punitive or unfairly weighted to benefit one group at the expense of others. Enter Pluto, destructive and transformative force, to dig up the rotting foundation boards upon which our central authoritative systems are resting. Over the coming decade-and-a-half, Pluto will force us to glare straight into the face of all the inequities, the sweat labor, the exploitation and violence that fueled these massive accumulations of wealth and power among a select few.

At the same time, Saturn and Uranus continue their opposition, first exact on Election Day and remaining within orb another three years. As we've already seen, the Saturn-Uranus opposition pits pragmatic conservatism against radical freedom… a dialogue that we all share responsibility for keeping in balance, lest one side dominate and crush the other's legitimate voice.

But these astro-events don't exist in a bubble... and as 2008 feeds into 2009, we'll begin to see the convergence of (1) Pluto-in-Capricorn's intensifying pressure on governments and financial institutions to purge their shadowy dark sides and (2) the Saturn-opposing-Uranus need to incorporate revolutionary change into our traditional way of life, without going so far as to topple whatever tentative stability we're able to maintain.
As I see it, the events of 2010 onward will be a direct response to how adequately we can include genuinely progressive innovations into the existing social contract, with an eye toward giving the people more personal benefits education! health care! a clean environment!) from the manners of governance… rather than, say, continuing to rob money and labor from the average worker to pay for top executives' luxury goods.

Civilized society is, at its base, an agreement—each citizen provides his piece, and the governing bodies provide something in return. And at any point, one party can dissolve the agreement if its needs aren't being met by the terms. The less amount of real people-power change we actually put into practice over the next year or two, the more devastating the consequences to the centralized authority, once the people vent their hostile fed-up-ness.

Read it all, there's lots more.