Thursday, April 30, 2009

White Firefighters Discrimination Case

NY Times Story

Gods, where to even begin. Did you all SEE this story? There is just so much to talk about. Need an example of whiteness perpetuating and reinforcing itself? Look NO further.

First of all, I love how we are introduced to this exceptional fireman we're all clearly supposed to empathize with. Oh this poor guy, he gave up his second job! He paid someone 1000 dollars to help him study! He's dyslexic! (you don't hate disabled people do you? cuz if you don't think this guy deserve a promotion you TOTALLY do)

So let's set the reader firmly in the mindset of this poor wronged white guy.

Is there any equivalent for one of the Black firefighters? Nope.

I also like that they point out right at the outset that one of the white firefighters is "Hispanic". Ohhhhh, we have an "ethnic white" on our side, now you can't say it's racist! You racist ableist! *sigh*

Then the fact that the test has been thrown out is put out there with no explanations, no rationale. So, we've set you up with this oh-so-sympathetic white dude, who's apparently in solidarity with POC cuz, "Hispanic dude"! and oh gods, their dream, it's been taken away!

Yah, this writer isn't biased at all.

No counter opinions given, no real justifications for the actions of the city. Anytime a critique is mentioned (and if you'll note those times are few) it's sort of thrown out there like it has no context and always is represented by clearly race-based groups. Groups that, because of the whole way the story is set up, are immediately suspicious because we've already been put into the shoes of the wronged white men. And any validity the critiques might have retained are now undercut by the words of a city representative, who says that "fear of lawsuits" is what motivated them.

So we have these poor sympathetic white dudes who worked so hard and their tests aren't being honored because of those damned stupid sue-happy POC. For shame.

Totally elided in all this? Discussion of affirmative action. But don't tell me that means it's not there. It's implicit in the whole discussion. If POC can't pass these "objective" tests then they're just too stupid to have their promotion! Any argument saying otherwise is just advocating for the dreaded affirmative action. It's like a ghost (a white ghost) haunting this whole piece.

Let's not talk about all the studies which show that white middle class men do better across the board on standardized tests. Let's not talk about systematic racism within city institutions such as the police and fire departments. Let's not give any serious time to the interesting numbers of POC in the firefighting hierarchy. Nope. We're the NY Times, we're LIBERAL. Don't you know? So we can't be racist, we can't be reiterating our whiteness with every fucking word. Nope nope.

Those irrational, unreasonable "colored" people. It's got to be them, denying poor dyslexic white guys who worked so hard their due. I shed a tear.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dear Gods - "Matthew Shepard's Case a Hoax"

For fuck's sake... Have you all seen this yet?! Via HuffPo

"I also would like to point out that there was a bill -- the hate crimes bill that's called the Matthew Shepard bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay. This -- the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills,"

So in the middle of debating the new Hate Crimes bill (which passed by the way!) this fucking piece of work gets up to point out that the Matthew Shepard bill is inappropriately named because, you know, he was killed in A ROBBERY, no no, not because he had TEH GAY.

EXCEPT HE WAS. As everyone but this bitch and the "God Hates Fags" people seem to understand. So you, Representative Fox, should sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.

And I don't have the cool headedness to say more than that. But way to stir up the haters, lady...


You know the drill, these are the highlights of my weekly reading, that I just couldn't see pass by without pointing to. Want more? I have a widget on the right sidebar of this blog where I recommend as I read through my Google Reader.

Walking Away: The Luxury Of An Ally

Killing Me Softly

purity and mixed up-ness

U.S. Soldier Killed Herself -- After Refusing to Take Part in Torture

Stay At Home Mother Not Considered A Professional

Debunking White: Teaching Children

purity and mixed up-ness

Women As A Tool To Justify Transphobia

stop hitting. start dancing

after the trial
(on Angie Zapata)
A Candle For Angie

Dominican Republic Passes Complete Ban on Abortion

We Shall Remain - "Through Native Eyes"?

Mysterious Viruses, Pt. 4. Swine Flu

Shaming Radical Love

The Craigslist Killer: Just A Normal Guy

women and prisons

Two quite different reviews of The Purity Myth by, Jessica Valenti:
The Purity Myth, a review
A Review of Jessica Valenti’s The Purity Myth, and my Prayer that Purity Proponents Read it

Compelling "17 Again" Review from Elizabeth Banks

The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Sex Ed
whatsername says: I actually still like this movie, but I thought the review and critique was excellent

Woodland dentist who molested patients gets 6 years in prison

The Story of a CAFO Survivor

A documentary via Transgriot

The Construct of Whiteness

loyal five words

Addicted to Survivalism

Woman is the Nigger of the World

Liberation And Rain
I want raise the bar and brazenly suggest that “poor” people are the natural leaders of all people. And that includes the middle class, the rich, the underemployed working class and so on.

On Thinking of Human Beings As Trash and Other Tragedies of Resources

Post-Racial Princeton? Not in Municipal Court

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Help Vicki Marlane

via en|Gender

via Susan Stryker:

Michelle Lawler is producing a documentary film about Vicki Marlane, a 74-year-old transsexual woman who is an amazing drag performer, and who still puts on two shows a week at Aunt Charlie’s Lounge in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Drag performance, particularly the traditional “record pantomime” style that Vicki does, is a joyous, subversive, heart-warming art form. Vicki has been doing professional theatrical drag for 50 years. She is a total inspiration to me, and an honored elder of my community.

Michelle and her editor Monica Nolan have completed a final cut of the film, titled “Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight,” (so-called after a line in Vicki’s signature number, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”). We expect the film to premiere at Frameline’s San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival in June 2009–look for the official press release on May 19!

We’re still trying to raise the last few thousand dollars we need to pay for music rights and the final audio mix to finish the film. I’m writing to ask you to make a donation that will help us complete this important film.

You can watch a short clip from the film at our page on the BAVC web site (our fiscal sponsor). Check out Vicki’s performance, too, while you’re at it.

You can make a tax-deductible contribution online from that page or you can make a non-tax deductible donation by sending a check made out to the film’s Executive Producer, Kim Klausner, at 1541 Alabama Street, San Francisco, CA 94110.

All donations — $5, $25, $100, $500 or whatever — will help. Feel free to forward this email to people who might be interested in supporting this project.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mysterious Asians on Bones: “The Girl in the Mask”

This week's episode of Bones featured a storyline guest-starring a friend of Agent Booth’s and this friend’s sister, the siblings were Japanese and it is explained Booth met them during a law enforcement exchange program.

After watching this episode I found myself wondering why it is that USian media has such a difficult time divorcing actual elements of Japanese culture from this Orientalist mystique we love to put on representations of Japanese people. One particular shot that I keep coming back to is at the end of the episode, where the brother is observing some sort of ritual for the dead. Incense was lit over the last place his sister's skull was stored in the lab and he appeared to be in prayer. As he begins his ritual the door shuts on us (the audience and camera). As a result his rite stays mysterious instead of humanizing, exotic instead of different but familiar. This is fairly emblematic of the other moments I noticed, it's like bits of culture are just thrown in to remind us how mysterious the Japanese are, which serves to reinforce “their” difference from “us.”

The gender element that came into play struck me as related to the racial one, too. The brother brings a doctor who is very highly thought of in the field to assist Dr. Brennen with her work. This doctor is rather androgynous looking, with a slightly deep voice for a woman, and non-gender defining clothing. As a result the team spends half the episode riveted to wondering if this doctor is “really” a man or a woman.

When one of the team goes digging for biographical information about this character, she finds that ze's gender is mentioned nowhere, and that ze subscribes to a gender/sexual philosophy that strives for androgyny, cue the team chuckling at how successful ze has clearly been. Eventually the debate is settled when one of the team goes up to the doctor and hugs hir, ze moves hir hips back so as not to make contact with the female team member's hips. This apparently settles that ze is biologically male, because this is “a guy hug.” Seemingly it never occurs to them that the piece of information they so desperately want to know, this person’s assigned sex at birth, is none of their business anyway.

This just seems like plain ol’ terrible writing to me. You're honestly going to tell me that people this bright and this cutting edge will have never heard of a gender neutral pronoun (one of the reasons they are so fixated on the doctor’s “real gender” is "what do we call hir")? You want your viewers to believe that instead, two of these scientists would find it perfectly OK to refer to hir as "he/she" and not know how offensive that is.

It just doesn’t make any sense, but then, without their “mystery” Asian characters are apparently uninteresting to USian audiences (or at least casting directors and producers seem to think so).

I really hope this sort of thing is a fluke, because I found these racial/gender elements incredibly distracting from the plot, apparently as distracting as the team found their Japanese Doctor's gender!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Green Day's First New Video

Know Your Enemy

It's not one of their best videos, the song is ok (there are much better ones on the album imo), but I got the point. It's cool. I hope the others are more in line with their more creative vids. Sorry I couldn't embed, Blogger doesn't like MTV's coding.

People I Love Who Have Done Shit I Hate

This week quite a few posts came out damning Seth Rogen's new movie "Observe and Report". Now, you may (not) recall that during the criticisms of "Knocked Up" and "Superbad" I was on Seth's side.

Well, not this time.

My favorite post on the subject is by Natalia Antonova, called: Dear God, Seth Rogen, Rape is Rape. And honestly I think the title alone says it all (but go read the post anyway cuz, really, it's good).

If you've yet to hear about this and have no idea what I'm talking about, in the course of the movie Seth Rogen's character date rapes the main love interest. She's drunk, he's not and he has sex with her while she's passed out. What is supposedly meant to justify this scene is that she wakes up long enough to say "why are you stopping, motherfucker?" That's according to Seth himself.

Not. Fucking. Cool.

I don't care what someone says when they're *not actually conscious*, that's not consent. Is this really that difficult?

Now, apparently we're not really supposed to even like his character. I'm sorry, that doesn't work for me.

Do you know WHY that doesn't work for me? Because we have realities like this in the world:
Although a few boys may have quietly disagreed with their classmates, the vocal [middle school] students spent class arguing that James had not raped Tonya [in the hypothetical scenario (which is almost exactly like Rogen's character's)]. Ironically, the boys based their arguments on many of the same things that legally defined teh scenario as rape: they said it was not rape because Tonya was passed out, because seh was drunk, because she had failed to make any decision - yes or no. Others argued that Tonya did not protest when she woke up, she was James's girlfriend, she flirted, and, had she been able, she might have said yes. [The rape crisis presenter's] tried futilely to convince the boys that the sex was rape: "It was against her will," they reminded the boys. "Did she get to make the decision to be sexual?" the women pleaded. The boys insisted that because Tonya had not indicated that she did not want to have sex, the sex was consensual.

(Risky Lessons, by Jessica Fields, pg 90)

That's why.

Overall, I still like you Seth Rogen, but you just reinforced this FUCKED UP assumption that boys are already making. THAT'S NOT OK. How would YOU feel, if this was deemed to be all that was needed for your own consent?

People I love who have done shit I hate might be a recurring segment. Not sure yet. Hope not.

But I do have one more... Did any of you see any of these "PG Porn" things? They're webisode dealies from some supposedly very clever people, whatever. The very first one featured Nathan Fillion. So of course I was like, ok the premise sounds funny and, well, Nate! So I watched it.

Dear gods. Horrible. At the end he shoots a nail into this woman's head while she's going to give him a blow job. I'm sorry, that's not funny. I can see, on paper perhaps, why it seemed funny. But. It's not. At all. It was, in fact, unbelievably disturbing and I was extremely pissed that Nathan did it. Just, no.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sex Dreams and Nathan Fillion

So, my typical sex dream involves a mutual attraction between myself and a hot guy, we then try to get it on but are thwarted at every turn (weird scene changes, people interrupting, the apocalypse, whatever). This is extremely annoying to me, but hey. Apparently my subconscious feels it's horniness is thwarted, a lot...? I dunno.

Anyway, apparently Monday night my mind was very into the fact that I would have an episode of Heroes and an episode of Castle waiting for me the next day. Because in succession I had two dreams; one involving the actors who play Peter (don't know his name) and Sylar (Zachary Quinto) where my sexual escapades were not thwarted but we were just flirting very suggestively with each other (as far as I remember...I do recall touching Zach's shoulder and giving him one of those *looks* at some point). We were at a party together, and I was feeling very good about myself, lookin hot, being witty, etc. I recall there was no jealousy sort of thing going on either, they were both cool with me hitting on the other or both at the same time. This was fun and fulfilling in an attention seeking/esteem boosting sort of way.

I switched from that scenario to a far more direct dream about Nathan Fillion (Mal, Castle, Captain Hammer?), where as per usual attempts to get it on were thwarted by the intrusions of other people and random scenery changes. On the upside we did manage to make out which was awesome and also to actually have sex for a time before getting interrupted. That's extremely successful for me. I don't remember too much of it beyond that point except that we were in some sort of abandoned building that reminded me vaguely of a spa and our clothes stayed on (I was wearing a very short skirt...).


Then this morning, I had a dream that I went on a Whedon cruise of some kind (like the Firefly one I heard about last year), pretty sure it was a Dr. Horrible one because NPH was there and so was Felicia Day, I think (and of course Nathan Fillion, who my dream yet again centered around). So it started off tame enough I was all fan girl and trying to start up a conversation with NPH or NF who were both nearby. I do recall exchanging good humored words with NPH (*squee*) then I caught NF's eye (in that way). But then (random scene change) it was like we already knew each other, and we were kind of wandering around the ship together (looking for a good spot to "get to know each other better"), and then we were making out. Nice.

The most vivid thing I remember is that I tripped at some point on some stairs(?) and he helped me up and then kind of hugged me and we were both laughing really hard with relief that I didn't fall to my death or something. I distinctly remember I could feel the muscles of his shoulders and back underneath my hands and it really turned me on. Unfortunately about the time we were trying to get into the main party area were everyone important to the movie was (I saw Joss!) I woke up.

So, apparently I find cheesiness really hot? :P Cuz seriously, if there's one thing that Nathan Fillion is, it's cheesy (and hot).

I find this especially amusing because hubby and I joke that he and NF were separated at birth (they weren't, Nate is older and an Aries...but they're both fire signs! [hubby's a Leo like me]) because they look a lot alike and are very similar in personality in many ways. I'm sure there's something to be psycho-analyzed in there but... I'm not in that sort of mood.

Anyway, in honor of my fun nights lately I post my favorite picture of Nathan:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Highlights of the Week

Next they’ll print one about airplane food
This honest to god made me LOL. This right here is a stunningly great example of the male gaze and how it is founded on male privilege. There are two parts of this sentence that are more or less factual: 1) “Hollywood’s women may have weight issues of their own” (depending how you define “issues,” of course), and 2) “actresses who expand do not often get roles to showcase that growth.” But it’s the hinge of these facts, that wonderfully clueless phrase “But it is somehow less noticeable,” that makes me want to put this article in a textbook under “Male Gaze 101.” See, there’s a phrase missing from this sentence, an important one. The sentence should read: “It is somehow less noticeable to me.
Confessions of a Rough Sleeper
Ask the poverty-ridden and homeless in a conventional group what they want and they will tell you exactly what they think the public wants to hear. We’ve all been nicely trained to parrot the party lines...Ask those same de-housed people what they want behind closed doors, without any coordinator class, social workers or political influence peddlers and listen to the difference.
City Councilman Promoted Violent Anti-Immigrant Video Game
whatsername says; you've GOT to see the picture on this one

A Chocolate Coating to make the Bitter White Pill Go Down Easier

The Misinformed Opinions of People Who Don’t Know You

Miriam Perez, have u forgotten something?

Urgent: Masseuse Advertising on Craig’s List Murdered
Some Links On Boston Murder
RI cops: Case similar to Boston Craigslist slaying

Asexual Ants Give up on Males

sm[art]: Anna Deavere Smith and the Art of Politics

The Common Elements of Oppressions

Vandana Shiva on Farmer Suicides, the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal, Wal-Mart in India and More

Weekly Immigration Wire: Legalize the Undocumented, Help Fix the Economy

stuff white people do: appreciate opportunities to release their repressed racism in public

Billie Joe Armstrong Goes Nuts for Robert Pattinson, Obama and 'Rock of Love'

The Souls (and Hair) of Black Girls

The response I received from Amazon dot com
Update: Amazon’s “Gay Glitch” and the Pagans

A Palin pondering...
During her speech Governor Palin shared her experience of being unexpectedly pregnant and choosing to continue her pregnancy. She offered that she understands what other women face when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy...and a bitch can’t help but wonder at her lack of inner-work there.
I Don’t Believe In PC Speech

Is Boycotting Jamaica The Solution For GLBT People?


Spirit of the Resistance in Somalia

Is $1500 Too Much For a Shelter?

Andrade Trial-Opening Impressions

Our Common Story
I want to highlight these acts of resistance among Afghanistan women, because even for women who may not identify themselves as "feminists," the question of women's full humanity and freedom is of vital concern. Personally, I struggle with wanting to understand and recognize the legitimacy of a different cultural experience, even as I need to acknowledge what are real human rights violations. That tension is important to me, but I cannot allow it to render me silent when there is injustice.
This week, I’m meeting with the psychiatrist who oversaw my transition and the first few months of my re/de-transition. I’m not seeing her for therapy–at least, not technically–but as an update: to tell her how things are going and what the process has been like. I’m not anxious about it, or about my gender identity or presentation, but it has made me thoughtful. It feels like a job interview–no, more like a high school reunion. A performance review?
Troy Davis Appeal Denied

Bush Torture Memos

in response to passing or not

What makes a feminist TV show?

Dollhouse, Joss Whedon, and the Strange and Difficult Path of Feminist Dudes: Some Thoughts
whatsername says: an entirely brilliant review of Dollhouse, the best yet I've seen, and I don't think there is anything I can disagree with! (well except I liked Buffy but I had the same problems with it).

Native News Stories

And I really REALLY want to encourage you to take the time to watch Melissa Harris-Lacewell's analysis in the W.E.B. DuBois lectures she gave not long ago over three nights, found here. She ties things together really well, and I think anyone reading this blog would find it interesting.



Allen Ray Andrade, the man who murdered Angie Zapata (left), was just minutes ago convicted on the two main charges of first degree murder and bias-motivated crime (hate crime). He was also convicted of the significantly lesser charges of vehicle theft and identity theft.

As far as I’m aware as of writing, those are the highest convictions on all charges against him. And for his heinous crime, at 4:00PM MDT, Andrade will be sentenced to mandatory life without parole.

It took the jury only about 2 hours to deliberate.

Via Feministe

It won't bring her back, but damn, I am really happy that he didn't get away with it, either!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The reason for my lull in posting (which will probably continue a few more days)

I know not everyone is so lucky, but if summer just hit you full force like it hit me, go out and enjoy it as much as you can...the internet will be here when you get back. And if it hasn't yet, enjoy this picture of where I live, you'll get yours soon enough.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Conversation on Privilege

mzbitca from What a Crazy Random Happenstance put up a great post today about her own privilege. Letting her past see the light of day and think about what it means for her present and future. This can be a difficult process for allies, to deconstruct and admit to and try and re-form our insides, which have been tainted by the oppressions of the cultures in which we grew up.

In addition, she and I are having an interesting discussion on the topic in the comments. So I am posting this here as a call to other allies to read and think and perhaps even talk with us. Not to talk about how wonderful we are because we're allies, none of that shit, just what we've gone through and discovered for ourselves in this process.

Tell It WoC SPEAK! III Voices Have Power

The next edition is here!

Some great stuff again, like:
Irresponsible Black Mothers and White Female Saviours
Does A Black Woman Have To Get Shot By Cops For Some Attention
The Myth Of The Strong Black Woman
Apache Girl ‘s Sunrise Ceremony
Too Hard On The White Folk

And much, much more...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

21st Century Breakdown is going to be fucking awesome

And that is the moral of the story from the Green Day concert on Tuesday night.

First official single came out today ["Know Your Enemy"], and if you pre-order the album on Itunes the single will automatically download. So I got it of course, wanted a pre-order anyway. Now I'll log on early in the morning of the appointed day (May 15th I think) and the whole lovely album will shortly be with me!

Let's see, so the tickets were rather expensive, well, couple of cool things they did with the money; we all got programs with the lyrics to the songs in them, so we could follow along (when we could see of course...) that was sweet. Also they were handing out posters for free with the album cover art on it and the date and place. Only one way to get such a thing; had to be there.

I also actually paid for a shirt with the same (place and date), perhaps I will take a picture of it soon to show you, I like the art on it. But atm it's in the laundry.

So the new album has basically all the good parts about American Idiot (imo) and some of the good parts of some of their other albums, notably: Warning. There is a song, I forget which one, maybe "Restless Heart Syndrome" had a sound to it very similar to "Misery" which is like one of my favorite all time songs because it's so odd and awesome.

There is also the fact that in this story is a woman named "Gloria" who I would say is the main character, as she appears in a number of songs. This wouldn't be the first time that Billie Joe used a Mexican female character in a song, there is also "Maria" which was only released on their Greatest Hits album as an extra, it's always been a favorite of mine though. Gloria, was my grandmother's name.

I'd really like to see BJ's notes on the song "The Last of the American Girls", seems like there's a lot going on there. And maybe my favorite song, I'm not sure though, was "Murder City" which was about living in Oakland during the Oscar Grant riots. For one, the lyrics are awesome (you can find them below) but it was more that it is cool to know I lived through something along with them, even if it's not as though we know each other. That was just an intense time. I'll never forget coming home and seeing all these cops all about and so many neighbors car windows smashed and downtown with some of the same.

There's also yet again a lot of Christian imagery in this album and BJ's status as "recovering Catholic" (I don't know if he self-identifies with that particular label but I ascribe it to him) is really apparent, and a bit more blasphemous this go around. But then after Foxboro Hottubs "Mother Mary" I'm not terribly surprised at that.

So yah, to sum it up, if you're hoping for "Dookie" Green Day, I don't think they're ever coming back. But if you're willing to evolve with them, there's a lot this album will have to offer.

Murder City

But not hopeless
I feel so useless
in the murder city
But not helpless
The clock strikes midnight
In the murder city

I'm wide awake
after the riot
This demonstration
of our anguish
This empty laughter
has no reason
Like a bottle
of your favorite poison

We are the last call
and we're so pathetic
Christian's crying
in the bathroom
And I just want to
bum a cigarette
We've come so far,
We're been so wasted
It's written
all over our faces

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another Week, Another Round-up

Maricopa County Sheriffs Office: When The Truth Hurts

Oakland takes step toward medical marijuana tax

An Example of Everyday Racism

This Year at Passover
Susannah Heschel, a leading feminist scholar, is the woman responsible for popularizing the custom of an orange on the Seder plate. The story goes that during one of Susannah Heschel's lectures at a synagogue in Miami, an elderly rabbi stood up and said, "A woman belongs on the bimah like an orange belongs on the Seder plate."

Letter to the editor
It is likely Jenny is told that her caesarean was absolutely necessary otherwise her baby may have died. She almost certainly wasn't told that if she had of avoided the induction in the first place and allowed her body to start labour in its own time that she most likely would not have needed a caesarean section .

Foreclosure Hell
As bad as the foreclosure crisis is — it may be worse than we realize. That's because banks are apparently foreclosing on homes and then holding them off the market

educational privilege and humanity
what do we deserve? as human beings? as sentient beings in this universe? and why do we deserve them?

Clean Up Feminism, Then We'll Talk

Rape Is Not a Joke whatsername says: NOT about Seth Rogen's new movie.

Good News For Transgender Jews

Race Play

Orgasmic Birth

In tough economic times, transphobia will get Alberta out of debt

Water Wars, Coming Soon To A Continent Near You

Whole-Body Scans Pass First Airport Tests

Do Parents Matter?

disability identified through the “boundedness of pain”

Pious Neglect

Woman Speaks Out Against Abuses of Trans Prisoners in Idaho

Things I am not shocked by, #3890587230587439
“Kathy Ireland’s Shocking Weight Gain.”

information on mountain top removal

Observe and Report: It Gets Worse. Much Worse.

whatsername says: An update on a story I posted about last week, where a woman did all the right things and still didn't get her rape taken seriously in Chicago:
Definitely happier with my alma mater

Not Feeling The Term 'Passing'

More Squatters Are Calling Foreclosures Home

U.S. Food Safety No Longer Improving

Women's reproductive health clinic closes because of state budget crisis
whatsername says: the feminist health clinic I was planning to patronize for my annual...looks like I won't be.

Rash of Student Suicides Clouds ’Day of Silence’


Washington Adding Transgender People To Hate Crimes Law

Boycotting or Engaging? Strategies for Success
You know, I've been trying to write a particular post for a few days now. It's about how some members of the transgender community have been calling for a boycott of two popular feminist sites.

Activist Knitting
Calling all CODEPINK knitters! We are creating a beautiful, quilted cozy to cover the fence in front of the White House to honor Mother's Day. The message will be “We will not raise our children to kill another mother’s child”-inspired by Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation. We’ll be piecing it together from individual squares knitted by YOU as part of the 24 hour Mother’s Day vigil for Women who live in War Zones.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Can you say "we told you so"?

I remember when this story first hit the internets, and people justified this horrible invasion of privacy by pointing to the fact that these machines would only be used on people who set off metal detectors, etc. And us smarty-pants feminist bloggers said, "nuh uh, this is going to be used on everyone and even if it wasn't, a virtual strip search ain't right". Well. Now it's going to be used on everyone. Oh and APPARENTLY passengers approve of this. Yah, right.


IN a shift, the Transportation Security Administration plans to replace the walk-through metal detectors at airport checkpoints with whole-body imaging machines — the kind that provide an image of the naked body.

Initially, the machines were supposed to be used only on passengers who set off the metal detectors, to provide them with an option to the customary secondary physical pat-downs and inspections by electronic wand.

But Robin Kane, the agency’s acting chief technology officer, said that the initial results from pilot tests at some checkpoints at 19 airports in the United States had been so good that the idea of using the machines as the standard checkpoint detectors made sense. Those results included, he said, positive feedback from passengers.

The plan now is that all passengers will “go through the whole-body imager instead of the walk-through metal detector,” he said.


An apt reminder of the impact of even mundane every day choices...

1) At some point in your life, you may have had to laugh along with some horribly bigoted-against-your-foo joke. For example, when I chuckle at a sexist joke, because it's easier than calling the person on it. (See also "let's not unnecessarily ruffle feathers at work especially in this economy the end".)

2) Sometimes, when you call someone on making a bigoted joke, they say "I know [people that this joke targets], and they laughed at this joke, so I don't know what your problem is!".

3) So sometimes, you may be the person that jackass is using as their excuse for making bigoted jokes.

From: Xtinian Thoughts

Monday, April 13, 2009

flip flopping joy storytelling

I was really moved by these two story telling posts that bfp did earlier this week, and wanted to highlight them in more than just a round up.

story telling

It’s a life changing moment when somebody extends a flash of genuine kindness to us. Accepts without question

our humanity.

more story telling

M has got a very important critique. A critique that centers on basic respect for humanity. Aka, love.

Is love really so impractical to movement making?
Is it radical to consider ways to mobilize that critique, rather than change it and make M “see the light” about unions?

Relationship MeMe

So I saw this a while ago and tucked it away for a rainy day, it's not actually raining but for some reason I felt like tidying up my drafts and figured I might as well do this. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll know I'm married, but maybe not a ton about he and I or our relationship as I really just don't blog about us much. So here are some random tidbits.

1. Who eats more?
He does, and should!

2. Who said “I love you” first?
Pretty sure that was me, but it's been a while now.

3. Who is the morning person?
HIM. I am NOT a morning person. At all. He's what I consider a morning person even now when he's working past midnight.

4. Who sings better?
Me. :D It helps that he doesn't actually ever sing, but even if he did, me. ;)

5. Who’s older?
He's 8 years older than me, almost to the day. Our birthday's are one day apart.

6. Who’s smarter?
Depends on the subject. Math makes me want to throw things. Writing an essay makes him want to throw things. On most discussion topics we're both able to converse intelligently.

7. Who’s temper is worse?
Depends on how you define worse. I tend to get irritated more easily, he's scarier when he finally does blow up.

8. Who does the laundry?
Me pretty much. Because he's lazy and I don't call him on it.

9. Who does the dishes?
Both of us. Which really means neither of us as often as we can help it because we both HATE doing dishes.

10. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
He does. He's got a weird thing with sides, I don't really care what side I'm on.

11. Who’s feet are bigger?
LOL his definitely.

12. Who’s hair is longer?
Mine. He keeps his hair short. I hate, HATE, long hair on guys. And long to me meaning like to their chin.

13. Who’s better with the computer?
Need something found on the internet? Me. Need a hard drive fixed? Him.

14. Do you have pets?
One cat!

15. Who pays the bills?
Me. Always me. That laziness thing again I think.

16. Who cooks dinner?
Him usually. I'm not a very good cook and I find cooking stressful.

17. Who drives when you are together?
I do. Except on road trips. When we get out of the city and have long straight flat stretches, then he drives.

18. Who pays when you go out to dinner?
Whoever has cash, which is usually him.

19. Who’s the most stubborn?
He is probably, but we've never had a real stand off to find out.

20. Who is the first one to admit when they’re wrong?
Not an issue; neither of us are ever wrong. Ever.

21. Who’s family do you see more?
Mine, a lot more.

22. Who named your pet?
I think both of us agreed that all we ever called our new kitten was "Kitty" and therefore it stuck.

23. Who kissed who first?
Honestly I don't remember, but I bet it was him.

24. Who asked who out?
I asked him out. I was feeling out-of-character forward that day.

26. Who’s more sensitive?
Me for sure, although his Leo pride can be wounded too.

27. Who’s taller?
Him, by about 7 inches. He's fairly tall.

28. Who has more friends?
I'd say we're pretty even. But he has more "real life" friends than I do.

29. Who has more siblings?
He's got two sisters, I only have one brother.

As seen at Thursday's Child

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Have you heard? Massive FAIL

I was tipped off earlier in the day to a rather scandalous happening on, and in the proceeding day I have found out some interesting stuff. Links will be provided at the bottom of this post!

The gist of the matter is this. Amazon has labeled some books "adult" and has removed the sales rankings of this "adult content". Sales rankings determine what books pop up on top when someone is searching for a topic. I'm sure I'm not the only one who will often start out with a very general search term (like say, "feminism") to find what's out there on a topic. Well, now, these "adult content" books won't be popping up.

So, what's this "adult content"?

Oh you know, books like this:
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room
Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain
Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues
Leslie Feinberg Transgender Warriors
Leslie Feinberg Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue 
George Bennett Fain, Pandora's Box
Julia Serano, Whipping Girl
Dan Savage
The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students
Robert Adrich, Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History
Dr. Nathaniel Frank, Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America
Kate Bornstein My Gender Workbook
The Dictionary of Homophobia
Randy Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk
The Transgender Studies Reader (YAH HAI THIS IS A TEXTBOOK, one I had to buy!)
Yes Means Yes
Heather Has Two Mommies

Special, right?

Big thanks to Caroline at Uncooler Than Thou and A Very Elegant Mess.

Amazon is, of course, now saying that this was a "glitch". Yes well, to that I say #glitchmyass and I'm not even on Twitter. :P

UPDATE: Powell's Books Twitter
@zentinal A GLBT sale sounds like a great idea to me. I will check to see if this is something we can get going #amazonfail


UPDATE: Jason at The Wild Hunt shares:
It’s obvious that Amazon will be backtracking under the glare of bad press and Internet groundswell, but while the “glitch” remains I wanted to see if it affected any books aimed at Pagans. Sure enough, “Gay Witchcraft: Empowering the Tribe” by Christopher Penczak, Jennifer Hunter’s “Rites of Pleasure: Sexuality in Wicca and Neo-Paganism”, LaSara Firefox’s “Sexy Witch”, Vicki Noble’s “The Double Goddess: Women Sharing Power”, and “Lesbian Rites: Symbolic Acts and the Power of Community”, edited by Ramona Faith Oswald (and featuring contributions from Ruth Barrett and other Goddess-worshiping women) are all, at the time of this writing, without an Amazon sales ranking. No doubt there are even more that are escaping my notice (you can find a running list of de-ranked titles here).

*Officially even more pissed* On the upside I found what looks to be a much more worthy online bookstore to patronize! Better World Books.

Voices of Justice

For Immediate Release — April 8, 2009
“Voices” film and Latino media panel set for April 15 at Stanford

The public is invited to a reception, documentary film preview and panel discussion at Stanford University on Wed. April 15 about the challenges and opportunities for Spanish-language media in an era of transformational change in journalism and the nation.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a reception in the Oksenberg Room on the 3rd Floor of Encina Hall near Hoover Tower. The program will begin at 7 p.m. with a preview screening of the film “Voices of Justice” honoring the bicentennial of Latino newspapers in the U.S. and a panel discussion on Latino media to follow. The event is free and open to the public.

Panelists include Monica C. Lozano, Publisher & CEO of La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish-language daily newspaper, and Sr. Vice President of Newspapers for ImpreMedia LLC; Félix Gutiérrez, Professor of Journalism and Communication in the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication, who has written extensively on Spanish-language journalism and Dawn Garcia, Deputy Director of the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists at Stanford University, whose 2008 master’s thesis at Stanford explored the political evolution of Spanish-language and digital media in the U.S. The panel’s moderator, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, was the managing editor of Rumbo, a Spanish-language newspaper network for first and second-generation Latinos in the San Antonio, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley areas. He is currently a 2008-09 Knight Fellow at Stanford.

“At a Crossroads: Latino Media in the U.S.” is one in a series of programs being held around the country this past year to commemorate the bicentennial of the first Spanish-language newspaper published in the United States. The nation’s first Latino newspaper, El Misisipí, was founded in New Orleans on Sept. 7, 1808.

The event is sponsored by the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists at Stanford University and “Voices for Justice: The Enduring Legacy of the Latino Press,” a multimedia project of Acción Latina, an educational and cultural community organization in San Francisco.

For directions to Stanford and Encina Hall, please visit this URL:
For more information, please contact Dawn Garcia, Deputy Director of the Knight Fellowships at Stanford at

h/t to Nezua

The F Word Awards

Womanist Musings is up for Best Feminist Blog in the Canadian "The F Word" blog awards. Voting open until the 14th, so go vote for Renee!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009



That's all I can say after last night's episode.

If that doesn't win stragglers over... Well there's no accounting for taste.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Call for Submissions (Anthology)

SexualAbility Deadline Extended!

Working Title: Sexual Ability: Embracing the Intersection of Sexuality and (dis)Ability

Editor: Shanna Katz, M.Ed, Human Sexuality Education, Widener University


Submission Deadline: April 30, 2009

Even as we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century, there is still a large gap in people’s minds when they think about sexuality as it relates to people who are disabled, whether cognitively or physically. While some studies have been performed regarding the potential for differently-abled people to lead satisfying sexual lives, in which satisfying seems to center around the ability to orgasm, very little has been written about the experiences involving the sexualities and experiences of people who identify as handicapped/disabled/differently-abled, as well as their partners.

People of all ability levels are sexual beings. Sex is hard enough to navigate and negotiate when one fits in with society’s notions of what a sexual being is, but once you add in the concept of ability, it can become quite challenge. This anthology, Sexual Ability, seeks to bring forward the stories, challenges and experiences of differently-abled people and their partners, putting a face on the trials that so many valuable members of our society must face. By sharing the experiences of the disabled community in relation to sexuality, Sexual Ability hopes to challenge people’s viewpoints, foster discussion and conversation, and open doors towards a shift in the social constructions surrounding sexuality and disability.

Essay submissions should be well thought out, and written in a scholarly manner. Acceptable submissions can be in the form of short research papers, non-fictional accounts of personal experience(s), discussions on issues regarding sexuality and disability, etc. Fictional pieces/erotica will NOT be considered. Each author may submit a total of two (2) essays for consideration.

Some topics that authors might consider (but are certainly not limited to) include;

*Coming out to a new partner and facilitating the “disability discussion”

*Reclaiming words surrounding sexuality and disability, such as “crip,” “handicapped,” etc.

*Issues within the medical community; talking with doctors about being sexually active when you’re differently-abled.

*Having to create new sex techniques, positions, conversations, or having to re-define the traditional definitions of sex, etc.

*Disabled and queer, disabled and of color, disabled and religious; reconciling multiple identities alongside sexuality.

*Re-conceiving your sexuality after loss of previous abilities, either solo or with a partner.

*Ability and kink; negotiating within the BDSM community when differently-abled.

*Sexuality and ability through out different cultural experiences.

*Portrayal of disabled people in the media (film, TV, art, advertisements, etc) and the connection to sexuality.

*Disability rights; the fight for them, and how they affect sexuality amongst the disabled community.

*Birth control/contraception; getting it, using it, adapting it, as well as pregnancy/adoption/abortion.

*Creating your identity as a disabled person who is a sexual being; how did it evolve, and what was your journey.

*Any other subjects you feel cover the topic of sexuality and (dis)ability.

By April 30, 2009, please send:

*Your 2,000 – 6,000 word submission, as a word document attachment. It should be titled as such: SubmissionTitleAuthorName.doc (example: SexualAbility.ShannaKatz.Doc). Submissions must be received in 12 point Times New Roman font and sent in via Word documents (other files and cut/pasted text will not be accepted).

* Your complete contact information, including legal name, pen name (if you have one), phone number, email, address, and website (if you have one).

*A 50-100 word biography about yourself.

Please submit the above to: with the subject line of “Sexual Ability – Submission.” Submissions will be read and reviewed as received, but decisions will be made final by July 2009. Please note that accepted submissions will be approved on a tentative basis, pending editorial board approval once the anthology has secured a publisher.

Questions can be directed to Shanna Katz at or please visit the Sexual Ability MySpace page at

Please distribute widely. Feel free to post on blogs, websites, social networking sites, listserves, etc.

A note: I would not dare to define what disabled/handicapped/differently-abled meant to anyone. Please do not ask me if your disability counts; if you or your partner identify as such, then I welcome your submission to this anthology.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tell It WoC SPEAK! III Coming Up

Women of Color! Feminists! Womanists! Allies!

Tell It WoC SPEAK is coming up for the third go around. Have you posted something that discusses race you'd like to share? Send it in! Even if you're not sure it's just right, Renee doesn't bite, I swear!

Submissions due in by Apr 12!!!!! Clickety!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Round Up

First I want to call attention to a post Bint made earlier this week about a friend whose child is missing, please take a second to look at this if you live in California or neighboring states:

I have a couple of posts in the works, one on racism and the hate mail my "Making Whites" teacher received and another on Homo/Transphobia. Just haven't had a chance to put them together as I'd like. But as it's that time of the week again, check out the best of the blogosphere from the last week!

Dr. King Assassination - 41 Years Later

Cop-killers, policing, crime and justice: Talking about Lovelle Mixon

Actual Rape Victim Jailed for “False Report”

Oscar Grant protests miss the big picture

The Global North Meets The Global South And Racoons Become Food

Michelle O Ain't Trying To Be Jackie O

It's Out There
And then, I saw them. Two young women sharing an intimate moment out on the paths of the school for the whole world to see. It was an odd moment. One of the women was of a dark completion, she had very similar features to a friend of mine who's mother came from Tennessee and her father from Tehran. The darked girl was doing her utmost to look butch. She has her short hair spiked as best she could, and she her face had that fuck-you-world look that only proud young lesbians can really pull off.

Her friend was a little taller, a lot blonder, and maybe a little nervous looking.

I walked right past them, but I was touched by the beauty and goodness of the world. That there is a place, are places where folks can be themselves, can love whoever they like in healthy ways and not have to hide behind walls and roles and ideas of strength and power and all that bullshit. Gods, I miss there not being a fucking leash around my neck.

Weekly Immigration Wire: Resurrecting a Failed War on Drugs

Derailing For Dummies

Fucking Ratios, Part 1

*Trigger Warning* Maybe It Wasn’t Illegal

Underground and mirrors: homebirth to be forced underground.

Why feminist labor support? And what's feminist labor support? (the final installment of a four-part series)

acupuncture thoughts

Sex Work And Compassion: The Angry Family

Shell in court over alleged role in Nigeria executions

Interracial Spectacle: Thoughts on Power Dynamics
But, outside of the little BDSM role play thing, in mainstream pop acts, these bodies get read in the most conventional sense. More importantly, in mainstream arenas, certain bodies get penalized more than others. These realities, at least to me, are some reasons why I can't "fantasize" some kind of "race play" where I'm in the subordinate position in an interracial relationship. I live that reality all the time!

A Witch Takes Responsibility
As the Jains make clear, it's impossible to "harm none." Take a step and you'll crush some life forms. Sweep the way before you, as the Jains do, and you have to first kill some plants to make a broom, or disturb the biosphere to harvest the dead grasses. Do some magic to find a job and you disadvantage the other job applicants. Send reiki to your seeds, to help them to grow vibrantly, and you condemn the unblessed seeds of some weed to falter.[...]The circle of life includes both life AND death. The Goddess is both Demeter AND Kali, both Innana and Erishkegial, both the bountiful Empress and Shelia Na Gig, waiting to suck us back into the Earth and make worm food out of us the moment that we falter. You either see the beauty and perfection of that or you don't.

Irish Activist Aims For U.S. Support to stop highway at Tara

D.C. Will Recognize Your Marriage

Iraq shoe thrower's jail term cut

Judge: U.S. withheld evidence of Guantanamo witness's mental illness

Disappointed in my alma mater
Out of Chicago comes an upsetting story of a woman who was raped, did “everything she was supposed to,” and couldn’t prosecute her attacker because the people who examined her at University Health Services didn’t do a rape kit (or, and this is the disputed part, tell her she needed to go to the emergency room for one). She is now suing the University of Chicago, and although it seems like the lawsuit is running into difficulties in a legal sense, there is no doubt in my mind that the university failed to have clear policies in place that would have protected her.

Working at 84 Isn’t She Lucky

Obama Official and GOP Are Protecting John Yoo

Native Student Among Whites Speaks Out

Rosebud woman nominated to lead IHS
Rosebud Sioux tribal member Yvette Roubideaux, 46, was nominated March 23 by President Barack Obama to direct the IHS. If confirmed by the Senate, she will become the first American Indian woman to ever lead the agency.

Follow up on Z's Science Project
My nephew's project, alone among all of them, was not displayed. After much back and forth with various people, my sister learned that apparently some people were uncomfortable with his conclusions. Specifically the part where he said that what he really learned from this project was that some people don't want to be called boys or girls, and that those people need an "other" option.

whatsername says: Oh the horror!!!

Can a White Woman Be a Womanist?
whatsername says: I was thinking about this myself not very long ago. That I wished there was a word that labeled one as a white woman who centered women of color in your analysis. But somehow I knew I couldn't possibly claim "womanist". Even with a much loved Mexican grandmother I have been raised white. I have always thought of myself as white. And so I am. Even if I'd prefer to be Chicana or mexicana, and Womanism is not meant for me. Still, Renee points out here that like men and feminism there is a term for women like me, "pro-Womanist" as men are "pro-Feminist". That works for me.

I still remember an old therapist asking me, before I was ever sexually active, "what using dildoes would mean to me." My response, "it seems like it would feel good to be inside somebody," was insufficiently introspective, and I was asked again what it "meant."

I was a marked case, and there was something unsettling or confusing or to be worked through about my desires and feelings. I countered asking if she would ask a male patient why he'd want to penetrate his partners, or if "That would feel good" would count as an answer from him.

Is Sex Positivity Bad For Feminism?

Your hairy legs could be mass murderers even now

The Lure of Online Feminism: Relationship Building and the Internet

Seeing the Light: Some God-Talk to Begin Holy Week

stuff white people do: ignore or stand up to racism

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

And The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
But dear reader, I've got to put off the trans stuff until it's over. These people in the unit, they aren't stupid. They've got eyes. Maybe I've already gone too far, maybe I've fucked myself a little. All I can do now, I guess, is avoid going any further. For the next year and change, I can't move a pinky toward transition.

Not enough? Check out the picks of these fabulous women: Ojibway Migisi Bineshii, and Renee.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Day of Silence Resolution Introduced in Congress

Link to full story

Students will take some form of a vow of silence on April 17 to bring attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from more than 7,500 middle and high schools participated in 2008.

"Sadly, violence and discrimination against LGBT youth is all-too-common in American schools,” said Rep. Engel, who along with Rep. Baldwin introduced a similar resolution last year. “It is a national disgrace that students feel threatened in school simply because of their sexual orientation. As a former public school teacher, I am proud to introduce this resolution. Americans need to know that thousands of children each day go to school deprived of a happy adolescence because of the insensitivity and cruelty shown by some fellow students, teachers, staff and parents.”

Added Rep. Baldwin: "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students continue to face pervasive harassment and victimization in schools. As students use their silence to demand safe schools, we in Congress must use our voices to support them.”

Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 LGBT students.

Additionally 60.8% of LGBT students said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and nearly a third (32.7%) said they had missed a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe.

"It is tragic to have any child suffer and what makes this worse is that it is completely preventable,” Bullying and harassment of LGBT students stems from ignorance and can only be repaired with education. By helping other students, teachers, staff and parents understand the plight of LGBT students, we can help these students live a happier childhood and enable them to earn their education free from fear," Rep. Engel said.

So, the Day of Silence (the REAL one tyvm anti-abortion activists) is coming once again, mark the calendars!

Monday, April 06, 2009

First Asian Women's Carnival

The very first Carnival of Asian Women is up!

Check it out.

Some Def Jam Poetry

I haven't posted one of these in ages! And it's well past due...

"Your Revolution" Sarah Jones

"What I Will" Suheir Hammad

"White" Nafessa Monroe

"Cat Calling" Amalia Ortiz

These poems are often intense but this next one, well, damn...
"Skinhead" Patricia Smith

"Everybody Heard" Floetry

"Thick Chicks" Tamara Blue

"Sa-I-Gu" Ishle Park

"Until" Ayisha Knight

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Rescue Child Soldiers

My good friend A’ishah Meghan Hils is working on a really cool project I am only too happy to share here. She blogs at A'ishah's Notebook.

Hi, my name is A’ishah Meghan Hils. I’m from Tallahassee, Florida, and I’m 21 years old. On April 25, 2009, I will be abducted to save Joseph Kony’s child soldiers. I want you to come to the Rescue.

The event: On the afternoon of Saturday, April 25, 2009, in 100 cities throughout 9 countries, people will meet at a predetermined site and be abducted to symbolize the tens of thousands of children abducted by Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda. They will walk single-file, holding a rope, from the abduction site to their designated LRA camp, and wait there to be rescued. Rescue entails bringing media coverage to the problem and also having cultural and political leaders speak at the event.

The goal: The short-term goal is to bring media attention to the war in Uganda and the displacement and abduction of children there, as well as to the problem of child soldiers more generally. We are specifically seeking international pressure on Joseph Kony to free the children who make up 90% of the LRA; international help in arresting him for his crimes; the attention of governments and the passage of legislation for aid for the situation; the building of schools and safe places for the children of Uganda to sleep; and the development of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs for child soldiers in Uganda.

The background: Since 1987, the LRA, under the leadership of Joseph Kony, has abducted children to serve as soldiers in their war against the government of Uganda. Estimates range from 20,000 to 50,000 and up, but because no records are kept of their names or ages and their own armies deny they exist, exact counts are impossible to obtain. These children truly are invisible. In addition, thousands of children have been displaced due to the war, and many more are forced to commute miles each evening to city centers to avoid being abducted from their homes. The issue of child soldiers is a human rights problem that is only beginning to gain awareness; outside of Uganda, an estimated 300,000 child soldiers also serve in armies throughout the world, many of them in conflicts supported through money and armaments by the United States.

Many children are abducted and forced into battle; many join the army because they believe they might receive food or shelter in return, or because they have no one else. They are hopped up on drugs, often forced to commit atrocities in their own communities so that they can never return. There are almost no programs to help former child soldiers transition back into society, and the few that are, are almost never equipped to help girls, even though female child soldiers make up more than 1/3 of the forces in some conflicts. Children are most popular for use in deactivating mines and are often put on the front lines to essentially serve as human shields. Improvements in the manufacturing of small armaments have made it relatively easy for kids to carry AK-47s.

Why bother? It’s not like anything is going to come of yet another protest about yet another cause: The non-profit organization Invisible Children began several years ago when three film students traveled to the Sudan to film the conflict there and ended up in Uganda instead. They created Invisible Children: the Rough Cut documentary, as well as many other documentaries that followed, and traveled all over the country telling the story of Uganda’s invisible children. Since then, they’ve held two major national and international events: the Global Night Commute and Displace Me. Through their efforts, the United States government assigned a senior official to investigate the situation in Uganda, another round of peace talks was opened, and the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Joseph Kony. They have also built schools and started business programs in northern Uganda. One of the reasons I love IC so much is that their programs and events really have brought change to the situation. It will not be an easy road to peace in Uganda and freedom for its children, but the gains of the years since IC began have showed the world that it can be achieved. For individuals who want to help solve problems like the one in Uganda, but don’t know how or feel they can’t because they don’t have money or connections, IC is a great way to get involved. You can participate in small ways as well as large ones; it doesn’t require being rich or in charge. And it does work.

How can I help?

* Visit and watch the 36-minute documentary on Joseph Kony’s child soldiers.
* Find your local event on and sign up to find out the plans for the Rescue in your area.
* If the closest event is too far away, check and see if anyone is carpooling. If you absolutely can’t go, please consider spreading the word.
* If you think you’ll be able to go, network with your local IC group to find out their process for contacting moguls, or to find out if they need volunteers for the event. Make sure you find out from them the time and location of the abduction site and the specifics of their march to the LRA camp.
* Consider purchasing the Rescue t-shirts from IC’s store if you can afford it, or donating a small amount of money. You can also purchase the original Rough Cut documentary, a DVD of the Rescue documentary, or other DVDs, t-shirts, and bracelets to support Invisible Children’s work.
* Create a DVD asking celebrities and political leaders to rescue you - people are asking everyone from Bono to Oprah to the Queen to Obama. Here’s how.
* Spread the word. Please link to this post or to the main Rescue site ( on your blog. Pass it on to your family and friends, and encourage them to watch the Rescue documentary on the main site.
* Whether you’re planning to participate in the Rescue or not, consider getting involved with your local Invisible Children group or getting on the national group’s mailing list.

For More Information

Invisible Children main page

Invisible Children: the Rescue site (with info about the event and the 36-minute documentary on Joseph Kony’s child soldiers)

IC on YouTube

IC on Facebook

Background on the War in Uganda (BBC)

Saving the Child Victims of Uganda (NPR)

Invisible Children: the Rough Cut (the original documentary that started it all)

More about child soldiers

Child Soldiers Global Report

Emmanuel Jal: War Child (the story of a former Sudanese child soldier)

Ishmael Beah: A Long Way Gone (the story of a former child soldier from Sierra Leone)

I told you my name, age, and where I am from because no one knows their names or ages. No one knows where they are from. I am being abducted because they deserve a childhood. I am being abducted to bring them home. I am being abducted because they are invisible.

Who are you to rescue the children? Who are you NOT to?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

We know about blood diamonds, but jihad emeralds?


Militants have begun reopening lucrative emerald mines which had been closed by the government, since they took full control of the poor but picturesque region in the north of the country under a controversial peace deal last month.

They are using revenue from the sale of the emeralds to help finance attacks on Nato forces in neighbouring Afghanistan, and to support their drive to extend harsh sharia, including public whippings and summary executions, into more regions of Pakistan.

Swat holds one of Asia's two largest-known deposits of high quality emeralds, from where the precious stones are smuggled to Jaipur, India, and transported to Bangkok, Switzerland and Israel. Here they are cut and polished into the lustrous gems that adorn the world's finest jewellery, sold to unsuspecting customers who have no idea that the money they are spending may end up financing the Taliban.

We have got to give those in extreme poverty someone to turn to besides militants like the Taliban to make money. Isn't it obvious why these groups get support? People are fighting for their survival, they'll turn to anyone who can put food on their table. Why aren't we using this knowledge? Why are we still bombing countries after the fact instead of putting together dedicated groups to work with locals to create a sustainable economy?

I just don't get why things keep running in these circles...

Same Sex Marriage - Good News

As you've probably already heard, but just in case; SS marriage is now legal in both Sweden and Iowa!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Milk Skimmed

So you might recall my criticism of "Milk" . In it I mentioned a panel called "Skim Milk" which had happened in SF around the same time. Sadly I got the name wrong! It was called "Milk Skimmed" and I was told by a classmate from my good ol' Whiteness Studies class that it's on Youtube!

So if you'd like to look at a critique of the movie and it's historical realities, Harvey Milk, the man, the myth, etc. here is Part 1 (if you click on it you will be taken to a playlist with them all)!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Afghan President Signs Law Legalizing Rape


Um, yah. What the fucking fuck??

Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, has signed a law which "legalizes" rape, women's groups and the United Nations warn. Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August.

In a massive blow for women's rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman's right to leave the home, according to UN papers seen by The Independent.

"It is one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century," fumed Shinkai Karokhail, a woman MP who campaigned against the legislation. "It is totally against women's rights. This law makes women more vulnerable."

The law regulates personal matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance and sexual relations among Afghanistan's minority Shia community. "It's about votes," Ms. Karokhail added. "Karzai is in a hurry to appease the Shia because the elections are on the way."
Details of the law emerged after Mr. Karzai was endorsed by Afghanistan's Supreme Court to stay in power until elections scheduled in August. Some MPs claimed President Karzai was under pressure from Iran, which maintains a close relationship with Afghanistan's Shias. The most controversial parts of the law deal explicitly with sexual relations. Article 132 requires women to obey their husband's sexual demands and stipulates that a man can expect to have sex with his wife at least "once every four nights" when traveling, unless they are ill. The law also gives men preferential inheritance rights, easier access to divorce, and priority in court.

A report by the United Nations Development Fund for Women, Unifem, warned: "Article 132 legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband".

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

This Week?

Sex Educator for a Day: Babeland in Women’s Health Mag

The Ebony Experiment: Is It Racist?

Men Vs. Women
Here's another common question I get at my book talks:
"Is there a difference between the male and female brain when it comes to decision-making? Are women really more intuitive? Which sex is the better decider?"

OOOH The Mehnz Are Stooopid

New French sex worker union founded

Rape trees and immigrant women: the silent victims

Douchebag Decree: Larry Summers, Back in Action!

speaking of black/white fetishizing
I was made aware of the following book: Why black men love white women. First chapter= Soiled. Yes, you read that right. SOILED. Can you just imagine what, Or *who* might be considered “soiled”?

Quick Hit: The HPV vaccine for boys?

Learning about Druids in school

Sarah Gronert Is Not a Man

I Am Native - Photos

for little light
our refusal to be controlled means:

They live in a world that trembles daily, because we snake our faultlines through its foundations and each time we move more crumbles and falls over the yawning edge of the flattened sea.

and while i know this may sound odd but it is because our love is an act of war, that i refuse to call myself nonviolent.

The “R Word” What’s In A Word?
Raising awareness about intellectual disabilities is a great idea. But the execution of this campaign is very problematic for three major reasons:

1. eliminating the R-word does not erase ableism,

2. setting disability against race and sexual orientation denies the realities of oppression that these groups still experience, and

3. de-linking the R-word from underlying societal power structures means that the campaign is attempting to erase a word from our vocabulary without creating any real social change.

The End of "Results Not Typical"?
Updated guidelines on ad endorsements and testimonials under final review by the Federal Trade Commission—and widely expected to be adopted—would end marketers’ ability to talk up the extreme benefits of products while carrying disclaimers like “results not typical” or “individual results may vary.”

ZAPAGRINGO: Movements, Bearers of the New World:
How does it triumph, this world of values of use, this world that is feminist, communitarian, self-focused and self-directed, able to produce and reproduce life? We do not know. What we see is that it grows by expansion, extension, diffusion, contagion, radiation, resonance It does not grow alone, nor in a form symmetrical to capital and the State -- killing, destroying, imposing, digesting and directing. We cannot impose this other world because we would be negating it, but we may breathe life into it, acting as a ferment and yeast, in the belief that the movements and the other worlds are the only thing that can save us from the catastrophe that the upper classes are preparing.

Red Nation Celebration: American Holocaust

Lessons From Fargo

Sham Wow Guy Arrested For Battering A Sex Trade Worker

Wearing the Mask

Soulless employment

Apache Girl's Sunrise Ceremony

Tammy Bruce Calls Michelle Obama "Trash"

Breast Feeding
A rather fucked up post on the apparent evils of breast feeding.
And a brilliant response: Why the Today Show Hurts America (or, Battling The Case Against Breastfeeding) which I found thanks to: The Feminist Breeder

Yes - Mr. Jacqui Smith has downloaded prostitutes and charged the taxpayer for the pleasure of doing so!

Breaking Poems
Feminist Review's look at Suheir Hammad's newest book of poetry.

sketches of whiteness overseas
you can say something funny or innocuous, witty or serious. but white folks because they feel ‘racialized’ (ie victimized) by your acknowledgement of their whiteness. act out of their ‘victimhood’ by claiming that you attacked them.

which is funny because white folks dont have a problem talking about other cultures and ethnicities. they do it all the time. but if a poc racializing a white person is seen as an ‘attack’ then what does that say about what white folks are doing to poc when white folks talk about race or culture?

and that lack of reciprocity in the relationship between whites and poc is the very definition of racism.

why auto industry and student loans are intertwined.

Energy Justice in Native America

Does Sexting Lead to Sex?

Memo to Jimi Izrael: Fronting as Straight Always Pays Off

half of people of color in new mexico without health insurance

White Privilege & Jewish Identity

British rule for Caribbean people

Ghetto Burger

Captain's Opinions
And you've just got to bite your toung with officers, you've just got to smile and shake your head, because you work for them, because no matter how ridiculous their ideas are, their plans are, well dear reader, you work for them, not the other way around. That's one of the big differences between the Army and the real world, one that a whole lot of folks never seem to get.

It doesn't matter what you think in the Army. It matters that you have a job. it matters how you do that job.

Sometimes that's great, sometimes you get to feel like that one very special light of freedom shining in a hard world, but friends, a lot of times it is just hard.