Sunday, November 29, 2009

I almost never write poetry...

I was having an argument about this story about Alma Chacon and was musing on the pure absurdity of national borders and who is "legal" and "illegal" within those artificial boundaries and my brain just started getting all poetical, so....thought why not share... (If it's not clear, I was thinking about these things from Alma's and other mestizas and indigenous folks' perspective.)


How can I be
On the land my people come from?

You declare me
As you pave over the bones of my ancestors.

A line drawn
Treaties signed
By people who were visitors to our country.

Now you declare me the visitor
Me the intruder
Me the unwanted guest.

But your economy thrives
on my bent back

And the ones in charge,
they know it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Abuse of an Asylum Seeker

Via Questioning Transphobia and VivirLatino I found the story of Esmeralda:

Courage comes in many different forms. For Esmeralda, a transgender asylum seeker from Mexico who faced horrific circumstances in immigration detention, it came in the form of seeking justice. Kept in a segregated cell with other transgender detainees, Esmeralda never realized that her experience in detention would match the trauma of discrimination she had faced back home. But her story is also one of hope for change.
While the Obama administration has pledged to reform the detention system, its promises do not go far enough. Spread over a patchwork of more than 500 county jails, privately run prisons and federal facilities, immigration detention is a $1.8 billion business estimated to hold 442,941 detainees in custody in 2009 alone.
Transferred far away from their homes and families, stories are rife of how detainees are denied visitation, access to lawyers, medical care, and are subject to physical and verbal abuse. Many vulnerable people, including asylum seekers, pregnant women, children, lawful permanent residents and even U.S. citizens are among those detained.
Listen to Esmeralda’s voice of courage and take action now to fix a broken detention system.

Restore Fairness

Friday, November 27, 2009

Electronic Civil Disobedience - the Transborder Immigrant Tool

Via my tumblr blog Rags 'n' Bones:

From a group calling themselves Electronic Civil Disobedience comes the Transborder Immigrant Tool, a simple mobile application intended to aid and abet border-crossers from Mexico to the United States by mapping the safest routes to take.
the application uses Spatial Data Systems and GPS “for simulation, surveillance, resource allocation, management of cooperative networks and pre-movement pattern modeling (such as the Virtual Hiker Algorithm) an algorithm that maps out a potential or suggested trail for real a hiker/or hikers to follow.” In addition to allowing would-be illegal immigrants quick and simple access to map information, the application’s creators hope it will “add an intelligent agent algorithm that would parse out the best routes and trails on that day and hour for immigrants to cross this vertiginous landscape as safely as possible.”
On startup, the app finds GPS satellites. Once the user begins moving, the app acts as a compass that shows the direction the user is heading and also shows the direction a user must travel to reach a “safety site.”
The app seems to originate from a hacktivist group out of UCSD - hardly a historical hotbed of technological innovation, but close enough to the US-Mexican border to have a significant impact on the politics of technology in that area.
the app’s creator, Ricardo Dominguez, said, “We looked at the Motorola i455 cell phone, which is under $30, available even cheaper on eBay, and includes a free GPS applet. We were able to crack it and create a simple compass-like navigation system. We were also able to add other information, like where to find water left by the Border Angels, where to find Quaker help centers that will wrap your feet, how far you are from the highway - things to make the application really benefit individuals who are crossing the border.”
Brilliant idea. How long until the U.S. government finds some way to shut it down?
Hopefully no time soon...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving/Day of Mourning

Thanksgiving in my family has always been a time, some years the only time, when most of us come together and spend time with each other. This, and that this all revolves around food, has made it my favorite holiday for a very long time.

The Thanksgiving Mythology has never played a big role in this family celebration.

Though elementary school was a different matter...

These days I still love my family holiday but I also feel more and more that there is a political element to the very fact that the holiday exists that I do not want to ignore. That I can't ignore.

I haven't figured out, yet, what this means for me, or what practical steps I want to take to reconcile the two meanings of the day. The last few years it has meant a engaging in purposeful mindfulness of these two meanings. And so to that end I thought I would post this link, "illuminating Native heritage through photography," which I got via Cecelia. And my political spirit is with those at Plymouth in their Day of Mourning.

This year I will be focusing my energy both in looking to the truth of the past, being grateful for my present and on hope for a better future; where we do not deny or hide our past but acknowledge it and do everything we can to make sure we correct things so that tomorrow is better than today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lou Dobbs and a Mariachi Band

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Lou Dobbs Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

The interview is a bit, meh, but, the opening, and his uncomfy face, is, great. The end.

Vigil TODAY in Lake Merritt

TIME: Sunday, November 22, 3:30pm
LOCATION: Mac Arthur and Grand Ave. at Lake Merritt
CONTACT: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Liz Latty
PHONE: (510) 282-5223

Though it happened a week ago, I just caught up with this story, so here's what happened.

A queer and/or trans teenager in Puerto Rico, Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, was killed after she was picked up by a man for sex and he discovered her "male genitalia". She has also been reported predominantly to be a "gay male", though as Helen G notes in the link provided that she was dressed as a woman and that her killer seemingly believed her to be one when he picked her up.
Links and more information found here.

Also of note in this case is the way the local police have been commenting on the victim. The former officer in charge of the case had this to say:
“When these type of people get into this and go out into the streets like this, they know this can happen to them.”
Thankfully THAT asshole was taken off the case. We'll see if it gets better on that front from here on.

The same week, in Baltimore, Maryland, queer fifteen-year-old Jason Mattison, Jr., was raped and stabbed to death in his aunt’s home by an adult male, a family friend with whom, according to a Baltimore police spokesperson, Mattison allegedly had a “forced sexual relationship.”

(From the press release of this vigil) More information on this case can be found here.

There are other events and vigils that have been popping up all over the country. Events for Jorge can be found here For Jason, here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New "End of Time" Preview


And if you haven't seen Waters of Mars yet, do, it was great.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oscar Grant News - New City Picked!

Via the East Bay Express

In a victory for prosecutors and the family of Oscar Grant, a judge has sent the murder trial of ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle to downtown Los Angeles, according to the Trib and the Chron. Mehserle’s defense team had wanted the case moved to conservative San Diego County, where the jury pool likely would have been more sympathetic to police officers.

I am quite relieved by this decision, even if it does appear it was made for monetary and not fairness reasons.

And I will continue to follow this story and bring you updates. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009 - California

Tomorrow, November 20th, 2009 is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is when we remember all the trans women and men who have died this year as a result of transphobia/hatred and violence. Below you will find the listings for all the events happening in California, if you don't live here, please see THIS LINK for events happening in your area!

Alhambra, California
Thursday, November 19, 2009
6:15pm - 8:15pm, Room 7002
California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University
1000 S. Freemont Ave., Alhambra, CA 91803
For more information email,
Johanna Malaret at,
Chico, California
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
5:30 PM
California State University Chico
Meet at trinity commons for march.
After the march meet at room 210 at the BMU.
In case of rain, meet at 5:30, Rm 21 at BMU.
Eureka, California
Friday November 20, 2009
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Humboldt County Courthouse Lawn,
corner of 5th & I STREETS in Eureka, CA
Fresno, California
Friday, Nov. 20, 2009
6:00 - 10:00 PM
at the Big White House
1095 N. Van Ness Ave. and Alhambra (South of Olive), Fresno
Haywood, California
Details TBA
Long Beach, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
6:00 PM
on the four corners of Broadway and Junipero
Oakland, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
at Preservation Park, Nile Hall
Doors will open at 7PM and the ceremony will start at 7:30 and we will end by 9:30.
Contact: Tiffany Woods at
Orange County, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
6:30pm - 8:00pm
The Center OC
1605 N Spurgeon St, Santa Ana, CA 92701
For more information, please contact Daniel Shad at
Or visit:
Sacramento, California
Saturday, November 21 2009
6:30 PM
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
2620 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95816
San Diego, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
Beginning at 6:00 PM
LGBT Community Center
3909 Centre St, San Diego, CA 92103
for more information email:
San Jose, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
7:00 PM
Billy DeFrank LGBTQQI Community Center
938 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126.
Santa Barbara, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
Beginning at 6:00 PM
at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden
Corner of Anacapa And Anapamu Streets Santa Barbara, CA.
Santa Cruz County, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
6:30PM - 8:30
Watsonville Plaza, 358 Main St, Watsonville, CA
San Francisco, California
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
7:00 - 9:00 PM
CIIS California Institute for Integral Studies
3rd Floor - Namaste Hall
San Francisco, California
Thursday, November 19, 2009
11:00 - 1:00
San Francisco City College
San Francisco, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
6:00 - 8:00 PM
API Wellness Center
730 Polk Street (corner of Ellis)
For more info: Leeza Edwards, Co-chair of SF TEAM
415. 724.1680 or
San Francisco, California
Transgender Day of Remembrance Shabbat
Friday, November 20, 2009
7:30 PM
Congregation Sha’ar Zahav
290 Dolores Street (corner of 16th Street)
San Francisco, CA 94103
For more info:
Stockton, California
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Central United Methodist Church
Beginning at 6:00 PM
West Covina, California
Saturday, November 21, 2009
2:00 PM
Safe haven Community Christian Church
Contact: Eva-Genevieve Scarborough at
West Hollywood, California
Friday, November 20, 2009
6:00 PM
The event begins at Matthew Shepard Human Rights Triangle
(Santa Monica Blvd. at Crescent Heights)
where there will be an unveiling of the first Transgender Memorial Plaque, commemorating those who have been murdered due to anti-transgender violence and hatred.
For more information, please contact Karina Samala at 213-999-0456.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Didn't we already work through that?

This is something I see alot, A LOT.

It's that whole linear historical trajectory thing that "Western" people love. That "progressive view of history", right?

Don't know what I'm talking about? For instance, this:
Whenever I tell my mom (who was a women studies professor and general all-around ass-kicking feminist when I was growing up – 70s and 80s) about all of the fighting in online feminist communities about intersections and such – she just shakes her head and is all “I thought we worked through all of that years ago! I can’t believe people still aren’t getting it!”
I've seen this sentiment a lot. Like "the feminist movement" already covered this, why do people still not know (only one out of many movements this sentiment is applicable to)?

And as long as I've been hearing it, I've been wondering a) what to do about it and b) why it happens (in that order, because doing something about it is, to me, very important).

At first I thought, "well, there's always new people coming into the movement, they're n00bs, they have to learn the ropes and they're making mistakes because they're n00bs and that's what n00bs do". *Dusts off hands* Done!

But when I saw the quoted comment above today and that thought went through my head but another thought followed it: "But WHY DON'T the n00bs of today start off with more information? HASN'T all this good work been done and useful knowledge produced? WHY isn't it sticking?"

I mean, us, the generation of knowing how to use computers, and our younger siblings or children, growing up in a world that never didn't have computers and video games. They know how to use these things. They learn very, very early on how to use this stuff because it's all around them, it has saturated their daily lives.

So, why are the n00bs of today as seemingly woefully ignorant as the n00bs of forty years ago?

That comes to my head as I puzzle about this? Because we don't have that saturation of info, not at all.

What are we saturated in, growing up? For the most part? The same old shit. That's what. For as long as we (womanists, feminists, anti-racists, socialists, LGBTQ activists, dis/ability activists etc. etc.) have been doing this work, something is preventing our hard work from becoming part of the social fabric.

Fuck, that is a depressing thought.

So now, the next thought (to rattle around in my brain for another year or so) how the fuck do we change that? Because it seems like every generation thinks they've done it, but clearly we keep coming back to this place.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Art Sharing

Every once in a while I like to share here some of the really good stuff I've been sharing on my random shit blog Rags'n'Bones. And, I swear, I put up a lot of randomly good stuff!

What I'd like to share today is this artist, who draws on Styrofoam cups:

Cuz that's just cool.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Michigan Wants to Make a Doctor's Note Mandatory for Acupuncture

bfp brought this to my attention:

I found out from my acupuncturist that the state of Michigan is considering requiring it’s citizens to get a doctor’s referral to go to an acupuncturists. So, in other words, rather than hearing from a friend that she went to acupuncture and that person deciding to give it a try too–Michigan wants to make it so that you have to go to a doctor first, and then, if the doctor is willing to actually give you the referral, you can go to the acupuncturist.
Many people who know about the history of midwives in the U.S. know why this is such an extraordinarily bad idea. But for those who don’t know that history–what this particular requirement would do is first and foremost, place an incredibly unfair burden on those people who don’t have health insurance. Those who are unable to afford a doctor would simply have yet another health alternative option removed from their already limited health arsenal.

As some of you know, I'm a big fan of the working class (or community) acupuncture model.  My husband was able to take advantage of it for about six weeks while we were living in Oakland, and though we have had to eliminate all such expenditures since our move, we plan to go back to weekly appointments at our local shop when we can.

And let me make this very clear: that was the first regular health care of any kind that my husband had gotten for well over a decade.  If we had needed to get a doctor's note first, he never would have been able to do it at all (and that's assuming the first doctor we went to would even refer us at all, because you know how some Western Medicine practitioners respond to "alternative" medicine).

If this goes through in Michigan, it will only be a matter of time before it gets picked up somewhere else, because you know how states like to feed off of these issues of "public health" that demonize the poor.  So please, if you support this health model and its goals, don't just sit back and be glad it's not your state considering making it inaccessible to the very people it was created to help, at least sign this petition and let them know why what they're doing is such a very bad idea.

For more info, please follow the link to bfp's post!!!