Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ritual within Gaelic Polytheism

There is a lot of interesting information at the link about all sorts of Gaelic rituals, but since Lughnasadh is almost upon us, I thought I would highlight this portion:
Lá Lúnasa (Lúghnasadh) / Lùnastal / Laa Luanys — 1 August
In Ireland: Picking the first fruits – bilberries being traditional; horses purified by being driven through water; ritualized faction-fighting between males; boys giving girls garlands of flowers; decorating the hearth with flowers.
In Scotland: Cutting of the first sheaf at sunrise while turning sunwise and chanting the iolach buana (reaping paean); making protective charms of rowan and red thread; saining (performing a protective warding) the house and those in it; ritualized faction-fighting between males; garland making; decorating the home with seasonal flowers.
In Isle of Man: Visiting high hills or sacred wells; a young woman reaper would ceremonially cut the last corn and bind it with wild flowers and ribbon into a babban ny mhellea (harvest baby); rush-plaiting.
(via Gaol Naofa)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

BREAKING: Federal Court Grants Injunction Against Parts of AZ Immigration Law

So... Big news today!  An injunction against some of the worst parts of the new Arizona immigration law!

Federal Judge Blocks Portions of SB 1070

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued a ruling today, just hours before SB 1070 is set to go into effect tomorrow, blocking the most stringent portions of the new Arizona law. As passed, SB 1070 makes it a state crime to be undocumented in Arizona and empowers police officers to stop and question anyone they have reasonable suspicion may be in the state without papers. The law also requires law enforcement to question the legal status of anyone they stop while they're enforcing state and local law, or even civil code.

Judge Bolton granted a partial injunction, which stops a law from being implemented while the courts hash out the constitutionality of the law. Her ruling blocks the requirement that people carry their papers with them at all times; it was an offense punishable with jail time and fines. Bolton also blocked the provision that makes it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit day laborer work in public places. Most importantly, Bolton blocked the portions of SB 1070 that require officers to check a person's status while enforcing other laws and allow for the warrantless arrests of those believed to have committed "deportable offenses".

Read the ruling for yourself here.

Judge blocks parts of Arizona immigration law

"There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new (law)," Bolton ruled. "By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a 'distinct, unusual and extraordinary' burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose."
Federal authorities who are trying to overturn the law have argued that letting the Arizona law stand would create a patchwork of immigration laws nationwide that would needlessly complicate the foreign relations of the United States. Federal lawyers said the law is disrupting U.S. relations with Mexico and other countries and would burden the agency that responds to immigration-status inquiries.

BREAKING: Judge Keeps Key Parts of Arizona Law from Going Into Effect

Judge Bolton, who was recommended for the bench by Republican Senator Jon Kyl, did not grant the federal government's request to put the entire bill on hold, so most of its provisions will still go into effect as scheduled tomorrow. But the most controversial four provisions have been enjoined:

The "show your papers" provision: "Portion of Section 2 [...] requiring that an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, and requiring verification of the immigration status of any person arrested prior to releasing that person"
The section making it a crime to be undocumented: "Section 3: creating a crime for the failure to apply for or carry alien registration papers"
The section making it a crime to look for work: "Portion of Section 5: creating a crime for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for, or perform work"
The section authorizing police to arrest immigrants without a warrant: "Section 6: authorizing the warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense"

Technically, this isn't the end of the lawsuit. The injunction just puts a hold on these sections until a final ruling is made; it doesn't strike them down completely. But Judge Bolton could only issue the injunction if she thought that the federal government was "likely to succeed" in its case that SB 1070 undermined the federal government's authority to set immigration policy; in the case of these four provisions, the order said, she'll probably end up agreeing. Furthermore, the order said (emphasis added):
"the United States is likely to suffer irreparable harm if the Court does not preliminarily enjoin enforcement of these Sections of S.B. 1070 and that the balance of equities tips in the United States’ favor considering the public interest."

Legal eagles can read the order in full here, or this analysis by the American Immigration Council covering the various lawsuits filed against the law.

The fight is NOT over, but this is a promising step.  Those parts of the law not under this injunction are still going into effect tomorrow, and as such, I would encourage you to see what actions against the law are planned for your area! VivirLatino has a list of NYC area events.

And in the Bay Area:

Title:Downtown Oakland Action to Protest SB1070
START DATE:Thursday July 29
TIME:12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Location Details:
Actions are scheduled to protest the passing of SB1070. 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street (at 14th Street), Downtown Oakland, CA

Title:Fruitvale Action to Protest SB1070
START DATE:Thursday July 29
TIME:3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Location Details:
Actions are scheduled to protest the passing of SB1070. 3:00pm - 4:00pm: Fruitvale BART Plaza, 35th Ave & International Blvd, Oakland, CA

Title:Rally Against SB 1070 in Santa Cruz
START DATE:Thursday July 29
TIME:5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Location Details:
Depot Park
119 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95067
(On Washington St, behind the Police Department)

Title:SF Rally for Immigrant Rights and Against SB 1070!
START DATE:Thursday July 29
TIME:5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Location Details:
24th Street and Mission Street
San Francisco, CA

Title:Youth Organize Opposition to SB1070
START DATE:Thursday July 29
TIME:6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Location Details:
McDowell park, off of Park Ln., between Maria Dr. and McGregor Ave
Petaluma, CA

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Call for Submissions: Occupied Bodies

Landed in my email via Cecelia of Anishinaabekwe:

Tasha Fierce is putting together an anthology folks, if you have something to say about WOC and body image sit up and pay attention. 

I am soliciting essays for an anthology on women of color’s self-image/body image as shaped by family, friends, media, society, history, lived experiences, etc. I’m looking for smart, accessible, and snappy personal narratives that also offer nuanced analysis of the underlying constructs that affect how we perceive ourselves. Exploring intersectionality of identities is extremely important. I particularly want the voices of women of color that are not often heard to be represented, such as trans* WOC, disabled WOC, queer WOC, WOC outside the U.S., WOC with eating disorders, working class/poor WOC and fat WOC. Of course, all the varied perspectives any woman of color can offer are welcome. This is an exciting project, as this topic has not been explored in depth and including such a diverse collection of viewpoints before. The final manuscript will be submitted to relevant independent publishers.
Some possible jumping off points include, but are not limited to:

  • What images of yourself were instilled in you by your parents/guardians/other family members when you were a young child? What positive or negative encounters with adults as a child helped shape that image?
  • If you were born in a country other than the U.S. and then immigrated to the U.S., how did the society in which you were born play a role in your developing self-image, and what contrasts did you find difficult to navigate between the two societies?
  • How did the media you consumed as a child/teen shape your body/self image today? How does it complicate it? How does the media you consume NOW affect your body/self image?
  • How did pressure from family and friends affect the way you perceived yourself after you were old enough to take care of yourself?
  • How did you feel about societal beauty and body standards as a teen? Did you rebel, or conform by any means necessary to avoid confrontation?
  • How has the globalization and dissemination of the Western beauty ideal affected you and women of color worldwide?
  • Debunk this: “in some cultures they ______”, – deconstructing a commonly held belief about an ethnic group’s relation to body (such as the black community supposedly being OK with fat).
  • If you’re queer, how has being a queer woman of color affected your self-image and how you desire your partner to look? If you’ve had partners who were also women of color, did/do you gaze upon them with the same critical eye you reserve for yourself? Why or why not?
  • If you’re a trans* WOC, how was your perception of your gender identity shaped? How has your self/body image changed over the years and have there been any other shifts in your thinking about your self/body image? How does being a WOC interact with your trans* identity? How does it affect how other people perceive you and your gender?
  • How has being a disabled WOC affected your body/self image? Do you feel it’s a detriment or a positive part of your person? How did you come to terms with your disability, or has it never been problematic for you?
  • As a fat WOC, has weight shaped your self/body image your whole life? Have you developed an eating disorder? Was it exacerbated by there being virtually no resources for women of color, especially for fat WOC?
  • Are you a sexual assault/rape survivor? How did that trauma affect your view of yourself?
If your experiences overlap on any of the suggested jumping off points, PLEASE feel free to explore that.

  • Deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010;
  • Submissions should be saved in Word format or Rich Text, double spaced, size 12 Arial or Times New Roman;
  • 500 to 5,000 words;
  • Include RELIABLE contact information and a brief biography;
  • Only e-mail submissions will be accepted, however, if you can’t arrange that please contact me and we’ll work something out.
  • Send submissions to:;
  • Again, the deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010.
Who I Am:
The woman spearheading this project is Tasha Fierce, a freelance writer who also happens to be a fat, queer, disabled woman of color. I’ve written about race politics, fat acceptance, disability and feminism in several zines, including Evolution of a Race Riot and the zine I edited from 1998-2001, Bitchcore. I have contributed to Jezebel several times, the fat acceptance blog Shapely Prose, the race & pop culture blog Racialicious, and the feminist disability activism blogFWD/Forward. My work has also been featured in The Huffington Post. I live, love and write in Los Angeles, California. You can regularly read me at my own blog, Red Vinyl Shoes ( and on Twitter as @redvinylshoes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spirit Rising: Fundraiser for 13 Indigenous Grandmothers

DATE: August 21, 2010
TIME: 11am -6pm
LOCATION: Golden Gate park, Music Concourse Bandshell,
San Francisco, CA
CONTACT: 831.420.2700

Native Drumming & Dance
Prayers for the Waters
Spirit Walk of Peace
Internationally Acclaimed Artists and Speakers
Honoring Filmmaker Carole Hart "For the next 7 Generations"

A circle will be created within our event that marks the 4 directions to honor the Grandmothers that come to us from around the world.

Grandmothers in Attendance:
Grandmother Flordemayo and
Grandmother Agnes Pilgrim

FREE Music/Event in the park

c/o of the always lovely Cecelia at Anishinaabekwe

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Footage From the Mehserle Rally in Walnut Creek

Mooncricket: When Two Worlds Collide-The Mehserle Rally Raw & Uncut-Race Does Matter… Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner-(The Blog):
"Big shout out to film maker Mooncricket who captured not only the rally that took place for killer cop Johannes Mehserle in Walnut Creek but also caught the ignorance and huge disconnect that many have when it comes to dealing with issues of race and police brutality..

In the clip below you hear the confrontations but more importantly you hear how deeply embedded racial perceptions are. pay close attention to the woman who wants to lecture one brother about genocide in Rwanda and then tells him about OJ Simpson.. It was a constant theme repeated over and over again which suggested that revenge from the OJ trial was sitting on everyone’s mind.

In this video listen to the other woman who attempts to tell us why people get pulled over and profiled and finds it hard to believe the police are doing anything wrong…This same woman is later caught on film yelling that mexicans should go back to Mexico."

There is some INTENSE shit on this video, especially at the end. I think my favorite bit is the white lady who interrupts a conversation being had between people and demands to know what's being discussed and before the black man who was talking can finish his sentence she waves her hand and say "oh that's BULLSHIT." Classic.

Shockingly, this same woman is seen later yelling "Mexicans, go back to Mexico!"

In another video (there are ten in all via the link!) a white man from the pro-Mehserle camp argues with a Black man and woman for quite a while before a young white man who was standing behind them starts yelling at him too.  Pro-Mehserle dude's response to this white man ruining his personal white solidarity narrative?  "Don't give into them".  I could unpack that statement for days...

You know, when I had my long commute I couldn't help noticing that the vast majority of people getting off BART at the Walnut Creek stop were white (unlike most of the other East Bay BART stops which are generally somewhat diverse).  I guess I know why now.

Go to the link for the whole story from Hip Hop Politics.

Friday, July 23, 2010

If Movie Titles Were Honest did a whole list of these, and there were quite a few that I thought were right on or at least pretty funny, but this one got by far the best response on my Tumblr...

The movie poster for "The Blind Side" with the title changed to "White Guilt".

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cara Has a Post That is Really On It

I mean that's not that unusual... But especially given my head- and blog-focus the last couple weeks it was, I thought, especially appropo to share with you all...

Police Officer Arrested for On-Duty Sexual Assault and False Imprisonment of Ex-Girlfriend
I’ve made it clear in the past as well as in this post that I don’t buy into the “rotten apple” theory of police violence. I think it’s false, deliberately misleading, and incredibly dangerous. But if we were to ignorantly accept it as fact — and insofar as it is true that many abusive cops would have turned out to be abusive people regardless of whether or not they ever joined the force, or joined the force specifically to have an opportunity to abuse — we really need to acknowledge why exactly it is that so many individuals who want to commit violence are gravitating towards a career in law enforcement. We need to recognize that this is not an accident, and that it’s about more than access to a gun, but also about access to extraordinary, unquestioned, and undeserved power. It’s also about expanded access to a litany of excuses and justifications for their violence. We have to take notice of the fact that when so many abusers want to work for your institution and use it as a cover-up for their violence, you are doing something wrong. You are doing something to attract them, and to tell them that with you, they will be safe and supported.

Friday, July 09, 2010

In Memorial.

"...we as a family has been slapped in the face by a system that has denied us a right to true justice. We truly do not blame the jury, but we blame the system."
- Cephus Johnson, Oscar Grant's uncle

In Memorial.

Oscar Grant
Duanna Johnson
Aiyana Stanley-Jones
Sean Bell
James Popkowski
Adolph Grimes
Patrick Lee
Corey Harris
Annette Garcia
Fong Lee
Robert Mitchell
Martin Anderson
Kathryn Johnston
Joseph Erin Hamley
Jessie Lee Williams Jr.
Juan Herrera

These are just the people who died from their mistreatment at police hands in the last few years (and I'm positive I did not get them all).

What about Christopher Harris, Angel L. Rosenthal, Kelly McAllister, Frederick Mason, Jeremy Burke, Jessica Asprilla, Derek Copp, Lori Penner, Ronnie Holloway, Brian Sterner, Angela Garbarino, Robin Kassner, Hope Steffey, Robert Davis, Cornell Greathouse, and so, so many others who haven't died, who have gone unnoticed or been silenced or kept their names out of the records for their own safety?

This has to stop. Police are supposed to exist to protect their communities, not terrorize them! And you know what, if that's not true, then fuck'em, we don't need them! And we don't need their fake justice. We'll keep each other safe!

Cuz you know what I see, looking through all these cases?

Every single person deviates from the kyriarchal standard in some way. Black, Native, physically or mentally disabled, trans*, Latin@, LGB, activist, Asian, poor, immigrant...they're all positioned in opposition to authority, as a threat to the system.

Do you think that's a coincidence?

I don't.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

BREAKING: Mehserle Verdict to be Read at 4pm PST

Follow for real time updates.

Will post here when I know what the verdict is.

There is reason to believe there may be "justice" for Oscar Grant in our future...

*prays and hopes*

UPDATE: Involuntary Manslaughter.

Means he will basically be out in two years.

This is how far we've come people.  A Black man's life is worth two years in prison.

UPDATE: sovernnation
Alameda county DA: Mehserle guilty of gun enhancement. That rules out possibility of probation, means he MUST be sentenced to 5-14 years

johannes mehserle sentencing happening august 6th

UPDATE: After the Verdict Where Can You Go?
Local organzations and the city are working together and have set up these locations as Healing Centers/Speak Outs for everyone who wants to get together to go:

Youth UpRising
8711 MacArthur Blvd.

Urban Services YMCA
3265 Market Street

East Bay Asian Youth Center
2025 East 12th Street

Arroyo Viejo Recreation Center
7701 Krause Avenue

Mosswood Recreation Center
3612 Webster Street
If you know of other places organizations are encouraging people to gather, please list them there--we'd like to build a list to share with OL readers & community. We know, EBAYC, RJOY, Ella Baker Center, and Destiny Arts Center are all thinking about this--welcome change to learn more and share.

UPDATE: Live video

UPDATE: Involuntary Manslaughter for Mehserle - Protestors Become Restless: updates are from the Oakland Local team - in collaboration with The Bay Citizen - both on location, in downtown Oakland and elsewhere around the city.

UPDATE: Radio of Oakland Police Department, Fire and Riot Control

Mission muralist Victor Reyes' art opening at E6 Gallery in SF

"Street Artist and SF Mission District resident Victor Reyes, whose work incorporates a passion for typography that font-o-philes will love, has a show opening at with Robert Berman/E6 Gallery in San Francisco. Reyes is 31 years old, and has managed to paint all 26 letters of the alphabet around the Mission in 'a personal excercise in aerosol typography,' according to a recent San Francisco Chronicle front-page feature on Reyes.

'MISPELLED, An Alphabet by Victor Reyes' runs July 7 - August 14, 2010. Opening Reception: July 7, 6-9pm at E6 Gallery, San Francisco."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Ok so I made something damn good last week, but today tops everything I have ever done. And I am not exaggerating.

So, I'm going to share. :)

I rough chopped sweet onions, sliced sweet bell peppers in 1/4 inch slices and then cut them in half. Finely chopped a LOT of fresh mint. Finely chopped about 5 cloves of garlic.

Put these in a glass baking dish with peas and corn.

Season with:
jerk seasoning
tandoori seasoning
quite a bit of curry powder
chili powder
white pepper
salt and black pepper
olive oil
marsala wine

Enough of the liquids to make sure the pan has a good layer of liquid at the bottom, for steaming and cooking the onions, peppers, corn, peas and garlic. I had to add more wine because the vegetables soaked up what I initially put in, don't be afraid to do the same.

Put in the lamb steaks, mine were about a half an inch thick. Sprinkle the top with olive oil and the same seasonings as the rest, give it a good coating of seasoning.

Cover with foil (loosely) and put in a 375 degree oven for twenty minutes. Uncover and cook for another 15-20 minutes depending on how well done you like your lamb.

We dished this up on top of thick sliced sour batard (a med-small sized loaf) from our favorite bakery spread with butter on the top and crust on the bottom. Placed the lamb on top of the buttered side and then poured the “sauce” from the pan with the veg over the top.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

Today is the 4th of July

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.

                                          - Frederick Douglas
(via marthaq) (via ihatethismess)

Hopefully these words are not timeless...but they certainly do apply as much today as they did then.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Friday, July 02, 2010

Johannes Mehserle Trial - Jury Has Begun Deliberating

The jury began deliberating today on the fate of former BART cop Johannes Meherle for his killing of Oscar Grant a year and a half ago.

This is something I have posted on more than a few times.

In that year and a half my opinion of the case has changed.  As I have lived longer in Oakland, and seen more of the relationship between cops and people of color here and elsewhere.  As I have learned more of the history of this city.

I no longer see Mehserle's look of shock after shooting Oscar Grant in the back as evidence that "he didn't mean to do it," but more probably surprise that he actually had done what he wanted to do.

I have no proof of that, but given his lies ("I thought he had a gun!") since then, and that his other piece of defense ("I meant to tase him!") contradicts that claim (you don't stand up over someone and tase them if you think they are about to roll over and shoot you with a gun); I simply don't find Johannes Mehserle to be credible on any level.

I don't think he is a cold blooded killer who feels no remorse for what he did either.

But I do think that the cop culture in this city (as in many cities and towns everywhere) is rooted in an atmosphere that is highly racist, highly classist; that dehumanizes people of color to the degree that violence perpetrated against them is not seen as "as big of a deal" as against white people.  And I think, in that mindset, in that atmosphere, it is easy for a dominant part of someone to pull out their gun and shoot an unarmed man in the back, while another part of you is shocked at your own hate and it's actions.

And I don't think someone like that should be out in free society.

I don't think they should necessarily be in prison either (see: my prison abolitionist views) but they need to be out of society somehow, and right now, prison is all we've got.

Anyway, that is my opinion.

And I am ready to take to the streets if he is acquitted, with the rest of "the animals in Oakland".

But for now, we wait, so that those who have heard all the evidence, and who are in an even better position to judge than I, can weigh the facts and come to a conclusion.

I just pray that decision will be something akin to justice.

For play by play updates see: OscarGrantTrial on Twitter.