Friday, August 31, 2007
A Polk County judge on Thursday struck down Iowa's law banning gay marriage.The ruling by Judge Robert Hanson concluded that the state's prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and he ordered the Polk County recorder to issue marriage licenses to six gay couples.
Camilla Taylor, an attorney with Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights organization, said the ruling requires "full equality for all Iowans including gay and lesbian Iowans and their families."
Gay couples from anywhere in Iowa could apply for a marriage license from Polk County. The process takes three days, however. Polk County is expected to appeal the ruling to the Iowa S upreme Court. County Attorney John Sarcone said the county would immediately seek a stay from Hanson, which if granted would prevent anyone from seeking a marriage license until an appeal could be heard.
In his ruling, Hanson said the state law allowing marriage only between a man and a woman violates the constitutional rights of due process and equal protection."Couples, such as plaintiffs, who are otherwise qualified to marry one another may not be denied licenses to marry or certificates of marriage or in any other way prevented from entering into a civil marriage... by reason of the fact that both person comprising such a couple are of the same sex," he said.
The judge said the state law banning same-sex marriage must be nullified, severed and stricken from the books and the marriage laws "must be read and applied in a gender neutral manner so as to permit same-sex couples to enter into a civil marriage..."
So, how will this affect the Iowa caucuses? Will any of them take a stand on this issue? Believe me this will become a huge issue in Iowa. Republicans will hammer how being gay proves that the end of the world is near. The big three democrats will say something like "I believe in rights for all people." Yes, but Senator where do you stand? "I belive in rights for all people."
Ok, is there any wonder you cannot end this war?
Thursday, August 30, 2007
In July Senator Vitter of Louisiana also admitted frequenting prostitutes on the DC Madame list. Whether he was caught or not does not matter, they are both crimes. Vitter admitted it for crying out loud. To date, five Republican lawmakers have called on Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) to resign:
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN): “Senator Craig pled guilty to a crime involving conduct unbecoming a senator. He should resign.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “I believe that he — that he pled guilty and he had the opportunity to plead innocent. So I think he should resign.”
Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI): “However, he also represents the Republican Party, and I believe that he should step down as his conduct throughout this matter has been inappropriate for a U.S. senator.”
Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN): “While additional concerns are being raised, Senator Craig already demonstrated that he is unfit to serve in the U.S. Congress when he pled guilty. I believe that he needs to step down.”
Reps. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), Bobby Jindal (R-LA), and Ron Lewis (R-KY): urged Craig to step down…including Jeff Miller and Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida, Mark Souder of Indiana, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Ron Lewis of Kentucky.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel has also stripped Craig of his leadership positions and called for a Senate ethics investigation. None of these law makers said anything about Vitter resigning or objected to his behavior. In fact Vitter received "thunderous applause" at a policy luncheon a few days after his admission.
So, commit a sexual infraction with a male you should resign, but if you visit prostitutes on several occasions you receive a standing ovation?
Why don't they both resign. If Vitter resigned we could appoint a democrat (because of Governor Blanco) and kick fucking Lieberman out of the party for good!!! If Craig resigns we just get another reactionary GOP crazy.
The first band that ever played in the place named for
Hilly's favorite types of music, Country, Bluegrass,
and Blues, was Television. Kristal, in an interview
with NPR, said that when he first saw the Ramones on stage, he was anything but impressed. 'Their amps kept going on and off, they were fighting on stage...but they got better, as we all know.' Other bands to get their big break at CBs were Blondie and The Talking Heads.
One rule that Kristal had was that bands had to play their own stuff. No covers. Originality ruled on the stage at CBGB. New York City and the world will miss Hilly and his dive. I know that I sure will.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
But, it seems SHE ain't goin to rehab and her family is frantic about her and her husband's dance with heroin. It is sad. Once the "stuff" gets a grip on you it is a long road back. Here is hoping she makes it.
The Directive No. 2007-3 provides and directs law-enforcement officers to inquire of all individuals arrested and charged with indictable offenses and driving under the influence (DUI) about their citizenship. The directive further provides that "((i))f the officer has reason to believe that the person may not be lawfully present in the United States, the officer shall notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during the arrest booking process."
Ms. Alvarez says: "The HBA-NJ recognizes that comprehensive immigration reform is needed in our current system and is not opposed to reformation of the same. We do not object to immigration laws that, for instance, bar criminals from entering the country or provide for the deportation of a resident or undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes. However, there needs to be a balance that enhances international cooperation on immigration issues and ensures that the human rights and dignity of all immigrants and their families are respected and protected."
She credits the Attorney General for taking into consideration the "inherent dangers" in this directive, but says there are still insufficient safeguards to prevent misuse of the directive and racial profiling may occur as a result. Further, she says "we are further concerned that the lack of safeguards will cause immigrant victims and witnesses of crimes and civil wrongs to avoid contact with the police." This is a serious concern.
Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, caused the same concerns for the Hispanic bar and the "implementation of such a program [they opined] would lead to an increase of police stops and interrogation of persons of color who the police believe are undocumented immigrants." Implementation of such a program would lead to a reduction in the reporting of crimes against undocumented immigrants out of what Ms. Alvarez describes as "being separated from their families, being incarcerated and deported." Governor Corzine opposed the measure for similar reasons and said of the measure is a piece meal approach at local levels to a complicated problem which undermines "the critical trust communities must have ((of)) law enforcement..."
The directive gives an arresting officer the authority "not only to inquire about an arrestee's citizenship, but it gives the arresting officer the discretion (without any standards) to formulate a reasonable belief whether an arrestee "may" be in the U.S. unlawfully." Ms. Alvarez goes on to say the process is far too complex and will speed too quickly for an arresting officer to communicate the information to the ICE and may lead to inadequate information gathering and deportations in cases that are not necessary. Read the rest of the op-ed piece here.
Also, a new study warns the U.S. is preparing a "massive military attack" against Iran.
I just came across this video and story on Alternet about the anniversary. So while you are listening to all of the media spin today, remember that there are still Americans that we should be working hard to help. In the mean time, sign the petition to support the Gulf Coast Recovery Bill.
UPDATE: If you are in/around NOLA today, consider joining in the national day of action. 8/29, A Day of Presence will take place today from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ernest N. Morial Conventional Center.
Shriver Center Calls on Federal Government to Take Action
From the Shriver Center:
Today the Census Bureau released its figures on American poverty, and they reveal essentially no change. Poverty lingers at 12.3%, and child poverty at 17.4%. The income gap remains wide, with the top rungs of the economic ladder gaining income and everyone else languishing. And there are still 47 million Americans without health insurance.
"This is deeply disappointing, but not at all surprising," said John Bouman, president of the Sargent Shriver National Center On Poverty Law. "The Administration's posture of neglect, trickle-down tax policy, and retreat from a positive government role is predictably accomplishing nothing to reduce poverty and inequality."
This month we commemorate the Gulf hurricanes of two years ago. It is clear that success in taking on a big job like disaster relief and recovery requires more than individual initiative, private enterprise and active local government. Such an undertaking also calls for federal leadership, resources and competence. The federal government must commit to getting the job done and solicit American support. It must back leadership with strategic resources adequate to the task. And it must perform its own roles with competence and due speed. Lack of effective government is on display this month, as cameras return to New Orleans and find that so little has changed.
And today's Census Bureau numbers reveal a similar story with the fight against poverty. The administration has not attempted to rally the public to that task, not even rhetorically. Far from dedicating adequate resources, it continues to give threats and ultimatums against poor and middle class working families. Indeed, the President is poised to veto State Children's Health Insurance Program reauthorization bills passed by both houses of Congress that would dedicate funding towards millions more uninsured children.
"There is no better or easier way to make a significant gain against poverty and inequality than to guarantee that children receive preventive and early health care in order to maximize their life chances," said Bouman. "Both parties in Congress should push the investment in America's children past any presidential veto this fall."
As the presidential campaign season intensifies, the candidates' positions on the federal role in the fight against poverty should be measured carefully. We know it will take leadership, resources, and competence to make future Census Bureau reports show real progress in reducing poverty and improving equality and opportunity.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
- Cleaner air through sleeping...
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I don't understand why someone would have such hatred for themselves they would take it out on a whole nation of people. It is simply disgusting. The rumors around Craig have swirled for decades now and several people have threatened to "out" him. In the end he outed himself.
The man, who lingered in front of the stall for two minutes, was later identified as Craig.
“I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes,” the report states.
“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”
Monday, August 27, 2007
During the height of all of this nonsense, I had a speaking engagement scheduled with a group of adult women. A day or two before I was scheduled to speak a representative from the group called me and requested that I not bring a bookseller with me as planned, not mention the rape that occurred in the book, and not read any section from the book that might contain strong language. I declined the new terms and cancelled the event but, the bookstore had ordered quite a few extra copies based on the expected turnout. I bought the books myself because the bookstore and I were in partnership together and it was important to me that the store not suffer financially because my book and I were censored.
For me it’s not about Borders or Barnes and Noble or BAM or anybody else, but geez what are we all so afraid of that we make it this hard to find one little ole book? And what are the other books out there that can’t even get into print or possibly get written because the environment today is so very tightly controlled? The Subversive Garden is such a critical voice in this conversation. Thank you for doing what you do."
When a hack like Tim Russert takes you to task you really are incompetent.
National Library and Archives, has one hell
of a job ahead of him. He has seen thousands of his
country's treasures and archives destroyed, his
library taken over by the newly-formed Iraqi
National Guard. They destroyed doors, windows,
and gates. Then they left...last Friday. He was
interviewed about these events, and how he was
able to keep the library open over the past 4
years, all the while rebuilding, by Folha de
The picture to the right says a bunch about the state of things in the Baghdad headquarters of the Iraqi library system. Eskander, who was not at the library when it was taken over by the military for 4 days, has seen a lot. Throughout the interview, he stresses his disappointment with the present government, and a serious need for compromise. The library, which has been assisted by the Japanese and Italian governments, was the most damaged government institution in the country: it lost 60% of all its documents, and 25% of all books, a devastating tragedy that has gotten lost in all the human carnage. This is all the more sad since the building sits 20 meters from a joint American-Iraqi military base. When asked how the library could have been so damaged, he responded: "I just don't think it is important to them." When he went to the American and Iraqi military for help, they simply didn't respond.
The article is not cynical, however. Eskander refers to the Brazilian coach of the Iraqi National Soccer team, Jovan Vieira, who led the team to victory in the Asia Cup. As he notes, the team is mad up of Iraqis of all sects: Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites. He noted that all Iraqis like Vieira...he is "the most popular figure in Iraq." That is significant, and he remarks that, for their country, the team worked together to win a huge upset. The one thing that unites Iraqis, according to the director, is soccer.
He finally notes that he does have more liberty of expression, and that he has already used that to criticize the Minister of Defense: his statements were published. His library still needs lots of help, and the road back to the 250 visitors a day he had before the war is a long one. when asked which leader he would look to for inspiration to finding a way to end the war, he responded: " Probably Gandhi...he was a genius, who kicked out the British, established a republic, a democratic system, a federalist system that united different ethnic groups and languages in one country. I hope that our leaders read about peace and compromise."
A great idea from a man in the midst of a country torn apart be bad ones.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
one wall street journal article described gigi's first book Claiming Georgia Tate as "about a 12-year-old girl whose father pressures her into a sexual relationship." hmm, how's that for sugar coating incest and rape? i read the book in two sittings, emotionally exhausted yet feeling a sense of hope and kindness so lacking in our daily lives. young georgia tate's character represents survival, tolerance and strength in a world that marginalizes us by race, class and sexual orientation. something we should all want to read about.
i wrote to gigi in search of some answers about her book, the media fallout and how georgia tate has affected others... i found out she loves americorps (the domestic peace corps-- i served 10 years ago!) and still has her day job, as a program developer in the non-profit field for elder care & homeless services.
below are some excerpts from our conversation:
on the media: "I do believe that in the mainstream media ... my book and other good books, including Teach Me by R.A. Nelson were wrongly misrepresented as trashy, smutty books of poor literary quality. I also believe that this had an impact on booksellers and readers."
on "reclassifying" georgia's rape: "It outrages me that the rape that occurs in my book has been represented repeatedly as 'sex.' That’s wrong in a BIG way. What occurs in Georgia Tate, is child abuse. It is not consensual, nor pleasurable, nor is it between adults."
on the real message of her book: "I wrote the story to really dig into some ideas that I’m obsessed with: faith, hope, love, and my firm belief that God loves every-freakin’body. But now I’m proud to say it’s an issue book in the following ways: therapists who work with women who have survived sexual assault use Georgia Tate in groups because they say it helps bring women out of their isolation, prosecutors who work in juvenile court prosecuting child abuse cases have told me that this book helps them stay connected to the heart of their work, volunteers in the court appointed special advocates program use the book in their work, and I’ve heard from many readers who have survived trauma that reading this book reminded them of the people in their lives like Tamika, Nana, Leroy, and Granddaddy Tate – the people who saved them."
on the impact of the book's misrepresentation: "I basically wrote a book about God and it’s been blasted as a book about a girl who has sex with her dad. The other day I had an interviewer ask me how I could do this to teen-age readers. Yet, I also was unprepared for the tremendous outpouring of love and joy from book groups, helping professionals, and readers who really took the time to connect the positive message."
it's horrifying to see how the mainstream media commands such blatant control over ideas. and that by clouding the issues and labeling books as trashy, the media can censor what it deems as "smutty."
thanks gigi, for sharing your thoughts and writing this beautiful story of how to claim our own lives, despite every challenge.
I received this email that I am posting here for people to help support Mychal Bell who has been convicted and faces up to 22 years in prison. He sits in jail as we speak, his football career and teenage years being ruined. We plan on sending him something in the next few days. This case shows how far we have not come or are we still going backwards?
"You and more than 84,000 other ColorOfChange members have helped send a strong message that it's time for the injustice being perpetrated in Jena to come to a halt. We know it's going to be a long struggle, and we're proud that ColorOfChange members will be in this fight until all 6 young men are free. We'll be sending you information about more actions you can take over the next few weeks, but today, we wanted to let you know of a special way you can help.
While five of the students have yet to go to trial, Mychal Bell has already been convicted and sits in prison awaiting sentencing. We talked a few days ago with a lawyer who has visited Mychal several times. He says that it would help Mychal to hear from those of us who support him.
Can you take a moment to write Mychal a postcard or letter? It can be short. The key is simply that it's hearfelt. You can send your cards and letters to:
LaSalle Correctional Center
15976 Highway 165
Olla, LA 71465-4801
A few moments of your time could really brighten this young man's spirit. If you send a card or letter, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org."
Thank You and Peace,
-- James, Van, Clarissa, Gabriel, Mervyn and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
August 24th, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
On Vacation, All by Myself
By PETE JORDAN (Illustration by Hope Gangloff)
Published in The New York Times: August 25, 2007
NOT knowing what I’d eat — or if I’d be eating at all — I decided to play it safe and dumped two dozen red multivitamins in a sandwich baggie. I stuffed the baggie into the pocket of my corduroys.
Then I pulled on my coat, grabbed a rolled-up sleeping bag and the brown paper bag that contained my clothes, and left the note on the kitchen table.
As I slipped out the front door of my family’s small San Francisco apartment, I shouted “See ya later!” to my brother Joe — the only person at home. From the living room, he called back, “Where ya going?”
“Out,” I said, then closed the door behind me.
I was 15 years old, and it was August. The note on the table read: “I’m taking a vacation. I’ll call when I get there. Be back in about three weeks.”
At the crummy summer camp I’d attended when I was younger, every hour of the day was scheduled, which I didn’t find very relaxing, and on family vacations — where a consensus was needed to do anything — I always had to tag along after my four older siblings. I rarely got to do what I wanted.
So I caught the streetcar to downtown and boarded a Greyhound bus.
I rode five hours, out from under San Francisco’s persistent fog cover, to Lake Tahoe — which had what I considered to be the two key ingredients of an ideal holiday locale: fogless weather and miniature golf. Upon arrival, I folded my coat under my arm and called home, collect. My mom sounded worried.
“Are you coming back?”
“Of course I am,” I said.
“You’re not running away?”
“Running away?” I was insulted. Living in Haight-Ashbury — a magnet for runaways — I’d met plenty of teens who’d fled home to live on our streets and sleep in our parks. This sojourn usually lasted only until a squad car pulled up to the corner where my friends and I were hanging out. The cops would pluck the runaway from the crowd, stick him in the car and ship him back to his suburb/state of origin. It was exactly that environment that I needed a break from.
“I just wanted to get away for a while,” I told my mom.
“Well,” she replied, “just keep in touch then.”
After buying and applying some sunblock, I hiked straight to the miniature golf course. As far as I knew, it was the closest one to San Francisco.
It was also the course where, a couple of years earlier, my brother Joe — irritated by his inability to direct the ball between the circling blades of the windmill — had launched his golf club into the air. It whirled above the course like a helicopter before disappearing into the pines beyond. Then he announced that our game was over. Being under his supervision, I had to leave with him, my round unfinished.
This time, I played all 19 holes of the mini-links straight through. By then, the crowd was thinning out, so I bought another round and took my time. If I missed a putt, I took it again and again and again until I got it exactly right.
That evening, in a neighborhood on the California side of the border, only a few blocks from the Nevada casinos, I found a house with tall weeds in the pathway leading to the front door. It appeared to be a summer home for someone who wasn’t then summering.
Since I was summering, I hopped the six-foot wooden fence that surrounded the yard. The secluded back porch made for a perfect getaway accommodation. I rolled out my sleeping bag and went to sleep.
The next few days were fantastic. I lounged beside the lake. I climbed a Heavenly Valley ski run. I wandered through the casinos. But mostly, I spent my time — and money — miniature golfing.
On my fifth day of freedom, on my way to another morning of sunshine on the links, I stopped into a supermarket for breakfast — strawberry yogurt and a Jack La Lanne nutrition bar. To stretch the remaining $5 of my golfing/eating budget, I slipped the La Lanne bar into my pants pocket, then paid the 22 cents for the yogurt.
Outside the market, two security goons grabbed me — one got ahold of my neck, the other twisted my left arm behind my back. I squirmed and wrenched in their grasp, doing everything I could to prevent the yogurt — which I’d paid good money for — from falling and splattering all over the ground. My resolve was firm. They couldn’t get me down.
“O.K., all right,” I finally said after 30 seconds of grappling. “Ya got me.” They eased up. My yogurt was still intact.
In the supermarket’s security office, Neck Grabber frisked me. He found the nutrition bar. He also pulled from my pocket the baggie of 20-odd multivitamins and held up his prized catch for Arm Twister to appreciate.
“Multivitamins,” I said.
“Yeah, sure,” he replied. “C’mon, where’s the rest of it? Where’s the broccoli?”
“You know — the Juanita, the Acapulco gold.”
Neck Grabber seemed to be convinced that I was running drugs from San Francisco to Tahoe.
“If I was dealing dope,” I told him, “don’t you think I could at least afford to buy a Jack La Lanne bar?”
Ignoring this logic, Neck Grabber kept grilling me about my “operation,” using as much out-of-date street slang as he could. The eventual arrival of the police was a welcome relief.
“Shoplifter,” Arm Twister informed them.
“And runaway,” Neck Grabber chimed in.
“I’m not a runaway,” I protested to the cops. “Just on vacation.”
“Yeah?” one of the cops asked. “Where’re your parents?”
“Back in San Francisco,” I said. This answer failed to bolster my case.
Stuck in a cell in county lockup for 24 hours, I ate my yogurt, using the lid as a spoon, and thought about what a success the trip had been — well, up until my apprehension. Little did I realize at the time how much this venture foreshadowed the kind of restless traveling (Greyhound/minimal baggage/half-baked plans) that, as an adult, I would spend more than a decade doing.
My parents were called, of course. They didn’t have a car, so they, too, had to get on a bus. When I stepped out of my cell, my dad’s face showed a devastating look of disappointment. I’d seen it other times, like when he picked me up from our neighborhood police station after I’d been brought in for some harmless misdemeanor, but I’d never before seen it coupled with quite that look of exasperation. He was surely thinking, “If you’re going to screw up, can’t you at least screw up a lot closer to home?”
“I didn’t run away,” I asserted before my folks ever said a word. “I just wanted to get away for a little bit.”
This claim — coming as it did while my dad was signing the paperwork to release me from police custody — fell flat.
On the bus ride back, the three of us sat in silence. My mom read her library book; my dad, various local newspapers. I stared out the window at the sun-drenched sights as we descended from the Sierra Nevada, down through the foothills, across the Central Valley and through the East Bay suburbs.
As we crossed the Bay Bridge on our way into San Francisco, I could see the afternoon fog spilling over Twin Peaks, smothering the city. I put my coat back on for the first time in five days. My summer vacation was over.
Pete Jordan is the author of “Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States.”
Friday, August 24, 2007
She say the movie is a compilation of interviews of the genius and passion of those who have been working on the climate crisis and is "a testament to the world they have been studying, watching, writing about, campaigning about as they see ecosystems spiraling downwards while the mainstream political and media dialogue remains defiant of the truth on the ground. This is our giant message in a bottle to the world beyond the veil of spin and denial. We are trying to break through the white noise of short-sighted debates over indisputable facts, through the mental pollution of irrelevant news stories about jailed heiress picked over with tremendous detail while our life support systems on this planet are being pillaged for short term profit and political power.
It looks like a masterpiece.
Las Manitas is a progressive, women owned business that serves up tasty Tex-Mex and community involvement. The sisters who have owned the business for 26 years have held fundraisers for many causes including the Sandinistas and Zapatistas. It is a place frequented by politicians and locals of all persuasions. Even our favorite Turd Blossom visited.
Unfortunately, since Marriott decided it wanted to place a hotel on top of Las Manitas, Cynthia and Lidia Perez are being forced out. Per NPR, J.W. Marriott was quoted in the Austin American-Statesman as saying, "Why should you hold up a several-hundred-million-dollar investment because of a small little restaurant?" Of course, he has since apologized to them...and I'm sure it was very sincere.
The city tried to intervene by providing them a loan to move elsewhere, but they declined to accept it. The sisters need to come up with $1 million to find a new place. Maybe the city will rally behind them though. However, Austin has been changing for a couple of decades now, so it seems unlikely.
On the August 21 broadcast of the nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show, a caller said to host Rush Limbaugh: "I know I'm no expert in foreign affairs, but what really confuses me about the liberals is the hypocrisy when they talk about how we have no reason to be in Iraq and helping those people, but yet everybody wants us to go to Darfur." Limbaugh responded by claiming Democrats "want to get us out of Iraq, but they can't wait to get us into Darfur." He continued: "There are two reasons. What color is the skin of the people in Darfur? It's black. And who do the Democrats really need to keep voting for them? If they lose a significant percentage of this voting bloc, they're in trouble." The caller responded, "The black population," to which Limbaugh said, "Right."
They have a small industry
In old Jerusalem
Boxes of air from the holy places
You can get air from the western wall
Or air from the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque
Or even air from The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Small tin boxes that contains
A genuine air and smells from
These magical ancient places
For a buck or two.
I thought of buying a box or two
As a present and for the memory
But after walking in the streets
Of old Jerusalem
When the sun hit the narrow streets
And the temperature
Over come the 90 sign
The smell of all those crowded
People, sweating on one each other
And the odor of decomposing fruits
From the market mixed with these bodily fragrances
I finally realized:
Some smells are better kept
Away from the nose.
At all cost
As holy as they can be.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
"Maya was born in Hounslow, London but spent little time there as, at only 6 months old, her parents moved the family back to their native Sri Lanka. Motivated by her fathers wish to support the Tamil efforts to win independence from the majority Sinhalese population, her father became politically known as Arular and was a founder member of EROS (the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students), a militant Tamil group. In Sri Lanka, they lived at first on her grandparent's remote farm, a collection of huts without electricity or running water. After a year, as her fathers involvement in militant activities increased, Maya, her older sister Kali and their mother moved to Jaffna in the far North of the country, where Maya's younger brother Sugu was born. Contact with her father was strictly limited as he was in hiding from the army, he occasionally visited in secret, slipping through the window at night and being introduced to the children as an uncle so that they didn't give him away to the army when they regularly came to question the family. Eventually, as the civil war escalated, it became unsafe for them to stay in Sri Lanka, so her father sent tickets for them to relocate to Madras in India. Maya's mother moved with the three children into an almost derelict house, 3 miles from the nearest road or neighbor. They scraped by for a while, with sporadic visits from Maya's father, and the girls attended the local school, excelling as students. After a while, visits from friends and family grew less frequent and money grew very tight. The children became ill, Maya's sister caught Typhoid and they struggled to eat enough. A visiting uncle took concern and moved them back to Sri Lanka again, where they settled back in Jaffna. By now, the violence of the civil war was at its peak and the family repeatedly tried to flee the country. The army regularly shot Tamils seeking to move across border areas and bombed roads and escape routes. After several failed attempts to leave, Maya's mother successfully made it out with the three children, on to India and then finally back to London, where they were housed as refugees. "
Now, that was just the beginning, and after art school in London, things started to take off for the Tamil Tiger's daughter. She produced her first LP, Arular, which was her father's nickname, and blew up, jumping onto many best album of the year lists. This month her newest album has just been released, Kala, and after listening to most of it, I can safely say it is amazing. Using sounds from around the globe, Mya may be the future of music. Take a minute, go to Youtube, and type in MIA Kala. You won't be disappointed.
the trend of banning the bag seems to be spreading. not too long ago san francisco passed a law banning non-compostable bags at large supermarkets. this article notes that similar measures have been proposed in other cities, including boston, baltimore, and portland, ore., but no such luck of a ban being proposed in jersey... yet.
as usual, we are way behind the trend globally of reducing our impact on the earth:
"Ireland instituted a 15 cent per bag tax that is credited with a 90 percent reduction in the number of bags used. In France, Paris will ban the bags by the end of the year, with the entire country slated to phase them out by 2010. Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda jointly announced a ban last month on the importation and production of plastic bags of less than 30 microns in thickness and imposed an excise duty of 120 percent on the rest."
besides the sick amount of oil needed to produce all the plastics bags we use briefly and throw away, it's the throwing away that wreaks more degrees of damage:
"Ninety percent of the bags wind up in landfills, where environmentalists say they linger for decades, releasing possibly dangerous toxins as they degrade. Millions more wind up as litter, stuck in trees, clogging waterways, fouling soil and choking marine animals, which mistake them for edible jellyfish. Last year, volunteers participating in beach cleanups organized by the Sandy Hook-based Clean Ocean Action picked up 6,349 plastic shopping bags off New Jersey beaches from Sandy Hook to Cape May -- an average of 50 per mile."
so, grab a canvas bag and shop. no worries if you missed the frenzy to buy the limited run uber-cool london designer tote, "I am not a plastic bag." reusable bags has a wide array of low priced choices, totes made from recycled PET, hemp, organic cotton, etc. and while you are shopping, pick up a SIGG aluminum bottle for your tap water needs, the safe alternative to those nalgene polycarbonate plastic #7 ones. more tips for taking action. all photos from the reusable bags gallery.
There is also a scheduled week long encampment in Washington at the Capitol ending in a large protest on September 29th. Organizers are calling it a "two month surge against the war." Psst...Do Something!
Oh, It's the good life again
Than rest again
She ask you for your needs
Cooking everything you like
Buying everything you show interest in
And than changing her mind
To be in the same stand like you
She even insist of carrying
Than rest again
I just remembered
Oh, how much I hate
The good life.
**poetry from barista boy (on location in israel)
I doubt that anyone reading this blog can relate to the mindless automatons in the above cartoon (David Rees' "Get Your War On".) But we cannot ignore the fact that quite a large percentage of the population did buy into the Bush war machine propaganda. Sadly and incomprehensibly, people either buy into it now or, as the cartoon illustrates, are indifferent to the incredible crime this invasion and occupation was and continues to be that Bush's war drum keeps beating. You were right in 2002 and 2003 when you protested the war, you are right today to call for its end, but it won't amount to a hill of beans unless we keep the voices of truth alive and loud and end this fucking war.
Adding illegal immigration to this debate is to score points politically, period. Tom Moran's current column chastises those who seek to do this and blasts O'Reilly and the Republicans for their hypocrisy. But, quite frankly this is all nonsense.
First, anyone who has studied criminal behavior among immigrants and especially Latino immigrants know that criminality of illegal immigrants is far below that of the general population. We at the Subversive Garden recently gave Newt Gingrich Assclown of the Week for his comments on immigration and trying to score political points with the Republican base by calling the "war against immigration" a much more important war than Afghanistan and Iraq.
What is more the war against immigrants came into full swing with the contract with America (led by none other than Newt Gingrich) and illegal immigrants or legal immigrants can be deported for almost any crime. In 1996 Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) which expanded grounds for deportation. More than 50 crimes were designated as an "aggravated felony" some of which are "neither aggravated nor a felony." Immigrants can now be deported for crimes of "moral turpitude" which can be crimes that are not even prosecutable.
We do not need tougher immigration laws corralling prisons and city streets looking for immigrants, that would be a travesty. Those charged with committing these heinous acts should have already been caught as part of the system. The system failed for some reason and tragedy occurred. This debate is only to score political points and derail an immigration bill that seeks to treat immigrants as human. Let us not let one tragedy derail an entire policy initiative. Acts by those who are here illegally are no less heinous than native born Americans and that occurs at a much more alarming rate.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
i'm always looking for fun, creative anti-corporate baby clothes for my friends' kids which are not made in honduras or china... usually i buy at bellie & katrina here in hoboken, but now i have a new spot!