Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day LOLCats Round-Up 2010

In honor of the holiday, here's a collection this week of what I've gleaned from I Can Has Cheezburger efforts. There's a political bent to this assemblage, with only one actual cat in these "LOLCats". And the first one on this page is my own effort.

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For Those Of Us Without A Gated Hideaway

Jill Cozzi's post at Brilliant at Breakfast acted as a final spark for me today. In "So Long [Gulf of Mexico], And Thanks For All The Fish", she begins:

I hope you all have had a chance to enjoy a tropical beach at least once in your life, because the days of sitting on pristine sands, looking at turquoise water and enjoying a dinner of fresh-caught fish are over, thanks to the oil-soaked greed of the Bush family and their cronies, the complete selling out of America to corporations, our own sense of petroleum-based entitlement, and Barack Obama's insistence on playing nice with greedy bastards.
Read her post for the details.
So I'll share here some of my not-quite-all-the-way-finished thoughts:

If you ardently believe in imminent Endtimes (count on it, in fact)

AND/OR if you ardently believe wealth is meant for only the elite few and there is not enough to go around, certainly not for the unworthy

AND/OR you are hopeless about human nature being inherently decent

AND/OR you secretly know climate change means hundreds of millions will die before the end of this entury unless a stop is put to the lifestyle which accrues you and your friends wealth and power

If you have this kind of damaged, defeated, christianist, white supremacist, male dominated worldview, you will easily decide to loot what is available for looting as you prepare your compound in Paraguay with its own private and pristine water source that will not be affected by the desertification of much of the globe.

You will easily decide rendering our own ocean unfit for anything BUT drilling is a logical step, a hedge against coming oil wars, because those who depend on fishing and nature are expendable segments of the population.

You will all speak the same language -- which we can interpret, if we are only willing to admit it -- and you will slyly allow things to go past the point of remedy. Beginning with the more unbeloved of our national coastlines.

Katrina and Rita response now appear as dry runs.

This is what I'm thinking. And I can read it also in the post of Jill, whom I trust.

But I am not hopeless, and I will not give up. They are wrong in ALL their beliefs, and I will not let them frame the question or close my mind to possibility. It can just as easily become the event that sweeps our elite from all decision-making over our lives. We can imagine that occurring, and whatever we can honestly imagine is a potential reality. Because, in fact, WE are in charge of our own perspective, and we are not stupid. Deceivable but not stupid, and that is the critical difference their class training has missed.

Not stupid, and we have a means of speaking to each other from the heart.

Rest up, allow yourselves to have a truly joy-filled weekend if you can, but rest up in any event. Talk with you soon.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First Nations People Saying No To Arizona's Community Destruction

The O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective, whose members participated last Friday's occupation of Arizona Border Patrol Headquarters, have released a video of their action.

The O'odham Solidarty Across Borders Collective is made up of "Akimel O'odham and Tohono O'odham youth who are pressing the attack against the ongoing colonization of our traditional lands (i.e. U.S./Mexico Border policies), environmental racism from transnational corporations and the state, and all colonial polices aimed at destroying our O'odham Him'dag (Traditional Way of Life)." The group organizing the occupation included "members of Indigenous Nations of Arizona, migrants, people of color and white allies." Their peaceful resistance at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson resulted in arrests and citations for trespass.

According to their press release, "Six people used chains and other devices to lock themselves in the building. These Arizona residents disrupted the Border Patrol operations to demand that Border Patrol (BP), Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), their parent entity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Obama administration end militarization of the border, end the criminalization of immigrant communities, and end their campaign of terror which tear families apart through increasing numbers of raids and deportations."

For an in-depth look at what SB 1070 will look like to people on the ground, check out Uri Lerner's analysis via HispanicLA at Behind The Vote: SB 1070's Risk To Citizens.

To read more about this particular resistance and to assist with the fines and possible criminal charges they are facing, go to O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective or contact Leilani Clark at (520) 982-5687.

Below is an excerpt from their statement:

Border militarization destroys Indigenous communities.

The development of the border wall has lead to desecration of our ancestors graves, it has divided our communities and prevents us from accessing sacred places.

Troops and paramilitary law enforcement, detention camps, check points, and citizenship verification are not a solution to migration. We have existed here long before these imposed borders, my elders inform us that we always honored freedom of movement. Why our communities and the daily deaths at the border ignored? The impacts of border militarization are constantly made invisible in the media, the popular culture of this country and even the mainstream immigrants rights movement which has often pushed for “reform” that means further militarization of the border, which means increased suffering for our communities.

Indigenous communities such as the O’odham, the Pascua Yaqui, Laipan Apache, Kickapoo, and Cocopah along the US/Mexico border have been terrorized with laws and practices like SB1070 for decades. Indigenous people along the border have been forced by border patrol to carry and provide proof of tribal membership when moving across their traditional lands that have been bisected by this imposed border; a border that has been extremely damaging to the cultural and spiritual practices of these communities. Many people are not able to journey to sacred sites because the communities where people live are on the opposite side of the border from these sites. Since the creation of the current U.S./Mexico border, 45 O’odham villages on or near the border have been completely depopulated.

On this day people who are indigenous to Arizona join with migrants who are indigenous to other parts of the Western Hemisphere in demanding a return to traditional indigenous value of freedom of movement for all people. Prior to the colonization by European nations (spaniards, english, french) and the establishment of the european settler state known as the United States and the artificial borders it and other european inspired nation states have imposed; indigenous people migrated, traveled and traded with each other without regard to artificial black lines drawn on maps. U.S. immigration policies dehumanize and criminalize people simply because which side of these artificial lines they were born on. White settlers whose ancestors have only been here at most for a few hundred years have imposed these policies of terror and death on “immigrants” whose ancestors have lived in this hemisphere for tens of thousands of years, for time immemorial.

In addition, the migration that the U.S. government is attempting to stop is driven more than anything else by the economic policies of the U.S. Free trade agreements such as NAFTA have severely reduced the ability of Mexicans and others from the global south to sustain themselves by permitting corporations to extract huge amounts of wealth and resources from these countries into the U.S. This has led to millions of people risking the terror and death that so many face to cross into the U.S. looking for ways to better support their families. Thousand of women, men, children and elders have died crossing just in the last decade. If the U.S. really wants to reduce migration it should end its policies of exploitation and wealth extraction targeted at the global south and instead pursue policies of economic, environmental and social justice for all human beings on the planet, thus reducing the drive to immigrate.

The protestors are demanding:
-An end to border militarization
-The immediate repeal of SB 1070 and HB 2281
-An end to all racial profiling and the criminalization of our communities
-No ethnic cleansing or cultural genocide
-No border patrol encroachment/sweeps on sovereign native land
-No Deportations
-No Raids
-No ID-verification
-No Checkpoints

-Yes to immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people
-Yes to human rights
-Yes to dignity
-Yes to respect
Yes to respecting Indigenous Peoples inherent right of migration
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Monday, May 24, 2010

A Breather: Three Videos Going Around

...that will make you grin, at the very least.

From Bird Lovers Only:

From TremendousNews:

From Amphibian Avenger:

Meet the sloths from Amphibian Avenger on Vimeo.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Finite Ocean: Not Yer Daddy's Theology

Graphic by Adam Nieman / Photo Researchers, Inc

From Cool Infographics:

Global water and air volume. Conceptual computer artwork of the total volume of water on Earth (left) and of air in the Earth's atmosphere (right) shown as spheres (blue and pink). The spheres show how finite water and air supplies are. The water sphere measures 1390 kilometers across and has a volume of 1.4 billion cubic kilometers. This includes all the water in the oceans, seas, ice caps, lakes and rivers as well as ground water, and that in the atmosphere. The air sphere measures 1999 kilometers across and weighs 5140 trillion tonnes. As the atmosphere extends from Earth it becomes less dense. Half of the air lies within the first 5 kilometers of the atmosphere.
Or, as stated by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,—
No higher than the soul is high.
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Friday, May 21, 2010

First Nations Occupation of Arizona Border Patrol Headquarters (Updated)

Breaking from Occupy California:

"Reports are coming in that the Border Patrol Headquarters at the Davis Monthan Air Force Base has been occupied and locked-down as of 1:15pm today by 16 members of a First Nations Indigenous Peoples’ group in opposition to SB 1070 and HB 2281."

For more immediate details and a press release, go to the link above. If you have updates, please place them in the comments.

UPDATE AT 7:30 PM CST: The protestors have been removed, cited for trespass, and released.

KVOA of Tucson reported the number of those actually chaining themselves in the Border Patrol headquarters as 6-8, with 15-20 additional protestors at the scene. The photograph below from an update at Occupy California seems to corroborate those numbers.

UPDATE 22 May 2010: The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), an international organization, is meeting in La Paloma, Arizona this weekend with 700 attendees. At the same time yesterday, a protest of about 100 people was held in Tucson against SB 1070 and HB 2281. Local KVOA footage below. Note the white supremacist interviewed by the news crew for "balance" who states "Learn the language and assimulate (sic)". What language would that be, O’odham or Cocopah? Clearly it's not English for him.

And correction to the news report via Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Please note that while NAISA appears to be taking credit for organizing and attending the 5/21 rally, they DID NOT organize it. A few of their members did go to the rally, and then apparently headed back to the Westin La Paloma. The rally and related events were organized by Indigenous activists, scholars, and allies.
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"American Able" and The Beauty Way

(American Able image created by Holly Norris and Jes Sachse)

"'American Able' intends to, through spoof, reveal the ways in which women with disabilities are invisibilized in advertising and mass media...Too often, the pervasive influence of imagery in mass media goes unexamined, consumed en masse by the public. However, this imagery has real, oppressive effects on people who are continuously ‘othered’ by society."

American Able is a brilliant slam-dunk against the ways genuinely "normal" bodies -- those which are what we see in our everyday public -- are rendered "other" by the media and particularly by fashion, which is an industry predicated on perpetuating our most deeply-held oppressions even as they might argue they are subverting it.

THIS is what real subversion looks like. It jerks you up short and makes you question ALL your assumptions, and notice the human connection you are missing.

Physical difference is the guidepost for identifying most groups targeted for oppression: Not Males, people of color/ethnicities, children, elderly, disabled, fat, and on a subtler but just as effective level, class and regional identity. Physical difference is, for most of these categories, presumed to have a biological origin which also imprints the personality/mentality of those in the different categories, and that "inherent" difference serves as justification for targeting.

We cannot imagine a difference which does not imply biological hierarchy of some kind. We cannot imagine a difference in which all deviance is equally valued.

But we have to try, because that is in fact the truth. And those of us who want to live in a reality-based community will have to lead the way, especially through art, in creating a goal of the imagination: THIS is what real, desirable, valuable people look like. They look like us.

Self-hatred allows a devastated system to sell us a devastated world.

To start imagining, it is necessary to understand exactly where your conditioning has hobbled you. For that work. I find implicit association tests extremely helpful. These tests can quickly unroof biases you may have denied or discounted. The good news is, whatever lies you were taught along the way can be unlearned. Take these tests (especially the ones you feel like you'd rather avoid), carry the information gathered to your support system, and embark on healing with loving company. You'll be moved to creative, effective action as part of the healing.

You won't believe the beauty that is in store for you.

A wide range of implicit association tests are available online at Project Implicit run by Harvard.

[Giant tip of the hat to the always groundbreaking BagNewsNotes for bringing this to our attention.]
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Repeat After Me: "Status Quo Ante"

Amidst the discussions of BP and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the issue of liability comes up. Apparently the current liability of any oil company for a spill in US waters is limited to $75 million by statute. The senate is trying to up that to $10 billion but Lisa Murkowski (R - Alaska & Big Oil) is blocking it.

$10 billion is not enough. There's only one way to put it.

Entities causing a spill should be responsible for spending whatever it takes to restore the local ecosystem affected by the spill to the status quo ante. In other words, to the way it was before.

If you can't afford to do that, don't spill the oil.

Repeat after me: Status Quo Ante

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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The Maryland Club Coffee Can Story

During the young years of their marriage, my parents moved often to small towns all over Texas and Louisiana, following my father's job. They had some money then, driving a late-model Chevy and using their vacation time to journey even more, visiting family here and there. But my father refused to shell out for restaurant food, so my mother packed sandwiches, pickles and pie to last the trip.

Daddy also hated to stop except when the car needed gas. He believed learning to "hold it" built character. Once my older brother passed the diaper stage, however, Mama pointed out a toddler simply wasn't capable of controlling their bodily functions for four hours at a stretch. Daddy's soluton was an empty Maryland Club coffee can in the back floorboard, that could be emptied at the next gas stop.

This practice was put to an unexpected test on a trip from Houma to Bowie when my parents were driving my grandmother Sook back home after an extended visit. Sook had a short fuse for nastiness, as she called it. When my brother had to use the can that afternoon, it turned into a #2 voiding, Mama assisting him in the back seat.

But it was winter and with the car windows rolled up, the odor from that can spread throughout the car. Sook, sitting in the front passenger seat, demanded my father find a place to pull over so it could be emptied, and my father kept refusing. Finally Sook rolled down her window, they thought to freeze out Daddy and force him to comply. Daddy set his jaw and ignored her, focusing on speeding up to pass a tractor-trailer rig.

Sook showed surprising agility by leaning over the seat, grabbing the offending can, and pivoting to hurl its contents out her open window without splashback. Unfortunately, she didn't notice the tractor-trailer rig now to her right and far enough behind our Chevy to take all of the coffee can's load -- so to speak -- full on the truck's windshield.

"Oops" said Sook. Mama, who told this story often, swore she would never forget the truckdriver's enraged face as he spit out his Skoal and pushed the accelerator to the floor while taking his first swerve at the Chevy. For the next half hour, Daddy tested the combustion ability of that newish car engine while Mama clung to my weeping brother and Sook leaned out the window trying to convey her apology via a sign language that Daddy said the truckdriver clearly interpreted as further derision.

They were finally rescued by the appearance of a rare hill on that two-lane blacktop, which slowed down the rig enough to allow Daddy to get far ahead. At the next town, he dove deep into a residential area and located a gas station on the outskirts, where everyone in the car used the facilites and Daddy restored his shot nerves with an unfiltered Camel followed by a bottle of Coke with Tom's peanuts poured into the neck.

After that, Daddy stopped when we had to go the restroom. He grumbled about it, but he pulled over.
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

If You Are Ever Pulled Over In Arizona

Be Polite, Comply with the Officer


Blast this one.

I rebel music
I rebel music
Why can't we roam this open country?
Oh, why can't we be
what we wanna be?
We want to be free.

3 o'clock
roadblock - curfew,
And i've got to throw away -
Yes, i've got to throw away -
A yes, but i've got to throw away
My little herb stalk!

I rebel music - yeah, i'm tellin' you! -
i rebel music

Take my soul
And suss - and suss me out
Check my life ,
If i am in doubt i'm tellin'
3 o'clock roadblock - roadblock - roadblock,
And "hey, mr. cop! ain't got no -
what ya sayin' down there? - hey hey! hey, mr cop
Ain't got no birf cerfticket on me now."
(i rebel music)
(i rebel music)
(open country)
(do do do!)
I (rebel music) - yeah, i'm tellin' you! -
(i) i rebel music (rebel music).

Oh-ooh! take my soul
And suss - and suss me out oh-ooh!
Check my life ,
If i am in doubt i'm tellin'
3 o'clock roadblock - roadblock - roadblock,
And "hey, mr. cop! ain't got no - hey hey! hey, mr cop -
what ya sayin' down there? - hey hey! hey, mr cop -
Ain't got no birf cerfticket on me now."

This one's on speed cue when ever I drive now.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm a Single Lady

Good Dad

Good Dad for rapidly recognizing his screw-up and correcting as best he could. Plus Full Props to Dad for posting-up on YouTube.

Most dads wouldn't have the guts to expose themselves so fully. 3.5 Million hits later... *smiles* ...we have real evidence being authentic works. Regardless of the public response or lack thereof, posting-up the video -- so others learned and so he and his family wouldn't forget -- was a great move. (More evidence in my view that this is a Good Dad and a good family.)

This is a family that sings together, corrects mistakes together, creates their public identity together, and are Single Ladies together.

Right on, Sister. Everybody DANCE.

H/T Feminist Law Professors.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Four Dead in Ohio"

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