Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sanctuary - A Call For Help

There's a lot going on today... hat tip to Sylvia for this one.

Many of us get an extra day off to celebrate labor day. Sadly though the injustices against workers around the world continue. Even within these United States we see working people being arrested for simply seeking employment and working hard. While ICE claims to be heavily involved in the "war on terror" they're really only involved in creating terror. The only "war on terror" I see needing to take place is the one that changes the abhorrent policies of ICE.

Please read more and help if you can.


Via bfp

PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ANYBODY IN THE REGION–get the word out to anybody you know might be able to help, even if you don’t know anybody, maybe somebody who reads your site knows somebody–there are stories running around everywhere that immigrants are not evacuating because of previous reports that ICE would be setting up check points. The Center for Racial Justice is an organization that I’ve been told can be trusted–please spread the word as widely as possible so that immigrants have a chance to evacuate to safety!

(P.S. please keep in mind as well, as this crisis continues, that the same problem came up earlier with the hurricane in Texas–only assurances were never sent out saying that there would be no enforcement. This is not a singular or isolated incident of ICE making itself and law enforcement more important than human rights and safety.)

New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice

Contact Saket Soni at 504-881-6610 or 773-550-9339



Immigrant workers demanding a safe evacuation from the path of Hurricane Gustav received key assurances from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that no immigration enforcement actions or checkpoints would occur in the evacuation process or along evacuation routes. The New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice gained the assurances for safe passage of immigrant workers just as mandatory evacuations began across the Gulf Coast. The exact agreement is below.

As Gustav approached, immigrant workers and their families feared evacuation due to anticipation over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints. Of the over 200 surveys of day laborers which the Workers’ Center conducted as Hurricane Gustav approached, the fear of detention and deportation by DHS was identified as the single greatest obstacle to accessing humanitarian relief. “We want to take our families to safety. We should not have to face deportation as we escape from the storm” said Dennis Soriano, an organizer with the Congress of Day Laborers.

Hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers arrived in the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to assist in the reconstruction of New Orleans and other cities. However, even as they were contributing to the rebuilding efforts, they faced extraordinary abuse, including high levels of wage theft, police brutality and massive immigration raids.

“This agreement would be the first clear assurance of safety from the federal government to immigrant workers who came to the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Katrina” said Saket Soni, Director of the Workers’ Center. “It’s a small victory on the path to a humane and just relief effort.”

Despite these assurances, immigrant workers and their advocates expressed concern about the treatment immigrants would receive in the relief effort. “Once we have evacuated safely, will DHS come to the shelters?” asked Soriano; “When we are returning home to rebuild the city, will we face DHS checkpoints on our way back?”

“We hope that these public assurances from DHS will be the first step towards a Memorandum of Understanding that clearly establishes what we all know: there’s no place for immigration enforcement in humanitarian relief” said Jennifer Rosenbaum, Counsel to the Workers’ Center. Ms. Rosenbaum has represented hundreds of immigrant workers in post-Katrina New Orleans efforts.

Soni said immigrant workers would continue to fight for access to the relief. “Just like everyone else who was forced to leave, immigrant workers and their families want to stay safe in the shelters, and they want to come home to New Orleans and help rebuild their city.”

The New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice is a membership based organization that works with African-American and immigrant workers in the post-Katrina landscape.


AUGUST 31, 2008


· All residents of the Gulf Coast region need to evacuate.

· There are no immigration enforcement operations, and there are no

immigration enforcement checkpoints associated with the evacuations.

· The Department of Homeland Security’s top priorities in any emergency are life-saving and life-sustaining activities, preventing the loss of property to the extent possible, and assisting with a speedy recovery of the affected region.


· Todos los residentes del la región de la Costa del Golfo deben evacuar.

· No hay operacions de inmigración, y no hay puntos de inmigración asociados con las evacuaciones.

· Las prioridades mas altas del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS por sus siglas en Ingles) en cualquier emergencia son las de salvar y sostener la vida, preevenir la pérdida de propiedad lo tanto posible, y asistir con la recuperación de la región afectada.


What's John McCain staring at, and why does he keep fiddling with his wedding ring?


digg story

It Might Be Happening Again

As I'm sure you've already read, Hurricane Gustav appears to be heading for New Orleans, right on the heels of the Katrina anniversary.

There is much you can do and better people than me pointing out where to spend your money (and please do, even if it's only five bucks).

BlackAmazon: INCITE! RIGHT NOW (I did)
brownfemipower: Critical Resistance
Slyvia: has a ton of links on how you can help
los anjalis: Gustav Information Network
Nezua: is on it as always
Kristin: gives us more than a few resources

And many others are keeping up to date on what's happening.
Kate Harding: selections from The CNN article on Gustav
David: why you don't pray ill to befall people
Professor Black Woman: gives us details
Bint: asks us to keep her family in our prayers

I will keep you up to date as I read more.

*edit* Infoshop will be blogging along with whatever happens as they can

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin

Been reading up on her and while she's not pure evil incarnate it only took one thing to decide me on her politics and whether I in any way support them.

That one thing being, she's a prominent member of Feminists For Life.

Yah, no thank you. You can not be pro-life and a feminist.

Yes, I know I go off on the "you aren't a real feminist" things but this is my line in the sand. You can personally for yourself be against abortion and be a feminist, but you cannot be politically pro-life and anti-choice and a feminist. Sorry, you just can't. Feminism is about realizing women's innate rights and freedoms. Taking their choices away from them in no way supports that.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Kyle Payne: The Conclusion

Have fun in county you fucking asshole.

Quoting repeatedly from Payne’s most recent blog post and pointing to what he described as a “narcissistic” tendencies, Buena Vista County Attorney Dave Patton requested the court sentence Payne to prison.

“[His blog post] indicates that he believes this is not all about the victim,” Patton said. “He believes it is all about him.”

No shit.

And this is rather amusing:
Several feminist bloggers have written about the case because Payne had been so public with not only his feminist leanings, but his advocacy on behalf of victims of rape and sexual assault.

Really? "Several"? *rolls eyes*

h/t to Cara

What Will Greet the RNC

When the Republican's hold their convention, they will have a special message waiting for them...

I wonder if the Dem's get one too...

h/t to ravenmn

Some Links For Today

As always I'm running my sharing widget to your right, but here's a few I want to call special attention to.

bfp: Gorillas and why firebombing won’t work: continued
This past week, four gorillas living in captivity died.
Jumoke, an 18 year old Gorilla that died from pregnancy related problems
Frank, who died from age related problems.
Hurcules, who died from treatment for arthritis
Claudio, who died after his mother, Gana, rejected him.
Earlier this month, it was discovered by animal rights activists that 32 monkeys died in a lab in Nevada after the lab overheated.
These are all tragedies. Tragedies that deserve answers and accounting for. As I read about each of them, I was particularly struck by the story of Claudio and his mother–I read about twenty different articles on the case, and I kept seeing different stories being told. The zoo officials found a dead baby being nursed in his mother’s arms. The zoo officials found a dead Claudio on the floor of their cage, the mother nowhere to be seen. Gana was in deep mourning causing all who saw her to break into tears. But within that story, there was no answer for my question–how could a mother who rejected her child be in such desperately sad mourning for the same child?

Cara: More ICE Detention Atrocities
Last week, The NY Times had an article about Hiu Lui Ng, a man who died while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), after being refused medical care.  Ng had no criminal record.  He overstayed his visa and at one point he applied for political asylum. And he was in the process of obtaining a green card when ICE decided to detain him — literally, they ambushed him when he reported to an immigration headquarters for his final interview.

Mi Otro Yo
Arizona State lawmakers have made rapid progress on a soon to be very controversial Senate Bill 1108. This bill seeks to ban teaching in public schools that would “denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization.”

The bill specifically aims to disband African-American, Pan-Asian, Native American, and Mexican-American/Raza Studies programs at the high school, community college, and university levels in the state of Arizona. Senate Bill 1108 would also discourage teachers who “overtly encourage dissent” from Western values such as capitalism.

“This bill basically says, ‘You’re here. Adopt American values,’” State Rep. John Kavanagh, a Republican, told The Arizona Republic. “‘If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture,’” he said.

Heart: Peru Suspends Civil Liberties As 65 Indigenous Tribes Struggle For Their Land
According to the Peruvian Times, President Alan Garcia  has declared a 30-day state of emergency and suspended civil liberties for citizens in three Amazonian provinces and one department after negotiations between Environment Minister Antonio Brack and protesting indigenous rights groups broke down last Friday and a violent confrontation left eight police officers and one protester injured on Sunday.
Last spring the U.S. and Peru signed a Free Trade Agreement .  The Peruvian government hoped the agreement would result in jobs and opportunities for Peruvian citizens that might begin to alleviate poverty in the cities, and the deal was certainly a win for US businesses because it eliminates duties on 80 percent of  US industrial and consumer product exports.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Value of Viewing Naked Women's Bodies

This post has been a long time coming. I began contemplating it ages ago, but never really came to the point where it felt realized enough to post. In the end I think it simply wasn't formed very well in my head. Maybe it's still not, but I've had more and more experiences and thoughts on the issue since and well, it's time to process.

Feminists like me spend a lot of time thinking about and discussing women's bodies. How they are used in society, how they are appropriated, commodified, objectified... How we are taught to view them, both when it's your own body, and when it is the body of other women. Much of that discussions seems to revolve around naked or almost naked women's bodies. We are used for all manner of distasteful stuff.

Figuring that out... coming to terms with it... When you add that to the societal programming we all go through that tells us our bodies are simultaneously shameful, dirty and gross, it can lead a budding feminist to feel covering up is the thing to do. It also seems to lead other budding feminists to believe taking it off is the thing to do. These reactions have long puzzled me. Not because they don't make sense, but because I think they're two sides of the same coin. That coin being: coming to full ownership of YOUR body.

My friend and I are great examples of the divergent ways one might deal with this issue. For her, keeping hijab has been liberating, and I have been struggling with purposeful exposure of my own to the same ends. I always love talking with her on these sorts of topics, as it seems even as we come at them from our own angles, we seem to nod along to what the other says a lot.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Why, if you think women should be flattered by your harassment, you are stupid

Ahhh street harassment. This topic is a major point of contention between myself and some (shocking) mostly male posters on a current events board. They can't seem to wrap their heads around why I don't find street harassment (or as my husband said "terrorism") flattering.

This one goes out to you, guys.

It’s not up to you what I find flattering
Approaching women in packs isn’t flattering. In fact, it’s threatening.

Being approached by a group of strangers rather than one lone stranger is always intimidating, no matter your gender, the context, or how big and strong you are. Being outnumbered by people you don’t know well enough to trust gets your guard up. You know this because you are alive on Earth and you’ve ever been approached by a group of strangers at some point in your existence. You know what that feels like. And you can’t seriously think that when the strangers are commenting flatteringly on her body (which is most likely less physically imposing than any one of theirs) this mitigates the effect. It’s often quite the opposite, in fact, as it calls attention to her vulnerability.

You know deep down it’s not flattering; that’s just your excuse.

If you’re honest with yourself, you know it’s not really about how attractive she is. It’s about one of two things: [the men, or intimidating women].
It’s not so much what you say as how you say it
But harassment isn’t communication

The best definition of “harassment” (of any sort) I can give you is one-way communication. It’s that simple. It doesn’t even have to involve an ugly motive; it’s just someone talking at you instead of with you. While everyone has a different tolerance for that sort of behavior, no one likes it and that’s why you need to stop when someone tells you to back off. The man who yells at a woman about her boobs isn’t engaging with her; he’s talking at her. The religious zealot co-worker who lectures you about your evil ways every day at work isn’t engaging with you; she sees you only as a potential point on her score card of godliness. When someone’s engaging with you, they stop to listen. That’s how you know the difference.

"Cult of I"

We have become indoctrinated with a false sense of entitlement as a way of justifying this soulless system. I worked hard to get where I am, why should I be penalized for this. It's not my fault third world nations are so poor they should do something about their government. I don't give money to the homeless because they will probably spend it on booze. It's not my child why should my tax dollars go to support her or him? There are jobs out there, people just don't want to work.

Value judgements and justifications are the rule of the day. To face the ugly truth of the system that we are forced to endure would mean realizing its predatory nature. The cult of I envisions the world through rose coloured glasses never recognizing that someone elses tragedy could befall us tomorrow. This blind faith in a system that has repeatedly proven that each and every single person is disposable, is the height of human avarice. It is a disgrace to the potential of humanity.

Wow, just wow. Some great thoughts and a topic I've been thinking a lot about of late.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Updates on Zack and Miri

Kevin Smith updated his blog today with more info on "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and was happy to announce that they were able to successfully appeal the preliminary NC-17 rating given to it by the MPAA without making any cuts. Sweet.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I don't know why I love this picture so much...

But I do... I find it absolutely hilarious and adorable. And if I recall correctly I have Caroline to thank for it.

Every time I see it I have the desire to share...enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

After Having Seen It...

I thought about it on the walk home, looking at the premise from various angles, and the conclusion I kept coming back to was that I don't think Tropic Thunder does any particular harm or good. Yes, it lampooned Hollywood and made fun of the industry everyone involved has made their careers through (and we can assume will continue to make their careers through). In that, it was very, very successful. It was very funny, and I laughed a lot, everyone in the theater I saw it in did. Thankfully, I also didn't feel stupider after watching it, like I did coming out of Step Brothers.

The "retard" thing, in the context of the movie, made sense. Which is not really a defense of Stiller's choice to include it, but for better, or worse, it was reflective of American vernacular. But everything about the characters was offensive on at least one level if not multiple, and as I am fond of laughing at myself and making a point not to take life seriously, I love that. I also don't think this film would have been a particularly effective vehicle for changing the way that word is used. As it is, what I do think the particular "storyline" around the dis/abled character Stiller's character had played served as was to poke at the discomfort abled people have with the differently abled. I also think it managed to do this rather subtly, and all things considered, surprisingly well. If one has their critical thinking hat on, I just can't see them not being struck by the concept of "the audience/Academy only likes retards who aren't actually that retarded" which is the entire point of the scene and followed up on later.

The racial issues around Downey's character did come up, as did misogyny (and homophobia) present in rap/hip hop culture (these three issues interplayed with each other in a very interesting way, which I don't really want to ruin for anyone who might see it). Were they addressed as fully as they could have been? No, I don't think so. I have a feeling Stiller was trying to be more subtle than risking coming off as "preachy," which may unfortunately lead to many people missing the true satire.

The exchanges between Downey and Jackson's characters were again surprisingly smart. As a matter of fact Jackson's character was by far the smartest, least ridiculous, and most articulate, which I found profoundly intriguing. Being as this movie is billed as satiric I have to imagine that was on purpose, and I love Ben Stiller a little bit more for it (if only he could write women...they were completely non-existent).

So, yes, I liked the movie. But, I don't think the people boycotting are humorless or over reacting, I just didn't have the same response to the material. I think I got where Stiller was going with it, and related to that. Of course, I'm white, and able bodied. Maybe I would feel differently if I weren't. I'm sure it must color my reaction somewhat, but I don't know how much. I do know the black man sitting next to me was laughing even harder than I was. Of course that's not conclusive in any way, it just kept sticking out in my mind when I thought over the evening.

Ultimately, I think Stiller set out to make fun of Hollywood, and I think he was very successful. I enjoyed myself, and it seemed like the rest of the theater did too. [Edited to add] Sarah over at Season of the Bitch put up her Saturday links and included a great post about the purpose of satire. I think it's a great thing to read with this movie in mind, because ultimately it's posing the question I kept thinking over, "was this movie successful in it's satire?" Did it "effectively challenge concepts of power, race, sex, and gender among other things"? Or, is it "closet racist and annoying hipster elitist try to use satire to reinforce their supposed superiority and avoid being called bigoted while doing it"? I don't think I can definitively answer that, but I lean more towards it's being successful.

A few other quick notes on the movie itself, for being second billed, Jack Black had a surprisingly small role which was disappointing (although on a second viewing maybe I was just so caught up in pondering the Jackson/Downey characters that I didn't realize how much he was in it)... I was fairly certain while watching that Matthew McConaughey's character was the one Owen Wilson was originally scripted to play. I googled, and that was confirmed. I think Wilson would have done the character quite differently, and I found myself wondering how that would have changed things, but McConaughey was good. And last because he's awesome, Tobey Maguire has one of the best cameo's I've seen in a long fucking time.

OK, I can't resist, did anyone else catch this?:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tropic Thunder

I'm planning to go see this movie, perhaps on Thursday. But some people that I really respect are registering their discontent with it's premise and content.

Now, I personally think that humor operates within it's own boundaries of acceptable. It's therefore a concept I continually have to analyze because sometimes lines are very clearly crossed, and other times I think the pushing comedy does is invaluable. But either way there are lines, there are boundaries, and sometimes the negative things I'd like to see gone are instead being reinforced.

The Anxious Black Woman asks in her post: Is the satire of Tropic Thunder merely suggesting that Hollywood is a racist, ableist institution that continues to hire mostly whites to perpetuate the same old stereotypes about Racial Others and anyone else who is "different"? We already know this. So, why is this funny?

Yes, I think that's exactly what this movie is making fun of, or at least what it's supposed to be. It's also why I want to see it. Even though I'm already aware of what Hollywood does, I want to see it mocked. That would be funny to me. Why? I guess because I am amused by fools who try to hide having their foolishness laid bare for all to see. And I am really hoping to see Stiller (writer, director and star) do exactly that. If so, I will be very happy. But we'll have to wait and see if it delivers.

Department of Justice Proposes Vast Changes in ADA Regulations

Via bfp


From the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) and other disability rights attorneys and advocates

Please forward this alert widely
The deadline for comments is August 18, 2008.

The Department of Justice recently issued major proposed revisions to its regulations implementing Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Some of DOJ’s changes are excellent, and urgently needed. It is important that the disability community laud these, to support DOJ against industry attack. Good proposals include adoption of the new 2004 ADAAG, stronger hotel reservation and ticketing provisions, recognition of psychiatric service animals, additional companion seating in theaters and stadiums, and stronger provisions for effective communication for people with hearing, visual, and speech disabilities.
However, there are also many draconian changes that would radically reduce the rights of people with disabilities. For example, DOJ proposes:

* A significant weakening of the readily achievable barrier removal requirement for public accommodations;
* A significant reduction of elements required to be accessible in state and local government facilities;
* An exemption for all existing facilities from the new recreation and playground rules;
* and many others.

DOJ must receive a flood of comments from the disability community in favor of a strong, comprehensive ADA. Comments must defend the principle of individual, case-by-case assessment, which DOJ is largely abandoning in favor of many blanket reductions. We must remind DOJ that the ADA is already carefully crafted to take the needs of covered entities into account, and that reductions to our civil rights would be a devastating blow to our daily lives.
Extensive draft comments, by topic, are available on the DREDF website to help you write your own comments — click here. The list of topics is also below. The website also has information about how to file your comments, as well as tips on commenting and a link to the proposed regulations.

Important: Your comments will have the most impact if you revise our drafts to add your own thoughts, and especially your own personal experiences or those of friends, family, colleagues or clients with disabilities.


* Safe Harbor
* One-percent (1%) safe harbor for barrier removal in existing facilities for qualified small businesses
* “Reasonable number but at least one” in program access under Title II
* Exemption for facilities that allegedly comply with the 1991 ADAAG
* Path of travel
* Definition of “existing facility”
* Comments on the Regulatory Impact Analysis
* Title II Complaint Process
* Communications; auxiliary aids and services
* Service animals
* Hotel reservations policies
* Seating and ticketing in assembly areas
* Medical care facilities
* Wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices
* Prisons, jails and the Prison Litigation Reform Act
* Social service agencies, residential facilities, transient lodging, and dormitories
* Recreation facilities and Play areas (General Comments)
* Saunas and steam rooms
* Swimming pools
* Exercise equipment
* Team player and seating areas
* Areas of sport activity
* Boating and fishing
* Golf
* Miniature Golf
* Topics not addressed
* Questions concerning specific 2004 ADAAG Standards
* General comments
* Side reach
* Water closet clearances in single-user toilet rooms with in-swinging doors
* Elevators
* Stairs
* Accessible routes to stages
* Accessible attorney areas and witness stands
* Assistive listening system
* Accessible routes to golf tees and greens
* Work Areas
* Maintenance of accessible features
* ATMs
* Examinations and courses
* Triggering Date

The deadline for comments is August 18, 2008.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Raffle for a Good Cause...

Via Essin' Em

I’ve never discussed this on my blog before, but recent developments have prompted me to discuss the reason why I’m no longer a teacher. Being Catalina isn’t always a good thing. I separated early this year with my school as a peaceful way to avoid a public scandal that would ultimately affect my teenage daughter, who attended said school.

Part of my agreement I cannot legally discuss - specifically the reasons and terms of my separation - but use your imaginations. I can say that I agreed to leave quietly and peacefully under the condition that my (straight-a’s, honors courses, award-winning, athlete, without a discipline record) child be allowed to attend her last year of middle school just as if I had resigned at the end of the year. Let me spell this out for you. Faculty receive a substantial tuition discount. I pay 10% of the tuition. This roughly amounts to $1,100. After leaving, all faculty are offered one more year for their children at the faculty tuition discount as a way to avoid disrupting their children’s lives too much.

A few days ago the head of my former school called me to tell me that had rescinded his offer and that she was no longer welcome to attend. In the same phone conversation, he changed his mind and decided to honor our agreement. Well, kind of. I came in with the tuition and they refused to accept my payment.

Later I received an email that stated that on top of the faculty tuition, I am also expected to pay student fees, which are not covered under the faculty discount. Okay, so throw in another $900. I can come up with that, even if it means the car payment doesn’t get paid.

The straw that broke this camel’s back? The additional $1,000 expense account that is being demanded by the 18th of August to cover her lunch account (which was roughly $750 last year) and field trip expenses (which are roughly $250). I requested that she not be allowed to charge a lunch in the cafeteria and that she will bring her lunch, which is an option available to (other) parents, to have this fee waived. The field trip charges, I can’t really object to, that seems fair, so mental tab up to $2,200.

I’ve just been informed that the school is unwilling to waive the expense account fee for her lunch account and demands the entire amount be paid. If it is unused it will be refunded to me at the end of the year. Nice of them to at least offer that. This brings up my new grand total to $3,200 in 8 days.

I went from having her tuition paid to being a mile away.

I have never been as upset as I am right now. For a “Christian” educator to use a child as a pawn in a moral battle against me, and what I represent, is unethical - it’s beyond unethical - it’s reprehensible.

So I’ve played all of my cards, my hands are tied. He wins right now. Because I have been judged a whore, my child loses.

I refuse to allow that to happen. For the first time ever, I am asking my readers to help me. I’ve asked my readers to support the arts (artists, photographers, and other bloggers) but never asked for financial support on my blogs for myself or my family. Today that changes because my child is involved. Today I ask for your support for my daughter’s education and future.


I’m officially launching the “Catalina’s Emergency Tuition Fund Raffle”, here is the link to buy your virtual ticket. Tickets are $10.00 each, you can buy as many as you’d like (if you’d like to donate $50.00, for example, I’ll enter your name 5 times). I really will write down names and put them in a hat, and my daughter can pick the winners (of course I’ll come up with some vanilla reason why she’s doing it). We’ll choose the winners on August 17th at 10 pm. You will be notified by 10:15 pm.

Follow the link to her site for a list of all the prizes you can win!

Fund Would Aid Those Seized In Workplace Raids

I owe special thanks to my friend Niere for this story...

All Things Considered, August 11, 2008 · A Boston financier is helping launch a national fund to bail out immigrants arrested in federal raids. The idea is controversial among those who support an immigration crackdown, but the plan's backers say everyone is entitled to their day in court.

The idea for the bond fund began early last year, when nearly 400 undocumented immigrants were arrested at a leather factory in New Bedford, Mass. Robert Hildreth didn't think much of it until he saw TV images of the workers being loaded onto airplanes.

"What shocked me was that within 24 hours, one half of those arrested, 200 people, had been whisked away, to Texas, to send them back out of the country as soon as possible," he says. "And this did not seem right."

Hildreth had made a fortune trading Latin American bonds during that region's debt crisis in the 1980s. In the aftermath of the New Bedford raid, he saw an opportunity to give back. He called a local advocacy group and was told bond money was needed. So Hildreth gave some $200,000 in all, which allowed 40 people to get out of detention.

"Bond is important, because it starts the whole process of realizing the rights you are guaranteed by the constitution of the United States," Hildreth says.

One is the right to obtain a lawyer. Immigrants are not entitled to a court-appointed lawyer for deportation proceedings, but often they rely on the pro-bono services of advocacy groups. The problem is that when they are in a remote federal detention center thousands of miles from family, the situation is a logistical nightmare.

One defense lawyer says the common practice of moving illegal immigrants across the country has created an "access-to-justice crisis." It's an issue Hildreth couldn't let go of.

Since the New Bedford incident, he has helped immigrants arrested in several states, bailing out nearly 100 people so far. One of them is Luis Eduardo Delgado, who was arrested in June as part of a raid on a Maryland painting company. Delgado says there was no way his family could have paid the $2,500 bond.

"Without bond," he says in Spanish, "I couldn't have continued caring for my family. They had no idea what had happened with me, but this way at least my children can see me in person."

Now, Hildreth has joined with advocacy groups to launch the National Immigrant Bond Fund, and they're soliciting donations. Immigrants must come up with half the bond, and, as one backer puts it, no help will be offered to anyone deemed a danger to the community.

Hildreth says he hopes his effort will boost support for a large-scale legalization of immigrants. His bond fund hasn't gone down well among those who oppose that, however.

Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, says he has no problem with private efforts to bail out immigrants. But, he says, footing bail for illegal immigrants is a risky venture.

"If you consider the fact that many of these same people have spent large amounts of money to get smugglers to bring them into the country in the first place, forfeiting their half of the bond probably isn't going to be a major deterrent to not showing up to their court dates," he says.

So far, organizers say, not a single person has absconded.

Backers acknowledge that many of those bailed out may not have a right to stay in the U.S. in the end, but they say some could qualify for asylum or could be helpful in convicting abusive employers.

So far, the National Immigrant Bond Fund has about $200,000. Organizers hope to raise that to $500,000.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cops, Privilege and Utterances

I was driving home from the completely awesome Alchemy performance Saturday night (more on that later). I brought a few of the performers home, which was fun, I haven't hung out with a bunch of women on my a long time.

We were almost to my last passenger's house when I was pulled over by a cop. Now it's past two in the morning, we're just a little ways into Oakland from the Oakland/Berkeley border (which undoubtedly had something to do with it). There were two other cars traveling right along with me and when the cop flipped a bitch and came back up fast we all immediately pulled over assuming he got a call. When he stayed behind our line the two cars in front of me waited a minute and then slowly moved off. I think they were as confused as my passenger and I why any of us would be pulled over.

Long story short, when the cop came up and looked into the car at these two pretty early/mid twenties females who were obviously clear eyed and seat belts on, he got an obvious "oh, oops" look on his face. I guess he was just randomly checking to see if we were up to something? But I was shaking. I always am around cops. They make me incredibly nervous and my passenger seemed to feel similarly. Well, I didn't have my registration in my car (oops, I found it when I got home) and hadn't printed out a new proof of insurance (fuck) so then I started getting really nervous. "You were going a little fast there."


Well, all that happened is when he came back he said "you really need to get that stuff back into your car, I can cite you for that" and told me "good luck with [my moving]" (why my stuff wasn't with me). Thank you Goddess.

Now, we'd spent a lot of the night talking about various differences between experiences of our backgrounds, and as I was pulling away I said "gods sometimes I'm glad I'm pretty and white" and a little later "ugh FUCK the police!" (which my passenger heartily agreed with and said she was glad someone else felt that way).

The first response is really bothering me. At that point my hands were still shaking, and for some reason my mind went to the women of color I'd been with all night (and was sitting next to, although who I was thinking of were the two black women that had been in the car earlier). How much harder would that stop have been if one of them had been driving? Just fifteen minutes earlier they had been talking about apartment and job hunting, how people didn't expect them to be black by talking over the phone, and how many times they had shown up for viewings or interviews to a surprised look and no call back. In Oakland!! No matter how many times I hear about things like that happening, it still blows my mind.

There's no way to know for sure, but I certainly felt that I was just then benefiting from white privilege. I got away from that with nothing. I didn't get yelled at, or interrogated by the side of the road, or pulled out of the car... And I was relieved. I was relieved. I mean of course I was relieved, but, part of it was a definite consciousness of what might very well have allowed me to get away.

What kind of fucking shitty ally am I? Is that shitty? I feel embarrassed I gave voice to my knowledge, but would it be better if I hadn't realized it? I don't know how to feel about this... And I'm not looking for reassurance, but I had to process it somehow...

Why is it...

...that whenever feminists and other social activists point out the links between events and/or attitudes we're "conspiracy theorists"?

Decriminalization of Prostitution to be on November Ballot

The San Francisco Department of Elections announced that the measure prohibiting city officials from spending money arresting and prosecuting people for prostitution, and mandating equal legal protection for sex workers, has qualified for the November ballot. Of 500 signatures randomly sampled and checked by department personnel, 80 percent were found to be valid. “This is a happy day for San Franciscans who want government to focus on fighting real crimes like homicides and robberies, and are tired of seeing resources wasted in a futile effort to police consensual sex between adults,” said Starchild, a sex worker activist and spokesperson for the campaign. “We’ve cleared the first hurdle."

Via $pread Blog

I am personally quite happy about this. While there are certainly important crimes to be addressed in and around prostitution, the cops simply going around arresting prostitutes always seemed a colossal waste of valuable time to me.

Isabel Garcia

Via Sylvia I find out that Isabel Garcia's job is now in jeopardy because of a fucking asshole. "The Arizona state bar is investigating her because she participated in a protest against Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s latest book, full of racist and xenophobic diatribes against Latin@ immigrants."

Gee whiz, why would a lawyer ever let a silly thing like that bother them...

Find out how to show your support for Garcia here.

WoC and Beauty

The Women of Color and Beauty Carnival IS UP!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008


First off, the Women of Color and Beauty Carnival has extended it's deadline for submissions, so check it out. I'm really looking forward to reading this first edition!

Recently released: The 7th edition of the Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy, the 3rd edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival, the 62nd Carnival of Feminists and the 52nd Carnival Against Sexual Violence.

That's a lot to see, read and write! Have fun. :D

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I fail

No new spiffy looking template for whatsername.

*woe is me*

Also, grandma died.

More on that later...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Fuck you, Kyle

In the days following my guilty plea, a pro-pornography blogger picked up the story, and having identified obvious discrepancies between the “public face” on my blog and my criminal actions, began an online smear campaign.

[Link added by me]

Yah. What the fuck did you expect? Anyone who gives a shit about sexual assault victims would respond by calling you out on your obviously hypocritical and abusive nature. Oh poor you!!! You get absolutely ZERO sympathy from me, dude. Fuck You.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

If things get wonky

I've decided it's time to get a more customized look around this place. If things get wonky it's cuz I'm messing with the html. Should have everything back up in a day or two though!


well I guess I'm stuck with this bullshit template for now! fucking blogger put adsense on my account when I didn't ask it to and it's shorting out all my templates. ARG!

Talking to Some Radical Feminists

Mad props to Bint, who has been trying to do something I gave up on a long time ago. And que the irony of that statement, because there was and still is a lot in radical feminism that I identify with.

I've been engaging in this one thread for the past couple of days and it's been really interesting (and by "interesting" I mean "frustrating and simultaneously disappointing") to watch how things have progressed/regressed. I've been conversing with a few self-identified radical feminists about the disconnect between radical feminists and others, particularly those who identify as "sex-positive" (or are often referred to using that label). Anyway, in the conversation, I decided to point out the bigotry that was going on. Most of the time I wouldn't bother because most people don't even claim to adhere to a feminist, anti-racist, anti-ablist/body-affirming, sort of philosophy, but when there are people claiming that they are being attacked and they just can't understand why people see them in a negative light, it just seems appropriate to take them at their word and take a chance by explaining to them just why they are getting the reaction they've received.

I know, I know! Other women that I greatly admire have talked to me about why it is almost always pointless to even engage in conversations with radical feminists (who are overwhelmingly white, Western, non-disabled women in number) because of the eurocentric, racist, ablist past that is associated with radical feminism. I feel like they are right in that we don't need to educate them or answer their questions because if they want answers all they have to do is go and read what other feminists have already written and spoken about this stuff.

I really sympathize with what she talks about in this post, but find a certain amount of irony in the "holding out hope" sort of feeling I get from it, which was shortly preceded by this one. :\

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Prevent Animal Cruelty - Yes on Prop 2

Major h/t to bfp for this one.

Who is Californians for Humane Farms?
Californians for Humane Farms is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary and other animal protection groups, family farmers, veterinarians, and public health professionals, who have joined together in an effort to launch a statewide initiative for the November 2008 ballot—one that will improve the lives of millions of farm animals in California.

What will this measure do?
The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act provides the most basic protection to farm animals: merely allowing them to turn around and extend their limbs. It's hard to imagine a more moderate initiative. The purpose of the measure is to prevent three of the most cruel and inhumane forms of extreme confinement in the world of animal agribusiness: veal crates, battery cages, and gestation crates. All three of these practices have already been legislated against in the European Union.

Why launch this initiative in California?
The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act will reduce the suffering of nearly 20 million animals confined on California factory farms. The measure will also prevent other out-of-state factory farm operators from setting up shop in our state with veal crates, battery cages, and gestation crates.

Will this initiative put farmers out of business?
This measure targets large factory farms that have displaced smaller, independent family farms. Not only will this effort prevent animal cruelty, it can help protect small farmers from massive animal factories. Furthermore, producers will have six years—until 2015—to phase out these cruelest confinement practices, allowing ample time for the transition.

How do these factory farms affect public health?
The tolls factory farms exact on public health are well-documented. In 2003, the American Public Health Association passed a resolution urging officials nationwide to adopt a moratorium on factory farms. Studies have found that neighbors report more frequent occurrences of headaches, excessive coughing, diarrhea, and burning eyes as well as respiratory problems, weakness, and nausea. Furthermore, recent studies have found that children who attend schools near factory farms suffer increased incidences of asthma.

Will food prices increase if this initiative passes?
Published research as well as an analysis by a California-based poultry economist (see page 4) show that it costs producers less than one additional penny per egg not to confine laying hens in battery cages. While it's possible that giving these animals better living conditions may increase consumer prices by a few pennies per dozen, the hidden cost of such inhumane confinement is increased cruelty, and it's the animals who are paying that extra price.

How can I help?
Visit for more information on how to support this historic initiative. Contact for more information on how to help, including door-to-door canvassing, securing campaign endorsements, fundraising, etc. And of course, vote YES on the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act on November 4, 2008!

Californians for Humane Farms
Post Office Box 418202
Sacramento, CA 95841-8202
(323) 896-1126

Vote Yes on Prop 2 in November!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Women Deserve Better

Culturally-diversified bi-racial girl,
with a small diamond nose-ring
and a pretty smile
poses beside the words: "Women deserve better".

And I almost let her non-threatening grin begin to
infiltrate my psyche-
till I read the unlikely small-print at the bottom of the ad.
'Sponsored by the US Secretariate for Pro Life Activities
and the Knights of Columbus'
on a bus, in a city with a population of 563,000.

Four teenage mothers on the bus with me.
One latino woman with three children under three,
and no signs of a daddy.
One sixteen year old black girl,
standing in twenty two degree weather
with only a sweater,
and a bookbag,
and a bassinet, with an infant that ain't even four weeks yet-

Tell me that yes: Women do deserve better.

Women deserve better
than public transportation rhetoric
from the same people who won't give that teenage mother
a ride to the next tranist.
Won't let you talk to their kids about safer sex,
and never had to listen as the door slams
behind the man
who adamantly says "that SHIT ain't his"-
leaving her to wonder how she'll raise this kid.

Women deserve better than the three hundred dollars
TANF and AFDC will provide that family of three.
Or the six dollar an hour job at KFC
with no benefits for her new baby-
or the college degree she'll never see,
because you can't have infants at the university.

Women deserve better
than lip-service paid for by politicians
who have no alternatives to abortion.
Though I'm sure right now
one of their seventeen year old daughters
is sitting in a clinic lobby, sobbing quietly
and anonymously,
praying parents don't find out-
Or is waiting for mom to pick her up because
research shows that out-of-wedlock childbirth
don't look good on political polls.
And Bush ain't having that.

Women deserve better
than backward governmental policies
that don't want to pay for welfare for kids,
or healthcare for kids,
or childcare for kids.
Don't want to pay living wages to working mothers.
Don't want to make men who only want to be
last night's lovers
responsible for the semen they lay.
Just like [they] don't want to pay for shit,
but want to control the woman who's having it.

Acting outraged at abortion,
when I'm outraged that they want us to believe
that they believe
"Women deserve better".

The Vatican won't prosecute pedophile priests,
but I decide I'm not ready for motherhood
and it's condemnation for me.
These are the same people
who won't support national condom distribution
to prevent teenage pregnancy--

But women deserve better.

Women deserve better than back-alley surgeries
that leave our wombs barren and empty.
Deserve better than organizations bearing the name
of land-stealing, racist, rapists
funding million dollar campaigns on subway trains
with no money to give these women--
While balding, middle-aged white men
tell us what to do with our bodies,
while they wage wars and kill other people's babies.

So maybe,
Women deserve better than propaganda and lies
to get into office.
Propaganda and lies
to get into panties,
to get out of court,
to get out of paying child-support.

Get the fuck out of our decisions
and give us back our VOICE.

Women do deserve better.

Women deserve choice.

-Sonya "The Drama" Boom Renee
Individual World Poetry Slam Finals 2006