Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Samhain!

To all of my readers whether you know what Samhain is or not! :)

As part of my own personal ritual tonight, I did two tarot readings, one general and one very specific. Both came up with results saying Obama is going to win. Not only win, but win through a true expression of people voting on what really matters, on what we consider sacred and important. Additionally, these energies appear to carry over, I got a lot of hits about regenerative energy, rebirth, prosperity, birthing, beginnings... Given what we already know about the next four years I'm thinking that the message is even through the turbulence if we stay true to ourselves, pay attention to the details and the big picture, and take care of each other... We're going to come out ok. Even better than before.

Alright then. Bring it on!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Voter Purges

Colorado Sued To Reverse Voter Purges

By Advancement Project
Posted on October 27, 2008, Printed on October 27, 2008

Advancement Project, a national voter protection organization, and others filed a lawsuit on behalf of Colorado Common Cause, Mi Familia Vota, a non-partisan civic engagement campaign, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) against Colorado Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, to challenge an illegal purges and cancellation practices that apparently have removed between 16,000 and 30,000 voters from Colorado’s rolls.

"These purge programs violate a federal law that is intended to protect eligible voters from being swept off the rolls," said Penda Hair, co-director, Advancement Project. "The state admits engaging in these practices and purging thousands of voters’ registration records without notice. We felt that filing this action was the only way we could ensure that thousands of Colorado residents would not show up at the polls on Election Day only to find they could not participate in this historic national election."

Advancement Project is challenging two types of purging practices by the state as violations of the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA).

First, Secretary Coffman has implemented a Colorado law requiring cancellation of new registrations when a non-forwardable notice sent by mail to the voter is returned as undeliverable within 20 days of receipt of the registration application. As recently determined by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, a state law mandating cancellation of new voter registrations because a mailed notice was returned as undeliverable violates the NVRA and cannot be enforced. These 20-day cancellations have removed several thousand eligible voters. Coffman has admitted, 1,136 of these voters were purged between July 21 and October 9. Moreover, his records show that 3,291 of these voters have been purged since August 2007.

Second, in an action not required by any Colorado law, the Secretary of State has removed tens of thousands of voters from the official voter rolls after August 4, 2008, in violation of the NVRA, which bans systematic removal of voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election, except for narrowly specified reasons. Secretary Coffman issued a statement on October 9, 2008 admitting that at least 12,000 voters have been purged from the rolls within this period for reasons not permitted by the NVRA. More importantly, Advancement Project has substantial evidence that during the NVRA’s 90 day no-purge period, defendant Secretary of State actually removed more than 20,000 voters’ registration records from Colorado’s voting rolls, in addition to the 1,892 who were removed for the NVRA-allowed reasons because of death, incarceration for a felony, or withdrawal.

"Our concern is that the systematic removal of voters will continue up to November 4, 2008, potentially barring even more voters from the polls," said Jessie Allen, senior attorney, Advancement Project. "Purge programs of this type are a blatant violation of federal law. The state of Colorado is obligated to follow the rules set for all states by the NVRA to protect voting rights."

The lawsuit asks the court to grant relief that would:

  • Discontinue purging any voters from the official list of eligible voters for any reason not allowed by the NVRA between now and November 4, 2008;
  • Identify and reinstate any and all voters who were improperly purged from the official list of registered voters during the 90 day no-purge period, except those exempted by the NVRA, and all voters disqualified through the illegal cancellation procedure based on return of the single registration card.

"The state of Colorado is breaking the law." concluded Hair. "It is the fundamental right of every eligible voter to participate in elections that determine who will represent them in their government. Federal law protects that right with limits on voter cancellation practices. All we are asking is for the state to comply with those well recognized limits."

For a copy of the complaint, click here.

Advancement Project's core purpose is to develop, encourage, pioneer and widely disseminate innovative ideas and models that inspire and mobilize a broad national racial justice movement so that universal opportunity and a just democracy are achieved. The organization was founded on the principle that structural racism can be eliminated and a racially just democracy may be attained through multi-racial collective action by organized communities.

© 2008 All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Ok, this is totally frivolous but, have any of you ever watched "Roar"?

It was on tv, dunno what channel, I think when I was in high school. I watched it religiously every week, it was cheesy as fuck but I loved it. Based in old sort of still pagan Britain (that didn't mean much to me at the time though) and one of Heath Ledger's very first things (had no idea who he was). I'm rewatching it now but just barely into it so I dunno if it's as good or as bad as I remember. All I can recall is I watched it all the time and loved "the super hot blonde guy" who starred in it and then one week I turned on the tv and it wasn't on. :(

I'm pretty damn certain this is the show I was thinking of because I was so sure it was called "Roar" and Heath Ledger is (was) in fact a hot blonde.

Open Letter

An Open Letter to White Non-Muslim Western Feminists


The homeless are our own refugees

David Mulroney
Sunday, October 19, 2008

Homeless people are pitching tents in our parks. Why this is happening? On Oct. 15, as most Canadians were waking up to the results of the federal election, far too many homeless Canadians were waking up on our streets, in alleyways, under bridges and in our parks.

Probably a few did not wake up at all.

The election results might have overshadowed the results of a three-year battle fought by lawyers Irene Faulkner and Catherine Boies Parker on behalf of a handful of Victoria homeless people. They have obtained a ruling that might do more to protect homeless people than anyone can imagine.

By allowing temporary shelters in our parks, this case will create a highly visible barometer of the level of poverty, dislocation and despair in our cities.

No longer will these problems be hidden under bridges and in back alleys. The ability of the police to roust these people from public view and confiscate their goods will be restrained.

The case is complex, and some will not like it, but it is worth understanding

Go there and read it all!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Holy Fuck

There are no words...

First of all, the title of this story...(emphasis mine of course):
Another dragging death in Texas raises tensions

PARIS, Texas – In a gruesome case with powerful echoes of the dragging death of James Byrd a decade ago, a black man was killed underneath a pickup truck in East Texas and two white men have been charged with murder.

Black activists and the victim's mother are calling last month's killing of 24-year-old Brandon McClelland a racist attack. But prosecutors cast strong doubt on that Friday.

McClelland died after going with two white friends on a late-night beer run across the state line to Oklahoma, investigators said. Authorities said he was run over and dragged as far as 70 feet beneath the truck. His torn-apart body was discovered along a bloodstained rural road on Sept. 16. His mother said pieces of his skull could still be found three days later.

C/o Womanist Musings where Renee also notes that James Byrd's murderers were ALSO cast as his "friends" in the media.

8 Things MeMe or Somethign

Well, Renee caught me, went so far as to haul her ass all the way over here so I could not ignore her! *sigh* I usually do well in hiding from memes, but alas, I am caught, so you get to indulge with me, and don't think I will spare any of you either!

Hrmph ok how does this one work...

Where Would Your 8 Homes Be?

List them. You don’t have to list your reasons, but if you do at least for a few of them, it would be more fun. And remember that the only rule is: the homes must be within the borders of the United States of America or else, within the borders of the country you live in, so as to utterly emulate the McCains. When you’re done, tag 8 people, so that they may join in the self-indulgence, forgetting about the crappy property market and the equivalent of The End of Pompeii on Wall-Street. You could spend your time hammering your doors and windows shut in preparation for the apocalypse instead, but it would be much less fun.

Allrighty then... 8 houses... Hmmmm... Well?
1) I would like a home in the Occidental woods. Or Guerneville, either one really. Guerneville so long as the house was above the (Russian River) flood line... But both towns are out of the way places in redwood forest country. I used to go to church camp in Occidental and I loved it there, might be the geographical spot in the world where I have been most happy. Guerneville is close by and on the river which is nice, also it's been settled by mostly gays and hippies so I might fit in better there, but, anyway...
2) Vacation house in Tahoe. Don't care which side of the lake, but I'd love to be able to go up there and always have a place to stay.
3) Beach house in Oregon. Why Oregon? Pretty coast line and not a lot of people.
4) Craftsmen style bungalow type house, or Victorian style, in Queen Anne, Seattle. I still love Seattle, and miss it too.
5) Another vacation house in Snoqualmie, WA. Basically one of Seattle's "Tahoe"s.
6) Another vacation house on Lake Trinity in CA. Bum fuck no where CA. Great lake though. Would also serve as a good base in case of military take over.
7) Beach front property in San Diego, reasons should be obvious.
8) And I'd like a penthouse in the Haight. I hope that counts...

Yay! Victims time!
Time to christen that new blog with a meme A'ishah!
I don't think I've seen these very often (if at all?) at Hell's place, so it's about time!
Haven't talked to Vixen in a while, time to remedy that.
Let's hit Radha up for this one...
And get Bint in on the action...
On over to mz bitca
And why not Nezua?
Aaaaaaaaaaand... Ouyang Dan!

I'll be coming for you all shortly...

Friday, October 24, 2008

To any who are magically inclined

There are a number of things I want to talk about. Problems at the polls (yes, already), Nathan Fillion and the appalling short that is the first "PG Porn" offering, my new school project on Mich Fest, the disaster that was my first experience using ben wa balls, the changing state of homelessness in Canada...just to a name a few. But I'm going to share the below with you because I would rather, right now, concentrate on making good happen in the world.

From CAYA Coven I bring you; Election day spell.

Election Day Spell by Iris and Rabbit

We aren’t going to try to tell you what to choose on Election Day. We hope we don’t need to :)

Instead, we have written a spell that creates intention for the best possible outcome in all initiatives, and the highest possible good for this country, state, county, and city. You may want to use this spell with a seven-day candle, and start it on Tues the 28th, the new moon. Or you may decide to do this spell with a three- or one-day candle, leading up to Election Day. We invite you to snag this and post it on your blog/list/chat as well. Please remember to include a link to this blog, if you don’t mind. And feel free to adapt and add your own magic as well.

You will need:
-a seven-, three-, or one-day blue candle
-a High John the Conqueror root
-a cinnamon stick
-a Justice tarot card from your deck…
…or else a 3 of Diamonds (the hard worker) from a regular deck
-a sample ballot (this is usually available for free at most public libraries and post offices, or you might check your local government website)
-a dollar bill
-a piece of string
-cinnamon, lemon, frankincense, and/or dragon’s blood oils (optional)
-frankincense tears and a charcoal, or else frankincense incense
-a pen

Begin by lighting the incense. Pass the dollar bill through the smoke three times. Then, write on the dollar bill, “This does not determine my vote.” Wrap the bill around the cinnamon stick and tie it with the string, in 9 knots. This will ensure that our voting process is neither bought nor swindled for monetary purposes by any representative of any party or constituency. Keep this bundle near the candle as it’s going.

Fill out the sample ballot with your choices of votes. Think carefully about each vote you place, and after you place your check mark, say out loud, ‘So mote it be.”

When you have finished filling out your sample ballot, place it on your altar. On top of it, place the Justice card or 3 of Diamonds. On top of that, place the candle.

Light the candle, and then anoint your High John the Conqueror root with the oil mixture, or else pass it through the candle flame three times. (Please don’t do both, because the oils are flammable.) Set it on top of the ballot at the base of the candle.

Chant the following daily until Election Day (or make up a suitable chant of your own.)
“By the power of three times three
As I do will, so mote it be,
With good toward all and harm to none
Civic duty will be done.
Transformation, both great and small
With liberty and justice for all.”

On Election Day, take your sample ballot with you to the polls and copy your votes from it. Touch it to whatever paper or screen where you vote to transfer the power of your intention. Tap the table, booth, or floor three times before you leave to seal the deal.

Blessed be!

The real America

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Who the fuck is Joe Sixpack, and why are we supposed to care?

Monday, October 20, 2008


Gentrification is a concept I'm only recently becoming cognizant of. I'd heard it bandied about of course, but didn't have a very good grasp of what it meant. For people in the same boat, Wikipedia says; "Gentrification, or urban gentrification, is the change in an urban area associated with the movement of more affluent individuals into a lower-class area. The area experiences demographic shifts, including an increase in the median income, a decline in proportion of racial minorities, and a reduction in household size. More households with higher incomes result in increased real estate values with higher associated rent, home prices, and property taxes."

In my class Lesbian, Queer and Transgender Identities, we've talked to some extent about this issue as it applies to San Francisco, which has been eye opening for me. So many things I never knew! But two recent posts have also got me thinking on this topic, what my role in gentrification as half of a white couple living in a city often vilified (but we assure my mom "in a nice area") for it's high crime rates is, and very basically, "what it all means." For me, for my neighbors, for my community.

I'll be honest, the area of Oakland I live in IS a "nice" area. We picked it to look at because of low crime rates around, and the affordability, though it's one of the more expensive neighborhoods. There is a pretty broad mix of black, white and asian folks who live here, and I don't know if I'm directly contributing to gentrification in the classic sense of moving into a traditionally black neighborhood. But I do know some things about the broader area.

I know San Francisco, Berkeley, the North bay where I grew up and most everywhere in the bay area besides Oakland is significantly if not drastically higher priced than our modest space (450 sq ft is pretty modest, yes?). I also know that we are looking at "moving up" to one of the other, even higher priced, neighborhoods in the coming future. On the other hand I also know we may not be able to, because of money constraints. And yet, that's a bit of a cop out, because our constraints are based on the fact that I'm not working (a privilege we've not been able to ever afford before).

This ability to (semi)freely move, as Katie talks about in her post, is inofitself a privilege. I've known that for some time. Is it shared by those who live in parts of Oakland we would not consider habitating? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, um, no. And like her, I make a point to buy locally, to frequent the establishments in my area, to try and buy from and feed our neighborhood economy as much as possible.

But I also see more and more exactly what Black Amazon talks about in her post. "To here it described as an up and coming neighborhood , this place full of lack professionals, to hear it described as safer when crime was high only during teh period o f"benign" neglect and crack and really no more high than any other NYC area.

And as you hear it realize it is code for " white folks are willing to live here" . it doesn't talk about landlords who don't live here being unwilling to sell to the black middle class it doesn't talk about black families wanting to improve their homes being unable to even get the Landmarks service on the phone."

I see this at work all over the bay area. I see it in the real estate advertising for the "nice" Oakland neighborhoods. And I wonder just what the crime situation is here, about the link between Oakland being a historically black city, and it's vilification in popular talk and media. How bad is it really? I mean, we know it's bad. But don't people also get mugged in San Francisco? And isn't Oakland so fucking huge sq mileage-wise that it would be perhaps inevitable for rates to be higher?

I don't know the answers to these questions, and I am not able to write anything as eloquent and heart wrenching as either Katie or BA on the topic. But I'm thinking about these things as we put down some roots, as I notice that I feel more at home here than in either SF or Berkeley, as I notice the attitudes of people around me and the poverty and crime and the things that make up life here. And as I think about this process, this economic process fueled by institutions (racism), and I wonder what the answer is...and I'm glad Oaktown has at least tried I think, to keep people in their homes, through being one of the few rent controlled cities in the state (the only I've ever come across anyway).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Love Your Blog!

I received this award earlier this month and had it saved on my laptop, which blew up, and in the drama I forgot about making this post. That's completely unacceptable, as Radha really made my week by bestowing it on me, so I'm sorry it took so long Radha!!!

So here's how it works, as with all awards there are certain rules to follow:
1. Link to the giver. (W00t! Radha!!)
2. Nominate up to seven other fabulous blogs and link to them.
3. Leave messages announcing their rise to greatness.
**Note - You may have been given this already, so that means you are a GREAT blogger.

So, in no particular order because I love a LOT of blogs...

Sudy, I love your blog! I will be forever in your debt for introducing me to the concept of kyriarchy, among so many other things.

Black Amazon, I love your blog! I am forever in your debt for challenging me to think about my privilege.

brownfemipower, I love your blog! I am forever in your debt for showing me the connections between issues people persistently address as separate (immigration and feminism, for one).

Essin' Em, I love your blog! I am forever in your debt because you were the first person I've ever seen talk about their boyfriend's cunt. My mind was blown and it's never thought about gender the same way again.

Renee, I love your blog! I am forever in your debt because as often as I agree with you, sometimes I don't, but I always have huge respect for you. And in the "rad fem" vs "other fems" wars (among so many other situations) remembering that has kept me grounded in the essential humanness of everyone involved; to really listen to them.

Miriam, I love your blog! I am forever in your debt for helping to fill a very empty space on the internets.

Shark fu, I love your blog! I am forever indebted to you because you remind me that it's possible to discuss these serious issues with flair and some amount of humor. That has come to mind more than once when I find my head about to explode.

Good Summing Up Around Recent Campaign Events

Monday, October 13, 2008

More to Give, if You Can Spare

Via WOC phd. I really like the causes and her personal choices!

Here is how DonorsChoose works:

Here’s how it works: teachers register with the site and upload projects they want sponsored. Recent examples include podcast equipment for a high school journalism class in Newton, Kan. ($582 needed), basic art supplies like paint and magic markers for a fourth-grade class in Brooklyn ($370), and a bass guitar for an after-school music program in Los Angeles ($723). DonorsChoose acts as the middle man, purchasing the materials and shipping them and a disposable camera to the teachers who made the requests. (Donors later receive thank-you notes from the students along with photos.)

Last year, with the help of an $11 million “investment” (read: donation) from Web heavyweights like eBay (eBay) founder Pierre Omidyar, Yahoo cofounder David Filo, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and Netflix (NFLX) founder Reed Hastings, the site moved beyond a dozen or so states and geographic areas to offer services to every school in the country. So far, has raised $24 million to get support to 1.4 million students in 50 states. Nearly 60,000 projects have been funded. And that’s only the beginning of Best’s vision for the organization.

Here’s where you come in. Starting Wednesday, check out the Blogger Challenge on

Slant Truth and other bloggers from Afrospear are specifically pointing people to donations that support African American educational needs. Please consider giving by clicking on the link to Kevins post at the beginning of this paragraph or joing the fundraising efforts yourselves on your blogs.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

I made a pretty awesome mixtape for you, my readers!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Voter Discrimination

From the Times

The foreclosure crisis could do considerable damage to the nation’s voting system. More than a million people have lost their homes in the past two years. And because voter registration is based on people’s residences, they could face politically motivated challenges at the polls.

The problem may be especially acute in the presidential battleground states. In Ohio, more than 5 percent of home mortgages are seriously delinquent or in the foreclosure process, and there were more than 67,000 foreclosure actions in the first half of 2008. Michigan and Florida have also been hard hit.

There are a large number of advocacy groups and other programs that work to ensure that minorities, the disabled and students are able to cast ballots. Because the foreclosure crisis is so recent, not much work has been done to ensure that people who lose their homes do not also lose their chance to vote.

Many of the hardest-hit neighborhoods are low- income and minority areas, which tend to vote Democratic. That means officials have to be extra vigilant to ensure that Republicans do not use foreclosure lists to challenge voters. There was a dust-up recently in Michigan, after a progressive Web site quoted the Republican chairman of Macomb County as saying that his party planned to do just that. He and the party insist there are no such plans, but the Barack Obama campaign has filed suit to block foreclosure-based challenges.

Whatever happens in Macomb County, where nearly one in every 100 households is in foreclosure, it is likely that in at least some parts of the country there will be challenges to voters who have lost their homes. There is also a real danger that voters who are in foreclosure will be misled or intimidated into not casting ballots.

Right now, this is by far my biggest worry for the elections. Yes, even more than the crazy ass fucking racists I've seen lately on the news.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Bind

Reading for my classes I am often coming across passages I find incredibly moving and meaningful. Too many to share them all. But tonight, I have one for you. It is speaking to a specific time and place and context, but the sentiment, it is universal.

We know that to overthrow the present government we have to vote for another one that will be against [women], and we must take that responsibility; we know that if we are to manifest our disobedience toward the war and be noticed, we have to stand in the opposition's street crowds and feel awful among sexist, royalist speeches and songs; we know that if we stand on the streets as small women's groups against war we expose ourselves to insults, but we still do that and feel brave; we know that if we are to deny the concept of national identity there is nothing else they'll allow us to stand for in exchange; we know that women men are urged to die courageously for their nation. Raped, murdered women will never be considered brave, except by us; we know that if we are to say aloud who we are and what we want there will be no historically accepted political patterns for our experience or our language. And yet here we are.

- Lepa Mladjenovic and Vera Litricin
"Belgrade Feminists 1992: Separation, Guilt, and Identity Crisis"


Therefore, Jensen's argument that "the" feminist critique automatically rejects pornography is inaccurate.

Interestingly, Jensen generalized pornography in the same manner of the anti-pornography feminists, citing extreme examples of violent, degrading scenes as the norm. When Dr. Comella suggested that Jensen's perspective was oversimplified, he responded that he acknowledged the situation was complex, but was simply "looking for patterns."

Perhaps it's easy to find patterns when you're looking for them, especially when you have preconceived ideas about your research subject before studying it.

It would be fair for Jensen to say that a violent and degrading nature was true of some porn, yet he actively resisted admitting that this was not always the case.

Additionally, Jensen said that he talked to male producers and consumers of pornography, but few women. In fact, he only mentioned speaking to one woman, Camille Paglia, who is a feminist supporter of pornography.

I'm not sure how he reconciled her perspective on pornography with his "feminist critique" because he didn't elaborate, but it probably had something to do with finding patterns.

Jensen did not say that he interviewed any of the women who performed in porn, yet felt very comfortable assuming that they were degraded.

Read more.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Straight Guys Who Consider Themselves Pro-Woman Take Note

'Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I'd-hit-that and you just can't reason with them and you can't live with 'em can't shoot 'em and she's obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can't stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can't play by the rules they don't belong here and if they can't take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they're only good for fucking and cleaning and they're not fit to be leaders and they're too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they'd just stop overreacting and telling themselves they're victims they'd realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren't even allowed to do anything anymore and and and...

I get that you don't really mean that shit. I get that you're just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women-to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn't know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side

Sweet Machine gets the credit. Hat tip Xtinian Thoughts

Well it had to happen at some point

I had an incredibly disheartening day at school today.

I doubt I will ever need to be reminded again why I can't stand group projects...

Oh yah, and I watched the VP debate, I'm pretty sure I would have lost less brain cells banging my head against a wall.