Friday, May 26, 2006

About Greensboro

The Greensoro Truth and Reonciliation Commission has released its final report on the Klan massacre of political activists on November 3, 1979. I've read part of the Executive Summary and the blame lands squarely on the police department. Well, du-uh.

What's more, the effects are long-lasting. Poor blacks in Greensboro continue to have little or no faith in the police or the justice system. That's pretty much what racism is all about.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Another Remix

This is part of Pandagon's remix of a bad Chris Muir cartoon. Enjoy!

Photo Hosted at

And then there's Iran

I'm just a flyering fool.

Photo Hosted at

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Another flyer

Milan Rai is coming next month to talk about his new book, 7/7: The London Bombings, Islam and the Iraq War. Here's the flyer I made.

Photo Hosted at

Monday, May 15, 2006

Jean Said Makdisi is coming to Minneapolis

Here is a flyer I made for a local Arab American organization called Mizna. They are bringing in Lebanese writer Jean Said Makdisi to speak on June 8. I'm reading her book now. It's fascinating!

Photo Hosted at

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cancer sucks

Yesterday I got together with my gal-pals from my reading group. We've been together over 15 years now, I think. Good friends and exceptional wonderful women. Last night we went out to dinner and P revealed that her partner has been fighting cancer for the last several months. His test results yesterday show that the chemo managed to decrease the size of the lung tumor and that is great news.

P had not told us about this because her partner was unwilling to share the news. So in addition to caring for him, she was unable to share with her friends. Well, OK, yeah, those are the agreements we make when we enter into relationships. But part of me is just furious that she felt unable to seek comfort from those of us who care for her and wish her well. And part of me completely understands and wants to accept the decisions she makes.

It's all very interesting in context. I'm currently reading Teta, Mother and Me by Jean Said Makdisi. It's a memoir the explores how Makdisi discovered that many of the assumptions she had about her mother and grandmother were wrong. Her ancestors were stronger, wiser and more influential than she realized as she was growing up.

We tend to believe we know and understand the people who are important to us. And yet more often than not we are amazed by the reality of other people's lives. My friend, P, is a strong and amazing woman and I am lucky to know her.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Activist humor

On Sunday I participated in the annual Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater Mayday Parade. This is a mostly fun, hippy-type event, rather than a political activity. But after all the earth-friendly, puppety goodness marchers, there is a "Free Speech Zone" that political groups can join. Since it's an election year, lots of local politicians were there. But there were also various activist organizations included Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace. I decided to march with the Anti-War Committee this year. They had flags from all over the world. I carried a "Free Palestine" flag, but we also had flags from Iraq, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico and a Rainbow flag.

There's always a huge period of waiting for the march to take off since we're asked to come early and we're at the end of the march. There's usually several thousand participants. We tried to practice a couple of flag routines, but we were too silly to pull it off. At one point we just started having fake sword fights with the flags.

All of a sudden a woman from an ethnic dance group came running up to us and said, "I see all this international fighting going on and I believe we need a represenative from the United Nations here. I shall be that representative and I shall stand here observing and doing nonthing productive. Carry on!"

She had us all rollling with laughter. What a fun, spontaneous thing to do! But that's really what the event is all about. A time to have fun and support our cause.

An odd thing happened this year, though. I've been attending Mayday parades for almost 20 years and this is the first year I've run into people I work with. They all gave me huge hugs. We don't talk politics at work, much, so I never know who is an activist and who is not. But I also believe that more people are politically active this year than in the past. And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Beaver Overthinking Dam

This article ran in the onion in April, but I still get a chuckle out of it and decided to quote parts of it here:

Beaver Overthinking Dam

April 19, 2006 | Issue 42•16

HUNTSVILLE, ONTARIO—Local beaver Dennis Messner is spending an inordinate amount of time and effort in the planning and construction phases of building his dam, according to neighbors close to the project.

In the past four months, Messner, 4, has visited hundreds of other dams and drawn up detailed and extensive blueprints. He has researched topics ranging from advanced dome acoustics to the near-extinction of the North American beaver in the early 20th century, and plans to incorporate much of his research into his design.

There's photos and everything. For anyone who works in a creative field, there are some painful similarities to be found. Plus, I just love how the beaver has both a first and last name and his age is tossed in as well. Very nice writing at the Onion.

Your name in biscuits!

What you've always wanted, eh?

Photo Hosted at

Make your own here. Found via Typophile.

Billmon sums it up about Colbert's performance at the correspondent's dinner:

The underlying message, never stated or even acknowledged, is that there are no disputes that can't be resolved within the cozy confines of our "democratic" (oligarchic) system. Friends don't send friends to jail -- or smash their presses or abolish their political parties or line them up against the wall and shoot them.

Read the whole post. It's excellent.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Workers good. Bosses bad.

I've been searching around for a decent, well-written fact sheet to express why so many millions of people are standing up for the rights of illegal immigrants. I haven't been successful, so far. But I'm sure it's out there somewhere. Referrals greatly appreciated.

Until then, let me just say this: workers = good.

Yeah, that's my bottom line. People who actually lift a finger to contribute something are pretty much okey dokey in my book. Those who sit around and whine and complain, not so good in my book.

And another thing....

If life was hard for you and you had to jump over a hundred thousand irritating hurdles just to survive, that really sucks. It sucks so much that I hope nobody else ever has to go through the shit that you had to go through. Makes sense, right?

But, no. Instead, there is this bizarre theory that because I had it bad, you ought to have it just as bad. As if shittiness is a requirement. People seem to be saying life was totally unfair for my grandparents, the immigrants, so it should be totally unfair for you, too.

Where are the people who say, my life sucked and I sincerely hope that you never have to have a sucky life like mine? Surely I can't be the only one.

Monday, May 01, 2006

General Strike

I have the day off so I can join in the demonstrations in support of illegal aliens, their families, friends and support networks against proposed federal legislation that would turn us all into felons. The action is called A Day without Immigrants.

I took Friday off as well so that I could participate in the student walk-out against the war. It was great to attend an anti-war event I didn't help plan and to see the energy and brainpower of so many young people speaking out against the war. There were about 500 people in a steady rainfall.

On Saturday, I worked at the bookstore and spent the early evening at a forum about the labor movement today. Lots of talk about the strike on Monday and the sense that progressive movements are popping up all over the place.

Saturday night I watched the White House Correspondents Dinner. Bush made fun of himself and was followed by Stephen Colbert from the Comedy Channel show, "The Colbert Report." Colbert spoke in his character of blowhard Bush supporter. I have to agree with the right wing blogosphere: his bits bombed. Almost no one laughed, either because they didn't get it or they did and didn't like the points Colbert made. You gotta wonder what they thought was going to happen when Colbert was invited. Of course he is going to make fun of the president and the press. What is astonishing is that they somehow didn't know it would happen and have the graciousness to accept it well. In fact, Laura Bush didn't have the common decency to thank the man. Sheesh!

Actually, what has gotten lost in all the back and forth about whether Colbert was "brave" (no, he just did his job) or unpatriotic (no, it's patriotic to be able to laugh at ourselves) is another part of the evening. Early in the night, Bill Plante, the CBS white house correspondent presented a filmed tour of the White House press offices in which highly paid people whined and moaned about having to work out of small, overcrowded cubes. Talk about not having a clue about reality! There are hundreds of thousands of Americans working out of cramped and crowded cubes every single day. And we're not demanding that the government provide us better digs. One woman even whined that she had to (she even demonstrated this difficult maneuver for the camera) the screen on her multi-thousand dollar laptop to answer the phone in her cube. Gee, that took about one second -- you poor thing!

Yesterday I slept in, napped, and napped some more. It's old age, I guess.

Today I'm getting some housework done and then off to the rally at 3 p.m.