Saturday, May 29, 2010


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.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

(The Center of Globular Cluster Omega Centauri)

Every Thursday, I post a very large photograph of some corner of space captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and available online from the picture album at HubbleSite, followed by poetry after the jump.


by Barbara Crooker

I hate milk chocolate, don't want clouds
of cream diluting the dark night sky,
don't want pralines or raisins, rubble
in this smooth plateau. I like my coffee
black, my beer from Germany, wine
from Burgundy, the darker, the better.
I like my heroes complicated and brooding,
James Dean in oiled leather, leaning
on a motorcycle. You know the color.

Oh, chocolate! From the spice bazaars
of Africa, hulled in mills, beaten,
pressed in bars. The cold slab of a cave's
interior, when all the stars
have gone to sleep.

Chocolate strolls up to the microphone
and plays jazz at midnight, the low slow
notes of a bass clarinet. Chocolate saunters
down the runway, slouches in quaint
boutiques; its style is je ne sais quoi.
Chocolate stays up late and gambles,
likes roulette. Always bets
on the noir.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


(Ancient blue green algae; photograph courtesy D. J. Patterson, L. Amaral-Zettler and V. Edgcomb)

Today I received an essay written by a man with whom I am in community at Dykes To Watch Out For and Facebook. He wrote his thoughts in reply to something personal I had shared at FB, and he wanted my okay before he proceeded to publish it. I liked what he said very much, and if/when it is avaiable online, I'll link to it. In the meantime, his thinking sparked my own, and I want to share that below.

Years ago in The Sun I read the essay by Patrick Miller, A Primer on Forgiveness, which eventually became his book on forgiveness. To say it changed my life was an understatement.

I was raised an odd mix of fundamentalist christian and my mama's eclectic spirituality which blended her Wobbly father's worldview with reincarnation and the works of Edgar Cayce. I rejected g*d at 13 and became a born-again lesbian-feminist by 18. Miller's essay hit me at a time when I was still not the "freelance deist" (to paraphrase Karen Montgomery) that I am today, but uncomfortable crevasses in my prior bedrock were appearing on every mental hike.

I was particularly struck by one line of Miller's which said refusing to forgive was asserting that I knew better than g*d, that I was assuming a power and knowledge demonstrably beyond my actual abilities. This made sense to me even at a time when I did not believe in any form of g*d.

I was at that time working in my counseling sessions on the stage in my life, at age four, when I had had a moment of blinding clarity about my family's dysfunction and had decided that I would be the one to save them, individually and collectively. My insight about the problem was dead on. My assumption of my own power was also correct. What was incorrect was the extent of my abilities and resources, and that mistake came very close to killing me before my mother's death at age 28 finally began releasing me from that vow I'd made.

I began considering the idea that who I really needed to forgive was g*d. Or, since I was an atheist, forgive (a) my prior mistaken concept of g*d, (b) my stand-ins for g*d (the universe, collective unconscious, nature), and/or (c) myself as g*d.

Almost immediately, two events help hack out a path for me. One was that I was persuaded to join an acting class by the woman I was currently pursuing, who said the focus of the class would be more on writing than performing, and we could do it together. She lied about both of these (she was a talented liar), and a couple of weeks later I found myself alone in a class full of alarming extroverts, taught by a performer I adored (C.K. McFarland), and being given an assignment to "write a letter to someone about a significant event in our lives which we would then have to act out as a two-minute bit, solo and without props, showing progression through at least four distinct emotions."

My initial impulse was to simply drop the class. However, I woke up one morning with the idea of g*d writing me a letter explaining why she had abandoned me as a child. It was such a good plot line, I had to follow up. It turned into a stunning page. I didn't have a clue about how to "act it out", but somehow dragged my shy ass to the class and volunteered to go first because I was about to hurl from terror. At that point, I had not yet been mentored by either Sharon Bridgforth or Terry Galloway, had not found my voice or a way to handle my fear of public exposure, and when I stood up in front of that cluster of folks -- who had never even seen me converse with any of them -- I was shaking so hard C.K. actually asked me if I was going to pass out.

The only way I could think of to "act" the letter was to rip off all protection and become utterly vulnerable. I made them laugh, cry, and see g*d, as the saying goes. Two minutes later, I was leaned over the nearest chair, sobbing uncontrollably. C.K. called a break, suggested I go wash my face, and after I did, I left the building, never to return.

The second catharsis came when I listened to a tape sent by a friend of the Traveling Jewish Theater performing the revised version of Genesis as envisioned by tikkun olam. This picture of a g*d who was lonely, fallible, and female was a deity I could allow myself to trust and love. And tikkun olam vastly expanded my four-year-old decision to "save my family" into "repairing the world" but eliminated my isolation around it and stopped any clock-ticking. It morphed from a driving goal into a self-loving way of life.

To repair the world requires loving every spark of Shekinah found in each fragment. It means forgiving g*d for trying to end her aloneness by pouring divine essence into frail vessels, a mistake all novices make. If g*d can blow it like that, even the worst of us are off the hook, as long as we try to clean up our messes and keep loving each other.

So, yes, forgiveness becomes a daily choice where new light creeps toward old fetid corners and damage keeps being exposed. There's temporary pain which can be cleaned up before the next mess is revealed. Goethe said "Never hurry, never rest", and I retranslate that "rest" into "be permanently halted by negative emotion". But the cleaning is for my own sake, for my own connection to something way bigger than me, and as long as I always carry my own towel, I'll be in good company.

A company those who reject forgivness keep dying without experiencing.

Below are Miller's Seven Steps of Forgiving. Note how denial and judgment can play no role in this practice.

Select a bitter sorrow, a serious grievance against someone, or a punishing charge against yourself, and review it in complete detail.

Hold in your mind the image of whatever is to be forgiven – yourself, another person, a past event – and say, "I release you from the grip of my sadness, disapproval, or condemnation." Concentrate quietly on this intention.

Imagine for a while what your life will be like without the sorrow or grievance that has been haunting you.

Make amends with someone you’ve hurt or someone who has hurt you; tell a friend about your self-forgiveness; or otherwise link you inner work to your relationships.

Ask for God’s help to overcome fear or resistance at any step. If you do not believe in God, ask for help from all nature, humanity, and the mysteries of your own mind. These are the channels through which aid is sent – and aid is always sent.

Have patience. Forgiveness induces healing which follows its own order and timing. Whether you think you have accomplished anything thus far is less important than the fact that you have attempted a radical act calling forth change beyond your imagining. Go about your daily business, but stay alert to unexpected shifts in your thinking, feelings, and relationships.

Repeat steps 1 – 6 as often as necessary, for life.



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



Here's the weekly best of what I've gleaned from I Can Has Cheezburger efforts. There are some really creative folks out there.

And the first two are by little gator.


Monday, May 24, 2010


...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.


Sunday, May 23, 2010


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.