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Via: [livejournal.com profile] racebending

From the Confessions of an Acafan Blog... The Last Straw or How Loraine Became a Fan Activist featuring [livejournal.com profile] glockgal commenting on the Avatar: The Last Airbender mess and her activism, starting with founding [livejournal.com profile] racebending and the website Racebending. Its really really good.
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Diversity chief ousted at University of Maryland via [livejournal.com profile] seize (i am sooooo sorry. I was unable to post it immediately after I saw it, then I completely forgot it!)

The Nyumburu Cultural Center’s multipurpose room pulsed with anger last night as hundreds of students and faculty members vented their frustrations about the removal of Assistant Provost of Equity and Diversity Cordell Black from his longtime position. “If someone has given to this university their blood, sweat and tears as he has, they should be able to walk out the door on their own terms and not because of back-door dealings that some folks did in terms of plotting and removing him from his position,” Relations Director for the Nyumburu Cultural Center Solomon Comissiong said. “We need to mobilize and organize around one single thing and that is reinstating Dr. Black ... by any means necessary.”

Last Thursday, Black was called into a meeting with Provost Nariman Farvardin, where he was informed that as a result of budget cuts he would be replaced at the end of this fiscal year — June 30, 2010. The Office of the Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity, which Black oversees, houses the Nyumburu Cultural Center, the Office of LBGT Equity and the Office of Multi-ethnic Student Education. Farvardin said these departments will not be cut or altered in any way. “I have three units that report to me and [Farvardin] says, ‘Nyumburu, I can’t touch that because that’s student fees and not state money, and LGBT Office of Equity, that’s much too political for me to touch, and OMSE because that’s crucial to our drive to [increase] the retainment of black and Latino males,’” Black said of his conversation with the provost last week.

But for many, these concessions are not enough. The announcement, coming a week after a diversity town hall where officials asserted their commitment to diversity, came as a shock. Student activists are planning a march from Nyumburu to the Main Administration Building at noon today to show their contempt with the administration for its decision and to push for Black’s reinstatement. MORE
Student activists plan to continue pressuring officials:Further protests will follow up on last week’s 600-person march
Student activists, still energized from a successful 600-person protest on the steps of the Main Administration last week, aren’t giving up their crusade for more diversity, transparency and student representation in university policy decisions. At a meeting last night, student leaders, united under the banner of a new coalition — Students Taking Action to Reclaim our Education — addressed more than 300 students, faculty and administrators in the multipurpose room of the Nyumburu Cultural Center, in an attempt to fan the flames of indignation ignited by the provost’s decision to remove Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity Cordell Black from the position he has held for more than a decade.

After last week’s march demanding Black’s reinstatement, more transparency and a moratorium on all firings and mergers at the university, student activists said they need to keep the pressure on the administration until they adhere to their demands. “We pride ourselves to hold all levels of administration to the core purposes of the university and matriculating all students in an environment of inclusion and critical thought as well as fostering active and engaged citizens,” STARE’s mission statement read.

In order to achieve their goals, student leaders encouraged attendees to rebel in small ways at last night’s meeting. Some students planned to sit on the steps of the Main Administration Building between classes while others volunteered to “phone bomb,” or relentlessly call, top administrators.MORE
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Via: What about our daughters

Urban Science Adventures

There is an online contest sponsored by Quark Expeditions to become the Official Quark Expeditions Blogger. The winner gets an all-expense paid excursion to Antarctica February 20 – March 3, 2010. And you could help send me to the South Pole - a dream of mine!

What does it take to be the Official Quark Blogger? They’re looking for someone with a commitment to the environment; a passion for the polar regions, and an ability to write in English with wit, style and imagination. That is SO me, don’t you agree? Oh, and someone popular enough for people to tune into. So that’s why I need you and everyone else you know to vote for me. The person with the most votes wins.

With each post, I share the exciting and wonderful world of science, conservation, environmental education and urban nature appreciation through my blog Urban Science Adventures! ©

I routinely posted about the polar biomes, including posts celebrating International Polar Year. I love sharing science; and I especially enjoy bringing the beauty and excitement of nature to someone’s attention who thought there was nothing there.

Just like I share my everyday backyard adventures with you, I will share accounts of the beauty and stories of adventure of life at the South Pole! You know I will. So, please send Urban Science Adventures! © on a Polar Adventure next spring.

The competition closes at noon, September 30, 2009, EDT. In order to vote you will need to register with the website (bots can’t vote) and one vote per email.

Visit my very own voting page and vote for me.


And can ya'll send it around please?
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United for Choice:nspiring informed decisions through education

United for Choice, Inc. is the organization representing a committed group of individuals focusing our efforts on the design and application for a Pro-Choice specialty license plate for Florida vehicles.

Currently, Floridians have about 100 different automobile license plate designs from which to choose, and each one purchased contributes to it’s specific cause. Nine years ago, the state of Florida approved the anti-choice plate, which as of February 2006, has more than 60,000 plates on the road has raised nearly $4,000,000 towards the anti-choice cause. Sales and renewals add about $70,000.00 every month. This money goes to so called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” clinics that distort reality and hide the truth from women. They take advantage of an uncomfortable and emotional situation to impart their scientifically unfounded beliefs. The omission and skewing of information is a LIE and telling women that abortion causes cancer or that it can prevent a woman from getting pregnant in the future are just some of the strategies used by anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers that receive money from the anti-choice plate.

Pro-Choice motorists are currently denied the opportunity to express their views on a government issued, specialty license plate. The intent of our Pro-Choice License plate will be to fund agencies and organizations that provide information on all reproductive choices. Our plate will endow funds to empower women and men to take control of their reproductive lives. We will fund grants for comprehensive sex education, and give women better access to contraception. Florida has the 6th highest teen pregnancy rate and the 45th worst access to contraception, it is clear that we need more preventative measures in place in order to fully educate women and men about what “choice” can mean; Whether it is choosing to wear a condom, choosing to postpone sex, choosing not to become a parent until ready, or choosing to terminate a pregnancy.

Donate here if you are so inclined. Any Floridians on my list want to spread it around?
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via: color_blue and yasaman

The revolution will not be published

That is, when you rely on bureaucratisation and incorporation of high-level leaders into the state and business, once the state decides it doesn’t want to deal with women’s issues any more, you’re basically fucked. And this is what has happened to the Australian women’s movement in the eleven years that John Howard was in power. Women’s government agencies were consistently de-funded, attacked ideologically and dismantled, while sexist policies around abortion, welfare, family, childcare, maternity leave and workplace relations were put into place.

This is also occurring in the environmental movement, where large NGOs are becoming more conservative so as not to lose lobbying access, while ineffective and even dangerous policies are being pursued (e.g. increasing reliance on nuclear energy, carbon trading, bio-fuels, carbon sinks, ‘clean coal’, electricity privatisation).


The much larger apparatus’ of the state, business and academia seem to appropriate the best energies of the activists whose genuine ingenuity and passion are co-opted into ossified hierarchical structures. And the movement responds by rallying support for those activists because they command unprecedented levels of power and mainstream credibility. Yet that credibility is premised on an overall tokenism about the issue at stake, be it ecological justice, women’s liberation, racial justice, disability rights, or queer rights. The hierarchical accountability structures which authorise that credibility can muzzle the most radical activist (e.g. Peter Garrett).


But when equal access to elite status becomes the goal of a political movement, it becomes apparent that it is no longer concerned with justice, and it develops a parasitic relationship with the grass-roots of that movement.MORE

Who was Mario Savio?

Mario Savio: Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964

"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!
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Brian Jones: The Education Crisis

Public schools are facing massive budget cuts. And as they struggle to keep their doors open they aren't getting the money they need. What can be said for a society that allows its public schools to fail while bailing out banks with billions of taxpayer dollars? We need less testing and more stimulating says Brian Jones. And we need more money not for a few select schools but for every school.

They live their lyrics. Rebel Diaz—Lah Tere, G1, and RodStarz—came together in Chicago a few years ago when brothers Rodrigo and Gonzales Venegas teamed up with Teresita Ayaya and let their music and their activism rip. In their songs they have taken on racism, police brutality, immigration, war, the bank bailout and even Barack Obama's politics. These days, they can be found organizing on their home turf of the South Bronx and performing all over the world–using hip hop as a tool for education and change.

PLAYLIST Episode 9 - part 1

Brazil has a long history of international musical fusion. Indeed, almost every style of music has been mixed up, experimented with and enjoyed by a nation of people who adore music, and love to dance. PLAYLIST visits two different acts who are changing the world of electronica as we know it Napalma and Ramiro Musotto.

PLAYLIST Episode 9 - part 2

PLAYLIST visits the USA, where a new musical genre is bursting out Muslim punk rock that goes by the name of Taqwacore. A fusion spotlighted by the novel The Taqwacores, this is a new punk sound political, rousing and just as important as it was the first time around. Al-Thawra is one Muslim punk rock band currently smashing perceptions, and making their mark.
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Blog for Choice Day: Pro-Choice Hope for a New Administration

2. Repeal the Hyde amendment. This is a domestic law that forbids federal funds from getting used on abortion services. Although many may not want "their" tax dollars used for abortions, abortions, like other kinds of health care to poor people, are extremely difficult to fund privately and repealing this amendment would do more to increase access to family planning to poor women than almost any other action.

3. Fully fund Title X. Family planning funds have remained roughly stagnant since the beginning of the Bush administration. Just to get the funds to where they were, adjusted for inflation, in 2000, the Obama administration must allocate more than $700 million (the previous administration allocated $300 million), and even that number doesn't do enough to hire translators or bilingual staff at family planning clinics, increase the service to women who might require more attention, or allow family planning clinics to open in states where there may be so few.

4. Restore U.S. funding to the UNFPA. As Michelle Goldberg outlines in her forthcoming book, antichoice activists used false allegations of UNFPA officials using coercive abortion practices in China to de-fund the United Nations Population Fund. By restoring funding to the organization, it would show the world that the United States is willing to become a leader on family planning again.MORE
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Money for Profit vs Money for People

Crisis in the auto industry is hardly limited to Detroit. Japan’s Toyota is hurting big time--a two-year old truck plant in San Antonio was shut down for a few months this year. And the opening of a new Prius plant in Mississippi was put on hold. Toyota’s U.S. production overall was cut 20 percent and China just loaned its Chery Automobile Company $1.45 billion after losses there.

Why aren't people buying cars? You can't blame the price of gas -- not this week. The problem is the lack of credit -- and that's masking what's really at fault. Falling wages. Check out your paycheck, if you still have one: since 2004, real wages in the U.S. are down despite huge profits for a few under George W. Bush.

People simply don’t make enough money to buy cars: hence the need for credit. The auto bailout is the first that might actually put some money in workers' pockets. And not just auto-workers' pockets. Today, one in ten Americans receive foodstamps and most of those recipients go to work everyday. Tax dollars pay for those stamps—so have we the taxpayers been subsidizing corporate profits? You bet. To allow corporate wages? You bet.

But money for profit is never as controversial as money for people. In today's crisis we have a chance to change that. MORE

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has ordered all state agencies to stop doing business with Bank of America until they resolve a standoff with employees of Republic Windows and Doors. According to Mark Meinster, an organizer for the United Electrical Workers Union (UE) on GRITtv, the employees are asking for wages owed them under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) as well as pay for vacation accrued and benefits. Meinster also noted that it is still unclear why the factory was closed. Whether Bank of America cut off the company’s line of credit or if the company is seeking to simply downsize and relocate. “We know we’re being lied to by one or both parties,” Meinster said.MORe

If you organize it, he will come

There are various threads to this story: A company that violates federal law by refusing laid-off workers 60 days severance plus owed vacation and sick time and the plant's connection to the federal Wall Street bailout bill (the company blames Bank of America, which got $25 billion from the feds supposedly so it could loan money, for imposing the condition that it not pay the workers; a claim the bank now denies).

Another is real estate: The factory sits on Goose Island, traditionally home to manufacturing but in recent years a target for gentrification and upper-income homes. The value of the property upon which Republic Windows and Doors sits has likely risen dramatically and the company probably wants to sell it at a healthy profit. This is one of the consequences of capitalism: factors that have little to do with supply and demand impinge upon the lives of everyday people, dislocate them and lead to hardship after tragedy, one family at a time. The way that real estate speculation imposes upon other industries is one of the grand failures of an unregulated "free market."

So far, the stated goal of the union is to assure that its workers get the severance pay owed them, with some vague rhetoric toward saving the factory and its jobs. What we haven't heard (yet) is a serious proposal that, since the company has shirked its responsibilities, the workers themselves take over ownership of the factory and share the profits it generates instead of continuing to see them surrendered to the middlemen in suits that push papers, count beans and sit on boards of directors.

As the US economy worsens (and this is absolutely related to international trade agreements like NAFTA that send US jobs to Mexico and elsewhere, where owners can violently repress unions and organizers and aren't subject to serious environmental or safety regulations) the union can choose to nibble at the margins - say, get 60 days pay and then it's goodbye - or push for the viable long-term solution: to own their own jobs.MORe
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Realizing the Promise

Will community organizers have a voice in Washington? In December 2007, at the Heartland Forum in Iowa five presidential candidates including Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and Barack Obama spoke to a crowd of thousands of community leaders and activists and voiced their support for community change. Obama was particularly outspoken and said he’d meet with community organizers not only during the first 100 days of his administration but also during the transition.
Whether he keeps his promise or not, on December 4, more than 2,000 community organizers are gathering in Washington, D.C. to talk directly with elected officials--demanding a place at the table and a voice in shaping public policy. The event, Realizing the Promise, will be broadcast from 3-6 pm EST on December 4. You can watch it live here.
On GRITtv we'll find out how community activists plan turn their vision into real policy changes with Sally Kohn, Director of the Movement Vision Project of the Center for Community Change, Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, Co-Chair of the Board of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, and Christopher Hayes, Washington D.C. Editor of The Nation Magazine and a fellow at the New America Foundation.
Followed by a word from Jay Smooth of The Ill Doctrine. (He says it's time to Get Back To Work.)
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Fuck this people to hell

Hypocrisy much? The Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints is unhappy about the fact that the media spotlight is trained on its participation in making Prop 8 happen. In an official statement on the church's web site, bearing false witness and hypocrisy is the order of the day.
It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election. Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States - that of free expression and voting.
While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.
Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.
Bzzt. Wrong answer. The people protesting the church's significant role in an another state's democratic process -- members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave millions of dollars to remove the civil rights of human beings -- are merely exercising their right to free speech to highlight that role. And what is this "erroneous information"?...

No one is telling the church and its membership not to believe whatever they want to believe about same-sex marriage, but they cannot foment discrimination and conflate church and state in their support of Proposition 8. The sole reason for backing the amendment is faith-based. That has nothing to do with civil law or government -- at least not in this country. If the LDS can, in the minds of its followers, be inspired by God to take away the civil rights of people in another state, then gay and lesbian families (wouldn't they also be children of God, or they not human to the LDS?) and their supporters, inspired by the Constitution, can call for the boycott of the state of Utah, where this hate was fomented and bankrolled. Tourism brings in $6 billion a year to Utah -- the state government and businesses in your state will not look kindly upon this rogue mini-theocracy hitting the bottom line of the state coffers.
And the Catholic church is also lying boldly:
Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church was also a target for supporting Proposition 8. "Proposition 8 is not against any group in our society. Its sole focus is on preserving God's plan for people living upon this earth throughout time," Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, said in a statement Thursday.
WTF? Wait a minute. Prop 8 just removed an existing right from one specific group of people. There's no way to whitewash this. There's no spin that takes away the fact that religious institutions that backed Proposition 8 did so because of their faith -- interfering with the laws of California.
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Proposition 8 Spending Surpasses $73 Million

CBS 5 Voter Guide: A Look At Ballot Measures, Candidates

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ― Spending for and against a ballot initiative that would outlaw same-sex marriage in California has surpassed $73 million, almost twice the total that was spent in the 24 states where similar measures were put to voters since 2004, campaign finance records show.

Opponents of Proposition 8 had a slight lead in contributions as of Monday, having raised $37.6 million. Supporters of the gay marriage ban had raised $35.8 million.

A little less than $33 million was spent on campaigns to pass or defeat gay marriage bans in the 24 states where they appeared on ballots in 2004, 2005 and 2006, according to the National Organization on Money in State Politics.

Experts have said the California measure has become the most expensive social issue campaign in U.S. history and is the costliest election this year outside the race for the White House. About 30 percent,or $22 million, of the donations reported by supporters and opponents of Proposition 8 have come from outside the state, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.MORE
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Via: Crooks and Liars

On Oct 25, The Mormon church, whose members have emerged as the leading backers of a ballot measure to end same-sex marriage in California, is scaled back its Utah campaign operation but continued to support the initiative.

Why? Oh there were lies and lies and more lies, and even a blackmail letter (demanding at least $10,000) sent out to businesses to supported No on 8, which was signed by one Mark Jansson, a "Yes on 8" Executive Committee member and self-described LDS member.

So FINALLY someone decided to run an ad highlighting precisely what the Mormon Church is doing, and the church is not amused. Too bad.

We will be airing on CNN, MSNBC and Comedy Central in selected markets on Election Day. Let's just say, the Mormon Church is not pleased and the Salt Lake City media is all over this ad. They are uncomfortable being in the spotlight, which they richly deserve for being the biggest force behind the Yes on 8 campaign. BTW they have been planning a fight like Prop 8 since 1997. Dante Atkins (hekebolos) has an internal document from the Mormon Church up on Daily Kos.
Here is the statement they have released in response to the ad.
“The Church has joined a broad-based coalition in defense of traditional marriage. While we feel this is important to all of society, we have always emphasized that respect be given to those who feel differently on this issue. It is unfortunate that some who oppose this proposition have not given the Church this same courtesy.”
We respect that you feel differently about this issue, but rather than respecting our differing positions, you have attempted to impose your position on all of California. That is what we are responding to and why we are fighting so hard to keep our rights that you are trying to take away.
If you are in CA and can volunteer tomorrow, call your local No on 8 office. If you like our ad, contribute to help get it up on the air.
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Daily Kos is running a HUGE fundraising event called HELL TO PAY, tonight to raise money for No on Proposition 8.


keep them out of our pants!
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Baratunde Thurston on how he became a blogger

Naomi Klein on Becoming an Activist

Majora Carter on Growing Up in the Bronx
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The latest tracking polls show that if the election were held today among voters who have seen both our ads and the other side's ads that we would WIN!

, we don't have sufficient funds to get our ads seen by all the voters who’ve seen the other side’s ads. So it's that simple... without more funds we’ll lose.

But we will win if we have enough money to reach voters. So DONATE NOW!

A powerful array of motivated groups have organized against us. Yesterday’s Sacramento Bee reported that:


"Mormons... have emerged as the leading financial contributors to the controversial Nov. 4 ballot measure. Church members have donated about 40 percent of the $22.8 million raised to pass the initiative since July."

What is also unfortunate is that only 30,000 people have donated to the No On 8 campaign compared to the 60,000 who have donated to the other side. In a state with about two million LGBT people, in a country with millions more and tens of millions of straight allies, we have to get everyone to support this fight. If every LGBT person donated we can win!

Yesterday's Sacramento Bee also reported on the sacrifices being made by members of the Yes on 8 campaign:

"That's why Auburn resident David Nielson, 55, is giving... He and his wife, Susan, live on a budget. The couple donated $35,000, he said, 'because some things are worth fighting for.' The couple will forgo a vacation for the next two years and make other sacrifices to pay for their donation, he said."

So, what is your equality worth to you? What is your equality worth to your friends and family? How much will you sacrifice for your own freedom?

We are running out of time. We need your support now. We need the support of your friends and family now.

In Solidarity,

Click to contribute >>>>>


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The Prison: A sign of Democracy?
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Angela Davis: How Does Change Happen? February 07, 2008

From radical rebel to university professor, Angela Davis has dedicated her life to social activism. In this talk, Angela Davis reflects on her successes and shares her insights on the strategies for change that have made -- and will make -- history. Sponsored by the Women's Resources and Research Center at UC Davis [1/2007] [Public Affairs] [Humanities] [Show ID: 12069]

Angela Davis: Wars Against Women- Past Present and Future? Jan 31, 2008

Angela Davis, now of UC Santa Cruz, returns to her alma mater to deliver an engaging talk on "Wars Against Women - Past, Present, and Future?" [4/2000] [Public Affairs]
[Show ID: 4865]


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