BroadSnark

Thoughts on politics, religion, violence, inequality, social control, change, and random other things from an autonomous, analytical, adopted, abolitionist, anarchist who likes the letter A
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Archive for the ‘Misc’

Things You Might Have Missed

July 15, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

IMG_1016Not had a lot of time for writing the last couple weeks. Just got back from the beach and before that I was in New York stuffing my face with blintzes at B&H.  So good.

Next month I’ll be stopping in Phili for a quick minute at the anarchist book fair. Anybody else going?

Activists in Detroit are blocking the trucks that are sent out to shut off people’s water for nonpayment.

Cecily McMillan, the OWS activist who went to prison describes what it is like to be at the mercy of prison guards.

Bruce Reilly talks about how people treat you after you get out of prison.

And this ColorLines piece goes into even more detail about how hard it is to get work without connections and with all kinds of prejudices against you.

This guy managed to kick a drug habit, get off the streets, and get a law degree. But he cannot practice law in Florida because of his felony record.

There is a petition you can sign to support the people in prison in Pennsylvania who are asking for the most basic nutrition and rights.

People incarcerated in Georgia were getting sick after maggots were found in their food.

Thousands went on a hunger strike last month in Greek prisons.

A good summary on Balko’s blog of how parents are being targeted by the criminal injustice system.

Too bad that 1920s movement to outlaw flirting didn’t come to pass. Think of how many more we could have in prison.

This is essay about the writer’s rape – the male writer’s rape – is a must read.

You know how I wrote a while back that Cooperation is the Problem? Well, there is now science to prove that “more agreeable,conscientious personalities are more likely to make harmful choices.”

You might want to run your old phones over with a tractor. Or stop taking dick pics.

Buying homes is for rich people, really rich people.

The Department of Defense’s spending includes more than $380 million on erectile dysfunction drugs, $238 million on testosterone therapy drugs, at least $2.7 billion on antidepressants, more than $1.6 billion on opioid painkillers, and  more than $507 million on Ambien and its generic equivalents.

I have to admit that I am someone who complains about bikers a lot. Yesterday, for instance, I lost it when some dumbass on a bike cut off a fire truck with its sirens on. But I must admit that this piece on Why Bikes Make Smart People Say Dumb Things makes some very good points.

And finally. Never, ever give money to the Red Cross.

 

 

Things You Might Have Missed

June 20, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Spiderman with a BonerIf you read nothing else on this list, read The Forgotten Fight Against Fascism. This is the pre-WWII history that people want to skip over so they can retain their hero stories.

More history overlooked because it doesn’t fit in with the preferred narrative is covered in this guy’s book on how guns made the civil rights movement possible.

And before anybody replies to that with stats on US gun violence, please take a look at this Guardian chart on gun ownership and gun homicides around the world. Turns out, the correlation between gun ownership and gun violence is not as clear-cut as you might think.

That said, gun ownership does increase the risk of suicide. And we have a serious problem with suicide deaths, including in prisons. Our society is sick.

Propublica is doing a series on the use of restraints on mostly kids with disabilities 267,000 cases in one school year. Disgusting.

Also on the subject of schools, an Idaho school district is implementing a strict social media policy for their teachers. How much control should your work have over your private life?

If you have any extra cash, they are raising money for a documentary about the California prison hunger strikers.

In happier news, Zingerman’s is about to become a worker co-op. They have always been more democratic than most businesses, but this is cool. The benefits are so obvious.

And just for kicks, Spider-Man Statue Removed From South Korean Playground Because It Has A Gigantic Boner. @PaprikaPink said that “it seems he made that statue expressly to inspire bad puns.” After reading that article, I find it hard to disagree.

Things You Might Have Missed

June 13, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Limelight Club New YorkI work in the anti-poverty wing of the nonprofit industrial complex. So naturally everyone is World Cup crazy. Number of times I have heard someone mention protests? Zero. For those of you who might want to know how a lot of Brazilians are feeling about this, Black Agenda Report has a comprehensive piece on Race, Class, and the World Cup in Brazil.

Enjoy the World Cup while it lasts. Looks like nobody wants to host it in the future.

Maya Angelou was the kind of person who would go to a remote, youth correctional facility “dressed to the nines” and attached to an oxygen tank so that some of society’s throw away kids might walk a little taller.

Baltimore is trying to make sure we throw away as many kids as possible. Kids who violate curfew will go to “connection centers.” Parents will have to pay fines. You know, like that woman who just died in jail because she couldn’t afford to pay the fines related to her kid’s truancy.

Los Angeles joins the dozens of other heartless cities with bans on feeding the homeless. Of course, the homeless are also being pushed out of downtown just as fast as the gentrifiers can manage it.

Chicago is trying to make more people homeless, evictions using police with guns instead of sheriffs with social services.

Rational guest post about gun violence and mass shootings on Balko’s blog.

Is there really anyone who has to ask if feminism has a class problem? You know what else feminism has a problem with? “Radical” men who make a big show in public, but don’t deal with their shit in private.

When you question homogeneity as the baseline, you discover that homogeneity results in artificial consensus, group think, and inaccurate information.

Apparently, the US has some of the worst labor rights in the world. Maybe part of the problem is the state of our unions? By which I mean that the unions are mostly married to party politics and hierarchies. We should send everyone a few copies of Colin Ward on a Self Employed Society.

UnderSea asked about NDAA a couple weeks ago. @icymirss kindly sent me a feed on NDAA and one on indefinite detention. Thanks for that.

And finally, the man who brought us ecstasy has died. That made me nostalgic for early 90s New York, hence the Limelight pic. Maybe he found out that they turned the Limelight into upscale boutiques. Sheesh. New York, you are almost dead to me.

 

Things You Might Have Missed

May 30, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Antigua, GuatemalaIf you read anything about Elliot Rodger, please read this. It is the only thing I have seen that gives real thought to the murders, the culprit, and what it says about our society. Simplistic crap about how “misogyny kills” or calls for gun control are just not going to cut it.

Despite having no violence or other problems that could possibly justify it, PG County is putting more cops in schools. Guess they haven’t criminalized enough youth in Maryland. Not to worry. It isn’t like kids are tried in kangaroo courts without attorneys.

In better Maryland news, the Ban the Box bill has passed. That is the legislation that prevents employers from asking about felony records on the employment application. DC is close, but with some problems.

Philadelphia has a major problem with police violence and they are paying for it – in the millions. These cases made me want to vomit.

The US House of Representatives approved some bullshit sanctions against Venezuela that (surprise!) will in no way shape or form affect the decades of lucrative exploitation business Halliburton does there.

Very interesting research on how evangelicals only coalesced politically around abortion later. Originally, it was objections to desegregation of schools that got the evangelical movement going.

Forbes is stoked that the insurance company windfall from Obamacare is finally coming through. Even nonprofit insurers are holding onto mountains of cash. Too bad about those Sodexo workers who are being reclassified as part time and losing their coverage. Meanwhile, medicare is being overbilled by billions – with a b.

A report has found that “U.S. government Fusion Centers, which operate as ill-defined ‘counter-terrorism’ intelligence gathering and sharing centers, conducted spy operations against Occupy protesters involving police, the Pentagon, the FBI, military employees, and business people.” And they say a society based on cooperation is impossible. Pishaw.

In related news. Why do Dominators Hate Direct Democracy?

Keep an eyeball on Guatemala everyone. Shit is heating up again.

You might remember those SOA Watch posters I put up a couple weeks ago. Well, a bunch of SOA people got arrested for putting them up in DC.

I am having a very hard time scrubbing my vocabulary of words like “crazy.” I need to read this a few more times.

Things You Might Have Missed

May 16, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Poster4

Cool SOA Watch posters can be procured here.

If any of you read Italian, one of my blog posts is in A-Rivista Anarchica.

A small victory for us. The PG County police did not live tweet a prostitution sting. In fact, there was no sting.

Short and fascinating interview with Jessica Gordon on her new book about the history of black cooperatives.

If skipping school had been an imprisonable offense when I was a kid, I’d still be in prison.

Of course, they’ll lock you up for going to school to.

Victoria Law’s newest on women getting strip searched and filmed by male guards in prison just made my skin crawl.

Also creepy as shit, Violet Blue on our future of total surveillance. But don’t worry says the government. Future us won’t have read 1984.

“You have no idea. People in this state are scared that the little things they do have, they’re afraid they’ll be taken from them,” he says. “You know how people talk about the Confederacy? This still is the Confederacy. Besides fast-food, Alabama’s main industry is prisons.” – says the fast food worker on strike who was later arrested.

Everyone is talking about those girls in Nigeria. Lots of people are calling for military action without having any idea of he history there. Please read Glen Ford’s article before you start beating a war drum.

Interesting interview with Peggy McIntosh, the woman who really kicked off the “privilege” conversation.

Rural hospitals are getting screwed by their local anti-Obamacare governments and by the Obama administration.

Depressed after reading all of these? Don’t worry. Total societal collapse is only a couple decades away.

Things You Might Have Missed

May 05, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Orozco painting in the Museo de Arte Carillo GilEver wonder why the whole world celebrates labor day on May 1st? Did you know that May 1 in this country is “loyalty day?” The Nation explains.

In case you have ever thought about a volunteer vacation, read this on how growing Western demand for altruistic vacations is feeding the white-savior industrial complex.

Speaking of the white-savior industrial complex. There is a very good article on Reason about how early “white slavery” scares justified our current surveillance state.

It is so important for people to understand how children of color are targeted and harassed by cops. The stop and frisk stats just don’t bring it home as clearly as this.

In Phoenix, if you offend the delicate sensibilities of the state, you will have your choice of prison or church. In PG County, the police will just live tweet your arrest.

Wisconsin is now the first and only state to require that police shootings not be investigated by the police. I’ll be curious to see if it helps any.

Which women get thrown in solitary confinement? The ones who report sexual abuse by guards, or have a mental illness…You can read more here.

A new study shows that a conservative estimate of false convictions of those sentenced to death is 4.1%. Radley Balko has been asking his readers how many innocent people put to death would be acceptable to them.

What about for other cases? How many innocent people in prison is acceptable? And when someone is innocent, is it acceptable that they lose days, months, or years of their lives with no compensation?

You know what, I don’t actually want to read about the longevity revolution on the same week I read about how the life expectancy of poor women is actually decreasing.

Good post by Sikivu Hutchinson on Unpacking White Jewish Racism.

And finally Questlove on How Hip Hop Failed Black America.

 

Four Decades Doesn’t Totally Suck

May 02, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Gold sequin disco shoesAs some of you may have picked up on from reading my birthday post from last year, I wasn’t too happy about turning forty. I think I spent the entire preceding year in denial. And then there was that attempt I made to celebrate for 40 days straight. I’m fairly certain that my liver still holds a grudge. Today I’m feeling surprisingly o.k. about being an old fart. And that is despite some chronic health bullshit that is making me all too aware that the body isn’t gonna be getting any better.

So I’ve been sitting here thinking about whether or not I’ve learned anything in 41 years.

This is when I’m supposed to go into some nonsense about how life gets better and we all get wiser. That’s a lie. Sometimes life gets worse. Health almost always gets worse. A lot of us are getting poorer. People get sick and die. Governments repress. People do terrible things to one another. And there are a whole lot of people who use their years on earth perfecting their ability to remain willfully ignorant rather than actually learn something.

I don’t know how much I’ve learned. But I do know I’ve changed.

  • My wanderlust has decreased significantly. I still like adventures, but I don’t want to spend all my time travelling and there are many places in the world I am quite fine with never seeing for myself.
  • Instead of travelling I’d rather spend more time with my friends, building the kind of communities of trust and support that make life and social change possible. (And also getting wasted.)
  • I used to think I could just put my nose to the grind and get things done and was contemptuous of people who spent all their time shmoozing. Now I think life is about relationships and that I need to learn the art of shmoozing.
  • I no longer think the next thing is going to be better. Sometimes it is. Sometimes the next thing sucks ass.
  • I try to stop myself from thinking big. It’s the little things that add up. Too much focus on the grand gestures, the big protests… It can really fuck us up. It is part of the ladder climbing mentality that we need to escape.
  • I’m a huge grudge holder, but I’ve gotten better knowing all the mistakes I’ve made.
  • I still feel the need to always be accomplishing something, but am working on my ability to do nothing without guilt.
  • I have to work harder to dig up the righteous anger that we should all feel for every single injustice, even when the story is as old as time.
  • I believe middle-aged hormones are even worse than teen hormones. But I have more agency and can make people get out of my face easier.

I’m sure there is more, but I need to get off my ass so that I can go get wasted and nap in a park. Because the weather is beautiful. And I plan on spending this birthday weekend getting drunk with friends, doing nothing without guilt, and feeling very lucky that I am spending my birthday with dozens of beautiful, imperfect people who I love and who are willing to wear polyester for my ridiculous disco party.

Also I have ludicrous shoes.

Today does not suck.

 

Things You Might Have Missed

April 20, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Graffiti in DCThis article about social security going after people for their parents supposed debts made me so furious.

You may be following the protests in New Mexico. But don’t forget that murderous cops are everywhere. Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin put together a body count for Memphis.

The thing about protesting immigrant detention from the inside is that they can just deport you.

A little reminder about the struggles that indigenous people are in, especially on the border.

More Than 900 Workers Have Already Died Building Qatar’s World Cup Infrastructure. How is this even a little bit ok?

Cannot wait to read Astra Taylor’s new book. This section on women and the internet is spot on.

We all need to take up the cause of working less. Getting our time back might just be the most important bit of activism we can do.

Also helpful would be making our spaces a lot more hospitable to children and caregivers.

And can we all keep ego out and remember that activism comes in many forms, not just the ones that put you in the spotlight.

This came out like a month ago, but on the off chance that you did not read Ta-Nehisi Coates takedown of liberals willful ignorance at how white supremacy works, it is here.

 

Things You Might Have Missed

March 30, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Not one more deportationI have to start these posts again, because I keep losing track of articles and it is a pain in the ass to find them again on twitter.  So here goes.

If you did not catch this Ta-Nehisi Coates post about how “progressives” deny white supremacy and structural racism, read it. Coates says they “misunderstand.” I think its more than misunderstanding. At the very least, we should call it willful ignorance. But he’s way nicer than me.

More hunger strikes. Now they are coming from immigrant detention centers in Takoma and Texas. Both owned by The GEO Group.

As I was arguing with my fellow jurors the last few weeks, one of them brought up the changes that will occur because of the new DC marijuana laws. But I tend to agree with the folks in this interview that it won’t do a damn thing to help the black kids being picked up for street selling. They won’t be getting licenses to sell legally.

If we cannot get people to care about the record number of exonerated last year and what they go through once they get out, how much more impossible to get people to care about those who actually did do something violent?

Really, in order to get people to care about the people in prison, we have to get them to care about the poor and the mentally ill. But even when people hear about the bipolar woman who was locked up for more than two years without charges or the homeless vet who baked to death in Rikers, they still don’t want to face how fucked up things are. I guess nobody wants to think about the fact that poverty or mental illness could happen to them too.

Here is another thing that came out so clearly in jury duty. People really believe that everything is scientific. They were expecting ballistics reports and DNA. Instead they got unreliable witnesses and sloppy police work. Not that it mattered. Even without bullshit experts or real evidence, people were happy to indict.

Part of the problem is how much people want to believe police, despite all the reasons police have to lie and the long history of them being caught in those lies.

I am still turning over in my head how the people in jury duty could have the racial disparities staring them in the face every day and not have a problem with it. Speaking of disparities, did you know that “Native Americans make up little more than 1 percent of the nation’s population” but “at any given time, 43 percent to 60 percent of juveniles held in federal custody were Native American”?

And finally, since being in jury duty made me despair for humanity, I will end with this post about Kitty Genovese. She was the woman attacked in Queens in 1964 and whose case became proof that New Yorkers just didn’t give a shit. Supposedly, all these people heard her attack and did nothing. But that turns out to be mostly bullshit.

 

Bank of America is the Spawn of Satan

February 18, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Skank of America

My work, sadly, still has credit cards with Bank of America.  I have been on hold with them for the last 38 minutes and counting. You see Bank of America decided it was an awesome idea to fire a bunch of people  so that they could have “fourth quarter 2013 net income of $3.4 billion.” Oh no. Sorry. Did I say fire? I meant “lower personnel expenses…to streamline processes and achieve cost savings.”

Why are we not outside these banks with pitchforks again?

Maybe some people actually thought that a portion of the 8.5 billion fine for foreclosure abuse and the 11.6 billion to Fannie Mae was punishment enough? Not even a year’s worth of profits people.

More about Bank of America’s run for most corrupt bank here.

 

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