One Love

terça-feira, março 29, 2005

Redemption Songs

Old pirates, yes, they rob i;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took i
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the almighty.
We forward in this generationTriumphantly.
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
-’cause all I ever have:Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
’cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fulfil de book.
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
-’cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.
-Robert Marley


Bush whacking

I was raised in the bush. Don't laugh, I'm serious. I was raised on a farm in the rainforest of Belize. In Belize, the folks who lived in the rural areas were said to live "back-a-bush". We were real bushies, living without running water or electricity. We chopped wood and hauled water and, of course, whacked bush. It was great. Because everything in life always comes full-circle, I have now reached a stage of my life where I am doing a whole different kind of Bush-whacking. I am no Bush-backer, although I am still, at heart, a bushie. Gimme that axe! I have complied some great Bush-whacking websites because its time to whack back at this wacko. Take heart! THE TRUTH ABOUT GEORGE W. BUSH: Bush is bad for us: Bush is bad for Blacks: Bush is bad for the environment: Bush is bad for foreign policy: Bush is bad for Fallujah (and the rest of the Muslim world): Bush is bad for conservatism (written by a christian conservative): Bush is bad: Why we hate Bush (This site has a counter that keeps track of the tax dollars Bush is spending on Iraq -- watch the number climb higher every second!) RFK on the junk science of Dubya (Boy, is he asking for it): Funny haha And for those who want to make a fashion statement:

terça-feira, março 22, 2005

St. Paddy: a lesson in privilege

A brief observation from the St. Patrick Day's Parade This Sunday I went to my first St. Patrick Day's parade in Southie. Southie is a traditionally Irish neighborhood in Boston. Everyone was wearing green and they were super excited just be out having fun. Good for them. I accepted a bunch of green beads from a young New York Police Officer, but more out of politeness than with any kind of desire to fit in of blend in. I clearly did not blend in. In my black wool coat and my hair slicked back into a ponytail and my big dark Jackie O sunglasses, I wasn't trying to blend. I was among maybe five people of color that I could see in the throngs of people gathered on the sidewalk. And I can see why. The St. Patrick's day parade is all about being white. It's like a big celebration of white privilege. I remember reading a case in law school about a lesbian and gay organization that wanted to march in the parade but were refused entry by the parade organizers. The court held that there was no 1st amendment violation because the parade in a private organization. I guess you can't be both Irish and gay. My great-grandfather is Scottish. And I have to admit, I like the sound of a bagpipe occasionally. So I closed my eyes when the bag piping fire brigade started up and tried to hear my ancestors in the music. But my overall experience at the parade that taught me a lesson in privilege. I will relate one instance that really made me think: My friend and I were at a party at a friend of a friends place along the parade route. Everyone was tipsy and having a good time. People were gathered out on the balcony to watch the parade go by. I was on the balcony enjoying the sound of the bagpipes as they went by when I turned around to face the living room. It suddenly had filled up with 10-12 uniformed police officers. I went inside and quickly realized that these police officers had just crashed the party. They did not know anyone; they were not even from Boston. They were New York police officers, maybe from the same group that had given me my green beads which at this point I was desperate to discard. They took over the party for at least 15 minutes. They went to the keg, had beer, came into the kitchen to snack, and used the facilities. The party goers were more than happy to accommodate. I hear one man comment “This is the safest apartment in Southie right now!" And that's when it hit me. I was watching the ultimate exercise of privilege. These officers just marched into a party and assumed they would be welcome. A group of 12 men is substantial, but at this party everyone felt safe because of their presence. What if a group of 12 young black men had sauntered up those stairs? I wonder of the crowd would have been so pleased. Or what if the party the officers had walked in on was a black party. Would the party goers be so welcoming then? Personally, I am wary of police officers, especially white police officers. But is not just a black-white thing. It's a privilege thing. Furthermore, it's not that I pre-judge white police officers but I am not so sure I'd be happy to have them come in large numbers into my home. But to not have to even think about these questions -- that's privilege. To feel entitled, that's privilege. To assume that everybody loves you and welcomes you -- that's privilege.

Sucking Us Dry

d "Babylon system is the vampire, sucking the blood of the sufferers" Last week, the Unites States Senate voted 51-49 in favor of drilling in the Alaska Artic National Wildlife Refuge. There are enough republican congresspeople in the house for this measure to pass there as well. If it passes in the house, let the drilling being. Oil prices reached record highs last week. During a news conference before the vote, Bush expressed concern about rising energy prices and again pressed for the opening of the refuge as part of a package of energy legislation the administration has been pushing. However, contrary to what the Bush administration and its supporters would like us to think, drilling in a national park is not the answer to our energy woes. In law school, we are taught to balance the interests involved then faced with a question. Here, the balance is between corporate interests and the public interest. As is usually the case these days, the corporate interests are winning. The only people who will truly benefit from opening up this national treasure to oil drilling in the big contactors like the Haiburtons of the world, and the big oil companies. There is not enough oil in the proposed drilling area for even a single generation. Even assuming, arguendo, that such drilling would cause oil prices to go down, after about 5-10 years we would be back to where we are today. Furthermore, why do we think that low oil prices are necessarily better? Maybe oil should be expensive. Maybe it should be $5 a gallon, $10 a gallon or more. Two dollars a gallon is cheap when you consider the actual costs of fossil fuels to the world. The Kyoto protocol, which entered into force last month, but which the US still refuses to become a party to, requires manufacturers to make huge cutbacks on their carbon dioxide emissions. The cost associated with making such cutbacks is huge. In addition, rising sea levels and melting permafrost and ice-caps are threatening the survival of entire nations. The island nation of Tuvalu has an evacuation plan that will take effect in the next 50 years. How do you measure the cost of losing your home, your nation? Native American Tribes in Canada have been forced out of their tribal lands because of the melting permafrost that destabilizes the soil and alters their way of life. Because of the warmer climate in northern regions animals that Tribes depended on for food are migrating and mating at different times than they did even 10 years ago. How do you quantify the loss of a way of life? Economists call such displaced externalities. What we are doing is externalizing the actual costs associated with the burning of fossil fuels onto minorities and the environment. The average American, numbed as she is by the sickly-sweet taste to carbonated sugar water, fat-injected chicken sandwiches, and the degenerative force of the cathode-ray tube, has no conception of what is really going on. They call us "conspiracy theorists" or "liberals" but they don't even sit down to analyze what those labels mean or why they are there. No one wants to ask questions anymore, or doubt the system. Well, I do. If this country took the resources that will be spent drilling for 10 years worth of oil and invested it into wind farms and solar power, we would no longer be a renegade state in non-compliance with international law. And if we took the longer view, not just the "I don't wanna pay $4 for gas" view, than we would realize that charging more for a substance that is destroying this planet as we know it may not be such a crazy idea. If we charged more for gas than people would be internalizing the costs. With the extra money, gas companies could invest in alternative energy and move away from traditional fuel sources. If gas cost more, more people would ride bikes for short trips and take public transportation for longer trips more often. Amtrak might actually get funded properly and cities might actually decide to build better commuter rail systems and subways. I might never have the chance to visit the Alaska National Artic Wildlife refuge. But I like to know that it is there. I like to know that there are caribou and bears that live freely and wild. They live in harmony with their little corner of the world and they have no idea how much we have fucked up the rest of it. I take the long view because I want to have children and I want them to have children. I am only protecting the world for future generations. This world does not belong to me. It is not mine to use and abuse and then throw away. It is not disposable. It is the only one we have. I wonder how many for those 51 senators who voted for the drilling drive SUVs and take $$ from the big oil companies and contractors. What I do know is that none of them know what it is like to live in harmony with nature, to live off of the land and then to have that all taken away. Articles on the Senate Vote: The Alaska Drilling Measure is part of a budget resolution. The law that protects the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has not been changed. To find out about the budget process, go to: Take Action: World Wildlife Fund: Alaska Wilderness League: Sierra Club: National Resources Defense Council :