Blog Archive

Friday, July 31

Immigration Changes I Want To See

I see a lot of activism about a few aspects of immigration law that would keep help a few immigrants stay in the country, but I sure do wish I saw more on the following:

"10-year/3-year ban"

From Immigrants' List:
The three- and ten-year bars were added into law by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA).
INA § 212(a)(9)(B)(v) provides a waiver of these bars if ... refusal of admission of the foreign national would result in extreme hardship to that spouse or parent. Hardship to the foreign national or his or her children is not a factor.

That's an insanely LONG line people with kids are having to go to Mexico/Honduras/India/Guatemala/Ecuador/the Dominican Republic/Nigeria/etc. and twiddle their thumbs in while their KIDS GROW UP. Parents can't stand their kids growing up by a year when they're in the country and just working too hard to really see it. Geez Louise, 3/10 years OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY w/ your kids growing up? Frack. I want to see this one changed.

Thanks, Dave Bennion, for bringing my attention to this.

Judicial Review, part 1

It looks like the same bill (the "IIRA" half of it) did the following:
this legislation stripped immigration judges of the ability to take into account any persons circumstances when it came to deportation matters.
That's absolutely ridiculous. I don't know about the campaign at the link I found this language from, but if what it says that bill did is accurate, all clauses of that bill need to be taken right back out of federal law.

Judicial Review, part 2

From Immigrants' List:
cases decided by the immigration agencies have life-altering consequences. Under current law, even decisions which are arbitrary, capricious, show prejudice or misconstrue or fail to consider the evidence are not reviewable by the federal courts. In addition, the critical safety net provision of habeas corpus review is no longer available.
What...the...f***. ARRRRRRRRRGH. *hangs head*

I'm not really sure where the "amplify your voice" area of activism is if you're really interested in these issues. Maybe just Immigrants' List & (according to Dave Bennion) Families for Freedom right now. I hate starting things. I am such a joiner. Am I really going to have to get up & start something out here in this part of the country?

Tuesday, July 28

make/shift Didn't make/it

That was fast! I didn't make/it halfway through make/shift magazine before I ended up giving it away. I only did this because there's ooooooone more copy at the same place I bought mine. I'll have to go get it soon. But the person I gave it to will enjoy it, and she seemed soooooo bored by the newspaper!

But I was reading that, and it had good stuff left to read! Oh well. *vows to get other copy soon*

Healthcare - I Will Be Okay Even If I Get Wronged This Time

I got really stressed out today because I couldn't get a letter I wrote yesterday morning to my doctor through to her office, and because when I finally get it there tomorrow, probably no one will read it (since she's out for months). I was very stressed, thinking, "How will I get the results I want from my upcoming appointment with the bad doctor w/o a primary care doctor's advice/intervention?"

Then I drove by a house where the scene of kids playing didn't look like the scenes where I grew up. That knocked me out of my own tied-up thoughts for a second. Next, in that state of mind, I passed a house w/ a family that just didn't seem at all happy sitting out in their yard. Very similar house, but instead of playing, they seemed to be being sad.

Based on the demographic averages of the neighborhood I was driving through, there's a damn good chance they wouldn't have even had the experience I've had so far w/ healthcare. Mine isn't perfect, but my stress over that imperfection evaporated. It evaporated because I realized that although they could've looked so sad for no big deal at all, maybe they were sad because they had something really really big and painful to be sad about--and I didn't have any such thing to be so sad about.

It's amazing how much "space" I expect to "take up" as a minimum standard for my life. It's probably unusually high at the doctor's office, having heard a lot of "good doctor; bad doctor stories" in my life as a kid (from the insider's point of view, giving me a sense that, price being equal, one's healthcare quality is something one can control w/ the right tricks). But whatever caused it--I realized that there are a lot of people who would accept a lot less than I was expecting.

I calmed down. I feel a lot calmer now. If I don't get everything I hope for out of this appointment, the cost of a superfluous appointment or two will be felt (just the minimal appointments already are), but it won't make any collectors come calling. I have wiggle room to make this work. Getting stressed that I'm failing to take up as much space as I want to as quickly as I want a kind of stress I'm privileged to be able to have, and because it's a privilege, one I can let fall away and still be okay in the world no matter what happens.

I feel good about this, too. I feel a release and joy that's kind of the opposite of the tenseness and sadness I felt when I withheld help from a woman who asked for it last night (but I was too wrapped up in my own fun night out to take 5-10 minutes for her). I think that's a good sign.

A Privilege Of Not Having Children

I read Mamita Mala's comment on Flip-Flopping Joy and was really upset.
(Hmmm...I hope she doesn't mind me writing this hear rather than in the FFJ comments section?)

I/Others like me have GOT to work harder to get that kind of injustice ended, and ended fast.

In the meantime, though, my brain connected an idea lightning-quick that maybe could patch over the effects of the violent injustice occuring in Mamita Malia's life--I thought, "Maybe I can find her a bike!" (Cheaper than the subway, but in a flat area, less physical work per mile.)

Then I realized--duh--"Mamita" means she's a mom, and she lives in New York City. You can't safely just up and take a gaggle of kids around New York City on bikes every day.

Biking is my way of avoiding a long walk when public transportation seems too expensive. I don't have kids. Of course it is.


(Though that definitely brought me back around to the thought that I have GOT to work harder to get economic injustice ended, and ended fast.)

I'm sorry, Mamita Mala, that times are so hard for you. I'm really sorry about that. *hugs*

Revealing Myself

You know, part of me wants to make connections w/ area readers whose lives some writing I do might serve.

But part of me, well, I started this blog back when I mostly just read mainstream feminist blogs and wanted to contribute, too.

And dangit, I want to be anonymous enough to write about sex and write about genitalia and write things you can't write when you're not anonymous...
(And as much as I'd love to meet the bloggers behind my blogroll, I doubt we'll ever end up offline friends, so there's that "it's the internet!" buffer that makes it feel okay even if for some crazy reason they're ever reading this.)

...I know my friends & family have this blog link. So I never really can. But I'm not sure I want to come out to the politicians and the NGO folks and such. I've got plenty of other spaces online for that!

But blogging about Minnesota issues and Twin Cities region issues is drawing folks to my blog who, as I said, might be served by me letting them cross-reference my public stuff and my private stuff.


To Do: Reduce Stress

I have got to make myself chill out.

I'm getting all angry (traffic, people supporting someone who absolutely loves ruining the quality of some of the metro region's most valuable-to-the-bottom assets whenever the rich say, "But I want to do XYZ to it!", and now people at work making excuses not to do work that's their job. (Okay, okay, and others who are reminding me of excuses I've made that're coming to bite me.)

Must. Not. Get. Pissed. I just started the day.

Primary Chris Coleman - Don't Let Him Be Mayor!

As if I weren't cranky enough from that bad traffic.

I had to drive through St. Paul today and saw Chris Coleman for Mayor lawn signs.


And in lawns where last year, when I had to drive through the same area, I saw Obama signs and McCain signs. I guess that sounds about right for Chris Coleman, but can these people all really be united by a love of stealing from the bottom 90% and giving to the top 2%?


Monday, July 27

Hateful Graffiti Didn't Make Me Scared

There was hateful graffiti left not too far from where I work lately.
I saw pictures of it, but the contents of what I saw didn't make me wonder if anyone was in the area waiting to hurt me.
That's damn lucky.

The Star-Tribune Could Do Better Publishing Hmong Farmers Speak For Themselves (especially considering their importance)

Hmong Farmers Talked About, But Mostly White Farmers Get To Talk, In Star-Tribune Article On Farmers' Markets

All right, I figured out what's wrong with the way this article on Minnesota farmer's markets (note: multiple pages) is written.

Click here to jump to the end of this post and see what made me figure it out.

Actually, I'll start with some "right" things: Ms. Blake's and Mr. Giles's article starts strong, by having the first quote, and a good amount of quote, come from a Hmong farmer.

Why is that so right? Well, as quoted and elaborated upon in the article (the other "right" things):
Hmong growers represent about 70 percent of sellers in suburban markets and more than half of all growers in Minneapolis and St. Paul markets, said Jack Gerten, manager of St. Paul Farmers Markets. "If you didn't have the Hmong you couldn't have these markets," he said.

However, the article is 3 pages long, and most of the farmers interviewed are white farmers. Despite them making up only 30-50% of the farmer population at the markets.

Challenges of Talking Business w/ Hmong Farmers

This weekend and last week, I finally met children of Hmong market vendors who both:
  1. were raised so much in America that I had no language barriers talking with them at all, and
  2. were super-duper interested in "shop talk" and the business of, well, the family business.
I'd met plenty of farmers and family members who fell into one category but not the other over the past 3 years. These are people who I feel like my grocery store might actually sustain conversations with if I connect them.

If it took me 3 years to find 2, then yes, I get how "on assignment," Ms. Blake & Mr. Giles might have had a tough time getting interview quotes they like for their article from Hmong farmers and their families.

But you know what?

I'm not a reporter.

Surely my search was slow because it related to a spark of an idea in the back of my mind (getting Hmong produce distributed in cooperative grocery stores, too) as I went about my chores (shopping for food).

Now, I understand that even for a journalist, whom I'm going to hold to the standards laid out by blackamazon below, it might be a challenge to find these people to talk to in a single 2-hour interview-gathering trip to a market.

Why? Because children of farmers who are 100% fluent in American English and who are interested in the business probably spend a lot of time talking to non-Hmong customers, pushing the family's produce, explaining things, giving impromptu cooking lessons, etc. If you're actively hunting for them (which I wasn't over these 3 years), you can probably find them (now that I'm getting a sense of what to look for--start with the twentysomethings, not the teens or the people whose names are on the signs), but you might not be able to interview them.


But after reading blackamazon's writings below, I now believe that the right thing for a journalist assigned to this story to do, as soon as he/she finds out the markets are 50-70% Hmong, would be to actively hunt for lots of such people and schedule interview appointments outside of peak market hours.

How I Came To Be Able To See This In That Star-Tribune Article

From blackamazon:
Immigration is a great topic, centering immigrants making safe spaces for them to talk to be credited and set the tone for their work

Not so much

Talking about black women/people , issuing dictums and easily digestible pieces for non black audiences, or even having to prioritize non black audiences over black ones.

Can make you famous.

Being one often makes the act of reading news something to be accompanied by a finely tuned bullshit meter and someone to hide the sharp objects so you don't go to jail.
Let's speak about events as snippets that we can skim or miss, let's write more and more about populations we are not a part of, or frame the populations we are apart of as voiceless by not actually hearing from them.
And from make/shift magazine, "Listen: Voices the World Needs to Hear" (Oh. Hey! Also from blackamazon!) issue 5 p. 7:
The all-too-common idea that underrepresented communities need spokespeople in the media because they are not...speaking for themselves justifies their erasure from the media. ... "Some of Us Are Brave" exists to amplify," [Thandisizwe] Chimurenga says. "Black women are already speaking."

What I Plan To Do About It

I think I'll write Ms. Blake & Mr. Giles and give them tips, based on my experience, on how to find Hmong farmers w/ no language barriers but w/ enough of an interest in the business to say "quotable" things.

I think I'll also include my suggestion about scheduling interviews because of such people's importance to their vending tables (if they step away for an interview, there might not be anyone else w/ no language barriers and a strong interest to pitch veggies to potential customers like there would be at a booth of farmers who've lived in an English-speaking country for generations).

I think I might include (with full citations) those quotes or some others from blackamazon, if she'll allow me to, to express why I feel that my suggestions are important.

And I'll ask that they pass these tips around the staff writers so that next time someone has to do a similar article (or an article that, on the interviews, they discover is similar), they will be armed with those tips. (And, if I include the quotes from blackamazon, armed with a sense of importance about trying them out.)

"Not Like PAIN 'Pain,' Right?"

Next week I am supposed to follow up with a lousy doctor who gave me medication to stop bleeding and pain.

Only I think he's convinced it's only to stop the bleeding.

Because, after all, last time, he refused to accept my "always 1-2, maybe sometimes a little more" on the 1-10 "pain scale." I had my first horrible doctor story when he repeatedly tried to get me to talk about the lack of pain and clarified what he was trying to get me to say by saying, "Not like pain 'pain,' right?" (And said it again when I replied, "Yes--pain--the nature of it is ____ sensation.")


I could've had the good doctor--just not for several more weeks. And everyone around me--laypeople and doctors--suggested I take the first doctor in the field available.

And now my insurance and I are supposed to pay him Heaven only knows how much more money to say, "Problem solved!" when the problem isn't solved--it's only half-solved. The bleeding stopped. But my--yes, pain 'pain,' fuck you--hasn't. And it wasn't there before, so I want it back to normal, and that's your high paid f***ing job.

My partner thinks it's not really a doctor's job and that I should see if some physical self-displine (exercise, etc.) clears the rest of the pain up.

In a way, I see his point, but in a way ... FUCK THAT. As lucky as I am to pay as little for healthcare as I do, relative to others, I WANT TO GET EVERY BIT OF CARE PER DOLLAR THAT IS AVAILABLE AT ANY OTHER COMPARABLE OFFICE IN AMERICA PER DOLLAR. I don't know...all the other doctors say not to doctor-hop. So instead of doing so right away, I guess I'll start by writing my primary care provider a letter, ahead of this appointment, expressing my discomfort. Maybe she'll be able to write a letter to the bad doctor that will influence his behavior for the better at my appointment with him next week, and I won't have to have paid him for 2 appointments and start the expensive-appointment process all over w/ his good-doctor (or so I hear) colleague.

I feel a little less upset, angry, and sad having thought of this idea.

Promise to self: I will follow it through.

Saturday, July 25

Opening A Five-Pound Bag Of Rice

It looks like there ought to be a way to rip a bag of jasmine rice open by the strings, but I can't figure it out.

I Really Need To Learn More Spanish

I gotta learn more Spanish!

What the heck is the word for "too?" Not "trop." Not "troppo." Not "mucho." What is it?

Hey wait a minute...what is "too" in Latin? I supposedly know that language. Where'd it go?

It's not "tantus." Not "si." Shoot!

But at least I remembered that "but" in Spanish is "pero," not an "m" word. What w/ me already overusing "mas" in my conversation, throwing in "mas" again to mean something else, or guessing "ma," would only confuse the conversation even more. Thank you, VivirLatino authors, for using that word so much I've finally started to remember it.

Also--it's really hard to have a conversation about merchandise when I not only can't say "too big," but forgot how to say "small" and thus can't describe what I want, either ("smaller")!

Wednesday, July 22

Childhood Best Friend

That childhood best friend I referred to a couple of posts ago?
I Google-stalked her again, and something finally came up.
She's had a baby.



Tuesday, July 21

Cross-Class Friendships

I talked about this to my partner after I blogged it, and he had an incredible response (or, rather, responses).

I wrote a lot of it down meaning to blog it, but I think I might just keep it as a diary entry.

But two key points:

  1. I've got him. If I don't know how to handle something, I can step back and talk to him about how an interaction with any friend or acquaintance is making me feel.
  2. I'm too embarrassed about my troubles to write them here--that's why I'm not publishing the whole conversation--but he phrased shit I live with in a way that sounds pretty bleak. And he said, "When people get close, sometimes they talk about the shit going on in their lives." So I need to--as is the solution for a lot of social problems in my life--JUST LISTEN. (And stop intellectually categorizing and analyzing everything that comes into my ears from people.)

My partner is so helpful.

That said, and me having snuck behind his back while he's gone to blog this, I'm going to respect his wishes that I stop exacerbating my repetitive stress injury and get of the computer.

Good night!

I Have No Cross-Class Friendships

I have my needs met--and have surplus.

I have no experience maintaining friendships with people who don't have their needs met, even if I happen to make one through a chance spark.

I don't think I have successfully maintained any of the few I've made ( / the one I seriously built back in my childhood before I failed to maintain it).

Increasing Poverty In American Suburbs

A while ago, I remember analysts predicting that as urban landlords raised rent knowing neighborhoods' new tenants could afford it / as cities raised property taxes knowing neighborhoods' new owners could afford it, poor people would end up only being able to find affordable housing in the suburbs. Only it wouldn't be so affordable as the face value--it'd take a lot more of their time and energy to survive--because there'd be fewer amenities per square mile. Or something like that.

Thinking of France got me thinking of such suburbs.

I thought, "Can I imagine names of suburbs of the Twin Cities resonating the way some Paris suburbs resonate in France? Sounding like saying 'Compton' or like 'South side?'"

And I realized I could. I can imagine an exact one. I could see people moving there from the Twin Cities proper if rents / taxes got too high.


I know one thing--I'd be far more scared to live in a dangerous place that's far from hundreds of thousands of other people than I would be to live in a dangerous place that's close to them. I really hope people don't get forced to 1) move (moving sucks) and 2) get even more stranded than can happen by being forced to live in an urban bubble of cheap rents.

French Income/Wealth Gap + Socialing Health Care Costs

When I stayed in France for a while, I knew a man who was 2nd-in-charge at a pretty large company.

I ate at his house a couple of times. He had a full-sized minivan, a lot of privacy in his neighborhood and a lot of landscaping / no lack of comfort in his house...
...but not marble everywhere, either.

At the time, I think back on him and wonder if he was one of the European executives who allegedly don't make much more than a few double-digits times bottom-of-the-company workers.

Did I possibly see a typical French "top 1%" person's house? It really wasn't that much different than my other friend's parents' house, which is probably a typical French "top 20%" person's house, and not too terribly much different from my other friend's parents' house, which might be a typical French "top 50%" person's house.

I mean, maybe he was only "top 20%" himself and I'm overestimating his income percentile.

But what if I really did see the life someone in the top 1%, and that's all he got as a member of the top 1%, with the rest of the portion of the country's GDP that he'd be allowed to take home in America going towards things like health care instead?

Congo Rape And Murder And Theft -promoting Companies Named

I have trouble w/ PDFs on this computer, so here's a longer list than what the bigger press is reporting so far, according to what I could search, of companies that Global Witness named as buying minerals from militias controlling the eastern Congo (and perpetrating all sorts of horrors on those who live there to keep that control):

Voici la liste de ces entreprises publiée par Global Witness : Belgique : Trademet, Traxys, SDE, STI et Speciality Metals ; Thaïlande : THAISARCO (détenue par la société britannique AMC) ; Royaume-Uni : Afrimex, AMC ; Malaisie : Malaysian Smelting Corporation, Berhad ; Chine : African Ventures Ltd ; Inde : Met Trade India Ltd ; Russie : Eurosib logistics JSC. Consulter le rapport complet pour avoir une liste plus exhaustive et connaître les statistiques des exportations de la RDC sur
That would be:
  • Trademet (Belgium)
  • Traxys (Belgium)
  • SDE (Belgium)
  • STI (Belgium)
  • Specialty Metals (Belgium)
  • THAISARCO (Thailand; held by AMC of the UK)
  • Afrimex (UK)
  • AMC (UK)
  • Malaysian Smelting Corporation (Malaysia)
  • Berhad (Malaysia)
  • African Ventures Ltd (China)
  • Met Trade India Ltd (India)
  • Eurosib Logistics JSC (Russia)

Overpaying Taxes

I'm thinking about paying taxes that by law I don't have to.

Is this a ridiculous idea?

Ever since I read The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, I decided I didn't want to hunt for tax-deductible donations anymore--when & if I donated money, I'd pay 100% attention to my desire to donate to the organization and 0% attention to whether or not I'd get a discount at tax time.

But another part of that book keeps sticking with me--the part about tax-deductibility allowing wealthy people to put a significant chunk of their money into something they like instead of into the general tax pool. The related part about how the general tax pool is far more weighted towards really helping the poor than the donation pool is (the donation pool is far more weighted towards keeping rich people's favorite symphonies, colleges, etc. open).

The book relates the story of a foundation board member who told George Soros, "No--it's our money. You would have had to pay it to everybody in the form of taxes if not for what this foundation allows you to do with it" when Soros said something like, "It's my money, dammit!"

I'm no George Soros.

But what if I donated at my usual rate and paid the general taxes I could legally write off?

Is it similar to or the opposite of refusing to pay part or all of your general income taxes because you disapprove of much of what they fund (war, giveaways to the rich, etc.)?
(And though I haven't ever gotten serious in thoughts about withholding parts of my taxes against the law, how funny would it be to do both?)

Monday, July 20

Tenderloin Beef

At an Asian grocery store, I asked the deli what cut of meat they used in their things w/ chopped-up pieces of meat. They said to ask the butcher in the meat department. The meat department said "tenderloin." I don't know if it's true, but I ended up on a tenderloin hunt and cut-of-meat price comparisons, trying to get a good deal on meat for stir-frying.

Recently I saw tenderloin come in both "tenderloin filet" as "choice" beef for about $7/lb, and "tenderloin filet mignon" as "angus" beef for about $14/lb.

The butcher at this grocery store told me that "choice" = "plain old cow," but that a tenderloin is equally tender on a "plain old cow" as an "angus." It's just got less flavor.

But if you're doing a lot of seasoning, it's a discounted way to get super-tender chunks in fast cooking like stir-frying. Hopefully this will get me eating more greens from markets (which save me money if I actually eat them instead of letting them rot and buying a burrito).

Thoughts After Listening To Liberal Radio News

Thoughts: 1--what the heck was a show on what's supposed to be the good radio station doing letting someone act like individual actions (rather than actions taken by incorporated companies) are a significant factor behind greenhouse gas emission / a significant way to reduce it?

Ooooh, polar bears! Cute! Don't forget your mug when you get coffee! [Silence on, "Whatever you drink your coffee out of, put PRESSURE on the big whigs.]

Yeah. It was like I was listening to NPR or something. The, "Wait, I thought these people had truthful commentary--what's this?" feeling. But this radio station isn't supposed to piss me off. Drat.

2--I forgot.

Wait no I didn't. Honduras.

I don't think people w/ leftwards policy preferences are going to go back into positions of power in Honduras. I saw an analysis on Lenin's Tomb, I think, the other day talking about how the U.S.'s actions had stalled the rest of Latin America...and I'm starting to think that was really, really effective. Crud.

Hispanic Worker Deaths Up 76% While Other Worker Deaths Down

This headline on the front page of USA Today was horrifying:
Hispanic worker deaths up 76% since 1992
As was the first paragraph:

The number of Hispanic workers who die on the job has risen, even as the overall number of workplace deaths has declined, according to federal statistics.

I was horrified & sad when I saw the paper.

Now I'm more mad.

That's all, I guess.

Oh wait. I liked Hilda Solis's comment that language barriers are not an excuse for failing to protect people when they're working. Not sure what the next step is for me--targeting the gov't. to make sure they stick to it, targeting businesses (e.g. union campaigns to make businesses do certain safety things, etc.). But at least she gave me some words to arm with.

Block Party

I am going to throw a block party to get to know my neighbors!
Just submitted the permit tonight.
Sounds like a lot will be out of town or simply aren't interested...but hey...maybe we'll get some reeeeally enticing food smells going and they'll come out, too.


Sunday, July 12

Swiss Chard

I'm making "Tagine of Swiss Chard (Marak Silk)" off p. 90 in Couscous And Other Good Food From Morocco by Paula Wolfert.

This recipe is even cheaper than I thought it'd be. She calls for "about 4 bunches" to get 12 cups of finely chopped Swiss chard.

If you go for a huge bundle of full-grown leaves at one of the farmer's markets around here, it only takes one bunch. Which, at a large market, is only $1. ($2 at a small market.)

It took me 2 medium, torpedo-shaped onions to get the 1 cup of onion called for. I think there were 9 in my $3 "quart tray," so that's 67 cents.

1/2 cup of cilantro was free out of my garden--or one could count a portion of the price of the plant I planted--so cilantro was 25 cents.

Everything else is pantry stuff (spices, salad oil, & rice).

This is a CHEAP, healthy meal! And good over a sufficient strech of the summer here to get around to.

Thoughts On Food Today

I saw a great system of selling food today. Potatoes, sugar snap peas, and such by the pound. I've seen it done w/ tomatoes since last year, but I like it w/ these things, too.

For only about 10% more money than buying by the quart-bucket would've cost, I was able to pick out my own potatoes (ones that were clean so I wouldn't have to clean them much at home, saving me time) and pick out the exact amount my partner & I can eat in a meal. It was awesome.

$3.50/lb for fancy "fingerling" potatoes--and again, all perfect condition & very clean, and only 1 lb. (the quarts have more, but the farmer picks your selection, and cost $4). This works very well for me at my family size (2).

Okay, gotta turn on my music and go cook now! Have to get to REAL work around the house. I have a suspicion tooting around the market doesn't quite cut it as a day's labor.

Little Locavores Show

But I might have been tied for "out of touch with most people's ideas of 'normal'" at the market (see previous post) today!

Over the loudspeaker I heard:
"Attention all kids! Attention all kids!"
I thought, "This is cool. Lots of families brought their kids might be tough to fit the kids wanting to drag their parents over somewhere into the shopping trip, if the parents have to hurry, but it's neat that someone's putting something on for the kids."
The voice on the loudspeaker continued: "Aaaaalllll little locavores, come to the cooking tent! Aaaaalll little kids and parents with kids...[etc. etc.]"



I thought, "You...might've just lost 95% of the market's families. Good luck."

You're The Craziest Thing I've Seen

I biked to the farmer's market in my partner's paint-stained jeans (cuffs rolled up above my sock height), a cute t-shirt that I nevertheless work out in (Goodwill find), a fancy biking windbreaker, sunglasses, & a helmet. Yeah, I looked silly. But I didn't quite expect this conversation:

Other customer: And these?
Farmer: Those are chayote squash.
Other customer: So they're...
Farmer: A little more bitter
Me: Will you be selling chayote squash later on in the season? Do they grow here?
Farmer: No, the season's too short
Me: They don't ripen...okay.
Farmer: May I just say? ... ... You're the craziest thing I've seen [implied "at the market" or "today"]
Me: [good laugh]

A few minutes later a toddler stared at me despite his parents fussing over them, so it must have been true!!!

Saturday, July 11


Peru's giving parts of the Amazon away again after claiming they were "rescinding" a "law" saying they were to start doing so. The President is kicking out all but his most "neoliberal" cabinet, it seems, and putting in even more people who agree w/ them. 2 leaders of indigenous people from Peru have just fled the country.

I do not see things getting better the way I envisioned 3 weeks ago. Probably not too late to put pressure to make things get better, either, but it ain't happening on its own. On its own, the very wealthy of Peru definitely seem to be consolidating a lot of power to do whatever the f*** they want. Grrr.

Thoughts While Watching "Bolivia"

I'm watching Bolivia right now (OMG, THANK YOU, family, for the online movie gift).


I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have the patience for such an indie-vibe movie if I weren't occupied by "studying" it (not quite the best word, but close?) Having to process written words (subtitles), thinking about whether I can hear the differences in accents even though I don't understand the language, etc. Trying to keep up w/ the subtleties of the plot through translation. I think I'd be like, "Geez Louise, get a camera trolley!!!" and be bored if it were in English.

I'm really disappointed in the protagonists. I don't quite identify with any of them, and I do feel a little let down. Don't know why.

1 peso for a cup of coffee on 15 pesos a day?! A cup of coffee at 1/15 of a day's wages? Admittedly, low wages, but getting paid only 15x the price of a cup of coffee?!?!?!

Why won't some people reach outside their own experiences and ask migrants about their own home situations? Yeah, customer-in-the-cafe, your life is troubled. But have you ASKED any of the migrants if they left a NON-TROUBLED life to come "make money" in "your country?" I mean, why be so un-empathetic as to just make up fantasy home lives for migrants and presume, WITHOUT ASKING, that they left a life that was of equal-but-no-worse misery to your life in Argentina? Geez Louise, ASK. Love. Connect. Partner. Live. Love. Or...I don't know...something. But stop being a jerk.

That's all for now. Other than...I want a...someting. Bowl of frozen strawberries? I don't know what. I think I'm really lonely--I should've picked a comedy!

Wednesday, July 8

Latin American & Carribbean Orphans, Part 2

I just wrote that I had thoughts, but no real ideas about interacting in a way that might do good w/ an agency that does some good work, but that I think might stop short. After all, I'm not a participant, and they don't make me want to be.

But I should ask them if they do in-family sponsorships. They have something kind of like that (they run a school & bathhouse & cafeteria for kids living with their families but in a garbage dump near one of their homes for orphans). But I wonder if the--or any other agencies--outside of "oh my gosh, they live in a GARBAGE DUMP" just put something like $30 a month towards all the same services that would be provided to orphans, but living w/ their families. The kinds of things the government here should be doing more of w/ our tax dollars. So maybe there, too. I don't know exactly what.

But it's a germ of a thought.

Latin American & Carribbean Orphans

At lunch I walked to buy some sticky rice to accompany the stir fry I brought to work.

I passed by a nonprofit that sets orphans in Latin American / Carribbean orphanages up with sponsors ($30/month). Not the worst idea in the world, but I was really put off by the parent-badmouthing they did on their posters. "Abandon," "abandon," "abandon." "Julia's mother fled a violent relationship with her and her two brothers. She abandoned them with their grandmother, but when their grandmother passed away, they became homeless. No trace of the mother or her whereabouts can be found."

And that's the one that at least told enough of the parent's justification for moving away without his/her child to make the parent sound reasonable. Most didn't!

I also wondered if their staff ever write "expert witness" (I know, crazy term...) letters or lobby against things like Plan Mexico, NAFTA, a lack of lifesaving trade preferences for countries they operate in, etc.

But I feel like I can't ask. I mean, I'm not going to sponsor one of those kids. Not with that organization's attitude coming through in their posters. (A hunch after reading Outsiders Within. I could be wrong.)

So if I'm not going to participate, well, it doesn't really feel right to come in as an outsider and say, "This would be really helpful to the world for you guys, with the position you have, to do!"

Tuesday, July 7

Conservative Clothing on Women

Sarkozy's mean comments I read here reminded me an analogy that suddenly occurred to me as I passed two women yesterday, one of whom was wearing an outfit that completely covered her face and the shape of her body.


I feel private about most people in the world knowing, from experience, just exactly what it's like to feel me. And I think many people in my social circle have met people who don't even like a brief hug. Who feel like they want most people to have even less directly experienced idea of what they feel like.

But neither I nor those people want to be anonymous human beings in the world at large. We want people to know who we are! We do want people to know what we sound like! The more opinion-sharing of us want people to know what we think! When people's senses detect us, we want people to recognize who we are and what we sound like and all those things we've shared about ourselves (like what we think). It's just to certain ways of sensing us that we want to be unknown to most people.

And why? I can't speak for everybody, but for me, it's because I associate a certain amount of potential for inappropriate sexual vibe with people knowing what I feel like to the touch.

Maybe I can somehow make people like my mother (who's made mean comments to me about some women's conservative clothing) and Sarkozy get that just because someone also associates a certain amount of potential for innappropriate sexual vibe with people knowing what they look like to the eye doesn't mean that they're trying to be unknown and unrecognizeable/unrecognized to people's other senses.

(And with respect explaining to the gender division of people's clothing choices:
I think there's a sexual behavior double-standard in my culture that is wrong, and that men should be expected to be more sexually conservative than they are. But holding that belief myself doesn't mean I'm going to go out and act the way I see men expected to act. I'm still going to act as I think is best for all (men and women). So Mom, Sarkozy, etc: never assume presume to know a woman's ideas about the appropriateness of her culture's gendered clothing assignments just because she happens to wear more conservative clothing than men in her culture are expected to wear. Not unless you'd like to see me start sleeping around just to prove a philosophical point.)

Thursday, July 2

Speak! CD Arrived Today

My Speak! CD arrived today.

Thank you, Speak! collective.

Honduran Congress Declared Major Parts Of Constution Null & Void

Holy ****, the Honduran Congress just declared the parts of Honduras's constitution that provide the following 5 rights null & void for the duration of an "emergency."

1. The right to protest.
2. Freedom in one's home from unwarranted search, seizure and arrest.
3. Freedom of association.
4. Guarantees of rights of due process while under arrest.
5. Freedom of transit in the country.
This is an emergency to Honduran people. (Except maybe the soldiers who do rulers' bidding and the favored rulers.)

Crap crap crap crap crap.

h/t nezua

Wednesday, July 1

Don't Let Cirila Baltazar Cruz Drop Off The Radar

Cirila Baltazar Cruz has dropped off the news and blog radar.

If you don't keep blogging, at least keep writing/calling!

Request for Action from the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA):

Cirila Baltazar Cruz gave birth to her baby girl in November of 2008 at Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, MS. She speaks very little Spanish and no English, as her native language is Chatino, an Indigenous language from Oaxaca, Mexico that is spoken by some 50,000 people.

The hospital provided her with an “interpreter” who is from Puerto Rico and does not speak Chatino, the language of the mother. Because of the language barrier and the misunderstanding by the hospital’s interpreter who only spoke Spanish and English, a social worker was called in.

The hospital’s social worker reported “evidence” of abuse and neglect based on the following:

* The “baby was born to an illegal [sic] immigrant;”
* The “mother had not purchased a crib, clothes, food or formula.” (Most Latina mothers breast feed their babies).
* “She does not speak English which puts baby in danger.”

Ms. Baltazar Cruz’s baby was snatched from her after birth at the hospital and given to an affluent attorney couple from the posh Ocean Springs who cannot have children.

The authorities made no effort to locate an interpreter in her native tongue. MIRA located an interpreter who is fluent in Chatino in Los Angeles CA and has interviewed the mother extensively with the interpreters help. The mother has been accused of being poor and not being able to provide for this child. No one has asked the mother to provide evidence of support. She owns a home in Mexico and a store which provides both secure shelter and financial support, not counting the nurturing of a loving family of two other siblings, a grandmother, aunts, uncles and other extended family.

Meanwhile, there is word in the Gulf Coast community that the “parents to be,” have already had a baby shower celebrating the “blessed arrival” of this STOLEN child!


If you believe this is unjust and outrageous and goes against all moral and religious beliefs and values, please call or write to the presiding Judge and the MS Department of Human Services to STOP this ILLEGAL ADOPTION! Stealing US born babies from immigrant parents is a growing epidemic in the United States. Many Latino parents have lost their children this way!

Honorable Judge Sharon Sigalas
Youth Justice Court of Jackson County
4903 Telephone Rd.
Pascagoula, MS 39567

Children’s Justice Act Program
MS Dept. of Human Services
750 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39202
Call (601)359-4499 and ask for Barbara Proctor

For more information please call MIRA at: (601) 968-5182

MIRA Organizing Coordinator
Victoria Cintra at (228) 234-1697 or Organizer Socorro Leos at(228) 731-0831

Recent headlines from the blog "Black and Missing but Not Forgotten:"