Saturday, July 30, 2005

East West

Check out this poem by my friend kEvin on enfusemagazine.com.

Also check out the lyrics to this Arcade Fire song, Cars And Telephones, that I've been listening to over and over again.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Fun Facts

51% of Americans believe the Bush administration deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

30% of U.S. troops have developed stress-related mental health problems 3-4 months after coming home from the Iraq war.

85% of the British public believe there is a connection between the UK's foreign policy and the July 7th terrorist bombings in London.

Monday, July 25, 2005

U.S. Military Caught Lying (Again)

"Enemies of humanity" quote raises Iraq PR questions. News release quotes from unidentified Iraqis are virtually the same.

Read the CNN story.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

No Random Bag Checks At Subways

It's a shame that many commuters in New York are reluctantly accepting the random bag checks that have started at the subway stations. So far BART is saying it won't start such a program, but I don't think it would take much for them to follow suit. If the terrorists really hate freedom, (which is a stupid notion, as crazy as they are I'd bet $2000 they do not hate freedom) they certainly are accomplishing their goal.

The reason why Americans are at risk of being killed or injured by terrorists is because of the sick policies of our leaders. The reason we have to endure bag checks, and an ever-increasing police state, is because of the terror our military has unleashed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world. The proper reaction to the bombings in London is to oppose such intrusions into our privacy and demand we pull our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately.

If we pull out we are giving in to the terrorists.
Yes, but that presumes we support the policies even without the risk to Americans. It's a bad policy - imperialism that is - and we should pull out regardless. The suffering of innocent people in London is just more reason to make our demands louder.

It's unclear that random bag checks would actually catch terrorists or deter them. My guess is it would not. At any rate, I don't think it is worth giving up our liberties for the mess George Bush has made (the Democrats' hands are dirty as well).

I don't fear terrorists when I ride the BART. Americans, even those who regularly ride subways, trains, buses and ferries, are probably more at risk of death or injury because of defective products, unsafe workplaces, a lack of health insurance, dirty air, bad food, police misconduct, and heat waves than a terrorist attack. When are the cops going to start doing something about all that?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Legal Observers at Protests Remain Essential Check on Police Power

Cinnamon Stillwell’s knee jerk column, “When Anarchists Attack,” criticizes the "legions of liberal lawyers and community volunteers from the ACLU and the NLG” who she believes to be "conveniently on hand" during demonstrations. While there can be legitimate differences of opinion about the politics of a certain group and their actions at a particular demonstration, there can be no doubt about the purpose and usefulness of having legal observers present at demonstrations or about the importance of competent legal representation for those arrested.

Ms. Stillwell reports the facts that the police have provided while dismissing facts offered by Indybay.org and others. National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Legal observers are at these protests, in part, because the facts given by police are not always the most impartial account of what may have transpired. The role of the legal observer is not to police the protesters – observers were outnumbered by at least 20 to 1 by officers paid to do that job. The role of the legal observer is to ensure police accountability and to provide impartial information so that innocent people are not later convicted of crimes.

In the face of the demonizing remarks made about legal observers by Stillwell, it is important to note that a Legal Observer and a street medic were the first and only people to respond to the injured officer for the critical first few minutes. They provided emergency first aid and tried to get help from other officers. Unfortunately when other officers responded both people were subjected to physical assault.

The past reminds us that the San Francisco Police Department has come a long way from its near fatal attack of United Farm Worker leader Dolores Huerta at a 1989 demonstration. The reforms that have taken place over the years in the department have been largely inspired by those legions of community activists from the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU who worked with the police in developing new policies and who have trained countless individuals to act as legal observers at demonstrations.

In this case, the NLG is concerned that the officer’s actions on the night of the anarchist protest were a wild departure from reasonable or prudent crowd control measures and may have substantially contributed to a situation in which injuries were more likely to occur. This included driving dangerously into a crowd of 50 protesters and running into the crowd, swinging batons without protective gear or backup present. With this information in mind, one cannot dismiss the notion that the officer was injured in an act of self-defense, defense of another, or accidentally.

The NLG did not endorse the protest in question, but an endorsement is not necessarily a prerequisite for us to provide legal support. When the NLG agreed to observe at this particular protest, we did not anticipate that an officer would be injured, and we certainly would never hope for such an act. If the facts that Stillwell presented are true, and the injury to Officer Shields was caused by a senseless “beating,” we would condemn it as a dangerous act of stupidity. But that remains unclear. The NLG will continue to work with activists, whether anarchists or liberal Democrats, to ensure that the right to protest remains robust in the Bay Area and that police act professionally and fairly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Home

When my friend Thomas moved to New Orleans a few years back, he stuck a Texas flag sticker on the back of his car that said "HOME." If I still had a car, I'd do the same. Don't get me wrong, I love San Francisco, but I miss Austin. With only 10 months in California, it still feels like where I belong. I managed to sneak away for about 5 days and here's what I did:

Ate Thai Passion

Watched Mister Sinus Theatre mock Red Dawn at Alamo Draft House

Barton Springs

Lovejoys (and some new place called Sidebar)

Drove a Boat on Lake Travis

Consumed a Homemade Meal Prepared by My Ex-Boyfriend's Mom

Elysium (aka Sleaze-ium)

Gueros (pronounced Gwearoes in gringo-Austin-speak)

Barton Springs

Little City

Sesame Tofu at Hoa Hoa (formerly Hao Hao)

Hole In The Wall $1 Shiner

Barton Springs

Noodleism

Plus I got to see some of my long-time pals. I missed the hot, humid weather, though everyone there was already sick of it. Maybe I'll move back in a year or two or three and wreak some real havoc.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Trouble Loves Me

An officer was hurt in an anarchist protest in the Mission District of San Francisco Friday night. The National Lawyers Guild was doing legal support for the protest, but we never expected something like this to happen. Now how do we respond, especially since we are concerned about the wrong people being targeted?

Here's my attempt.

Friday, July 08, 2005

My Qi Is All Messed Up

So today I'm going to my second acupuncture session. It's difficult for me to do because I don't buy it. I'm unconvinced. The end of my tongue is red so that means there is a problem with my heart? The dark circles under my eyes indicates a problem with my kidneys? I need needles stuck in my to get my Qi (pronounced chee) flowing correctly?

My dad was an electrical engineer, my mom was a registered nurse, and I have a bachelor of science degree in microbiology. I trust, understand and rely on "Western" medicine. But I'm trying to keep my mind open. People have told me it worked for them, so I'm thinking it might help me out in some magical way, or at least in some way that science doesn't quite understand yet.

I was told that I might feel numbness or tingling, and this is called the "Qi effect." But I really didn't feel anything during my first session. It was relaxing because I was resting on a table in a dark room with a mini waterfall and soft classical music playing. But I didn't feel that the needles did anything. I've been told that it takes multiple sessions, so I'm going again, and maybe once or twice more before I decide if it's worth it. But if a leap of faith is involved, maybe it won't work on me, even if it works on other people.

I've been told that I should trust alternative medicine because "Western medicine" is guided by capitalistic principles. There is truth to this. I'm wary of what the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies are doing to health care. But alternative medicine, especially in a place like San Francisco, is in no way isolated from capitalism. Furthermore, "Western medicine" is also guided by scientific principles that make sense to me. You test something, and if it works then you're onto something. My understanding is that studies on acupuncture have shown it may help some types of pain, but not much else.

So why do it? Because even if it doesn't work for most people, it seems to work for some, and there aren't side effects as far as I know. So I'll keep at it - maybe I'll feel something today.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Fear

After this morning's terror attacks, Bush said something like "the war on terror goes on." You could almost sense the rejuvinated purpose in his voice. The reason? For all of the acting tough in Washington, the neocon agenda relies heavily on fear not toughness. It is for this reason that their agenda overlaps with the agenda of the terrorists. They all want us civilians to be scared, but with different end purposes in mind. Today Bush got a new attack, and a gift of sorts. Maybe he can use this to stir up enough fear in the minds of some Americans and get his policies and Supreme Court nominees in place.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New Template

What do people think? I'm not sure I want the photo and profile up.

Monday, July 04, 2005

San Francisco Fog

Under better circumstances, I'd be updating this weblog more frequently, but I happen to be in a pretty foggy period right now, and I'm still waiting for it to clear.

Perhaps it would help if I could fix my weblog. Does anyone know what's wrong with it?