My friend José, one of the smartest and most careful-thinking people I know, has written something in his blog with a very good point about the war in Iraq, and the ethical responsibility of our nation. I realize it will not be extremely popular amongst a lot of activists I know, but I confess I have said and thought similiar things in the past. I remember the night of the September 25 anti-war vigil in Portland, on the Morrison bridge with my candle, a reporter from KBOO with a microphone and a minidisc recorder was interviewing people and she asked me what I thought should happen in Iraq with the troops. I expect that most of the folks she asked on that bridge that night said "bring em all home now," but I said, basically, that things aren't ever black or white, they're always grey, and it's complicated. it would probably be really disasterous to pull all of our forces out immediately, and yet obviously we're screwing stuff up there, so there has to be a middle path, where we start extricating ourselves, but in a responsbile way.
It's a really hard problem; all the important problems usually are.
The LA Weekly brings us an interesting, though unsurprising, story on how the border thing is becoming a big deal to Republicans.
on Minutemen co-founder and California Congressional Candidate Jim Glichrist: "While campaigning last week with Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) — perhaps Capitol Hill's most vocal advocate for a crackdown on illegal and legal immigration — Gilchrist distributed leaflets that claimed 'a vote for John Campbell [his opponent] is a vote for more illegal aliens.'"
I should add that Bush will be in Tucson, at the Air Force base, for about 2 hours tommorrow. I plan to be there to cover for indymedia the group of activists who will be protesting his presence, and for whom a humane border is a big priority.
An editiorial in the Kansas City paper about Bush's visit to Argentina is one of the most asinine, insulting, condescending pieces of dreck that I've ever read about Latin America. excerpt:
he [Bush] recently learned that he is unpopular among some Latin Americans.
Violent protests greeted him this month at a meeting of Western Hemisphere presidents in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
But neither he, nor we, should lose any sleep over this. It was the product of the unholy triumvirate of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner and over-the-hill soccer star Diego Maradona.
The three of them are the personification of the most common failing of Latin American nations: perpetual adolescence.
I'll be condescending back, Shirley, and say, I should have expected this kind of think from Kansas.
An really great article in the LA Weekly about all that goes into bringing a Ceasar salad to your plate encompasses a plethora of social problems of today: genetic engineering, labor, immigration, health, pesticide pollution of the environment, gentrification, urban sprawl... It's all there.
I feel responsible for wasting the fistful of romaine left on my plate. All the work that went into getting those leaves here — only to have them thrown out? It seems wrong. Especially since I know what made it possible for this lettuce to be cheap enough for the Cheesecake Factory to dole out such ludicrously oversized portions. I’m paying $7.95 for this salad, but other people are picking up the rest of the unseen tab.
A study reports that chronic exposure to noise increases the chance of heart attacks. Oddly enough the average noise level of a typical busy large office, 60db, is about the threshold that researchers have found for an increased risk of heart attack. Even more oddly, they've found that noise in the workplace doesn't effect women. This doesn't seem right. Why would the type of noise matter? whether it's a jet plane or xerox machine, noise is noise. and why would it matter between the sexes?
I hate these kind of articles where they just present these weird findings without even a theory for the reasons. In Harper's magazine on the back page it's funny, but in general I want more sense made from the datasmog being pumped at me.
A right-wing song called "Bush Was Right", by a band called "The Right Brothers," is out and wow, it is BAD. MSNBC has made a silly video (making fun of it) to go with it.
I've just been informed that there is something to do with combatting the forces of creationism called Project Steve (sic) that is being done by the National Center for Science Education. If I was a scientist I would definitely join that. Even though I'm not a Steve but a Steev, they'd probably take me...
The Blogosphere, or the little corner of it that I regularly monitor (read: that I subscribe to in my feedreader), seems to be slowing down, probably for Thanxgiving.
I bunch of Tucson folks I know went to the Seri Coast for the week. (I just spelled that phonetically espanol-style, because I don't know how it's really spelled.) It's on the land of a Mexican Indian tribe, the Seri, on the coast of the Sea of Cortez, about 8 hours from Tucson. Apparently it's really beautiful and completely primitive - you have to bring absolutely everything with you, water and all. I maybe could have gone, and wanted to, but I couldn't justify leaving for a whole week when I really should be concentrating on finding housing and work. I'm sure they're having a wonderful, "Y Tu Mamá Tambien" style paradaisical time on the beach right now. Err, I mean, just all the positive aspects of the film.
Anyway, for the holiday itself I will probably go to the Havoc House, which is a collective house inhabited by a bunch of anarchist people I know. That should be fun.
There is an odd but persistent rumor going around Tucson that the government is going to set off a "dirty bomb" tommorrow at the air force base here and pretend like it was the work of terrorists. So some people are acting like it's really important to get out of town for the holiday, though they are probably people who were already going to leave town anyway. Whatever. It would be just my luck to get bathed in deadly high-energy neutrons right after moving to Tucson, but I don't really believe it will happen, of course, or i'd be on an train out of town by now.... I bet you a pound of uranium that there are similar rumors in just about every city. The government needs some new disaster to wag the dog and increase approval ratings. In fact, with a quick google search I see that Boston at least had a dirty bomb scare going on, though that was back in January.
I have to say, though I've never been there, I'd rather Boston go than Tucson.
yes, there's a riot porn web log now. There's a blog for everything.
This one has pretty great photos. (via onto and lotus)
Well, I didn't end up going to Ft. Huachuca afterall, today. I was up way too late last night.
Here's what I did yesterday:
9am - looked at a house I was interesting in renting. even though it's 2 bedroom i think it's too small for 2 people, and too expensive for just me.
rest of morning - caught up on internet stuff, made breakfast etc.
1:30 - rode to the Salt of the Earth Labor College to see the film "Salt of the Earth." It's a classic film dramatization of a miner's strike in New Mexico in the early 50s. It's a great film that I'd highly recommend. The other cool thing was that a man and a woman who were in the actual strike and in the movie were there at the screening and answered questions afterward.
7pm - met with some Earth First! people for a "debriefing" on the Sandhill Crane anti-hunt campaign. the hunting season just finished up last week.
9pm - saw a free outdoor performance of this cool firedancing, acrobatic, theatrical troupe called Flam Chen (pictured here). They do a lot of things around town, I guess. I saw them before already at the All Soul's Procession. Pretty accomplished, though I thought their attempt to make the show have a storyline was unneccesary and a failure. They should just rely on the cool surreality of what they do and not try to create a plot, unless they can really pull it off.
10pm - went to opening of annual BICAS bike art auction. Cool bands, great art and crafts and furniture made from bikes, and good homebrew beer.
12pm - went dumpstering with some friends. pretty lucrative haul. didn't get home till 2:30 or so. hence, not wanting to get up at 730 to go to the Fort Huachuca protest.
so, as you can, life is pretty full lately.
If you are or have been at all interested or involved with the anti-war movement, you probably know about the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, and the campaign against it. Few know about Arizona's version, near Tucson: Fort Huachuca.
Fort Huachuca is the home of the Army Intelligence Center and is where they produce the manuals and textbooks on interrogation and related topics that are used at the SOA. They also, I understand, train the teachers who teach at the SOA, and it's a major electronic surveillance center.
Tommorrow, Sunday, the 20th, in solidarity with the yearly protest in Georgia, there will be the second annual protest at Fort Huachuca, which I'm planning to attend. It should be interesting. I'm amazed that last year was only the first time It's been done.
For a little more background see an article from earlier this year about the new commander of the base, who was previously Army chief of intelligence in Iraq - during the Abu Graib affair.
So, if you're in the region, this year or in the future, instead of travelling all the way to Georgia, come to Fort Huachuca instead. Burn less fossil fuels and help bring attention to another important piece of the U.S. military atrocity machine.
Hi. Well, lately I have felt like turning this blog into nothing but pet peeves and gripes. There are SO MANY things that are just annoying the hell out of me lately. Just lots of little things that are really irritating, from offensive menus at restaurants to veteran's day parade speeches to multiple flat tires to horrible customer service from DHL and Apple.
Why does it seem like there's so much of this? It has to be just me. I think it has to be that I am just in a general bad mood because of the 2 or 3 things that are actual major negative things in my life, and this causes me to notice and get pissed off about all this little stuff too.
The 3 things are: lack of money, no work, and no permanent place to live. I'm really getting very very broke. I really need to find some work. So far efforts have been proving fruitless.
I'll segue into one of the many related gripes now: I thought I was getting somewhere with someone at a headhunting agency who was looking for perl programmers in Tucson. But the guy was weird he seemed to only look at and answer his email once a day. WTF? what kind of Silcon Valley recruiter only looks at email once a day? Anyway he jerked me around for a week, asking for this or that tweak to my resume and then, as if it was the first time he'd seen it, he suddenly says, oh, sorry, they'll never want you for this perm job because you've been freelancing so long. they need proof that you'll stay for 5-10 years.
Such bullshit. First of all, what perl programmer stays at a fucking e-commerce gig for 5-10 years? Second, ok, that's fine, but at least tell me when i first send you my resume, not after we trade emails for 8 days. Lotsa luck, cabrón.
Well, I did tell you I'm in a bad mood. I really just need a little bit of good luck. Just a little paying work, and a place to call home. I'm staying on a friend's couch and that's okay, at least i'm not on the street. but i'd really like a place of my own so I can unpack, and not be a burden, y'know?
And some work so I can get some cash flow going. I have 10 years of experience doing what I've been doing for a living. Pretty amazing, I think. I would think it would be easy to find some work. Alternatively, I'd love to get more into editing video or other media-related work. But I've never been good at selling myself. That's really the problem. Anyway, if you hear about anything let me know.
Two days ago I finally sent in my powerbook to get repaired, because the optical drive is completely broken. It's putting a damper on a lot of things to not have my computer. But in the past Apple has always been good about pretty quickly getting repairs done fast. And it's as easy as it can be - they send a box next day air via DHL, you put it in the box, call DHL for a pickup, it gets to them next day, they usually fix it in a day, and they send it back next day. So it's like 4 days usually.
Well, for some inexplicable reason DHL is taking 3 business days instead of 1 to get it to Apple. Plus there's a weekend in between. basically it was supposed to get to Apple yesterday and it won't get there till monday now. And DHL can't explain why. They just can't. It's just sitting at their sorting facility. Fucking bullshit. Apple, maybe you should think about switching to FedEx or UPS.
I recently read 2 very interesting articles about Venezuela by Christian Guerrero which look at the Chavez Bolivarian Revolution from a critical perspective I have not seen before. Christian is an activist Ecuadorian-American who lives here in Tucson and works with the Earth First Journal (which is based here).
They're really worth looking at.
They remind me of an Eduardo Galeano essay, one of my favorite things he's written, called "Ser Como Ellos," ("To Be Like Them"), because they bring up a fundamental question in the ongoing global struggle of the rich against the poor, the rich countries against the poor countries: (To put it really simply) In this fight, is it the aim of the conquored simply to become like the conquerors? Or is there another way? A "third path?"
One of the big "issues" here in Tucson is of course related to the border, and the fact that many people who are prevented from coming to the U.S. legally look for other ways. Immigrants have crossed the border from Mexico illegally for a long time, but in the last several years border security has been tightened in all the places where it's easy to cross: the big cities and the more hospitable areas - leaving only the dangerous and hostile desert country. The U.S. government considers this a deterrent, but people still keep coming, and now are dying in record numbers as they try to cross the desert.
In Tucson there are many who oppose the government border policies, and many activists go out in the desert and leave water and food, or look for migrants in order to help them. This past summer, the situation came to a new level when 2 activists found some critically sick migrants and knew they had to get to a hospital. While driving them to a hospital in Tucson they were stopped by the Border Patrol and arrested. They're being charged with with one felony count of transportation of an undocumented person and one felony count of obstruction of justice., and the trial is set for December 20, I think.
Every year activists and community members have an 8-mile walk, carrying little white crosses, in commemoration of all those who have died. I went this past weekend and it was really amazing and moving.
Here's a short, completely unedited video I shot on my little still cam of local activist folksinger Ted Warmbrand, singing a song about the situation called "Who's the Criminal Here?"
A subcommittee of the U.S. House of Reps has passed a resolution condemning the femicides in Juarez and Chihuahua City. If this goes further and is passed by the whole House and Senate, it could really help. Although it wouldn't be binding legislation, this sort of thing tends to put real pressure on other governments.
As I moved myself from Portland to Tucson I shot little video clips with my still camera, and now I've thrown together a quickly edited but entertaining little montage.