Thursday, December 13, 2012

In the news...

The Good Men Project posts a rapist/rape-victim's apologia for his own addiction, crimes, and grossly immoral worldview. On the one hand, I applaud the article's raw, somewhat frightening description of the world of a rapist. On the other hand, I think rapists are scum. So...

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, continues to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage in order to protect the wealthy from paying their fair share. It won't end well for the Speaker, but it will show people that Republican obstructionism in the government is the primary reason we have reached this (in)junction.

TheRoot's ongoing coverage of the Trayvon Martin case continues to prove that Zimmerman murdered this teenager, despite attempts by many racists and pundits to pretend otherwise.

In Steve Crowder's attempts to become the douchiest Young Conservative of this decade, video footage shows that he selectively edited his coverage of union protests of Michigan's "Right to Work" lame-duck bill in order to show unions in a false light. Crowder apparently pushed a protester, who then fought back in anger/self-defense. But this footage did not appear in Crowder's initial report. Can anyone say, bush-league pseudo-journalism?

Finally, this website sells AWESOME GEEK STUFF! So, yeah. People should go there and buy me a Darth Bathrobe.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

When I think of sexism...

I do not think of a woman. I think of a man, a boy. Strange, I know. But that's just what I think of. I'm not really into trying to be a victim or create my own victim-meta-narrative, but I can't help thinking..

I think about how the preponderance of both rapists and rape-victims are men.

I think about how men are rarely, if ever, allowed to be fathers. And when they are? They're stereotyped as incompetent. They can't be baby-sitters, because they're dangerous. They can't take kids to the playground because people might get the wrong idea.

I think about how boys are falling behind in school and almost nobody seems to care amidst all the work trying to help girls succeed... despite the fact that they're already succeeding in school.

I think about how approximately half of all domestic violence victims are men, but there are virtually ZERO resources to help them. Most of the time men refuse to even admit they've been abused by their significant others. The rest of the time other people are telling them that even when they're victims they're still abusers.

I think about how men of color and LGBTQ men suffer systemic abuses because of their gender, their race, and/or their sexuality/sexual identity. I think about Matthew Shepard. I think about Trayvon Martin. I think about the kids in my PE class who were called "fag" or "wetback."

I think about the billboards showing immaculately cut bodies, muscles rippling, deeply tanned, and hairless. Always hairless. Men who look like action figures, like mannequins, and I... I look like a pasty piece of pulp. You think men don't have body issues? Just take a glance at the body-building selection in the grocery store magazine section.

I think about how I am never encouraged to show my emotion, or even have emotions. I think about how if I am placed into a difficult situation, I am expected to solve it myself without asking for help.

I think about how most violent crimes happen to men.

I think about how most of the prison population is comprised of men.

I think about how despite all the bullshit about sexism, the sexism I think of when I hear the word is the kind nobody ever talks about. I don't see this as a zero-sum game, or as some kind of Oppression Olympics. But what I do see, frightens and angers me because people don't seem to care. Instead, the focus is always on others, even in forums built specifically to address these issues.

When I think of sexism, I think of being falsely accused of rape, of having dealt with it myself. I think about people calling me stupid, retarded, a dumb guy, making assumptions about what I can and cannot do because of my gender. I think about how all my life I've lived in fear of upsetting people with my experiences as a man rather than sharing them in order to end all forms of sexism.

Maybe this is a start? Maybe.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why Raising Taxes on the Wealthy Works

This should rightly be titled, "Why taxing the rich at equal levels of real-income to the poor works." But that's a BIT long. Regardless, this blog is a mini-intro to why taxing the rich their fair share is good for the economy.

1. The rich do not "create" jobs. Demand creates jobs. So when the rich say they won't create more jobs (or when they say they'll fire people who voted for Obama) because of higher taxes... they're not only lying, they're being childishly punitive.

I have no doubt that the Papa John's owner is sad he has to treat his low-wage workers better for making his objectively shitty pizza, but trust: for every person who says they won't start a business or market a product because they have to pay fair & equitable taxes, there are hundreds here and abroad who will gladly do it, and maybe even do it better.

2. Historically, when taxes on the rich have been high our country has generally experienced more prosperity, especially for the middle-class. True, this privilege was not shared by marginalized groups (e.g. Blacks, Latinos, LGBTQ, religious minorities, and others) but this is not due to the fallacy of taxes but due to systemic oppression. (Which is a separate topic for another time.)

3. In summation, higher (read: fairer) taxes on the wealthy will produce a strong economy. Why? Because then the wealthy need to invest, expand, and grow their business in order to maintain their obscene amounts of money. This translates into more jobs, including associated jobs (i.e. vendors, suppliers, etc.) which provides more people with money to spend in the market which creates more jobs in those fields. And the ripple just keeps on reverberating from there.

This is important because for capitalism to work there cannot be gross concentrations of wealth. Why? Because without money in constant flow, there is no demand and no capital to spend to support people's jobs. This is even more poignant in an increasingly consumer-based economy such as ours where, without people having money to spend, the places they go to buy stuff suffer and lay-off their staff.

Hopefully this has been educational to... some of you.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Stories from my life: Chapter 3

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out on Nintendo 64 in North America on November 23, 1998. I was 12 years old when I begged my Mom to buy it for me for Hanukkah. Back then, we alternated holidays between various relatives' houses. This Hanukkah was being celebrated at ours located on the "spice streets" of Costa Mesa.

I remember being SOOOO excited when I got the game, tearing through the wrapping paper like it was cheap toilet paper. And thrown away just as fast. I raced to my room, put it in the slot and turned on the console. I remember my grandma and nieces came in to watch for a time. We were all just hanging out, pretty much.

Then, my Uncle Joe came in. Let me tell ya... I have few good memories of my Uncle Joe. He was always the... "physical type," the kind of guy who couldn't really articulate his emotions and always acted younger than he was. He also grew up in an abusive Chicago Irish family. And he always seemed to think everyone else had it so easy that they almost needed a little abuse.

I remember when stretch at his house with my Aunt while my Mom was recuperating from chemo. I was 8 and not wanting to get up for school in the morning. Instead of doing the adult thing and grounding me, giving me a lecture, no food, or other consequences. He decided to dump me out of my sleeping bag (slept on the floor) and onto the carpet. From shoulder level. He's about 6 foot. I fell on my neck, nearly broke it, and blacked out for about 5 minutes.

But back to 1998. So I'm playing my brand-new game that I am SOOOO excited about. I get to this part where I unlock a Great Fairy cave to get some power-ups. While the cut-scene plays Uncle Joe starts making fun of my game. I tell him to stop but he just keeps ragging on it, on me, and he won't let up! I tell him to stop again and again but eventually I just get so mad that I scream out, "WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP?"

The next thing I know his hand is around my throat, my back is to the wall by my bed, and I can't breath. I can vaguely see/hear my Grandma and nieces shouting behind him. Meanwhile, Joe's trying to give me some kind of lecture on how you talk to adults and how dare I use that language because in his day kids had the shit beaten out of them for that. But I can't really focus because I can't breath. My Grandma starts shouting even more, saying, "JOE stop it!" My younger niece just starts crying. My older niece, the older niece just stares.

After his spiel, Joe let's go of me and storms out. I choke on the sudden rush of air into my lungs. I'm so scared I can hardly think to cry. Mostly I'm just in shock. But finally, like most people who've been attacked, I run and hide somewhere.

Meanwhile, as I found out, my Mom rushed Uncle Joe, my aunt, and my cousins out of the house before anyone could find out what had happened. My older brothers were pissed. So was my Dad but we did not tell him for a long time. (My parents were divorced.) As for me, I vowed never to let anyone hurt me like that again. My Mom tried to play peace-maker and decided we wouldn't have family gatherings like this as much. We never celebrated Hanukkah at our house with the whole family ever again.

To this day I look back on the sight of my Uncle Joe's long, hairy arm stretched out to thick fingers wrapped around my skinny throat and... I think about what it felt like to be young and helpless. I think about bullies, about standing up for yourself, about adults versus kids, about abuse, about my family. I think about a lot of things but the most important thing I think about is how I never cried, how I never backed down, and how I, to this day, refuse to give in to bullies. It's one of those things that makes me proud of myself, even as the memory of those bullies infuriates me.

As for my Uncle Joe? Well, let's just say his life is a sad excuse for a joke. And mine has really hit its stride. So I guess that counts for something.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Conspiracy Theory #158,697

The Sovereign Citizens Movement is a collection of "American litigants, commentators, and financial scheme promoters. The U.S.'s FBI classifies "sovereign citizens" among domestic terror threats as anti-government extremists. This is because many "sovereign citizens" typically espouse views of armed insurrection, fear of any infringement of the 2nd amendment, and extreme mistrust of the government.

Self-described "sovereign citizens" take the position that they are answerable only to common law and are not subject to any statutes or proceedings at the federal, states or municipal levels, or that they do not recognize U.S. currency and that they are "free of any legal constraints." Of course, this is ludicrous; if are a citizen of this country who partakes of the rights and privileges thereof, then you are legally/ethically/morally required to be answerable to its laws.

"Sovereign Citizens" especially reject most forms of taxation as illegitimate, typically due to an extremely ignorant perception of tax law and the Constitution's power to tax the citizens. Participants in the movement argue this concept in opposition to "federal citizens" who, they say, have unknowingly forfeited their rights by accepting some aspect of federal law. This topic frequently creeps up into a closely related topic of "Federal Reserve Conspiracies," which can be easily debunked here.

 In 2010 the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) estimated that approximately 100,000 Americans were "hard-core sovereign believers" with another 200,000 "just starting out by testing sovereign techniques for resisting everything from speeding tickets to drug charges."

In my own experience, "sovereign citizens" tend to be a mixture of ignorant conspiracy buffs, bigoted armchair academics, and tinfoil hat peddlers. Many are criminals. Others are one-step away from becoming Jared Lee Loughner, whose own ideology is frighteningly similar to that of many "sovereign citizens."


Faxlore is a sort of folkore consisting of humorous texts, poetry, art, and urban legends circulated -- not by word-of-mouth -- by fax machine, copy-machines. Photocopylore is a popular alternative. Typically Faxlore is subversive and mocks typical workplaces/values. It promulgates at the grass-roots level, person to person, similarly to email chain letters.

The "Blue Star acid tattoo" legend is a notable example of Faxlore. The fax states that a temporary lick-and-stick tattoo soaked in acid/LSD and made in the form of a blue star (the logo of the Dallas Cowboys is often mentioned), or of popular children's cartoon characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Bart Simpson, is being distributed to children in the area in order to get them "addicted to LSD."

The legend possibly originated from the fact that an LSD solution is sometimes soaked in blotter paper and sold. The flyer lists an inaccurate description of the effects of LSD, some attribution (typically to a well-regarded hospital or a vaguely specified "adviser to the president"), and instructs parents to contact police if they come across the blue star tattoos. No actual cases of LSD distribution to children in this manner have been documented.

While the growth of the internet has significantly reduced the prevalence of Faxlore, especially as chat-rooms, instant messaging, social networking sites, and other venues provide more popular methods for deploying the typical fare of Faxlore. Nonetheless, Faxlore exists in small amounts, usually for nostalgic enjoyment.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Golem

The golem is an animated human-like creature of Jewish folklore, made from mud, clay, or other similar materials. Typically there is an inscription in the forehead, or written on paper and folded into the arms or mouth, with the Name of God or the Hebrew word for "truth," emet.

The golem is actually very easy to make! But to make a working golem is far more difficult. First, it requires one to be holy, literally and figuratively. One has to understand all the major aspects of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), such as the sephirot the Hebrew alphabet.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Folklore Entry #1

This is the beginning of a dispensary for my folklore knowledge. It "consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, stories, tall tales, and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called folkloristics ... In usage, there is a continuum between folklore and mythology."

There are four major areas to folklore study: artifacts (e.g. voodoo dolls, crucifixes, Masonic "death" chambers); describable and transmittable entity (i.e. oral tradition, stories, etc.); culture (i.e. the group to which the folklore belongs and the context it exists in); and finally, behavior (i.e. rituals, practices, modes of folklore).

I will also be discussing my own... experiences with certain folklore. These will include ghost stories, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, creatures I have seen, and haunted places I have visited. However, I'll try to stick to the greater topics and only intersperse my own stories rarely.

Additionally, while there is a jargon and academic vein in folklore, I will avoid it when possible in order to keep these entries comprehensible to the average person. This is not intended for experts but for the worst kind of skeptics who, like myself, do not believe but want to.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Rambling Man

Been a while since my last post. In the interim I've been to Wyoming, Washington, Colorado, SLO, OC, and more besides. A lot has happened, primarily because of a combination of personal problems, work-related hustling, and a hefty slice of randomness. But let me spare you the (admittedly vague) details.

I've been going back and forth on what to write about these days. I write so much at work it's hard to get up the muster to write on my personal time too. Feel drained, y'know? But I've stumbled upon a few topics to keep me interested -- and hopefully you -- such as, folklore (e.g. stories about vampires, werewolves, magic, voodoo, and other supernatural stuff but definitely not cheesy); conspiracy theories (i.e. debunking them); and nerd stuff (e.g. Diablo 3, MTG, and so on).

Hopefully I can get started beginning next week. But I won't hold my breath. Don't hold yours either.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stories from my life: Chapter 2

When I was 4 years old I nearly died twice.

The first happened when I was running across the street (without looking both ways) from a friend's house and was hit by a speeding car. The driver did not stop. I landed on the curb and busted my gut. I remember my mother running out from the house to me, lifting me up to make sure I was alive. Once that small fact was confirmed she then slapped me hard across the face and just cried. The next day I got a hernia operation.

The second happened when I was learning how to swim and was chucked into the deep end on the last day of the last swim class. I sank, quickly, and blacked out. I awoke to a man's lips pulling away from mine and a half circle of my classmates pointing and laughing at me. I was naked; my swim trunks had fallen off in the near-death struggle.

These things should affect me more, but they don't. Am I resistant? Or am I empty? Am I even truly human in the sense that I feel what others feel? Maybe it's just that I can't believe how lucky I am while also being so incredibly unlucky. It gives me pause. Makes me hesitant, cautious... scared. Tired.

But I have gotten very good at trudging.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Meandering Along the Corridor

Been posting a lot less lately, as you can tell (presuming there any of "you" out there to even read this) and mostly it's because this blog began as an attempt to impress a young woman who has long since disappeared from my life. Then it became an outlet for my poetry. Then my studies on anthropology, race, sexism, classism, etc. Then my political ideas. Randomly it was also a place to post cool pictures, nerdy-things, and generally just talk about whatever.

Now, it's like walking into an old apartment that I used to live in. All the furniture is gone and the walls look just too damn white. It feels strange, alien, and very very boring.

But I'm going to try not to let that stop me from mentioning a couple of things:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stories from my life: Chapter 1

When I was barely 1 year old my 4 year old brother (my youngest-older brother) knocked me down the stairs in our old house in Newport Beach. The stairs were padded by ended at tile flooring. I laid on the ground crying for hours apparently. The baby-sitter didn't hear. She was watching Saved By The Bell right up until my parents came home and found me there with a broken arm and leg.

The baby-sitter was luckily not sued into the ground. My mother nearly killed her but since she was like 16, they just recouped the hospital bills from her folks. Hopefully she never worked in baby-sitting again!

My brother was found hiding in an upstairs closet, terrified out of his mind. I believe he was spanked? Or maybe his mouth was washed out with soap? I don't know, obviously. This entire story was told to me by my mother when I was around 14-15, before she died.

It's funny to think that even as an infant my life was already destined for drama, turmoil, and pain. Or maybe I'm just over thinking it...

P.S. I apologize for taking so long to resume posting. I don't have as much free time as I used to.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stories From my Life

As today is my 26th birthday (thank you, thank you) I have decided to "try out" a new project which I'll be cross-posting to my Facebook for those who know me in real life.

I am going to write short vignettes about personal things that happened to me in my life. As in, like super personal. Like, stories that I wish I had told a long time ago. But now I can, and I think it would help me as a person to finally get them out in a very to-the-point kind of way. Some highlights to watch for: anti-Semitic bullying, my childhood suicide attempt, being falsely accused of rape, watching someone get shot and die, the 30k diamond ring (AKA my life savings), being an adult at 12 years-old, and living between bigots and bros. Note: some things will be fictionalized, mostly to protect the innocent, the dead, and myself, but also to comply with standard libel laws and avoid drama. I'm hoping to turn these vignettes into a full-blown memoir so I can move on. But we'll see.

So keep a look out! And in the meantime, I'm gonna celebrate turning 26 years old. It's a trip!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dave Futrelle: Blogging Misandry

I recently had the unfortunate displeasure of exchanging words with Dave Futrelle, infamous author of the satirical Man Boobz blog. (I shall refrain from providing a link since trash doesn't need pageviews. Google if ya need to.) As you know, I participated in The Good Men Project's roundtable discussion regarding the merits of Feminism in a space dedicated to male issues.

It all began with this comment from a larger response to the topic:
And as much as you have been attacked and threatened by MRAs, many of us can attest to the same level of attack by Feminists (including male Feminists like Kaleb). I personally was told, many times, that I deserve to be raped, castrated, and abused. Not by some random radfem in Montana either — but by mainstream Feminists in places like Man Boobz and my own blog.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Roundtable Round-Up

I recently participated in a roundtable discussion at The Good Men Project regarding the topic of whether the question of "what is a good man?" should be considered a Feminist issue; whether women should take an equal or leading position in that conversation; and what role gender theory has in discussions with real life people who've suffered from either gender (and, in some cases, both genders).

The entire discussion was started by an article from TGMP founder, Tom Matlack, as he reflects back on the project's original purpose and the results it has attained at this point. His is mostly a disappointed perspective -- for various reasons but mostly because the focus has gone from men to women. Is that appropriate in a space which was created by and for men? My article examines, and largely concurs with Tom's post, outlining how men need a space of their own in which to develop their own, non-toxic notions of masculinity without the baggage of an entire world of gender theory and Oppression Olympics.

Others weighed in on this issue, and I encourage you to check out the entire conversation, including the comments! So many of it is interrelated, so I would even say that reading every article is almost necessary to get a complete picture. Some of the posters, Hugo Schywzyer for instance, seem to be inappropriate speakers to include in a healthy discussion of gender. (Hugo specifically because he's not a Feminist anymore considering his sex with students, dismissal of male victims, use of sexism in silencing his critics, and that time he attempted to murder someone.)

But either way, the fact that people are talking is important and I'm glad Tom kicked off this important topic. So, again, please go check it out!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Life in the Second from the Last Lane

I've reached a point in my life that I never expected to. Girlfriend, job, college-graduated, not dead, writing every day, and generally making headway against all the skeletons demonizing my closet. Nonetheless... I'm still haunted by them, still confused and uncertain about the course I've set. Still afraid I've chosen the wrong path.

At times I wonder if I should just say "fuck it" and drop everything -- move to some far away country and start anew. Burn the bridges. Sever the ties that bind and do something else that I really love. But I know this is a fleeting feeling, a symptomatic expression of having lived a life spent waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don't know how to be properly happy. I'm always prepared for shit to happen, for life to suck, for something else to pile onto me.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Relationship Advice from an Accomplished Laymen

Yes, that title can be taken in multiple senses. But I'm not really all that accomplished, nor am I "good" at giving relationship advice.

My last foray into that topic was met with abysmal failure. I said something about how having sex if you wanted to have sex was okay and that men wanting to have sex isn't something to be upset about. Wouldn't ya know? Most of the women accused me of lying, attempting to manipulate them into having... casual sex. With who? I'm not sure -- there were too many mouth foaming ad hominems to tell.

It actually got to the point that some women went as far as to explode in a hilarious sexist pool of ignorance, shoveling everything from misandric shit about men being subhuman to accusing me of being a rapist because I had *gasp* a one-night stand!

It was the kind of ignorant drama that reminds me why people in cyberspace need to be vetted before being granted any credence.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Job: Writer

I've been meaning to write this post for a while. As you've probably noticed (if you're still reading) that I've significantly decreased my output of bloggings lately. It's not just because I graduated from college, or because I moved in with my girlfriend, and not even because I've been zonked out of my mind playing Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty and Diablo III by Blizzard Entertainment™. Nope, I've been dialing back because I've been working this job I mentioned a while ago.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I want to blog about what I do from 8:45 AM to 5:30 PM.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Does Anyone Still Read?

I'm not given to seek an audience. I'm actually quite timid about my personal writing in real life. Still haven't done those poetry readings I told myself I'd do. But that said, I often wonder who's still reading this blog anymore? I sometimes wonder if it's just random passersby and trolls. It seems like my words echo across the infinite vastness of cyberspace, haunting me with the silence which follows.

But I'm glad for the void, for the endless hole to dump my constant frustrations, fears, concerns, anger, confusion, love, hope, spontaneity, and the thoughts which spill from my mind like river water rolls downstream.

Still I need... something new, something that'll reinvigorate my desire to share all the stories locked-up inside of me. Maybe I need to stop wasting time writing for the internet and actually go out to and read to other, real live people? Maybe I need to focus on my as yet unpublished second collection? Maybe I need to ditch the arguments with bigots or the constant search for new news? I don't know. I just know that despite writing everyday, I feel like my writing isn't going anywhere. There's an unexpected stall happening while the road morphs around me.

I think it's time to change, because change feels like it's coming.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reading the Right Kind of News... Which is Left

It's depressing sometimes when you're bombarded on a regular basis with bad news, bigotry, and outright ignorance on a daily basis everywhere from Faux-News to your local station.

Which is why I'm glad to know of resources, like Daily Kos where I get factual, legitimate reporting that has some damned journalistic integrity. Especially when they're calling out lies from reactionary conservatives.

For instance, apparently according to the the Wall Street Journal (hat tip to Daily Kos for spreading the story) , the myth that Obama has been leading the country into "this debt and spending inferno" according to Mittens Romnificent is quite absurd and false. According to reporter Rex Nutting, the fastest spenders in the past three decades have been... you guessed it! Republicans. Especially Reagan and Bush II. Meanwhile, Obama has slowed spending to 1.4% annualized growth, compared with 7.3% to 8.!% under Bush II, and a shocking 8.7% growth during Reagan's first term. The article goes on to mention a few other interesting facts and opinions based on the numbers, which I'll leave to ya'll to peruse.

Anyhoo, so while Obama inherited a terrible economy due in large part to Dubya's abysmal economic policies, the lie that he's somehow increased the deficit and spent our way deeper into debt is patently false. Obama is apparently doing pretty damn good on fiscal policy, as it turns out. Which is why the economy keeps getting better under his watch.

As for me, I'll avoid the bald-faced lies, misinformation, and laughable "teach the controversy" of most big media corporations for the hard-fought, fast-paced world of independent media outlets serving us here in cyberspace.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Witness Testimony Turns On Zimmerman

And by that I do not meant Zimmerman is aroused by the testimony of the witnesses in his case. Rather, I mean to say that the witnesses, after being reinterviewed by a competent investigative team, are now telling a far different tune that what the police coerced them to say they initially told the Sanford police.

Critical witness #13 who was with Zimmerman directly after the shooting now says that Zimmerman did not seem particularly perturbed after having just killed an unarmed teenager. The witness said he was "not like 'I can't believe I just shot someone!' — it was more like, 'Just tell my wife I shot somebody …,' like it was nothing."

Notably, Zimmerman also said to the witness that Trayvon, "was beating up on me, so I had to shoot him ..." Interesting that Zimmerman wouldn't mention that his life was in danger as he later alleges, which is indicative that he wasn't in mortal fear. Regardless, someone beating you up, particularly when you're stalking them and chasing them, does not give you the right to use deadly force, even/especially under Stand Your Ground.

While it'd normally be questionable when a witness changes their testimony, it's not in this case due to the witness tampering already conducted by the Sanford PD. What's happening now, apparently, is the witnesses are finally telling the truth. They're finally being allowed and encouraged to tell the truth.

Meanwhile, the hits just keep on coming for this racist murderer George Zimmerman.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Zek, The Demon Hunter

I decided I needed to take some time off from the anti-bigotry beat and blog about some happier stuff... Such as my new foray into the long-awaited Diablo 3, by Blizzard Entertainment. (Based in Orange County, California whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat! My home from 0-21.)

Of the available character classes I rolled the Demon Hunter. Originally I was drawn to the Barbarian, which was my main in Diablo 2, but this time I wanted to branch out with a character built less around point & click, requiring finesse, multiple skills, and carefully crafted gear sets.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Whom was Chasing Whom: Zimmerman's Lies

I stumbled upon a great resource on the timeline of events as well as maps of the area in which the murder of Trayvon Martin occurred at The Washington Post.

But something that really helped this incident click for me was something I hadn't even considered. Where was George Zimmerman parked relative to where Trayvon Martin's body was found? See below.

Now, if Zimmerman had waited by his truck and not continued stalking Martin, as he was instructed and as he claims, then how is it that Martin's body was found on the other side of the block along the cut-through Martin was taking to reach the house he was staying at? All of the deniers in this case haven't really raised this point to my knowledge.

If Martin attacked Zimmerman but Zimmerman was waiting by his truck like he claims, then how is it that Martin was found dead so far away from where Zimmerman was allegedly waiting for law enforcement?

Don't bother, because the answer is pretty obvious: Martin was confronted by Zimmerman, who was in his racial profiling faux-tough-guy mode, and so Martin defended himself as he was entitled to under most laws (including Stand Your Ground). Meanwhile, it is apparent that Zimmerman lied.

A picture is worth a thousand words, because a picture is oh so telling.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

More Developments in TM & GZ Case

Seems like I blogged to soon with my last updates, since Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey recently released a vast array of evidence in the case.

The autopsy report revealed that Martin had a trace amount of THC in his blood. This is consistent with his recent suspension from school for possession of marijuana. However, this is not probative that Martin was "high" -- rather it shows his body was almost done processing the marijuana he'd had at school. Unless it was the result of second-hand, which is possible, although unlikely.

The report also revealed that the fatal wound occurred at an "intermediate" range. This indicates that Zimmerman was sufficiently far enough away from Martin that while a physical confrontation is conclusive from the evidence of Zimmerman's mild injuries and an abrasion on Martin's left fourth finger, it's suggestive that Zimmerman did not shoot him at close range in fear for his life.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Racism and Youth Violence

It's not in dispute that 1) there's always been a significant minority of a generation which feels the majority of said generation is bringing collective shame to all, and 2) that every previous generation feels the following generation is somehow less than they, whether they "have it easier", are somehow "luckier", or that they're crazy/foolish/bad kids/whatever.

This trend notwithstanding, it's clear that youth culture serves to alternatively infuriate and confuse both those outside and inside of it. But the real kick is when social theories are drawn on the lines of sand that make-up youth culture. Upon such precarious Jenga-blocks of logic entire ideologies construct and deconstruct excuses for their own bigotry: racism, sexism, classism, anti-Semitism, nativism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and so on.

Let's investigate, shall we?

Martin & Zimmerman Updates

Two new developments in the case warranted another post.

1) A medical report the Zimmerman family physician and obtained by ABC News states that Zimmerman was diagnosed with a "closed fracture" of his nose, a pair of black eyes, two lacerations to the back of his head and a minor back injury the day after he fatally shot Martin during the alleged altercation.

While some pundits say it's more supportive for the defense than for the prosecution, I beg to differ. Few presume that Zimmerman committed this crime in cold-blood (AKA 1st degree), but rather accept that there was an altercation with Zimmerman pretending to be a cowboy neighborhood watch captain intent on apprehending an unarmed teenager while carrying a loaded weapon and racist stereotypes. That said, Martin's bruised knuckles would support the notion of self-defense... as in Martin defending himself from Zimmerman. However, to be fair, either interpretation has little probative value without supporting evidence -- which Zimmerman has not much of, and Martin has in spades.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Times A Wastin'

Seems like lately all I can do is but blog about the bigoted ish going on in the world. I've covered racism, sexism (both misogyny and misandry), transphobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, classism, nativism, anti-Semitism, ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination.

Whooo man is my soul tired from these conflicts! I wage battles of words so dense the blocks of text might as well be nuclear warheads. I drop knowledge bombs like NGO's drop food parcels, like slack-jawed politicians drop responsibility to their constituents, like pop music icons drop artistic standards, and like cyber-trolls drop their humanity for insanity.

But maybe I need to stop engaging with these kinds of zombies? Maybe I need to stop indulging their needs for "BRAAAAAAAAAAAAIIINNNNSSS!" and start focusing on more interesting things... like sci-fi fantasy steampunk space opera. Or something like that.

It takes a toll though, being on the ragged edge of other people's bigotry, staring down The Big 4 (fear, anger, hatred, suffering) like a fricking Jedi-Knight. And no lightsaber in sight.

I'm just not well-equipped to give fools the last word. I'm too stubborn for that. I don't know how to walk away from an argument without parting shots and hail mary comments. It's not in me to let ignorance pass uncontested. I gotta name it, gotta challenge it, gotta shame it, mock it, laugh at it, and yell for everyone to come see this pure, unadulterated bullshit.

Maybe I'm kind of an asshole with a complex.

Anyhoo, besides these ever-winding days I don't see much outside of the computer screen. Makes me almost miss the long stretch of college-days bleeding into nothingness, like I've substituted a desert for a cave.

Still, I get by on just a little bit o' bottled compassion at a time. That, and my lover and our home together.

So I guess it ain't so bad.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Zimmerman's Myspace

The Miami Herald has a report out that details the latest nail in the coffin of Zimmerman's blatant racism.

His 7 year-old Myspace page which has everything from rants about Mexicans -- "I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) dont make you a man in my book,” the 2005 Myspace page said. “Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into! -- to relief that his two felonies of obstruction of justice and battery of a police officer were reduced to misdemeanors.

Seems like he'll have trouble with that "I can't be racist because I'm half-Hispanic" excuse. Seriously, every time those seeking to erroneously exonerate Zimmerman pretend they've debunked the substantial evidence against him, the man provides yet another reason that he's a scumbag.

The more this case develops, the more vindicated those of us who advocated for it to be pursued in the first place become.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Mind-Boggling Injustice: Another Take on Trayvon

In keeping with my blog's on-going coverage of the Trayvon Martin case, I present to you two things. 1) an article from The Root, which contains a brief post about potential perjury and/or lies by Zimmerman regarding his perceptions of Martin's age. 2) is a fantastic article written by Patricia J. Williams, professor of law at Columbia University. Most of it is a more eloquent rendition of my own thoughts, but let me post a few important portions:
Here’s the relevant text of Florida Statutes Chapter 776: “A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if: … He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.” Any person who does have such reasonable apprehension is “immune from criminal prosecution and civil action.” However, this immunity is not available to one who “initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself.” Thus framed, the issues are relatively simple: Was Zimmerman’s belief that his life was in danger a reasonable one? Was his admitted pursuit of Martin “necessary to defend himself”? And did his admitted initiation of the encounter provoke use of force by Martin? These are questions of fact, now properly before a court of law.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Racism in America: The Flip-Side

The above painting is by Michael D'Antuono and is entitled "A Tale of Two Hoodies", inspired by the Trayvon Martin case, this painting symbolizes the travesty of racially profiling innocent children and how present day prejudices affect policy.

Not since the Civil Rights era has the prevalence of racism in America been more visible or more oppressive. From Arizona's SB 1070 to the Trayvon Martin case. From Abdul Arian to Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. From the Tea Party signs to the presumptive and former Republican candidates for President. From discrimination in housing, crime, entertainment, and education, to segregation and imprisonment at levels unheard of even when Black people were considered slaves. People of Color -- and not just Black people, mind you -- are suffering racism today in ways that defy conventional wisdom and morality.

Clearly, Americans can ill afford to be so naive about our country anymore. Clearly, we cannot be silent.

Thankfully, in this struggle, there are yet signs of hope. North Carolina Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks has overturned the death penalty conviction of Marcus Robinson due to racial discrimination by prosecutors who deliberately excluded Black jurors from the trial. Judge Weeks determined that Robinson will serve life imprisonment because any death sentence in light of this clear systemic racism by the prosecutor's office is unconstitutional.

Well, hallelujah. It's about time the courts recognized the rampant racism among the jury selection process, criminal prosecution and sentencing, as well as the death penalty. Read here for more information.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

VAWA: You're Doing It Wrong

VAWA is up for reauthorization in Congress and so now is the time to talk about the problems with this law, from misandry and misogyny to civil rights violations and ineffective policies. Let's start with:

"Angela Moore Parmley, PhD, of the Department of Justice put it, 'We have no evidence to date that VAWA has led to a decrease in the overall levels of violence against women.'" (See here.)

Oh, but wait, there's more!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Educating Cyber-Bigots About Trayvon

Y'know, I realize I shouldn't really be reading blogs by those who promote a deep commitment to racism, but at the same time I like to know the ignorance out there in cyberspace. It prepares me for reality.

Today's lesson in racism comes to us courtesy of a blog I've frequently linked to as an example of the ethical bankruptcy of many Americans. The blogger writes about the Trayvon Martin case, this time arguing an... interesting position. Before proceeding further, I recommend ya'll check out my posts on this subject.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tarek Mehanna

I recently became aware of the sentencing of Tarek Mehanna, a Muslim-American charged with conspiring to commit terrorism as well as aiding and abetting Al Qaeda. As a Jewish-American with a deep commitment to social justice, I am torn.

I believe Mehanna has every right to hate his country for our crimes against Islamic peoples around the world, for the invasions, killings, the torture, and the myriad unforgiveable acts we'll never see on CNN or Fox News. However I also do not believe that militancy is the answer -- it's the path of vengeance, not salvation -- but I understand Mehanna's pain. I know what it feels like for your religion to be used against you, to demonize you, and allow others to hate you. Moreover, I know what it's like to watch your people suffer and die while those in power watch without compassion, and the masses continue to move in ignorance.

Adam Serwer, writing for Mother Jones, illustrates my conflict quite well and his article speaks to a lot of the issues at stake in this case: free speech, terrorism, Islamophobia, and assassination. But I'd like to share the closing statement by Tarek Mehanna himself, which is an eloquent, powerful, compassionate, and moving speech on the insanity which has gripped America these days. His story is something which must be shared, whatever you believe.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Teaching the Controversy

The phrase "teach the controversy" was originally coined by Gerald Graff, a professor of English and education at the University of Chicago "as an admonition to teach that established knowledge is not simply given as a settled matter, but that it is created in a crucible of debate and controversy."

However, to Prof. Graff's never-ending chagrin, his phrase was appropriated by Phillip E. Johnson, a major figure in the Creationist/Intelligent Design Movement who used it in order to legitimize these ideologies in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary being taught in science classes among students enrolled in public education.

Interestingly, this idea of "teaching the controversy" has become something of a Conservative talking point, whereby any point of view, no matter how extreme, bigoted, or thoroughly disproved, should be discussed with the same respect and nod of legitimacy as those which are not. Bluntly: it's putting crazy up on the podium right next sanity. For one blogger, it's putting racism up next to anti-racism and saying, "gee, why don't we talk about all these things respectably like they're both equally valid points of view." (Full disclosure & trigger warning: the blogger in the link has his own history of racism.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Frustrations of a Very Frequent Driver

Once upon a time, I was a college student and rode the SF MUNI to class. Now I'm a working stiff -- AKA professional writer -- and I drive everyday, burning fossil fuels like my peers burn Marijuana leaves. But I've been driving long before this. Been on many a road trip to the bowels of Central California, Oregon coast, Washington forests, and the Mexico border. I've crossed Black ice and dirt roads equally with never a mind to the bumps, or when my wheels locked-up. Suffice to say, I'm a damn good driver. Not a single accident. (Knock on wood!) But I sure do know a lot of bad drivers and they piss me the eff off.

Most of the time I'm a chill dude. Patient. Real easy-going even when I've got reason to be annoyed. But put me behind the wheel with someplace to be and people just acting a fool all over the road... oy vey! I snap faster than you can "crackle pop!"

So here's my ranting advice and blistering pet peeves to all the drivers out there in the universe, especially those on the 5, the 405, the 580, and the 101.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Small Poema

Others embrace the rain, but not I. It makes me a melancholic. Sunny days taste better against my skin than hard water. Yet why am I so thirsty? It must mean something, or nothing. Or everything. These droplets' suicidal tendencies...

Lately kindest voices cause the deepest hurt. I try to plug in my headphones but they've become superconductors for soft-spoken bigotry, whispering rationality based on their fake change of heart and a smile. Why do the undeserving captivate my emotions? Am I just a broken cheerleader for the underdog? They say you should never trust the ones who damn themselves. But I can't help hoping they'll change their clothes from rags to robes.

I guess we're all a part to the parcel of willful ignorance.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

The 2nd Murder of Trayvon Martin

Ms. Martin said, "They've killed my son, now they want to kill his reputation."

In my previous post on the murder of Trayvon Martin, I briefly outlined the facts of the case and then proceeded to wax on my personal feelings. This time I intend to provide a more detailed review of this case, particularly the recent character assassinations which have occurred in an effort to bolster the minority argument, based on racist language and stereotypes, that George Zimmerman's actions were actually self-defense.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Busy Busy Posting

Sorry that I haven't been regular with the posts, but I've been busy with my new job lately, as well as cat-sitting from my brother, cleaning the apartment in preparation for a visitation of Teh GF's Fam, and trying to get a perfect score on every level of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.

Anyways, here's a link to a couple of things I've written at The Good Men Project, which ya'll should check out. (Keep an eye open for a double-piece I wrote that should be getting posted soon.) And just for fun, I've also included a video below as a sample of the music I'm currently rocking out to.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Justice for Trayvon Martin

Y'know, I remember listening to the stories my grandparents would tell me about the pograms in Eastern Europe. Jews ripped from their houses and strung up in the town-square. Jews accosted on the street, and beaten or killed outright. No repercussions. No justice.

Today I see much the same violence perpetrated against Black people in America. Black men and women ripped from their lives, strung-up, beaten, and killed outright. It disgusts me. It sickens me. It makes my soul vomit.

If you're not familiar with the case of Trayvon Martin, please read this article.

Linkage is Good for Me

My article, "On Being In Between" was recently published over at The Good Men Project.

Please go read it and support the discussion of gender issues!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Greatest Speech Ever Given

And strangely it was given by Charlie Chaplin, star of the silent film era. Half Gypsy, half Jew, I tip my imaginary hat to this man:


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recent Bouts of Cybersanity

All across the blogosphere the issues of the current political season are reverberating in alternating echoes of empowering hope, and hypocritical ignorance. Whether you're talking about the insanity of denying women the right to have a healthcare plan that they pay for to cover contraception, or recent religious denials to global climate change.

Here's the latest from my readings from the interwebs:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Video Game Art: Pt. 2

In lieu of writing another post about current events or other people's ignorance, let me just post a bunch of video-game art for your ever-loving enjoyment.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jon Stewart FTW

Yes, I am dick-riding Jon Stewart again. This latest clip from The Daily Show makes me damn proud to be Jewish. Plus, it demolishes the ignorance behind anti-contraception.

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Gross
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Stewart hits all the major points. I have nothing to add, other than, "fuck yeah!"


Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Retrospective for Abagond's

It has been many months since I last commented at Abagond's place. After the hullabaloo that resulted in my departure from that forum, I've occasionally gone back to lurk, checking up on the latest posts, recent comments, and general trend of the conversation.

Suffice to say, I think I left in the nick of time.

It appears Abagond's blog has become a battlefield where the majority of the commenters are either ignorant cheerleaders, or virulent and unapologetic racists. As for Abagond himself, the man has seemingly lost the ability to control his own site, letting easily contradicted idiocy run rampant without putting up nary a logical retort.

But, even though I am a committed anti-racist, I didn't actually care until after receiving this email from a longtime commenter at Abagond's:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Modern-Day Shirley T's

Here are teh interwebs Crazy Little British Girls, Sophia Grace & Rosie.

I don't remember being this famous when I was eight! Seriously! What the hell??? The complexes they'll have when they get older give me hypothetical headaches. Feeling bad for the 'rents. Especially when she sings that line, "then the panties coming off, off."

Or maybe I'm just hating...

I'm not sure if these girls scare me or fascinate me, but either way they sure are... something. Check out their videos if you've got some time to roll out.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Matt Taibbi Nails It

It's not often that a Rolling Stone article on politics actually encapsulates the current dilemma facing America. But this article really does that; I mean it just nails it.
"That's all the early conservative movement was. It was just a heartfelt request that we go back to the good old days of America as these people remembered or imagined it. Of course, the problem was, we couldn't go back, not just because more than half the population (particularly the nonwhite, non-straight, non-male segment of the population) desperately didn't want to go back, but also because that America never existed and was therefore impossible to recreate.
And when we didn’t go back to the good old days, this crowd got frustrated, and suddenly the message stopped being heartfelt and it got an edge to it."
It got more than an "edge" to it. The current incarnation of the conservative movement is as reactionary and hostile as anything we've seen in nearly 300 years of American politics.

Friday, February 24, 2012

White Male Guilt & The Notion of Personal Responsibility

Y'know, sometimes it only takes one random person on the internet to completely change how you think.

All this time I'd been conflicted over my opinions on race, class, and gender. I'd been conflicted on how to resolve the disparity between what I know, and what I feel. I was, and am extremely torn between explaining how female privilege operates, and acknowledging my own male privilege. To this day, I am still unable to claim my White privilege due to my Jewish background, yet I simultaneously accept that it influences my life in incredibly subtle ways. In short: I am a man ideologically opposed within himself.

But then I read this paragraph,
"Though I’ll do my best to combat all forms of crimes against women I’ll not accept personal responsibility for any act I myself did not commit. Though I’ll be there to support any woman as best I can through whatever suffering she may have received at the hands of men, I’ll not take it on emotionally as my own. I will recognize whatever systems privilege me as a white American heterosexual male but I will sharply delineate what is institutional and cultural privilege and culpability from what is personal or interpersonal privilege and culpability. I will not accept personal blame, guilt or shame for 1000s of years of women’s past and ongoing suffering."
Hot damn!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tireless Extremism

It never fails to surprise me, the lengths that wingnut conservatives racists some people will go to in order to "prove" a conspiracy racist belief theory of theirs.

In a recent development, Sherrif Joe Arpaio of Arizona has announced he'll be calling a press conference to detail his findings into the issue of Obama's birth certificate.

Really!? Seriously? We're still talking about this? Haven't we already seen the President's birth certificate? Both long-form and short-form? What else do you need??? Is there any elected official in Arizona who isn't completely batshit crazy? Better yet, is there anyone who can explain to the Birther nutjobs how insane they are?

Because at this point I can only shake my head.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Study Proves Idiots are Idiotic

 (This study makes Newt very unhappy)

A new study published in Psychological Science demonstrates that people who score lower on IQ tests tend to develop conservative, racist, and generally prejudicial beliefs as adults. The study showed a high correlation between low IQ scores on aptitude tests, and racism/prejudice/conservatism, highlighting how people with lower cognitive abilities search for simplifying ideologies that are easier to grasp. Essentially, science has proven that ignorant people really are dumb!

College Degree? Worth it!

Contrary to popular random opinions, my college degree is about to pay-off, and rather well too.

Yours Truly has recently secured employment as a Legal Writer at an advocacy firm in the Bay Area. My salary is roughly 32k per year. I get medical/dental/vision benefits and a 401k (provided I don't quit after my "probationary period") as well as paid days off that I can use whenever.

Plus, I get to, like, y'know... write.

That's correct, for the not-so-low price of 38,000 dollars of college edumacation debt I am now gainfully employed at an "adult type" job IN MY FIELD with career options and other glitzy, glamorous bougie shtuff.

Can you tell I'm pleased?

But seriously, as much as I hate to admit it, it seems like college will actually pay off after all. The work will be easy: writing case briefs, summaries, testimony retyping, fact-checking, and a lot of other miscellaneous writing. The pay is just above average for my field/education level/age/whatever.

I get to dress in nice clothes (finally) and the commute is less than 20 mins for my apartment. PLUS! They're sending me -- all expenses paid -- to New York City for paid training!

All in all, post-collegiate life is looking up.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Awesomesauce Music Pt. 673

Totally digging this track by Rumspringa. It's already been used as an instrumental for Human Rights Action Center's video for Universal Human Rights, as well as this music video shot by Shia LeBeouf:

Monday, February 6, 2012

O-Bomb-A: From Magical Negro to Unforgiveable Blackness

Whether you're talking Bagger Vance or Jack Johnson, it's undeniable that Black people are held to weird standards that White peeps aren't.

When it comes to the POTUS I cannot help but see the recent criticism of Obama by my fellow so-called "liberals" and "progressives" as racially based motivated by disillusionment. They thought Barack Obama would be some kind of Magical Negro, fixing everything for us not-so-racist liberal White folks, but now he's failed by not meeting that impossibly high standard! So, of course, we hate him and are taking away the ball/cookies/video game controller.

This childish naivete is not only subversive, but actually dangerous -- if not properly mocked.

Let me preface the rest of this post by saying that I voted for Obama, I'll be voting for him again, and I believe he's done a decent job as president.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Comments on the VSB Rape Mess

Very Smart Brothas (VSB) semi-recently had a lil' kerfluffle when one of their posters, AKA "The Champ" wrote a piece about rape, specifically how women can prevent themselves from being raped...

I was one of many who had a problem with that idea, and I'd like to repost here my comments to that effect.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Problem with the F-Word

The problem with Feminism, like the problem with most religions, is that it doesn't really mean what people say it does.

Definition of Feminism (via Feminists): Advocacy for gender equality. The real definition of Feminism (via the dictionary): The advocacy for women's rights.

See? Right there. They say it's about gender egalitarianism, but in reality it's about increasing the power of women as a group, not about strict gender equality.

Now, I've got no problem with women advocating for their rights and privileges as a group. Hallelujah, praise geebus, and all that jazz. Go get it, girls! Shatter that glass ceiling! Seriously, I support that fully.