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her commonplace book - the baroness ilsa von freytag-loringhovn
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in baroness ilse von freytag-loringhovn's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
5:06 am
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
4:44 pm
not, apparently, z"l!
i was telling someone the other day about one of my favorite bits of gay liberationist writing, larry mitchell's the faggots and their friends between revolutions, which is exactly as old as i am, and assumed that mitchell was no longer around. it's an easy assumption to make about a radical queer of his generation. but it seems it's not true. we've lost a lot of our elders, but some are still here.

so before you run out to find a copy of the faggots and their friends, let me whet your appetite. here's an interview from 2009 (cleaned up from ad-drenched thefreelibrary.com), which found larry mitchell still on the lower east side, still radical, and still fierce.

The Gay & Lesbian Review
July - August 2009
Volume 16, Issue 4

Larry Mitchell, novelist of the dispossessed.

Now seventy years old. Larry Mitchell has invited me into the labyrinthine apartment he and his lover Richard have shared for 25 years in Manhattan's Lower East Side. In the faded gold living room, we sit down to talk over tea and the sounds of the neighborhood streets. Mitchell is the author of four beloved novels of the gay underground, a collaborative book on queer communal living, and a radical manifesto titled The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions.

Mitchell's radical East Village aesthetic captures the experiences of people forging an anti-establishment politics informed by living in the gay community before and during the AIDS epidemic. His characters live in cars or freezing apartments; work part-time or short-term minimum-wage jobs rather than pursue careers; respond to a culture of greed by buying little and sharing everything, from clothes to drugs to sex; and elaborate remarkably diverse gender identities and erotic lives. Dating from 1972 to 1993, Mitchell's work coincides with and implicitly critiques the shift from radical queer liberation movements to the new gay politics of tolerance, assimilation, and consumerism. Perhaps not surprisingly, given that cultural trajectory and the conservatism of literary criticism, Mitchell's staunchly nonconformist books are out of print.


Matt Brim: Your gay culture, your strand of gay literary history, is rooted in the East Village and on the Lower East Side in the 1970's, 80's, and 90's. How would you characterize that aesthetic?

Larry Mitchell: Well, I don't know if it's really up to me to do that. I can tell you the great influence on me was Christopher Isherwood, and the idea--it's a total misnomer--of "I am a camera," where you want to make it seem to the reader as if you're reporting.This is the great skill of Isherwood. I wanted my books to be seen as dispatches from the front, or a letter that someone is sending: "Here we are on the cutting edge of culture, and this is what it's like out here creating this new thing." Because that's very much how it felt at the time, like this hadn't really existed before. And we were the ones making it up

MB: You wrote about AIDS from the beginning, but never in a sentimental mode. Was that an artistic choice or was that decision over-determined by the experience of living with so many people dying around you?

LM: I'm a great foe of sentimentality, so it was certainly an artistic choice. I always considered sentimentality as the major emotion of fascism. Fascists are very sentimental, about the family and the mother and the children and all that crap. The right wing gets very sentimental about that stuff, about the fetus or whatever, and I find it a very offensive emotion. So, looking back, I'm sure it was very conscious. I hated sentimentality. And that attitude was very strong in that gay culture that I was a part of. There was this thing about being very clear about what the hell was going on so as not to be taken in. I mean, the people had a very radical politics, but it was more a sensibility. Our response was not, "Oh the poor fags are dying, and we love them, and they are all so sweet." The response was, "Do something about it! What the hell are you doing?" More anger than sentimentality. And I'm glad that comes through in the work, because I think that was very central to that Lower East Side culture.

MB: Sex is important to your books, but it doesn't seem to hold some sacred place in the lives of your characters. It seems to be woven, potentially, throughout any moment. In Heat features sex at an art show--

LM: Oh, my God, I know. That was a very exciting book to write! Someone once said they liked sex in my books because it was usually comical. There's a lot of comedy about sex, because it never quite goes right, or one wants it and one doesn't, or you're trapped in some tiny space and you don't know where to put your arms and your legs. It's not the soft-core porn trip. There's no bed of roses. Everyone doesn't smell fabulous. People are just kind of running around in the comer trying to get off. It was like that in New York. We had back rooms in those days. Or you'd be standing at the bar and somebody would be on their knees. And you say, "Wait, no, I'm not ... well, who are you? ... well, okay ... ." And you'd be here talking and the person you were talking to would see what was happening and they would continue to chat. And God knows what would go on. It was very free and easy. You weren't saving it for the honeymoon, if you know what I mean. It was considered impolite to reject someone. I mean, you didn't have to go home with him; nobody ever went home with anybody. But in public, if someone made a little move on you, you were gracious. People had very good manners around sex, I always felt. That was a very important part of that culture.

MB: Your books reflect a deep understanding of the cycles of history and how power works. Did you think of yourself as a radical or revolutionary artist?

LM: I did. I got my PhD in sociology, so I spent a lot of that time studying things like how power works. One thing I wanted to do was to write books in which there were no straight people. I didn't want to have any straight characters. When I started, I was in a bit of a separatist mood, because I'd had this experience right after Stonewall in the fall of 1969. There was a group formed called the Gay Liberation Front. Two of my friends and I went off to the meeting, and there we were, the gay revolutionaries. This was the second meeting of the group, and they had invited the Black Panthers to come. And there they were, two representatives of the Black Panthers. And they said, "This is great, you're meeting. But what have you got for us? Do you have a voter list? Do you have a voter registration drive? You don't have anything. What are we supposed to have a coalition with? There's nothing here!" And everyone was like, "Oh, we just want to be a part of it! Blah blah blah!" Well, I realized that first gay people needed to get something that was ours, and then you can go out and make a coalition with other people. So I became very focused on that, and I started the publishing company [Calamus Books], and we got gay bookstores, then the gay center. And so the books sort of came out of that. I wanted to present this world that was completely gay and that didn't really deal with straight people that much. That was the feeling I had, that we had to get our shit together and get some strength ourselves before we could go out and ask them to help us with our issues, and before we could help them with their issues.

MB: You were writing along with a great many gay male authors who died, and you lived. And you stopped writing.

LM: I stopped writing. I went blind, so it was difficult. I could see when I was younger, and I went blind slowly, but I never saw that well. But I felt also that I lost my audience. So many of my contemporaries were gone. I think you always write for an audience, and all those people were gone. This was during the years when people were dying in great numbers. I have that experience of people getting very enthused and then six months later they'd be dead. If you notice in Acid Snow there's a very long list of people 1 dedicate the book to, and that was hardly the beginning of that list. You know, I published all of my own books, and I still have copies. But my publishing company, Calamus Press, went out of business. The distributor went bankrupt.

MB: Do you think you could have a new audience now?

LM: The thing that makes my work different, I think, is that it's about a part of the gay world which most people did not write about. They either wrote about Fire Island, the Saint, the clone part of the gay world, or they wrote about the more literary parts of it, like Edmund White. Most people were not writing about the gay world I was writing about. So in that sense it has a certain historic value, I think.

MB: Why do you think that your contemporaries who wrote the Fire Island stories and the Saint stories--the so-called Violet Quill writers--have been credited with the making of gay culture?

LM: I don't quite know how to put this. The Violet Quill did not exist. It is a complete figment of Felice Picano's imagination, an undertaking by Felice to create his version of gay literary history. To say they created gay culture is so wildly off the mark that I always would laugh when Felice would get into this. But he ran with it and he did very well with it. He got a book out of it, and he even managed to convince the Beinecke at Yale that there was such a thing and to offer him money for his archive about this little society. But I think you look elsewhere for the making of gay culture. Those writers were a strand of it, but they were just one small strand. It was always what I thought of as the bourgeois gay culture, and it sort of marginalized other parts of gay culture.

MB: In The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions, you show admiration for queens who "elaborate their forms of outrage." Does outrage still have a place in effecting social change?

LM: I think it probably does, but it's not easy to do, you know. It's a very difficult thing to pull off because you can alienate yourself so far from (he other side that there can never be any reconciliation. But I think outrage is a good way to get attention, to draw attention to the thing, but then you have to do something else. You can't just do outrageousness. After a while you become an entertainer. On the other hand, gay organizations today have very little sense of productive outrage or the need for anger. They're very accommodating. They don't want to get anyone ruffled. And I think that's the wrong way to go. It leads to Proposition 8 passing. I think the level of activism, anger, and outrage is way too low in the gay community.

Current Mood: hopeful
Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
12:19 am
ztz"l & ziy"a... o ineffable!
tuli kupferberg.

the first punk rocker i ever heard.
and one of the first yiddish singers i ever heard.


and newly in my mind this year because of this, which we used in the 5770/2010 purimshpil.

a legend, a radical artist who just kept on making work, a long-haul anarchist.

and a master of what he named "parasongs" - radical rewrites like joe hill's "the preacher and the slave" ("in the sweet by and by"), the RMO/BLO/SF Pride at Work's "bad hotel" ("bad romance"), the subversions of catholic liturgy made by 15th-century revolutionaries, sid vicious' "my way", etc etc etc.

here are three of tuli kupferberg's that i saw for the first time tonight; one taking the piss out of his own band, one rousing and rough, one tender:

Slum Goddess Trilogy
from The Village Fugs' "Slum Goddess of the Lower East Side"

Because the State

tune: chorus of "Because the Night (Belong to Lovers)" by Patti Smith & Bruce Springsteen

Because the state belongs to fuckers
Because the state belongs to them
Alpha primate otherfuckers
Wasps in the edenic glen

& because the state was made by fuckers
Because the state was made for them
Pleasure-hating motherfuckers
Lover-baiting sons a guns

And the state holds monopoly of force
"Cop killers" also mean "cops who kill"
& tho the idea is somewhat coarse
Wilheim Reich might hold: "That's a sexual thrill"

& because the state seducts us early
From 3 years on to postgrad docs:
Because the state educts us early
Dripdries our brains, hangs 'em out like sox

& because the state thrives with armies
Protects its properties thru blacks & blues
Soldier boys are never called "murderers"
But what the hell is what they do?

& soon no doubt when we're alone
The govt'll tape your cunt & my bone
The state is a devil disguised as God
That throws its laws like a lightening rod

& this "executive committee of the ruling class"
Shoves its media up our ass
Will the evil of two lessers set you free?
Now the question's: "To be internet or be TV?"

But because the state belongs to fuhrers
Because the state kills us for fun
Because the state belongs to furors
Because the state thinks only with the gun

& because the state belongs to fuckers
Because the state belongs to them
Gotta underthrow them motherfuckers
To return us to our edenic glen

O because the state belongs to fuckers
Because the state belongs to them
Oh we'll have to change them all to lovers
& we'll have to try & start again
Yeah we'll have to change us all to lovers
Oh we'll have to try to begin again....


When I Was a Young Man
from "Moscow Nights"

When I was a young man long time ago
Thru blue Moscow Nights deep in snow
We would talk and scheme and then we'd walk and dream
Our utopian hearts oh, all aglow

Youthful dreams turn nightmares but yet, but yet
All our love of freedom's beauty we will ne'er forget
Under stars of evil and dreadful hate
Our wondrous children still now defy their fate

Thru the years of hope and fears we have all seen
Many comrades disappear, how sad we have been
Different czars shall come and different czars will go,
And darling I still love you so.

O, when I was a young man a long time ago

Thru blue Moscow Nights deep in snow
We would talk and scheme and then wed walk and dream
Our utopian hearts oh, all aglow

Youthful dreams turn nightmares but yet, but yet
All our love of beauty's freedom we will ne'er forget
Neath satellites of evil and dreadful hate
Our wondrous children still now defy their fate

Thru the years of hope and fears we have all seen
Old comrades disappear, how sad we have been
Different czars will come but different czars shall go,
And darling I still love you so.

Current Mood: grateful
Monday, July 12th, 2010
2:28 pm
so, a week after reading samuel delany's fascinating critique of The Dispossessed (which you should read, or re-read if you already have, and then track down a copy of delany's The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, i just read a short story that falls somewhere in the same category as le guin's classic.

The Dispossessed, like few other novels, is a great examination of the problem with revolutions (in the classical, abrupt, understanding of them, at least): they ossify pretty damn quick. jefferson's classic line about the need for a revolution every 20 years is one acknowledgment of this, but i like the version william morris (a wonderful and these days unrecognizedly radical thinker) wrote:

I pondered all these things, and how men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. from A Dream of John Ball

this short story, "The Guy Who Worked For Money", by benjamin rosenbaum, is another version. i take it as a nearly perfect account of what happens when you create a non-monetary economic/social structure that is still market-based - which is to say, still capitalist. it's also a great corrective to all the blather from those who would have us adapt 'social networking'/'web 2.0' structures "to our own purposes" [sic].

when it comes to the technologies that structure society, audre lorde is still right: the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. there's a complicated line between that basic truth of struggle and its complement - any tool is a weapon if you hold it right. perhaps the choice of metaphor is the most telling hint for where to find that line: when we're talking about weapons - about the creative force involved in defending ourselves against the old order, in destroying its teeth and claws - any tool can be used, but when we're talking about dismantling - the slower process of taking apart structures in order to reconstruct a world we might want to live in - the mechanisms must be chosen with special care. but whenever there's doubt, pick lorde over difranco.

Current Mood: hopeful
Sunday, July 11th, 2010
5:07 pm
grace jones tells it like it is:



Current Mood: energetic
Monday, July 5th, 2010
2:17 am
in which a pair of sparts* discover pop music. and it makes them a little bit gay.

"workingmen of all countries, unite! um, no homo."

thanks to emmala for the link.

and if you want the truly fantastic thing this doesn't even know it wishes it were, go here.

* i'm judging by style here. yes, it's sterotyping, but really, with those goatees and that overall dudeliness (not to mention the manic glimmer in the eyes), who else could they be? the ISO tends toward the skinny and intellectual, the RCP towards the clean-cut or pseudo-punk, the DSA and SP wear union tshirts, awkwardly, and the crypto-maoists tend to look just like you and me. because five years ago they were some of us. and the anarchists, unfortunately, don't read marx. which may have something to do with the lack of any effective anarchist response to the past few years' economic situation.

Current Mood: chipper
Friday, April 9th, 2010
5:48 am
revenge, genre, controversy, and more
so i just wrote something very long, because of something not necessarily all that interesting. i think it goes somewhere interesting, though, so here it is.

if you don't want to slog through the whole damn thing, please do scroll down to the end and read the half-page or so of melanie kaye/kantrowitz's fantastic essay "women, violence and resistance: naming it war" that i close with. and then go find a copy of the issue is power and read the whole thing.

onward! ...not for the faint-of-rant-reading...Collapse )

Current Mood: angry
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
12:33 pm
File Under: Surprising Even Me. Kinda.
i may never have to write another word on electoral politics.

the present occupant of the white house has just made it all completely unnecessary.
so while i can't promise never to write another 'meet the new boss' or 'why the lesser evil isn't any better' post, i can say that there'll be no need for one to come soon.

no, it's not about the healthcare bill. (though you should read this)

no, it's not about the huge increase in assassinations using unpiloted drones since W left office. (though you should read this)

no, it's not even about the massive escalation in the afghan war.

it's about abortion.

y'know, the argument of last resort that gets trotted out whenever someone gets skeptical about the value of supporting a party or candidate who wraps militarism, patriarchy, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and capitalism in pleasant liberal rhetoric.

you've heard it a million times. or made it.

but at least he's pro-choice
but at least they support reproductive rights
but at least they won't add new restrictions to access

anyone who makes these arguments after today is not living in an evidence-based reality.

if you've made these arguments in the past two years, read what your president just signed.
and start paying attention to what people in power actually say and do, rather than your fantasies of what they should do.

Executive Order ensuring enforcement and implementation of abortion restrictions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

the full text followsCollapse )

Current Mood: enraged
Friday, February 12th, 2010
12:46 pm
NGOs & "sociocide through sheer bureaucracy"
just ran across a fantastic article by smadar lavie & reuven avarjel, two radical mizrakhi intellectuals.

it's here. and is an elegant and angry look at the mizrakhi (non-eastern-european jewish) majority of israel's jewish citizens, and their place in the state, in palestine, in the wars of the past five years, in the resistance to zionism, and in the shift from a two-state to a one-state vision for a future after the Occupation. oh, and along the way it illuminates the israeli form of what we're in the process of learning about here: the processes by which NGOs/non-profits contain, co-opt, and prevent effective resistance to all kinds of oppression. not to mention the obstructive role of the "peace camp" in israeli politics.

read it right now.

if you want more background on mizrakhi history and politics in israel, start with ella shohat's "sephardim in israel: zionism from the standpoint of its jewish victims" and then read up on the israeli Black Panthers (start here or here, or more generally in the work of poet/scholar/activist sami shalom chetrit).

ultimately, as the panthers put it: "either the cake will be shared by all or there will be no cake."

Current Mood: contemplative
Monday, February 8th, 2010
3:35 am
watching too much television
it's nice to see someone on tv(-on-the-internets) say something sensible about religion. even if he is a more than slightly sketchy FBI agent (or local equivalent).

It doesn’t concern you… that kind of absolutist view of the universe? Right and wrong determined solely by a single all-knowing, all-powerful being whose judgment cannot be questioned and in whose name the most horrendous acts can be sanctioned without appeal?

one agent duram, addressing montheism in the pilot of Caprica.

it remains to be seen how the dominant greco-roman style polytheism comes off. hopefully not much better, and hopefully distinctly different. given the choice between such systems, i tend to prefer the one that offers the larger number of possible sources of authority. more room to maneuver is better, when you've got a basic disagreement with the premise that there is or should be an external Authority.



fascinatingly, the show's designated Others, though allegedly normative polythesists at heart, are not only darker, shorter, body-modified, involved in organized crime, and torn between pride and assimilationism, but when they sit down to a culturally-marked meal, there's a braided loaf at the center, with dark red wine in somewhat ritual-looking goblets.

sf crypto-jew much?

or did i forget to mention that the more trad ones wear black fedoras and have a decided flair for the monochrome semiformalwear? or that their ethnic neighborhood overlaps with chinatown?

still later:

and that they're largely played by latin@s and arabs, judging by the names.


Current Mood: impressed
2:00 am
fermentation station redux
at risk once more of becoming one of those people on the internets...

...but still pretty proud of myself for getting back underway.

here's what's in the dining room right now:

1) sauerkraut - 1/3 of my medium-sized crock. one head red cabbage, one head green, 1/2 head old green. fennel seeds, varicolored peppercorns, bay leaves, cumin seeds. and salt. almost a week old (started 2/2/2010ish), and bubbling away nicely.

2) banana wine - 2 gallon jugs. about 2 1/2 dozen bananas, about 5 cups of organic whiteish sugar. started 1/24/2010, into secondary 2/7/2010 (it's been cold).

3) kombucha - about a liter. scoby left for the house by the fabulous lizxnn. gunpowder green tea, about 1/2 cup of organic whiteish sugar. started 1/31/2010, ready to go into effervescence.

4) a cabinet of older wines that i'm not going to dig through right now. a few bottles of almost-3-year-old effervescent plum wine, a few of 1-or-2-year-old apple wine, a few of almost-1-year-old pomegranate-plus dumpster blend, perhaps some mead.

all wild-fermented except the plum wine.
all experiments with not quite enough documentation.

this makes me happy.

Current Mood: content
Friday, January 15th, 2010
11:58 am
flo mcgarrell
one of 500,000.
creator of agrisculptures, inflatables, and art director of maggots & men.

here and here.

but this is actually what you should read.

Current Mood: sad
Thursday, January 14th, 2010
12:48 pm
dress codes & gender enforcement
keep coming up.

or maybe it's just that someone at the NYTimes has a bee in their (calico?) bonnet about it.

in any case, here is the latest article. about a 4-year-old who's been suspended from pre-K in a Dallas suburb for having long hair. by 4-year-old-standards. which means a 4" topknot. looks damn cute, too.

there's no indication that the gender-neutrally-named kid is gender-deviant, identity-wise, though no one seems to have asked. but the hair rule is clearly about a "penis = male = masculine = short hair" gender enforcement equation.

and the key part of the article, i think, is the last line:

[while the kid's parents appeal the suspension] school officials said they would continue to separate Taylor from other children.

it's about contagion.
and rightly so.

we do recruit, by example as well as by action.
even when we're four.

keep raising hell, taylor!

Current Mood: aggravated
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
5:15 pm
gaza? cairo. march? street demo. freedom? hmmn.
just a quick link-drop, of becky thompson & dianne harriford's diary of their participation in the Gaza Freedom March.

the piece is an interesting account of their time as part of the Code Pink-led u.s. contingent in the 1,400 person international delegation that attempted to break the israeli blockade of the gaza strip. the delegation was held in cairo by the egyptian government (a major enforcement subcontractor of the israeli Occupation, especially in gaza), and attempted to work in conjunction with egyptian movements against the mubarak military dictatorship (which are generally supportive of palestinian liberation).

i was struck, however, by a few things about the diary which seem worth pointing out in a critical way.

critiques? really? oh, okay...Collapse )

Current Mood: worried
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
4:49 pm
Friday, December 11th, 2009
1:45 pm
time for the f-word again, again
no, the other other one.

or maybe just "audacity".

and no, i'm not gonna say a word about the news of the week except that that picture gives hipster glasses a new, scary, resonance for me.

what i'm saying is this:

reading back issues of this brought me to the following two quotations, which seem deeply of the moment. whose moment? our moment!Collapse )

Current Mood: anxious
1:12 pm
a bit late, but so what?
i wrote most of this on november 29th, and haven't gotten around to posting it till now.

it's nice to be commemorating a victory.

i've been thinking about the last ten years a lot, and will have more to say about it. but this is a start.

i've had the corporate media's depiction of the seattle WTO action on my mind lately, and the ways that some versions of it set the tone for - or bring together the elements of - most recent representations of u.s. radicalism. so that's what this is about.

happy anniversary!

ten years ago today, we shut down the WTO ministerial meeting in seattle. the WTO has never recovered its momentum.

it’s a lovely moment for looking back over the past ten years, and forward to the next ten, and i’m looking forward to those conversations, whether through the lens (as folks like naomi klein urge) of the climate justice actions at the current copenhagen summit, of this summer’s U.S. Social Forum, of work in solidarity with movements for justice in Palestine, Chiapas, Afghanistan, Irian Jaya, the Niger Delta/Biafra or Iran, or of local work on housing, heathcare, workers’ rights, immigrant justice, or prison abolition.

i want, however, to bring to mind today a central part of what we did in seattle in 1999 that seems oddly forgotten – our decisions about how our action would be represented, and by whom.

oh, the suspense! whom indeed?Collapse )

Current Mood: satisfied
Friday, November 20th, 2009
12:25 pm
good news / bad news
1) for the "meet the new boss" file:

interestingly, if not surprisingly, the obama administration's immigration policy is to expand the abuses of the bush administration. the Times reports that ICE will be going on a fishing investigation for employers of undocumented workers that will be nearly 1 1/2 times the size of the last one - targeting 1000 companies, rather than the 654 in the bush administration's round. now, as we know, these investigations actively interfere with efforts to protect the rights of these companies' workers, and generally have two effects: mass deportations of workers and dropped charges against bosses (as the Times reports here).

even more interestingly, the companies have been "selected as a result of investigative leads and their connection to public safety and national security."

translation: the obama administration is committed to continuing the "brown peril" rhetoric that mixes and matches 'terrorists' and 'illegal immigrants' whenever repression needs to be justified. ain't no surprise, it's just nice to have it in print. can we start using the good old "social fascists" framing yet? the KPD was right about the social democrats then, and it's just as accurate about the Democrats now...

2) zombies or vampires?:

this gem is worth citing in full.

Moldova: Army Enlists Onions and Garlic to Ward Off Swine Flu
Published: November 20, 2009
The Moldovan Army is issuing garlic and onions to help its soldiers ward off a growing epidemic of swine flu in Eastern Europe, The Associated Press reported Thursday. The chief medical officer for the Defense Ministry, Col. Sergiu Vasislita, was quoted as saying each soldier would get the equivalent of one small onion and two garlic cloves added to his diet as an immune-system boost. Moldova has about 6,500 troops.

Onions and garlic are frequently credited with curative powers in folk medicine, but it is rare that they get official endorsement. A former South African health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, said garlic, lemons and beetroot could delay the onset of AIDS. Late Thursday, The Romanian Times reported that Romania would give Moldova 400,000 doses of swine flu vaccine.

the reference to manto tshabalala-msimang is sharper than the Times perhaps wants it to be. she was a source of shock and horror as health minister, and directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands to millions of south africans. sergiu vasislita probably won't reach that level of mass murder - i mean, there aren't enough moldovans, much less moldovan soldiers, and H1N1 isn't all that lethal - but there is a certain lurching-from-the-grave quality to reviving a policy so useless that it shouldn't have needed to be actively discredited in the first place.

3) good news from the gulf coast!

In a groundbreaking decision, a federal judge ruled late Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers' mismanagement of maintenance at the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet was directly responsible for flood damage in St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina.

here's the full article.

it's more than a little bit too late.
it's more than a little bit too small.
but it's something.
and perhaps it'll open a door or two to more direct ways of making state accountability for the 'disaster' concrete.

however, the obama administration is opposing the decision:

Indeed, the Justice Department is expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.

and has basically argued that the army corps of engineers couldn't be responsible because it was the government:

[Judge] Duval dismissed Justice Department lawyers' arguments that the corps' decisions were discretionary policy judgements of their professional staff and thus protected under federal law.

which is, of course, the state immunity argument beloved of any government that's in power, which liberals oppose heartily when it's coming from the right, and are shocked! shocked! to see used in exactly the same ways by one of their own.

new boss? old boss?
je voudrais, et ce sera le dernier et le plus ardent de mes souhaits,
je voudrais que le dernier des patrons fût étranglé avec les boyaux du dernier député.

...that would be after we blow up the social relationship...

Current Mood: cranky
Friday, November 13th, 2009
4:18 pm
apparently i'm writing on here semi-regularly again.

right now, just to direct you (if you haven't seen it already) to the fantastic statement by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project about their opposition to the obama administration's hate crimes bill.

below is the gist of it, but SRLP also makes the connections between this proposed law and the war funding bill it is attached to, among other things.

What hate crimes laws do is expand and increase the power of the same unjust and corrupt criminal punishment system. Evidence demonstrates that hate crimes legislation, like other criminal punishment legislation, is used unequally and improperly against communities that are already marginalized in our society. These laws increase the already staggering incarceration rates of people of color, poor people, queer people and transgender people based on a system that is inherently and deeply corrupt.

[...]this system itself is a main perpetrator of violence against our communities.

queer liberation is prison abolition is queer liberation.

Current Mood: determined
Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
2:21 pm
dress codes redux(ish)
the grey lady weighs in on the Morehouse College dress code!

just kidding.

friday's piece is just an article on high school "crossdressing" [sic?] and the use of dress codes to enforce gender borders.

in the fashion section, no less, and illustrated with one photo of a female-assigned student in a tuxedo (banned from a high-school yearbook) and one of four kids in tuscon who don't appear to be presenting in a particularly gender-deviant way (unless floppy bangs and a pink knit scarf count). the article says nothing in particular, can't decide whether dress codes as gender enforcement are hostile or protective of students, and generally drips with exactly the kind of liberal incoherence that we expect from the Times.

at least they don't fuck up the pronoun of the gender-deviant person in the last section. though they do seem to approve of her largely because she poses none of the problems their article is busy skirting. the student "is careful not to violate the dress code. She favors tops that are tapered but not revealing, flats, lip gloss." and, by choice or administrative mandate, she uses the male-assigned bathroom (this despite the fact that even the Times now admits that "bathrooms can be dangerous for transgender students"; though they're not yet willing to admit that this is primarily a result of gender segregation).

Current Mood: irritated
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