An interview with Rebecca Solnit in The Believer. ("A lot of people think of political activism as some grim duty, and I think we do have an obligation to be citizens—to be informed and engaged—but it’s not just duty. Public life enlarges you, gives you purpose and context, saves you from drowning in the purely personal, as so many Americans seem to. I still think that walking down the middle of the street with several thousand people who share your deepest beliefs is one of the best ways to take a walk. I’ve also learned by firsthand experience and eyewitnessing that popular power matters—to recognize the power of citizens and grassroots efforts and not be so depressingly, disempoweringly focused on the power of the elected and elite, as so many Americans are. Alone, we’re powerless in many ways that we’re powerful together, and that power is one of the great pleasures and purposes of life we hardly have language for in this culture.")

Everything about this tiny house for one in Carrboro, NC makes my heart skip a beat.

Image: source.

"The Fresh Start program at Rikers Island gives participating inmates classes in parenting and cooking."

Listening to: World Cafe 20th Anniversary Concert (feat. Feist, Dawes, Mumford & Sons and Lucinda Williams), and, of course, Wild Flag.

"The moment we are living in is full of the groans and shrieks of a culture at sea with questions of love, sex, disease, and desire, how do we differentiate them and do we need to. The sirens we hear, women, homosexuals, and all the pioneers of our time, are calling for a culture big enough to contain or embrace or encompass the shapes and needs of all our bodily destinies. It demands an extravagant poetry." - Eileen Myles
It breaks my heart how many people who need serious psychiatric care are incarcerated in prisons, where their conditions only worsen and they are subject to even greater abuse and victimization than other prisoners. After closing psychiatric hospitals, Michigan incarcerates mentally ill. In Michigan, "more than 20% of the state's prisoners had severe mental disabilities -- and far more were mentally ill. The same study found that 65% of prisoners with several mental disabilities had received no treatment in the previous 12 months."

Image: source.

We made these twice baked sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving; super simple and super tasty - highly recommended.

"Finding Oregon is the compilation of six months of timelapse photography across the state of Oregon, punctuated by a 1600 mile road trip in September. We've filmed the Columbia River Gorge, Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, the Southwestern Coast, the Alvord Desert, Leslie Gulch, Blue Mountains, Crater Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Deschutes River, and more."

“I think one of the primary goals of a feminist landscape architecture would be to work toward a public landscape in which we can roam the streets at midnight, in which every square is available for Virginia Woolf to make up her novels ” - Rebecca Solnit


"Student committs suicide, letters reveal he was worried immigration status"

"This is just another reason why we need real change. I hate how games are played when it comes to immigration and how some people are towards the undocumented community....The DREAM Act and CIR are not just about being able to fix our status and work legally or go to school. It's about not being afraid, not having those barriers anymore, and felling like you are someone..that you are worth something and are a human being just like everyone else." - a DREAMer

Artwork by Julio Salgado


ASK LESLEY: HOW DO I STOP HATING MY BODY? "Sometimes, loving your body is not an option. Sometimes, the best we can do is accept our bodies as the changeable, beautiful, frustrating vessels they are. That’s OK. Expecting yourself to have a full-on love affair with your body at all times is asking too much. Bodies are occasionally annoying. What we can do is know them, and decide for ourselves when they feel good, and when they feel less good, and what we might do to make them feel better again. Even if we can’t love our bodies, we can make sure we don’t hate them."

Image: source.

OR Governor Will Allow No More Executions: "Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said this week that he will halt the execution of a death row inmate scheduled for next month and will allow no more executions in the state during his term. 'It is time for Oregon to consider a different approach,' Governor Kitzhaber told reporters. 'I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not allow further executions while I am governor.'"

A serious problem: Study Finds Foster Children Often Given Antipsychosis Drugs: "Powerful drugs intended for people with severe mental illness are prescribed for children in foster care at a disturbingly high rate."

The Jayhawks and Gillian Welch on World Cafe.

“Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.” - Susan Sontag


NYTimes: A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day

PBS' American Masters is airing a two-part documentary on Woody Allen this week.

Image: source.

An op-ed by Rebecca Solnit: Occupy Wall Street: Civil society's awakening: "Americans everywhere have realized that government and corporations depend on consumers, workers and ultimately citizens who may yet succeed in reining them in."

Never ever ever thought I would say this but - good for Newt Gingrich: Gingrich Risks Conservative Outrage on Immigration: “I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century . . . And I’m prepared to take the heat for saying let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship, but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.”

‎"Dorothy Day used to pray every day, before her Catholic Worker house opened to feed homeless strangers: Lord, I know you’ll be coming through the food line today. Don’t let me miss you when you come."


A short but on point video of Dean Spade on "trickle-down social justice."

Oops, started on page one of Kim Gee Comics and definitely spent a lot of time devouring every page....

Image: source. I like it.

Awesome comic artists unite to tackle everyone's favorite jackpot of good stories and harrowing tales, OK Cupid: So This Is What It's Come To.

This year’s New York Times Notable Books of the Year list is out.

Oh yep, who hasn't had this thought as they pass a roadside covered with used-once, thrown down cups of water: Are Marathons Bad for the Planet? "Sure, races are fun. But today's events also leave behind record-breaking environmental footprints."

This article from the NYTimes is getting a lot of discussion on legal blogs: What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering. I'd agree that the practical nuts and bolts of practicing law should be a larger part of legal education, which is one of the reasons I chose a school that places so much emphasis on the actual practice of law.

(thanks e.l.m.!)


Cruel and Unusual: A President's 'Pardon' as Dark Parody: "The White House turkey "pardon" is a distasteful reminder of the power we give politicians over death-row prisoners."

Image: source.

I've watched a few episodes of the BBC's adaptation of Kate Atkinson's mystery novel Case Histories - I like the adaptation (you'll never guess where you recognize the main actor from), and was impressed by the use of music. The main character, Jackson Brody, is a fan of American folk/blues/country music, and the tv adaptation does a great job of including this music. The only problem is they haven't released a soundtrack! Luckily I'm not the only one who liked their selections, and I found someone who put in the work to post a list of the tracks here. Great stuff, and I'm always thrilled to hear Lucinda Williams in any setting.

NPR: Mexican Deportees Strain Cities South Of The Border: "For many Mexican migrants who've just been deported from the United States, the border city Reynosa is where the American Dream dies...."

A powerful comic about abuse the power of friendship. Simple, short, but effective.

From Jezebel, Are Bisexual Women Getting The Short End Of The Emotional Stick?: "A new study found that bisexual women are more likely than bisexual men to suffer from depression and stress, and abuse alcohol. Researchers don't really know why bisexual women tend to fare worse than men, but they suspect feeling excluded from two communities may have something to do with it."

Inside Guantanamo, Detainees Live In Limbo: "NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has reported on prisons for years, but says Guantanamo is different. In this Reporter's Notebook, she visits the notorious prison and says it feels like a terrorist museum."


Very cool, Ann Patchett (and yay Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca for the shout out!): Novelist Fights the Tide by Opening a Bookstore

Image: source.

Not your usual love story: Vows: "Each accused of murder and released after their convictions were overturned, a couple find each other and marry."

Two very powerful videos. First, "in a demonstration of support for the Occupy movement, a small group of protesters was sitting, arms linked together. Campus police told them to move. The students didn't. And that's when an officer walked down the line of seated men and women, pepper-spraying them. Some took it straight in their faces. Many of the several hundred others who were there screamed in terror and frustration."

Next, as Chancellor Katehi emerges from her office "there was one of the most amazing scenes so far related to the Occupy movement. As Katehi and another woman walked three blocks to an SUV, they passed through a gauntlet of several hundred students — who remained silent in a powerful show of their disdain."

Very cool project. “Chicago-based cartoonist Sara Drake will work in Cambodia for . . . teaching young women to cultivate their own personal narratives by utilizing skills such as drawing techniques, creative writing, zine production/bookmaking, independent publishing, and basic screen-printing methods. 'Comics as a medium,' Sara explains, 'is a unique form of self-expression that easily lends itself to serve a pedagogical function. This project will support a women’s comics community, by and for women, in a place where their inclusion within the medium has been extraordinarily complex and limited.'” Check out the project's blog. (source.)


Interesting! (h/t moosh): "Exhibition Road is Prince Albert’s legacy. By 2012 we are going to make it a place where culture and learning are accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds with a streetscape that makes that ambition a reality. The crowded, narrow pavements and heavy traffic will go. In their place we will make an elegant kerb-free surface across the length and width of the road. Pedestrians will have more space and vehicles will be limited to 20mph. We’re changing Exhibition Road from an area dominated by cars to one that puts people first."

NYTimes: Young Farmers Face Huge Obstacles to Getting Started

Image: source.

Ugh, horrible: Millions of Americans Face Life Without Dental Care

Listening to: Wild Flag On World Cafe

2011 National Book Award Winners Announced


Ha! I relate. Liz Prince, What Am I Doing At The Grocery Store?

Still loving CrossFit; I've even gone twice a day a few times. I hate those burpies and box jumps, and I can't lift much weight....but I keep going back. As always, love the variety, love the supportive environment, and love challenging myself. Thanks for all the encouragement, folks!

Listening to Ryan Adams On World Cafe.

Image: "This is Lady Pink, one of the only female graffiti artists active in the ’80s. Jenny Holzer, famous for her feminist postmodern “Truisms,” designed this shirt and Lady Pink wore it around NYC." source.

A New Civil Rights Movement in Alabama. “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.” - MLK Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Added to my "to read" list: Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times. Check out this interview with the authors.

Although my affection for Annie Hall the movie is greater than my affection for Annie Hall the character, I really liked this: Manic Pixie Strong Girl: Annie Hall as a Misunderstood Heroine
Thirteen people were arrested yesterday while in Alabama non-violently protesting the anti-immigrant laws passed there. One of them was Jamie Limon Guzman (pictured left), a young man I had the honor of meeting and speaking with on a number of panels recently. A hard working and intelligent father and husband, Jamie risked his own arrest and possible deportation in order to speak out against racist and unconstitutional laws. I can hardly think of a more American action to take. More info here from the Huffington Post: Alabama Immigration Law: Police Arrest 13 Protesting Controversial Legislation. Go here to donate to their bail fund.


Tiger Beatdown: Why Are You In Such A Bad Mood? #MenCallMeThings Responds!

Swings Tampa Bay is a spontaneous community building organization that hangs hand-painted swings all over Tampa Bay in the middle of the night

Image: source.

This is NOT what democracy looks like. "The State of Alabama continues to deny the right to vote to citizens who have served and completed sentences for felony convictions. Alabama's disenfranchisement rate of one in 14 residents is triple the national average. Mass incarceration has a disproportionate effect on the voting power of poor and minority communities." source: Equal Justice Initiative

I loved book one of the Hunger Games trilogy, but will admit that I didn't finish the whole series. I'm still excited about this trailer though!

This weekend I ran a local 9 mile race, the Pioneer Road Run. Nine miles?, I should be absolutely pysched - I haven't been running much at all, and I certainly haven't run that far in months. And, yet, instead of being proud of myself for finishing (and for not walking once!) I was totally embaressed to come in third to last (the organizers even asked me "So, is anyone else still out there?"). So silly. My back is hurting (my reoccurring middle-back spot of pain), so I took Sunday off from excercizing. I woke up in a lot of pain this morning, but going to pilates and streching it out helped. Still deciding about whether to go to CrossFit tonight. It's been a few days since I went and I really miss it, but also I don't want my back to get worse....

From the Atlantic: Would Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration Really Cut Unemployment?


From New Hampshire Public Radio: New Hampshire's Immigration Story: The History of Immigration Law: "Although we are a nation of immigrants, the first laws to enforce who could be an American citizen and who couldn't didn’t appear until the late 1880s. Since then, new legislation like the Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1965, as well as the Refugee Act of the 1980s have both strengthened and loosened these rules."

Image: source.

Typography love: typeverything.com

If you're hating the new GoogleReader like me (yes, still!) one thing that makes it a little better is hiding the lefthand column, so that there's a bit less white space - just hit "u" (and "u" with the arrow key to bring it back). I still want my old GoogleReader back!

I'm still loving CrossFit so much - each workout is different, it's always a challenge, and I feel strong and accomplished after I go. Today I ran a local 9 mile race - I'm not gonna lie, I was second to last coming in, and that was embarrassing, but, hey, I did it.

A great post about Explaining Health At Every Size to your Personal Trainer, and generally working out as someone fat, and/or not interested in losing weight/taking measurements, etc (from Persephone Magazine)


Go, Jamie & Christian, Go DREAMers! We would be lucky to have these intelligent, hard-working, compassionate youth as US Citizens. Ask an Undocumented Immigrant: Young Local Immigrants Are Coming Out—And Using Their Voices.

Awesome quote: “It’s looking less and less like an Irish rugby team." Boston Globe: City Council race shows how far Boston has come. Congrats to RK and co, who worked so hard to get Ayanna Pressley and other deserving candidates into office.

Mos Def reads Malcolm X, "Message to the Grassroots" (November 10, 1963) (From the awesome Zinn Education Project)

PRI: Nigeria turns to empty plastic bottles to build homes in remote villages

Girls Just Want to Go to School by Nicholas Kristof

Crisis pregnancy centers are a dangerous scam: The Truth Is Better Advice: "I disagree with their views vehemently, but abortion rights opponents have a right to try to make their case to women considering abortion. But they have no right to deceive them, offering bogus science intended to make them delay, or fail to exercise, their legal right. Honesty is always best, even if it makes it harder to get your way."

Left: Ha! Loving these: The League of Ordinary Ladies: Coffee Shops, by Esther C. Werdiger

“I use labels because we haven’t gotten beyond race or class or other differences yet. When I don’t assert certain aspects of my identity like the spiritual part or my queerness, they get overlooked and I’m diminished. When we come to a time when I don’t have to say, “Look, I’m a dyke,” or “I’m spiritual,” or “I’m intellectual,” I’ll stop using labels. That’s what I want to work towards. But until we come to that time, if you lay your body down and don’t declare certain facets of yourself, they get stepped on.” - Gloria Anzaldua


Two articles on SCOTUS and the current discussion about warrantless GPS surveillance by cops: Which Way Privacy? The Supreme Court asks whether the government can put a GPS device on your car without a warrant, by Dahlia Lithwick and Rethinking Warrants in a Wireless Age by Gail Sullivan.

My hatred of the new GoogleReader design rages on, and others agree.

Image: source.

GOOD: Can I Get an Abortion Here? The Abortion Rights Map of the World

A video of one woman's transition, and a reminder of all the brave trans and gender queer people among our friends and families.

LA Times: Immigrant detainees deserve lawyers: "The vast majority of detainees, including children and the mentally ill, are forced to represent themselves in immigration court. That could, and should, change soon."

Love it: Reading, Writing And Roasting: Schools Bring Cooking Back Into The Classroom


Interesting: In Phoenix, The Dark Side of Green: "So 'greening' the city is all the rage now. But if policy makers end up focusing only on those who can afford the low-carbon technologies associated with the new environmental conscientiousness, the movement for sustainability may end up exacerbating climate change rather than ameliorating it . . . Solar chargers and energy-efficient appliances are fine, but unless technological fixes take into account the needs of low-income residents, they will end up as lifestyle add-ons for the affluent."

Listening to TED Talk: Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

Image: source.

Random House will donate 1 new book to a kid in need for each new follower First Book gains on Twitter (@FirstBook) this week or on Facebook.

Yes yes yes. Right on: the New York City Council has ended co-operation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "By an overwhelming majority, the council passed a bill Thursday ending the Correction Department’s cooperation with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants." I especially appreciate that they address the claim that so many make that SecComm allegedly only "catches" people who have previous criminal convictions: "More than 50 percent of all prison inmates who are discharged to the ICE have no criminal record, the council bill states; for 20 percent of all the inmates who are discharged to ICE, their highest offense is a misdemeanor." I firmly believe that Secure Communities should be dropped - because it doesn't only "catch criminals." Because it does lead to racial profiling. Because it doesn't create a safer environment for crime victims. And because this - "The Obama administration has announced that it would suspend deportation proceedings for undocumented immigrants who pose no threat to national security or public safety" - is a lie, and those of us who are advocates for a just immigration system see that it's a lie every day.

With all the focus on heirloom seeds and locally raised pigs, this article in the New Yorker had my mouth watering: True Grits: In Charleston, a quest to revive authentic Southern cooking.


Completely unacceptable: Military sexual assault and rape 'epidemic': "Studies suggest as many as one in three female soldiers are raped during their US military service."

Awesome: What's the Best Way to Turn a Parking Lot into a Garden?

Beautiful: "A collection of starlings is called a murmuration"

Image: source.

Finishing the end of Friday Night Lights today, with my friend Brett. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

This morning I did my third CrossFit class and I'm loving it - each workout is so different and I love how the focus is always on strength and each person pushing themselves to their individual limits.

"Julian Bond, the former chairman of the NAACP, and the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, supports same-​sex marriage equality, as he discusses in this video produced by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for their new Americans for Marriage Equality series."


Ugh. "The End of Childhood? France's Biggest Supermarket Chain Sells Bras to 5 Year Olds"

“What we see in many places is that while you can bring crime down by occupying the neighborhood and stopping everybody, what you do in the process is lose that neighborhood. … You fuel the idea that the police are an occupying, inimical force in the neighborhood. You play into these real and toxic racial memories about what came before civil rights. And you can make it work in many places, but you can’t stop. You can’t ever say, ‘We’ve won. Things are good. Things are stable,’ because you have driven them into hiding.” - David M. Kennedy, on Fresh Air, speaking on programs that target specific geographic areas through car and pedestrian stops in order to stop crime.

‎"In the Life" has a moving video profile - Finding Home - on homeless trans, gender variant and queer youth.

Video from The New School, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, Feet in Two Worlds Project "DREAM Activists and the Immigrant Rights Movement": "Tens of thousands of youth graduate high school each year in the US with an inherited title: "undocumented immigrant." Passage of the DREAM Act would make many undocumented young people legal residents, start them on a path to citizenship and make them eligible for financial aid if they finish college or serve in the military. While Congress considers—and delays—passage, legislators in states nationwide are debating and passing measures of their own. And a new generation of activists are "outing" themselves as undocumented Americans, giving the immigrant rights movement a new, more aggressive face. What is the status of the national DREAM Act campaign, and those being pursued state-by-state? Are the new activist strategies proving effective? And what are the political implications of young, undocumented immigrants taking a central role in the movement for immigrant rights?"

The Ella Baker Center, on Occupy Oakland: The Morning After: Keeping Things in Perspective

Prescient: “I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.” - Howard Zinn


From the NYTimes: "At the Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, Calif., inner-city gang members, drug addicts and abused youngsters can feed a cow, hug a pig or just try to find peace in a pastoral setting."

Image: source.

"Provide legal support to those most vulnerable," says Margaret H. Marshall, retired chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Secret To A Long, Healthy Life: Bike To The Store: "Even if people used bikes to run short errands than half the time, it could save more than 1,100 lives a year in 11 Midwestern cities, thanks to reduced air pollution and improved health."

Listening to/watching The Black Keys "Lonely Boys" and Dr. Dog "Heart It Races"

Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement launches national conference to fight criminal justice industry
I went to my first CrossFit class this morning! Since it's too dark for me to be biking into work now, and I don't want to run more than twice a week (occasional ankle and knee pain persists), I was looking for something to get me energized this winter. CrossFit looked pretty bad ass, and doing my first dead lifts today (this is basically me) felt pretty hardcore! I'm excited about going back, and about gaining strength (and the ability to do handstand push ups!)

Image: haha, love it - "Don't let him talk to you like that, Terry!" source.

Woah. Measuring your slavery footprint.

From the NY Review of Books, Day of the 40,000 Dead: "Alma Guillermoprieto on Mexico's new grassroots movements against violence the state has been powerless to stop"

GoogleReader is the #1 way that I read my news and find things to post about here. I absolutely HATE their new design - it's hard to read, there is so much wasted white space, and it's making me miserable (dramatic but true). If you hate it too, please give Google some feedback, it would at least be great to have the option to switch to the old view.