Up and down the west coast, there has been some disturbing assaults and crimes targeting API women lately. Twenty-four API sistas have been assaulted in Seattle in the last year and a half, although they could be the work of different attackers. In the Bay Area, there has apparently been a string of “purse snatching” incidents that have all targeted API women as well.
The good folks at the Bay Area chapter of NAPAWF (National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum), put on an API Hate Crimes and Self-Defense workshop awhile back, which was great. I know they have a Seattle chapter, and it looks like it might be time to put on another one of these workshops.
Props to the hundreds of folks who took to the streets of San Francisco last week to protest the fifth year anniversary of the Iraq War. It was apparently a very well organized demonstration that was extremely tech-savvy, with text message descriptions of the day’s events, online video coverage and live radio updates.
Also, while you can think whatever you want about Ralph Nader’s latest independent run for the presidency, the man has been spitting fire in the form of regular op-ed articles over the last several weeks. CounterPunch has a good one in which he talks about retired public servants organizing and banding together to impact the movement to end this terrible war.
With thousands of lives lost, both American and Iraqi, and countless tax dollars wasted that could have gone to education or health care, we should accept nothing less than an immediate end to this terrible war. As much as I would love to believe the rhetoric put forth by Hilary and Obama in terms of both of their desires to end the war, I don’t feel either one is really going to call for immediate withdrawal if either should find themselves in the position to make that call. The military industrial complex wields too much influence in DC at this point in time, and both of them have shown a willingness to dance for the war machine. Don’t even get me started on McCain.
Once again, as it has been for centuries, it will depend on the people’s ability to come together, let their voices be heard, and hold the elected officials who supposedly work for us accountable if we are to end this war immediately.
“Private probation is unfair and places a distinct disadvantage on poor people who are unable to pay their court-imposed fines up front. To be poor in Americus City Court means you will be thrown into a hole called ‘private probation’ that is very difficult, if not impossible to crawl out of.”
~ Matt Wright, Sumter County Georgia NAACP
Tonight, community members from a small town in rural southwest Georgia will let their voices be heard to the powers that be, saying they have had enough with the privatization of the criminal justice system. A typical day in Americus court goes something like this: two people walk into court, charged with the same misdemeanor offense, say driving with a suspended license, and are fined $200. One of those folks has the money in his/her pocket, pays that day, and walks away done with the whole thing. The other person does not have an extra $200 lying around. That person is then placed on probation for say 6 months, and a private probation company tacks on monthly (sometimes weekly) “supervision fees” and all other kinds of added surcharges. That person then ends up having to pay double or triple what they would have, just because they didn’t have the money that day. Essentially, they are penalizing people for being poor, and as is often the case, it is disproportionately affecting poor people of color.
When you privatize public systems, the incentive becomes profit, not people. These private probation companies in Georgia have an incentive to get as much people on probation, and keep them on, because they make more money that way straight out the pockets of the poor. It’s the same way that private prisons encourage locking as many people up as possible.
Tonight, the people of Americus will tell their city council that they have had enough, and it’s high time for other communities experiencing similar situations to do the same.
You can’t help but get swept up in Obamania when he makes speeches like this (except for that really irritating line about “Israel being our strongest ally.”)
Gnarls Barkley’s new album, The Odd Couple, has its release date moved up to…today! It’s available for download on iTunes now and in physical stores next Tuesday, March 25th, originally supposed to be released on April 8th. I just started listening to it and it already sounds like more of that good good soulful slap.
The 2008 San Francisco Asian American Film Festival is already well under way, and here’s a few of the films I would be trying to peep if I were home.
Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay
I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK