Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger, Maurice Cleamons, and Health Care Again

Alright so first off, let's start with Tiger Woods. If you've been living under a rock you may not have heard that Tiger has gotten himself into a sticky situation. What is the deal Tiger? I mean you are suppose to be squeaky clean, the ultimate picture of togetherness. Well Tiger I have no idea what happened at your house the other night. Assuming everyone is OK, physically, I don't really care. But I will say, you don't have to be perfect, not on our account. We are all screwed up too.

Also if you haven't read about it, a man named Maurice Cleamons is alleged to have shot and killed four police officers in Parkland, WA, not far from Seattle. An interesting tid-bit in this story is that Cleamons is originally from Arkansas and while serving a 95 years in prison, his sentence was commuted by then Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee had legitimate reasons for offering Cleamons and early release. Cleamons was 17 when he was sentenced and was not in prison for murder, rather a mixture of charges including burglary and bringing a gun to school.

And now I worry that people will claim that the problem is early release. Of course we never see the stories of former prisoners that are able to become productive members of society after receiving a second chance. I would argue that the problem was not the Governor releasing Cleamons. As I said before he had legitimate reasons. After his release Cleamons committed a host of crimes that could have kept him locked up but both Arkansas and Washington officials failed to do so. So does this mean that the that Sara Kruzan, a young woman serving life without parole in California for killing her abusive pimp, should not be considered for an early release? There are thousands of prisoners across the United States that would turn their lives around, given an opportunity. We can't allow people like Maurice Cleamons serve as examples to dissuade officials from releasing deserving prisoners early, especially when the justice system had several opportunities to keep him locked up before the killing of the four officers.

Finally, they are debating Health Care in the Senate. I currently do not have health care and could possibly receive coverage as a result of pending legislation. Will I be so lucky? You're guess is as good as mine. Does anyone have any idea of what is going to happen in the Senate? I certainly have no idea.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Answer

Alright people. So once again I will making a Leftist Sports Blog entry. For those of you who are new to my blog, you may need an explanation, if you don't need one, just skip this paragraph. Typically Ghetto Hippie is current events blog from a radical perspective. If you are one of the many radicals that abhors professional sports, I understand and you may not wish to read this entry. The thing is I have an addiction to professional sports that dates back to my childhood. I've widdled it down to one primary sport, basketball, and a few sports that I flirt with once in a while. So because I continue to support the industry of pro sports, by watching games and clicking on, I figure I might as well write about it from a leftist perspective, since that is a side of sports that is so rarely explored. That is a my long drawn out explanation. So, radical sports haters, read at your own risk.

Basketball fans will know exactly who this commentary is about. For the basketball illiterate, "The Answer" is the nickname of 10 time NBA All-Star and future Hall of Famer, Allen Iverson. "The Answer" has had an up and down career in the NBA. Statistically he is one of the best players to play the game, or as some have said the best "pound for pound" player in the history of the NBA (Iverson is only six feet tall, very small by NBA standards). At the same time he has never won a championship and has often been viewed as a me-first player.

Recently Iverson declared that he will be retiring at the age of 34. For normal humans, 34 is a somewhat reasonable time for someone to call it quits in the NBA. But everyone that has watched Iverson play, knows that he can still play basketball at a high level. The reason he chose to retire is because, it appeared that no one wanted him. After a long summer where only the Memphis Grizzlies showed any interest and a brief stint with them, it seemed no team wanted "to deal" with Iverson. (There are reports surfacing that his original team, the 76ers are interested in signing him.)

Why is there no team, including the deplorable Knicks, that are interested in a guard that can still drop twenty points in his sleep? Well there are several reasons. The main one is that Allen has a stipulation, he wants to start if he is the best player at his position on a particular team. He gets really angry when teams suggest otherwise, probably too angry. He has had some issues off the court over the years, but nothing that has been extremely out of control. For the most part, all of the teams he has been on have been competitive. Is it really that big of a deal that a player wants to be the starter on his team, if he is the best player?

And this reveals one of the conundrums of professional sports including the NBA. Seven years ago when Iverson was winning the league MVP and taking his team to the NBA Championship (Losing to the Lakers), he was rewarded for his bravado. He had his critics, but on the whole he was seen as an elite player deserving of elite treatment. Today his skills have dropped but only slightly. He is 34 which makes teams reluctant to make him a cornerstone yet he still is as competitive as ever. But now he is no longer rewarded for his fire. Instead he is criticized and ostracized. And here is where the political statement comes in: I think one of the reasons this is happening is because he is Black!

That type of statement would drive most sports commentators absolutely nuts. That's because many people see race relations as black and white (pun intended). I'm not implying that David Stern (The NBA Commissioner, who happens to be white) is secretly plotting with owners in the NBA to banish "The Answer" because he is black. It is more about the way white athletes can be viewed in comparison to black athletes.

Take Brett Favre (from the NFL), he appeared to be slipping, a little, a couple of years ago, retired, unretired, left the Packers to join the Jets, retired, unretired and joined the Vikings. Every stop he was given the red carpet treatment and the keys to the team. And now at the age of forty he is having a career season. He is the definition of competitive and has also refused to sit on the bench for an inferior player. In a lot of ways they aren't that different, except that teams have been willing to believe in Favre and put him in ideal situations to succeed. I believe this is because his story fits the "White American Hero Narrative". John Wayne, the Gipper, Superman and Paul Bunyon. I believe that this narrative lends itself to a glorification of the ideals of white society. For most people I believe this is unconscious, but when transcribed across the violent and racist history of the United States it can be problematic.

Look at Iverson, he is the Bad Boy, the villain, the epitome of what is wrong with basketball. Basketball cannot be basketball as we know it, without Allen Iverson. He is so transcendent an athlete, that his contributions are codified in the scripts of basketball history. So if something is negative about Iverson, than something is negative about B-Ball as a whole.

If Iverson represents the negativity of basketball than why does the introspection stop there? What about the industry that earned millions of dollars off of Iverson? What about the league where many of the players happen to be breathing commodities and also ancestors of slaves, while the owners are almost entirely white (With one exception.)? Sure Iverson is filthy rich and definitely not a a slave, but some of the dynamics are still there. Is there any reason why this isn't part of the dialogue? Yes.

The players could wake up one day and say: "This sucks. We quit. Let's start our own league." The millions of dollars they are paid buys their acquiescence while most of them will lose their money shortly after they retire, due to poor financial literacy. Of course very few owners will ever lose their money because most of them were raised with it. The few that weren't, spend their young adulthood learning how to make money, not jumpshots, and develop much more financial literacy. And so in the end, you have billionaires that will all remain wealthy their entire lives, buying and trading individual millionaires that will most likely have no money by the age of 50. Drawing attention to this could affect the players participation and the owners pockets.

And now we have "The Answer", most likely a millionaire for life, with nowhere (as of today) to play the game he gave everything to. And the game that gladly soaked up everything he had to offer.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks-Taking Day

Hello everyone! And welcome to a special Thankstaking day edition of Ghetto Hippie.
I do reccomend taking time today to reflect on the oppression that this day represents. Here is a good link to a story that breaks the whole thing down.

And now on to some quick thoughts:

First: This morning while trying to sleep, my beautiful sons came into my bed with the sole intention of waking me up. Of course I am grumpy and saying things like "five more minutes". Than my littlest one (he's four) says "I want to tell you a secret". And he whispers into my ear, "Your step-sister is ugly". Thankfully I don't have a step-sister. I say, "where did you learn that?" He says, "The Joker, cause he's rotten to the core."

Second: If you were at the A16 protests in Washington DC back in 2000 you may be eligible for $18,000 in Green U.S. Dollars. In order to qualify you need to have been arrested at the demonstration on April 15th. I was there. I intended to go to that demonstration. In fact I did. When I got there the police had already blockaded the demonstration in preparation for a mass arrest. I was literally standing on the other side of the barricade talking to people. It was a truly horrible event. They left people on buses for up to 8 hours without being able to pee. They brought them all to a closed down jail. Some people were strip searched. Most of the people in this demonstration, were there because they intended to avoid the more risky actions taking place during the week. They were literally just walking down the street. And some people were on their way home from work and just happened to get caught up in the barricade. Most of them spent 3 nights locked up. It was pretty crazy. Any way for more info go to:

Third: If you remember I declared right here on this blog that Fox News is the Biggest Hater News Station in the history of communication. In honor of their title as the Hater Station I've decided to profile one of the articles from their website. The article entitled: GOP Senator Tells Climate Change Researchers to Retain Controversial E-Mails, basically suggests that officials in the UN are fudging stats to make the case for global warming. Can someone please explain the republican fascination with the idea that global warming doesn't exist? Okay so I get that republicans hate gays, hate choice and immigration. I don't doubt that many republicans would love to live in a world where gays, choice and immigrants didn't exist. But would that help them at all if the sea levels rise and cause an increase in catastrophic natural disasters? The only conclusion I can come to, is that they actually do believe that global warming is happening, and they want us to leave it alone, because it isn't being caused by humans and our waste, but instead it's being caused by G*D. And they are excited about it. Cause after all they are all going to heaven, so who cares if the oceans rise, it's just Jesus cleansing the world. I guess I just figured this whole thing out. Go me.

Four: A couple of "polo-playing socialites" (according to the Washington Post) crashed President Obama's first State Dinner. I don't really have anything constructive to say about this. I just think it's kind of funny. They have pictures of themselves posing with Joe Biden. That's hilarious.

Five: And finally, it's important to give props where props are due. Shakira's newest video NO, may very well be her best video yet. Go Shakira, do your thing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Responses to Recent Comments

So I haven't given any reponses in awhile, so here goes:

Health Care Again
Haha. That was Awesome.


Update on Jorge

jaime pablo
That was so beautifully expressed my friend.

You made my week.

White Priv #5
I enjoy these posts. Too often we get sucked into false dichotomy...

Wow I guess we have come along way. First you criticize me for trafficking in a false dichotomy and now you congratulate me for avoiding false dichotomies. I call that progress.

It is impossible to be more than 110 mi from a McDs and be in the continental U.S.

Man I use to love the quarter pounder with cheese. And the fries. And the chicken nuggets. My kids know all about McDonalds. I took them there once in a moment of weakness. That was two years ago. They still talk about it. They are 4 and 6.


Until some other corporation sprouts up that has more integrity than Walmart, It will remain the best... just like the Lakers.

I smell sarcasm. Colin is that you?


It's true that you don't have to believe in God to believe in Spirit, just as you don't have to believe in shoemakers to wear shoes.

I was thinking more like you don't have to get your shoes from any particular shoemaker and if you can't find a shoemaker you like, make your own shoes.

Hot Springs

I would hate to have to report your discriminatory practices to the appropriate government authorities.

Good point. Please don't report me. Pretty please.

Lil' Wayne and Bernard Kerik

You're getting good at this blogging thing.

You think so?

Civil Liberties

just a thought from an anonymous white guy... ever think that its the rich that are the true enemies of all you rightly label in here as oppressed and not "the white man".

Wow. If you reread LJ's comment (it precedes yours) she pretty much destroys your argument.

Where does he (me) say that all white men never ever have to work and get all the breaks? I am tired of people making valid critiques and analysis of there surroundings and the response being “don’t hate me because I am a white man!”

And she wrote her comment a month and half before you wrote yours. Now that is impressive.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reflections on Yesterdays Post

So I realize that I was somewhat brief with my comments last night and possibly glossed over some important issues. I'm going to go over some of the points I made in order to clarify some things that could be misconstrued. I was tired last night and wrote a quick posting and think I was a little too brief. Also I urge you to read the press release distributed by organizers of a vigil in Oakland in honor of Jorge Lopez Steven Mercado and James Mattison. They make a lot of the points that I was trying to make, just more eloquently. If you want to read more about Jorge or James they provide links adjacent to the press release.

Last night I wrote: As I saw video of the people lighting candles and various people make statements, I began to feel warm-hearted. I realize that people might think I am trying to put a fancy ribbon on a horrific event. That is the tendency of American Culture. Like when my teachers said: "And then the natives and pilgrims sat down and ate dinner together." Or "the Declaration of Indepenence says that 'all men are created equal' but today it really means everyone." Or "slavery was terrible but today we are all equals." I wouldn't want anyone to think for one second that I'm saying "Jorge died, it was aweful, but we held hands and sung Kumbaya and it's all better now." What I was trying to say is that people are killed in Puerto Rico everyday. In spite of the horrific circumstances, there was something inspiring in seeing masses of people gathered to honor the life of this young Puerto Rican. Our existence is so often silent on the mainland (unless one of us is driving by blasting Pop/Salsa with a Puerto Rican Flag etched into the doors of our car). Jorge's death is a tremendous tragedy and there is no amount of hand holding, singing, or candle lighting that can minimize that.

I also wrote: Martinez Matos, claims that part of the reason for his actions was a result of being raped in prison. I obviously do not trust a word that he says, nor do I think anything that has happened to him could possibly serve as an explanation for his grotesque actions. I think that I missed an opportunity to point out how extremely insidious it is for people to attempt to use the "gay/trans panic" defense. The fact that someone would even consider using it as a defense is a testament to the entrenched homophobia of our society, because they think people might be sympathetic to it. It is our duty to reject anything that implies that there is any justification for harming someone based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. I apologize for not emphasizing this point more emphatically.

Finally I wrote: Prisons do not make us safer... So, in your rage and anger, I expect that you will want to see Juan A. Martinez Matos held accountable, and I assume he will be. But once he is locked up, possibly for life, do not believe for one second that justice was served. I stand by this statement for the most part. When I say that "Prisons do not make us safer", I'm talking about society as a whole. That said there are victims that sometimes are able to escape their abusers or stalkers because the perpetrator is locked up. These are situations where individuals are safer. And although I am not a supporter of the prison system, I am a supporter of Malcolm X's philosophy "by any means necessary" and I believe in accountability. So victims have no choice but to utilize the criminal Injustice system in order to create a safe space for themselves or to hold their perpetrators accountable. These are necessary individual victories. But as a whole we will not find justice in the human warehousing units of the U.S. Criminial Justice System. I believe the organizers of the vigil in Oakland said it best:

“Hate crimes legislation and more police patrols would not make our communities safer. It would not have prevented the murders, and no punishment will bring these two men back,” organizer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha said. “Systemic homophobia and transphobia killed López-Mercado and Mattison, who like other queer or gender non-comforming youth of color, faced barriers like street harassment and discrimination in every facet of life..."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vigil for Lopez Mercado

Tonight thousands of people hit the streets in memory of Jorge Lopez Steven Mercado. As I saw video of the people lighting candles and various people make statements, I began to feel warm-hearted. To think a man could be killed in a tiny mountain road in Puerto Rico, and thousands of people around the country could stand in solidarity with his death. I hope that this will stand as a wake-up call to the Puerto Rican Community. The time has long past for us to look at the homophobia and patriarchy in our culture and this despicable incident, affords us that opportunity. I thank everyone for taking notice of this event and standing up and saying Enough is Enough!

That said, I would like to caution people in regard to the cries for justice to be served. There has been a strong rallying cry for Juan A. Martinez Matos to be convicted under hate crimes law. This may very well be a necessary approach. However I believe that it is a flawed objective to expect to receive justice from the criminal Injustice system. Martinez Matos, claims that part of the reason for his actions was a result of being raped in prison. I obviously to not trust a word that he says, nor do I think anything that has happened to him could possibly serve as an explanation for his grotesque actions. That's not the point. The point is that his time in prison didn't make anyone safer. And that's what prisons are. They are incubators for horrific crimes among many other things. If you look at people like Phillip Garrido and Martinez Matos they share one thing in common, they served time in prison. Prisons do not make us safer. In fact I believe that prisons make the streets more dangerous. I believe most people that enter prison for smaller crimes, get out and graduate to larger ones because of the experiences they have being locked up.

So, in your rage and anger, I expect that you will want to see Juan A. Martinez Matos held accountable, and I assume he will be. But once he is locked up, possibly for life, do not believe for one second that justice was served. The only justice that can come for Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, is for our society to challenge patriarchy and heterosexism. To do this you can't reach out to the Criminal Injustice System. It is one of the most patriarchal and heterosexist institutions ever created. As Audre Lorde tell us, "you can't dismantle the masters house with the masters tools." I don't know if I always believe her but I certainly do in this instance. In fact I can't think of another quote that would be more appropriate.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Health Care Again...

So it looks like sixty senators are going to prevent a filibuster so that Health Care Legislation can get passed. Well not exactly. The only thing that is happening is sixty senators, 58 dems and 2 independents, have agreed to allow the bill to be debated. Which means exactly nothing. Here is my question, how is it that George W. was able to pass things like the Patriot Act, Tax Cuts for the Rich, and the Iraq War, without ever having a filibuster proof majority? How did Ronald Reagan pass anything, when he never had a republican majority at all. Meanwhile, Obama, has the majority he needs and no one knows if he will get the votes. Why is this? The answer is simple. The democratic party is the most spineless party in the history of the planet earth. Not since we were single celled organisms, has there been a more Amoebic group of individuals.

So stay tuned. And maybe, just maybe, I will get health care out of all of this. I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Army Corps of Engineers and Alcatraz

So I just want to say again, in case anyone missed it, the ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FLOODING AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA! Think about every minute you spent watching the news and saw people struggling to get on life-boats. Remember the bloated bodies, the desperation, the people standing on the roof tops, stranded pets, and U.S. citizens being referred to as refugees. I want you to really transport yourself back to that time. Maybe you collected some canned food to send down, maybe you went down to New Orleans afterwards to help rebuild, maybe you didn't do anything but felt a pit in your stomach of total despair. Bring that feeling back and once you really feel it than repeat these words: THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FLOODING AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA! Say it over and over again until it's stuck in your head like Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. When your done ask yourself why the f@#* is this story not being blasted all across the news. Where are the talking heads, the headlines, the condemnations, where is the story? It's buried somewhere next to the obituaries of the people that lost their lives in New Orleans in 2005. To read more about it go here.

Also... it is the fortieth anniversary of the Alcatraz Takeover. If you don't know the story I'll give you the basics. In 1969, Native Americans, representing nations from all over the U.S. occupied Alcatraz Island. They occupied the island for a year and four months. And brought Native issues to the forefront of American Politics. Their most notable success was getting President Nixon to end the US Tribal Termination Policy. This was the practice of dissolving Native reservations and was happening fairly frequently at the time. I admire the brothers and sisters that took over Alcatraz. I send them a thousand thank yous. It is this type of spirit and commitment that we need to achieve social justice today. For more info go to:


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oprah and Johnny Depp

This just in...


This is not a joke!

If you are standing up, please sit down.

I know it's scary but the truth hurts sometimes.

After being the leading talk show for TWENTY THREE seasons, that's right TWENTY THREE, she will be calling it quits in 2011. Yes that means you have a year and some change to prepare yourself but can you ever prepare yourself for something like this? I mean who defeats Oprah in a game of I've got more clout and mojo than you? Jay-Z? Beyonce? Please! This is Oprah mutherf*#$ing Winfrey we are talking about. Barack Obama you say? Oprah made Barack Obama, literally. Alright she didn't conceive him in her actual womb but she conceived him in her I got more props than anybody womb. Not one person in the entire United States thought for one second that Barack Hussein Obama was winning any goddamn thing against Hillary Rodham I will kick your a*# Clinton. But that all changed when, you guessed it, Oprah said "vote for this dude." And people did. It was that easy. And now people, she is leaving you. What will you do? Cry yourself to sleep? I know, it's OK. I feel for you. We know she's a capitalist corporate billionaire but she's OUR capitalist corporate billionaire. I know y'all are thinking "We have Obama". Oh ye short-sighted individuals. Barack is temporary, possibly an 8 year flash in the pan. But Oprah is eternal. Or at least she was suppose to be. She is as reliable as the sun. Or as my partner LJ would say: "She is your pastor, Dear Abby, and Martha Stewart all in one." This will be a tough one.

To paraphrase Gloria Gaynor... "We will survive."

And Ohh yeah Johnny Depp was voted the sexiest man by People Magazine again. Waw waw waw... yada yada yada. I could kick his butt!

Army Corps of Engineers

A court ruled yesterday that the Army Corps of Engineers is liable for the flooding of Hurricane Katrina. All of the despair that took place after the hurricane hit could have been avoided. The flooding, the Superdome, and the "looting" (I actually don't think people that are trying to survive are looters) could all have been avoided if the Army Corps of Engineers acted on their knowledge that the levies were vulnerable. In fact they knew this would most likely happen under these circumstances. How long did they know this for? Forty years!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jorge, Another Tragedy and a Milestone for the KKK

Yesterday I mentioned that translations were sometimes problematic. Well the one I read yesterday gave the wrong name of the murderer of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado. The correct name is Juan A. Martinez Matos. He will be charged with 1st degree murder in addition to four other counts. It has not been determined whether or not this will be prosecuted as a hate crime.

As if the tragedy of Jorge was not enough, I just found out that another gay teen was brutally murdered in the past week. His name is Jason Mattison Jr. He was killed in Baltimore last week by a family friend named Dante Parrish. This story is as horrific as the story of Lopez Mercado. As of now this case doesn't appear to be a hate crime, rather a brutal murder resulting from a forced sexual relationship. It's truly depressing and proof that we have a long way to go in the efforts to stop violence in the US. I do not know all of the details of the case yet but one dissapointing fact is that the murderer, Dante Parish was once represented by the Innocence Project. Through the efforts of the Innocence Project, Mr. Parish only served 10 years of a 30 year murder sentence because of a flawed conviction. This is truly unfortunate because the Innocence Project does great work. There couldn't have been a worse outcome for their efforts.

Finally you can chalk up a victory for the KKK today. Today Sen. Robert Byrd (D) of West Virginia became the longest serving member in US Congressional History. What is the connection you ask? Well nothing really except the fact that Senator Byrd was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan. That's right. But wait, he's a Democrat. I thought Republicans were the ones that were supported by bigots in the south. Well Senator Byrd comes from a time when Democrats were the party of choice for Dixie Bigots. Byrd has admitted that his membership in the KKK was a grave error and has gone on to achieve notoriety as a true statesmen, serving as Senate Majority Leader on two separate occasions. But than again he voted against the Civil Rights Act, some twenty years after leaving behind his hooded homies. Maybe I'm just a commie, lefty wacko but I just don't think a former KKK member should be a hero, at least not one that voted against the Civil Rights Act. But at least we got to hear his eloquent speeches on NPR when he challenged George Bush's Iraq Policy. You would almost think he was on our side. I wished afterward they also mentioned that he was the man who wrote this:

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

Congratulations Senator.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Update: Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

Yesterday I introduced the case of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado. Now there is an update in the case. Last night police arrested a suspect. There is hardly any info about this individual other than he is a 26 year old male from Cayey, PR. There still is no word on whether or not this crime will be investigated as a hate crime. The FBI is not currently involved in the investigation but is monitoring it. US attorneys office is also looking into it. The FBI did acknowledge that a federal investigation is possible. Actually there is an even newer update...

It appears that the killer has confessed. His name is Juan A. Martinez Matos and he claims that he was trying to find a female prostitute and was fooled by Jorge. He than says that in a fit of rage he brutally killed him. I do want to caution everyone that these articles are originally written in Spanish. The information I'm getting is in English. (I do speak Spanish, but not well enough to properly translate a news article.) I have come across several translation errors in this process.

Here are some links for people to read.

Here are the latest articles in English.

And here they are in Spanish.
And a facebook page called Justice for Jorge...

My heart goes out to the friends and family of Jorge. Hopefully some clarity can come from the situation now that Juan A. Martinez Matos has confessed. I am thoroughly saddened by the revelations of this event. I imagine that Martinez Matos will pay dearly for his actions. I do want to point out that I reserve my greatest judgement for our society that propagates heterosexism and patriarchy. That teaches little boys to hate gay people. That it would be better to die, than to be gay, that it would be better to kill than to be touched by a gay person. Such pathological thinking is devoid of any true communal understanding of human existence. And this is why our responsibility to challenge oppression in all of its forms is so critical. So that we can prevent the next Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado from losing his life.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

It is with great sadness that I'm writing about the death of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado. Unfortunately I cannot find a story about him in any major news outlet. Here is a link to a story about him. Lopez Mercado was killed on November 14th in Puerto Rico. He was found in Cayey a small city just outside of Caguas, Puerto Rico's third largest city. What was done to him is so extremely horrific that I will not write about the specifics here. Read the article above to find out. Many people are assuming that he was killed because he is gay. Furthermore, people are calling for this murder to be investigated as a potential hate crime. And if all this wasn't enough, the officer in charge of the investigation (Ángel Rodríguez Colón), explained that "When these type of people get into this and go out into the streets like this, they know this can happen to them." Colón was subsequently removed from the case.

As a Puerto Rican male, I feel a particular sense of responsibility in this situation. As is the case with many cultures, patriarchy and heterosexism are serious problems on our island. Many people think that it is worse in Puerto Rico than here. I will not make that claim. That said I do think patriarchy takes on a different flavor among our colonized people. It is time for those of us that hate patriarchy, heterosexism, and violence against gays, to stand up and say this is unacceptable.

The loss of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado is similar to the loss of Emmett Till. The United States still has not recovered from that event. But at least, thanks to his mother Mamie Till Bradley, he will never be forgotten. And now it is our mission to claim Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado as a casualty in the fight for freedom from colonization. He has become a part of Puerto Rican History and we can never let him be forgotten.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bedtime stories

Yeah I know it's been nine days but who cares?

So I was reading bedtime stories to my two little boys. The first was the Tin Forest. A quaint little tail where an old man who lives in a junkyard never stops dreaming. He eventually builds a forest out of metal debris, a beautiful lifeless forest. But all of a sudden birds start showing up and trees start growing and komodo dragons appear. (I made the komodo dragons part up) And the tin forest suddenly becomes a real forest, all because an old man never dared to stop dreaming. This story is a true tour-deforce in the mold of Field of Dreams. "If you build it, they will come."

After Tin Forest it was on to a more serious drama. Rosa, the childrens book by Nikki Giovanni, that discusses the life of Rosa Parks. It's a pretty intense read for little ones. Luckily my littler one, fell out after Tin Forest. The drama was to exciting. It just wore him out. But My big/little one was wide awake. And he asks "What does 'Emmit Till was vicously lynched' mean"? Any thoughts out there people? How do you explain one of the greatest individual tragedies of the last century, to a six year old. I have no idea. So I told him the truth, sort of. I actually didn't get into lynching yet. I just told him that Emmit Till was killed. I didn't explain the horrific details. Just the basic ones. I think that was enough to upset him. And honestly I don't really want him to have to think about things like this, not yet. But he is six and he's growing up. Not in the "dad can I have the car keys so I can go have sex and do drugs?" sort of way. More like his mind is expanding and I need to be prepared for things like this.

I'm not.
I try.
It's hard.
I'll do my best...

Friday, November 6, 2009


Hey y'all. How have you been? I'm sitting in Boulder Colorado right now and it is unseasonably warm. Being in Boulder, when it is warm, in the fall, is beautiful. Anyway I want to quickly recap my predictions that I made. Her goes. I predicted that on Tuesday November 3rd these things would happen:

The Obama Administration will announce that it is vital that we pass a substantive bill on Health Care Reform

Actually I didn't read a single article about the Obama administration talking about health care, but I'm pretty sure that someone in the administration at some point said to someone that day, that it was vital that we pass Health Care Reform. So... CORRECT

The Los Angeles Lakers will defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder

The Lakers won... CORRECT

John Gosselin will issue a statement suggesting that he is in some way frustrated with Kate

Well John did issue a statement. It actually wasn't that he was frustrated with Kate. It was that he hopes she will forgive him. I knew he was going to issue a statement about Kate I just read the tea leaves wrong. But the effort was there so... CORRECT

And Jay-Z and Beyonce will break up

And lastly Jay and Beyonce didn't break up. I'm pissed at Beyonce because she told me it was over and I believed her. Now I look like a fool. Oh well... INCORRECT

Three out of four. Not bad at all. I told you people that I could transport myself five days in the future. This blogging thing is really improving my abilities in every capacity of my existence. I predict that I year from now I will be able to breath underwater without assistance. The bold predictions never stop coming. Stay tuned.