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“Fruitvale,” the new movie about Oscar Grant, gets rave reviews at Sundance UPDATE 2

By: hotflashcarol Friday January 25, 2013 8:24 pm


A protest at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. Flickr photo courtesy of Michael Mees.

Updated to add: Fruitvale just won both the Grand Jury Prize (“the big enchilada, as the announcer said) and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic film at the Sundance Awards!

On Democracy Now this morning, Amy Goodman interviewed filmmaker Ryan Coogler about his debut film, Fruitvale, which tells the story of the murder of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer. The film stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar and Octavia Spencer as Oscar’s mother, Wanda, and was produced by Forest Whitaker, among others. The movie has been a standout at the Sundance Film Festival. It reportedly was the subject of a bidding war; distribution rights were acquired by the Weinstein Company, which means that it should be playing in a movie theater near you later this year.

The two short clips that Amy Goodman showed during the interview, along with Coogler’s description of what it was like to make this movie, left me in tears. It reminded me that Oscar’s death is still an open wound that will never heal until Oakland stops marginalizing and brutalizing and killing young men of color. I’ve written fairly extensively about Oscar and police brutality in Oakland. This is one of the first FDL diaries I ever wrote, in anticipation of the Mehserle verdict back in July 2010 (which would turn out to be involuntary manslaughter instead of murder). This diary was written a year ago, on the third anniversary of Oscar’s death.

Ryan Coogler, the filmmaker whose day job is counselor at a San Francisco juvenile detention center, was compelled to make this movie because in the cell phone videos of the murder, Oscar was the same age as Coogler and “looked like he could have been any one of us.” And because he was angry and frustrated; the killing of an unarmed black man by police was, unfortunately, nothing new to Coogler as an African-American resident of the East Bay. Fruitvale (named after the BART station where Oscar was killed) begins with those cell phone videos and then flashes back to what Oscar was doing earlier that day.

I’ve read a lot of reviews of the movie; some of them focus on the fact that Oscar is portrayed in such a positive light. For those of us who are Friday Night Lights fans, the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Oscar is genius. For me, he’s a good match for the Oscar Grant that I have concocted in my head. I didn’t know Oscar, and it’s tempting to turn Oscar into some larger-than-life person. He wasn’t. But he was loved by his family and friends. He was Tatiana’s dad and Wanda’s son and Uncle Bobby’s nephew—we do know Oscar’s family now, because they have become tireless advocates for justice, not just for Oscar but for every victim of police brutality. Oscar was a young man who was trying to make the most of a hard day that New Year’s Eve and he did not deserve to be shot in the back on that cold fucking BART platform by a monster like Mehserle. If this movie does nothing else, perhaps it will help people to see that the cops are not always right, or righteous, and that until we really hold them accountable for these young lives they’ve taken, they’ll keep shooting first and asking questions later, as they did with Oscar and as they did in the case of Alan Blueford.

Unfortunately, the Oakland Police Department doesn’t seem to have any intention of changing its ways. Alan Blueford’s father, Adam, was back in front of the Oakland City Council this past Tuesday. Mr. Blueford was speaking out against the hiring of superpig and global security mogul William Bratton by OPD as part of a $250,000 consulting package. Bratton is worthy of a whole ‘nother diary, but suffice it to say that the last thing Oakland needs is more outsiders encouraging their cops to Stop & Frisk.

Police Chief Howard Jordan promised that racial profiling would not be a part of OPD policy. Nobody believed him, least of all OO livestreamer Bella Eiko/Jessica Hollie (below), who was another of the more than 200 people who addressed the City Council about Bratton during that marathon session on Tuesday. At 2 AM, the council voted 7-1 in favor of hiring Bratton. (The video that Jessica is referring to but that never makes it onscreen at the meeting is this one.)



How to be an NFL Fan and Still Respect Yourself in the Morning

By: hotflashcarol Tuesday January 1, 2013 4:00 pm

On Sunday night, my last hopes were dashed. Neither of my two football teams made the playoffs. If I drank eggnog, I’d be crying in it. Being an NFL fan has become an exercise in futility, hypocrisy and denial.

It’s hard to imagine life without football. I went to junior high near Birmingham, where people would roll down their car windows at a stoplight and ask you, “Alabama or Auburn?” In that part of the state, Alabama was the only correct answer, and Bear Bryant walked on water. I went to high school in Texas. Our football team was a perennial contender for the state championship. Just like in Friday Night Lights, our coach had to contend with an entire town’s worth of Monday morning quarterbacks. My high school years also happened to coincide with the Dallas Cowboys’ Roger Staubach era. Most of the country either loved or hated Roger and Tony and Butch and Drew and Hollywood and Too Tall. Tom Landry was God and for football fans like me, Texas was heaven.

And then, in 1989, along came Jones . . . shit talkin’ Jerry Jones.  He bought the Cowboys for $150 million, kicked our beloved Coach Landry to the curb, and exposed the NFL for the billionaire boys club it has always been. Alright, alright, to be precise, just 18 of the 32 teams are owned by billionaires. The average player salary is a paltry $1.1 million; minimum wage for players (not including bonuses) was $325,000 in 2010. The average NFL player’s career is three years and their salaries are not guaranteed. Once they’re out of the spotlight, many of these young men end up in physical and/or financial ruin, divorced, or even dead. Linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide at the age of 43, is just one recent example of the worst consequences of this violent game. Multiple concussions like those Seau sustained can lead to dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, among other ailments.

So it ain’t all fur coats and fancy cars . . . unless you’re an NFL owner. Owners are kinda like banksters. The rules don’t apply to them. And they don’t have to spend any of their money because we kindly allow them to spend ours instead.

Let’s start with my two favorite teams:

Exhibit A: The Dallas Cowboys.  I’ve stuck with the Cowboys through thick and thin. It hasn’t been easy here in Northern California among all the 49ers fans. They play “the catch” on TV here every five minutes, for no apparent reason other than to rub my nose in it (oh, hell no, I don’t have a link). When we lived in Oakland, mr. hfc and I were forced to watch Cowboys games at Ricky’s Sports Bar with other infidels in a dark room hidden in the back of the building; it was kind of like attending a communist meeting in the church basement. And what have I gotten for more than 30 years of devotion? Tony Fucking Romo.

Tony on the sidelines

Flickr photo by Roscoe Ellis.

This year, the Cowboys were still in the running to be NFC East champs, despite having an 8-7 record. But we diehard fans knew it wouldn’t be long before Romo started throwing the game away. He didn’t let us down. Three interceptions later, the Redskins are in the playoffs and Dallas goes home a loser, again. So much for a storied rivalry that goes all the way back to when the Cowboys were just a twinkle in owner Clint Murchison’s eye. Redskins owner George Marshall opposed Murchison’s expansion plans because Marshall wanted to keep his monopoly on teams in the South. So Murchison bought the rights to the Redskins’ fight song, Hail to the Redskins, and held it hostage until Marshall relented and supported an expansion team in Texas. When the NFC East Championship was on the line back in the glory days of the Cardiac Cowboys, Roger Staubach engineered a fourth quarter comeback to win the game 35-34. And Harvey Martin of the Cowboys Doomsday Defense returned a funeral wreath to its rightful owners in the Redskins locker room after the game, for good measure.

But the 2012 version of the Cowboys really is the ideal America’s Team: owned by an old white egomaniac who suffers no consequences when they’re 8-8 (other than perhaps a loss of face); a mediocre team at best; yet still the NFL’s most valuable franchise, valued at $2.1 billion. Too big to fail, even though they haven’t been to a Super Bowl in 16 years. And it’s all because of Jerry Jones. If you’re scouting for capitalist pigs, why he’s a first-round draft pick. For instance: the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement excludes the Cowboys’ wholesale merchandise revenues, estimated at $80 million last year; Jerry gets to just hang on to that. He’s sick of being just a common billionaire; he’d much rather be a gazillionaire! Apparently the taxpayers and fans want to help him reach his goal. When Jerry needed money to build his $1.15 billion stadium in Arlington (a suburb of Dallas), Arlington voters approved the increase of the city’s sales tax by 0.5 percent, the hotel occupancy tax by 2 percent, and car rental tax by 5 percent. And the NFL gave Jerry a $150 million loan.

But it’s all good, because Six Flags Over Jerry is hella impressive. You better have hella scratch if you want to go to see a Cowboys game there; the Fan Cost Index is the NFL’s highest at nearly $635. Parking alone costs $75, and there’s no public transportation to the stadium.

Y’all, don’t it seem like ol’ Jer could afford to hire hisself a GM and maybe even a Super Bowl QB?

"Commitment to Excellence"

Flickr photo by Jack Nealy.

Exhibit B: The Oakland Raiders.

Don’t Mess With Texas

By: hotflashcarol Thursday December 20, 2012 5:56 pm


Graphic by hotflashcarol, based on actual signs, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of driving through Texas.

On the evening of July 13, 2012, 38-year-old Angel Dobbs and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, 24, were traveling in Angel’s boyfriend’s car on Highway 161 in Irving, TX, a suburb of Dallas. They were on their way to a casino in Oklahoma. They were pulled over by Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper David Farrell, who said he saw each of them throw lighted cigarette butts out of the car windows. This is important; these women were pulled over for nothing more serious than—allegedly—littering. Littering in Texas is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 on first offense; a second offense may result in a fine of up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail. Or, if you’re unfortunate enough to be stopped by Trooper Farrell and his accomplice, Trooper Kelley Helleson, you might be subjected to public sexual assault by a couple of subhumans with an array of deadly weapons but apparently only one set of latex gloves. And then you might end up on YouTube.

This video made me sick. Literally—shaky, knot-in-your-stomach, cortisol-overdose sick. The worst part was watching these two innocent women, one of them only 24 years old, having to passively succumb to what amounts to vaginal and anal rape because the perpetrators had not just guns but badges. In the federal lawsuit that Angel and Ashley Dobbs have recently filed, Angel says she was was “overwhelmed with emotion and a feeling of helplessness and reacted stating that Helleson had just violated her in a most horrific manner.” Those of us who have been sexually abused or assaulted, especially by authority figures, know that such violations can have a lifelong impact that will not be mitigated by settlement dollars or prison sentences. The damage has already been done; these women have already been found guilty of littering and having a boyfriend who might have smoked pot in his car, and they have been punished accordingly. I bet they never do that again. (How fucking pernicious is the “I smelled pot” excuse; it apparently gives the police state carte blanche to escalate the situation to whatever level matches their testosterone that day.)

Saving the Redwoods, Saving Ourselves

By: hotflashcarol Sunday December 2, 2012 5:29 pm

The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.

—John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

Steinbeck didn’t live to see the work of a team of tree-climbing scientists who have now photographed two of the largest trees in the world: The President, a giant sequoia in Sequoia National Park featured in the breathtaking video above; and, in 2009, a coast redwood in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

Redwoods are spiritual beings to me; the redwood forest is my cathedral. When I need to get in touch with the universe, I go find a redwood. There is a little grove of coast redwoods in Bidwell Park within walking distance of my house; they were brought here as seedlings from Arcata. I visited the coast redwoods and the sequoias several times as a child and have returned many times as an adult. It’s like a pilgrimage to Mecca.

A picnic area in the park near my house; these redwoods are just babies.

Fifteen years ago this month, on December 10, 1997, Julia Butterfly Hill embarked on one of the most heroic direct actions I have witnessed in my lifetime. She is one of my most cherished role models. Julia ascended a 600-year-old redwood tree named Luna in Humboldt County, CA. Her intention was to take her turn at the tree-sit, an ongoing action to stop Pacific Lumber from clear-cutting the ancient Headwaters redwood forest and causing widespread environmental devastation. She expected to be in the tree for two or three weeks. But Julia decided not to come down until she was sure that Luna would not be cut down. It took more than two years. For 738 days, Julia lived on a couple of six by eight foot platforms, 18 stories above the ground, where she survived two brutal winters, helicopter assaults and intense loneliness. She said that Luna’s love kept her alive; she felt “the heartbeat of Mother Earth” in Luna’s bark. Julia discovered that Luna’s sap ran a lot more than usual when nearby trees were cut down; she said it was Luna’s way of communicating grief.

We have Julia and her fellow environmental activists to thank for providing inspiration that continues today with the Tar Sands tree-sit action in Texas. The Headwaters Forest Defense group also faced violent, oppressive tactics from their opponents; you may recall the incidents in which Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies and Eureka Police Officers used Q-tips to apply pepper spray directly to the eyes of eight non-violent protesters in 1997. In 2005, an eight-person federal jury returned a unanimous verdict for the activists, finding the County of Humboldt and the City of Eureka liable for excessive force in violation of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Now such behavior is only “objectively unreasonable.”

* * *

Tragically, more than 95 percent of the original, old growth redwood forest is gone. But thanks to people like Julia Butterfly Hill, a lot of what remains is being protected. The agreement Julia reached to save Luna resulted in the creation of the Headwaters Forest Reserve, nearly 7,500 acres that is now public land under the stewardship of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Save the Redwoods has been raising money to pay for these priceless trees since 1918; at the moment, they need to $8 million to save some of the last old growth redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Perhaps most encouraging of all is the work that is being done by the scientists mentioned above in the National Geographic video. Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine and others from Humboldt State University figured out a way to climb into the canopies of redwood trees 300 feet in the air—a place no human had ever previously occupied. They discovered an entirely new ecosystem—enormous horizontal branches which themselves supported vertical trees the size of those in your backyard. They found moss, lichens, ferns and huckleberry bushes sprouting in the soil that collected on the huge branches. They found spotted salamanders.

They also figured out how to accurately measure these behemoths. A team of five climbers spent 20 days measuring one of the largest coast redwoods, a 320-foot-high tree they named Iluvatar. The crown of Iluvatar contains a forest of 220 vertical trunks. It is one of the most structurally complicated living organisms that has ever been discovered. Richard Preston wrote a book about the “lost world” of the redwood canopy; it’s called The Wild Trees and it’s absolutely fascinating.

A photo from our trip to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park; somewhere in this forest is Iluvatar.

Coast redwoods, which can grow to over 300 feet, are the tallest trees in the world; they live about 2,000 years. Some of them were around during the Roman empire. Giant sequoias are somewhat shorter (250 feet) but much more massive. And much, much older. The oldest recorded speciman was 3,500 years old. Some of these ancient beings sprouted during the Iron Age, at the beginning of the Mayan calendar and the 1st Dynasty of Egypt. And they’re still growing. That’s what Sillett just discovered when he set about measuring The President, the 54,000-cubic foot giant in Sequoia National Park:

“I consider it to be the greatest tree in all of the mountains of the world,” said Stephen Sillett, a redwood researcher whose team from Humboldt State University is seeking to mathematically assess the potential of California’s iconic trees to absorb planet-warming carbon dioxide.

The researchers are a part of the 10-year Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative funded by the Save the Redwoods League in San Francisco. The measurements of The President, reported in the current National Geographic, dispelled the previous notion that the big trees grow more slowly in old age.

It means, the experts say, the amount of carbon dioxide they absorb during photosynthesis continues to increase over their lifetimes.


Giant sequoias grow so big and for so long because their wood is resistant to the pests and disease that dwarf the lifespan of other trees, and their thick bark makes them impervious to fast-moving fire.

It’s that resiliency that makes sequoias and their taller coastal redwood cousin worthy of intensive protections — and even candidates for cultivation to pull carbon from an increasingly warming atmosphere, Sillett said. Unlike white firs, which easily die and decay to send decomposing carbon back into the air, rot-resistant redwoods stay solid for hundreds of years after they fall.

So . . . if we can find the will to save these ambassadors from another time, these beautiful, silent sentries who’ve lasted all these millennia . . . perhaps they can help save us.


Something We Can All Agree On: Elementary Kindness

By: hotflashcarol Friday November 9, 2012 12:56 pm

Her Highness Hotflashcarol and her little sister, back in those halcyon haystack days at the ranch

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. What I want is so simple I almost can’t say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed. That’s about it. Right now I’m living in that hope, running down its hallway and touching the walls on both sides.

― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

I used to have this quote taped on the wall in front of my desk, where I would see it every day. Some days I would focus on the “elementary kindness” part, and that would remind me of another quote, attributed to Mother Teresa: “Be kind anyway.” Thinking about that eased my mind and allowed me to set aside my “righteous” indignation over that day’s outrage. Whew.

Other days, I would focus on the “living in that hope, running down its hallway and touching the walls on both sides” part. I would remember the wild abandon I felt as a child, racing between the long rows of haystacks on my grandpa’s ranch. Or I’d imagine that I was one of the players on my high school football team at the state championship, bursting through the giant Go Leopards! banner and running through a tunnel of my teammates as they slapped me high-fives. Or I’d hear my Auntie Anne, a therapist and shaman who heals veterans with PTSD, say to me when the world seemed hopeless, pointless, impossible: “You can live in the nightmare, or you can live in the dream.”

* * *

For the past few weeks of this election season—maybe even months—I’ve chosen to live mostly in the nightmare, to live inside despair instead of hope. Yesterday, I suddenly snapped out of it. I got a little wake-up call from someone who chose to be kind anyway. I spent a lot of Tuesday evening and most of the day Wednesday venting my rage on various FDL threads and on Facebook, excoriating everyone who voted for Obama and attempted to defend their positions. Even people who love me and agree with me were telling me to take a chill pill.

#Occupy Oakland: Hey Hey! HoJo! Howard Jordan Has Got To Go!

By: hotflashcarol Sunday November 4, 2012 5:18 pm

occupy oakland day 16 part 2 020

Flickr photo by Oakland Local

Oakland’s ruling troika of Larry, Moe and Curly Police Chief Howard Jordan, Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna Santana.

In this week’s segment of You Can’t Make This Shit Up, it was revealed in federal court filings that for the past year, beleaguered OPD Chief Howard Jordan used a spam filter to divert emails he received that contained subject lines such as “Occupy Oakland,”"police brutality” and “respect the press pass,” straight to his junk mail folder. So he never saw them. Because that crap was getting on HoJo’s last fucking nerve, OK? I mean, not only was he having to contend with those DFHs hanging out in the plaza with their signs and their chalk and their food and their hopes and their dreams, they also thought they had the right to assemble and march and the freedom to speak, any time they wanted! The last thing he needed to see in his email box was some exaggerated BS about one of his officers knocking some college girl off her bike and cracking her head open or arresting some loudmouth journalist or lacerating the spleen of some guy with a camera. He was forced to deal with that, uh, unfortunate Scott Olsen thing, since the whole goddamn world suddenly seemed to be all freaked out about some skinny veteran almost losing his life in the streets of Oakland. (Jordan and Quan had really hoped they would get their turn to be on the The Daily Show, but not like this.)

The Children's Brigade, i.e. the cutest part of the 99%

Flickr photo by anirvan

Interfaith group

Flickr photo by geekeasy (Adam Katz)

Above: Hippie children and the occupants of the illegal Interfaith Tent Umbrella, just two of the many banes of HoJo’s existence.

Now poor HoJo is in even more trouble with Judge Thelton Henderson, since emails from Robert Warshaw (the federal monitor Henderson appointed to oversee OPD) ended up in HoJo’s junk mail and he never responded to them. It’s not Howard’s fault that Warshaw titled his message, “Disciplinary Actions-Occupy Oakland.” “It was never my intention to ignore the monitor,” Jordan said in his declaration. In fact, Jordan and his officers have taken the threat of federal receivership hella seriously. For instance, they posted defaced, racially insensitive photos of Judge Henderson (an African-American) and Mayor Quan (a Chinese American) on a bulletin board in the Oakland Police Administrative Building and didn’t even take them down after an employee complained. So there, Mistah Warshaw, you devil, you. The irresistible Ms. Santana may win this round yet. Or maybe not.

Anyway, all this unwanted (and undeserved, in Howard’s estimation) attention on OPD is like deja vu all over again. It reminds HoJo a lot of when he had to bust some hippie heads back in 2003, during that episode when OPD infiltrated an anti-war group and then used wooden bullets, sting-ball grenades and beanbag rounds to break up their non-violent protest at the Port of Oakland. (Back then Jordan had this to say: “You don’t need to have some special skill to infiltrate these groups. Two of our officers were elected leaders within an hour of joining the group. So if you put people in there from the beginning, I think we’d be able to gather information and maybe even direct them to do something that we want them to do.”)

That little dustup in 2003 led to a class action lawsuit and ultimately resulted in OPD’s hands being tied (theoretically) by the adoption of a new Crowd Control Policy that strictly limits the use of force. Now those same bleeding hearts that were all upset back then are up in arms again, suggesting that OPD continues to violate its own policy. And all this drama is making HoJo look like an incompetent liar. Which is not true; lying is something he excels at. Just ask Alan Blueford’s parents.

On the bright side (Judge Henderson, are you listening?), OPD’s new 2012 Occupy Oakland War Room is a well-oiled machine. Millions of taxpayer dollars are funneled from schools, libraries and neighborhood crime initiatives in order to ensure that no illegal camping takes place downtown, that no graffiti mars the Clorox Building or CitiBank, that no Chamber of Commerce member is inconvenienced. While OO marked the one-year anniversary of the October 25th camp raid and police riot,

inside a downtown building, dozens of city, county, regional and state workers gathered at the city’s Emergency Operations Center to provide support and coordinate the troops on the streets.

Three officers sat at computers monitoring Twitter and other social media for clues on protester plans. Other officers coordinated the taking of internal affairs complaints, and some oversaw the gathering of street intelligence. Five televisions and several other screens showed live streaming video from locations around the city.

The story above also revealed some “undisclosed technology” that allowed OPD to keep track of a protestor who allegedly threw rocks at an officer; he was arrested later when he had fewer comrades around to save him. My guess is that “undisclosed technology” is actually a low-tech undercover officer; as HoJo says above, it don’t take no special skillz.  Hey, Officer Friendly! Follow me on Facebook! I know, you already do!

And Howard, I couldn’t leave without posting a little something special just for you; you know I’ll be thinking of you every day between now and December 13th:

Occupy Oakland: Reflections on #025

By: hotflashcarol Saturday October 27, 2012 12:13 pm

Thursday, October 25, 2012, marked the one-year anniversary of the Oakland Police Department’s violent assault on the Occupy Oakland encampment and the ensuing protest in which Iraq veteran and anti-war activist Scott Olsen was shot at close range with a barely-less-than-lethal beanbag round. People attempting to administer aid to Scott were forced to flee when an officer fired a flashbang grenade into the group. Eventually Scott was carried away by his comrades and driven to Highland Hospital, where it was determined that he had a skull fracture and brain injury that kept him from being able to speak. Scott survived Iraq only to be critically wounded by a sociopath paid by the City of Oakland to protect and serve the interests of the one percent.

Chief OPD Sociopath Howard Jordan, facing the likelihood of federal receivership in six weeks, at long last has been forced to acknowledge that it was an OPD officer under his command who fired on Scott Olsen and not some rogue member of the numerous other law enforcement agencies who provided mutual aid that night. In an unprecedented shakeup, HoJo has stated publicly that the officer who nearly killed Scott Olsen “acted inappropriately” and at least a couple of sacrificial piggy heads will roll.

OPD received more than 1,100 complaints related to Occupy Oakland incidents. Based on OPD’s ongoing investigations (they’ve only addressed about half of the complaints so far), a total of 44 officers will be disciplined. Two officers will be fired, one will be demoted, three are to undergo counseling and training, 15 will be suspended for up to 30 days and 23 will receive written reprimands. This makes me think of a joke: What do you call 100,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start. (Apologies to lawyers; feel free to replace that group with the demonized demographic of your choice.)


Flickr photo by Bora S. Kamel, taken in Cairo, Egypt on October 28, 2011

The ensuing months have not dampened the horror and the rage that so many of us felt on October 25, 2011. That rage catapulted Oakland into the spotlight and helped to catalyze the Occupy movement around the globe. Within days, attendance at our general assembly had grown from 300 to 3,000 and within just a week we were able to mobilize 30,000 or more to participate in a general strike and a shutdown of the Port of Oakland. Despite his continued anxiety around cops, Scott Olsen continues to participate; he says that Occupy has been “a success overall . . . it has radicalized a generation who I don’t think is going to give up until we create a world that we want to live in.”

Leah-Lynn Plante Apparently Has Been Released: Update 1

By: hotflashcarol Friday October 19, 2012 1:01 pm

Information from the Free Leah website was just posted on Facebook that indicates Pacific Northwest grand jury resister Leah-Lynn Plante has been released from prison. The statement is relatively short and quite alarming, despite what should be very good news. I don’t want to just cut and paste the whole thing; please go to the link. It begins as follows:

First and foremost, do not panic.

Leah wanted for us to express these points to you with this news:

  • She is extremely traumatized and experienced a lot of very, very bad things,  but she is alive. The state of her mental health is also very bad.
  • She asks that people do not jump to wild conclusions about her release because they do not apply.
  • She spent her whole time in SHU / Administrative Detention (solitary confinement) and was told that that is where she would stay for the duration of her incarceration, up to 18 months. She was classified as “different” from Matt and Kteeo.

For anyone unfamiliar with Leah, Kevin wrote about her just a few days ago here.

Google and bing searches turn up no additional information; I’ll update if/when more becomes available.

UPDATE 1: This appears to be another site where Leah posts. I say “appears” because I can’t say for sure that this was posted by Leah. I’m taking everything with a grain of salt until more information becomes available on the Free Leah page, which seems to be a little more official. In the meantime, Leah, if you are indeed reading what the internet has to say about you, let me say this: I am holding you in my heart today, along with that “new world” that so many of us are trying to make possible. Whatever happened to you, please know that you are not alone. There are a whole bunch of us out here who have your back.