In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.

Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” was written exactly 50 years ago, on this day. Do read it again if you can. A paragraph:

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

MLK Jr’s tone is conversational — he tries to reason with his readers — as well as indignant and righteous. And he takes great aim at the ‘white moderate’. His description of the white moderate feels… timeless.

First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

“Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping.”
— Mister Rogers

I’m imagining Mister Rogers dropping the mic and swaggering off the set in his sweater, knowing these words would help kids and adults alike focus on what needed focusing on, after a tragedy. Thank you, Fred. Now can this be our collective motto for everything, everyday?

Boston, we are with you. My heart aches. Our hearts ache.

Thank you, first responders, the greater Boston community, and the world. “Cooperation after a Tragedy: When our Hearts Know Better than our Minds

Respect to Dave Zirin (@edgeofsports), for reminding us of the history of the Boston marathon and of Kathrine Switzer, the first woman who ran the race. “The Boston Marathon: All my Tears, All my Love

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” – Kathrine Switzer

And that awful feeling in Boston — of chaos, pain, the worst experience ever? It’s hard to stomach the multiple, coordinated, terror attacks of car bombs and roadside bombs and armed gunmen all around the country of Iraq today. We mourn the deaths of 75, the wounds of 356, the terrorized psyches of Iraqis. Unimaginable. “Iraq’s Bloody Monday: 75 Killed, 356 Wounded

Iraq, we are with you. My heart aches. Our hearts ache.

Kendrick Lamar tells the story behind “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” from his album Good Kid, m.A.A.d City. I knew it was deeply personal but didn’t realize this song embodied so much of Kendrick Lamar’s own transformation. If you haven’t listened to the actual song from the album, do that too, after watching this (it’s on youtube and elsewhere).

Tracy Clayton wrote about the historic relevance of the numerous nicknames that 9 year-old Oscar nominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis unwillingly received at The Oscars, Quvenzhané.  Check out the piece, it’s an important read.  Warsan Shire is quoted — one of my favorite quotes ever:

“Give your daughters difficult names. Give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. My name makes you want to tell me the truth. My name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right … Give your children difficult names, so the world may learn how to unfurl its tongue in the direction of our stolen languages.”  – Warsan Shire

leng phe performs a keyboard/vocals cover of frank ocean’s Swim Good, and it reminds me how beautiful the lyrics are.

Rihanna threw me off guard with her two performances on Saturday Night Live yesterday. Phenomenal songs and performances. Below is “Diamonds”. Also, I want her hairstyle:

And “Stay”. Wasn’t ready for this one. Oh, my my.

Brilliant 36 min mix by DIPLO, entitled “got stoned & mixed really old records for half an hour.”

“Built for This” with Method Man, Freddie Gibbs, and Streetlife, was the first release from RZA’s soundtrack to Tarantino’s upcoming flick Man with the Iron Fists. This track has ridiculous bass and drum lines, and is quite addictive. It had me wanting more.

Well it’s time. The album’s due out in just a few days. Thanks to Pitchfork, you can stream the entire album until its release –> [Link]

“There are things you take and make your own. Things you adapt and take far beyond their origins. That’s the story of the African guitar. The guitar is an African instrument as Christianity is an African religion, football an African sport, and English an African language.” – teju cole (twitter)

Courtesy of Teju Cole, below are 20 songs he posted individually on twitter. thx to leah reich for compiling these into one playlist.

A good read, short piece on one kind of 21st century Jim Crow, focusing on the millions of former felons who are disenfranchised from voting:

“We have seen these shenanigans before: grandfather clauses; poll taxes, literacy tests. Yet African-Americans — heck, Americans in general — seem remarkably quiescent about seeing it all come around again, same old garbage in a different can.

“If you want to vote, show it,” trilled a TV commercial in support of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law before a judge blocked its implementation. The tenor of the ad was telling, though, implicitly suggesting that voting is a privilege for which one should be happy to jump through arbitrary hoops.

But voting is emphatically not a privilege. It is a right. By definition, then, it must be broadly accessible. These laws ensure that it is not.”

exactly one year and one day after the last communique from this here blog.

In a beautiful showdown at the October 15th Times Square #OccupyWallStreet protest yesterday, a US Marine yelled at NYPD police for their aggressive behavior. Marine Sergeant Shamar Thomas first talked peacefully to the police, then yelled at them, as they blasted on their megaphones statements like “leave the sidewalk and nobody gets hurt.” So many people who were tweeting or speaking on livecams from the protest side confirmed that the NYPD were being aggressive and repeatedly threatened protesters about hurting them if they didn’t immediately heed the commands to move out of Times Square (where they were very peacefully protesting). After a minute or two, the US Marine became increasingly angry, and among what he yelled to the NYPD were:

“These are U.S. citizens peacefully protesting! These are the people you are supposed to protect!” “Why are you all acting like there’s a war out here, no one has guns! Why are you treating people like this! This is America, why are you treating people like this! Nobody’s gonna hurt you guys. Why are you all gearing up like this is war? This is not war! This is not war!

Why am you all acting like this? No one has guns. There are no bullets flying out here. How tough are you? How do you sleep at night? There is no honor in this. None. It takes a coward to hurt an unarmed civilian!”

It was so moving to see a US Marine check the NYPD on their actions, and remind them of their duty to protect, not threaten, the protesters. It was also moving to me, personally, to see this anger come from the mouth of a black man, and for his words to be respected (instead of tasers or batons being unleashed on him). Viewing the video, you get a sense of the collective frustration and rage of the crowd, coming out of the mouth of a US serviceman.

We are living history right now. Can you feel it?

Another video of the same interaction:

A brief history of US bank mergers, 1990-present, summarized in one chart. This says so much:

(chart obtained from motherjones, data from Federal Reserve, GAO)

Remember this speech from Charlie Chaplin, in The Great Dictator, a movie he wrote, directed, and produced himself? (did you know it was released in 1940, before we even went to war with germany?)

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair”…

…Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security.

happy labor day to all.

[if interested, here's the full text of the speech.]

I’ve been waiting patiently for El-P to release his next album. Really loved “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” (it was my anthem for a bit). And he’s great in concert too. So I’m excited about his first release off his upcoming album. The track is entitled Drones over Brooklyn. Here’s a link to a stream of the track on okayplayer, and El-P released the mp3 download of the track for free today. (link). Enjoy.

Lengthening Shadows is the first track that Joshua Eustis (of Telefon Tel Aviv) put together since the other half of the group passed away. It’s haunting and mesmerizing. And you get to have it all to yourself, to play on repeat or whenever you damn feel like it. Thanks to XLR8R, you can download it for free.

Oliver Stone’s documentary ‘South of the Border’ (trailer). Interesting!

Cross-posted at CureThis:

“This law will make me feel like a Nazi out there.  I have a great deal of contempt for it; I’m very emotional about it… This law is – pure and simple – a racist law.”

In the lead-up to the implementation of SB1070, the Arizona law known commonly as “papers please”, it is heartening to see a police officer in AZ speak up against it:

He very clearly states why this law is a huge health/human rights violation:

“So under SB1070 I know that people will not call officers in the case of a real emergency. I could see this type of scenario: a woman is being beaten by her husband or her significant other.  And, if I show up, and I develop reasonable suspicion, or LESS, even, that the person that is a perpetrator in this case, is in this country extralegally, i’m going to start heading in the direction of asking the victim of the case, are you here illegally?  I will have to arrest both of them — I’ll be required to — and both will be deported.  It violates our calling to serve and protect. It violates, under our Constitution, the requirement to serve and protect.”

Thanks to the savvy folks at Cuentame for collecting video testimonials. And check out Alto Arizona for actions in Arizona this week, and solidarity actions you can join in your own towns and states.

So there’s a story from NPR this past week that’s getting passed around like ladoos at an Indian ceremony.  It’s about gay weddings and Indian-Americans.  I appreciate the sentiment and do agree that it’s moving that there are Indian-American parents who are coming to terms with and celebrating their kids’ unions with others of the same sex. I understand it’s a light-hearted piece, but I have a few very critical reactions to it.

First, it’s a story, in typical NPR style, that’s pre-packaged and presented in sing-song like fashion, from beginning to end.  It’s sad, and honestly nauseating, how so many NPR stories are crafted like “afterschool specials”. Please, treat us with a little more maturity and respect.

Second, and this is my bigger issue, the story celebrates gay marriage and Indian-Americans (a step forward), while celebrating and lauding practices of arranged marriages and twisted ideas of what is acceptable in society (parents advertising their children in the paper, using socioeconomic status and fair skin and other regressive ideas of what is desired in society).  The story ends with this sequence of paragraphs:

And I remembered that old coming-out line: “Mom, Dad, I am not going to get married.” The next generation of immigrant gays and lesbians might have to come up with some other coming-out line.

In fact, I can imagine this ad in the local Indian weekly:

“Hindu very well-established Los Angeles family invites professional match for daughter, 25, 5-foot-3, slim, fair complexion, U.S. born, senior executive in Fortune 500 company. Loves music and dancing. Prospective lesbians encouraged to reply in confidence with complete bio data and returnable photo. Must be professional, under 30, caste no bar.”

It might just be time for the gay arranged marriage.

Gay marriage is NOT the only manifestation of gay/queer relationships, so the idea that in the future most Indian kids who are gay are going to need a coming out line other than “mom, dad, I am not going to get married” is a little silly.  And, the ad in the local Indian weekly, I almost jumped out of my seat when I read it.  The piece is embracing the idea of moving gay marriage into the old ways of representation of desire — socioeconomic status, fairness of skin (don’t say caste no bar when you’re bringing these two things into the mix!).   This is exactly the very fear that queer people have about gay culture and marriage ‘equality’ — that it risks succumbing to the normative model of what is desired and what is not desired in society, as a compromise instead of moving to a model of liberation and love.  Embracing the modern day caste system doesn’t feel very much like progress to me.  Thoughts?

One day I’ll make music like Herbie Hancock.  (thx to James Neal for sharing this vid):

My latest post on LAist.com:  Tablacentric: Two-Week Long Residency Starts Tonight. Check out the events if you can, most of them are free. [And check out the LAist interview I conducted two years ago, with Robin Sukhadia, the organizer of Tablacentric].

Oh yes they did. Very creative, slightly disturbing, and wow. Alien vs Pooh

Just renamed the blog. I think it’s self-explanatory, don’t you? It may change, it’s fluid right now, but the two cities aren’t changing. I’m in love with both and from now on will only live in cities I can play anjali word games with.

This week I wrote two posts for LAist, check ‘em out:

Schoolhouse Rock and the Health Care Reform Bill, where I discussed some of the background on the bill’s tortuous history and the senate shenanigans (filibustering, cloture, politics).

and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and All Through the Senate, about the historic health insurance reform vote passage in the Senate on Christmas eve. I discussed fantastical nerdy Senate history (the history of the filibuster, the last time the Senate ever met on Christmas eve, etc).

My good friends live in a mostly latino neighborhood just south of the prestigious snooty Hancock Park area in Los Angeles, and we’d sometimes drive through Hancock Park on our way back from outings or to just be snooty about the snootyness.  On quite a few occasions we’ve passed the Norwood Young house, and I’ve marveled at the numerous statues of Michalangelo’s David outside the white mansion [check 'em out on googlemaps street view]

Well today’s LAist post on Mr Young’s house — “Happy Holidays from Youngwood Court” — titillated me. I was so stoked to see this house decked out with Black Santa and Mrs Santa life-size decorations, beautiful lights everywhere, each of the SEVENTEEN David’s with red tops and no bottoms, and a life-size cutout of Norwood himself. I love the creativity that went into this decoration — probably one of the most unique christmas house decorations I’ve ever seen. And it makes me giggle that he does that in Hancock Park, pissing off many of the neighbors and making them worry about their property values. Koga, who wrote the post on LAist, linked to this article from 1997, about neighbors’ reactions to the ‘House of Davids’. The best line from the article:

“It is like spitting in somebody’s eye,” said Marguerite Byrne, a member of the Hancock Park Homeowners Assn.’s board of directors. “It is individualism run amok.”

Oh, the irony! The irony!

Anyway, Norwood Young’s website is a trip, with full episodes about his house, his costume parties, and his music. All this eccentric youngwood court history I didn’t know of when I lived in Los Angeles. Norwood Young and LAist, you made my christmas day.

Cure This is a website that a few of us developed in the past two years to feature voices around health & healthcare, human rights, and healing.  It seeks to engage those who’ve been affected by the healthcare system, those who work to transform our culture, those who create innovative models.  We were fortunate to be approached by Bonnie Fortune about Cure This being part of an exhibit in Chicago, and we are grateful to her for the invitation.  The exhibit “presents work by artists and activists representing historical and visual exchanges around feminist health movements”. Take a look at the website for the event.  The blog Art Talk Chicago also has a piece with photos from the exhibit.  Check it out if you’re in or near Chicago.  And take a look at the websites and artwork of various artists, performers, and other multimedia contributors to the event (more below).

EveryBody!: Visual resistance in feminist health movements, 1969-2009

September 11-October 10, 2009

I Space Gallery 230 West Superior Street Second Floor Chicago, IL 60654 | 312.587.9976 | Tu-Sa 11am-5pm

By combining historical documents from the Women’s Health Movement (WHM) with presentations and performances by artists and activists working towards health care justice in the present day, Every Body! explores how feelings, theories, and actions are shaped into the creation of a place where all bodies are celebrated and health care is a human right. The exhibition begins with the visual culture of the WHM of the late 1960s-70s through posters, ephemera, and literature donated from individuals, groups, and institutions involved in the movement including the Chicago Women’s Graphics Collective and the Federation of Women’s Health Centers. The work of participating artists reflects this movement and its evolution with creative responses to and representations of the issues surrounding the health needs of women, men, and transgendered people. Every Body! is an ongoing conversation, taken up and shared over many years.

The exhibit includes original work from the following artists and contributors (alphabetical order):

Heather Ault, CureThis!, Chicago Women’s Graphics Collective, Christa Donner, Suzann Gage, Terri Kapsalis, Suzanne Lacy, Madsen Minax, the Pink Bloque, Favianna Rodriguez, Dewayne Slightweight, Meredith Stern, subRosa, Laura Szumowski, Video Data Bank, Sara Welch, Women on Waves, and Faith Wilding.

Curator: Bonnie Fortune

Printed Matter

The exhibit features a zine library focusing on Riot Grrl zines, in addition to other health related publications and posters from the following sources:

I didn’t realize it until I saw the small note in my online calendar. “Los Anjalis anniversary” it said. I did a double take and realized, holy shit, is it really true? Four years ago today I started this blog. I had recently moved to Los Angeles from Newark New Jersey, and was working as a resident physician (specialty training after medical school) in family medicine, at a county hospital in LA. I was blogging at the time at To the Teeth, a health justice space I created back in 2002/2003, but I had a feeling I’d need to be blogging about politics, human rights, silly videos, culture, and los angeles, so Los Anjalis was created.

Now, four years later, four years wiser, four years sillier, I’ve landed in Albuquerque, New Mexico and will plant my feet and some seeds for a little while. I will share my stories on why and what and how, later. I’ve been in quite a wonderful transition from my work in Los Angeles to my work and life in New Mexico and have been quite sporadic and impersonal with my blogging here. I’ve been blogging a little bit more over at Cure This, a health justice blog that I co-founded in residency in Los Angeles. And I’m navigating that space that bloggers often do when they’re managing two blogs — should I stop posting at one of them? What should I post where? (and other totally useless thoughts that such privilege entails). I guess there’s always a need for this blog, at least to post autotune the news, or videos of europeans doing dances to the sound of music in a subway.

In related news, today also marks the day that my parents met, 37 whole years ago.

peace.

no, i don’t know how dead people can dance. no, i don’t know why mj turned into a zombie. no, i don’t know what that blood stuff is coming out of the zombie’s mouth. no, I wouldn’t want to be a zombie. Yes, those zombies are …like harry potter inferi. no, i don’t know how to scream as long as that girl does. no, i don’t think mj can tame zombies.

- brownfemipower (who blogs at flipfloppingjoy), answering her really cute kids as they all watch michael jackson’s Thriller video. this was a facebook status update i had to copy here. it made me so happy.

I have decided that I no longer have anything to say to people who can, with a straight face, defend this nonsense. Forget about race. Forget about class. Forget whether or not Gates or Officer Crowley are nice guys who treat their mothers well. The bottom line here is that an officer used the authority of law to restrict the liberty of a man who was expressing displeasure with him. If you think that is right, then you fundamentally disagree with the basic principle of a free society.

That is not hyperbole. If you are willing to grant any individual with a gun and a badge the authority to arrest people because they don’t like them, then you and I share no common principle on liberty and the right of people to be free from oppression. None.

from Post-Bourgie.

Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

John Hodgman followed President Obama’s speech to the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner with a speech about nerds vs jocks. Cracked me UP. He appropriately refers to Obama as “the first nerd president of the modern era”. Truly an exceptionally funny speech (tho i’m not a fan of nerd = needing asthma inhaler).

WOAH. Even 50% of Republicans favor the government offering everyone the option of a govt administered public health insurance option like Medicare that would compete with private health insurance plans. Now to hold our elected officials accountable to (and more in-touch with) us. Check out the full NYTimes piece including the actual questions and percentages of responses.

2 orgs i recommend checking out:
Health Care for America Now coalition (sign up!)
National Physicians Alliance (most vocal doctors org in the HCAN coalition)

Melissa Harris Lacewell, “Countering Anti-Choice Terrorism”:

I believe the murder of George Tiller was an act of domestic terrorism whose aim was not only to assassinate a single man, but also to frighten a generation of doctors and to shame and terrify women and families who are making difficult choices. While the murderous rage of Tiller’s assassin is not representative of the broader anti-choice movement, I believe that the anti-choice community operates with a totalitarian impulse that generates a culture of terror rather than a culture of life.

and

Often women must wade through disgusting, painful, and misleading “information” about abortion just to get basic medical advice. While there are political, judicial, and structural aspects to this issue, I want to also make an appeal for the power of our personal narratives to fight back against anti-choice terrorism.

Check out the whole piece…

THIS is creative. Cartoonists initiated a project to illustrate each of the songs on 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields (official band website here). I especially love the cartoon for “Let’s pretend we’re bunny rabbits.”

I’ll eagerly await the cartoon for the song Absolutely Cuckoo:

Don’t fall in love with me yet
We’ve only recently met
True I’m in love with you but
you might decide I’m a nut
Give me a week or two to
go absolutely cuckoo
then, when you see your error,
then, you can flee in terror
like everybody else does
I only tell you this cause
I’m easy to get rid of
but not if you fall in love
Know now that I’m on the make
and if you make a mistake
my heart will certainly break
I’ll have to jump in a lake
and all my friends will blame you
There’s no telling what they’ll do
It’s only fair to tell you
I’m absolutely cuckoo

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