Posted in Almost Dorothy

Almost Dorothy on Martin Luther King

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” –Martin Luther King

Edward Snowden and I are on our way to America (or back to Russia) to bring justice for all. Maybe this is an illusion but I like to think I can make a difference just like I can make spaghetti and just like Edward Snowden can steal secrets. It’s no secret that racism exists and that it is taught to us by our parents and reinforced through social interactions and the media. What is a secret is that there’s a large percentage of the population that believe race doesn’t matter when it comes to dispensing justice for all. This fact remain: there is a disparity when dispensing justice in America.

According to the Center for  American Progress:

1. While people of color make up about 30 percent of the United States’ population, they account for 60 percent of those imprisoned. The prison population grew by 700 percent from 1970 to 2005, a rate that is outpacing crime and population rates. The incarceration rates disproportionately impact men of color: 1 in every 15 African American men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men.

2. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. Individuals of color have a disproportionate number of encounters with law enforcement, indicating that racial profiling continues to be a problem. A report by the Department of Justice found that blacks and Hispanics were approximately three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than white motorists. African Americans were twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.

3. Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated. Black and Hispanic students represent more than 70 percent of those involved in school-related arrests or referrals to law enforcement. Currently, African Americans make up two-fifths and Hispanics one-fifth of confined youth today.

4. According to recent data by the Department of Education, African American students are arrested far more often than their white classmates. The data showed that 96,000 students were arrested and 242,000 referred to law enforcement by schools during the 2009-10 school year. Of those students, black and Hispanic students made up more than 70 percent of arrested or referred students. Harsh school punishments, from suspensions to arrests, have led to high numbers of youth of color coming into contact with the juvenile-justice system and at an earlier age.

5. African American youth have higher rates of juvenile incarceration and are more likely to be sentenced to adult prison. According to the Sentencing Project, even though African American juvenile youth are about 16 percent of the youth population, 37 percent of their cases are moved to criminal court and 58 percent of African American youth are sent to adult prisons.

6. As the number of women incarcerated has increased by 800 percent over the last three decades, women of color have been disproportionately represented. While the number of women incarcerated is relatively low, the racial and ethnic disparities are startling. African American women are three times more likely than white women to be incarcerated, while Hispanic women are 69 percent more likely than white women to be incarcerated.

7. The war on drugs has been waged primarily in communities of color where people of color are more likely to receive higher offenses. According to the Human Rights Watch, people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites, but they have higher rate of arrests. African Americans comprise 14 percent of regular drug users but are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses. From 1980 to 2007 about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African American.

8. Once convicted, black offenders receive longer sentences compared to white offenders. The U.S. Sentencing Commission stated that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10 percent longer than white offenders for the same crimes. The Sentencing Project reports that African Americans are 21 percent more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than white defendants and are 20 percent more like to be sentenced to prison.

9. Voter laws that prohibit people with felony convictions to vote disproportionately impact men of color. An estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote based on a past felony conviction. Felony disenfranchisement is exaggerated by racial disparities in the criminal-justice system, ultimately denying 13 percent of African American men the right to vote. Felony-disenfranchisement policies have led to 11 states denying the right to vote to more than 10 percent of their African American population.

10. Studies have shown that people of color face disparities in wage trajectory following release from prison. Evidence shows that spending time in prison affects wage trajectories with a disproportionate impact on black men and women. The results show no evidence of racial divergence in wages prior to incarceration; however, following release from prison, wages grow at a 21 percent slower rate for black former inmates compared to white ex-convicts. A number of states have bans on people with certain convictions working in domestic health-service industries such as nursing, child care, and home health care—areas in which many poor women and women of color are disproportionately concentrated.

Read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/23/nyregion/23trial.html?_r=0

Posted in Almost Dorothy

Almost Dorothy is pro ‘bear arms’

The right to bear arms.
The right to bear arms.

In response to the Trayvon Martin case and George Zimmerman’s overzealous quest to bear arms, I believe we should focus more on the rights of every American to bear arms. If we lived in a world in which every human has the right to hang a pair of bear arms upon their wall, we’d have a safer and more peaceful planet. It’s simple. When people spend their time shooting bears for their arms, there will be less time wasted on people shooting other people. Let’s focus on shooting bears for their arms and hang those arms on our walls. Or, let’s just manufacture synthetic bear arms so we don’t have to shot real bears and risk our lives. The best thing: we can wear these bear arms over our real human arms just like the guy above. That’s awesome, right?! So, let’s stop shooting each other because there’s no point. We can’t even hang the arms of our victims on our walls. Shoot a bear and hang his or hear bear arms on the wall or just buy your very own bear arms at your local bear arm dealer. It’s a no brainer. God Bless bear arms! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RablPaIREkk

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Almost Dorothy breaks her silence on concrete & Robert Zimmerman

Dear Robert Zimmerman,

Gun
Gun

On my way from Vienna to Berlin on a motorbike with Edward Snowden on my back, I stopped at a gas station and saw your interview with Piers Morgan on CNN. Piers is hot. You’re kind of cute, too. However, when you opened your mouth, I heard bullshit and coded racism. You said so many things that made me cry. The one thing that made me shout out the most was this fancy quote: “There are people that would want to take the law into their own hands…they will always present a threat to George [Zimmerman].”

Concrete
Concrete

Robert, would you afford this same argument–to defend your brother’s honor–to Trayvon Martin? Didn’t your brother George Zimmerman take the law into his own hands? That is what you said when the interview started and that is exactly what your brother’s defense lawyers argued throughout the trial.

If I take your argument at face value and remove all the make up and lipstick from my face, I can extend your logic and argue that Trayvon Martin also had the right to defend himself just like your brother, George Zimmerman, had the right to defend himself. Martin had the equal right to defend himself with whatever means necessary at his disposal. The only difference: Martin used his body to stand his ground while your brother used a gun to storm Martin’s ground.

Robert Zimmerman, what you have not addressed is the basic question: why did George Zimmerman invade Trayvon Martin’s space? What crime did he commit? And, finally, what right did your brother have to even inquire into Martin’s right to walk home? George Zimmerman is not an officer of the law.

Trayvon Martin’s body was found on the grass 20 feet away from his supposed ‘concrete weapon’. Trayvon Martin’s body was found 20 feet away your brother, George Zimmerman’s, self-defense argument. Why didn’t George shoot Trayvon when Trayvon wielded his concrete weapon?

Trayvon Martin courtesy of MSNBC.
Trayvon Martin courtesy of MSNBC.
Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Almost Dorothy breaks her silence on the Trayvon Martin case

On my way back to the United States with fugitive Edward Snowden, I read about the Trayvon Martin murder trial. People seem to be pretty (and ugly) split in their defense of Martin or the defendant, George Zimmerman. I’m not a biologist, but I have two or more things to say:

1. Why the fuck are ‘citizens’  like Zimmerman becoming vigilantes running around suburbia with guns when violent crime statistics across the country have fallen precipitously over the last 40 years. (See the New York Times article “Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts“.)

2. However, is there a connection between violent crime increasing since 2006 (New York Times), easy access to high-powered weapons and the doubling of gun ownership since 2000 (Live Science)?

3. Why did defense lawyers claim that Trayvon Martin used concrete as a weapon against George Zimmerman? If Zimmerman was stalking Martin, wouldn’t Martin thus have the right to defend himself using whatever means necessary, including concrete or karate. Does stand your ground only apply to people who are carrying guns? What about people who are unarmed? Are they the ones who have to justify their right to walk on any street in America at any time of the day?

4. Guns don’t kill people. People holding guns kill people. Limit access to guns in the hands of people who may kill people and maybe we can reduce the rising violent crime statistics of people using guns to kill people.

5. Why is it that Americans are presumed innocent before proven guilty in the court of law, yet we are allowed to shoot our fellow Americans down (especially in the State of Florida) on the streets without this same presumption of innocence?

6. Do people dress to kill and then buy skittles and ice tea instead or do people kill to kill regardless of the skittles or ice tea in one’s hands?

Anyway, like I said, I’m not physicist. I have to board my flight now from Vienna to an undisclosed location. I have Snowden in my purse and he has been a good sport about it. See you soon.

Trayvon Martin courtesy of MSNBC.
Trayvon Martin courtesy of MSNBC.

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Posted in Almost Dorothy

Almost Dorothy returns with Edward Snowden

Dear Readers,

I apologize for not blogging. As usual, hijackers hijacked me. For real. It’s been so surreal and real at the same time I’ve lost the ability to distinguish that dividing line between reality and fiction. Some days I wonder if I’m real or fiction, boy or girl, human or humane. But, this is a good thing. We should all question the quality and quantitative value of our existence. I have no idea what that means, but Sharon-Needles-to-say ma has paid the ransom and I’m on my way back to the United States with Edward Snowden, who swears he was just kidding about stealing state secrets. All Snowden really knows is that Lady Gaga’s new album is light-years behind what Bjork did a decade ago, which is like so ridiculous I’ll need to buy new sunglasses. So, get ready people. I’ve packed my bags, gobbled up some hot buffet at the cafeteria and I’m headed for America from lock-down at the Sheremetyevo International Airport. In the meantime, don’t hold your breath, but dream of me and the anti-rule of lawlessness.

Love you (almost) always,

Almost Dorothy

Almost Dorothy spotted at Sheremetyevo International Airport.
Almost Dorothy spotted at Sheremetyevo International Airport.
Posted in Art + Design

Q&A with Artist JeanPaul Mallozzi

Read my exclusive interview with artist JeanPaul Mallozzi for art & entertainment magazine Scene360.

Detail of "Lie With Me" by JeanPaul Mallozzi.
Detail of “Lie With Me” by JeanPaul Mallozzi.
Posted in Almost Dorothy

14 Things I learned about dating donkeys

English: Two men shoeing a donkey. Black-and-w...
English: Two men shoeing a donkey. Black-and-white photograph. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Donkeys don’t date. They hook up or get hitched.

2. There’s no in between because that space in between hooking up and getting hitched is mined with the awkward sound of hu(man) communication.

3. What one donkey wants and what one donkey needs are often confused.

4. Wash hands. Rinse. Repeat. Often.

5. If one attracts a donkey, follow donkey home. Exit car or whatever mode of transportation you chose to take. Proceed to ddonkey’s bedroom window and watch for another donkey (male) (or female) (or male and female) beside your donkey date in his bed with his arms wrapped around him or her or them. In lieu of an empty nest. In lieu of loneliness.

6. Donkeys are quantum singularities in a pluralistic society.

7. Bring your own condom. Donkeys are also irresponsible.

8. Vegetarian donkeys are too complicated.

9. Omnivore donkeys are too voracious.

10. Coffee is code for sex. Sex is code for loneliness. Loneliness is code for only ever wanting sex. LTR is code for “Like Truly Ridiculous”.

11. Most donkeys can’t formulate a complete sentence in real-time unless it’s a text message.

12. A white knight is never a white knight.

13. A donkey is a hoofed mammal with long ears and a braying call; an ass.

14. A white donkey is still a donkey.

Posted in Almost Dorothy

A Peom about Unemployed Chicken

Birds on a Wire | Photo by Neil de la Flor
Birds on a Wire | Photo by Neil de la Flor

1. We go to war.

3. It looks as if we are going to war.

2. The angel of death wore me out with his vegetables. The war is black now.

4. I dream of his unstable crown of thorns.

6. The one who spoke vicariously in silence spelled theories in Magic Marker.

5. He is theoretically sipping a beer with neighbors on a sailboat on the Miami River.

7. They love beer.

9. The dancing bear is a dancing bear is a dancing bear and Zen Buddhists are idiots.

8. As if

10. he doesn’t care about chicken wings.

12. A pink blind horse drags itself center stage. Curtsies. Behind the horse, the past and the present converse over universal sandwiches.

11. The difference between a demon and a devil, the past says—

13. Is the difference between a mask and a mirror, the present responds.

15. The ego is a song.

14. The war is a song.

16. The song is performed by an orchestra of ravens in a foreground that is always blue–

18. as unemployed chickens disguise themselves as saints.

17. For real.

Posted in Almost Dorothy

A Poem About a Plot

The Red Lights of the  World | Photo by Neil de la Flor
The Red Lights of the World | Photo by Neil de la Flor

1. We bond over electronic music and make out.

2. On the dance floor, his arms are iron balls

3. destined for the seabed.

4. We pray for the abyss to relinquish the red lights of the world.

5. Adora welcomes the world batting her eyelashes like a flamenco dancer bats her abanico. She is ridiculous in her beehive wig.

6. A boy and a girl wear leather dog collars

7. as Lola spins the 80s—Cure, Depeche Mode, The Clash.

8. Two shots of tequila enter the photographic memory and each shot is a declaration of love or something close to a cross and bow. The arrow of time is a cosmic phenomenon divined in blue agave.

9. The cosmos is a black veil that quarrels with vagabonds. He reveals the history of sharing needles beneath yellow street lights—a pair of binary stars gripped by gravity fight for more space.

10. Vampires and bats quarrel behind iron bars in the yellowing twilight as I bend dangerously over in awe of angels.

11. We morph into morphs and transmit the secrets of starlets and starlight to passersby.

12. The shadow on the left puts his left hand in the right pocket of the shadow on the right.

13. We (or they) were nouns and verbs conjugated in a foreign language in a foreign landscape between time and space.

14. Each word plots a point of light in the dark.

Posted in Almost Dorothy

A Prayer for a Red Room

Red Velvet | Photo by Neil de la Flor
Red Velvet | Photo by Neil de la Flor

1. I had my money on him like I have money like I’m sick of him trying to get to me like Jesus.

2. He walks through my red living room to the other red room wearing a jockstrap and high-heel boots.

3. He carries white roses in case it’s Christmas.

4. He is not a jock or Christ-like, but his chin is sanctified.

5. The strap pulls strangely around his cheeks looking like the jowl of a skinny pitbull.

6. He sits on the sofa and the sofa is surrounded by candles that are lit and not lit and he is lit and I’m unaware that he is.

7. He is positive yoga will solve history. And dance. And cartography.

8. Life is interesting, I say, when you become interested in life.

9. He is in the corner of the room kicking at the demons and blames me for leaving the mattress alone.

10. He shaves his or her hair and Lakshmi doesn’t want anymore children because Shiva has turned blue and cold even though he is dancing.

11. Always dancing.

12. He reads the illustrated Holy Bible in my red red room and the red room reads with him. The red velvet curtains seal the red room as the incense from New Mexico burns on the fireplace lined with paper dolls—

13. of Jesus & Mary, of all the saints & all the apostles, of the one true God–as the archangels swoop down and set fire to them.

14. An effigy of the burning boy burns in the red room of paper dolls.