UMass to rally in solidarity with public sector workers

A friend called me during a break at work to say she'd seen a flyer for a rally at UMass, and would I put it on the Arise blog?  Well, sure-- got to keep that solidarity growing.  I don't know if we're quite ready to "get it" in the U.S., but I do know that without more voices, more solidarity and more organizing, too many people will continue to act against their best interests.

My daughter posted a joke on Facebook this morning and now I've seen it everywhere, and even posted it myself; so one more time, because it really explains (almost) everything.: 

A public union employee, a tea party activist, and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, "Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie."

RALLY! Starting at 11:45am
Wednesday, March 2nd
In front of the Student Union - UMass

An injury to one is an injury to all!

Governor Walker of Wisconsin has filed a bill which he claims will balance the budget. The true motive is to crush the unions in Wisconsin by ending their right to collectively bargain. Similar union-busting bills are being considered in Indiana, Ohio and elsewhere.

The people of Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana are fighting back! We need to stand with them in solidarity. They are on the front lines of a concerted attack on the public sector all across the country.

Working class living standards across America have been under attack for over 30 years; it's time to draw a line in the sand.

Right here on our campus we see a steady disinvestment by the state in public higher education, the mortgaging of students' futures through enormous debt, and hundreds of workers who still labor without union protection.

Rally for workers rights! Defend the public sector! Join the Fight-back!

LGBT Immigrant Youth Face Increased Risk of Homelessness

Care2 is highlighting a report by Feet in Two Worlds  on homelessness among immigrant LGBT youth.

 Juan Valdez vividly recalls the night he left home.
“I grabbed a whole bunch of black plastic bags, packed all of my things, and went to my best friend’s house. And, I mean, what else could I do? I was 16, I didn’t know how to do anything,” Juan said.
Juan was kicked out of his house when he revealed to his parents that he was gay.
Adrielle Grant has a similar story.
“I moved down to New York with [my mom], and like two weeks into the move she found out that I was gay,” Adrielle said.  “The drama started and she kicked me out.” Adrielle (who changed his name from Leroy) was 18 when he became homeless.
The most recent survey of runaway and homeless youth in New York estimates that, each night, a minimum of 3,800 youth are homeless, more than half of whom identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Within the overall homeless youth population, 15 percent were born outside of the U.S. mainland.  Advocates say much of the immigrant homeless youth population identifies as lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual (LGBT).

Hymnowitz Interview

Kay Hymnowitz was involved in a live chat over at the Wall Street Journal. I've excerpted some of the comments and for those who are interested, added some commentary.

Ms. Hymowitz, Your essay draws a number of generalizations from anecdotal evidence, and while it may not be far from the mark, let me respond with an anecdote of my own. I'm a 20-something guy with a bachelors from Harvard and (soon) a law degree from Columbia. I eat healthy, work out, am reasonably good-looking; I have a job lined up at one of the top firms paying $160,000 per year; and I'll be clerking for a federal judge. And after spending years looking for the classy, ambitious, and charming gal that your essay proclaims to be the norm, I've all but given up the hunt. I've met girls at bars and parties, through blind dates and friendly set-ups, and here are the results of my own informal survey. At least two-thirds are far more interested in the "hookup scene" than I am, and couldn't care less about "sensitivity" or "smarts." The other third is either looking to be a Stepford wife, or is so inflated by her own sense of accomplishment that the only suitable match would be a billionare financier or a royal prince. So to put the question back at you: where have the good women gone? [SP: This was my experience as well when I was dating. Lot's of girls acted cheap, but what  used to disgust me the most were the women who would not give me the time of day before I was a doctor but were fawning over me after I became one. I suppose they saw me as a potential income stream. In order to "screen" for this type, when people asked me what I used to do, I'd reply "Human Resources".]


Kay Hymowitz:
I got a lot of questions in this vein: where have all the good women gone? As I said in my earlier response, I'm not crazy about using the notion of blame here.[SP: Hymonwitz avoids any judgement of female behaviour. I honestly think that she has swallowed the idea that a woman living the Sex and The City lifestyle is mature.] Men and women are reacting to huge changes in our economy and culture and there aren't a lot of clear rules anymore. But to answer a little differently: yes, I think women are sending a lot of confused messages to men and are quite confused themselves[SP: Agreed] in many cases about what they want.

[Comment From Denise JonesDenise Jones: ]
Don't you think that feminism has played a large role in creating the discrepancy between women's academic achievements [SP: I'd like to see the breakdown of those academic achievements. How many of them are in the hard sciences, math and the classics and how many of them are mickey mouse degrees in office management and creative dance. The deindustrialisation of the West has hit men particularly hard, it perhaps may not be that women have improved as much as men have job opportunities disappear]and men's and in creating the "pre-adult male"? The anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better attitude of women's libbers, or women in general, has put more high school girls in calculus classes than boys. I recall a time when I was the only girl in a roomful of males in the only calculus class offered (the other two girls enrolled withdrew --to many males). Feminism seems to have backfired.


[Comment From Richard CummingsRichard Cummings: ]
You wonder where the real men are. Don't you think that the women's movement, which denounced overly masculine men for being dominant, has something to do with the feminization of the culture? [SP: Nope. I don't respond to the feminist movement. I ignored them. It was a bunch of stupid males who bought into that crap and rolled over.]

Kay Hymowitz:
Feminism has played a huge role in the phenomenon I describe in my book Manning Up. Feminism made it possible for women to achieve as well as they have, of course. But some of the less appealing (to my mind) strains of the movement encouraged a kind of "I don't need men" attitude. The truth is women need men just like men need women. [SP: There is a logical error here. How does the I don't need men movement lament that there are no good men?]

Kay Hymowitz:
To add to that previous point, feminism also made it so that women were sure they could and should act just like men when it came to sex.[SP:True] Some women were fine ith that, but a lot are not. I hear from young women all the time that the hook up culture is part of the problem in meeting good guys. Some women assume hooking up will lead to real relationships. Sometimes it does. But usually not.

[Comment From Single in the CitySingle in the City: ]
As a woman in her mid-twenties living in Washington, DC, I find myself forced to navigate an unfulfilling--and almost non-existent--dating scene full of these exact 'guys', these post-pubescent boys as I refer to them. My question is what are my alternatives for graduating into adulthood--dating, finding a partner, being respected for being more than a "disposable estrogen toy", other than just giving up on the idea of a husband and family life or making the choice to "got to a sperm bank and get the DNA"--neither of which I find to be a satisfying solution. Is there any alternative for young, professional, heterosexual women other than being victimized by our own privilege?[SP: Victimised by their own privilege. That comment alone tells a whole lot about her mating failure.]

Kay Hymowitz:
Single: I think most women would agree with your preference here. And it's also, I would argue, good for men to have the responsibilites - and pleasures - of family life. My essay might have left the impression that there are no good men out there. That is just wrong. There are many and you will surely meet one of them. Hang in there!

[Comment From DKRDKR: ]
Why do video games have such a bad reputation among women? As a young male professional video game developer, I find that bringing up my career is akin to saying I have an STD. Despite my work being creative, challenging, engaging, and very well-paying, my date's uterus shuts like an airlock when she hears what I do. Are women just offended that men have interests that they don't share? And how is this different from the masculine interests of our fathers, like sports, or poker?[SP: Date's uterus shuts like a airlock? Sauve, No?]

Kay Hymowitz:

I thinkf your question answers itself. Most women would rather you didn't talk about their uteruses - that is, at least until the second date. (joking) Could it be that video games do not encourage the kind of manners and thoughtfulness that a lot of women might want?[SP: No, it's just plane old dorkiness]

[Comment From RP Westchester CountyRP Westchester County: ]
I enjoied the article as it really hit home. My son is 28, single, living inthe city and has yet to grow up. He grew up in an affluent household( father is MD, mother administrative RN. His is very brite but took 5 yrs to get throug college because of partying etc. He is narcisistic but very popular socially. Girlfriends are numerous but never last more than a month or two. He has a good job on wall street with room for advancement .[SP: And what are you trying to prove? Most young men would say that you have raised him perfectly, for most men he is living in Nirvana. He has no complaints.] My husband and I keep waiting for him to grow up so to speak. We both have a guilty conscience about this and feel that his behavior is as a result of us spoiling him as a child. Interestingly, we have a daughter who is exactly the opposite, very mature, married and quite successful age 30. Should we feel quilty ? RP

Kay Hymowitz:
RP I keep hearing this sort of story. No, you should not feel guilty. Clearly there is something in the culture that is not doing well by young men.[SP: From the perspective of the average young man, this is what is best about modern western culture, it's an endless cornucopia for the pre-adolescent. ]That's what we're trying to discuss here today.

[Comment From OffTheCuffOffTheCuff: ]
I'd like to give the perspective of the guy women *claim* to want. I'm a parent of three young children, and I met my wife when she was 18 and I was 20, and married her a few years later. Guys like me get out of the dating scene very quickly, because it's clear to us by then, most women our age prefer to sleep with "bad boys" than men of character. We then have a choice: So I got out, and got out fast. The longer it takes for women wait to learn to choose men based on character, rather than tingle, the more difficult it will be to find us, because the pool shrinks and shrinks fast. Men like us don't want to be your fallback-choice when you're 35 and have slept with half the city. What do you think about women's responsibility to prioritize the kind of men they choose, while still young?

Kay Hymowitz:
Off the Cuff; This is a theme I've heard a lot from men. Women don't seem attracted to the nice guys. I think this is truer for women in their early and mid twenties. [SP: Here the dark Id of the female pscyhe is opened. With the near absence of any censure or restriction by society, the woman today is free to choose to her hearts desire. The choice of bad boy is not due to faulty character of the woman but simply by the desire generated by his traits. Girls who think with their vagina act on their impulses. Churchy girls feel the same desire but they have other social and cognitive forces enable them to choose otherwise. But the "good" boy without any alpha features will, for the Churchy girl,  be a lukewarm love ] By later in their pre-adulthood they may have grown out of the bad boys but a lot of the good boys are taken.[ SP: They fall off the carousel]


Allison Lichter: 
We have a few questions on the same topic....


[Comment From CharlesCharles: ]
Plz enlighten the ignorant....why should a young man want familial responsibilities?[SP: At its most primitive, a man wants to leave a legacy, a bit of himself to the future. It's a primal desire]


Comment From HankHank: ]
Why is a lack of family responsibilities a state of limbo?


[Comment From DianaDiana: ]
Why does a man need to be married to be considered an adult? I know PLENTY of men who are single and aren't living at home, have a great job, dating... etc. I consider for them to be adults. But they aren't married.[SP: Anecdote is not argument.] So Kay, do you consider them pre-adult because they're not married? And if so, how many guys are married and still play video games, love Will Farrell, and have unclean houses? [SP: And the divorce rate is 50% for what reason. Retarded commentator, women initiate divorce because they find their husbands unsatisfying.  Most women don't leave their husband to run to another man, its just that perpetual adolescent and irresponsibility is a turn off to women. As  a greneralisation, women don't like responsibility, that does not mean that they can't be responsible, it's just that they like to be a relationship where the other party is capable of acting in a way that is responsible. They don't have to carry all the psychic load.]Probably the same number... they just have a wife that keeps it under wraps from the rest of the world.

Kay Hymowitz:
A man does not have to be married to be an adult, nor does a woman. But adulthood has always been intertwined with marriage and children IN EVERY SOCIETY. That's because rearing the next generation is about the most important thing we do. I don't mean that in a sappy way. I'm thinking in terms of social needs here.


[Comment From BozBoz: ]
Kay, but don't most professional women who have gone to the trouble to get a solid education want to wait until their 30's or later to have kids anyway? What's the point of marrying in your twenties, or growing up and settling in your twenties[SP: Legitimising the carousel] when you will live to be 80-90 yrs old. Especially considering that most women don't even know who they are until their thirties?

Kay Hymowitz:
Boz; you're right. A lot of women want to wait.[SP: Experience life, euphemism for riding the carousel.] Here's the problem: women in their thirties do not have the same pool of men to choose from that they have in their twenties. It's a sad and painful truth that men in their thirties remain attractive to younger women. Women do not attract younger men, by and large. This is what I describe in my book as a mismatch between biology and culture.[SP: Or fantasy clashing with reality]

[Comment From Grady StebbinsGrady Stebbins: ]
This is an interesting topic. I honestly think men will adapt to whatever circumstances around them dictate is necessary for (sexual) success. If women desire a family-head, "old fashioned" type of mate (as their fathers likely displayed), men will adopt that role. With women insisting on a more serious role for their own lives, possibly they respond more positively toward juvenile and entertaining (funny) behavior in men. Admittedly I fall partially in your demographic, 26, college education, successful at work, and in a long term relationship with no immediate intent to marry. My girlfriend responds much more to me making her laugh then if I were to balance the checkbook exactly (which I do anyways, for good measure.) I'm curious what you think the effects of women changing their responses to male behaviour would be?

Kay Hymowitz:
Grady; I share your belief that men pretty much adapt to what women demand of them.[SP: Bingo, feminism would have been stopped dead in its tracks if men stayed to the script. Yet feminism's greatest triumph was intertwining female "liberation" with sexual liberation. Most men, worshipers of the the pussy God, were more than happy to tear down the Western Edifice for a chance at a greater amount of poon.] This is a sore point among a lot of women; they don't see why they should be in charge of "civilizing" men. [Most women realise that they can manipulate a man with sex. And once they can manipulate him they having noting but contempt for him. Hint. libido killer.] But that irritation doesn't change the equation.

[Comment From NicholasNicholas: ]
There's an assumption in the original article that marriage is for the purpose of having children- which is largely not true in American society any longer. I wonder if some of the rejection of commitment is tied to a similar rejection of having children. I know it is true for myself.

[Comment From StuStu: ]
Hi Kay, previous generations didn't marry and settle down because of social needs, they did so due to cultural norms with respect to roles of men and women. I am skeptical that men of 200 years ago were any more interested in marriage and monogamy than they are now, it's just that it was more difficult then to have access to sex without marriage and kids.

Kay Hymowitz:
Interesting comment, Nicholas. My reading of history and anthropology is that     marriage was designed largely for the purpose of raising children. A lot of young men - and women - in their twenties think they don't want kids. I get it. A lot of people are having a good time and enjoying their careers. The women, at least, often change their minds when they reach their thirties. According to most surveys, though, the large majority of men and women say they want to marry and have children - someday.[SP: IVF allows one to postpone the day of reckoning.]

Lying Facebook page - why you can't believe everything you read

The Housatonic River, which runs 149 miles through Western Massachusetts and Connecticut before emptying into the Long Island Sound, was contaminated with PCBs from the Pittsfield General Electric plant for forty-five years.  GE was ordered by the EPA to clean up the river, and two miles have been cleaned so far. 

Now, as GE prepares the next phase of the clean-up, a new Facebook page has appeared, the Smart Clean-Up Coalition, suggesting that the best clean-up may be no clean-up.  
Clean-up issues are complicated, and I don't know enough to promote the best way to deal with the River's contamination.  But when it turns out that the Smart Clean-Up Coalition is actually an initiative of a coalition that took $300,000 from the General Electric Company-- and that at first, they lied about it-- well, you have to wonder, yes?
Beth Daily at the Boston Globe is covering this story.

Photo from Jahansell's photostream at Flickr.

Thoughts on Kay Hymowitz's Immature Men and Good Women.

The two articles (Link 1, Link 2) penned by Kay Hymowitz have certainly generated a lot of comment in the manosphere, most of it being idiotic. Hymowtiz's assertion, that men are stuck in pre-adolescence, in my eyes at least, certainly has some truth to it.  The Western Male today seems a pale counterpart of his father.

The vigorous response by the manosphere to Hymowitz's article seem to follow several common themes. Namely:

1) Hymowitz is a feminist.
2) Hymowitz is correct in that men are pre-adolescent but they have become that way because of women's behaviour. (In other words, male culture is the product of female punishment and rewards.)
3) Wanting to get married is not a determinant of maturity.
4) Marriage is a bum deal for men and that's why men are opting out.

While some of these points certainly have a small degree of truth to them none of them really counter her claim that lots of men are stuck in an extended adolescence and are therefore unattractive to women who want to get married.

Many of the manosphere totally missed the point of her article. Nowhere did Hymnowitz say that men should be forced to marry, her lament was that the pool of marriageable men from which women could choose from was so small. At the heart of her article is the claim that many of today's Western males are unattractive as long term mates, in other words, there are few marriageable alpha's.  Hymowitz did not say that the older frat boy should marry, in fact she clearly saw that such a man was a poor long term mate, it just that men who are "beta providers" and who live in star wars inspired decor are also sexually unappealing.

The prime cultural exemplar of Hymowitz's contention was George Sodini. Here was a man with a responsible  job,  house, normal BMI and with a desire to find a permanent mate; all features which Hymowitz ostensibly mentions as the traits of an ideal man, yet was completely invisible to women.
He ticked all the right boxes with regard to "responsibility" yet is still considered a loser by women,  and therefore unmarriageable, because he had no alpha features.

This view of course syncs with the Roissyite view that many men are beta's and therefore sexually unattractive to women.  It's therefore a bit rich seeing Roissy's accolytes attack Hymnowitz when she states that beta males are unattractive whilst alpha men are. Her post essentially channels Roissy.

Where She and Roissy differ however is on the subject of Marriage of a marker of a responsible male. Personally, I think Roissy is perfectly correct in his position provided you're a hedonistic atheist. (Though that may be open to debate.) If you're a Christian male on the other hand, marriage is a desired state of affairs and a sign of adulthood.

A useful thought exercise would be to ponder what if Hymnowitz could get her dream and have all men alpha up. The results will probably be to her expectation. Roissy has written about this before:
No, the solution is to give the New Girl Order *exactly* what it wants: Game, and an army of cads that practice it. Force feed the beast until it is choking on its own gluttony. The emissaries of the Great Lie must have the consequences of their ignorance and treachery shoved down their throats. In time, the unabashed pursuit of hedonism and the embrace of Darwinistic nihilism (two potent forces which, coincidentally, happen to have truth and pleasure on their side. Exhibit B: God is dead) will raze the neoliberal monolith to the ground, and from the ashes the eternal human cycle will begin anew, strengthened and revitalized. A complete reconciliation with our tragic destiny gives us the only chance to avoid it.
On the other hand, what alpha Christian male wants to be sloppy sixth's to the modern shrew? The problem for this type of guy is the lack of quality women out there. He wants to get married but the pickings are so slim.  Hymowitz thinks that today's average girl is "quality" product, however I think that there is a fair amount of legitimate disagreement as what constitutes quality No matter what her career achievements, a woman who has ridden the carousel and perhaps made a few trips to the abortuary is not quality material from a Christian point of view. A mature and responsible christian male would think such a woman is high risk material for infidelity and divorce and by-pass her.  If there were an en masse movement to alpha up, the following would happen. The hedonists would pump and dump while the Christians would become more choosy; the pool of marriageable suitors for women would shrink.

No, what keeps the alive the hopes of today's modern women is a pool of supplicant betas who will do what it takes to secure the sexual love of a woman and will agree to any terms.

(Something to aspire to long term?)

Where Hymowitz errs, is in the assertion that today's woman is in some way more "mature" than the pre-adolescent male upon which she rightly heaps her scorn.  She labours under the illusion that the modern woman is some sort of prize that men will aspire to. Hymowitz has framed her argument in such a way that would be laughable to the good men of the past.

Men and women of the past would both agree that men today leave a lot to be desired, but the fall in quality has been most marked amongst women.  From the vantage point of the past, the modern woman today is vapid, slutty, superficial, unfeminine and hence extremely poor quality material.

What marks the transition from adolescence to adulthood is the gradual assumption of responsibility, maturity and independence. What separates the child, the adolescent and the adult is the increasing influence of reason over emotion. The mature adult takes his emotions into account but is not ruled by them. Enter the concept of the Rationalisation Hamster.  The concept needs to be understood as the cognitive mechanism by which thought is subordinated  and aligned to emotion. The function of this "hamster" is to provide a superficially plausible (if not logically consistent) series of thoughts to align and justify whatever action is required by the emotional state.  It is effectively the thought process of an immature adolescent.

The "triumph" of modern Feminism has been to culturally and legislatively legitimise this rationalisation hamster. Marriage is no longer seen as a reciprocal relationship amongst two people, but rather a flexible arrangement of convenience based on the emotive state of the parties.  The logic of abortion as a woman's rights issue (ignoring the rights of the father) is another example. The furthering of women into fields that they are totally unsuited to, such as the military, police and firefighting services yet another.  Feminism has also been able to reframe feminine identity; what previous generations would have thought trampy and flighty, modern feminism has been able to portray as mature.

When Hymnowitz points to the Star Wards nerds, all I can think of is the "mature" female SATC equivalents. I admit that men sitting in mom's basement jerking off to online porn are pretty shallow, but so are the women who spend their lives shopping for bags, clothes whilst riding the carosel waiting for the enabling supplicant whom will provide them with lifestyle to which they are accustomed. People from a less enlightened age would consider a person who endlessly obsesses about their looks, the latest pair of Jimmy Choo's and who Brad is dating now, pretty superficial. It's the pot calling the kettle black.

One of the recurring comments from the men that are "players" is how the  experience of women leads to a contempt of them. It's an interesting phenomenon since wouldn't experience of these wonderful, empowered, educated SATC types at least lead to fond recollections and a overall impression of female goodness? The common explanation is that these men are unable to bond and are narcissistic.  However another explanation is never considered: Perhaps these women aren't worth bonding to. Perhaps they are nothing more than an esotrogen toy and without their sexual potential would be ignored by men. Perhaps the reason they are dumped so often is that they have no qualities which lead men to love them. It's a thought.

The problem with Hymowitz's article is not its assertion, which I agree with, but its balance. The shortage of good men is portrayed against a surfeit of good women. But she should have asked around more. It's not just a problem of an abundance of loser men, as any committed male committed Christian who wants to get married will tell you, "Where have all the good women gone?"

(Another example of the "Mature and accomplished behaviour,  check out Dalrock's Single in the Suburbs.)

Endangered species condoms win award

Once upon a time, Arise could get all the condoms we needed by calling the Mass. Dept. of Public Health and asking them to send us some.  But last year, when we put in that call, we were told that because of budget cuts, DPH would only send condoms to those programs which had contracts with them.  Penny wise, pound foolish, of course, but that's par for the course these days, right?

Then we found out that the Center for Biological Diversity was giving away endangered species condoms to qualifying groups! We've received two batches, both of which went quickly-- but they were fun to have around.

From the Center: Endangered Species Condoms Win Ad Award; Take Action Against Overpopulation

Our wildly popular Endangered Species Condoms are getting some additional love. This week we found out the colorfully packaged condoms, part of our campaign highlighting the connection between overpopulation and species extinction, won the American Advertising Federation's gold ADDY Award in Tucson in the "public service" category. In case you haven't seen them, the nifty condom packages feature illustrations of six different endangered species, along with catchy slogans like "Cover your tweedle, save the burying beetle" and "Wear a jimmy hat, save the big cat." The Center handed out 350,0000 condoms last year and hopes to send more out soon to draw attention to this crucial issue. Through the empowerment of women, education of all people and universal access to birth control, we can curb our population to an ecologically safe level.
But some members of Congress are making that very hard. In fact, the House has just passed a bill to cut government funding for critical programs like women's health clinics -- which for millions of people provide the only available access to reproductive services, family planning and birth control. With this February marking Global Population Speak Out month, it's time to tell our elected representatives they should be expanding those programs, not cutting them -- for the sake of our planet and the public.
Check out our Endangered Species Condoms Project and sign the GPSO pledge. Then learn more about the legislative attack on family-planning services from and contact your senators asking them to counter it.

Meet City Life/Vida Urbana on Tuesday

Tuesday, March 1 from 4-6 p.m.
at HAP Housing on 322 Main St. in Springfield, Mass. (Directions)

*Buffet dinner prepared by Springfield Bank Tenant Association leaders;
*Sliding scale donation requested to support our No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude organizing in Springfield;
*Childcare and translation offered— if needed, please call in advance.
*Casual and comfortable.  Arrive when you can, leave when you must.
For more information, call Arise at 413-734-4948 or visit

City Life/ Vida Urbana lead organizer Steve Meacham and a creative, energetic group of organizers and bank tenant leaders in Boston pioneered a movement that has brought the big banks to the bargaining table.  Their work has been featured in a PBS news hour special  and a multimedia project called We Shall Not Be Moved.  Forging strong relationships with homeowners and tenants living in buildings scheduled for foreclosure, they have helped Boston residents to successfully fight post-foreclosure evictions.  They have showed the residents of Boston that “When We Fight, We Win!”  The movement they started was the inspiration for our new campaign in Springfield.  After last year’s record-setting number of heartbreaking foreclosures and evictions in our “City of Homes,” Springfield residents have united to fight back against the Wall Street banks’ destruction of our neighborhoods.  

Please join us as we welcome our City Life/ Vida Urbana brothers and sisters to Springfield.  We will share experiences and learn from their struggle.  Enjoy the testimony, song, and culinary talents of our Springfield BTA leaders.  Meet dedicated activists who are helping to grow this movement.  And help us to raise needed funds for our local campaign against the Wall Street banks. 

Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m.  The Bank Tenant Association meeting will start promptly at 6 p.m.  The 6 p.m. meeting is for residents of building scheduled for foreclosure and their allies, with guests from CL/VU.  Representatives of the media or others interested in attending the BTA meeting, please call organizer Malcolm Chu at 718-666-6872.

Why don't they ask homeless people?

Dan Ring has a story on Masslive today about the increase in homeless families sheltered in motels-- last year, 982 families were in motels; this year, it's 1027.  Numbers did drop for a while, but now they're higher than ever.

Gov. Patrick plans to spend $38 million to revamp the Emergency Assistance program which pays to house homeless families, with the focus on moving homeless families into apartments or "congregate housing."  Is that a euphemism for shelter, some of which the state only recently closed?

One way the state has tried to lower shelter numbers is by reducing the numbers of families that are eligible. One of those rules disqualifies a family for three years if the family was evicted from public housing for non-payment of rent.  One young woman we're working with left her apartment in public housing temporarily three years ago, to deal with a family emergency.  She was evicted after the "friend" who was supposed to take care of her apartment let rowdy people stay with her.  Since then, my young friend has been bouncing from place to place.  She is technically eligible for Emergency Assistance, but was denied, then appealed, and was denied again.  She has two charming young daughters who deserve better.

What the governor's plans fail to take into account-- in fact, it may be impossible to do so-- is the incredible economic instability of low-income families.  It's like a mini Dust Bowl.  The Great Recession has made it worse, but this instability has been happening since the 80's.  For every family in shelter, I'd estimate there are at least five more who are ineligible or who are hanging onto some untenable situation by the skin of their teeth-- overcrowded living situations, abusive partners, apartments with rats, mold and leaking plumbing.  A LOT more has to change before we can tackle that.

Who don't policymakers ask homeless people how to end homelessness?

Photo from Las Vegas City Life

Live bullets and beards on women - the idiots who "serve" us

Ohio National Guard fires on demonstrators, killing 4 - 1970
OK, I know there are lots of examples we could give here (and feel free to chime in), but when I first get an email about one idiocy and then see the Reminder's Mike Dobbs' Facebook status within two minutes, I just have to write about them.
A deputy attorney general of the state of Wisconsin (fired today, hallelujah!)  got into a tweeting war with a Mother Jones reporter and said he thought that live ammunition should be used on the demonstrating teachers and public employees in Wisconsin.  One of Mike Dobbs' friends said, "Where are we again? Libya? Bahrain?"
Maine's Governor Paul LaPage was asked if he supported his own environmental board's recommendation to begin phasing out BPA in baby bottles and children's dishes. (If you don't know what this is, click the link.)  His response?
"Until I see science that tells me that BPA is a problem--and I haven't seen it--quite frankly the science that I'm looking at says there's not been any science identified that there's a problem," LePage said. "The only thing that I've heard is if you take a plastic bottle, put it in the microwave and THEN heat it up it gives off a chemical that's similar to estrogen. And, ah, so the worst case is some women might have little beards, but we don't want to do that."
Read the rest of the Maine Public Broadcasting story. 

Labor holds strong, but color is missing

Arise member Ruben Santiago
When I was a kid, I happened across a copy of Irving Stone's Clarence Darrow for the Defense, and I was fascinated and inspired.  I learned about the Pullman strikes, Pinkerton thugs, Big Bill Haywood, the Haymarket Square bombing and Eugene V. Debs.  It was not hard for me, given my family's history, to identify as working class and to become a supporter of organized labor.  I know I idealized unions, much as I did other fighters and movements for freedom and justice, and had to temper that idealism later with the more complex realities of building a movement out of flesh and blood people struggling within large political and economic structures.  But still-- I have a lot of heroes, and I'm saddened by knowing that most people under 40 don't know their names and their stories.

Central Labor Council President Rick Brown
Myself, I've never been in a union.  The factory, clerical and agricultural jobs I've held were unorganized by labor.  But I remain a union supporter.  I understand that the line unions draw in the sand protects the wages even of the non-unionized.

Yesterday's Springfield rally in solidarity with the Wisconsin workers was big by our city's standards-- I'd estimate more than 400 people.  I stood at the steps of City Hall with other Arise members as speaker after speaker explained why the Wisconsin fight was also our fight.

Friend and Arise member Holly Patterson couldn't get to the rally until about quarter after four.  She stood behind me for a while, and then asked me a question.

Bank Tenant Association member Candia Pink
"Have all the speakers so far been white men?"
"No, there's been a woman."
"A white woman?"

And sure enough, as the rally progressed, every single speaker was white, and only two women among more than a dozen men.  The only speaker of color was City Council President Jose Tosado, who is running for mayor this year.  (Mayor Sarno spoke later in the rally.) I left a little after 5 pm., when the speakers got repetitive and I felt the rally was close to winding down, so I can't tell you for sure that no people of color spoke after that-- but if they did, they were certainly not given top billing.

 Council President Jose Tosado, JwJ Coordinator Jon Weissman, SEA President Tim Collins
So: if I were to inquire (which I will) as to why color was so lacking among the rally's speakers, I imagine it would go pretty much like the discussion about why there are no actors, directors or screenplay writers of color among any of the Academy Award nominations this year.  You can't draw speakers of color from the union leadership if they're not in leadership positions in the first place. Keep asking "Why?" to that answer, and the next series of answers, and you get to the unpleasant current situation.   Still, one would think that the organizers might have been aware of the lack of representation of people of color among leadership, and would have made some effort to compensate.  But you have to be aware of the lack to compensate for it, and if the organizers are entirely white (my assumption), it's easier not to even notice. 

What the organized labor movement is likely to look like in the coming years, I don't know.  I can only hope it finds a way to embrace the rest of us.  Solidarity has to be a two-way street to flourish.

Auction postoned: organizing makes a difference!

TWO rallies in the cold today, starting with the auction action in Springfield-- and it was postponed until March 24!  Guess that's what happens when you're trying to have an auction and the bankers can barely hear themselves over the chanting demonstrators and anyone who comes to bid finds out we're not going to let the family be evicted.

Here's a report from Malcolm Chu, coordinator of the No One Leaves Campaign-Springfield::
Ms. Williams' daughter on the steps of her home
Today a crowd of 25 residents, bank tenants, allies & activists gathered to protest the foreclosure auction of Ms. Inez Williams at 1179 Saint James Avenue by MidFirst Bank! Joining together with Ms. Williams children and family, the power of the community rose up again and made it clear that the time of banks destroying Springfield communities with no resistance is over. Springfield Residents are STANDING UP & FIGHTING BACK! 

As a result the foreclosure auction has been POSTPONED to March 24th, 2011 at 11AM. We will be ready to come back out in larger numbers if the bank does not negotiate with Ms. Williams and her family. After foreclosure, the bank can't get more than the real market value of the house anyway, so why not work with Ms. Williams to reduce the principal amount owed to current market value and keep her in her home, instead of leaving another family homeless and another home vacant! 

On Thursday February 24th, we are planning to protest 2 more foreclosure auctions. We will keep you posted on the status of these families' struggle. 

Guzman Family Foreclosure Auction Protest
Thursday February 24th at 9:30 AM
12-14 Foster Street, Springfield, MA

Pena Family Foreclosure Auction Protest
Thursday February 24th at 12:30PM
29 Verge Street, Springfield, MA

For more information or to get more involved in the growing Bank Tenant Movement in Springfield: 
Photos by Arise interns Emily and Katy

White Power "postponed;" celebrate Black History Month!

So last night at the Arise board meeting, Holly got an email stating that the hate group New England White Power was having a public meeting at the Worcester Public Library tomorrow. Not only that, the NEWP meeting was taking place at virtually the same time and in a room right next door to a film series being sponsored in honor of Black History Month!  Coincidence? I think NOT!

This morning I reached the woman running the film series.  She had only just heard about NEWP's meeting the day before, and was waiting to hear back from the head librarian.  She had heard that some folks from Clark University were planning to protest.

"What do you want people to do?" I asked.
"Well, I'm going ahead with showing the film-- The Souls of Black Girls."
"OK, I hope to see you there," I said.

So this is a dilemma-- so little time to organize, and what is the best strategy?  I've heard of Nazis marching in cities where the residents stood on the streets and turned their backs on them.  Then there's the Phoenix, AZ response:

A few minutes ago, the Worcester Public Library website announced that the WELP meeting has been "postponed."

But we know there will be a next time, and a next what will we do?

Tea Party, go away! TWO important protests today

Just got the word that the Tea Party plans to meet and rally a few feet away (and half an hour before)  the Jobs with Justice rally for jobs at 4pm on the steps of Springfield City Hall.  Word is, Don't engage them (the Tea Party) in any way.  
 If these folks read The Grapes of Wrath in high school, guess they've forgotten the lessons of what happens when you drive wages down.
 Come rally and show support for the Wisconsin public employees-- and for all people fighting for a decent wage and the right to bargain collectively. 

But before the rally this afternoon, there's another important rally at 10:30.
10:30 AM (auction at 11 AM)
1179 Saint James Avenue, Springfield, MA

Ms. Williams bought their home in 2000 with her husband for $81,000. Her husband passed away 6 months later. Since then she has worked diligently to keep her home, along with the help of her children &; grandchildren. Now 70 years old, last year, following a year-long bout with breast cancer, Ms. Williams signed a modification with the bank, only to find her principal balance over $100,000. Now, MidFirst bank is moving to foreclose on Ms. Williams instead of working with her on a modification that would reduce the principal balance and make her home affordable. 
Here’s a little known fact of the mortgage/foreclosure crisis.  Many homeowners who cannot pay the inflated mortgages of the housing bubble CAN afford to pay a mortgage at the current real value.  When a bank like MidFirst forecloses and evicts the homeowner, that bank will then sell the home for the current real value (often after a long delay) or sit on the home as a vacant property.  But, if they are going to do that, why not sell it back to the former owner at that value?  Even better, before foreclosure, they could sell at a short sale to the owner or do a loan modification with a principal reduction.  They could even attach conditions preventing a big profit if values go up again. But the banks are refusing to do this despite billions in taxpayer bailouts and recent profits! 
We are protesting to do something very specific - send a message to any potential investor, and to MidFirst Bank, that we will resist any attempted eviction of this family.  If your business plan involves eviction, you might as well go home!
  • Stop this foreclosure and work with Ms. Williams on a solution that would reduce the principal amount owed, keep
  • If the home is foreclosed, DON'T EVICT! Accept reasonable rent from the Williams family or sell them the home back at the current market value! 
For more information see or call Bank Tenant Organizer, Malcolm at 718-666-6872

Hawks only kill for food. What about our young people?

Mari got a couple of great pictures of the hawk that hangs around Arise.  Apparently he was in the middle of devouring a pigeon and had no intention of flying away until he was finished.  I think we have to come up with a name for him, and maybe, if we're lucky, we'll spot where he and his mate have their nest.

Hawks only kill for food.   Why are our young people being killed?

Last week Jesus Osorio, 24 years old, was shot to death.  It's the third homicide of a young person so far this year.  MassLive did an excellent story about this young man's life and the people, including two small children, he leaves behind.
If there's one organization I can think of in Springfield that is determined to bring this slaughter to an end, it's AWAKE.  AWAKE is having a Rebuilding the Village community meeting this Thursday, 6 pm., place TBA, according to its Facebook page, but you can find out where it is by contacting Chelan Brown at

Sen. Scott Brown: sexually abused, on welfare, but.....

Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown was on 60 Minutes last night.  I didn't watch the show, but MassLive printed an AP article about it this morning.

Brown's book, Against All Odds, is due to be released today and apparently details his experiences of sexual abuse as a child.  He also says that he and his mom were on public assistance for a while.

But....he says his experiences as a child do not affect the decisions he makes now about the federal budget, including voting against programs very similar to the ones that supported him and his family when they needed them.

Well, I say his decisions today do stem from his childhood...and we call it Internalized Oppression.  Maybe Sen. Scott should see a therapist.

Meanwhile, he will vote in favor of cutting CDGB funds, which are likely to provide programs for childhood victims of sexual abuse, and will vote against the remnants of the tattered safety net that helped him and his family survive. 

I like to think that people-- and nations-- who have been oppressed learn how not to replicate that oppression.  But it doesn't always work that way, does it?

Food, flowers, fun stuff...stuff Arise needs

Truth is, we need money most of all, but....
We would really appreciate  some food that people could use to make lunch in an office where we have a fridge, a microwave, and a two-burner hotplate...canned soup, peanut butter, crackers, ramen noodles, etc.  We have a lot of folks in the office during the day, sometimes volunteers who've come to work and sometimes folks who just stop in...we'd like to be able to feed them.
Also: Houseplants to cheer us up, good toys, crayons, coloring books for the children who come in with their parents...give us a call at 734-4948, email us at or stop by at 467 State St., Springfield, MA.
Photo from Chatiry's photostream at Flickr.

Natural States.

"Five minutes of alpha is better than five years of Beta"
(Commentator Whiskey)

A common theme running through the "manosphere" at the moment is with regard to the deplorable state of modern woman. The average Western Woman, after marriage, is percieved a frumpy, fat, fickle and frigid. The accumulating sexual undesirability of the married western woman is reason enough for many to eschew marriage and pursue a life of "pumping and dumping". And to be fair, there does seem to be some justification for this view.

Then of course, there is the female view. Once again, a common theme running through "girly-world" is that there is a shortage of "good men", that is marriageable men. It needs to be understood that these complaints are voiced by both promiscuous and chaste women. The conventional manosphere analysis is that this turn of events is solely the result of feminism and hypergamous female sexuality.   These social phenomena have eliminated the incentives to get married and hence men are "opting out".  Now its worthwhile considering who exactly are these men opting out.

By opting out, we mean men who don't want to get married to other women. (We'll exclude the homos)
From a sexual point of view, these men can be divided into the following groups.

1) Asexual men (rare)
2) Sexual men with the ability to get regular sex. (Alpha)
3) Sexual men with the inability to get regular sex( Beta-Omega)

Next we consider what a woman means by a good man. In girlspeak a "good man" is a man that ignites all of her desires. Considered as a group of attributes, the ideal man has none that are unattractive. The "goodness" of a man declines as do his attributes. Now it also needs to be understood that a good man is not a convenient man, a man who despite his obvious flaws, serves some purpose in marriage. For example, an unattractive beta schlub who is a good provider may be a convenient suboptimal mate but he is no way ideal or good.  Given today's liberal divorce laws she may choose to "trade up" if the opportunity so presents.

Hence when women refer to the shortage of "good men" they are really referring to the group (2) individual, the men who are sexually attractive and who don't want to commit. The group (3) individual is not really a "good man" from a woman's point of view, he is sub-optimal. So when group (3) men talk about "opting out of marriage" they're deluding themselves, since they really weren't first choice in the marriage market to begin with.

The reason I bring this up is because over at Mark Richardson's there has been an interesting discussion going on with regard to opting out of marriage. There is the usual analysis with regard to the matter but its my contention that maybe in some instances the female critics may have a point.

I urge you to have a look.

With the modern redefinition of marriage(a relationship based on an emotional state) and the sexual revolution it is to be expected that women would gravitate towards the alpha males in a form of soft polygamy. The main losers of course in this arrangement were the non-alphas. Whilst I can appreciate a lot of the Beta-Omega pain and angst, a lot of them seem to bear anger towards women for the result, especially the more traditional types. In their view women are bad for wanting alpha males and a society works best when it restricts female choice and channels women through rigid laws and mores, towards beta males. (A doomed concept since our knowledge of hypergamy leads to the conclusion that this state of affairs will lead to tepid sex)

Seeing, that when women are given a free choice, they want to "alpha up", the losers of the arrangement yearn for a time when women were forced to "beta down". This of course is not what happened in the past. Their view of traditional society is wrong.

Social mores and customs did limit the alpha access to women, but it did have a flipside, society also expected men to become alpha. The naturally beta/omega male was not left to his own devices, he did not live as he saw fit, rather society expected him to behave as a man. The beta male, was through shame and social pressure "alpha'd up".  The metro-sexual and gay cultures would have been fringe movements in the 40's as the average man displaying those features would have been beaten up. As I said before, there was strong social pressure to alpha.

With the dismantling of communal culture, what we are seeing in the first world is default to a more primitive state. Perhaps humanity's default setting. Man devoid of social norms assumes his natural state, a small pool of alphas, a mean of betas and a tail of omegas.  For most men, being "themselves", will mean being unattractive to women.

Solidarity Needed: Auction Protests, Rally to Support Wisconsin Workers

Funny with all the knee-jerk criticism of state workers and how "greedy" they are, and the criticisms of families that can't keep up with their mortgage payments, that you don't hear much about how the banks and financial institutions are responsible for the Great Recession!  And you don't hear much, in the hysterical discussion about our budget deficit,  about how Bush and Obama gave away a huge source of income by reducing income taxes that primarily benefited the rich!  See this Nation article for some explanation. Meanwhile, on the local front, FOUR opportunities for solidarity:
Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers!
Tuesday, February 22, 4 - 6 PM
City Hall Steps, 36 Court St, Springfield
 And at the State House, Boston.
Workers all over the U.S. are taking it to the streets throughout the week to show their solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin.
 What’s going on in Wisconsin is not an isolated event. Attacks on workers’ basic rights are sweeping the country.  We will stand together to ensure it doesn’t happen here.  This is more of the same old politics by politicians bankrolled by corporate CEOs.  They’re trying to weaken or eliminate workers’ freedom to join unions so they can’t serve as a check on corporate greed to restore balance.  We need to focus on creating jobs and restoring the middle class.
 Info: Western Mass. Jobs with Justice  (413) 827-0301
            Pioneer Valley Street Heat  (413) 732-7970


TUESDAY FEBRUARY 22ND @ 10:30 AM 1179 Saint James Ave, Springfield MA (see map here)


In the morning we will be gathering for the: 
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 24TH @ 9:30 AM, 12-14 Foster Street, Springfield, MA (see map here)
Then in the afternoon we will head to Indian Orchard to stand in solidarity at the...

29 Verge Street, Springfield MA (see map here)

My Polluted Kentucky Home

Yes, we are all under attack, but as usual, when you're poor, these corporations think they can dump on you and no one will care. 
Berea, Ky.- by Silas House New York Times: LAST weekend I joined 19 other Kentuckians in a sit-in at the office of Gov. Steve Beshear. We were there to protest his support of mountaintop removal, a technique used by coal-mining companies that, as its name implies, involves blasting away the tops of mountains and hills to get at the coal seams beneath them.
Since it was first used in 1970, mountaintop removal has destroyed some 500 mountains and poisoned at least 1,200 miles of rivers and streams across the Appalachian coal-mining region. Yet Governor Beshear is so committed to the practice that he recently allied with the Kentucky Coal Association in a suit against the Environmental Protection Agency to block more stringent regulations of it. In court his administration’s lawyers referred to public opposition as simply “an unwarranted burden.”
The news media and the rest of the country typically think of mountaintop removal as an environmental problem. But it’s a human crisis as well, scraping away not just coal but also the freedoms of Appalachian residents, people who have always been told they are of less value than the resources they live above.
Over the past six years I’ve visited dozens of people who live at the edge of mountaintop removal sites. They bathe their children in water that has arsenic levels as high as 130 times what the E.P.A. deems safe to drink.
Their roads are routinely destroyed by overloaded trucks; their air is clouded with pollutants. Their schools sit below ponds holding billions of gallons of sludge. Their children lose sleep worrying that the sludge dams will break, releasing the sludge down upon them. It happened 40 years ago at Buffalo Creek, W.Va., killing 125 people, and it could happen again today. Read the rest here: