I'm a writer (24 books + About.com: Civil Liberties), speaker, Ph.D. candidate (history of ideas), caregiver, and activist.


It’s that decision not to press charges that makes Stand Your Ground laws, which a bunch of other states have adopted, a crazy departure from the past. It’s one thing to raise self-defense at trial. It’s another to have what the Florida Supreme Court calls “true immunity.” True immunity, the court said, means a trial judge can dismiss a prosecution, based on a Stand Your Ground assertion, before trial begins. At least there’s supposed to be a hearing before that happens, at which the defendant has the burden of proof. And yet as the Hernandez and Martin’s case shows, Stand Your Ground laws often lead prosecutors to decide against so much as bringing charges. According to the Sun Sentinel, “In case after case during the past six years, Floridians who shot and killed unarmed opponents have not been prosecuted.”
Now the death of Trayvon Martin is the latest in that line. Maybe this is the kind of case that is so sad and so tinged with racism that Florida will think hard about the very scary place where their self-defense laws have taken them. Maybe.

Why George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer, hasn’t been prosecuted. - Slate Magazine

Fat. Chance.

(via ayjay)

PEG here: I’m mixed about “Stand Your Ground” laws and instinctively tend to favor “strong” self-defense rights. I’m willing to be swayed on this because I haven’t thought that hard about it.

That being said it seems to me that “Stand Your Ground” doesn’t apply here. Zimmerman shot Martin as he was attempting to flee, as the 911 tapes reveal. Even under “Stand Your Ground” that is murder. 

The problem here is not “Stand Your Ground”, the problem is that the police decided to cover up his killing by asserting that it was defensible under “Stand Your Ground.” Instead of using “Stand Your Ground” as an excuse, they could have planted a gun on Martin and this would have the same effect: they lied or abetted a lie in order to make murder look like legal homicide.

The problem here is that the chief of police in this instance seems to believe that white people have a blanket right to kill black people and is willing to subvert his oath and due process and break the law in order to ensure that this “right” is protected. That is obviously utterly despicable, but “Stand Your Ground” is neither here nor there. More importantly, if “Stand Your Ground” is repealed after this, this may or may not be a good thing in itself, but it will lead us to believe we have solved the problem, when we won’t have attacked it. The problem is racist police officers. 

(You might argue that “Stand Your Ground” laws contributed because it created an atmosphere where some people feel justified in going around shooting people left and right, which I would find fair-though-debatable, but that’s not what I’m seeing. What I’m seeing is a narrative under which “Zimmerman is walking off scot-free because of ‘Stand Your Ground’”. No, Zimmerman is walking off because police officers masqueraded a murder as a self-defense killing.)

I’m writing all this in good faith. Am I missing something, here? 

(via pegobry)


Following the stream of tonight’s #GodIsNotGreat hashtag on Twitter gives a perfect illustration of how to make a great (or evil) trending topic: it elicits a passionate response from people who get its context, and an equally passionate response, for totally different reasons, from people who don’t get its context.

(and I have to think Hitchens would be delighted by the spectacle.)

"...linking arms in a human chain when ordered to step aside is not a nonviolent protest.".


“The individuals who linked arms and actively resisted, that in itself is an act of violence,” UC police Capt. Margo Bennett said. “I understand that many students may not think that, but linking arms in a human chain when ordered to step aside is not a nonviolent protest.

Following her logic…


“Police report that the battered woman, whose name is being withheld for her safety, was terrified that her husband would link arms in a human chain.”

“I am here today to stand up against bullying and violence in all its forms. Someone has to say ‘enough!’ Enough standing quietly in a line and linking arms.”

“Tonight, we have horrifying footage of police standing in a line and linking arms around motorist Rodney King…”


If there was any justice in the world, this woman would have already been fired for having such a profoundly twisted concept of violence, non-violence, and protesting. She is unworthy of the public trust.


you’ll be given love

you’ll be taken care of

you’ll be given love

you have to trust it

maybe not from the sources you have called yours

maybe not from the directions you are staring at

twist your head around

it’s all around you

all is full of love

all around you

you just ain’t receiving

you’re phone is off the hook

your door’s all shut

Goodbye, Tumblr

I just can’t keep up with the dashboard feed. I might use the Tumblr platform to do a topical blog at some point, but for now I’m gonna take a break from the network.

You can still find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Thanks for everything, my friends, and kudos to Tumblr for running a great site. <3

When a friend, Linda Durham, a respected art dealer and gallery owner in Santa Fe, ran for mayor a number of years ago, she began her campaign by “outing” her past: “As some of you know,” she said, “I was at one time a Playboy bunny. That is not relevant to this election. I have been a businesswoman for over 20 years, a mother, an activist in our community: That is what is relevant.” It was never mentioned again.

If you can’t confront your shadow, it’ll bite you in the ass.

Beware of writers who tell you how hard they work. (Beware of anybody who tries to tell you that.) Writing is indeed often dark and lonely, but no one really has to do it. Yes, writing can be complicated, exhausting, isolating, abstracting, boring, dulling, briefly exhilarating; it can be made to be grueling and demoralizing. And occasionally it can produce rewards. But it’s never as hard as, say, piloting an L-1011 into O’Hare on a snowy night in January, or doing brain surgery when you have to stand up for 10 hours straight, and once you start you can’t just stop. If you’re a writer, you can stop anywhere, any time, and no one will care or ever know. Plus, the results might be better if you do.

Richard Ford (as quoted on AdviceToWriters)

150 Achievements Of Liberalism That Republicans Seek To Destroy | Addicting Info


1. The 40-hour work week.
2. Weekends
3. Vacations
4. Women’s Voting Rights
5. The Civil Rights Act of 1964
6. The right of people of all colors to use schools and facilities.
7. Public schools.
8. Child-labor laws.
9. The right to unionize
10. Health care benefits
11. National Parks
12. National Forests
13. Interstate Highway System
14. GI Bill
15. Labor Laws/Worker’s Rights
16. Marshall Plan
17. FDA
18. Direct election of Senators by the people.
19. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Workplace safety laws
20. Social Security
21. NASA
22. Peace corps
23. The Internet
24. National Weather Service
25. Product Labeling/Truth in Advertising Laws
26. Rural Electrification/Tennessee Valley Authority
27. Morrill Land Grant Act
28. Public Universities
29. Bank Deposit Insurance
30. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
31. Consumer Product Safety Commission
32. Public Broadcasting/Educational Television
33. Americans With Disabilities Act
34. Family and Medical Leave Act
35. Environmental Protection Agency
36. Clean Air Act
37. Clean Water Act
38. USDA
39. Public Libraries
40. Transcontinental Railroad and the rail system in general
41. Civilian Conservation Corps
42. Panama Canal
43. Hoover Dam
44. The Federal Reserve
45. Medicare
46. The United States Military
47. FBI
48. CIA
49. Local and state police departments
50. Fire Departments
51. Veterans Medical Care
52. Food Stamps
53. Federal Housing Administration
54. Extending Voting Rights to 18 year olds
55. Freedom of Speech
56. Freedom of Religion/Separation of Church and State
57. Right to Due Process
58. Freedom of The Press
59. Right to Organize and Protest
60. Pell Grants and other financial aid to students
61. Federal Aviation Administration/Airline safety regulations
62. The 13th Amendment
63. The 14th Amendment
64. The 15th Amendment
65. Unemployment benefits
66. Women’s Health Services
67. Smithsonian Institute
68. Head Start
69. Americorps
70. Mine Safety And Health Administration (This has been weakened by conservatives, resulting in recent mining disasters.)
71. Food Labeling
72. WIC
73. Peace Corps
74. United Nations
75. World Health Organization
76. Nuclear Treaties
77. Lincoln Tunnel
78. Sulfur emissions cap and trade to eliminate acid rain
79. Earned Income Tax Credit
80. The banning of lead in consumer products
81. National Institute of Health
82. Garbage pickup/clean streets
83. Banning of CFCs.
84. Erie Canal
85. Medicaid
86. TARP
87. Bail Out of the American Auto Industry
88. Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
89. Wildlife Protection
90. End of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
91. Established the basis for Universal Human Rights by writing the Declaration of Independence
92. Miranda Rights
93. Banning of torture
94. The right to a proper defense in court
95. An independent judiciary
96. The right to vote
97. Fair, open, and honest elections
98. The right to bear arms (Do you really think extreme right wingers would allow anybody besides themselves to have firearms if in power?)
99. Health care for children and pregnant women
100. A stable and strong government established by a Constitution
101. The founding of The United States of America
102. The defeat of the Nazis and victory in World War II
103. Paramedics
104. The Brady Handgun Act
105. The Glass-Steagall Act (It has since been repealed and we’ve been paying the price for it.)
106. Oil industry regulations (The Gulf paid the price after conservatives tore many of these regulations down.)
107. The Affordable Care Act which makes insurance companies more honest and fair.
108. Woman’s Right to Choose
109. Title IX
110. Affirmative Action
111. A National Currency
112. National Science Foundation
113. Weights and measures standards
114. Vehicle Safety Standards
115. NATO
116. The income tax and power to tax in general, which have been used to pay for much of this list.
117. 911 Emergency system
118. Tsunami, hurricane, tornado, and earthquake warning systems
119. Public Transportation
120. The Freedom of Information Act
121. Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery
122. Antitrust legislation which prevents corporate monopolies (These laws have been savaged by conservatives, which is why corporations are getting huger and competition is disappearing leading to less jobs and high prices.)
123. Water Treatment Centers and sewage systems
124. The Meat Inspection Act
125. The Pure Food And Drug Act
126. The Bretton Woods system
127. International Monetary Fund
128. SEC, which regulates Wall Street. (Conservatives have weakened this regulatory body, resulting in the current recession.)
129. National Endowment for the Arts
130. Campaign finance laws (Conservatives have gutted these laws, leading to corporate takeovers of elections.)
131. Federal Crop Insurance
132. United States Housing Authority
133. Soil Conservation
134. School Lunch Act
135. Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act
136. Vaccination Assistance Act
137. Over the course of nearly 50 years, liberals contributed greatly to the eventual end of the Cold War.
138. The creation of counterinsurgency forces such as the Navy Seals and Green Berets.
139. Voting Rights Act, which ended poll taxes, literacy tests, and other voter qualification tests.
140. Civil Rights Act of 1968
141. Job Corps
142. Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
143. Teacher Corps
144. National Endowment for the Humanities
145. Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966
146. National Trails System Act of 1968
147. U.S. Postal Service
148. Title X
149. Kept the Union together through Civil War and rebuilt the South afterwards.
150. Modern Civilization

Reblog this so people know who you are [or don't, w/e, I'm not the boss of you]

Name: Tom Head

Tumblr Name: tomhead

Nickname: Tomás la Cabeza

Birthday: July 14, 1978

Status: Single, but in no hurry

Random fact about you: I’m writing a proposal for a book about love.

Do you smoke/drink: No/very rarely.

Why Tumblr?: It’s social, visual, and easy to work with.