theopenunderground udog ulinuz nurse war kapital sekten suche


you can receive kirsten's articles, as they are written, via an email list called "eat the press."
go to
to join the list.

@ kirsten anderberg

Please support agitational busker/writer women at


   eat the press 2006 - januar - april
   eat the press 2005 - januar - märz   >>> april - juli   >>> august - dezember
   eat the press 2004


Surviving Summer’s Heat
By Kirsten Anderberg (

Every year people die from heat in the United States and elsewhere. The
summer heat can be a killer if you are not prepared, and do not understand
the ways of the sun. We are experiencing a heat wave in the NW right now,
and I thought it would be a good time to talk about how heat works.
Knowing a few essential things about heat could save your life. Whether
you are involved in an auto emergency, or have gotten lost hiking, or even
if you are just experiencing high heat levels in the city, there are
things you should know about heat and health. For instance, waiting until
you are thirsty is not a way to gauge dehydration. Waiting until your skin
is pink is not a way to gauge whether you are getting sunburned. It is
considerably hotter (up to 30 degrees hotter) at ground level, than if you
are sitting up a foot off the ground. These are some of the heat basics
you can learn now, to make your life safer in heat.

The main things that affect health in a heat situation will be
dehydration, direct radiation saturation including sunburn, hyperthermia
in the day and hypothermia at night. Heat emergencies (or hyperthermia)
fall into three categories of increasing severity: heat cramps, heat
exhaustion, and heatstroke. In excessive heat situations, heat cramps
(caused by loss of salt from heavy sweating) can lead to heat exhaustion
(caused by dehydration and the body getting too warm), which can progress
to heatstroke, which happens when the body can no longer cool itself down
and is overwhelmed. Heatstroke, the most serious of the three, can cause
shock, brain damage, organ failure, and even death. The symptoms for heat
exhaustion are headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. Heat
stroke can be deadly, and many symptoms of heat exhaustion can go
unnoticed until they bowl a person over all at once, and the situation is
suddenly critical. One medic I talked to said, “The scary thing about
heatstroke is: you can be treated in the field, rushed to the hospital,
treated further, and released in good condition, and two weeks later, you
die anyway because of irreversible damage to vital organs. ER care is not
enough -- heatstroke survivors need appropriately skilled aftercare.”
Prevention is the key here.

You can supposedly live 2 ½ days in 110 degree heat on 8 pints of water
every 24 hours, if you rest during the day and travel twenty miles a night
on foot. The idea is to conserve sweat, not water. This can be applied to
city life too. You still need to conserve sweat, not water, on city
streets too. Remember that it takes water to digest food so eat sparingly
if you are drinking little water. But do eat. You will need the salt and
nutrients. People rarely starve to death in heat emergencies, but instead
suffer most commonly from dehydration, hypo/hyperthermia, and injury.
Experts say if you have water, drink it, do not ration it. Breath through
your nose, and keep your mouth shut, to reduce water loss and drying of
mucous membranes in mouth. Talking, smoking, excessively salty foods and
alcohol will quicken dehydration. Some recommend “prehydrating” during hot
spells, drinking lots of water, as well as Recharge, and other sports
drinks, so you have a “fluid cushion” to fall back on during the day’s
scorching heat.

Remember, by the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. You
need to make sure to replace salt and electrolytes, as well as water, if
you are sweating a lot. Once feeling dehydrated, take sips of liquid, not
gulps, or else you may become nauseous. The U.S. Army website
( has a rehydration recipe: “Add to 1 liter (1
quart) of water, 3.5 grams table salt (NaCl), 2.5 grams baking soda
(NaHCO3), 1.5 grams potassium salt (KCl), and 20.0 grams sugar (glucose),
and drink as needed for rehydration. Note: 5 grams equals 1 teaspoon.” It
also has a “Garrison Recipe,” of “One cup (8 ounces) of fruit juice
(orange or apple) with one half teaspoon of sugar or honey and a pinch of
salt, followed by one cup of water with a quarter teaspoon of baking soda
added. Drink this combination until thirst is quenched.” It may be wise to
include the ingredients for these recipes in a first aid kit.

Sun umbrellas are quite common in hot countries such as Africa, and they
come decorated in beautiful designs. Bringing a collapsible hand umbrella
in your vehicle, in case of a heat emergency, is not stupid. While minimal
clothing, such as sun dresses, shorts and sleeveless tops can provide
maximum ventilation in the shade, they are not cooling in the sun, as the
skin will absorb the heat from the sun directly. Nor will sleeveless
clothing protect skin from sunburn. It is best to take loose, lightweight,
cotton clothing that covers the skin in sun/heat situations. And anyone
who has touched a hot car handle in the sun, knows metal in sun burns.
Watch out for metal necklaces and rings, that will brand you in the sun,
as well as hair accessories that are metal, as they will radiate heat for
hours after the sun is gone. Metal rimmed eye and sunglasses can also be
problematic in direct sun.

It is recommended that you stay with your vehicle if you have a breakdown
in excessive heat. A car is easier for rescuers to spot than a person
wandering in the sun. If you are on a road, it is better to stay on a
road, than wander off road. And you can use the vehicle as shelter, and it
can hold supplies. You can tie a tarp off the side of the car for shade,
and use a tires, car seats, branches, etc. to get yourself sitting up off
the ground at least 12 inches. Do not sit or lie directly on the ground as
it is exponentially hotter the closer to the ground you sit. If you are
driving in summer heat, your car should have lots of water, food, sports
drinks, proper clothing, and tarps, clear and dark. Tarps can give you
essential shade that could save your life, or can be used to build solar
stills in a dire emergency. If you break down and are near water, it is
best to remain there and signal rescuers. Use smoky fires for day signals
and bright fires for night signals. Three fires set in a triangle is an
internationally-recognized distress signal. Other ways to signal for help
are disturbing the natural landscape, and/or using rocks or brush for a
triangle. A signal mirror can be seen 10 miles away, and at great
distances even on cloudy days. Face the mirror towards the sun and flash
the sun on and off it. It is hard to miss the on and off motion from afar.
Your vehicle will have mirrors on it, but a belt buckle will work too.

In a worse case scenario, if you must leave your car in a heat emergency
such as in the desert, etc., make sure to take light colored and loose
fitting clothing, as well as a head dress of some sort to cover neck and
scalp, and protect from the glare of sun, etc. Clothing will also help
protect from sunburns, which will help with cooling, as sunburned skin
does not cool one’s body down the same as normal skin. Also, sunburn does
not begin to appear until 2 - 8 hours after exposure, and usually peaks 24
- 36 hours later, so do not wait for pink skin to alert you to take
precautions. Wear shoes, as sand can chafe feet eventually. If you have to
walk, walk at night, rest every hour, and prop feet up regularly. Some
warn that you may not be able to get shoes back on once you take them off
in extreme heat while walking, due to swelling, so the recommend do not
remove shoes, but instead adjust them on rest stops. Take a tarp with you
if you are walking, for shade and water condensation. Carry all the water
you can.

If you must find water in the desert, try not to spend more water in sweat
than you gain back in water found/made. It is good to have water
purifier/iodine tablets with you on your trek also, as desert water can
have Giardia, and other bacteria and viruses. Take iodine tablets or some
other purifier with you and use them before drinking any water you find.
Look for green areas, with plants and trees, there is probably water there
somewhere. But remember, what looks like 5 miles in a desert is probably
20 miles, so wherever you think you see something, realize it is probably
four times that far in reality once you start walking there. Flocks of
birds will circle over water holes. Watch and listen for them, they fly at
dusk and dawn. Do not follow eagles and hawks to water though, only birds
like doves and pigeons. The presence of bees signals surface water is
within a few miles often, as bees fly in a straight line to and from water
up to 1000 metres away. You can wrap a plastic bag around tree branches,
such as Mesquite and palo verde,
and through transpiration, the tree will give off water through the leaves
and leave water in the bag for you to drink, but you will have to wait a
while for very little water, although it is said this method can collect
up to 2 cups of water per day per branch.

Another method of water collection is a solar still. One digs a hole in
the ground, fills the pit with vegetation, puts a container to catch the
water in the middle of the pit, then puts a tarp over the pit, held down
by rocks. A rock is placed on top of the tarp, in the middle of it, once
the pit is sealed with rocks. The desert heat will make the water condense
and then run down the sheet into the container. Supposedly this is a last
ditch effort and usually consumes more water making it, through sweat,
than one recovers in water extracted. But in a worst case scenario, it is
better than nothing. And last but not least, watch out for flash floods in
deserts during storms. Stay out of washes, even when thunderheads are far
off in the distance. Downpours in the distance can quickly roll down the
parched desert floor in a torrent. Take care to prepare when you travel
through desert areas in the summer. Use common sense, and take necessary
precautions, just in case you ever need them for unexpected desert

I have written two other articles that may interest you related to heat:
“Surviving Summer Protests” ( which covers the
interaction of protest and heat issues, and another article called “Natural Sunburn Remedies”
( which has recipes for natural sunburn care.

Moving Beyond Tolerance to Respect
By Kirsten Anderberg (

In a personal revelation today, I realized it is not enough to just
“tolerate” our differences. Although many activist organizations proclaim
“tolerance” as their motto, “tolerance” is really not enough to secure
peace. “Respect” is one step beyond “tolerance,” and true peace on earth,
and in our communities, requires respect.

“Tolerance” implies you are enduring something unpleasant. To say you
“tolerate” someone is not a compliment like saying you “respect” someone
is. Webster’s dictionary defines “tolerance” as “a sympathy...for beliefs
or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.” It also
defined “tolerance” as an attained resistance, such as a drug tolerance.

These 3 definitions of “tolerance” are quite different. The “endurance”
definition is somewhat insulting, I think. The “attained resistance” slant
is interesting when applied to social interactions, but the “sympathy for
conflicting views” definition intrigues me most.

It is “conflicting views” that creates problems, for sure. For me,
personally, and also in the bigger world view, it is how we deal with
people whose views directly conflict with ours that creates enemies and
causes wars. It is not exactly clear how two absolutely conflicting views
can co-exist. I guess if the conflicts are merely philosophical, this is
plausible. But when conflicts involve physical materials, such as land,
co-existing conflicting viewpoints don’t work. It is a zero sum game in
many of these situations. People go hungry, people are arrested for
homelessness, due to this zero sum game.

Certainly people cannot be expected to “respect” the people who exploit
and oppress them, so how does that work? These are some of the central
problems I have with the “peace movement” in general. It seems to me that
respect, not just tolerance, is necessary for actual peace. Perhaps people
need to stop oppressing and exploiting each other before we can move from
tolerance to respect, and then on to peace.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when
we created them.” - Albert Einstein

I began to think about who I feel this “tolerance” attitude towards. I
realized I feel I need to “tolerate” authority figures. Yet interestingly,
I realized I respect *some* authority figures, and give them the respect
of an elder. I do not “tolerate” authority that I “respect.” Instead, I
respect that authority. Not one of these authority figures I respect got
my respect through physical coercion or violence. Examples of this
difference between respect and tolerance are as different as my feelings
between professors I loved or my midwives, and violent riot police.

Webster’s dictionary defines “respect” as “to consider worthy of high
regard” and also “to refrain from interfering with...” So perhaps
“tolerance” could be defined as “to consider worthy of low or little
regard?” “Respect” has this “refraining from interference” definition, and
“tolerance” had a “sympathy for conflicting views” definition, which makes
me wonder if part of the difference between respect and tolerance is a
belief in one’s competence. “Tolerance” involves not having a faith in the
person one is conflicting with, but accepting their ignorance, so to
speak. “Respect,” on the other hand, seems to reflect a certain faith in
the person’s competence, thus one’s refraining from interference.

Recently I met several people I was extremely different than,
philosophically, yet I had profound respect for them. I realized I was
willing to forgive differences with them, I did not forgive in others I
merely “tolerated.” Which is why I say maybe “respect” is about trust,
about trusting a person’s judgment, having faith in their own competence,
even if you don’t understand their choices. Where “tolerance” implies you
feel you understand their situation better than the other person, so you
“tolerate” their ignorance. “Respect” infers the other may know something,
may see something, you are not seeing. “Tolerance” infers you see more of
the picture than the other; it is about pity or sympathy for their

I saw today that I have different behaviors with people I “respect” and
people I “tolerate.” And it really got me thinking. Can peace be found
between communities, or even countries, that merely “tolerate,” but do not
“respect” each other? Is “tolerance” the minimum required for peace in our
communities, on our earth, or is “respect” the minimum requisite? Does
“tolerance” lead to “respect?” I am not convinced it does. How do we
foster “respect,” not just “tolerance,” for people we conflict with? Is
that even possible? What if we can’t learn to “respect” each other on this
planet? Will “tolerance” alone save us from WWIII?

Copyright 6/02/06 * Kirsten Anderberg

Interacting With Street Performers
By Kirsten Anderberg (

The behavior of the public is bizarre as seen through the eyes of a street
performer (aka “busker”). For instance, today I was busking a street fair
in Seattle, and these yuppie women leaned down and nicely placed their hot
pink yoga studio ad upright in my guitar case, as if I am a billboard for
them. I said, “Could you please take your advertising out of my case?” and
they acted offended! So let’s just start right here with Rule #1. Do not
throw your trash, or your personal advertisements, in street performers’

Rule #2 is street performers are not a free babysitting service. I cannot
tell you how many times people have plopped their little children down in
front of me and literally walked away to shop at nearby crafts booths.
Today, a guy let his toddler, she was maybe 2, go right up into my case
and start pulling dollar bills out! Did the parent stop this child? No, I
did. And for years, I hired a babysitter to watch MY child while I busked
and it made me extra mad that I ended up watching someone ELSE’S kid while
I tried to work when I just paid someone to watch my kid to work! So, you
are still responsible for your kid when near buskers and do not leave them
alone, and do not let them do things like run on stage or take money out
of hats or guitar cases. Don’t make the PERFORMER do your parenting. That
is disgusting. And by the way, men are the worst offenders re Rule #2, so
if you are male, maybe you better pay *extra* attention to watching your
kid while watching buskers perform.

Rule #3 is do not put a big mote between you and the performer. It strains
our voices and takes up too much space. If a busker is having to yell for
you to hear her, you are too far away, move in! Look, the busker can still
see you looking at her even if you put that weird artificial mote of space
between the audience and performer! We don’t need you half way across the
street. We don’t bite. Move in so we can get intimate, not block aisles,
and so the busker’s voice will last longer throughout the day. People will
sit closer to radioactive television sets than they will to street
performers! We are *live* entertainment, and unlike stages where
performers loom above the audience, on the street, we are standing eye to
eye with our audiences, and maybe that is just too awkward for many folks!
But as a performer, I *really* like that equality of height, as odd as
that sounds, between busker and audience. That one quality, of height
equity, makes busking much different than most other venues for

Rule #4 is be aware of what you are blocking as a crowd, as the act can
get shut down if the audience is not aware of this. If I have a big crowd,
and my audience is blocking 6 crafts booths, those crafters are gonna
start getting pissy. Likewise, if you cause a clog in the aisles, and
people cannot move past, people will complain and not like it. So, the
trick is on the busker’s part, to try to find spaces that will accommodate
large crowds without clogging aisles or blocking booth wares. And that is
not always easy with overbearing authorities at fairs and in management of
the public streets even. And the audience’s job is to pull in, and create
the least obstacles to traffic and booth/vendor sales, as sad as those
priorities are.

Rule #5 is don’t take pics without tips. Seriously. That is just plain
rude. The most extreme case of this I’ve heard of was when a busker friend
back in the early 1980’s was playing at the Pike Place Market in Seattle,
when a Levi’s ad representative with several models, actually posed the
models around my friend, as he played, and took a series of shots, then
left, without even tipping! If I had a dollar from every tourist who has
taken my pic and not tipped over the last 27 years I have busked, I would
have a lot more money than I have. I guess the idea is if the act is good
enough to take a picture of, it is good enough to tip.

Rule #6 is *wait until the end of the song*. Sounds weird, but tourists
will walk up to a busker, mid-song, and try to ask directions or something
crazy like that, so I learned to just play on even if people try to talk
to me until the song is over. Maybe it is just a temperamental musician
thing, but I think it is rude to interrupt someone mid-song, for any
reason. Of course, there is the rare exception. My friends were playing
one day, with a big band of folks, and their guitar case was open, they
had a big crowd, and their little girl kept asking the mommy and daddy who
were busking to go to the bathroom and they kept telling her to wait until
the end of the set. She kept interrupting this one song, and finally,
stood in the guitar case, pulled down her pants and peed in it!! That show
went down as busker legend! My son learned early on not to interrupt songs
or shows. I was always stunned how he seemed to have an innate sense as a
toddler, where he would be complaining and whining about something, then I
would walk out on stage, and he would be silent, for the length of the
show, and then as soon as I got off stage, he would go *right* back to
where he was before, without missing a beat. It was like he knew that was
my job, I need to do it at times, but then I come back and we continue
dealing with things. I cannot remember once in all my decades as a
performer where my son interrupted a song or show. But you need to teach
kids to wait until the song ends to speak to performers out of respect.

And last, but not least, Rule #7 is buskers are not here to *sell your
shit!* That’s right! Although we are willing to not block vendors’ wares
as a reasonable courtesy, my compliance ends right there when it comes to
vendors and crafters in public spaces versus buskers’ free speech rights.
Over the last 20 years, money grubbing crafters and vendors have gotten
away with murder in Seattle, as they pretend that since they bought a
little space for their booth on a street, they now own the entire street
space around their booths, including the air space. Many crafters actually
believe they have a RIGHT to censor and control the *content* of buskers’
acts, because they *pay* to sell their shit, and we are using FREE speech.
But you see, what we do is FREE, which means you don’t pay. So what the
crafters are really angry at is the U.S. Constitution, not the buskers. I
don’t play in bars as I do not want to be told WHAT to sing to SELL
alcohol for some tavern owner. So, I am really hostile to the idea of
crafts booth people telling me what I can sing to SELL their wares on a
public street.

Next time you watch a street performer perform, you can notice, for
yourself, how many times these rules are broken in the little time you are
standing there. Look for the performer is fully aware of them!
Street performers get used to some really strange behavior from the
public...As Frank Zappa said, “We are the *other* people, We are the
*other* people, You’re the *other* people, too!!”


Taking Care of Your Teeth Naturally
By Kirsten Anderberg (

Today’s society is used to buying everything necessary for oral hygiene in
prefabricated, mass-produced packaging. But people all over the world
use natural toothbrushes made from plants which contain beneficial oils
and properties, growing around them. The precursor to the modern
toothbrush was a twig. This article will explore different ways to take
care of your teeth and mouth naturally, without paying off a major
corporation for those benefits.

In the 1972 classic book, “The Tooth Trip,” by hippie dentist Thomas
McGuire, D.D.S., the author speaks of three plants with “fairly good
bristles,” which make good natural toothbrushes. The three plants are
Marshmallow Roots, Alfalfa Roots, and Licorice Roots. To make marshmallow
root toothbrushes, he suggests you cut 5” long pieces of the root (pick
straight sections), and then unravel or peel the two ends, like untwisting
a rope. You then boil them with a few cinnamon sticks to flavor and soften
them. Once they are tender, remove them carefully from the boiling water
and soak them for 24 hours in brandy to dry and strengthen them. Then the
roots are died in a warm oven or warm room. Once they are dried, you can
bundle them together and attach them to a handle or just use them with
your fingers. To use root brushes, you need to soak them a few minutes in
warm water to soften them before you can use them, but then you can add
toothpowder or paste and brush just as you would with a nylon bristle

To make alfalfa root toothbrushes, he says you can take alfalfa roots that
are thick around in diameter, and then strip off the outer skin or bark.
Then you dry them slowly at room temperature. When the roots are dry, cut
them into 3-5” pieces. Then hit each end with a hammer to break up the
fibers and form a brush. Beat it only enough to make bristles. Then you
can fold the roots in half and bundle them. Remember to soak them in warm
water before using.

And the last toothbrush he suggests from natural fibers is made from
licorice root. He says this one is especially good for tender and delicate
gums...Select straight roots and cut 3-5” pieces, then dry them by mild
heat, then take off the outer layer of skin at each end. Fold the roots
over and bind. The number of roots needed for a root brush varies with the
size of the roots. Other plants/trees used for toothbrushes around the
world include bay, eucalyptus, oak, neem, fir, and juniper.

In the wonderful book, “Living On The Earth,” by Alicia Bay Laurel, from
the same era, 1971, there is an unusual “Eggplant Tooth Powder” recipe. It
says to cut the insides of an eggplant into cubes, then wrap each cube in
foil and put them into hot coals. After about 15 minutes, the eggplant
will turn black and crumbly. If it turns white it is too done, throw it
out. Take the black eggplant powder and mix with equal parts of sea salt.
Store in jars. The book says, “Eggplant cures many gum diseases. Salt is
also very good for the mouth.” Leslie Tierra, herbalist, also recommends a
preparation of the ash of eggplant, which she says will cure "any
toothache, pyorrhea, and other mouth and gum disorders."

Another tooth powder recipe follows:
Orange Tooth Powder: 2 T. dried lemon or orange rind, ¼ c. baking soda, 2
t. salt
Grind rinds in food processor then add salt and soda until fine powder.
Pour in hand, rub wet brush in it and brush. You can make the powder into
paste by adding ¼ t. hydrogen peroxide to1 t. orange tooth powder.

You can make herbal preparations to build the strength of your gums and
teeth as well. You can make a Golden Seal and Myrrh Healing Powder: Mix
equal parts of myrrh powder and golden seal powder and then brush teeth
and gums with it. It tastes really icky and bitter, but it will help
strengthen and heal your gums. You could use myrrh and golden seal infused
in hot water as a mouthwash too. A hydrogen peroxide rinse, made from
equal parts water and peroxide, swished in the mouth then spit out daily,
helps with bleeding gums, mouth sores, etc.

Try making your own mouthwashes. You can make Rosemary-Mint Mouthwash by
boiling 2 ½ cups water, then take it off the heat and add 1 t. fresh mint
leaves, 1 t. rosemary leaves, 1 t. anise seeds, 1 t. tincture of myrrh
(optional as preservative). Let the herbs sit in the water for 20 minutes.
Cool, strain, then use. You can make a Clove mouthwash by boiling a pint
of water with 3 T cloves, bruised or sliced, covered, for an hour. Then
cool, strain and use. You can make teas out of any number of herbs, such
as rosemary, thyme, lavender, or anise, and use that as an herbal
mouthwash as well
Certain foods are known to help oral health. In the Source Family, we were
told to eat the white parts inside the peel of oranges, and to eat lots of
oranges and grapefruits after dental surgery. Citrus foods are hostile to
many bacteria, and Vitamin C helps prevent infections. And you can drink
the herb oatstraw in a tea to help strengthen your teeth from your

Natural toothache remedies include the well-known use of clove to numb the
area; you can soak gauze in the oil and put it in the area that is
hurting. For sore or raw gums, and for teething babies, you can chew on a
peeled piece of marshmallow root. With its mucilage, it soothes irritated
gums. Canker sores supposedly calm down when an acidophilus mouth rinse is
used. The Prickly Ash tree is also called “the toothache tree,” because
chewing on its leaves is supposed to help toothaches. People have chewed
on ginger root in the West Indies for toothaches. But in all reality, the
best toothache remedy is prevention, before the fact.

In “The Tooth Trip,” the author speaks about the effects LSD, Peyote and
Mescaline may have on teeth: “No known damage to the teeth or gums results
from the moderate use of these drugs. One friend told me that while he was
high on acid, he flashed that he was not properly caring for his body, and
when he came down, he immediately began to increase his health care,
including the care of his teeth. This may be an exception, and you
certainly do not have to take acid to get your Tooth Trip together.”


The Lone Protester
By Kirsten Anderberg (

A powerful statement can be made by one lone protester. People often think
they have to wait to *follow* someone else leading a protest, or they need
to wait for someone else to *join* them, before they can protest properly.
But my street performer mentality says there is no time like now to launch
a protest, anywhere. Street performers do not like to *wait* for someone
to tell them where they can perform. There are hordes of “musicians” holed
up in basements claiming the reason they are not performing in public
daily is they don’t have gigs. Buskers don’t play that. We *make our own
gigs* wherever we are. And it would behoove the honest dissidenter to
embrace similar sentiments.

Long ago, I wanted to protest a local Seattle beauty pageant. It had been
going on for 42 without one protest and now it was having the crowning
ceremony on the campus of the University of Washington, where I was a
Women’s Studies and Political Science major. It seemed *wrong* to let that
opportunity on my doorstep pass by unfettered. But I wondered, what would
it look like to have one lone fat chick protesting a beauty pageant?! That
looked kinda scary from several angles. I called Ann Simonton, Queen of
Beauty Pageant Protests, and asked her advice. She told me to go out there
and protest the hell out of that thing, by myself, if I had to. She said
the media would just as likely cover one woman protesting it as they would
a crowd.

So I prepared to launch my one woman attack on the Miss Seafair “beauty”
pageant. I brought props, I was ready to sledgehammer bathroom scales out
front while singing flagrantly anti-consumer messages aimed at the “beauty
industry.” But to my surprise, many others joined me! Instead of me being
alone out there, the announcements I had sent out to the Women’s Studies
classes paid off! And I also grabbed some wildcats I knew from an old
anarchist pizza joint I used to work at, and we had ourselves a circus in
no time. We all wore little New Year’s Eve crowns and banners with things
like Miss Ogyny and Miss Behavin’ on them, and began handing out baloney
on a platter, announcing “free baloney” out front...but the point is, I
was *willing* to do it alone, and proceeded in that manner from the
beginning. If everyone thinks they are going through with a protest,
whether anyone else shows or not, that ends up a pretty damned determined
protest crowd.

In Crimethinc’s ( guerilla film series’, “The Miami
Model,” a very brave attorney stands between lines of riot police and
protesters during the 2003 FTAA protests. She is dressed in business
attire, with nylon stockings and heels. She is holding a handmade sign and
as the riot police announce with a bullhorn that no violence will be
tolerated, she begins to yell back at them, “What about police violence?”
She is relentless, yelling this over and over at them. The riot police
move forward and she stays on them, alone in the street, her and her sign
against a sea of approaching pigs. The image is very striking and it stays
with you. The police brutalize her in front of the cameras. The police
shoot her after about a half hour with a rubber bullet in her leg. Then
another time she is crouching, alone in the middle of the street, in front
of all these heavily armed Robocops, and they shoot at her head with
rubber bullets, it seems. They destroy parts of her sign with their shots
too. It is really a weird sight, and her aloneness out there really shows
how exaggerated this police response is. Here is a nicely dressed attorney
woman, alone, unarmed in the street, holding only a sign. She is an
example of free speech if I ever saw one. And she is attacked by police.
There is no question what happened on the street that day when you watch
this Crimethinc video. Indy media photographers such as those that caught
this interaction with her alone and those riot cops in Miami are to be
honored and thanked. Bringing our own cameras and reporters to events has
definitely changed the face of “the news” forever, as we can now bring
home scenes such as these.

The Katrina disaster was too much for me. I was unable to *wait* any
longer for some type of protest to be planned or permitted in Seattle.
After a while, I *had* to go protest, on public streets, even if I was
alone. I wrote an article about my lone protest of the Katrina crisis
( in
Seattle on Sept. 2, 2005. I detail white male after white male threatening
me with physical violence and spewing hatred at me. Yet that told me I was
doing the right thing, honestly. I got positive affirmation from people of
color I encountered, and got seething hatred from cowboys and white middle
class men. Okay, that sounds about right.

When George Bush, Sr. was inaugurated, I also had that feeling that I
could not just *sit* and let that go on without public protest. I lived in
Santa Cruz, Ca. at the time and asked people I knew to do a GBush
anti-inauguration protest with me and everyone said I was nuts. So, alone,
once again, I made up this large sign with newspaper clippings of all the
scary and weird shit GBush did as CIA Director, and detailed his past in
Skull and Bones and other affiliations of note, and I walked up and down
the Pacific Garden Mall with my sign. My friends saw me and called me
crazy. People laughed, some read my sign...but you know what? The *real*
thing that I, myself, got out of that was, I can look back and say, on
GBush, Sr.’s inauguration day, I publicly protested it, myself. And I can
live with that.

The day after 9/11/2001, I felt very personally compelled to protest the
rampant racism that unleashed. I made a huge sign that said “Racism Is Not
Patriotic” and stood on a busy street in Seattle, in a nun’s costume,
holding the sign for cars to see. I was nearly killed. People were
screaming obscenities at me. Cars were swerving with people hanging out
the windows flipping me off. And remember, I was wearing a nun’s habit, so
they thought they were doing all this to a *nun*, no less! I can only
imagine the danger I would have been in without the assumed protection of
the cloth, so to speak. Finally a cop made me leave saying I was causing
traffic jams and would be ticketed if I did not leave! But I can live with
that. I learned a lot from that little protest.

What has made me want to do weird and/or courageous things like lone
protests? Why don’t I seem to care *what* people think of me, in deference
to my own conscience? I think this must have come from watching my mom
function within the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. Even though we
lived in a lower middle class white suburb, and my mom was white, she was
also a well-traveled stewardess and somehow she was very adamant in her
anti-racist stance. I remember her anti-racism disgusted both her own
family and my dad as well. She was outspoken and would not back down over
racism issues. She put her own physical safety in danger repeatedly over
this issue, amidst angry whites, and I guess I came to see that as pretty
righteous behavior on her part. She taught me to stand up for what you
believe in, even if no one else around you validates your beliefs. I will
never forget when we were evicted from our apt. for hosting a Congress of
Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) meeting and for having everyone go swimming at
the apt. pool afterwards. Here we were in this white suburb, and my mom
invites pretty much all black folks over, *militant* black folks even, and
we all went into the pool area and it was like white people ran in terror
with their kids! It taught me so much watching this as a white child at
age 5. This was 1965 in Los Angeles, Ca. The following day, they drained
the pool and refilled it and we were evicted. And my mom made no apologies
and called them all racist pigs to their faces.

I also remember once in about 1964 when a babysitter acted in a racist
manner and my mom was visibly disgusted. Mrs. Dillon was her name. She was
about 70 years old and watched the neighborhood kids. We were all playing
in her backyard at dusk one night when she freaked out, came running into
the yard and made all the kids come inside and hide! We had no idea *what*
was going on but it was scary. There was a black man knocking at her door,
that is all I remember. About 5 minutes later, with kids still huddling in
terror inside with Mrs. Dillon, my mom showed up. Mrs. Dillon let her in
and my mom asked her what was going on. Mrs. Dillon could barely speak and
was still shaken and my mom got ANGRY when she heard that all this was
merely about a black man knocking on her door. I remember her scolding
Mrs. Dillon and my mom actually gave the kids there a lecture on how
stupid and racist Mrs. Dillon had behaved! It was a really bizarre moment
as a 4 year old. My mom bitched about racism and Mrs. Dillon the whole way
home and I never returned to her.

But I guess I learned from my own mom, to say what I think needs to be
said, politically, no matter what the circumstances, on the whole. Because
I learned that the convictions of the heart matter more, and are a
stronger foundation, than mere status quo thinking That is a mighty solid
foundation, indeed, to be able to trust your own heart and to not have to
wait for others’ approval to begin your public dissent. And let me tell
you, it is a powerful thing for others to watch and see, as well. One
person, standing alone on his own conviction, is a moving piece of art. It
is a public service to be brave and lone protesters are brave, and they
are also doing a public service. Is there something bothering you, that
you have been *waiting* for someone else to do something about? Don’t wait
to follow, be a leader; you can start your lone protest today!


Long Live Lazlo Toth!
By Kirsten Anderberg (

Lazlo Toth is my hero! He is the alter ego of Don Novello (more widely
known for his act as Father Guido Sarducci on Saturday Night Live). Lazlo
Toth is an amazing and inspirational phenomenon. Lazlo writes heads of
states and corporate CEOs with the most hilarious off-base, tongue in
cheek comments, but what is even funnier are the serious responses these
people send him back! His first, and classic, book entitled “The Lazlo
Letters,” is subtitled, “The amazing real-life actual correspondence of
Lazlo Toth, American!” What is really interesting, as well, is that this
book was published in 1977, and it is amazing how many of the letter’s
topics, and people, are still topical, such as his letters to oil industry

“You send out letters, you get back letters, that’s for sure!” – Lazlo Toth

Lazlo sent a letter to the head of the Mobile Oil Company, Mr. Warner, in
1974: “Dear Mr. Warner, Jr., I would like you to know that many Americans
appreciate all the oil companies have done for this country and want you
to know that just because the press plays up people complaining, a lot of
people know the oil crisis is not your fault any more than it is our
President’s. There just isn’t enough oil, why can’t people just understand
that? Don’t be discouraged, the American people will someday see that you
were telling the truth! God bless your people all over the globe! Stand up
for our President!...An American, Lazlo Toth.” Notice that wording – he
said the oil crisis was not just the oil industry’s fault but also the
President’s fault, yet Mobile Oil wrote him back. Mobile Oil’s response
dated Feb. 28, 1974, says, “Dear Mr. Toth, Mr. Warner asked me to thank
you for your very gracious note of February 15. With all the criticism we
have been receiving lately from some areas of the public, the press, and
the government, it is nice to know that we have support from people like
yourself. Thank you again for writing.” Wow, is about all I can say. Lazlo
Toth is a damned genius. That was 30 years ago, but it is amazing how
current that correspondence sounds.

Lazlo Toth’s entire legacy is built upon these letters he writes and the
crazy-assed responses people send him back. It really makes you want to
start sending letters out in your own character name. As I said, Lazlo is
inspirational. In 1974, Lazlo wrote the president of the Kentucky Fried
Chicken Corporation: “Dear Sir,...It is my American duty to inform you
that there are people in this country who, in the name of
“environmentalists” and “friends of chickens,” are merely dupes of the red
menace that is ever so slowly trying to creep into our very minds. A
group...made up of militant ex-auto mechanics, is demanding that America
abandon our mascot the American Eagle...(they are) pushing for the chicken
to become the new national bird...Nobody is going to want to eat the
national bird so you’ll have to go out of business! I know now you can see
the seriousness of this! I don’t care about chickens – although I eat
them. I only want to keep the eagle our national bird! It would be to our
advantage to keep the eagle as our symbol and the chicken as our dinner,
and by working together, we can do it! God bless you!...Let me know your
ideas on the subject. Stand by our President! My best to the Colonial. A
wonderful American! To the Eagle forever, Lazlo Toth.” And KFC responded:
“Mr. Toth, We couldn’t agree with you more; Eagles are for emblems and
chickens are for eating.”

Sometimes Lazlo is just plain silly. He wrote to the president of Timex
Watches in 1976...”Dear Sir, I saw one of your commercials that showed a
woman on the beach in Malibu, Ca., with one of those ticking
geiger-counter type things, and she found a watch buried in the sand. I
lost a watch a number of years ago, and I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure
it might be mine! I’ve never been in Malibu but I figure a strong current
could have carried it down there. (My watch wasn’t a Timex, but I figure
you never know.) Could you please go through your lost and found box and
see if it has the initials “LT” on it, and also the inscription, “In case
of accident call an ambulance...” P.S. Where can I get one of those
geiger-counters? If you don’t have my watch I might start looking for it
myself. Can you do any harm to a dog if you go over it with one of those
things? Any harmful rays? Also, how about cats?” Okay, I am having trouble
not laughing as I type this, to be honest. Timex responded, of course:
“Dear Mr. Toth, Thank you for your letter of Sept. 17. We regret to advise
that we do not have a lost and found department. Metal detectors are
available through hobby stores. Thank you for writing.”

What Lazlo does with these letters is similar to prank phone calls as
kids. But I guess it is so funny because he gets stuffed shirts he just
insulted to engage in the dumbest dialogue. In 1976, Lazlo writes the
Queen of England: “Dear Madam ____, It sure was nice of you to come over
here to America and forgive us and help us celebrate the Bycentenial...I
heard that you were more than a little put off by the choice of songs
President Ford had played at the dinner. “The Lady Is A Tramp” is an
American classic and you shouldn’t have taken it to mean that the song was
in any way referring to you. They probably would have written a special
tune just for you but nobody knows your last name. We just call you “Queen
Elizabeth” over here. “Queen Elizabeth” who? Let me know your last name
and I’ll get working on a proper tune especially for you. It will be like
“Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey” so I need to know your whole name. They
wouldn’t have written “Won’t You Come Home Bill.” “Bill, who?” they would
have asked...In the meantime, I’ve written this little tune to try to make
you feel better. It could become your theme song, better than the one
you’ve got now – too old fashioned!”

“The Lady Is A Queen by Lazlo Toth:
She likes America even when it’s cold and damp,
She’s real classy, that’s why she’s on all the stamps,
She eats all they give her but she always stays lean,
That’s why the Lady Is A Queen.
The pound may be falling, but her nose, it remains high.
It’s like she’s from the House of Wax, except she’s alive.
She’s really something royal, if she was a he she’d be a King,
That’s why the Lady Is A Queen.”

And of course, he got a reply! “Dear Mr. Toth, I am commanded by the Queen
to thank you for your letter, and to tell you how much Her Majesty enjoyed
her visit to America....For your information, the Queen has no surname,
but belongs to the House of Windsor, of which she is the Head. Yours
sincerely, Susan Hussey, Lady-in-Waiting.”

In 1974, Lazlo sent a drawing of a “Mallmobile” to Arco Oil company. His
idea was to put 6 decks on buses, like double decker buses, but with 6
decks, then he suggested they put the following things on each deck: 6th
deck-outdoor cafe/sun deck, 5th deck-bowling, 4th deck-flower/barber
shops, 3rd deck-restrooms/lounge/newsstand, 2nd deck-card/pet shops, 1st
deck-shoe store. Lazlo suggested the “Mallmobile” roll into the suburbs to
help with the oil crisis, to cut down on gas consumption driving to malls.
Arco sent him a little certificate that said they “salute Lazlo Toth whose
Idea Ahead of Its Time can represent one of the important steps we must
take on the way to a better quality of life for all Americans.”


Controversial Comedy
By Kirsten Anderberg (

Whether I am sledgehammering a bathroom scale naked in army boots, or
making sign language interpreters go through hell signing the song
“Vasectomy,” I am known as a controversial feminist comedian. It is
actually amazing that I do not get into more trouble than I do, with the
political buttons I push. I have been charged with peace disturbance and
obscenity in Santa Cruz, 8 times, yet never convicted. I have also been
charged with internal violations of city management rules for similar
“crimes” in Seattle three times now. I won the first 2 times and the 3rd
time is being litigated now. I have had management at fairs tell me to say
what I want in the aisles as I busk (street perform), but be careful what
I say on stage, and then at other fairs, I’ve been told to say whatever I
want on stage, but be careful in the aisles busking. There is no way to
predict what will happen when you actually unleash feminist comedy into
the public domain for all to see and hear freely!

I kept getting in trouble in Santa Cruz due to my political messages,
giving props to welfare moms and singing lesbian take-offs on old
standards, such as “My boyfriend’s back and there’s gonna be trouble, hey,
la de la, she’s a lesbian, he thinks that we both want him and he gets his
pleasure doubled (right!) hey la de la, she’s a lesbian now...” Nothing
pisses off an old, hard-nosed Patriarch like a lesbian making fun of him
on HIS American streets, in his face! And the Market in Seattle asked me
not to perform a feminist comedy song about the Myth in Genesis, saying
the reason for my censorship was the Market is a “family place.”
Christians seem to get upset about my having the same free speech rights
as sidewalk Jesus preachers routinely.

In my early 20’s, I was influenced heavily by Santa Cruz’s Myth California
Pageant Protests, and Ann Simonton’s beauty activism. I did performances
where I would sledgehammer bathroom scales my fans brought to me to
pummel, calling this “Operation Rescue.” I would recite a poem, Fat Girls
Are Dangerous (, right
before obliterating the scales. The poem says, “A fat grrl is abnormal.
Different. Other. Not normal. Not okay... A fat grrl should be stunted.
Dieted. Drugged...A fat grrl should be ashamed. Sorry.
A fat grrl should shed big chunks of herself. A fat grrl doesn't really
need to be that way, you know. A FAT GRRL MUST BE REDUCED TO SIZE. A fat
grrl does not fit. Is out of control. A fat grrl is uncontrollable.
Dangerously out of control. A FAT GRRL IS DANGEROUS!” I even performed
this act naked, at well over 200 pounds, naked in army boots and a nun’s
habit, in front of 5,000 people, one night in the Oregon woods. And I got
an overwhelming response for the show. Out of all the shows I have done, I
would say the shows where I sledgehammer bathroom scales always deliver
the most passionate response after the show.

One year at the Oregon Country Fair (OCF), I decided to burn my camping
pass on stage as part of my act! I went on stage at the Midnight Show, in
the wee hours of the night, and was going to lead the whole crowd of
thousands into burning our passes together as the ultimate act of
defiance, but was talked, at the last minute, into just burning my own
pass on stage due to *the fire hazard* all those little pieces of burning
paper in the audience would cause in the bone dry forest we were camping
in. As I burned my pass on stage, where everyone could see it was gone, I
wondered if I would walk off stage and be escorted out of the fair! I
obviously had no pass. But I made it through the rest of the fair without
my pass, since most of the security saw me burn it on stage, which helped.
The year before that, I had been wearing an American flag mini-skirt on
stage during my act, and took it off and burned it. So, fire was a
reoccurring theme for a while.

One of the more shocking but hilarious skits I have performed is a
re-creation of a drug commercial from TV. My son suggested we perform it,
and his dry sense of humor and wry delivery, made this an instant hit. He
and I would stand on stage, and he would say, “Mom?” And I would reply,
“Yes, son.” Then he would say, “Have you ever done drugs?” Now, the OCF
was known for its Deadhead-like reputations of psychedelia, so this
question set off waves of laughter in the audience immediately. I acted
nervous, fiddled with my collar, looked at my wrist, as if looking at my
watch, and did other physical things to signal my nervousness with his
question which I was not answering, just like the lady in the commercial.
He then said, “Mom?” And just like the commercial, I answered, “That is a
really good question, son. Someday, we should talk about that.” And then
my son and I walked off stage. The crowd was doubled over laughing. It was
really weird and seemed very sacrilege to be performing drug humor, Cheech
and Chong humor, with my son! But he was over 18.

One year I was performing a song called “Spike A Tree For Jesus,” and the
signers were making me laugh so hard as they signed it out, that I thought
I had to become a more challenging act for the ASL interpreters. So the
next year, I was doing a song called “Vasectomy,” and I decided to make it
a circus on stage. The signer was signing crazy stuff, like “Vasectomy,
just like a navel orange, I’ve been freed, it’s all juice, and there’s no
seed! Vasectomy, what a vas deferens it would be!” And the sign for
vasectomy was this sort of scissor snipping right at the groin, which was
entertaining, as well. But then I brought Hacki Ginda
( into the mix, to do some miming of the song
too. Hacki was doing things like jump-roping with his genitalia, while the
signer battled to keep up. I don’t know, it seemed so wholesome while we
were doing it!

I began to get hassled for my performances in 1986 in Santa Cruz, but
instead of turning into a Shrinking Violet and becoming less
controversial, I decided to become *more* controversial, and more
flamboyant, as it seemed the other way was similar to running and hiding.
So I would just become larger than life, was my plan of attack! The police
hassling me on the street had little costumes that gave them an immediate
edge over me to innocent passersby. So I thought, “What could trump the
power of a cop uniform in public?” And I decided a nun’s habit would work.
So I put on the nun’s habit and could do things twice as controversial,
under the protected shield of that black and white garb.

But that whole nun thing quickly degraded into kitsch and in no time, I
was selling Papalballs, paddleballs with pictures of the Pope on the side
of the paddle that the ball hits. I began to juggle saint statues, even
though I suck at juggling and dropped them, breaking their noses and hands
off as much as anything, which actually made people laugh really hard. I
began doing Holy Card readings, similar to Tarot Card readings,
reinterpreting the traditional symbology of saints I learned in Catholic
school. One particular holy card reading began a legacy of Spiritual
Advisor work. I did a holy card reading for some folks on their way to
OCF. I pulled a Saint Catherine of Alexandria holy card, and she is
standing by a broken wheel. Out of the blue, I interpreted that to mean
they needed to make sure their spare tire was in good repair before the
trip to OCF. Due to this reading alone, these people actually bought a
spare tire. And on the way to OCF, they had a tire blow out that ruined
the rim and were able to go on as I (and St. Catherine) had told them to
get a good spare. Soon I was attending underground weddings to give
blessings, and began selling my 7 day Mother Zosima prayer candles. The
nun habit lent itself to gaudy props as well. I wore a ball and chain I
denied was there whenever I performed, made jokes about my “hemp habit,”
and also had a George Bush Commemorative plastic weenie rosary made out of
plastic deli hot dogs. I would chug water between songs out of a “Holy
Water” container, and used brass collection plates for my tips.

It seems the world is used to seeing little Judy Collins clones and has no
issue with women emulating that image. But if you are gonna go out on the
street and act like a madwoman, talking about replacing your boyfriend
with a lesbian, talking about how fat women are OKAY, talking about how
motherhood is sacred, juggling Saint Lucy statues until the eyeballs on
her platter roll off, well, that has CONTROVERSY written all over it. You
can be a big burly guy and sing on the streets all day about male-centered
politics and no one will bat an eyelid. But put a big burly woman out
there, singing about woman-centered politics, and all hell breaks lose.
But that is not enough to censor me. Let’s see...last time I had to up
this to a nun’s habit. Where do you go to up it from here? I guess we will
find out in the years to come!


Bind Your Own Books
By Kirsten Anderberg (

Frustrated by the Middle Man (and I *mean* “man”), I recently spent a good
amount of time researching my personal book binding options. I came up
with a collection of book binding techniques, each with unique attributes.
The types of book bindings I found I could do myself at home were 1)
Perfect Spine Bindings (Paperback Books), 2) Stab and Sew Bindings, 3)
Coil Bindings, 4) Book Board & Cloth Bindings and 5) Miscellaneous Art
Bindings, such as Altered Books. Most people don’t think much about book
bindings, even though they regularly use books, but now that I have spent
time researching this, I look at the bindings of books really differently.
I see binding itself as an art form now.

The earliest “books” were written on stone, clay, wood, bark, animal
hides, and other natural materials. Scrolls were a common form for books
prior to the first century AD, when more elaborate book forms began to
proliferate. By the Middle Ages, books in the form of a hard cover with
pages inside and a bound spine were common. Gems and jewels, glass and
metal clasps, often adorned the covers of these books, as well as
expensive fabrics such as velvet or silk. There was a push for mass
binding methods via Islam and Christianity early on, and that also has
some history within book binding’s past. By the 19th century, industrial
production of books had come upon us. This switch to industrialized book
binding, as with many other things, turned book binding and its covers
into a functional protector, rather than a decorative art. The 20th
century saw the book become a mass consumer product, and yet, in the 21st
century, I am pursuing hand bound books as an art form, as a writer and
publisher. Things come full circle in art at times.

The types of book binding that I have tried each meet different needs (and
I am just beginning to explore this art form and am no expert, by any
means). The coil bindings are appropriate for calendars and cookbooks, but
a novel is more appropriate in a perfect spine binding for bookstore
shelves. The book board and cloth bindings can look very stately, creating
a hard bound book. And collecting unique fabrics and papers for the covers
and insides is really fun. Some bindings have more functionality to them,
such as the coil and perfect spine bindings, while the stab and sew and
altered books are more compatible with artistic texts. There are books
that come with boxes they fit into, there are books that have golden
engravings on their leather spines, there are books with elaborate ribbon
endbands under their spine. There are books with pages made of different
papers to add to their aesthetics as well. You can buy papers made with
seaweed, flowers, and other things visibly within its pulp. You can buy
translucent paper, metallic paper, hand-stamped paper...I have found since
I got into book binding as an art form, I am fascinated with paper and all
materials having to do with binding, from awls and bone folders to book
cloth and binders’ board to gold leaf, glues, and endband ribbons. I am
especially interested in old and ancient book binding tools, such as early
awls, engraved bone folders, handmade endband ribbons, etc.

I make perfect spine bound books, or paperback books, with a computer,
laser printer, hand paper cutter, epoxy, and a handmade press that is
really just a clamp and two pieces of wood. I write up the text, print it
out to half letter size, and print it out in pages side to side. Then I
cut the pages in half on the paper cutter, a few at a time, by hand. Then
for stability, I have come to stapling near the end of the spine, then I
put it into the clamp and add the glossy cover I printed out. The glossy
cover is from a legal size page, then cut down, to accommodate the spine
width. I use a paintbrush to spread epoxy on the spine, then paste the
cover to it, then take it out of the press and put it under something
heavy to dry for 24 hours. Once done, the pages are never perfectly even,
but a useful hand-bound paperback can be had in however many copies you
want to produce. The freedom to produce small batches of books is one of
the things that lure me to self-binding.

Stab and sew bindings use the premise of stabbing a few holes at measured
intervals through the cover and pages, then sewing through those holes to
secure the bindings. This type of binding has its own art form in the
stitching used on the spines. I have several books full of book binding
stitches, that look like embroidery pattern books. They show elaborate
sewing patterns to adorn a book’s spine, with patterns that can reflect a
region or culture, a time period, one person’s fancy, etc. Stab and sew
bindings have unlimited potential for artistic renderings. The tools
necessary for this type of binding primarily are an awl, waxed thread and
a book binding needle (aside from the cover and inside pages).

Coil bindings require a small machine and plastic coils that are pretty
inexpensive. The machine I have is pretty basic. It does not even use
electricity! With this machine, you put the paper in, then pull down a
handle and it makes a lot of small holes. Then you feed the pages and
cover into the machine, with a plastic coil ready to bind inside, and it
threads the coil through all the little holes, ending with a spiral bound
book. These books do not look particularly artful or professional, and
often just have a printed card stock cover, but they are functional. Thus
they are useful for workbooks, cookbooks, calendars, etc.

I am not sure why, but this form seems to have the greatest potential for
professional looking, yet very artistic, book binding. Stab and sew books
are very artsy, but not professional looking. This form has some very
grand potential, thus it draws me in the most. Most traditional hard back
books are of this type of binding. This type of book consists of a hard
material such as book board, which is like a very thin, stiff cardboard,
and some type of covering for the board, such as fabric or paper, and then
glue and some type of cloth, such as book binding cloth, to adhere the
parts together. This type of binding is exciting as it can be highly
decorative, from the material used to cover the board, which can be quite
exotic, to fancy accoutrements such as handmade silk ribbon endbands, or
embossed spine titles. You can even color the pages’ long side with gold.
The possibilities of beautiful books are endless with this binding method.

There are many ways to bind that are somewhat off the charts. One of my
favorites is “”Altered Books.” This is a process where you take an old
book, and totally rework it for your own purposes. For instance, I took an
old Dr. Seuss book and cut a square hole in the front cover. This left the
crazy animal-like figures inside the cover, staring out. I then glued
other things over the cover, and even some trinkets around the hole. Then
inside the book, I ripped out pages, then started doing things to the
pages in a theme with my book, not the original book. I painted some
pages, then glued collaged messages over them. Other pages I added things
to the original pictures, embellishing them. I love altering books like
this. And again, the possibilities are endless. There are also different
ways to fold and cut/tear paper to make accordion books or little
mini-zines. You can make scrolls in decorative boxes as books, or books
with pockets full of things. You can make books out of objects, such as an
old accordion I saw, which pulled out like an actual accordion, but where
the folds are, it exposed old photos of accordion players and accordion
history. That was very much an “art” piece, yet also a book.

Whatever you end up doing to bind your books, you certainly can come up
with something more original than the mass-produced glossy covers lining
the shelves of your local Barnes and Noble bookstore! Books are not just
about the information presented within. Presentation matters too! I look
forward to learning more about the ancient art of book binding in the
future and feel a certain freedom with each step I take towards making
books that look as good as they read!


The Lost Orphans of Los Angeles
By Kirsten Anderberg (

Imagine not knowing where you spent parts of your childhood and with whom.
That is the fate that I, along with thousands of other children, (some of
whom speak out in this article), unfortunate enough to be born into Los
Angeles County from the 1950’s – 2003, have suffered. We, as children,
were warehoused in an asylum-like institution called MacLaren Hall, for
our parents’ serious criminal-level child abuse. Mac Hall was a “child
protection institution.” Mac Hall is a hidden atrocity, in the history of
a modern U.S. city, and its story needs to be uncorked. I am gathering and
presenting the actual testimony of survivors to the public on this matter,
and am also pushing the County of L.A. to let us testify on record about
this institutionalized child abuse and its entrails left within our social
fabric. Survivors of Mac Hall describe horror. “Children with burnt skin,
black eyes, arms in slings and legs in casts, were familiar sights.”

One woman who wrote me after reading my own MacLaren Hall story online
( described Mac Hall as
”so much nicer and safer than where I came from,” then went on to describe
her memories of the place as having “gang beatings, babies crying, girls
sniffing hairspray or whatever they could get...” I, too remember gangs of
teen girls molesting us as they were left in charge of us in big bathtubs
that fit many girls at a time. I remember about six other 8 year old girls
in a bathtub with me, with teen girl inmates left in charge of us, telling
us how they tried to kill their parents so we had better shut up and let
them do what they wanted or they would kill us. They seemed credible as an
8 year old and I shut up.

Another email I got from someone who read my article on Mac Hall had the
subject line “MacLaren Hall and their stupid Teddy Bear.” He was referring
to the box of toys they give traumatized kids when they leave Mac Hall.
All of us were in severe trauma, then they let us out with a social
worker, handed us a box of toys, and said, “Be happy.” I remember wanting
to get rid of those toys asap as they reminded me of Mac Hall! I wrote a
survivor about my recollection of the toy bag, which included a “Shrinking
Violet” doll and a perfume doll. She responded, “I remember getting one of
those perfume dolls too! Mine was purple and her hair smelled for a long
time afterwards.” This may sound weird for adults to be talking about what
toys they got when they were released from Mac Hall, but for most everyone
I have spoken to who survived Mac Hall, they have had no chance to talk to
anyone about this ever, their whole lives. Only in finding other Mac Hall
survivors via my online article about it in 1st person, have some of us
actually found our brothers and sisters who *know* what Mac Hall really

One Mac Hall survivor said he contacted me because he “wanted to meet
another person who might have had some experiences at MacLaren Hall.” He
sent me a Google aerial shot of Mac Hall as it looks today. I could still
see the fences along the perimeter, and the dorms, play yard, and
courthouse. I could see the sparkling pools just across the street that I
used to watch the “free kids” splash in, through the chain link and barbed
wire fences.

Another survivor wrote me about my Mac Hall article and said “As I began
to read the story, tears began to fall from my eyes. I could not believe
you were also telling my story. I, too was there in 1969, but I was only 3
years old. Here is my story with only a few things to add. I remember the
day I got a bad rash and I was put into solitary confinement. A small
cubicle, with 4 white walls and a bed. There was also a bathroom with a
door which was locked. There was a small window with bars, which was my
only outlet to the outside. There were a few trees which I often remember
looking at. I didn’t have visitors or human contact for the time I was
sick. It seemed like forever. I could not leave that room. When I needed
to use the bathroom I had to knock on a glass window where there was a
wide long hallway. There were times when I would knock and knock and the
staff would just pass me by without coming in to unlock the bathroom door
so I could use the restroom. I would hold onto my urine until I couldn’t
anymore and scream and cry, hoping someone would hear me from far away. I
was so scared what they would do to me if I wet my bed or just let it go.
I felt so helpless and asked god, “Why me?” If this was life, let me die.
I actually wanted to be dead, it was a nightmare which I still have

She continues, “I didn’t understand anything. I just cried the whole time.
I forgot how long it was for, but it seemed like forever. I also remember
I got to change my clothes once a week and all the children would go
running for the drawer to find pants or a shirt that might fit. Sometimes
you just had to take whatever, even if it didn’t fit. I also went back
when I was around 8 years old for the same torture. Our stories are so
much alike. I’m interested to know how this affected your adult life.
Thank you for sharing your story and allowing me to share with you. This
is the first time that I have been able to let this out. I hope all of the
MacLaren Children that were able to survive through their childhood are
now good and strong and those that did not make it, may god be with them
and bless them. They are now in peace at least.”

I was in Mac Hall when I was 8 in 1969. I remember hearing children and
babies shrieking in terror all night long, all day long. It was creepy and
horrific as you wondered, alone inside bars, what was going on down the
halls to have all this tortured screaming echoing off all the linoleum.
There was so much violence that led these tortured children INTO Mac Hall
and there was so much violence from guards on down to other inmates in Mac
Hall, that I also asked god to kill me at age 8 in Mac Hall. I also came
very close to just jumping off a bridge right in front of my dad within 6
months of being released from Mac Hall too, as I was not able to just
sweep Mac Hall under the rug and go on as if nothing had happened. Most
Mac Hall survivors addressed the suicide issue in Mac Hall as kids, and
once out, as well. What haunts most of us is not only the abuse we
suffered as children, and the sick view of the world that gave us, but the
real thing that won’t give us peace is WHY. *Why* did society leave
thousands of kids for dead in L.A. County? Was it just about money? No one
wanted to care for us? Many of us wished ourselves dead. The woman above
said she was wishing for death in Mac Hall at age 3. I was wishing for it
at age 8.

People do not understand how much Mac Hall trailed its victims well into
adulthood. I had a woman write me about her lesbian partner who had been
in Mac Hall. She wrote me in 2003, when I was 42 years old. She said, “I
saw your posting about MacLaren Hall kids. I personally was not in
MacLaren Hall, but my partner and lifemate was. She would have been 42 in
Jan., but she took her life in 2001. She had told me so much about
MacLaren Hall that I feel I lived there. In addition...she also kept
detailed journals each day of her life since she was a teenager and I am
in possession of those journals and I know her thoughts and feelings about
MacLaren Hall and her stay there...If you’d be interested in her story of
MacLaren, I’d be happy to oblige. It’s one more way of keeping her memory

To be honest, I have not yet met a Mac Hall survivor who has not
contemplated suicide during childhood, nor have I met one who is not
passionate about what happened there as having a life long impact on them.
Another survivor wrote me and said, “It’s sad to admit to myself that I am
a Mac Hall alum...I don’t talk about it, and I try so hard not to think
about it. Because of Mac Hall and being one of the *lost children* of L.A.
County (i.e. CPS lost track of thousands of children in the 1980’s), I
went into social work...because I wanted no other child to be put in that
situation. I finally left CPS work and went into a non-profit because the
thoughts of Mac became overwhelming and I had to see a therapist. It was
his suggestion I leave CPS work, for my own sanity...They cannot ever pay
for what they have done. But I want a PUBLIC-nationally televised, dammit-
apology, and I want restitution for those who want or need it and will
support that cause!”

I met a man who said he had been in jail for years as an adult after
coming out of Mac Hall. He said the night he came to Mac Hall, his dad had
beat him, broken his bones and he had tried to stab his father. He said
the reason so many of the children themselves were so violent in Mac Hall
was they had just come straight from severe violence at home. And were
dropped into an unknown place, in an unknown situation. He said any child
who came into Mac Hall with any innocence left, would have it quickly
consumed by the other children in there as if it were candy. He described
Mac Hall as “a facility where children wait for a vacancy in a foster
home. Children with burnt skin, black eyes, arms in slings and legs in
casts, were familiar sights in that place. My ribcage was wrapped and my
fractured elbow was in a cast. At night the counselors comforted the
children who sobbed and cried out, “I want to go home to my mommy and
daddy.” In the scary, lonely night, the anxiety of changing homes and
schools and parents in one drastic swoop was a powerful uncertainty which
made the sheltered children tremble and cry for the security of a bondage
they were familiar with...Those nights at MacLaren Hall disgusted me. I
felt myself stronger than the other children. But when I was paroled three
years ago, there were several times when the desire to go rob a bank again
was so strong that I finally sought counseling...I considered myself a
stranger in this “free world” and longed at times to go back to prison,
the world I was most comfortable in.” I fear many Mac Hall survivors ended
up in jail like this man, due to this feeling of never being at home in
the “free world,” due to past experiences.

He said he spent 9 years in prison and 2 years in solitary confinement
once aging out of the juvenile system. He found it hard to think in ways
that were not institutionalized. This is the very definition of
“institutionalized oppression,” as well as “internalized oppression.” He
had grown up in institutions and later had to do hard work to derail that
pattern of thinking institutions breed. He went from a childhood in Mac
Hall with his brother, to jail for decades. Then he went back to Mac Hall
and began to volunteer there right before they shut it down in May 2003.
Most of us have emotional ties to Mac Hall left in us, as unresolved
nightmares, basically. And most of us feel we are supposed to *do
something* as adults about what we saw in Mac Hall. Each of us tries to
figure out a way to do something...I write about it, the one woman above
tried to do social work with kids, the other man tried to go back to Mac
Hall to help.

I sent away for my records from Mac Hall recently (Spring 2006). I was
both terrified of what I would see and yet anxious to get some closure. I
wanted to know when I was in there, for how long, how I got there, where I
went from there...since my family refuses to speak to me about Mac Hall
since it happened, basically. I wanted to know what the police records
said led me to Mac Hall. I was scared that I had seen the whole thing
through a child’s eyes, and to hear it in adult words now, as an adult,
could be really frightening. For instance, once I called an attorney who
had taken my mom and me in, 2 years before the Mac Hall mess, while he
defended my mom in custody battles, pro bono, from my dad. I called him as
an adult, at age 30, to ask him about my childhood, as much of it is a
blur. He said he took my mom and me in because she was not functioning and
they wanted me to have a chance. So they brought me to their posh home in
Tarzana, and let me swim in their pool and ride bikes with their kids for
the summer, while, he said, my mom curled up in a fetal position and
sobbed like a child most of her days at his house. It somehow felt really
shameful to hear him say that. On many levels. And it brought back the
image of my mother in a scary, withdrawn, fetal position, when I was alone
with her in an apt. as a 6 year old, and I was relieved when he did move
us to where other people were. But I had forgotten how sick my mom was.
And it was scary to talk to him, to be honest. He only said horrible,
scary things about my mom. He brought me back to that dark veil that was
my mom. The darkness that led to Mac Hall eventually.

I requested my files from Mac Hall recently because I wanted to see my own
records of my own childhood when the state was my parent. But just like my
own dad, who handed me his “Kirsten pictures” when I was 33, as if they
were cluttering up his other family’s photo album, L.A. County has
supposedly “misplaced” my Mac Hall files. They sent a reply to my request
to the County recently, and the letter said nothing but “your records have
been misplaced.” The letter did not say they were going to look for them,
nor did they explain how my juvenile records, which included police
reports, court hearings, judgments, and also internment of my body, and
placement into foster care, had no records on file. The State of
California was able to easily locate my birth certificate in Los Angeles
County when I requested it in 2003, but in 2006 when I requested the
County’s records of my childhood, 8 years later, in their custody, no
records can be found. Just like my dad’s 4th family’s photo album. To me,
it feels like malicious destruction of evidence to have just “misplaced”
Mac Hall survivors’ records. And for L.A. County to just send form letters
out to survivors saying they are not even going to *try* to *find* our
records, just infuriates me.

Mac Hall did not close in 2003. It is still fully alive in its survivors
and those who did not survive. I feel a sisterhood, a brotherhood, with
Mac Hall survivors. I feel a kinship to kids going through similar
dehumanization in institutions today. I relate to the *lost children*
everywhere. I want society to understand that *lost children* grow up and
we do not forget. And we are haunted by what being *lost children* or
*living orphans* taught us. Some of us turned into criminals as we had no
social connect at all. Some of us withdrew and never did trust humans
again, since childhood. Many of us went on, pretending it never happened,
but wondering what that was and if it could happen again. Mac Hall needs
much more media discussion and exposure as it is a model of child abuse in
recent society, in current history, and its survivors are willing to talk.
And we must let them talk. And we must listen to what they are saying.
There are lessons to be learned about children, and society, within the
words of Mac Hall survivors. I honor all my Mac Hall sisters and brothers
who read this today. You are not alone.


Is Having An “Alias” Inherently Criminal Activity?
By Kirsten Anderberg (

Court documents circulating in regard to the current arrests of activists
involved in the “Green Scare” out of Eugene, Oregon, refer to “alias”
names for the accused, as if alias names are absolutely unusual, and
suspect for criminal activity. But every single person I know uses “alias”
names, from email user names, to stage names and pseudonyms, to innocent
nicknames. The use of names different than your own is not in and of
itself malicious, as many of these court documents infer. A few people who
use/d “alias” names that come to mind immediately, are Bob Dylan, Jamie
Foxx, and Judy Garland.

What is the difference between an alias and other names people use? Is it
in *how* they are used, or how they are *given*? Is it why they are
*created*, the “intent” involved in their creation that makes an “alias”
so menacing to judges? It seems it would be the intent that would separate
just the use of an alias from a malicious intentional criminal level false
identity. So, I am assuming that it is not the mere presence of aliases in
the lives of some of those accused in the “Green Scare” that will be
brought into court, but rather evidence or arguments that would go towards
the *motivation for having aliases* or the *intent of the aliases* that
will also predominate.

This is a very gray area in many ways. It seems that motive really
predominates in this discussion of aliases in a criminal context. I think
if the alias is used in an evasive manner, to commit a crime, that would
somehow retrospectively paint an alias with maliciousness, and if it is
not used in criminal ways then its intent is less certain. In some alias
cases, it is as if the court uses retrospective evidence to say, “See,
since they had aliases, they were going to use them in the way they did
end up using them, thus intent was present.” But that is a circular
argument as they could have had aliases with no intent to commit crimes
and then have committed crimes later. Anything that relies on
retrospective evidence like that seems shaky. It is too close to that line
where police raid a house with no legal warrant or reason, then find
illegal things and try to justify it, after the fact, by what they found.
But the search was illegal. These issues are troubling.

Some states have preemptive laws which make it illegal to possess false
identification. So maybe that is a line that can be crossed too. If you
use a lot of different names, but do not possess “false identification”
under that name, maybe that is something that has legal relevance as well.
Performers, writers, and people doing business under other names than
their legal names are seen as legit, since the reason for the alias use is
usually for business reasons, not for the supposed reason of evading
authorities. Some examples of alias or false names used legally by
performers are Alan Alda, Woody Allen, Snoop Dogg, Wynonna Judd, Meatloaf,
Taj Mahal, Stevie Wonder... And oddly, a pen name or pseudonym is allowed
for copyright protection.

Webster’s dictionary defines “alias” as “an assumed or additional name,”
or “otherwise called, otherwise known as.” Webster defines “nickname” as
A) “ additional name, B) descriptive name given instead of or in addition
to the one belonging to a person, place, or thing, or C) a familiar form
of a proper name (of a person or city). A “pseudonym” is defined as
“bearing a false name, a fictitious name.” There really is nothing in
these definitions that set them apart from one another. Oddly, in court
documents from the State of Oregon against the accused in the Green Scare,
they refer to “alias” names of the accused as “false names,” “street
names” or “forest names.” I seriously doubt there is a legal definition
*yet* for “forest names” in Black’s Law Dictionary!

Police Guilds Protecting Murderers: Seattle Police Accountability
By Kirsten Anderberg (

“It is important to have unions, but police unions are used to defend
racism and murderous activity on the job,” said Nick D., as he testified
before the Seattle City Council on April 18, 2006. He added his own labor
union would never defend him for murdering on the job. A mother, Michelle
Jeffries, testified that the Seattle Police murdered her son without
proper explanation, investigation, or prosecution. “They pick and choose
who to prosecute for murder,” she said of King County prosecutors. Some
called for routine mandatory drug testing of all Seattle Police officers,
citing ex-Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper’s admissions of on-the-job
pill-popping while he was police chief. (Stamper is best known for
orchestrating what are now known as “the WTO Riots” in 1999.) One man
spoke about a 1963 Seattle ACLU newsletter he found, that was advocating
for a police review board due to the Civil Rights movements’ call for a
stop to police beatings in the Central District of Seattle. It is now over
40 years later, and this cry from multiple communities combined, is still
not being taken seriously by local government officials.

At a recent Police Accountability Hearing with the Seattle City Council on
April 18, 2006,
public testimony presented *very* logical arguments for police
accountability measures, and it was if we were all testifying to a wall.
Again. The only two City Council members who found their way to the
beginning of this hearing were the Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee of Leftist
Seattle Politics, Peter Steinbrueck and Nick Licata. Jean Goddard stumbled
in after the hearing started. It appears *the people on the street* are
taking this issue much more seriously than Seattle’s City Council does.

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) is most well-known for the World Trade
Organization (WTO) protests, which they turned into police riots, on
Seattle streets in 1999. Gil Kerlikowske is the current Seattle Police
Chief. You can read about one of his more pathetic public displays, in one
of my previous articles entitled, “Police Chief Kerlikowske Takes Half A
Taser Hit” at For
*decades* now, Seattle citizens have been complaining about the lack of
police accountability to its citizens. The testimony that follows, from a
recent hearing, shows *the public* has a very coherent handle on their
demands and complaints. I am writing this article so that a larger
audience than just those 3 City Council members can hear our arguments,
the arguments from Seattle citizens, about why we are sick and tired of
Seattle Police operating in a completely unchecked environment on taxpayer

The hearing began with Council Member Licata running down a brief history
of the police accountability issue to date. Licata said the purpose of the
evening’s police accountability hearing was to give the public an
opportunity to have a voice *before* the City of Seattle enters into its
labor negotiations and contracts with the Seattle Police/Seattle Police
Guild (the Guild being the police labor union). He said in 2000, the
people asked for a review of the Office of Professional Accountability
(OPA), which is the entity that is supposed to investigate and act upon
complaints about the Seattle Police. They are supposed to keep the SPD
from acting in an unprofessional manner. But they function like a fox
guarding a henhouse. The OPA basically hides the mischief the Police
create, is how it seems to play out. They collect complaints, then throw
them out, is how it appears. In 2000 when people asked for a review of the
OPA itself, the City Council was already into negotiations, according to
Licata, so the people were told it was too late to have any review before
their contracts were renewed as is.

Then in 2004, after 2 visibly violent police riots on hundreds of unarmed,
peaceful protesters on Seattle streets on March 22, and June 2, 2003, not
to mention other violent displays of police racism and classism citywide,
and much public testimony about this brutality, there was a public hearing
about police accountability. But Licata said the negotiations were already
underway and in bargaining, so even though they had this mock hearing, no
new items were allowed to be introduced to the table in that round of OPA
negotiations either. Now it is 2006, and the City Council has *finally*,
for the first time, held a public hearing *before* going into the
negotiation stages with the OPA for their 2007 contracts. But only three
City Council members even bothered showing up for this historic event.

As I said, people had very logical things to say at this hearing:
• Aaron Dixon said if you ask people of color anywhere in North America
what the most racist institution in the U.S. is, they will answer “the
police.” He testified that we need community control of the police in our
neighborhoods, and he scolded the City Council, among others, for letting
police brutality go unchecked for too long in Seattle.
• Julia Hampton, program director of the ACLU of Washington, said she
would like a requirement for public input *before* negotiations of the
police union contract to be instituted.
• Paul Richmond suggested mandatory training regarding working with the
mentally ill for street officers as this issue of mental illness and
police shootings often intersect.
• Anwar Peace suggested all SPD officers receive mandatory drug testing.
He said Chief Kerlikowske said there *should* be a mandatory drug testing
policy, yet it never has been instituted. Anwar also suggested mandatory
drug testing of all who work in the police department from the Chief on
down. (I, personally, would take that even one step further to say
*anyone* involved in arrests or prosecution of drug crimes should be
subject to routine mandatory drug testing themselves.)
• L. Black asked the obvious, yet unanswered, question of the night,
“Where is the *accountability* in the Office of Accountability?”
• M. Scott testified about an OPA “investigation” where there was still
no evidence collected 8 months after filing an OPA report, then with media
attention and an attorney, they reopened the case 2 years later, but still
have done nothing. She said that the OPA was a good concept, but it might
as well not exist.
• Trevor G., said earlier that day, he had signed a $4,500 settlement with
the OPA for failing to investigate his claim properly. He said that he is
not sure he could have gotten that far without the help of attorneys. He
said the OPA blocked him at every turn and made it incredibly hard for him
to get a proper investigation. He said the OPA not only did not
investigate his case, but they blocked proper investigation of his case,
which is the antithesis of the reason for the OPA.
• Several white people who appeared to have class privilege testified that
Seattle Police were nice to them. One woman who identified herself as
being from Amnesty International said she did not bother filing a
complaint with the OPA when SPD violated her, she just got a private
attorney. She seemed to be absolutely oblivious to the fact that most at
this hearing did not get a private attorney due to finances, not personal
• Richard Lee, Seattle’s own character unto himself, testified that these
everlasting hearings never produce any change, and it feels as if we are
shouting out into a canyon and only hearing our own voices return, for 10
years now. He said that according to the 2003 Annual Report, 66% of the
complaints filed with the OPA were not investigated at all. He said it
seems there is a secret negotiation somewhere to brush off 2/3 of all OPA
complaints. Lee said the OPA’s *real* goal is to *limit liability* and to
*stop investigations*.
• Shellice Seacrest, a member of the OPA herself, testified there were
multiple problems with how the OPA is run from an internal perspective,
especially around confidentiality issues. She said she would like to at
least be able to release statistics about *trends* in police behavior, but
even that is being blocked due to the confusion over confidentiality
issues. She said the OPA members are afraid to do anything without
explicit approval from the OPA, fearing they would be sued personally.
• James Bible, vice-president of the Seattle NAACP, testified that the
people had come before the City Council to ask for “something more than an
illusion of fairness” 2 years prior, and he felt that the people had been
failed. He said that a policing system that works and functions *for* the
people, must be accountable *to* the people. He outlined a 9 step proposal
he was submitting to the City Council called the “9 Essential Components
of Change,” which advocated for changes in the areas of police complaint
intake, review of accountability methods, accessibility to police incident
statistics, outside reviews, community advocacy, and other important
issues. He also scolded other City Council members for their absence at
this important hearing.
• Dallas S. testified he was shot during the WTO police riots by police,
and he also said he knows officers who smoke crack cocaine and those
officers take that crack from people he knows on the street. He said the
police in Seattle are “gangsters” and that there is a drug epidemic in
this town but it is not clear who is accountable and to what degree. He
looked at Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee and Jean, and said, “I wish you
would stop bullshitting us,” and honestly, that simple statement spoke for
many of us in the room. He called the City Council out for their callous
cold looks as people testified about serious police brutality. He asked
these City Council Members how could they help with Police Accountability
when they were not even acting in an accountable way themselves that
evening. He was told his time was up, and he retorted, “I think *your*
time is up. I’m sick to my stomach. Why do your officers kick and beat old
men? What the fuck? Excuse my language but I am angry...”
• Omar Tahiri said what people accept from a police officer, they deserve.
He said it was the law of the jungle and that police were there to enforce
the status quo. He cited incidents between the African American Heritage
Museum in Seattle and scolded Licata for giving block money to the Urban
League and not to local causes such as the museum. He said he did not take
the “war on terrorism” seriously until it included the KKK and the Mafia,
as well as crooked cops. He said that the prosecutors’ office is a
problem, as did Ms. Jeffries, earlier. He said “These police are not
stopping crime, they are causing crime. Remember, we don’t have to accept
abuse and wrong. The people I know are not accepting it.”
• A man testified that it was bizarre for absolute control of the police
in a city to belong to their union. He said that the City needed to tear
up the old contract with the Police Guild and start all over, from
scratch, as the old system is not working. He said it was necessary to get
trend statistics out of the OPA so people can see what types of arrests
are occurring most, and where, as well as the sex, race, etc. of those
involved. He said what he was hearing was shameful and the SPD needed to
be “taken apart.”
• M. Andrews testified that police skew the racial statistics by
identifying many American Indians as “white” on their reports. She asked
for no use of tasers or pepper spray by SPD as well. She said that police
were taking petty cash off of American Indians on the street without
records and she asked that the police *pensions* be jeopardized for bad
• Tony O., ex-director of CAMP, asked the City Council to show “the steel,
not the spaghetti, in your spines.” He asked that the City Council
implement “James Bible’s 9 Essentials.”
• Kirsten Anderberg testified that the lack of any explanation,
investigation or accountability for police riots on unarmed, innocent
citizens in permitted protest zones on March 22, 2003 and June 2, 2003,
was despicable and unacceptable.
• Josh said the community of color has deep seated distrust of the Seattle
police and that the distrust is *growing* due to immigration issues. He
said the OPA is “window dressing,” and that the “lack of oversight is
obvious.” He said there was no accountability in the OPA and that its lack
of subpoena, investigative and prosecutorial powers made it laughable. He
said these police accountability issues had a disproportionate impact on
people of color. He said there was a 105% increase in “use of force
complaints” *by Latinos* against the SPD in the last 2 years.
• A man who required an interpreter, from another country, passionately
testified about being roughed up and terrorized by Seattle police for no
reason. He was threatened with deportation. His end statement was he
thought U.S. police were better than other countries’ police, but now he
has a different opinion, due to the SPD.

There was a bit of an air of frustration from the audience, as it does
seem that we keep saying the same things over and over and nothing ever
changes, as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee sit there, comatose, quelling the
rage of the masses with this small little vent as an outlet. There is no
evidence that any of these police accountability hearings do a damned
thing but waste our time. But hopefully, someday, in Seattle, we will
actually see a police force that is accountable to the people it serves.
Or as James Bible so aptly put it, a policing system that works and
functions *for* the people, must be accountable *to* the people.

More articles by Kirsten translated into German:

Erziehung versus Protest? (Germany IMC, Feb 2004)
Neue fragwürdige Praktik am UN-Tribunal (Germany IMC, Nov 2003)


theopenunderground udog ulinuz nurse war kapital sekten

@readme   guestbook forum impressum/disclaimer