Restless type. Mostly irony-free wingnut. Celebrator of trees. Stilt walker. Given to rare fits of poetry. Boot junkie and whiskey enthusiast. Blabbermouth with only a vague notion of TMI. Vermont secessionist expatriate. Moss sniffer. Stray cat petting machine. Alternative school graduate. Mountain admirer. Tattooed non-professional. Mild-mannered atheist and polite anarchist. Big city person with rural inclinations, or maybe it's the other way around.


My name is Nicole Cipri. I'm a writer and a wingnut, among other things. This is my tumblr, aka, a curated mess of memes and half-finished thoughts.


Naija_boi: Joyce Banda is President of Malawi


In her first order of business since being inaugurated as Malawi’s new president on Saturday, Joyce Banda fired the country’s top policeman. No reason was given for the firing, but the BBC reports that the police chief, Peter Mukhito, was in charge last year during anti-government protests over the worsening economy. Mukhito had personally questioned a University of Malawi lecturer over comparisons the latter had made between the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and the fuel crisis in Malawi. The university was later closed. Then last July, police shot dead 19 protesters. Banda’s decisiveness does not surprise long term observers of Malawian politics and her appointment carries wider significance beyond the Southern African country.

For Malawians, it means a “triumph for democracy” in that the proper succession has occurred peacefully and smoothly. Given the rumors and some public statements after the sudden death of Banda’s predecesor, Bingu wa Mutharika, this is especially welcome news. So much for the Afro-pessimists. Senegal in March, Malawi in April. The Malian coup lasted only a few days. Who knows what May will bring?

Joyce Banda was the first woman Vice-President of Malawi. She is now the first woman President of Malawi and the first woman President in Southern Africa.

Banda has been a lifelong champion of women’s rights. She has spent decades organizing rural women, in Malawi and beyond. She has pushed and pulled women, and pushed and pulled with women, to demand equal access to education, to jobs, to land, to health services, to opportunities, to power. She has started women’s organizations and actively supported women’s movements.

In 2004, Banda entered government as Minister of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services. She focused, both in legislative and delivery terms, on addressing domestic violence. She then moved on to become Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006 and Vice-President in 2009.

In recent years, as the regime of Mutharika became increasingly repressive and autocratic, Banda remained an independent voice for women and for others who suffered systemic and structural disenfranchisement, in good times and in bad. When Banda was kicked out of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, she formed her own, the People’s Party, and stayed in office.

And there she has been. Speaking out for women when they were attacked by vendors in Lilongweand Blantyre earlier this year. Speaking out for rural women constantly. Speaking out for more inclusive and democratic processes at all levels of state.

Joyce Banda has spent her life paying attention, learning, engaging, organizing, and effecting positive change. In particular, she watched and learned the difficulties and inequities of rural women’s and girls’ lives.

As a child, she learned that inequality intensifies with rural girls’ exclusions from school, and that the ways of those exclusions are numerous, entwined, complex, and structural.

At 21, Banda married and gave birth to three children. Her husband was abusive; the marriage was corrosive. Banda took her three children, left, and then got a divorce. For the next forty years, she has worked to end domestic violence and transform women’s positions in the world and at home.

When Banda gave birth to her fourth child, she suffered from post partum hemorrhaging and almost died. She realized she owed her life to easy access to trained medical care. From there, she began organizing and working for better access, especially among rural women, to reproductive health care and health care generally.

Joyce Banda’s ascendancy to the Presidency of Malawi is a moment to celebrate, to acknowledge, tohail.  Women know, “The future starts now!

Sources identify White Plains cop Anthony Carelli as triggerman in fatal shooting of retired Marine - NY Daily News

Oh, so the cop that killed a sixty-eight year old black man in his own home has a history of using racial slurs and excessive force?

Golly. I never would have guessed. 


Today is the anniversary of the beginning of Syria’s revolution. So far eight to nine thousand people have been killed and countless wounded. 230,000 have fled their homes. The opposition has planned rallies to mark the day, although the Syrian army is bolstering its presence in opposition strongholds, making it difficult. Activist Adel El-Omari said: “It is clear that they have tightened the siege because they are worried about what people will do for the anniversary.”

One of the latest pieces of news out of Syria is the revelation of the contents of the Assads’ emails, as obtained by the Guardian. There are several thousand of them, revealing the Assads’ lives of casual luxury, ordering apps off iTunes while their country erupts.

Photos: Homs. Feb 15th. Satellite photo/APIdlib. Feb 26th. Rodrigo Abd/AP, Bab Tudmor, Homs. Feb 25th. Stringer/AFP, Idlib. March 10th. Rodrigo Abd/AP, Al-Qusayr. Feb 24th. Alessio Romenzi for TIME.

[Al Jazeera, AP, Guardian]


ABC’s Jake Tapper to White House Press Secretary: “You want aggressive journalism abroad; you just don’t want it in the United States.”

TAPPER: The White House keeps praising these journalists who are — who’ve been killed –

CARNEY: I don’t know about “keep” — I think -

TAPPER: You’ve done it, Vice President Biden did it in a statement. How does that square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistleblowers to court?

You’re — currently I think that you’ve invoked it the sixth time, and before the Obama administration, it had only been used three times in history. You’re — this is the sixth time you’re suing a CIA officer for allegedly providing information in 2009 about CIA torture. Certainly that’s something that’s in the public interest of the United States. The administration is taking this person to court. There just seems to be disconnect here. You want aggressive journalism abroad; you just don’t want it in the United States.

CARNEY: Well, I would hesitate to speak to any particular case, for obvious reasons, and I would refer you to the Department of Justice for more on that.

I think we absolutely honor and praise the bravery of reporters who are placing themselves in extremely dangerous situations in order to bring a story of oppression and brutality to the world. I think that is commendable, and it’s certainly worth noting by us. And as somebody who knew both Anthony and Marie, I particularly appreciate what they did to bring that story to the American people.

I — as for other cases, again, without addressing any specific case, I think that there are issues here that involve highly sensitive classified information, and I think that, you know, those are — divulging or to — divulging that kind of information is a serious issue, and it always has been.

TAPPER: So the truth should come out abroad; it shouldn’t come out here? [more]

(via Libro Traficante Caravan: by AztecMuse — Kickstarter)


So y’all probably know about my feelings re: censorship and laws that target ethnic groups. (Hint: do not want.) Well, here is a fabulous group of literary smugglers that are bringing banned books into Tuscon’s barrios. They’re seeking funding on kickstarter for a caravan of authors and freedom-loving booknerds to drive from Houston, through New Mexico, and into Tuscon, to put the banned books directly into students hands. (Including in the form of a taco truck/library. Seriously.)

My heart is going to explode. Please help fund them. The minimum donation is $1, and there’s two weeks left on the kickstarter drive.

In his book A Universal History of the Destruction of Books, Fernando Baez writes, “Public or private book destruction almost always takes place in alternating melancholy phases: restriction, exclusion, censure, looting, destruction.” By forcing teachers to remove these books — in a traumatizing, humiliating, and public way — the leaders of the Tuscon Unified School District, State Superintendent John Huppenthal, and state District Attorney Tom Horne, have sent a clear message: Be silent. Be obedient. Be empty, be acquiescent, be powerless, be alone…

Censorship is a form of violence. This law equates learning about Chicano history with promoting the overthrow of the government.

This Is Not A Book Ban: Censorship in Arizona » Gozamos

My newest article through Gozamos. This one has convinced me to never, ever, ever move to Arizona. 

Two lessons from the Megaupload seizure - Glenn Greenwald -

Excellent article on SOPA/PIPA, the NDAA, and how piracy appears to be the terrorism when it comes to denying people anything regarding due process. 


What distinguishes a tyrannical society from a free one is whether the government is first required to prove guilt in a fair, adversarial proceeding. This is a precept Americans were once taught about why their country was superior, was reflexively understood, and was enshrined as the core political principle: “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” It’s simply not a principle that is believed in any longer, and therefore is not remotely observed.

I wonder if the same people that are in favor of a smaller government are in favor of this kind of draconian action. 

In completely unrelated news, I called in sick to work today, and have managed to get to 2pm without putting on pants. That might be a new record. 

I AM NOT MOVING - Short Film - Occupy Wall Street (by Bigsteelguy4)


I’ve been cruising through the Occupy Chicago protests. I always feel awkward, like I usually do in situations with huge numbers of people I don’t know, and haven’t stayed long. It’s (unsurprisingly, perhaps) hard to approach folks whose first method of communication is through hand-painted signs with angry slogans. I’m going tomorrow, though, to the big gathering. See you there, maybe?

What we’ve learned now is that the economic crisis of the 1970s never really went away. It was fobbed off by cheap credit at home and massive plunder abroad – the latter, in the name of the “third world debt crisis”. But the global south fought back. The “alter-globalisation movement”, was in the end, successful: the IMF has been driven out of East Asia and Latin America, just as it is now being driven from the Middle East. As a result, the debt crisis has come home to Europe and North America, replete with the exact same approach: declare a financial crisis, appoint supposedly neutral technocrats to manage it, and then engage in an orgy of plunder in the name of “austerity”.

The form of resistance that has emerged looks remarkably similar to the old global justice movement, too: we see the rejection of old-fashioned party politics, the same embrace of radical diversity, the same emphasis on inventing new forms of democracy from below. What’s different is largely the target: where in 2000, it was directed at the power of unprecedented new planetary bureaucracies (the WTO, IMF, World Bank, Nafta), institutions with no democratic accountability, which existed only to serve the interests of transnational capital; now, it is at the entire political classes of countries like Greece, Spain and, now, the US – for exactly the same reason. This is why protesters are often hesitant even to issue formal demands, since that might imply recognising the legitimacy of the politicians against whom they are ranged.

When the history is finally written, though, it’s likely all of this tumult – beginning with the Arab Spring – will be remembered as the opening salvo in a wave of negotiations over the dissolution of the American Empire. Thirty years of relentless prioritising of propaganda over substance, and snuffing out anything that might look like a political basis for opposition, might make the prospects for the young protesters look bleak; and it’s clear that the rich are determined to seize as large a share of the spoils as remain, tossing a whole generation of young people to the wolves in order to do so. But history is not on their side.

We may not in this room have tiger blood like he does. But we do have something else in common with him: There’s going to be a lot of winning on the Republican side. … If this was a Lady Gaga song, the relationship between the youth vote and Barack Obama would be ‘Bad Romance.’

Former Minnesota Gov. and Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty, making pop culture references at a speech in Iowa last week. (via officialssay)

We’re curious how Pawlenty thinks about his relationship with the youth vote. 

(via theatlantic)


Bernie Sanders calls out the top corporate tax dodgers on the Senate floor today. My love for this man has no bounds.

Bernie Sanders spoke at my eighth grade graduation ceremony. True story. Howard Dean also visited my high school, but I was sick that day.

Vermont is a tiny, tiny, place, and I honestly think we have the best politicians. LOOK AT THIS BAMF INDEPENDENT SOCIALIST-LEANING SENATOR.