La Figa Holiday Gift Guide: Celebrate Krampus with Community-Focused and Socially Conscious-Themed Gifts

‘Tis the season. I have friends who make huge batches of fudge and give that out as gifts, and other friends who flavor and then bottle vinegars and oils. I have friends who can create coasters and potholders out of scrap fabric, knit lingerie, paint flower pots, découpage, draw, paint, bead, and generally out-arts-and-crafts me with one arm in a cast, which is why I shop very seriously with them, as well as looking for gifts that are socially responsible. (I don’t recommend hand knit bras, btw; they are itchy, lumpy, and offer no support, but um, it was the thought that counted).

Gifts should reflect the giver’s awareness of recipient, and carry a bit of the giver’s personality. Practical, thoughtful, and thought-provoking  are also important attributes. And because this is Firedoglake, a healthy dose of social consciousness never hurts.

Top of my list: FDL’s Free Bradley Manning t-shirt (there’s also an awesome sweatshirt). I ordered one for a friend as a Thanksgiving  gift, and he loved it, and I have one myself. The cotton is soft, the design is super cool, and you’re helping to support Manning’s trial coverage and activism.

Want to give a group gift, say for the whole family or your office? Occupy Sandy desperately needs Tyvek suits to protect those who are cleaning up mold damage in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Or consider supplying Occupy with the FDL Occupy Supply items. You can tell your peeps that instead of laying out for whole bunch of made-in-China crud that will end up gathering dust or getting regifted, you’ve made sure that an Occupy group is warm and cared for with American-made gifts.  And since usually  your family gives you socks and scarves, why not pay that forward and give socks and warm blankets to Occupy! Besides, weren’t your stodgy aunts and cousins thrilled last year when you gave a toilet in their name via Oxfam?

A Firedoglake Just Say Now shirt is perfect for your “states’ rights” libertarian relative–and for the fundamentalist Christian too, because after all, Pat Roberson did come out in favor of the legalization of marijuana, saying:

I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.

(And of course, Firedoglake memberships make great gifts as does a donation to Planned Parenthood. Or to your local library!)

This holiday season, along with their offerings like Lick It Softly (a blend of  peppermint and vanilla) and Krampus 2012 (red musk and black leather), niche perfumers Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has special, limited edition blends to raise funds in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross. Based on a guide to the seraglios of New York City published in 1870, The Gentleman’s Directory’s “Frank Burns” and “Miss Addie” are two distinct scents designed to recall a forgotten age of forbidden lust:

FRANK BURNS
As you pass down Houston street, faro banks abound, till we reach an unpretending red brick building No. 25, kept by Frank Burns, known as the “Judge and Jury”. This is a great resort for the sportsmen both of this and the other country. Everything here is conducted in a respectable and orderly manner.

Bay rum, polished oak, exquisite pipe and cigar tobaccos, and a splash of bourbon.

MISS ADDIE
The next house, No. 55, is kept by Miss Addie Blashfield, the dashing brunette, who has eight or ten boarders, both blondes and brunettes. These are a pretty lot of girls, of pleasing and engaging manners. It is regarded as a first class house, very quiet and orderly and is visited by some of our first citizens.

Red sandalwood, vanilla orchid, sweet clove, neroli, apple blossom, and a gentle hint of star anise.

Books are gifts that need to be given to yourself and to friends! And this year there are two very amazing and wonderful books that highlight LGBTQ, and make perfect gifts for LGBTQ and allies. Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay by Paul Vitagliano (DJ Paul V.) features photos and short essays by everyday people about growing up LBGTQ, as well as exclusive new stories and photos from LGBTQ people in the public eye, including Rep. Barney Frank, Erasure’s Andy Bell, actor Patrick Bristow, radio host Frank DeCaro, columnist Michael Musto, singer Sia, blogger Perez Hilton, composer Marc Shaiman, and drag legends Jackie Beat and Coco Peru. Born This Way is sweet, funny, at times heartbreaking, and ultimately joyful and triumphant.

Actor/activist/author Michael Kearns’  The Truth is Bad Enough: What Every Became of the Happy Hustler? is an important social documentary/autobiography by the first openly gay actor in Hollywood (Kearns came out during the peak of his television career which included stints on Cheers, Murder She Wrote, and The Fall Guy). In 1991 he publicly disclosed his HIV+ status on Entertainment Tonight, and in 1994 he adopted his daughter Katherine, making him the first openly gay, publicly HIV-positive, single man to become a father. Kearns also co-founded  two AIDS organizations with partner James Carroll Pickett: Artists Confronting AIDS and STAGE (Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event), the longest running theatrical benefit in the world.  The Truth is Bad Enough takes the reader through the nascent days of Gay Pride, through the AIDS crisis and beyond, from Kearns’ first major media explosion (Kearns created Grant Tracy Saxon, the bisexual author of The Happy Hustler, a deliberate spoof of Xaviera Hollander’s The Happy Hooker), his childhood and relationships, though his work in theaters as a playwright, and actor, as an activist, and most importantly as a father.

Many of the films we’ve featured on Firedoglake Movie Night are available on DVD, and out of the over 190 films we’ve discussed, there’s bound to be something for everyone on your list!

Who doesn’t love coffee? Okay, maybe a few people. This year along with Dean’s Beans, a pioneer in Fair Trade, organic coffee (all his beans are certified organic, Fair Trade, and kosher!) who can create custom roasts for everyone on your holiday lists, there’s a new java supplier on my list: Trystero Coffee, a nano-roaster in Atwater Village, right by the Los Angeles River. Bean maestro Greg small-batch roasts heirloom, direct trade varietals on Thursdays, then delivers them around town on a bicycle (though Trystero does ship priority mail fo rhtose of you out of cycling range). It’s a family business–just Greg and Nicole, and they rock. Plus Trystero’s name and logo is from one of my favorite books, The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon.

There are now almost a hundred small wineries in the U.S. creating organic, sustainable and/or biodynamic wines. Some like Rubicon (Inglenook) owned by Francis Ford Coppola, are not, shall we say, inexpensive (his run about $250 a bottle!), but with some searching, you can find bottles in the $20 range, like Bonny Doon and Snoqualmie Valley.

Some times a special girls (or guy) needs a glamor gift, and that’s where Batcakes Couture comes in. Using ethically sourced feathers, Madame Batcakes creates fascinators,  boutonnieres, cuffs and headbands, as well as handmade crystal devil horns and lacy cat ears, plus amazing hats. And showgirl head dresses!  I gotta love and support a single mom who works 18 hours days and, having no insurance, paid for her son’s critical medical care herself (an extra $20,000 she had to glue together using just her skills as a hat maker).

I’ll bet many of you know a local artist or crafts person who makes some amazing items; or look for them via Facebook and at farmers or flea markets. By shopping local artisans, you help your community. Just make sure your local “artist” isn’t reselling stuff made elsewhere and claiming it as their own; you want to support their art/craft, not their ability to source “handmade” items from abroad and double the price–one problem found frequently on Etsy. Though Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson claims the craft site is trying to stem that problem, not much seems to have been done, despite Etsy community continually flagging blatant junk resellers.

Shop sensibly, locally, thoughtfully. And remember this is the time of year when many social groups and small organizations and charities get together to hold sales where you can find cool vintage goods and some great handmade items. Just maybe not the knit bra. Seriously.

Penn Jillette Calls BS on Obama’s “States’ Rights”

Magician and arch-debunker Penn Jillette made a very valid point on his podcast Sunday: That Obama has called states’ rights for marriage equality, but not for marijuana laws.

First off states’ rights for marriage equality means that over 1,300 federal rights are denied to same-sex couples in the states that celebrate marriage equality, but that wasn’t where Jillette was going. The entertainer, doesn’t smoke, drink or do drugs, said about Obama and marijuana legalization:

Now, he has not left this to states’ rights. As you know, medical marijuana… you can get in California, and the feds are coming in to try to stop this. States’ rights don’t mean jack sh*t to the Obama administration on anything except gay marriage.

Bottom line, Obama should repeal DOMA and let states set their own pot laws. Oh heck, go whole hog and federally legalize marijuana.

(And for the record, I don’t do pot either.)

 

HT Huffington Post

Late Night: Food, Weed and Black Metal

I like fois gras, and the state of California now wants to pry the fatted duck liver off my fork. But this is America, and there’s room for all sorts of food lovers, from tattooed fois gras fans to vegan black metal chefs.

And thus I am very confused about this whole states rights issue that Obama brought up re: marriage equality. Like, it’s okay for states to decide if people can get married or not, and the Federal government won’t interfere, but when states decide that medical marijuana is legal, the Feds jump in and say

NO WEED!

Could some explain that to me?

State’s Rights POTUS Obama Arrives In Los Angeles: Clooney’s Pals Show Him the Money, But Will LGBT?

Gridlock will greet homebound Angelenos as BarackSame sex couples should be able to get married…but I support the concept of states deciding the issue on their ownObama makes his way to one of George Clooney’s palatial homes for a celebrity and high-donor filled event. The Los Angeless Police Department to residents of Fryman Canyon to stay home all day or make other plans, and whole business areas have “no parking” signs. The traffic situation is so bad it’s been dubbed Starmageddon, but hey, it’s expected to raise $15 million for Obama.

Obummer’s  calculated personal decision to support marriage equality (the day after North Carolina voted against it) is also expected to raise money. Oscar winning writer Dustin Lance Black, who previously was so angered by the President’s lack of action on LGBT issues that he spoke about sitting out this election (bad idea, everyone should go to the polls and vote for their local ticket!), is thinking about holding an all-star LGBT fundraiser for Obama and  said

I am moving from a position of little enthusiasm to a position of strong support, and that means you will see me contributing financially and repeating my efforts of 2008 by knocking on doors in states where he wants me to knock on doors. When you ask for something big and you get it, you have to show your gratitude.

Obama is the first Democratic president since Harry Truman to assert state’s rights. Dustin, please research what that phrase actually means. Because it kinda sucks. Massively.

photo 1 and 2: screen shots “Falling Down

photo 3: screen shot: “Hollyscoop”

photo 4: Zazzle.com

CA Potheads: Vote! There’s More on the Ballot than Marijuana.

So now everyone who wishes to vote in California has registered, the legislative analyses have been mailed out and it’s time to get down to srs bsns.

Californians, it is really important to vote in this election. So fill out your mail-in ballot and leave it for the postperson if you think you can’t manage to get to the polls (gods know I am fairly langurous and prefer the simple stamp to actually leaving the house.)  There are some important races on the ballot, and if you don’t vote, you really need need to STFU about how things are being run.

Okay, along with the gubernatorial and senate races, there’s Prop 19 which should be enough to get you to the polls, ye slackers, stoners, and sybarites!  Politics make strange and sometimes hot bedfellows: There are non-smokers who are yes supporters;  wake’n'bakers who are no;  medical/215 clients and casual users who have divergent views yea vs nay; and people who are still trying to figure out what “space” with regards to a minor means–and if  passing out pot brownies at a party constitutes “personal use.”

Whether or not you are voting for legalizing pot because you are appalled at the way the war on drugs is being run and want the state to have some cash; or against it because of the patchwork of jurisdictional laws and  potential environment impact of acres of indoor growing  on non-renewable resources, figure out what works for you and go vote.

If Prop 19, which is ahead in the polls passes, United States Attorney General Eric Holder is gonna crack down in Cali. Hopefully medical won’t be impacted. I hear the cry across the land

Oh noes I’m a on list!

Prop 19 will feel the effect of whoever is elected as State Attorney General, a post now held by gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.

Well,  Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley who is running as the Republican candidate is really opposed to CA’s 215 medical marijuana business, and even more so to Prop 19. Earlier this month, he told an audience at a UC Davis debate:

I really am strongly opposed to Proposition 19 for many reasons. I would be inclined to advise that it is unconstitutional and pre-empted by federal law.
Cooley stood with LA County Sheriff Lee Baca–IMO a hypocrite who has co-signed the thuggish cult of Scientology for decades, riding on their parade  floats and speaking at their events, despite the cult’s  clear cut violations of human rights, child labor laws, and basic human decency–on Friday October 15 when Baca said Prop 19 was superseded by federal law and if passed, would be found unconstitutional.
Proposition 19 is not going to pass, even if it passes.
As Los Angeles County District Attorney, Cooley cracked down on dispensaries from the time of the passage of 215 on. He doesn’t like pot, he doesn’t like pot being sold. And goodness knows what he would do to 215, but maybe I am just being all Cassandra on the walls of Troy again. Like I was about Holder and the Feds.
Candidate Kamala Harris–former San Francisco District Attoney whose endorsements were plastered all over HempCon by both the for and against 19 pot advocates and, per UC Davis School of Law Dean Kevin Johnson
sees herself as an attorney general who will focus on issues not just involving crime and law enforcement, per se, but also issues of environmental justice, protecting consumers and more broad issues
–took a more cautious approach on Prop 19 at the UC Davis  debate.
I believe that if it were to pass, it would be incumbent on the attorney general to convene her top lawyers and the experts on constitutional law to do a full analysis of the constitutionality of that measure … and what action, if any, should follow.
Prop 19 comes down to states’ rights, as by the way, so does AZ Prop 1070. As with AZ 1070 expect Constitutional challenges. The Drug Enforcement Agency anticipates suing if Prop 19 passes.
What will be fascinating if Prop 19 passes–and it is eight points ahead in the polls, with the LA Weekly Dennis Romero pointing about that Holder’s remarks:
Way to piss off Californians so much that we might actually pass this thing…Kiss our Golden State ass.

–is that potentially Tea Party/states rights/militia types and libertarians could cuddle up with liberals, libertines and hippies to fight for an elected initiative that runs contrary to Federal policy. Sit back, order in pizza, and start the pop corn, it’s a smoking Constitutional cause and democracy’s finest hour. Dude.


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