Another day working at the OCU Law Library computer lab. A few people needed help but overall very slow. Other than a lunch break for Vietnamese Pho noodle soup, I’ve been mostly talking to upper classmen L-students gleaning from them dirt on my profs (their pet likes and dislikes, and what they look for on exams) and surfing the web. Here are a few sites I found today…

  • SearchGodsWord.org a very handy Bible study resource provided by Heartlight.org. I like this site better than Biblestudytools.org because the server seems faster and the screen is less cluttered with ads.
  • 50th Annual Cherokee National Holiday is this weekend. It will include a historic joint Council meeting between the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee National of Oklahoma. I wished I could have gone to this, but the need to work and the long drive to Tahlequah, OK prevented me from it.
  • More Labor Day holiday events include… Oklahoma Prison Rodeo
  • Shakespeare in the Park – ‘Macbeth’
  • Arts Festival Oklahoma @ OCCC – this I will go to probably this evening.

All things Austin:




Highlights from this week’s Austin Chronicle:

    Starting this week, I’ll pick some of my favorite articles from the Austin Chronicle (the best alternative news weekly in the country IMHO… I think it is even better than the often lauded Village Voice of NYC.) to highlight to JMBzine readers.

  • Hotly Anticipated — The 12th Annual ‘Austin Chronicle’ Hot Sauce Festival results (Several of my favorites including Ana’s Salsa and Smoky Hill did well in the competition.)
  • The Other Guys — Beneath the mud-slinging, Greens and Libertarians look for grassroots votes
      Here is one blurb that I found insiteful in the article . . . As that reductive summary suggests, the left margin and the right margin can often meet somewhere in the middle. Green and Libertarian sympathizers are likely to agree about: the military draft (don’t want one); civil liberties (expand and defend them); the war on drugs (cease and desist immediately); and government subsidies of corporations (ditto). The two groups diverge most strongly on the Libertarians’ reflexive devotion to “the free market” as the private solution to virtually every public problem, while the Greens generally place more faith in the necessity of democratic government to protect and defend the public interest.

      Also an old Libertarian friend of mine, Rock Howard (current political director of the TX LP) is quoted in the story.

  • This week’s Dancing About Architecture column discusses the end of Ark Productions and its demise will have on the Austin rave scene. (more info on the scene at: www.texasbeatz.net


    As you can see I’m posting more than ussual today. All of my L-school reading is done for tomorrow and I got some more time to kill before I get off work as a OCU Law libary computer lab tech, so here are some random and bizarre links:

  • The Brick Testament an entertaining but semi-disturbing take on the Bible, illustrated with legos. (one example is this depiction of the flood. (This guy has way too much time on his hands.) Thanks to AJY for this link.
  • AP/MSNBC: Caffeine may lower skin cancer risk – Lotion spiked with stimulant prevents tumors in mouse study
  • NY Times: Unabashed Wal-mart shopper speaks

    An interesting story, and I must say she is right. Wal-mart sells good quality clothes, cheap. I’ve scoured lots of other places trying to find something of the same quality and price (Much of Wal-mart clothing is made in China, Bangladesh, and other places were workers are exploited.) but have been completely unacceptable. Even thrift stores these days don’t have a very good selection. At least in OKC, most thrift stores are overpriced and don’t have good quality stuff like they did a few years back.

    So, where does that leave me… I don’t know. I guess I’ll keep hoping Wal-mart changes or that someone else can make good clothes cheap (or cheaper) but until then (or until I make better money) I will have to continue to shop at Wallyworld more than I would like to.

  • Hickory Farms – the source of all of those yummy samples at the mall.

Politics and Policies:

    Retouching on the Labor Commissioner race, in rereading Jenner’s statements to the LOWV I saw one bit that I think is worth highlighting…

      Employers are rich and powerful and do not need any help. Employees are poor and powerless and government should protect them from the abuses of the bosses.

    That really is a gross generalization. I do think that many (but not all) employers hold too many of the cards in labor matters, but it is not fair to say that all employers are rich and powerful and don’t need help; vice-versa employees are not all poor and powerless.

    What I do think is critical is this. The Labor commissioner is charged to be a fair advocate for workers’ rights. My concern with Fields is that he doesn’t seem to speak much about being an advocate for the worker, that said I don’t think Jenner’s gross-generalizations are better either. My “support” of Jenner was a protest of Fields, not support of Jenner.

    My hope though is that Fields will come around, and begin speaking up for real labor issues.


Recent cases:


Law School Update:

    Well my second week of L-school is almost done. Here are some new observations about the experience…

    • The “mean” professors are mellowing out big time. As long as the class is prepared, the profs are downright likable. (Even the prof I didn’t like the first week has turned out to be one of my most interesting profs.)
    • The casebook driven classes (Torts, Contracts, and Civ Pro) are the most interesting and time consuming. The other classes (Legal Research & Writing and Legal Analysis) are pretty dry right now, but I’m sure will get more interesting as the semester rolls on and the assignements start coming up.
    • The workload is much less than I expected, however it is still easy to get behind. This really is a marathon; the pace is slow but unrelenting.
    • The atmosphere of the L-school is much more sane this week. Folks are a lot nicer and more laid back now.

    As far as student organizations go, there are a ton to get involved with. Thankfully almost all meet from 5-5:50 p.m. (after day school and before night school classes), so it easy to attend the meetings. I think right now the ones I’m going to get involved with are:

    • American Constitution Society – a group that serves as a counter-balance to the more right-leaning Federalist Society. The ACS’s philsophy seems to be more Moderate-Leftist leanings in its ideas, and more supportive of the role of the Judicary as being law shapers and makers in this country. The ACS chapter is very small, but I think it has a lot of potential.
    • Native American Law Students Assoc – a group for both American Indian and non-Indian law students who are interested in Indian issues and Indian law. The exciting thing about being in NALSA is that they have a moot court team that will be competing in the national Indian law moot court competition at Columbia University in NYC! NALSA also does quite a bit of volunteer work with Oklahoma Indian Legal Services.
    • American Trial Lawyers Association – a very active group that brings in speakers and training on trial practice, and also sponsors moot trial court competitions (which are unlike most other moot courts that specialize in appealate advocacy). This year I won’t be as active, but plan to try out for their moot court team next year.

    Other than L-school, my schedule is pretty tight. I am involved some with church and political causes, but mostly I spend my spare time writing for this blog and for Exitzine.com (Ok, I lied. I’ve been neglecting Exit lately, but I’ll kick it in high gear soon.) Also, I’m starting a new job this week as a computer lab tech for the OCU Law library, so if you’re an L-student come by and say hi.


Reader Comments:

    I received an email today from a JMBzine reader (I will post the full text of it unedited once I get permission from the email’s author.) concerning my endorsement of Virginia “Blue Jeans” Jenner.

    First, let me say that all of the endorsements were qualified. I am not a Democrat but a Green. Democrats sometimes support good things but often are off-base. In all of the races I was picking who I prefer over the other, not who is the ideal candidate.

    Secondly, the reader is right. Virginia Jenner is a kook. I don’t know if your allegations that she is runnng for offices so she can get a pension for her old age is true or not (I’ll have to ask her someday.) but it wouldn’t surprise me. Some of her ideas (paying the First Lady a salary) are downright stupid.

    But all the same, I preferred the kook over the alternative.

    My decision was made after reading the League of Women Voters’ Candidate Statements for both candidates and Lloyd Fields’ website.

    On the LOWV’s questionaire Fields gave no specifics on how he would protect workers’ rights under the law, while Jenner expressed support the universal living wage proposal, increased unemployment benefits, increased rights for small-firm employees in harrassment cases, and universal health care.

    She also said when asked about how she would balance business and labor interests:

      Oklahoma is an employer state, not an employee state. I will be a Commish for employees, not employers. Employers are rich and powerful and do not need any help. Employees are poor and powerless and government should protect them from the abuses of the bosses. State minimum wage has not been increased in five years. It is a disgraceful $5.15 an hour and $2.13 an hour for tipped workers. Only 28 per cent of Okie jobless get unemployment compensation, compared to 43 per cent nationally.

      I will blow the whistle when employees are mistreated by their bosses. I will set up a 24-hour, toll-free “Bad Boss” hotline for employee complaints and these complaints will be investigated. State Constitution gave us a Labor Commish to protect employees against the excesses of bosses. It is not the job of the Commish to protect bosses. That’s for the Chambers of Commerce.

    To this same question, Fields only said:

      By being Fair to employers and employees in every aspect.

    His remarks gave no specifics and are just meaningless platitudes.

    Secondly, I checked out the candidates’ websites. Jenners had none which I found to be a black mark on her (It’s not that hard to create a website these days, and for a low-budget candidate it is stupid not to have one.), but when I viewed Fields’ site he might as well have not had one as he discussed no issues other than wanting to reduce the rates for workers’ comp insurance (which one would assume would lower the benefits for injured workers) and wanting to bring new industry into the state (a job for the Commerce department not the Labor department).

    The mission of the Department of Labor is different than what Mr. Field’s seems to believe. Looking at the department’s website (www.okdol.state.ok.us), the mission, vision and values of the department are:

      The mission of the Oklahoma Department of Labor is to help ensure fairness, equity and safety in Oklahoma workplaces through ethical behavior, conscientious guidance and loyal service to Oklahoma’s employers and employees.

      The Commissioner of Labor is charged with preserving, protecting and promoting the welfare of the wage earner.

      Oklahoma’s workers are our state’s greatest asset. Each has the right to work in an environment that is fair, equitable, healthy and safe.

      This Agency serves as an advocate for employees, employers and the public. We believe in value-added change and we provide a forum where all constituent interests can be heard. We believe in government reform, when necessary, to provide benefits and opportunities for employees.

      ODOL employees provide professional guidance and services, supported by education and training. Our services include the necessary relief, regulation and resolution for employees, employers and the public.

      We provide consultation, regulation, enforcement and education information for employers, generating opportunities for everyone to work in an environment that is fair, equitable, healthy and safe. Each individual we serve is treated fairly with personal attention.

      ODOL employees work in harmony, respectful of others, in an open and honest manner. We are loyal to our mission while performing our duty to serve the public. Our integrity is the cornerstone of our public service and we are good stewards of public trust.

      Our continually improving work environment serves as a model workplace.

    No where in Mr. Field’s website or his LOWV’s questionaire response did I see how he would go about “preserving, protecting and promoting the welfare of the wage earner.” It looks to me he would instead focus on preserving, protecting and promoting big employers who want to oppress their workers.

    I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that the Labor department and the Commerce Department are two seperate agencies. Sometimes they may complement each other, but often they will counterbalance each other. If the Labor Commissioner doesn’t look after the rights of the workers, who will?

    So, my vote (along with over 100,000 others) for Virginia Jenner was not so much an endorsement for her, but a protest against Fields. I don’t think any of us who voted for Jenner (except maybe Ms. Jenner herself) had any real expectations or desire to see her get elected, but rather that we would send a message to Mr. Fields that we want to see him step up to the plate on behalf of the workers of this state.

    If you disagree with me, or just want to put in your two cents worth, please email me at jmb@NOSPAMjmbzine.com (remove the “NOSPAM” from the email address before sending). I’ll then post it to JMBzine.com under the headline “Reader Comments.” Also from now on, unless you say otherwise if you send email sent to me at jmbzine.com, you agree that I can publish your remarks here on this website.


Politics and Policies:

  • Delewareonline.com: MBNA picketed over support for bankruptcy bill – a good first step, but activists nationwide need to take this to the next level. There should have been 2500 outside the MBNA HQ not 25.
  • Demookie.com/Tulsa World: 4th District hopeful to exit Demo race — If this story is right, it looks like Odom might be stepping out of the race. I think it will be a good move for the Demos, but I hope this doesn’t mean that Richardson will not work hard to be a good candidate. My impression of him is that he is a one-issue man… more funding for Tinker, Ft. Sill, Altus AFB, reinstate the Crusader missle program, etc.

    That’s fine and dandy to want more pork for the district (that’s what all politicians do I guess), but I more concerned with a million other issues like civil rights, the bankruptcy “reform” bill, protecting social security, etc.