2003
08.31

Austin City Limits Festival

    Oh this is torture… festival is only a few weeks away and right now it looks like I won’t be able to go. AGGHHH!!!

    Of course I will say I won’t miss that heat. Why have this festival in September in Austin is beyond me. October or November would be a much better choice.

2003
08.31

State of Oklahoma vs. Worldcom Inc., Bernard J Ebbers, Scott D Sullivan, David F Myers, Buford T Yates Jr, Betty L Vinson, and Troy M Normand

  • OSCN.net: Criminal Felony case # CF-2003-4689 (case report
  • NewsOK.com: State’s economy could suffer blow in WorldCom case – There’s a quote from an OCU Law school prof in this case…
      Norwood P. Beveridge, a professor specializing in securities and corporate law at Oklahoma City University School of Law, said state securities laws pre-date federal laws, and violators have always been subject to parallel prosecution. Federal prosecutors and the SEC said they were “disappointed” Edmondson didn’t advise them of his plans to file criminal charges.

      “It’s perfectly proper,” Beveridge said. “If you go back in history, you can find instances of states taking a stronger stand than Washington.”

2003
08.31

Peace Resources

2003
08.31

Pirate Radio in Austin

  • Aprendizdetodo.com: Free Speech Radio 91.1 FM Austin – The good news is that radio piracy is coming to life again and the people are claiming what is rightfully theirs… the bad news is that it is the creepy Alex Jones-style conspiracy nuts that are doing it.

    Boy I miss the good ol’ days. 2000 was quite a year with two great pirate stations both covering much of Austin.

2003
08.31

Guster. . . Live in Austin!

  • Yes, you heard it right. They’ll be in that fabled city on the Colorado on September 6th (for Austin City Limits!!!) AND on October 18th at Stubbs BBQ.

    If you can go, I beg of you go!!!! Guster is likable band on CD, but they are to DIE for live. They really are that good. I’ve been to a lot of good shows in Austin (Ska against racism tour, Godspeed you black emperor, et al) but my favorite of all was hearing Guster play at Stubbs back in 2001. It was a glorious moment that will radiate forever in my memory. (It really was that good.)

    BTW, if you’ve never heard Guster before go to their website (Guster.com to listen to their new album Keep it together (My favorite song is “Ramona” (a song about Miss Oklahoma missing Oklahoma).)

2003
08.31

From the Sunday NY Times

  • NY Times: In California They Run. In Texas They Run Away – a good story on the plight that the Texas Senate Democrats have faced in their New Mexico exile
  • NY Times: Free to Marry, Canada’s Gays Say, ‘Do I?’
  • NY Times/AP: More Than 300,000 in Baghdad Mourn Cleric Killed in Bombing – This looks to have all of the ingredients of a situation that could become very unstable, very quickly. I think the US desperately needs to turn over Iraq to a UN-ran administration. I don’t see how things could much worse than they are now.
  • NY Times: Poor Nations Can Purchase Cheap Drugs Under Accord
      The breakthrough came earlier this week when the United States agreed to the original proposal it had rejected last December.

      Backed by the powerful American pharmaceutical lobby, the Bush administration had prevented the trade organization from adopting the measure, saying it should be restricted to a handful of diseases and limited to certain countries. The European Union and Switzerland, the other two delegations representing advanced pharmaceutical companies, had accepted the proposal.

      Nations from the developing world pointed out that without an agreement, there was little hope for success at new talks in the current trade round scheduled to begin in Cancun, Mexico, in September.

      This week the United States accepted the original proposal, but included the demand that such generic medicines could be imported to cure any life-threatening disease, so long as it was a public health emergency.

    I’m glad the Bush administration did the right thing but am appalled it took them so long to do it.

2003
08.31

Christian Pop Culture has gone to hell

  • ABC News: Pop Goes the Bible — The New Testament Meets Cosmo, as Pop Culture and Religion Intersect
      With religion and pop culture intersecting more and more these days, perhaps it was inevitable: The Bible’s gotten a Cosmo-style makeover.

      With a trio of smiling teenage girls on the cover, along with teasers for beauty tips and dating advice, Revolve looks like it has more in common with Glamour than Gideon.

      But don’t judge the Good Book by its cover. Revolve is an honest-to-goodness Bible, encompassing the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation. But its magazine-like styling and bright cover will help it seem hipper to today’s girls, the publishers hope.

      “We asked teen girls how often they read the Bible,” says Laurie Whaley, one of Revolve’s editors and a spokeswoman for its publisher, Thomas Nelson Bibles. “The response that came back was, ‘Well, we don’t read the Bible.’

      “They said, ‘It’s just too freaky, too intimidating. It doesn’t make any sense.'”

      Heavenly Father in a Pop Culture World

      Revolve is just the latest cross-pollination of religion and pop culture that has seen Christian-themed fiction climb the best-seller lists and Christian rock and rap get a foothold in the music world.

      “Really, for the past 100 years, evangelicals have tried to use popular culture to draw people to their faith,” says Lynn Schofield Clark, a sociologist at the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication who has written about Christianity, teens and popular culture.

      Examples date back to at least the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Many well-known hymns originated in the 19th century as Christian poems set to the music of popular barroom tunes. Martin Luther himself used secular melodies to spread the word.

      Jeffrey Mahan, a professor of ministry, media and culture at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, agrees, but he also believes the trend is accelerating. “The old classic description of religion that made divisions between the sacred and the secular are breaking down,” he says.

      “It’s really in the last 30 years that that’s taken off,” says Larry Eskridge, associate director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

      They attribute the change to a reaction to political controversies in the 1970s, such as the Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion, and the rise of a counterculture interpretation of Christianity around the same time.

      Before the 1970s, fundamentalist Christianity took a dim view of mainstream trends like rock ‘n’ roll. At one time, it was uncommon to see rows of Bible-inspired fiction in Christian bookstores, because evangelicals often considered reading fiction a waste of time.

      But in recent years, they have been more willing and often eager to harness the energy and appeal of pop culture. The Left Behind series — an 11-installment serial potboiler based on the Book of Revelation — has sold well over 50 million copies so far. has spawned a series of graphic novel comics and kids’ books, as well as scores of other biblically inspired works of fiction.

      There are also all manner of Bibles geared toward everyone from high school athletes to toddlers. “I’ve seen Precious Moments Bibles for kids and just everything under the sun,” says Eskridge.

      The rise of Christian pop culture also has economic roots, he says. As fundamentalists became more prosperous, a new industry arose to sell them goods to suit their values and beliefs.

      Most experts estimate 25 percent to 30 percent of Americans are fundamentalist Christians, and perhaps another 5 percent to 10 percent are broadly sympathetic to those values and beliefs. Those numbers haven’t changed significantly in recent decades, but they have become wealthier and more active consumers, says Philip Goff, director of Indiana University’s Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture.

      Goff believes the growth of Christian pop culture also reflects the expansion of mainstream pop culture, which has become ubiquitous and ever more varied in recent decades.

      “There’s so much more choice in pop culture at large,” says Goff.

      The interaction of faith and pop culture is hardly limited to evangelicalism, or even Christianity. From the New Age movement to yoga and feng shui, there are traces of many religions and spiritual movements in mainstream trends.

      “People want to lead integrated lives,” says Mahan. “So their entertainment life, their political life and their work life are integrated with their life of faith.”

      A Bible With Quizzes, Top 10 Lists, and Celeb Birthdays

      Young evangelical Christians like Neille Sybert say a pop-influenced Bible like Revolve is not a bad idea.

      “It looks totally like a magazine,” says Sybert, a 19-year-old saleswoman at Loaves & Fishes Christian Store in Vista, Calif. She thinks it would appeal to young girls who might feel embarrassed carrying around a black leather tome.

      “It makes it fun to read the Bible,” she says.

      In addition to the biblical text — written in the modern English of the New Century Version — Revolve also features teen ‘zine staples such as quizzes, Top 10 lists, and Q&A’s. They focus, however, on religious topics like, “Are you dating a godly guy?” and inner-beauty advice. There are also tips on prayer, volunteerism, and calendars with entries, such as “Pray for a person of influence: Today is Michael Jordan’s birthday” on Feb. 17.

      Revolve has been on the shelves for barely a month, but Stephen Virkler, an assistant manager at the Family Christian Store in Fairfield, N.J., says his customers appear interested.

      “They have to reach these kids in a different way,” says Virkler, 31.

      Revolve and similar efforts typically emphasize aspects of Christianity that might appeal to teenagers’ attitudes. They describe Jesus as a radical who was not afraid to challenge mainstream society.

      The content, however, hews to conservative Christian values on subjects like homosexuality and women’s deference to men.

      In one hypothetical question and answer, a girl asks, “How do you tell a friend that’s your crush that you’re into him without ruining your friendship?” Revolve counsels her: “You don’t. Sorry. … God made guys to be the leaders. That means that they lead in relationships.”

      Older evangelicals like Mike Berthurum, a salesman at The Ark Book Store in Denver who has been selling Christian texts for 30 years, say they don’t have a problem with Revolve if it spurs young people’s faith.

      “This looks more like a book or a magazine that a youth would pick up,” he says. “I think it’s a good idea.”

      God and the Hulk

      The convergence of religion and pop culture has reached into film, music, books.

      Christian teens today can tune in to religiously themed pop, rap, and even heavy metal. There are biblically inspired comic books and video games. Brio, a teen magazine published by the Colorado-based Christian radio ministry Focus on the Family, offers a chatty, conservative Christian take on traditional teen topics like celebrities, music and makeovers.

      In New York City, a nondenominational evangelical church called Journey Church of the City screens mainstream summer blockbusters like The Matrix Reloaded, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and Seabiscuit, and then holds discussions on the movies from a Christian viewpoint.

      “A lot of people have the idea that you can only find God in the church,” says Nelson Searcy, a teaching pastor with the church. “We believe that if you seek God you’ll find him, even in the movies.”

      Outside Dallas, Lake Pointe Church recently opened a skateboarding park. It’s one of several churches trying to draw young people with fun, teen-friendly activities. The “world’s first skate ministry conference” recently convened in Canada. The Skate Church has been drawing kids with its mix of skate ramps and railings and sermons since 1987.

      Going Too Far? Who Would Jesus Date?

      The growing stream of Christian fiction, rock music, and so on worries some evangelicals and fundamentalist Christians, however.

      “I think that’s a legitimate question to raise,” says Mahan, the ministry, media and culture professor. “People get nervous that these new media presentations … become substitutes for the substantive biblical texts.”

      “If it has to imitate the culture in order to try to convert it, how much of evangelical Christianity is lost?” says Indiana University’s Goff.

      Most are at least sensitive to the danger of watering down their spiritual message with too many pop-culture trappings.

      “Some of it’s good, and some of it can go too far,” says Sybert, the 19-year-old Christian bookstore clerk. “And it kind of loses its meaning.”

      Whatever evangelicals make of the trend, they agree it is unlikely to let up.

      “I think we have turned a corner,” say Mahan. “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

    I don’t even know where to begin talking about how mis-guided this is. Why is that Christians are catering to the worst of the world instead of challenging it? I don’t get this at all.

2003
08.29

Updated on Wrangler Protest In Seminole – Aug. 29, 2003

    The protest is on and we would love to have you join us. Go to The Oklahoma Indy Media Center for full information, directions, etc.

    I hope to see y’all there!

2003
08.28

In honor of the 40th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream speech”

  • From http://www.wmich.edu/politics/mlk/dream.html
      I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

      Fivescore years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

      But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free; one hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination; one hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity; one hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.

      So we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

      It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note in so far as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check ; a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

      And so we’ve come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy; now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice; now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood; now is the time to make justice a reality for all God’s children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the movement. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.

      Nineteen sixty-three is not and end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content, will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

      There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

      But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.

      Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

      The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. This offense we share mounted to storm the battlements of injustice must be carried forth by a biracial army. We cannot walk alone.

      And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?: We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

      We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

      We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

      I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of excessive trials and tribulation. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

      Go back to Mississippi; go back to Alabama; go back to Louisiana; go back to the slums and ghettos of the northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can, and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

      So I say to you, my friends, that even though we must face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

      I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

      I have a dream that one day, even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

      I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!

      I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places shall be made plain, and the crooked places shall be made straight and the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

      This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with.

      With this faith we will be able to hear out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

      With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to go to jail together, knowing that we will be free one day. This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning-“my country ’tis of thee; sweet land of liberty; of thee I sing; land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride; from every mountain side, let freedom ring”-and if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

      Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

      Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

      Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

      Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

      But not only that.

      Let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia.

      Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

      Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.

      And when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children – black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Protestants – will be able to join hands and to sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

  • Audio Recording of the Speech (downloadable in MP3 format)
  • NPR.org: The March on Washington —

    Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Historic Civil Rights Protest

  • NewsOK.com: King’s Dream
  • NewsOK.com: King’s goal of equality eludes some state blacks
2003
08.28

Hmm…