2003
12.30

Here’s an announcement I sent out to the Oklahoma Green Party Announcements email list tonight. I mean every word of it. I think 2004 is our year to change Oklahoma forever.

    Tired of politics as usual?Tired of seeing the tired old parties dominate the politics of this state?

    If you’re sick and tired of the way things are, then it’s time to act. 2004 can be the year that the Oklahoma Green Party takes its place in the history of this state by electing candidates to local and state offices who will work for a state where the principles of Grassroots democracy, Social and Economic Sustainability, Ecological Wisdom and Nonviolence are more than dreams waiting to be fulfilled.

    In this spirit, you are invited to join the Oklahoma GP campaign committee. This committee will work for Green party candidate recruitment, training and support, along with providing advise to the State Executive committee on general political strategy (along with anything else the Exec committee assigns to it).

    If you would like to join this committee, the only requirement for joining this committee is that you need to be a Green Party member (and if you’re not it’s easy to become one).

    If you want to serve on this committee please either email me or join via the committee’s yahoogroup at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GPOK_Campaign/. At this point we’ll be meeting on the email group but later on may have in-person meetings as well.

2003
12.30

The Meatrix.com — you gotta watch this if you haven’t already. Entertaining yet trueThe mistreatment of animals in corporate agriculture (along with the significant health risks to humans as illustrated by the recent problems with Mad Cow disease) cry out for why we shouldn’t be supporting corporate agriculture.

I know some folks will say the answer is vegatarianism and if that works for you great (for myself that is not a good alternative because I’ve found I am healthiest on a low-carb high-protein diet) but for the rest of us I would encourage buying your meat from local ranchers who use sustainable and humane practices. A lot of health food stores now carry ethical meat (look for labels saying the animal was “grass fed” … meaning it didn’t come from a CAFO – confined animal feeding operation), but there’s also lots of local ranchers you can buy from directly.

And if you live in Oklahoma, the best choice is to order your meat from the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. I made my first order in December (have been very pleased with the quality of products — I tried ground beef from two different ranchers, sausage, cheese and tomatoes – all produced by Oklahoma farmers/ranchers who practice ethical methods of production) and am hoping to buy all of my meat from them starting with the next order in January.

Supporting family farmers is good for our communities, it’s good for our health (no chance of mad cow disease if you’re eating grass-fed beef… and of course no antibiotics in your food either), it’s good for the animals, and best of all it tastes better!

2003
12.30

  • NY Times: Putting God Back in Politics
    By Jim Wallis
    It represents well my own feelings about the relationship of politics and religion. (Wallis is the editor of Sojourners magazine)
  • Also while I’m thinking about Sojourners here’s another op-ed from them that rings with clarity… Sojo.net: ‘America, You Must Be Born Again’ — How Martin Luther King Jr. moved from reform to revolution, by Stewart Burns
  • 2003
    12.30

    This is too good

  • DownhillBattle.org: RIAA Information Awareness Activism
  • WhatACrappyPresent.comI love to see this kind of creative resistance to the ways that the corporate music industry is screwing us all. (I found these two sites by way of http://loribindy.blogspot.com/)
  • 2003
    12.28

    More on Tokelau…

    After the last post I made about free dot.tk domains I found some websites with information on the nation of Tokelau. It is a fascinating place that is very isolated (one monthly cargo boat is the only contact the island has with the outside world other than by telecommunications). The island also has an incredibly sad history (particularly the Peruvian raids of the islands for slaves) and potentially a sad future (if global warming continues the islands will be no more by the end of the century)

  • Lonely Planet’s guide to Tokelau has this description of the nation:
      Want to get away from it all? Head off to Tokelau, where there’s no capital city, no airport, no harbour, no cars, no banks, no guns and no tourism. There are plenty of islands – 127 of ’em – plus fantastic lagoon diving and Polynesian culture at its most untouched.Tokelau is not the easiest place to reach: only one boat a month travels there from Samoa, its nearest neighbour. Once there you’ll find life is simple; there’s little shaking but the coconuts in the palms. But with the seas rising fast, you’d better get to know Tokelau while you can.

  • Jane’s Tokelau Islands Page
  • CIA World Factbook report on Tokelau
  • 2003
    12.28

    For any webdesigners/blog authors/etc. these two links might be of interest:

  • The island nation of Tokelau is offering free .tk domain names. Here’s some more information on this program from their Dot.tk ambassador program that I am participating in:
      Hi Everyone!I’m writing today to let you know some really cool news. I just became a Dot TK Ambassador! If you don’t already know about Dot TK (www.dot.tk) it is the exclusive domain Registry for the islands of Tokelau, a tiny group of islands
      in the South Pacific, with 1,500 people.

      Tokelau is very poor and very isolated, but we all hope to see that change in the very near future! Dot TK has created the Tokelau Internet Project, which is attracting the worlds attention to the needs of Tokelau, as well as securing funding and new technologies for the island. They desperately need better communications, education and medical care! One of the ways Dot TK is spreading the word about Tokelau is by GIVING away their domains for FREE!

      I have registered my FREEDOMAIN.TK site(s) already. Please take a second and visit!

      WWW.GARDENBLOG.TK
      WWW.TSALAGI.TK

      The important thing is that as an Ambassador, I have committed to tell all my friends and family about Tokelau and Dot TK. So, today I am asking you to please visit www.dot.tk and read about Tokelau. Then, before you leave the site, register at least one FREEDOMAIN.TK domain (you can actually have up to three if you want!). You will see that a lot of the great domain names are still available!

      Please use the following Ambassador Coupon Number during the registration process to make sure thatthe Tokelau registry knows you came through me!

      The Ambassador Coupon Number to use is: 11926

      Our goal is to get 1,000,000 FREEDOMAIN.TK registrations. So, please join me in helping Tokelau by registering a FREEDOMAIN.TK domain today.

      It’s really easy to register and it only takes a few minutes. Also, once you have registered, if you want to help Tokelau even more, you can become a Dot TK
      Ambassador, too!

      Let me know if you have any questions…
      Thanks!

      J.M. Branum
      Deputy Ambassador
      jmb[at]jmbzine(dot)com

  • 1and1.com is offering free webhost accounts that allow you to use mulitiple domain names, phpbb and quite a few other features. I’m using them for one of my other websites The Oklahoma Design Group and thus far have been pleased with them. The free services last for 3 years. After that it cancels unless you want to pay for hosting after that.
  • 2003
    12.26

    Christmas in the Trenches

    This story was passed on to me by a friend. It illustrates clearly the hope that the message of Christmas offers in that statement sung by the angels on the night of Jesus’ birth

      Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.Luke 2:14

    (What I like about that line is that it is not just peace in the hereafter but peace on earth among men)

    Anyway here’s the story:

      From: Sojo.net: Christmas in the trenches by Jim Wallis “Silent Night,” by Stanley Weintraub, is the story of Christmas Eve 1914 on the World War I battlefield in Flanders. As the German, British, and French troops facing each other were settling in for the night, a young German soldier began to sing “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.” Others joined in. When they had finished, the British and French responded with other Christmas carols.

      Eventually, the men from both sides left their trenches and met in the middle. They shook hands, exchanged gifts, and shared pictures of their families. Informal soccer games began in what had been “no-man’s-land.” And a joint service was held to bury the dead of both sides.

      The generals, of course, were not pleased with these events. Men who have come to know each other’s names and seen each other’s families are much less likely to want to kill each other. War seems to require a nameless, faceless “enemy.”

      So, following that magical night the men on both sides spent a few days simply firing aimlessly into the sky. Then the war was back in earnest and continued for three more bloody years. Yet the story of that Christmas Eve lingered – a night when the angels really did sing of peace on earth.

      Folksinger John McCutcheon wrote a song about that night in Belgium, titled “Christmas in the Trenches,” from the viewpoint of a young British solder. Several poignant verses are:

      “The next they sang was “Stille Nacht,” “Tis ‘Silent Night’,” says I.
      And in two tongues one song filled up that sky
      “There’s someone coming towards us!” the front line sentry cried
      All sights were fixed on one lone figure coming from their side
      His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shone on that plain so bright
      As he bravely strode unarmed into the night.

      Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man’s land
      With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
      We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
      And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave ’em hell.
      We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
      These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
      Young Sanders played his squeeze box and they had a violin
      This curious and unlikely band of men.

      Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
      With sad farewells we each began to settle back to war
      But the question haunted every heart that lived that wondrous night
      “Whose family have I fixed within my sights?”
      ‘Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung
      The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
      For the walls they’d kept between us to exact the work of war
      Had been crumbled and were gone for evermore.”

      My prayer for the New Year is for a nation and world where people can come out of their trenches and together sing their hopes for peace. We here at Sojourners will carry on that mission, and we invite you to continue on the journey with us.

      Blessings to you and your families.

    2003
    12.26

    MSNBC: Cuba attacks Guantanamo use for prisoners — Calls holding center for terror suspects a ‘concentration camp’Castro’s criticism of the use of Guantanomo Bay for the detention of “terrorist” suspects is long-overdue but unfortunately not get the attention it ought to due to his past hyperbolic statements (if you ever listen to Radio Habana Cuba on shortwave you’ll know what I mean)

    But what is more noteworthy about this story was the American response to it. Here’s one excerpt…

      However, U.S. officials have repeatedly argued that the prisoners were being well treated.”Should our servicemen and women be in the same position, I would hope they would be treated in the same humane manner,” Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, commander of the detention mission at Guantanamo, told The Associated Press in an interview earlier this year.

    Sheesh! I’ve been complaining for some time about how the administration does not appear to care much about the well-being and safety of American troops but this is beyond what I imagined. Think about this for a second… what would the American people think if another nation had captured American soliders and put them on tv being forced to kneel on the ground with a sack of their head, being forced to live in cages like animals. If THIS is what the administration think is good treatment for American GI’s then I think our young people need to know this before they sign up for a stint with Uncle Sam. Obviously, the administration is on the record saying that they would not complain if American soldiers are treated like this.

    Of course in the end, I don’t care what nation prisoners come from. All captured soldiers should be accorded with Geneva Convention rights (at the bare minimum) and have the opportunity to have their day in court once they are removed from the combat area.

    2003
    12.24

    Latest news about my life

    Well folks it’s Christmas Eve. Time is flying fast.

    The last few days have been very busy for me as I have been on a massive cleaning operation on my humble abode with the help of my friend Rachel. (I’ll post before and after pictures later…maybe) I still have some work to do (bathroom and kitchen still needs attention) but the bulk of it is done. My place looks entirely different now. Much more roomy without all of the clutter.

    The cleaning itself though was a weird experience for me. It sounds weird but having someone else help me on this was like letting someone see all of your dirty laundry (literally but also metaphorically)… it’s almost like the disorder of my home is the external manifestation of my internal life as well. It’s just weird having someone see it like that (even a friend you trust).

    But anyway the good news is that my life will hopefully get a little more sane now, or at least I hope so.

    So today I’m doing a little last minute Christmas shopping and also am painting some Christmas cards (watercolors) to go with some of the presents and also to mail to friends (which will be late unfortunately). This evening I’ll be presenting a Christmas-themed lesson at my parent’s church for Christmas eve and then tomorrow will mostly be hanging out with my family doing Christmas stuff.

    Well that’s all of the news to report for now. My internet connection availability is a little flaky for the next couple of weeks so if you need to get in touch with me phone is the best bet. The number is (four zero five – four seven six – five six two zero… I spelled it out so I don’t end up on some telemarketing list or anything.)

    For all of my readers, I hope y’all have a Merry Christmas and good times with your family and friends over the holidays. Thank you for taking the time to reading what I write. It means a lot to me to know that there are folks out there (some I don’t even know) who hear me.

    2003
    12.24

    Big news…

    There are two major news stories that are worth mentioning today…

  • The Guardian/AP: Nader Won’t Run As Green Party Candidate — A disappointing move by Nader but not surprising. My guess is that he will run as Independent which I fear may fracture the Green Party. In the long run though I think this might be a good thing for the GP. We need to be a party of ideas not personality if we want to have a future for the long haul.
  • MSNBC: Are we safe from mad cow disease? — Americans worry despite assurances that health risks are low This is yet another reason why we need to be buying all of our food (but especially our meat) from local sources that use organic/sustainable methods. If you’re an Okie the best source is The Oklahoma Food Coop (which btw now has 111 members and is doing several thousand dollars of business each month… and December is only our second month in operation! Woohoo!)