2006
05.31

 

Justpeace.org: Will your sins against the poor send you to HELL?

BobWaldrop.net: Discombobulating Republican Candidates for Congress

The Bible teaches clearly and without any ambiguity that the rich and powerful who oppress the poor are going to hell. The Bible says “Blessed are the poor” and it also says “Woe to the rich.” If people (such as the Republican party candidates for Contress) don’t like that message, they should take it up with God. I’m sure He will be impressed by their opposition.

One thing you can say about Bob is that he doesn’t mince words. I’m not sure I completely agree with his tactic (mostly because I’m not sure that I believe in hell… that’s another subject for a different blog post), but you gotta give him props for dishing out some serious biblical literalness to those who like to claim they take the Bible literally.

2006
05.31

Big news on June 5

 

Added June 1, 2006: The campaign website can be found here.

A few of y’all know about this already, but unless someone knocks some sense into me between now and then I plan to file as a candidate for State Representative in District 99 (Opio Toure’s old district… he is term-limited out this year). I’ll be running on the Independent ticket but will be seeking the Green Party’s endorsement.

If any of y’all out there would like to chip in a few bucks towards my filing fee, here’s the info on how to do so…

If you would like to give towards this please send your donations to: J. M. Branum, 502 NE 16th, Oklahoma City, OK 73104. You can also contribute via paypal.com (send donations to jmb (at) jmbzine (dot) com). To comply with state law if you are giving, please include a note with your donation (or shoot me an email) that tells me your name, address, occupation, employer, and the statement that “This contribution was freely and voluntarily given by me from my personal property. I have not, directly or indirectly, been compensated or reimbursed for this contribution.”

Also for the sake of full disclosure, I should also add that while the campaign is not legally required to disclose this information to the public (since at this point I intend to raise and spend less than $500 for the campaign), I will be posting this donor information on the campaign website once it is created.

As for my main campaign issues, they will be: (1) Ending the death penalty, (2) Fighting poverty, (3) Promoting Bicycling and Mass Transit, and (4) Ballot Access Reform.

I’ll be posting a lot more about this on June 5th (on a campaign website I hope to have done by then), so stay tuned.

2006
05.30

 

OKIMC.org: Halliburton Protest Continues In the Duncan Court system – very cool news about one of my friends, Joni LeViness

2006
05.24

 

I’ll add captions later but here are some of my NOLA pictures (more will come soon):

Thursday: Pictures from the flight to NOLA

Friday: Pictures taken in NOLA

2006
05.21

 

I got in this afternoon from my trip to New Orleans, which turned out to be very enjoyable.

I’ll be posting pictures and more stuff later on, but I’ll tell a few highlights now…

  • The NACBA convention was very good. I learned a lot, both about the mechanics of bankruptcy law practice in the post-BARF (Bankruptcy Abuse Reform Fiasco) era, as well as the work of NACBA to challenge the most onerous of BARF’s provisions through litigation.
  • One of the coolest parts of the trip was being in NOLA during the Mayoral campaign. In fact (I’ll post pictures later), my Dad and I got to see Mayor Ray Nagin when his entourage was driving through the French Quarter and we later went to his victory party (which we luckily happened in our hotel), where I heard possibly one of the best political speches of my life. I know Nagin is controversial and has shot off his mouth too often, but I do like the guy and am very glad that he won.
  • Portland, OR may get all of the attention (which it certainly deserves), but I almost think that New Orleans has the potential of being the #1 bicycling city in the US. There are few bike lanes (which are over-rated anyway… read Forrester’s Effective Cycling on this point), but much of the old-part of the city (I mostly biked in the French Quarter and Mahiqny) is as flat as a pancake, with narrow roads and slow traffic (in most case the bikes can go faster than the cars actually). But more than that, there is a huge bike culture there. Bikes were everywhere, old clunkers, lots of cruisers, re-habbed department store Mountain bikes (most purchased by locals on the cheap from a local organization that is getting bikes into the hands of folks who need transportation), and especially lots of bikes with cargo capabilities. — And my favorite part (what bliss) was all of the cute alternative-type girls on bicycles. I swear, I fell in love several times with dark-haired women who were riding old clunkers with a milk crate basket for cargo. There is nothing sexier than a bicycling woman.
  • Bourbon street reminded me a lot of Sixth street in Austin, except you could buy drinks to go (and carry them around as you walked on the street) and there was less live music. It also reminded me of Austin in that it was infested with way too many frat/sorority whitebread types.
  • But, the one exception to the overrated decadence of Bourbon Street was an awesome brass band that played on most nights at the corner of Canal & Bourbon. The guys in the band were all young Black men. There were I think 3 trumpets, 2 trumbones, a tuba (oh yeah!), a baritone, a sax (don’t remember if it was an alto or a tenor), a snare drum, and a bass drum with a cymbol on top. And boy were they good, playing with such fervor and energy which was punctuated by a really solid bass drum foundation.
  • The best part of the French Quarter was along Decatur Street — with Crescent City Brewhouse, Cafe du Monde (home of the famous chicory&coffee brew & their incredible beignets… btw, K. if you are reading this — thanks for introducing me to beignets back in Austin), the French Market area, the Cathedral, etc. This area definitely was far more enjoyable to hang out in that Bourbon Street (well actually, I liked buying a beer on Bourbon and then riding my bike over to Decatur to then hang out)
  • Speaking of beer, most of the crap served on Bourbon was macros. However, Abita was available quite a bit (mostly their Amber, but also occassionally the nicely roasted Turbodog), and Crescent City had a good selection of German-styled beers (my favorites were the Red Stallion and the Black Forest)
  • As for the state of the city post-Katrina, things are in pretty good shape in the old parts of town that were spared of the worst flooding, but the rest of the town is still in pretty bad shape. Like all fiascos, there are few easy answers and no single scape-goat, but I will say that from what I saw NOLA is screwed if another hurricaine hits and the federal government really doesn’t care. Given the massive resources of the federal government (and especially how much is being wasted in the lost-war in Iraq), it is inexcusable that the levees are still in such bad shape and that real flood gates haven’t been built yet where they are most needed.

    The locals are pretty antagonistic towards the government (and I don’t blame them). Some of the t-shirts said…

    FEMA — The new 4-letter F Word

    FEMA Evacuation plan — Run m—–f—-, run

    Make Levees not war (I bought this shirt)

    But despite this antagonism towards the government, I didn’t really sense much racial tension to speak of. Folks there seemed to understand that everyone was suffering from the governmental ineptitude and that race wasn’t really the primary issue (probably class is a bigger deal).

    Of a more light-hearted statement about governmental leaders, one shirt I saw had Mayor Ray Nagin’s face super-imposed on the body of Willy Wonka (of Chocolate Factory fame), with the words “Willy Nagin and the Chocolate City — Semi-sweet and a little nutty”

    Overall, I loved New Orleans and relish the thought of going back soon (maybe to do some pro-bono work). NOLA has plenty of problems, but I think they have enough pluck and passion to make it (particularly if their glorious bicycle culture continues to flourish… they may end up being better off than the rest of us when gas prices are $10/gallon)

  • 2006
    05.18

     

    Well I’m flying out today to New Orleans to attend the annual convention of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. I’m looking forward to the trip, both to get to spend some time with my Dad but also to get a little time to explore NOLA (hopefully by bike, I’m planning on renting one from Bicycle Michael’s on Saturday afternoon).

    I’ve heard NOLA still has a great free wi-fi system in the city, so if all goes well I may blog some while there.

    2006
    05.17

     

    I just looked at NewsOK.com and saw a picture of who I thought was Huti Reynolds (a Green Party of Oklahoma member from Porum) right on the “front page” of the website, so I called him on his cell phone and found out that he and Joni LeViness (a GPOK member from Tulsa) were among the 16 who were arrested at the Halliburton protests in Duncan today.

    Hopefully they will be willing to share more about the day when they get back in town (they all have been bonded out), but I wanted to go ahead and post this heads up.

    Here’s the story from that tells of the arrrests:

    NewsOK: 16 arrested in Halliburton protest

    NewsOK: Video story about the arrests

    I’m very proud to see such a large number of Greens participate in this protest. Such an encouraging thing.

    Also the national and international press is starting to pick this story up as are 194 stories on this according to Google news

    Also here’s some coverage from Indymedia and activist groups…

    Houston IMC: Halliburton Shareholders Meeting in Duncan Greeted by Protestors — Breaking News from HIMC reporters in the field

    Houston Global Awareness Collective: 16 Citizens Attempt Citizens’ Arrest of Halliburton CEO at the Shareholder’s Meeting

    2006
    05.15

     

    CNN: Sen. Clinton apologizes to Chelsea for work comment

    NEW YORK (AP) — After telling an audience that young people today “think work is a four-letter word,” Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said she apologized to her daughter.

    “I said, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to convey the impression that you don’t work hard,”‘ Clinton said Sunday in a commencement address at Long Island University. “I just want to set the bar high, because we are in a competition for the future.”

    . . . “She called and she said, ‘Mom, I do work hard and my friends work hard,”‘ Clinton said Sunday.

    New York’s junior senator, who is up for re-election this year, also told the graduates she plans to introduce a bill that would help college students manage and repay their loans. The proposal would limit loan payments to a certain percentage of their incomes, she said.

    Yet another glaring example of a politician with absolutely NO GRIP on reality. Most people my age and younger are working at least one job (while jugggling school and/or family to boot). I’m glad to see Hillary admit she was wrong (and her idea on the student loans sounds good) but frankly the apology seems rather half-hearted, particularly the part about “I just want to set the bar high, because we are in a competition for the future.” It sounds to me like Hillary just wants to sell us all on the corporate rat race, and is trying to sound conservative enough to pull in swing voters (just like her lame move on the federal flag burning law).

    2006
    05.13

    My new pet

     

    Here’s my new pet, Ralph the Gerbil. I got him yesterday and thus far have really enjoyed having some company in my apartment.

    I named him after one of my favorite authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson (but also after the character from a book I read a kid – The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary).

    2006
    05.13

     

    This is an update to an earlier JMBzine post.

    NY times: Army Acts to Curb Abuses of Injured Recruits

    This story has now been covered by the BBC, NY Times, Counterpunch, and Alternet but so far the only local press coverage is this story from the Oklahoman that focuses more on Congressman Cole’s response to it than the scandal itself…

    NewsOK: Lawmaker to examine GIs’ treatment

    I would say this… any soldier who is being mistreated by the army needs to call the GI Rights hotline (the number is on the upper right-hand corner of this page). It is inexcusable that this mistreatment is going on, but the good news is that there are ways out of the Army and that soldiers and their families need to know what their rights are.