Youtube.com: First Obama Presidential Ad

I love the line from his speech where he says that no one should go bankrupt because of medical bills. Amen to that!

Youtube.com: “I inhaled frequently” “That was the point” — I love this!

And for whatever it is worth, right now I really like Obama and Kucinich among the Democratic contenders. I’m also somewhat interested in Edwards for his stances on poverty concerns, but also am very troubled that he voted for the Iraq war (he is now against it, but one has to wonder if he changed his mind truly or for political reasons). Hillary I’m not a fan of, not only because of her vote for the Iraq war but also because she supports the flag burning amendment (I’m sorry but wanting to amend the Bill of Rights is a big deal) and because she didn’t vote against BARF (Bankruptcy Abuse Reform Fiasco).

Maybe the Greens will have a good candidate in ’08 but thus far I don’t see any that are very promising. I totally love the Green philosophy and am a proud and active Oklahoma Green party member, but I’m not at all down with where the national Green Party is going.



Update as Jan. 30, 2007: Good news! The Pahrump, NV Town board is in the process of repealing the ordinance that is discussed in this post. Please read the comments to this post for more details.

CNN: Root for Tijuana to curb immigration — Commentary by Ruben Navarrette Jr.

CNN: Town makes it illegal to fly a foreign flag — Commentary by Ruben Navarrette Jr.

Reading the commentary about the ignorant (and straight up unconstitional) ban on the flying of foreign flags makes me want to go Pahump, Nevada right now and wave a foreign flag on the city hall lawn. But since it’s a pretty long drive I figured the next best thing is to email the town council and tell them how foolish, ignorant and fascist their town’s decision makers are. (it makes you wonder why the Pahump Chamber of Commerce even bothers to have a website to promote their community, when anyone who believes in tolerance and freedom would be disturbed to find out what this town’s government stands for)

Oh and here’s a link to the text of the racist law that not only banned the flying of foreign flags, but also made English the official language (which is laughable, since English is not the first or even the second language spoken in the American Southwest).



KOCO.com: Jurors Convict Man Accused In Officer’s Death

OKLAHOMA CITY — Jurors on Friday convicted a man of second-degree murder in the death of an Oklahoma City police officer.

The panel of seven men and five women also recommended a 45-year prison term for Kyle Wayne Grider, 23, who was accused of causing the accident that killed Sgt. Jonathan Dragus on Oct. 20, 2005.

Dragus was trying to stop Grider, who was said to have been riding a stolen motorcycle, when a high-speed pursuit ensued and eventually ended up on the Northwest Expressway, or Oklahoma Highway 3, in northwest Oklahoma City.

Dragus lost control of his police cruiser and it crashed at an intersection on the highway, reports show. He died shortly after the crash.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Charles Cox said Grider has never denied he was guilty of eluding police, for which he also is charged, but he maintained his client was not to blame for the wreck that killed Dragus.

“In this particular situation, no one took Sgt. Dragus’ life,” Cox said. “He died in a car wreck.”

Prosecutors contend Grider was responsible for the crash because he chose to run when Dragus tried to pull him over. . .

I know most of my readers may disagree with me on this, but I think the jury was wrong. The defendant stole a motorcycle and ran from the police. This was stupid and criminal, but I don’t think it is murder. Northwest Expressway is one of the busiest streets in OKC (for out-of-town readers, it isn’t a true freeway but rather a busy highway that has many driveways and stop lights every half mile or so), and I can’t imagine why the OKC cops would do a high speed pursuit on this road unless it was life and death (and a stolen motorcycle isn’t life and death). Sure this kid was stupid and panicked, but a much better approach would be to continue pursuit at normal speeds and track the thief’s location by air.

So the result of all of this is that due to a stupid criminal deciding to run, the poor judgment of OKC police, and the really bad judgment of a jury, we have not only a killed public servant but we also have a wasted life with young man facing the next 45 years to be spent in prison.

This is madness in my opinion and is a tragedy.



This is an update to a earlier JMBzine post

CNN: Canada compensates man U.S. deported to Syria

MSNBC: Canada pays torture victim in U.S. terror case — Washington says engineer still a risk, won’t remove him from no-fly list


Local Music blog



An interesting local blog (by a guy I met at a shindig at a friend’s house a few days ago) that makes me realize how out of touch I am with the music scene these days. Very, very sad.


State of the Union


I did watch last night’s State of the Union with some friends and some beer (that seriously is the only way I could stomach it). Overall I think it was pretty sad. We are in such a bad place. I only hope Congress acts, and acts decisively to end the war in Iraq as soon as possible.

As for the domestic and non-war foreign agenda, it was mostly absurd double-talk. His energy policies are too little, way too late (20% reduction in gas consumption in 10 years is not near enough… that should be the goal for the next two years), his AIDS policies are hard to take seriously (since he didn’t deliver on his past State of the Union promises), and his immigration polices are unintelligible (his remark about treating undocumented aliens without animosity and without amnesty doesn’t make sense to me).

The Democratic response on the other hand was pretty decent. US Senator Jim Webb did a job of presenting a strong criticism of the Iraq war from the perspective of a non-pacifistic persuasion. I obviously don’t agree with him some of his presumptions about how things work, but probably his views represent more of the majority of anti-Iraq war Americans today.



Erowid.org: Guidelines for Saying No to Police Searches — in the United States

This guide is a few years old, but generally it seems to have pretty decent advise on why folks should refuse to consent to police searches and how is the most effective way to do so.



Theodore Parker Web Site

I discovered Theodore Parker via the book The American Transendetalists: Their Prose and Poetry (a paperback from 1957 that I found in a used bookstore). The book had his sermon The Transient and Permanent in Christianity (one heck of a sermon that got him ostracized by the Unitarians of his day for its “unorthodox” ideas)

There’s so much in this sermon that I find moving (mostly on the subject of the fallibility yet worth of scripture), but I’ll just quote this paragraph…(emphasis added is my own)

These doctrines respecting the scriptures have often changed, and are but fleeting. Yet men lay much stress on them. Some cling to these notions as if they were Christianity itself. It is about these and similar points that theological battles are fought from age to age. Men sometimes use worst the choicest treasure God bestows. This is especially true of the use men make of the Bible. Some men have regarded it as the heathen their idol, or the savage his fetish. They have subordinated Reason, Conscience, and Religion to this. Thus have they lost half the treasure it bears in its boom. No doubt the time will come when its true character shall be felt. Then it will be seen, that, amid all the contradictions of the Old Testament; its legends so beautiful as fictions, so appalling as facts; amid its predictions that have never been fulfilled; amid the puerile conceptions of God, which sometimes occur, and the cruel denunciations that disfigure both Psalm and Prophecy, there is a reverence for man’s nature, a sublime trust in God, and a depth of piety rarely felt in these cold northern hearts of ours. Then the devotion of is authors, the loftiness of their aim, and the majesty of their life, will appear doubly fair, and Prophet and Psalmist will warm our hearts as never before. Their voice will cheer the young and sanctify the gray-headed; will charm us in the toil of life, and sweeten the cup Death gives us, when he comes to shake off this mantle of flesh. Then will it be seen, that the words of Jesus are music of heaven, sung in an earthy voice, and the echo of these words in John and Paul owe their efficacy to their truth and their depth, and to no accidental matter connected therewith. Then can the Word, — which was in the beginning and now is, — find access to the innermost heart of man, and speak these as now it seldom speaks. Then shall the Bible, — which is a whole library of the deepest and most earnest thoughts and feelings an piety and love, ever recorded in human speech, — be read oftener than ever before, not with Superstition, but with Reason, Conscience, and Faith fully active. Then shall it sustain men bowed down with many sorrows; rebuke sin; encourage virtue; sow the world broad-cast and quick with the seed of love, that man may reap a harvest for life everlasting.

I agree wholeheartedly with Parker in what he has said. A non-literal reading of scripture actually causes one to gain much more from scripture than a purely literal reading can bring.


Favorite Books of 2006


I was inspired to make this list after reading Time Magazine’s 10 Best Books article (thanks to DeathbyUlysses for the link)

Here’s my list of books I read in the last year that I found to be particularly moving…

1. The Dharma Bums – by Jack Kerouac

2. Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings – by Rob Brezsny

3. Fidelity: Five Stories – by Wendell Berry

4. Blessed Be the Peacemakers — : Christ’s Teachings of Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness – by Wendell Berry

5. Franny and Zoe – by J. D. Sallinger


A new literary blog


Death By Ulysses – a brand new blog by my friend Kimberly

I’m really stoked about this because about half of my favorite books have been recommended to me by her in the past. This blog will definitely be going in my blogroll.