The bailout

I don’t have time (due to client needs) to write anything of worth on the issue of the giant Wall-Street bailout that is being considered, but I will say one really obvious thing… 

$700,000,000,000 – Amount of money requested for the bailout (since we have a budget deficit though, the number is much bigger because we must factor in the interest paid to borrow that much money)

305,254,057 – population of the US according to the US Census at the time of this blog post

$2,293.17 – Amount of money per US resident that the bailout will cost (not counting the cost of borrowing the money)

This is insanity. What we need is not a bailout of the rich and powerful but rather a redistribution of wealth from the rich and powerful. Every person on the Forbes 400 List makes at least ONE BILLION DOLLARS. I think we should start with them. It is immoral for any one person to have that much wealth when others don’t have enough.


NewsWeek.com: The Changing Face of Abortion — Teen abortion rates have plummeted in the past 30 years. Why aren’t we seeing the same decreases for older women?

Abortion rates have dropped steadily since the 1980s, from a peak of 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women in 1981 to 19.4 in 2005. But behind this general decrease are striking changes in the demographics of abortion. Compared to 30 years ago, women having abortions today are older and more likely to be mothers and minorities, according to a study released Tuesday by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Guttmacher Institute. 

The study looked at trends in abortion since 1974, the year after the Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion in the United States. What researchers found is contrary to what pop culture phenoms, from “Juno” to Jamie Lynn Spears, might suggest: Teenagers are not the most likely to confront this issue, twenty-somethings are. 

“We’re aware that, today, most of the women having abortions are moms struggling to take care of the children they already have,” says Rachel Jones, senior research associate at the institute

. . . Experts say a lack of health insurance, more common among adults than teens, and access to affordable contraceptives are significant factors in causing abortion rates to stay at a level higher than that of the 1970s among older women. “You could full-well know that the pill or IUDs are effective birth control, but if you don’t have health insurance or don’t have access to affordable family planning, that’s not going to help you much,” says Jones.

. . . Financial barriers seem to be one of the most persistent obstacles in the fight to reduce socioeconomic disparities in abortion rates, say experts. Medicaid coverage of birth control varies by state, and the bureaucracy can be difficult to navigate. The current Guttmacher study did not look at the socioeconomic status of women having abortions, but the institute’s previous research has shown the abortion rates for women below the federal poverty line to be much higher than for more economically advantaged women. “When you don’t have access to affordable birth control, rates of unintended pregnancy are going to be higher. That’s a sad and real-life consequence of the health insurance gap,” says Laurie Rubiner, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of public policy.

Other shifts in demographics bolster Rubiner’s claim that the women having abortions today are increasingly under economic duress: Compared with 1974, they are much more likely to already have children, as well as to be unmarried.

“Women are making a decision, ‘Can I feed another mouth,'” says Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization of Women. “‘Did my husband leave me with three other kids? Is this going to mean that I can’t feed my kids?’ There is a real life decision that a woman has to make.” Many women, she thinks, are asking whether they can afford to have another child.  


(emphasis added above is my own)Most of my regular readers know that I am morally opposed to abortion (because as a pacifist, I oppose the taking of human life, no matter what the reason, and I believe that human life begins at a point sometime before birth). I am also very torn between the conflicting issue of a woman’s right to choose, and because of that, tend to oppose overturning Roe v. Wade (with the exception of third trimester abortions if the mother’s health is not in danger and if the pregnancy is not because of rape). I guess I would like to see abortion be “safe, legal and rare,” with the emphasis being on the rare part. So, that’s my own bias. Because of my beliefs, I don’t put a lot of stock in the so-called “pro-life politicians” (like our entire Oklahoma congressional delegation) because they give lip service to ending abortion but then back economic policies that cause abortions to happen. I have believed for a long time that the main thing behind the USA’s high abortion rates is economics, and I think this latest study backs that up. So, for my pro-life readers: If you really oppose abortion, ask yourself this question – Whose economic and health care policies will help older women to be able to choose not have an abortion? And whose policies will make an abortion seem like a good idea? I think the answer is clear. Obama is the best choice for pro-life voters.


I have added a new Videos section to JMBzine.com. It features mostly videos of myself (either being interviewed or doing trainings), but includes other videos of interest from other people.

Major thanks go to CSAction.org for videotaping and editing much of the contents in the video section.


I’m going to Alaska!

I’m going to be one of 3 speakers at an upcoming CLE (continuing legal eduction) session in Alaska, well actually 2 of them, as one is in Anchorage and one is in Fairbanks. Here are the details in case I have any Alaska readers…   

The Military Law Task Force


 In Anchorage Lunch Hour CLE – $50.00*October 3rd 12:00 noon – 1:45 p.m.Law Offices of Fortier & Mikko101 W Benson, Suite 30412:00 – 1:00 Ethical Considerations in Representing Soldiers Who Can No Longer Serve 1:00 – 1:45 Legal Protections for Soldiers and their Families in Civil and Military CourtsOverview of Uniform Code of Military Justice The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act* Alaska Bar Approval – 1.75 CLE credits, including 1 ethics creditIn FairbanksOctober 4th Half Day CLE – $75.00*12:00 noon – 6:00 p.m.Alaska Peace Center507 Gaffney Road12:00 – 1:00 Ethical Considerations in Representing Soldiers Who Can No Longer Serve1:00 – 1:45 The Military Contract1:45 – 2:45 Administrative Discharges – Part I**BREAK**3:00 – 4:00 Administrative Discharges – Part II4:00 – 4:45 Courts Martial4:45 – 6:00 The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act* Alaska Bar Approval – 5.75 CLE credits, including 1 ethics creditTo reserve your space: Email Alison Carter, alaskagirights@yahoo.com by 5:00 p.m. October 1, 2008. Payment on the day of training by cash or check payable to Alaska Peace Center only. For more information call 907-322-8661FACULTYJames Branum is a solo-practitioner in Oklahoma City where he represents servicemembers who are seeking a discharge from the U.S. military or who need legal counsel when facing Courts Martial. Mr. Branum graduated from Oklahoma City University (OCU) of Law in 2005. He has amassed an extensive knowledge of military through an externship with the Dean’s Summer Public Interest Fellowship at OCU School of law, his prior work as a lay counselor through the Oklahoma Committee for Conscientious Objectors and the training in military law from New College of California School of Law of San Francisco in January 2005. Mr. Branum is a Steering Committee member of the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild. Margaret Stock is an attorney in Anchorage, Alaska; a Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Police Corps, U.S. Army Reserve; and an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York. Ms. Stock graduated from Harvard Law School in 1992. As a freshman in college, she joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps. At the end of her sophomore year, she was commissioned in the Military Police Corps. While she completed her undergraduate education at Harvard-Radcliffe, she served in an infantry brigade in the Army Reserve. After graduation, she volunteered for a three-year active duty tour in Alaska. She was assigned to the Sixth Infantry Division (Light) in Fort Richardson, Alaska, where her duties ranged from law enforcement activities to combat training. For a brief period, she was the commander of the Fort Richardson Special Reaction Team. Ms. Stock currently practices immigration law.Peggy Herman owns and operates her own law firm in Seattle, Washington where she practices primarily family based immigration, naturalization, and removal defense. She also provides direct representation to GIs and consultation to other Military Law Task Force members on immigration matters. Ms. Herman graduated from University of Washington, Tacoma, in 1998 and from Seattle University School of Law in 2001. She was the co-chair of the law school’s NLG student chapter from 1998-2000 and became active in several NLG projects and committees including the National Immigration Project, Mass Defense Committee and Military Law Task Force. In April 2003, she was elected Vice President of Guild’s Northwest Region and has served on the National Executive Committee of the NLG for the past five years.


I now have all of my picture from the march uploaded (that took forever… lots of cropping and tweaking, especially to deal with low light conditions at the end of the march).

The photos are organized into 2 galleries…

Part 1

August 27, 2008 These pictures are of the first part of the march, from where I caught up with it in downtown Denver to the first “confrontation site” where IVAW lined up in formation facing the DNC secured convention site. Initially participants though that there would be civil disobedience happening at the site, but a decision was made out of safety concerns (this location was one in which protesters were boxed into a very small area) to march back to the front of the building

Part 2

These pictures are all from the 2nd part of the march. IVAW led the march to the other side (I think the North side) of the secured convention area to present their demands to the DNC and the Obama campaign. Protesters were told that there was a possibility of arrest during this portion of the march. The police buildup was huge during this time of action, but thankfully the risk of police violence and/or arrest was averted. I believe the order of these pictures is roughly chronological (the last few are of my dog and I riding a pedicab back to the car if you are wondering)

From Robin Long in Prison

Photos have been moved to this page



I know, I know, I’m a big geek. I love geographical oddities. I have now been to 2 of Colorado’s 4 corners.