logo: JMBzine - published by James M. Branum since 1995

August 2001

Jump to:

Friday, August 17, 2001

2:25 pm

Here are some legal sites of interest...

12:00 pm

Editorial note (2022): My views on Reagan have soured even more over the last 20 years, particularly as I have studied history from other perspectives. I was only in the baby-steps of that learning in 2001, as you can see from what I wrote at the time.

Ronald Reagan is one of the most amazing figures of recent history. I have many problems with his policies (both domestic and Latin American foreign policy), but despite it all I can't help but be inspired by him. As a child in the 80's, I remember when he stood in front of the Berlin Wall and said, "Mr. Gorbechav, tear down this wall!" I wonder if the wall would have fallen without his critical role in American history.

1:49 am


1:02 am

Hightimes.com - not that I advocate drug use, but I do think it is good to post info from lots of points of view to let you make up your own mind.

Thursday, August 16, 2001

10:32 pm

This is creepy.

Editors note (2022): Link to the old demookie forum site is broken (and I can't find it archived anywhere), but from URL it appears headline read "Local governments to bend land use rules to accomodate private interests"

10:30 pm

This week's Pirateradio.about.com update includes an interesting account of a raid by FCC thugs at Free Radio Tucson.

10:02 pm

picture of the Gold Dome Building, Oklahoma City

9:16 pm

It looks like the Bush administration is practicing some "fuzzy math" to explain away their raiding of Social Security. I am no big fan of Al Gore (I can proudly say that I didn't vote for Twiddle Dee or Twiddle Dumber.), but I sure wish we had Gore's lock box around right now.

9:08 pm

The Industry Standard is dead. How fast things change. It looks like it's R.I.P. for the "New Economy."

4:04 pm

Those Mormons sure have some strange beliefs.

Editors note (2022): After having spent a lot of time in reading in many religious traditions over the last two decades, I'm not so sure that the LDS/Mormon tradition is as "strange" as I did back in 2001. Most religious traditions have beliefs that are bizarre to outsiders, so I wouldn't feel the need to make a remark like this today. Today I judge religious beliefs on whether they encourage humans to be better humans or hurt humans, not based on how weird it sounds.

2:28 pm

NY Times - Beazley Execution halted by TX Court of Criminal Appeals

Reported to Be Vanishing, Cajuns Give a Sharp 'Non'

By RICK BRAGG, NY Times - Census Bureau analysts say new survey data suggesting a significant dwindling in the population of Cajun Louisiana may not reflect an actual downturn. - This story makes me wonder if the regional differences in the USA will be gone in a few generations.

August 15, 2001

2:26 pm

The latest update from the NY Times on the Beazley Execution

2:54 am


2:45 am

Punishing Saddam - Video from 60 Minutes - Watch this. Watch the footage of the Iraqi people suffering, and then listen the bull**** that the US is churning out. This makes me want to vomit.

2:38 am

Austin American-Stateman Story on the LaCresha Murray case - Ronnie Earl would never have pursued this case for so long if LaCresha Murray was a white girl.

The Travis County DA's office (in the Murray case), Governor Rick Perry and the TX Board of Pardons and Paroles (in today's execution of Napoleon Beazley) once again show how racist of a state Texas remains.

Editor's note (2002): Beazley would end up getting a stay of execution later in the day, but would finally be executed in 2002, one of the last people offended in the USA for a crime committed as a juvenile. --- Reading more about Beazley's case, I'm especially struck by his age. He was born just a few months after I was.

2:34 am


2:27 am

Editorial note (2022): My views on LGBTQ+ equality and what the Bible says about homosexuality have radically changed in the last 20 years, thank goodness!

OK, here's an update on the story I talked about a few days ago... God don't make no junk, by Sam Martin

First, the discussion forum for Fine Print Mag is hashing out the story big-time. I haven't finished reading what has been said thus far, but it is pretty intense. I will likely jump into the fray (my nickname on that board is vagrantpoet), but I want to think it over some more. To be frank, I am still rather torn by this whole issue. I have to agree with the general premise of "God don't make no crap" but yet i have a hard time reconciling the scriptures that condemn homosexuality. Anyway, I just wanted to post this link to the discussion forum if you're intersted in reading some other folks' response to the story.

1:52 am

Taken from www.newsofthewierd.com:

According to a June report in Britain's The Guardian, at least two schools in Belgium's Limburg province will begin serving a kind of very-low-alcohol beer in public school cafeterias beginning in September, in an effort to wean kids aged 3 to 15 from sugary sodas and fruit juice. [The Guardian (London), 6-21-01]

Also, on the subject of beer be sure and visit my good friend Jim Liberty's site at http://beernotes.blogspot.com. He fancies himself a beer critic.

Editorial note (2022): "Jim Liberty" was the penname for myself, chosen at a time when I was concerned about being judged for being a fan of craft beer. Today, I regularly review beers on BeerAdvocate.com under the name of "JMBranum."

1:47 am

God loves me and I have proof!!!

The day after I arrive back in Austin (well San Marcos to be exact, but it's only a 45 minute drive to Austin), they're having the Austin Chronicle 11th Annual Hot Sauce Festival!!! Only 11 more days before I'll be in picante heaven!!!

Austin Chronicle 11th Annual Hot Sauce Festival

1:41 am

Austin Chronicle's Intervivew with Lucinda Williams - Lucinda makes some kick*** alt.country music.

AC: Mandy Mercier and I both know you well, so we're often approached by fans wanting to know what you're like. The question I get asked most is, how's your sex life?

LW: [Laughing] Really? With this record, there seems to be a lot more attention paid to that. In The New York Times, the reviewer called me a sex symbol for the intellectual crowd. One guy in Europe said it sounded like I was lying in bed with the microphone when I recorded Essence. Another guy there said, "You sound pretty heated up, this is a horny record." They're a lot looser over there in Europe, you know.

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

11:52 pm

Susanna Thomas, Quaker Activist - Good news!!! She is now free from imprisonment in Genoa and will be returning home soon.

11:36 pm

AP story that tells of the global effects of light pollution

This story seems incredibly sad to me. So often, I've experienced the purest of epiphanies when staring at a star-scattered sky. Right now, my mind goes back to a late night of driving west on I-40 in New Mexico. I was between the Texas State line and Tucumcari and really needed to take a leak.

Finally I gave up in looking for a convenience store on the lonely highway and pulled off the side of the road. After taking care of business, I looked up at the sky and I was blown away. In this most mundane and even human of moments, God met me. The sky was so beautiful and it seemed as the stars were beyond numbering.

I ended up sitting on the hood of my old car quite awhile, staring into the cosmos. As I was mesmorized by the sky, my eyes woke up and I began to see even more and more stars. It was as if there layers and layers of stars that were coming out of hiding.

Never in my life have I experienced anything like that night.

10:52 pm

mug shot of Napolean Beazley

Napolean Beazley

Scheduled to be killed by the racist Texas criminal justice tomorrow. It looks like a state-sanctioned lynching to me.

Editorial note (2022): Napolean Beazley would end up being killed by the state of Texas on May 28, 2002 as one of the last people to be executed in the USA for a crime committed while under age 18 (a practice that would be barred by SCOTUS in 2005).

10:42 pm

Here's another action alert from the ACLU on the death penalty

10:27 pm

AJY.net Blog - Here's a blog made by an old friend. He just started it back up, but I have high hopes for it as he is always sending me lots of interesting political and news links via ICQ.

He is probably a good bit more conservative than me in politics but his views are normally very well thought out. (I would probably classify him as a Centrist.)

6:19 pm

Here's the lastest on the Beazley execution from the NY Times It looks like the Supreme Court is going to allow another racist execution of juvenile. May God have mercy on us as a society as we continue to all be accomplices to state-sponsored killing.

12:02 pm

I'll write more about the SOA 26 later, but I wanted to go ahead and post this link that has info on how you can write these brave prisoners of conscience while they are in Federal prison.

Also, here are two more critical links:

ACLU action bulletin on Beazley execution - Urgent! Execution will take place tomorrow!!! Email Texas Governor Rick Perry before it's too late!!!

Monday, August 13, 2001

8:23 pm


Editorial note (2022): 2000 Flushes was a pirate radio station in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and if I recall right had a phone voicemail system where you could call and leave audio messages that would later be played on the air. Here are a few links I found to archival recordings and even a cool zine-style listeners guide that are still online:

3:00 pm

It's funny, but as I read yesterday's notation it reminds me of my Grandma McCullough (she went to heaven to be with Jesus about a year ago). She was also an avid journaler over her long life, but what she wrote about the most was the weather. She chronicled how many inches of rain they got, how hot it got, just about everything you could think of.

Even though I don't live on the farm, it is interesting how much of her attention to nature is in me.

So, on that note... it's in the low 90's here in Oklahoma today. The sun is back out, but not as hot as it was before yesterday's rain.

That's enough for now, I gotta get back to work.

August 12, 2001

1:04 pm

It was raining early this morning when I woke up. It's been so long since it has rained here in Newcastle this summer that I've forgotten how wonderful it is to hear it raining as you wake up.

Now the whole world is greening up.

August 11, 2001

3:44 pm

Editorial note (2022): - Today I fully support LGBTQ+ equality in all areas of society, including religous life. But I am still leaving this post intact (other than with this note of warning) as I think it does help to explain the trajectory of change when it comes to issues like this one.

God don't make no junk, by Sam Martin - This essay really makes you think. It is the account of a man and his experiences as a homosexual man who also believes in the teachings of Jesus.

A few years ago, if I had read this I would have given a very snap response, "this man is just deceived by the devil." But now, I don't know. Maybe it is that I've come across so many good and sincere Christian men and women who struggle with understanding their sexuality. Several guys in particular that I've talked to, have shared how that they didn't want to be gay, and prayed and prayed that God would take away their orientations, but the feelings didn't go away, and then finally gave up. Some of those folks still believe in God, but not in the teachings of scripture against homosexuality. Others walk away from their faith all together.

Frankly, I don't understand it. I don't why the Bible teaches against homosexuality so stridently, but yet at the same time some people do seem to be born with homosexual inclinations.

Of course, I have met several men and women who claim to be delivered from homosexuality. Some of them I believe, others I don't. I guess when it comes down to it, I believe with all of my heart that God can do anything, including changing a person's sexual orientation. However, for whatever reason, very often (maybe even most of the time), God does not change those people.

I don't know what the answer is, but I lean towards saying that the Catholic view of homosexuality is better than that of Evangelical Protestants. My understanding of Catholic doctorine is that it is not a sin to have homosexual feelings, but it is a sin to engage in any kind of sexual behavior (hetero or homosexual) outside of marriage. So in effect, a Catholic homosexual would remain in full communion as long as they remained celibate.

OK, I know that opens up another big kettle of fish, but I'll leave it there for now...

10:37 am

Familysearch.org - This is the new website developed by the LDS (Mormon) church which has much of their vast genealogical records online.

I wonder if any of these Branums might be kinfolks.

Yahoo News/Reuters Photo: Western White House Logo - August 9, 2001


August 10, 2001

1:53 am

Now, I'm listening to a little ditty called Teenage Imigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs," played by The Austin Lounge Lizards. Boy howdy! This is funniest politcal comedy I've heard in a long time.

This band and Molly Ivins makes me proud to call myself "one of those **** Austin liberals."

14 more days and I'll be back to the city I should have been born in. :-)

Also, while I'm thinking abou itt, listen to the PSA produced by Austin's own Willie Nelson for the good folks at NORML.

You gotta love Willie.

August 10, 2001, 1:24 am

If you would like to learn more about yourself, and those around you, take a Meiers-Briggs-Keirsey personality test.

The best online version of the test

The Four Question MBTI - obviously not super-accurate, but a useful tool when trying to guess other people's MBTI

Dmoz.org's MBTI listing

1:14 am

I found some blogs by fellow Austinites tonight:

Arthurvanderbilt.com - talks a lot about music

Ribbit - mostly news of the wierd type of stuff

Tornadomagnent.com - "And "Free the Kittens!" became a rallying cry, especialy given that I was moving to Austin at the time. This city, as I have noted previously, has no shortage of causes, political and otherwise, to get behind. And it's not unusual for public displays of homage to take place, and as such, my friends and I sat down to make a list of the kittens who were striving for freedom out from under the unrelenting thumb of The Man."

Also here's some wierd news items (links jacked from Ribbit):

Man nabbed for pumping gas naked

Mom arrested after driving drunk to register kid in school

12:37 am

Listening to Pedro the Lion tonight. Music so beautiful it hurts. This song, "Amazing love" oh my.

Love is such a wonderous, painful thing. This song is probably speaking of the love of God to his creation, but maybe I'm thinking of love in every fashion.

Well, I'll start with love for God. There are moments that I love God so much, like when I get home late at night and look up at the stars and they are so, so... I can't even describe it. The closest thing I could say (the metaphor really doesn't do it justice) is of a handful of tiny diamonds strewn across a piece of black velvet cloth.

Yet, most of the time I don't love God like that. When I see the stars, or some other magnificent part of nature, I love Him. Passionately, I love Him. But most of the time it isn't like that. It's there I suppose, but it's pretty dim.

As far as other loves, I think of the love for my family. Parental love is sometimes too complex to wrap your head around, but the love I have for my brothers (four in all) is... well it's hard to understand too. Sometimes it's good, but most of the time there is all of this confusing baggage that makes it hard to know. Sometimes it seems real and reciprocal, other times either I or my brother(s) treat each other like the other one is ****. Why is this? Where does this competive jealous emotionalism come from?

Then, I move to romantic love. An equally perplexing notion. In one sense of the term, I guess I've "fallen in love" a few times in my life. Let's see, I guess really at least four or five times. Sheesh! You would think, that I would learn, but I don't. AND I DON'T WANT TO! I guess I like being in love, even if the one I love doesn't love me back.

But, I'm not sure if this rollercoaster experience that I'm addicted to like crack is really "love." At least not the life-long commitment love. In my romantic state of mind, I would like to think it is, but reality smacks me in the face and says it probably isn't. Who knows though, maybe one of these days the rollercoaster will turn into "true love" as the character on The Princess Bride would say.

OK, enough talk about love. This stupid emotional Pedro the Lion music is doing it to me. I think I'm going to find me a glass of red wine and drown in my sorrow. (I wish.)

August 9, 2001

11:24 pm

If you're ever in Oklahoma, be sure and visit Newcastle. It's a swell town.

Editor's Note (2022): Newcastle.nu was a website I had been running a few years. I think I let it die maybe a year or so after this, but for a few pre-social media years, it was the big internet hub of my hometown of Newcastle, Oklahoma.

11:01 pm

Theendofree.com - chronicles a sad phenomenum (shoot me, I don't have time to spell check) where once free services are becoming fee-based. I'm sure all of my Libertarian readers will see this as a good or at least inevitable thing, but I frankly think it sucks.

7:45 pm

I was a big far of Bear Share for mp3 sharing, but lately I have had less and less success actually being able to use it. Today though, on the recommendation of a friend I tried out Audio Galaxy and man oh man, I like this. Of course, it will get taken down like Napster, but until we have to use the gnutella programs (i.e. Limeware, Bearshare, File Navigator, etc.) I would recommend Audio Galaxy. It's very tight.

5:25 pm

It is the - very good story that speaks about what is truly worth remembering about the internet. It's not about money. Let's say that together... it's not about money. It's content. It's community. It's constructive dissent. It's not money.

2:06 pm

ok, now I have that stupid timezone thing fixed. So, if you're reading anything before this post, the times were Pacific time. Starting with this post though, they should be good ol Central time.

Also, if you're bored check out the new JMBzine.com public blog

Editorial note (2022): This "public blog" was intended to be a platform that any reader could say anything. It didn't really take off but the lo-fi design was interesting.

2:07 am

Gore Inspired Spacecraft to be stored - This seems sad to me. For all of the fun folks poked at Gore on this, I thought it was a good idea. Especially now that the thing is built, I don't understand why they don't launch it.

1:43 am

I came across a very amazing discovery on another blog Life in Two Languages. Follow the link and scroll down to where the author talks about a man in her class who was in a paramilitary death squad in El Salvador that was trained by the School of the Americas. Reading that post reminds me of two things...

First, that the horrors that went on were real. I've read about what the US School of the Americas did in training assasins and masters of torture in Latin America from School of the Americas Watch, but somehow coming across this account of a man who bore the scars from this military days who was actually trained there, puts a very real face on things.

But, secondly and maybe more importantly, I am reminded that it is ALWAYS wrong to dehumanize our enemies. In reading the account, the blog author says, "...Whichever was the truth, he's here now trying to make a better life for himself and his family. Whether he's finally escaped a cycle of poverty and violence, or whether his new life is an attempt at redemption for his sins, he's sitting across the table looking at me and hoping I'll help. " Reading this reminds me that even those we tend to revile our human beings, just like you and me. They may have done bad things, but so have we all.

Enough late night thoughts. Read the blog. It's very compelling.

August 8, 2001

11:33 pm

Here are a few of my favorite music zines...

Vagrantcafe.com - music, culture, art, etc. Good message boards (also some of my poetry is published on their poetry section)

Fineprintmag.com - founded by the staff of Bandoppler, R.I.P. A good, artsy music zine.

Exitzine.com - it sucks, but I love it because me and my friends run it

7:04 pm

Greens.org - a good source on the world-wide Green movement

3:51 pm

Here's a NY Times story on what happened in Genoa.

3:06 pm

A Place of Terror and Fear: Inside a Jail in Genoa - Look what when on when Dubya and the rest of his rich cronies were in their closed door meetings in Genoa.

2:06 pm

Greetings all,

Sorry I haven't done a good job of keeping this thing updated, but that will change as I've gotten all fired up reading a Mediachannel story on blogging.

So anyway, here are some of the latest links of interest...

First, Austin sites that I should mention include The pedi-cab petition(Editorial note (2022): broken link), which I must admit is a shameless plug for a petition I've started to help all of my fellow pedi-cab drivers; Austinfast.com, a comprehensive (but rather cluttered) Austin portal site, and Michael Bluejay's Austin Bicycling website, the definitive source for Austin bicycling info.

If you're interested in following the upcoming NYC mayor's race, check these sites out:

Kramerformayor.com - This is the campaign site from the real guy that the Seinfeld character was based on. He got the Libertarian party's nomination for mayor of NYC and from what I can see is running a decent campaign.

Politics1.com - NY - a good resource for researching all of the candidates on the upcoming NYC city election. They have all of the candidates, even those of 3rd parties.

NY Green Party newsletter

If you have any thoughts, gripes, etc email me at jmb(at)jmbzine(dot)com