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September 2001

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Important Editor's Note

2022: This month of blog posts was one that I took some care in re-reading and in updating, due to the historic events that happened on 9-11 (September 11, 2001).

I did my best to leave my original thoughts and impressions unedited from 20+ years ago, but I have added editorial notes (marked in gray, as this block is). These notes include some reflections on what I wrote, but also some updates and information on broken links --- sadly, almost all of the stories from MSNBC, I have yet to be able to find on either their website, NBCNews's website or on archive.org.

For anyone wanting to get a bit more of the context of that day and the days that followed, I would recommend spending some time with the television footage archive from Archive.org

Lastly, I should mention a bit about what I was doing in the month of September 2001. I graduated from college in May of 2000 (from a small theological college affiliated with the Churches of Christ) in Austin, Texas. I went home that summer and had experiences that pushed me towards considering law school (to begin in the fall of 2002), but first I planned to spend a year in San Marcos, Texas (a college town, between Austin and San Antonio). I took a graduate class in Mass Media and I explored the possibility of doing campus ministry work, while working as pedicab driver (in Austin) to pay the rent, but also starting the process of applying to law schools and taking the LSAT.

I was in a very transitional time of my life. My politics were changing quickly and I had by this point developed a crystalization of belief regarding the immorality of war, but I was also still struggling to make sense of many other issues. I also was struggling to get along with my family (due to my changes in religous and political belief).

So that was the context I experienced these days through.

Friday, September 28, 2001

7:18 pm

Rabble.ca is a Canadian based alt-news source.

7:08 pm

Hahaha, I'm at Scholtzky's cyberterminal right now, but their cybernanny/censor now won't let folks see www.jmbzine.com now that I posted the last post on gun control.

7:07 pm

A recent column by Molly Ivins, whom I ussually agree with has taken a pretty hardline in favor of gun control. I agree with you Molly, with one caveat... ban all the guns, starting with the ones the cops carry. I for one don't like the thought of a world where only the cops have guns.

Until the cops lay down theirs, not a chance.

(BTW, while I support gun owner rights I personally would not use a gun against another human being. I only believe in gun use for recreation/hunting.)

2022: I wasn't able to find this column online.

4:21 pm

Forbes.com reports that Austin resident, Michael Dell is #15 on its top 400 richest Americans list at 9.8 Billion dollars. OK, think about this... 9.8 billion dollars divided by 1 million (my guess of the Austin metro population) is $9,800 per person! This is whack that there is this kind of gap between the rich and poor in this city to say nothing of the rest of the country.

3:52 pm

USA Today has broke the story that small units of US and UK special forces are engaged in a secret manhunt for bin Laden in southwestern Afghanistan.

ABC News has an interview with a defector from the al Queda organization.

The Washington Post has a on the last minute spiritual and practical directions for the hi-jackers.

2022: ABC and WP stories are broken links.

Thursday, September 27, 2001

6:30 pm

A45. Ponder it.

2022: I'm sure this meant something to me when I wrote it (where I parked?), but I have no idea today.

6:28 pm

This is rather disturbing, Christian Guide to Small Arms

5:07 pm

Listening to Phil Ochs' song I ain't marching anymore. Such a powerful song, especially in these times.

3:51 pm

I found this from a NY Times story:

Mr. Jackson, 59, said in an NBC television interview today that he had discussed the matter with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and the national security adviser Condoleeza Rice, who he said were ``not at all hostile'' to the proposed mission,

But Mr. Powell's deputy, Richard Armitage, also speaking on NBC television, said today: ``We're not interested in a dialogue. We're interested in action and no negotiation. The demands are not subject to dialogue.''

The first paragraph is intrigueing, but the second one is more troublesome. Even if Jackson is able to negotiate some kind of settlement, it looks like the US is not willing to accept anything but total aqcuience by the Taliban. And that is unlikely to happen.

Now, more than ever is the time to pray for peace.

2022: Rereading these posts from 2001 reminds me how evil the Bush administration was, and how that the more recent attempts to rehab their reputation (including Bush and Powell) should not be taken seriously. These people were extreme warmongers and we are still paying the price for it, more than 20 years later.

Unfortunately I didn't provide a link to the NYT story and I can't find it via archives.

2:10 pm



From The NY Times:

2022: Some Broken links

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

9:49 pm

9:44 pm

Cowardly companies like Sears, and FedEx have convinced ABC to cancel Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect" TV show. For more info on what happened, read this column by Arianna Huffington. Also the complete transcript of the show from ABC and a CNN story on Sears and FedEx pulling their ads. If you feel that this kind of censorship is wrong, then go to the Support Bill Maher website to sign the petition.

2022: Wow... how times have changed. Bill Maher still gets tons of media attention, but these days I'm not a fan, as he has moved in a pretty ugly anti-religion and Islamophobic direction. My biggest gripe about him today is conflation of all religious people with fundamentalists.

Unfortunately the links to both the transcript of the episode and the CNN story are both broken (and not archived), but wikipedia does have a fair bit of discussion of the incident and subsequent cancellation of Maher's show.

9:44 pm

Last night stayed up late watching two very good movies.

The first one, Bulworth is one that I've seen before, but it is even better than I remembered. When I first saw it, I thought it was a good story, but too "liberal." Today though, I would gladly cast my vote for Bulworth for President. (I'd settle for Warren Beaty though.)

The second one, Save the Last Dance was much better than I expected. I thought it might be cheezy, but I decided to take a chance on it since Doug Van Pelt of HM Magazine recommended it. As the commercials hyped, the dance moves were "slamming" and the sexual energy portrayed between the bi-racial couple was kick***. I also thought that this showed very accurately the anxieties that both black and white Americans have concerning inter-racial dating. Overall, I loved it. (and I don't care if you think it is a chick flick. I dare you to watch it and see if you're not impressed too.)

My only criticism of it was that there portrayal of the effects of sex. It didn't make sense to me that the main character could get it on and not have the slightest concern about getting laid up, while her best friend already had a child. Somehow the movie made it seem like only the black girls get pregnant, which is silly at best, racist at worst.

2022: Bulworth gets better with age. Save the Last Dance, not so much.

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

9:29 pm


2022: broken links

8:45 pm

From Newsweek: Voices of Dissent Amid Calls for War

It is true that many pacifist activists have been lying low, but that time should be past. It's now time that we speak out for peace and speak out to save the country that we love from another Vietnam.

2022: broken links

8:43 pm

From MSNBC: “I AM RETURNING as a player to the game I love,” said Jordan, 38 and more than three years removed from what seemed to be a storybook ending to his career. Jordan will donate his entire salary for the upcoming season to relief agencies working with the victims of the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York, said Estee Portnoy, a spokeswoman for SFX, Jordan’s management agency. [Read more]

2022: broken links

8:14 pm

Over the last couple months I've been dabbling with watercolor painting. (Thanks to the encouragement of my friend Tim Burger.) So, I thought I would share a few of my recent paintings. I know that I am very much a beginner, but you got to start somewhere...

Summer Day in Central Park in NYC

Hope (excerpt)

Scene from the Ozarks of my memory

tree painted in my interpretation of a Japanese style

Abstract experiment with watercolor

2022: I'm still doing watercolors, but these days I tend to work more with watercolor pencils (using a wet brush to blend colors and make them more vibrant). My old watercolor painting teacher, Tim Burger, ended up becoming a tattoo artist and I'm proud to say that I got two of my tattoos from him.

I did use bigger versions of these paintings than I originally used on the blog back in 2001. Screen sizes are much bigger today and 100px wide graphics are just too small.

7:37 pm

I am not Catholic, but I love The Pope. He has shown more courage and statesmanship than any political leader in the last decade.

2022: Broken link. Also my opinion of Pope John Paul II has soured over the years. Despite some good statements about peace at this moment in time, he was largely a defender of an oppressive status quo in the Catholic church.

7:12 pm

I found another very blog by an Austinite, Patchworkgirl.

(2022): This was such a magical time in the world of blogging, when just finding someone who was blogging in the same city was a big deal!

5:54 am

According to MSNBC the "U.S. Air Force has frozen nearly all discharges and retirements for at least the next 30 days . . . The move came as the Pentagon proceeded with its biggest mobilization since the 1991 Persian Gulf War, with bombers, fighter jets and support aircraft in the forefront."

If you're thinking of joining the service, think twice. This last news item is proof that recruiters lie to meet their quotas! Think you're only enlisting for four years? Think again. That's four years of active duty, but if you read the fine print they have your butt for four more years in the reserves, which means they might decide to "delay your discharge" if there is a war going on. Suddenly the four years turns into eight and you don't have any say about it. (If you find yourself in this situation, talk to the folks at The Center for Conscience and War as they have trained counselors who may be able to advice you on getting out of your military hitch by going through the proper channels.)

5:41 am

I saw Pedro the Lion tonight at Emo's in Austin. Excellent performance but too short. (I was spoiled by last year's two-hour+ show.)

(2022): I did record some songs at Emo's in Austin of Pedro the Lion (I still have the recording saved --- unfortunately not the whole show). I'm not 100% certain, but I think it was this show, as I remember that I used a hidden minidisc recorder to do the recording, and I'm pretty sure I bought that from one of my fellow pedicab drivers in 2001.

It does look like David Bazan (the main force of PTL) is somewhat ok with taping, so I need to contact them to ask if I can share the recordings.

Monday, September 24, 2001

9:11 pm

US Attorney General John Ashcroft wants to take away your rights. Here's the latest from a story in MSNBC.com

ASHCROFT ISSUED his warning in testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in favor of far-reaching measures to ramp up the war on terrorism, telling lawmakers, “Every day that passes with outdated statutes and the old rules of engagement is a day that terrorists have a competitive advantage.”

Ashcroft urged quick passage of new police powers sought by the Bush administration, including the authority to detain aliens suspected of ties to terrorists indefinitely and without the right to appeal. The administration also wants wiretap evidence obtained in other countries in violation of the Fourth Amendment to be admissible in court.

In addition, the administration is asking for secret court authorization for wiretaps, longer jail terms for terrorists, access to users’ Internet information without a court order and authority to review telephone voice-mail messages with only a search warrant.

Some of the measures raised red flags for Democrats and advocates of civil liberties. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the committee’s ranking Democrat, said he and others were “deeply troubled” by the constitutional implications.

“Past experience has taught us that today’s weapon against terrorism may be tomorrow’s law against law-abiding Americans,” Conyers said.

Ashcroft said he was sure the bill would pass constitutional muster. “We are conducting this effort with a total commitment to protect the rights and privacy of all Americans and the constitutional protections we hold dear,” he said.

John Ashcroft is full of ****. How can he say this effort is made with a "total commitment to hold the rights and privacy of all Americans and the constitutional protectioncs we all hold dear," when he is proposing suspending the forth amendment with regards to overseas wiretaps?

OK, let me get this straight. Suspending the forth Amendment of the BILL OF RIGHTS is "respecting ... the constitutional protections we all hold dear." Yeah, if you think that's true then I got some oceanfront property in Oklahoma that I'll see you at a real cheap price.

(2022): Another broken MSNBC link. Very sad that there appears to be no archive of many of these stories.

3:34 am

Things keep sinking lower and lower. I just read at MSNBC.com that bin Laden has released a letter addressed to his “Muslim brothers in Pakistan” urging them to “deter with all their capabilities the American crusaders from invading Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Why did Bush have to use the word "crusade" to describe his war of vengenace? Things were bad enough as it was, but now he has stirred up a millenium of old hurts over the evils done by the Crusaders when they "liberated" Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the "infidels."

3:02 am

Download Issue #1 of Campus Peace Bulletin - PDF File

(2022): Sadly there is no archive of this file. I think this was something I created to distribute on the campus of then SWT (today Texas State university-San Marcos). This was one of my early baby steps in peace activism.

12:26 am

If you're in the mood for a laugh, do a search with your favorite file sharing program for "The Ballad of Ronald Reagan" by The Austin Lounge Lizards

(2022): No filesharing service needed. Now you can find the song on youtube! And the Austin Loung Lizards are still going strong!

Also on a sidenote, I just discovered that one of the band members (Hank Card) is originally from Oklahoma City.

Friday, September 21, 2001

1:39 am

Here's a version of the peace flag flyer in PDF format for printing and distribution. (This is a very large file, over 1 MB.)

(2022): Unfortunately I hosted this file on my student webpage at SWT (today Texas State Univ.) and this didn't get picked up by Archive.org. I think the pleace flag flyer was just a US flag with a peace sign on it, maybe in place of the stars?

1:28 am

Here's the lyrics to the Cake song that is playing on college radio a lot, Short skirt, long jacket

(2022): I still like Cake.

1:23 am

A friend just showed me this verse from the Bible...

But he said to her, "You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. - Job 2:10

Discounting the sexist remark that Job made (remember he lived a few thousand years ago and their culture was very different than ours is today), that scripture seems so fitting for these days.

(2022): I'm not sure what point I was trying to make about this in 2001, but today I question much of the theology expressed in the book of Job. --- I also believe today that Job is a work of fiction.

12:31 am

If you're looking for US flags with the peace sign interposed on top, you can grab them at:

(Please save these files to your own server instead of using them in your site with absolute URL's.)

(2022): Broken links, I put these files on my student webhosting account and it never was scanned by archive.org apparently.

Thursday, September 20, 2001

11:23 pm

Listening to Bob Dylan tonight. It seems like the only music that is appropriate to the occasion.

I missed hearing President's Bush's speech to a joint session of Congress tonight, but just finished reading the transcript on CNN.com. I appreciate much of what the President said: his statement that terrorism and fundamentalism do not represent true Islam, that the real work against terrorism is living our lives, and the show of concern and support for those who have suffered so greatly.

But, that said I can not agree with his decision to go to war with Afghanistan and countries that support terrorism. Two wrongs do not make a right. The only way to respond to hatred is with love. I don't see bombing Afghanistan from the Iron age to the stone age as being very loving.

5:52 pm

Webrings for bloggers

(2022): Webrings were a big deal, in the pre-social media days.

5:04 pm

Students for a Sensible Drug Policy

(2022): SSDP is still alive and well today.

5:03 pm

Sept 29 Saturday 3:00PM Saturday


A broad coalition of community groups and individuals will gather to express concern that US responses to the 9/11 attack not give way to calls for war. People are urged to come together and rally for peace and to defend against racist attacks.

Start at Keeling park in East Austin.

Rally starts at the Capitol at 4:30.

Sponsored by Democracy Coalition. Endorsed by Austin CISPES, ISO

(2022): I don't recall if I made it to this protest or not, but I think I did.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures that I can find (if I did go), but I did find some other photos and videos from the protests on that day:

Also here's a from the protest that I found on an archive of a story from Austin.indymedia.org

5:02 pm

The movement to stop the War of American Vengeance is being birthed. Here are some sites from the Austin area that will keep you updated on the local scene:

(2022): Links above are to archives from the era, as most of the sites are not operational anymore. Sometimes Austin.indymedia.org still works, but not today.

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

4:41 pm

www.jish.nu is a beautiful thoughtful blog.

BTW, here is a sad, sad story I found on Jish.nu:

Australian stabbed saving Indian friend, in San Francisco:

Sean Fernandes and Robin Clarke were out night clubbing in the SOMA (South of the Market) district of San Francisco when they were attacked by a group of men . . .

"Robin asked why he was hitting us, and he said, 'Because your friend is a fucking Arab and you are a white nigger lover' ... I started yelling, 'I am not an Arab, I am not an Arab,' but he would not listen. Eventually someone kicked me in the back. I realized talking wasn't helping, so I joined in the fight. ... I pulled off (Robin's) jacket and there was a hole in his upper stomach, and there was blood pumping out ... San Francisco is one of the most tolerant and diverse cities in the entire country. I was completely shocked that it could happen out here."

It looks to me like the terrorists suceeded and this country is on straight ticket to hell. If we keep attacking our own people, we will destroy the very things that make this country great. America once upon a time was a land of tolerance, but I guess that dream is gone now.

(2022): I found this mention of the incident from the Congressional Record

Also Jish.nu is still alive today, but it appears to just be cross-posting from a twitter feed.

4:01 pm

(2022): I remember well how that Union Square in NYC became a center for peace protesting and also just collective expression of grief. According to Wikipedia there has been a long history of protests in this park.

3:56 pm

War is so rapidly approaching. May God have mercy on us all.

3:55 pm

Plastic Elastic is a very nifty blog by a girl in Oklahoma. I'll checking back on this one.

Skittish Girl - one quote that I like from her site is "It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have time."

(2022): It was fun looking back at these blogs in the archives. I don't think either are still alive today though.

2:29 am

"Civilization is a common quest for peace," - on a billboard at Vinny's Italian Cafe in Austin, TX

(2022): From what I can tell, Vinny's isn't open anymore.

Looking back, it stands out to me how scared everyone was, because messages like this weren't common even in a liberal mecca like Austin in September 2001.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

10:33 pm

The Christian Science Monitor has its own blog, Monitor Blog

6:22 pm

Where were you? - an excellent homily from St. Thomas Aquinas church


6:19 pm

Here's another of Bush's moments of linguistic brilliance (not)..."A wrathful. shadowy, inventive war."

(2022): I searched the phrase and found it in this NYT article "AFTER THE ATTACKS: THE WHITE HOUSE; Bush Warns of a Wrathful, Shadowy and Inventive War"

Strangely, Bush was actually accurate about some aspects of the wars that would be coming...

A day after proclaiming flatly that the nation was ''at war,'' President Bush and his senior advisers took pains to warn Americans today that it would be a war unlike any other, fought in the shadows, testing the patience of the public and leaders alike, but that nations failing to join the crusade would face the ''full wrath of the United States,'' as Vice President Dick Cheney put it.

''This is a new kind of evil,'' Mr. Bush said at the White House after a weekend war council with senior aides at Camp David, ''and we understand, and the American people are beginning to understand, this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while, and the American people must be patient.''

''We will rid the world of the evil-doers,'' Mr. Bush said, adding a moment later, ''They have roused a mighty giant, and make no mistake about it, we're determined.''

As if to acknowledge the surreal sense of both tumult and Sunday calm in the capital, Mr. Bush added: ''Oh, there will be times when people don't have this incident on their minds; I understand that. There'll be times down the road where citizens will be concerned about other matters, and I completely understand that. But this administration, along with those friends of ours who are willing to stand with us all the way through, will do what it takes to rout terrorism out of the world.''

It is horrifying to see how absurd this whole thing was. The US obviously did not "rid the world of evil-doers" and it did not "rout terrorism out of the world." But he did send a message to the Islamic world that he was on a "crusade" (his word), which frankly has continued to cause us grief to this day, pouring even more fuel on the fire of religious fundamentalism.

But... Bush did manage to fight a war in the shadows. He accomplished that.

6:14 pm

Here is a news bulletin from a pirate station in Sioux Falls, SD:









(2022): Unfortunately I couldn't find anything about this pirate station online today.

6:03 pm

From MNSBC: ID Cards weighed by Congress: Fewer visas, biometric database are also under discussion

2022: Link broken

5:54 pm

Here is the rough draft to my column Pacifist Ammo that will run soon in the Universitystar.com

Pacifist Ammo #2
By James M. Branum
(Mass Communications graduate student)

It has been a week since we woke up to the news that hijacked airliners had crashed into two of America's signature landmarks. Despite the massive news coverage of the events, somehow it still seems like a dream, or rather a nightmare that we'll wake up from and find is not real.

In this surrealistic but very real world, we must come to grips with the concept that the old paradigms do not work anymore. This may not be “the first war of the twenty-first century” (as Bush mistakenly said), but it is a new kind of war, unlike any ever fought before. We can not assume that Bush's "war against terrorism" will be a sanitary high-tech battle like Desert Storm. Everything indicates that this will be a long protracted war on multiple fronts, including on American soil.

Tragically, I think the US is gearing up to fight a war that we will lose. Afghanistan (with US equipment and training) beat the Soviet Union in the 80's in a time when the Soviet military was the world’s finest. Today, the situation is even more grim with the ready availability of chemical and biological weapons and bin-Laden’s lack of restraint in using the most horrific methods of war possible.

In light of a possible full-scale war against Afghanistan and other countries deemed to be supporting terrorism, it is time for all Americans to consider what they believe about war in preparation for a possible military draft.

Admittedly, the likelihood of a draft in the near future is slim. However, the world is changing fast and what seems impossible today may be the future. (Nine days ago, who would have thought that highjacked airplanes would be used to level the World Trade Center?)

If a draft were instituted, the Selective Service System would rapidly gear up to deliver the first inductees to the military within 193 days. Current law applies to men ages 18 through 25, but in a crisis the ages and gender of persons drafted could be changed by Congress.

If you do not believe in war, or are uncertain whether you would feel right about fighting in this war, you must act now to protect your right to not fight.

Under current law, there are two kinds of conscientious objectors recognized by Federal law, classifications 1-0 and 1-A-O.

Draft classification 1-0 are given to persons “conscientiously opposed to both types (combatant and non-combatant) of military training and service.” If you are classified as 1-0, you will be given an assignment as a civilian alternative service worker, working in conservation, caring for the very young or very old, education, or health care for a period of time that corresponds with a military service commitment. (Most likely 24 months)

To be classified 1-A-0, you must prove that you are “conscientiously opposed to training and military service requiring the use of arms.” 1-A-0’s serve in non-combatant roles in the military, but will not be assigned training or duties that include using weapons.

Under current Federal law, Selective Conscientious objectors (whose beliefs would not permit them to fight in an “unjust” war, but could fight in a “just” war) are not exempt from the draft. Federal law specifically denies objection to participation in war based on “political, sociological, or philosophical” views.

In the case of a draft, conscientious objectors will have very little time (as few as nine days) to document their CO claim after receiving their induction order. Now is the time to think through the basis of your claim before the draft begins, and to document them.

At this time, one of the best ways to document your CO views is to complete a simple three question worksheet prepared by the Center for Conscience & War (NISBCO). The questions are as follows:

1. Describe the beliefs which are the basis for your claim as conscientious objector. If appropriate, state whether those beliefs would permit you to serve in a noncombatant position in the armed forces, or pay taxes for war.

2. Describe how you acquired these beliefs.

3. Describe how your beliefs affect the way you live and the type of work you do or plan to do.

Once you’ve completed this worksheet, sign and date it. (Or better yet, have your signature notarized.) Then keep a copy for yourself, and mail a copy to the Center for Conscientious and War. (They can be contacted at www.nisbco.org.) You may also want to ask your pastor, a spiritual leader, or another person who knows of your moral/ethical beliefs to write a letter of recommendation to go with your personal statement.

Selective CO’s would be advised to document their views as well in case the law changes. However, if the draft goes into effect under the current guidelines, selective CO’s will be faced with a difficult decision; to fight in a war they don’t believe in, to refuse to fight and go to prison, or to leave the country.

Conscientious objection is a serious decision. Standing up as a CO will require courage and possibly jail time if your claim is rejected. You won’t be deemed a hero by society, or given a ticker-tape parade when the troops come marching home. However, you will be joining a long tradition of men and women who stood up for their convictions throughout history.

For more information on the draft, read “Military Draft a possibility if war escalates” in the September 18th edition of the University Star, or visit the SSS website at www.sss.gov.


5:48 pm

WTC-filter - articles and links relating to the 11 september attack on the world trade center

www.think-peace.org - a collaborative pacifist blogger


5:18 pm

ok, here is my reply to Bob Jone's query (see post below)...

1. Why am I a conscientious objector?

Because I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and as such try (not very successfully because I'm human and a sinner) to live like he did. He lived a life of non-violence. (The closest thing you'll find to him using violence is when he threw out the money changers from the temple, and even then he didn't use lethal force.) Here are a two quotes of Jesus that articulate what I believe to be his philosophy concerning violence...

Matthew 5:9 - "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

Matthew 5:38-42 - "You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."

2. Do I think terrorism is wrong?

I think my response to question one should answer that.

3. What besides waging war with terrorists do you think will work to keep people save around the world and to stop acts of terror against innocent lives?

Several things. First, we need to disengage from situations where we are contributing directly to the development of terrorism. We need to quit training terrorists and giving them weapons.

Secondly, we need to pursue true justice on those responsible. Osama bin Laden (assuming the evidence shows him to be responsible) and any who have assisted him in terrorism needs to be captured and brought to stand trial in the USA for what they has done.

Three, we need to combat the poverty and ignorance that is the breeding ground of terrorism.

Last of all, we as Americans must continue to be a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world. We must rebuild the WTC but this time taller than it was before. The artists need to paint, the writers need to write, the carpenters need to build, the mothers and fathers raise their children. We must carry on, and carry on to live lives of love.

Bob, I hope I answered you sufficiently. If not, please email me back or post to the guest book again. I appreciate you contacting me and forcing me to articulate what I believe.

5:18 pm

Just got this message via the JMBzine.com guestboard from someone named Bob Jones (no email address given):

As a proclaimed conscientious objector I feel you owe this country and explanation.

Can you please post on your web site why you have chosen conscientious objector.

Part two of my request is a two part questions:

1.) Do you think Terrorism is wrong?

2.) What besides waging war with terrorists do you think will work to keep people save around the world and to stop acts of terror against innocent lives?

I believe if you will not stand up and fight against terrorism then you should, as an America, offer another “workable” solution.

If you do not and simply want to live and feed off the freedom provided to you by the lives of other Americans then I must ask you to please leave our country.

I hope you do not take offense at my statement but understand where I am coming from.

Thanks and I look forward to your response.

I want to give this question some thought, but I will post a reply later today.


4:19 am

I found a story on Liane Balaban who played Moonie Pottie in New Waterford Girl.

Also I found out that Liane co-hosts the show "Loungecore" on 2kool4radio.com.

2022: These links are broken, but I did find some other good stuff about Liane these days including wikipedia article and her twitter feed.

4:05 am

Movie poster: New Waterford Girl

On a happier note, I saw the coolest movie this evening on TV. New Waterford Girl. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time, and my oh my that girl she is so stinkin' cool. I think I've fallen in love. (ok, not really but this girl is pretty cool) No doubt about it, self-confidence in a girl is the biggest turn-on in the world for me.

Oh, the movie is directed by Allan Moyle who also directed Pump up the Volume and Empire Records.

(2022): That movie is a classic. It's hard to find, but if you can, watch it.

Also... in hindsight, my use of the word "girl" to refer to a young adult woman was unfortunate.

3:57 am

If you're considering enlisting in the US armed forces, read this first.


3:35 am


Plumes of smoke pour from the World Trade Center buildings in New York Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. Planes crashed into the upper floors of both World Trade Center towers minutes apart Tuesday in a horrific scene of explosions and fires that left gaping holes in the 110-story buildings. The Empire State building is seen in the foreground. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

(It is so strange to see this image. In July I was on top of the Empire State Building taking pictures and I remember the WTC standing out as one of the main landmarks in the downtown skyline. And now it's gone...)

3:23 am

AP - In Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, pro-Taliban demonstrators protested against any possible American action in neighboring Afghanistan.

(IMHO, that sign is a pretty powerful statement.)

2:55 am

If the US goes to war, it is essential that all men of draft age give serious thought to the possibility of being drafted. My mind is made up. I'll go when hell freezes over, but if you are uncertain or want more information on what it means to be a conscientious objectors visit www.nisbico.org, the Center on Conscience & War (NISBCO). Also, if you need assistance on documenting your CO status please email me at jmb@jmbzine.com. (Bear in mind that I can not legally give you legal advice.)

2:00 am

Thank God for Blogger for getting out the word about www.sharedvoice.org. If you hear anything that I've said in this blog, PLEASE go to www.sharedvoice.org. If you agree with it, sign the petition. Time is of the essence to stop the possibility of millions of innoucent people being slaughtered in the name of vegeance.

1:54 am

I got this from the Vagrantcafe messageboard

Special report: Terrorism in the US
Seumas Milne

Thursday September 13, 2001

Nearly two days after the horrific suicide attacks on civilian workers in New York and Washington, it has become painfully clear that most Americans simply don't get it. From the president to passersby on the streets, the message seems to be the same: this is an inexplicable assault on freedom and democracy, which must be answered with overwhelming force - just as soon as someone can construct a credible account of who was actually responsible.

Shock, rage and grief there has been aplenty. But any glimmer of recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process - or why the United States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim countries, but across the developing world - seems almost entirely absent. Perhaps it is too much to hope that, as rescue workers struggle to pull firefighters from the rubble, any but a small minority might make the connection between what has been visited upon them and what their government has visited upon large parts of the world.

But make that connection they must, if such tragedies are not to be repeated, potentially with even more devastating consequences. US political leaders are doing their people no favours by reinforcing popular ignorance with self-referential rhetoric. And the echoing chorus of Tony Blair, whose determination to bind Britain ever closer to US foreign policy ratchets up the threat to our own cities, will only fuel anti-western sentiment. So will calls for the defence of "civilisation", with its overtones of Samuel Huntington's poisonous theories of post-cold war confrontation between the west and Islam, heightening perceptions of racism and hypocrisy.

As Mahatma Gandhi famously remarked when asked his opinion of western civilisation, it would be a good idea. Since George Bush's father inaugurated his new world order a decade ago, the US, supported by its British ally, bestrides the world like a colossus. Unconstrained by any superpower rival or system of global governance, the US giant has rewritten the global financial and trading system in its own interest; ripped up a string of treaties it finds inconvenient; sent troops to every corner of the globe; bombed Afghanistan, Sudan, Yugoslavia and Iraq without troubling the United Nations; maintained a string of murderous embargos against recalcitrant regimes; and recklessly thrown its weight behind Israel's 34-year illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as the Palestinian intifada rages.

If, as yesterday's Wall Street Journal insisted, the east coast carnage was the fruit of the Clinton administration's Munich-like appeasement of the Palestinians, the mind boggles as to what US Republicans imagine to be a Churchillian response.

It is this record of unabashed national egotism and arrogance that drives anti-Americanism among swaths of the world's population, for whom there is little democracy in the current distribution of global wealth and power. If it turns out that Tuesday's attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden's supporters, the sense that the Americans are once again reaping a dragons' teeth harvest they themselves sowed will be overwhelming.

It was the Americans, after all, who poured resources into the 1980s war against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul, at a time when girls could go to school and women to work. Bin Laden and his mojahedin were armed and trained by the CIA and MI6, as Afghanistan was turned into a wasteland and its communist leader Najibullah left hanging from a Kabul lamp post with his genitals stuffed in his mouth.

But by then Bin Laden had turned against his American sponsors, while US-sponsored Pakistani intelligence had spawned the grotesque Taliban now protecting him. To punish its wayward Afghan offspring, the US subsequently forced through a sanctions regime which has helped push 4m to the brink of starvation, according to the latest UN figures, while Afghan refugees fan out across the world.

All this must doubtless seem remote to Americans desperately searching the debris of what is expected to be the largest-ever massacre on US soil - as must the killings of yet more Palestinians in the West Bank yesterday, or even the 2m estimated to have died in Congo's wars since the overthrow of the US-backed Mobutu regime. "What could some political thing have to do with blowing up office buildings during working hours?" one bewildered New Yorker asked yesterday.

Already, the Bush administration is assembling an international coalition for an Israeli-style war against terrorism, as if such counter-productive acts of outrage had an existence separate from the social conditions out of which they arise. But for every "terror network" that is rooted out, another will emerge - until the injustices and inequalities that produce them are addressed.

12:36 am

Spaceimaging.com's gallery of WTC and Pentagon pictures (Interestingly enough, Spaceimaging has a ground station in Newcastle, OK. (The town I grew up in.) Spaceimaging.com's website says its in Norman, but it is actually in Newcastle city limits.

12:30 am

3D animated image of the WTC site from the Washington Post

2022: broken link

12:07 am

Bush visits Mosque; Urges respect for Muslims

2002: The MSNBC link above is broken, but I did find this archived statement from the White House from when President Bush visited the Islamic Center of Washington, DC. I normally do not have good things to say about Bush (and object to those who today are pretending his past record wasn't terrible), but this is one notable exception. Bush's remarks were beautiful and appropriate. My gripe is that his administration didn't act on these values.

12:02 am

NY Times Magazine: Special Edition on the Aftermath of the Terrorist Attack

2022: And here is the issue of the NYT Magazine "which was sent to the press before the attack" on 9-11. There is something poignant about this, that is hard to explain.

Monday, September 17, 2001

11:47 pm

A couple of thoughts from over the weekend...

It was so strange on Friday night to look up in the sky and see an airliner flying overhead.

Lots of national pride in this area which is very cool. Wal-mart has sold out of US flags and at least every fourt car has a flag on its antenna. Of course I wonder what it really means? I certainly am proud of those who sacrificed their lives in the rescue attempts and the way our country has pulled together to care for those hurt, BUT I hope this pride doesn't turn into jingoism.

Redneck bigots are getting on my nerves. Friday night at work (I work as a pedi-cab driver I had a passenger tell me, "If you were a Pakistani I would kick your ***" I just about lost it on him and feel bad about yelling at him, however I am really, really upset about the racism that is showing its ugly head around here.

(2022): This post is particularly surreal to read. Patriotism did indeed become far more toxic in the coming years (enough that a year or two later,I wouldn't have said it was "very cool" that there was lots of national pride being displayed. But... I also in the future would have avoided the use of the word "redneck" to refer to ignorant/racist assholes, but am proud of the fact that I did yell at the passenger for being a bigot.

Also for fun, here's picture of me from this time (maybe a few months earlier) when I was a pedicab driver in Austin (found via this archived website). JMB driving a pedicab in Austin, Texas in 2001

11:06 pm

Greedy corporate scumbag landlords have killed the best brewpub in Austin, Waterloo Brewing Company. The real Austin is dying by the day.

(2022): Waterloo Brewing Company was one of the early Austin microbrew pioneers and is still missed. --- And what I bemoaned on this day would get much worse in the coming years. I hardly recognize much of Austin today.

I unfortunately wasn't yet writing beer reviews in 2001, but I did find this article from 1997 in the Austin Chronicle that told of many of their beers.

Also, a few days later I wrote a mournful LTE to the Austin Chronicle about this closing.

1:59 pm

I got this forwarded to me via email, and is an essay by a Afghani-American UC Berkeley professor:

Dear Friends,

The following was sent to me by my friend Tamim Ansary. Tamim is an Afghani-American writer. He is also one of the most brilliant people I know in this life. When he writes, I read. When he talks, I listen.

Here is his take on Afghanistan and the whole mess we are in. -Gary T.

Dear Gary and whoever else is on this email thread:

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."

And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.

But the Taliban and Bin Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan.

When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.

New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.

So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by?

You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West. And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?

Tamim Ansary

(2022): The author of that email forward, Tamim Ansary now has a wikipedia article about him.

Saturday, September 15, 2021

2:30 pm

From today in MSNBC:

(2022): All of these links from MSNBC are broken and I can't find them archived anywhere.

2:08 pm

The war drums are pounding and the future does not look bright. What's especially disturbing is the misinformation being churned out by Bush and his propaganda team. For instance, let's take Bush's statement that "this is the first war of the twenty-first century."

It's not. Many wars were being fought when the century begun, including the still on-going US/UN war against Iraq. Why can't we come clean on this? We've bombing Iraq at least once a week and are butchering the children of Iraq with our inhumane sanctions.

If Bush can't tell the truth on this, how can we expect him or his administration to tell the truth on this new war we are about to undertake.

2:02 pm

From today's NY Times:

Friday, September 14, 2001

6:46 pm

At Scholtzky's in Austin at a cyberterminal. Strangely enough their cybernanny blocks jmbzine.com, but NOT blogger.com where I can update it! Very strange.

(2022): This was from a short window of time when internet was spreading out more and more, but wi-fi wasn't yet a common thing. As I recall, it was a computer terminal type of thing in the restaurant that anyone could use for a limited amount of time.

4:05 pm

Watching the news today on this "National Day of Prayer and Remembrance." I feel very weary as I am sure the rest of the nation does. May God bring our nation and world hope and comfort in our bereavement, and may God show us how to respond to this horrible act of hatred with forgiveness and reconcilation.

(2022): Here is a link to the Presidential proclamation that called for this day to happen and here is a link to the wikipedia article to the article on "Patriot Day," which became the annual commemoration of 9-11.

As much I appreciate societies creating space for collective mourning, the USA's decision to call it "patriot day" was a terrible mistake, turning mourning all too often into calls for vengeance and hatred.

2:43 pm

From indymedia.org: A report that CNN was airing footage from 1991 of Palestinians dancing in the streets as if the footage was from after the bombing

From the NY Times: The Reaction: For Many, Sorrow Turns to Anger and Talk of Vengeance

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

3:20 pm

Latest news on the victims of the attack

(2022): Sadly another broken link from MSNBC.

3:13 pm

Just announced on MSNBC: Bush was likely a target

(2022): broken link

3:00 pm

It looks like the US Department of State is back into B.S. mode...

The purpose of this report is to present the facts concerning Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

There are a wealth of charges and counter-charges concerning actions undertaken by Saddam and by the international community towards Iraq.

Based on publicly available information, the facts contained in this report demonstrate that under the regime of Saddam Hussein, Iraq continues to repress its people, threaten the region, and obstruct international efforts to provide humanitarian relief.

We are helping the Iraqi people in their efforts to bring about a regime that is committed to living in peace with its neighbors and respecting the rights of its citizens.

We want to see Iraq return as a respected and prosperous member of the international community, and as the evidence shows, this is unlikely to happen as long as Saddam Hussein is in power.

As long as Saddam Hussein is in power, we are determined to contain the Iraqi regime and prevent it from threatening the region or its own people. We will also continue our efforts to increase humanitarian relief for the people of Iraq, over the obstructions of the regime.

Hmm... we're helping the Iraqi people? We sure have a funny way of "helping" them...

Sanctions target the weakest and most vulnerable members of the Iraqi society-the poor, elderly, newborn, sick, and young. Many equate sanctions with violence. The sanctions, coupled with pain inflicted by US and UK military attacks, have reduced Iraq’s infrastructure to virtual rubble. Oxygen factories, water sanitation plants, and hospitals remain in dilapidated states. Surveys by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organization (WHO) note a marked decline in health and nutrition throughout Iraq. (1)

While estimates vary, many independent authorities assert that at least 500,000 Iraqi children under five have died since 1990, in part as a result of the sanctions and the effects of the Gulf War. An August 1999 Unicef report found that the under-five mortality rate in Iraq has more than doubled since the imposition of sanctions. (2) Former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq Denis Halliday has remarked that the death toll is "probably closer now to 600,000 and that’s over the period of 1990-1998. If you include adults, it’s well over 1 million Iraqi people." (3)

Taken from www.nonviolence.org...

2:55 pm

ok, it's time for some comic relief from The Onion...

Good Citizenship Tips

That sucker Jesus has forgiven me for some pretty bad sins - ok, this guy missed the whole "grace not being a license to sin" thing, but it is funny. (and there are some folks out there who really live this way which is crazy whack)

2:51 pm

Well it looks like the Conspiracy Theorist nuts have already come out of the woodwork.

Here's another interesting news item...

Wed Sep 12, 2:24 PM ET Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat donates blood at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001. Arafat, along with hundreds of Palestinians, participated in a blood drive for the victims of the deadly airline hijackings in the United States which he condemned as a 'horrible attack.' (AP Photo/Adel Hana) (click here to read more)

(2022): broken link

2:45 pm

Thank God! I just got an email from my friend Aimee and she is safe!

12:14 am

NY Times: Lower Manhattan to Stay Closed

12:01 am

Taken from: www.newjerusalemmusic.com...

"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." God has inspired both believers and non-believers with inspired songs! Dylan, The Moody Blues, U2, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Simon and Garfunkel, Roy Orbison and 100 other so-called "secular" groups have put out more "spiritual" songs that the entire Christian music industry has. The people are not dumb! Sure, they have been buying praise and worship albums, but they are going to stop buying this mush. Sales are going to fall through the floor unless we start to offer tunes and melodies! Of course the lyrics must be excellent…that's essential. For that to happen songwriters would have to start reading and loving and writing poetry! I mean LOVE poetry! Love the great poetry God has given the world. I can't deal with lyrics because that's another subject in itself.

September 11, 2001

11:37 pm


11:32 pm

Taken from: www.nonviolence.org

How Come the U.S. Trains All the Terrorists?
By Martin Kelley

I've just been reading today's New York Times article about the conviction of the New York City World Trade Center bombers. With it is a companion piece about the plot leader, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who hoped to kill 250,000 people when the towers collapsed onto the city below. Born in Kuwait to a Pakistani mother and Palestinian father, his life began as an allegory for the social displacements of the Middle East, and he grew up with anger towards the Israelis-and by extensions the Americans-who had forced his father from his homeland. Even so, Yousef came to school in the West, to Wales, where he studied engineering. But in 1989 he left it for another education, fueled by his anger and leading to the death of six in the heat and smoke of the massive underground explosion in downtown Manhattan.

Yousef traveled to Afghanistan to join the Mujahedeen rebels in their fight against Soviet occupiers, and there learned the guerrilla techniques he would later employ in New York. Who supported the Mujahedeen and paid for Yousef's training in terrorism? The United States Central Intelligence Agency, who funneled the Afghan rebels millions of U.S. taxpayers dollars.

It would seem a simple case of U.S. militarism coming home to roost, but it is not so simple and it is not uncommon. Follow most trails of terrorism and you'll find United States government funding somewhere in the recent past.

Timothy McVeigh was another angry young man, one who had to drop out of college, couldn't find a steady job, and moved from trailer park to trailer park as an adult, wondering if the American Dream included him. He did what a lot of economically-disadvantaged young kids do, and enlisted in the U.S. Army (this has been described by some as "the poverty draft").

In 1988, he met Michael Fortier and Terry Nichols at the U.S. Army base at Ft. Benning, Georgia (coincidentally home of the infamous School of the Americas). There he was taught how to turn his anger into killing and was quickly promoted, getting good reviews and being awarded with the Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge for his service in the Gulf War.

Later he came back to the U.S. with his Ft. Benning friends and turned his anger against the U.S. government. He used his military skills to build a bomb (allegedly with Nichols, now at trial, with the knowledge of Fortier, who turned state's witness). On a spring day in 1995, he drove the bomb to Oklahoma City's federal building and set it off, killing 168 people. McVeigh's mother said, "It was like he traded one Army for another one." (Washington Post, 7/2/95)

Another terrorist trained by the United States government.

But it doesn't end there either. This same dynamic happens on the nation-state level as well. Today's headlines also include stories about the standoff between Iraq's Saddam Hussein and United Nations arms inspectors, a situation which threatens to renew military fighting in the region. Who funded Hussein and gave him millions of dollars worth of weapons to fight the Iranians during the 80s? Why, it's the U.S. government again.How come the United States is directly involved in training some of the biggest terrorists of the decade? Haven't we learned that militarism only leads to more militarism? Would Ramzi Ahmed Yousef and Timothy McVeigh just be political unknowns if the United States hadn't taught them to kill with their anger? Would Saddam Hussein be just another ex-dictator if the U.S. hadn't funded his military during the 1980s?

We can never know these answers. But we can stop training the next generation of terrorists. Let's stop funding war, let's stop solving problems with guns and explosives. Let today's angry twenty year olds cut people off in traffic and do no more. Let's stop these undeclared wars.

11:29 pm

Hell keeps getting worse. Now the Washington Post is reporting that up to 800 may be dead at the Pentagon.

11:17 pm

More links on the NYC tragedy...

>Smurphy's NYC Skyscraper photos

Story from the NY Times on the hellish situation on the ground in NYC.

Also here's a link on Gas price gouging in Oklahoma

(2022): several broken links, no archive

10:13 pm

Oh my Lord... I was just given the links to these pictures of people falling to their deaths at the WTC...

picture #1
picture #2

Warning these pictures very disturbing.

God, why are you letting these horrible things happen?!

(2022): These photos were originally posted on yahoo news, but were apparently quickly removed as they are not in any of the archives. I did decide to do some further cyber-sleuthing and did find the original images elsewhere, and they are every bit as troubling as I remembered them being.

But I continued to dig in some more, and discovered that one of the images is the disturbing "Falling man" photo shot by Richard Drew of the AP.

10:00 pm

This news item scares the **** out of me. (Taken from MSNBC.com)

THE SCALE of the attacks and the loss of life — mostly in New York City’s World Trade Center, but also in Pittsburgh and Washington — ensured that “no option has been taken off the table,” senior U.S. officials said. Asked if that included nuclear weapons, one senior official said: “I said no option is out of the question. That’s precisely what I mean.”

(2022:) MSNBC link is broken and I can't find it archived elsewhere.

It is frightening how quick things are advancing. I wrote a column this afternoon that touches on this, but it looks like its press date (Thursday) might be too late. The final draft will be up at Daily University Star or you can read a rough draft here...

Pacifist Ammo #1
by James M. Branum (Mass Communications Graduate Student)

At the time of this writing, America has passed the first few hours after hell paid a visit to America. Rescue efforts are beginning, airspace is shutdown, and the government is in exile in Nebraska. Reality has taken on the horror of a Tom Clancy novel gone bad.

As we would expect, President Bush spoke to the nation a short while ago. Most of what he said would be what we would expect of our national leader, but one sentence stuck out for me as being a moment of unintentional brilliance; “The resolve of our great nation is being tested. But make no mistake: We will show the world that we will pass this test.”

I do not know if Bush realized the truth of what he said, but he is right. America is being tested, however, I don’t share Bush’s confidence that we will pass the test.

You see we have failed the test before, when we were bombed in Oklahoma City.

I saw first-hand the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing as a freshman student journalist at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. I will never forget seeing the bombsite lit up by giant halogen lights during the recovery efforts. It was as if every shard of glass, every piece of rubble was frozen in time and space by Timothy McVeigh’s actions.

Later, I did a feature interview with a professor in the Nursing department who volunteered her time at the bombing site. Her stories of caring for the wounded and shell-shocked at the bombsite were so incredibly sad, and I could see that she too had become a victim of Tim’s violence by having to witness such terrible carnage.

A few weeks later I joined thousands of Oklahomans at the mass memorial services to grieve over the incredible loss of life. It was rare to find anyone in Central Oklahoma who didn’t know someone who was either killed, wounded, or who had survived the bombing. It seemed like the entire state went through the grieving process together.

No event compares to a terrorist attack in its level of psychic devastation. It is a natural human reaction to desire vengeance on those responsible. However, when we chose to indulge the urge to execute Timothy McVeigh, we failed the test and consequently perpetuated a tragic cycle of violence that began in Waco with a religious nut who thought that violence was an inevitability and stockpiled weapons to wait for Armageddon.

The cycle then took off as the FBI decided to create a showdown at Koresh’s compound. Instead of arresting Koresh when he was out jogging, they created a siege situation that fulfilled his messianic delusions and resulted in the deaths of 74, including many innocent children.

The cycle rolled on as the militia nuts took up the cause to avenge the massacre of the Branch Davidians. Most of the nuts were all talk, but one was not. Timothy McVeigh, poisoned with the message of hatred and vengeance, launched a terrorist attack that killed 168 including again many children.

America could have stopped the deadly cycle of violence but we did not. We killed Tim to appease our collective rage, and in doing so flunked the test. There is little hope that the nuts will give up their fight, so the cycle will likely continue.

For once, Bush is right. America is being tested again. The easy response will be a barrage of cruise missiles on one of the suspected terrorist strongholds, but I’ll be praying that America spurns the siren calls of jingoism and retaliatory hate.

9:55 pm

picture of rubble at WTC after 9-11 attacks

This shot looks just like the aftermath of the OKC bombing. I just can't imagine something like this happening in downtown New York. It is so unfathomable. I'm sorry to keep going on and on about this, but it is just so crazy to realize.

(2022:) I don't know the source of this photo.

7:27 pm

Well I got an email from my friend Sonia. She is thankfully ok. Still no word from Aimee.

MSNBC has a story on the heroic actions of New Yorkers and people across the nation in this tragedy. I as a former Oklahoman empathize greatly with the people of New York in dealing with this tragedy. I am so proud that the people of New York are citizens of this great nation.

OK, enough sappy patriotism. I may think the government is corrupt and corporate america has sold its soul, but I can't lose hope in the people of this nation and in the powerful vision of demcracy articulated by the founding fathers.

(2022:) Unfortuanately I haven't yet found this article archived anywhere.

I haven't heard from my old friend Sonia Gonzalez in years, but I looked her up online and she is now doing amazing stuff in the non-profit sector. My friend Aimee now lives in the UK and still works in the media.

2:46 pm

This tragedy of catastrophic events has changed the very way we view news over the internet. So far, CNN, MSNBC, and the NY Times have transformed their sites to low-bandwidth versions to accomodate the massive internet traffic.

(2022:) I wonder if our news websites could handle this today. Certainly we have better internet capacity now than we had in 2001, but not everywhere.

2:39 pm

My emotions are all mush today. One moment I feel like I'm going to throw up, the next profoundly sad, the next happy, then next guilty for feeling happy. This is one ****ed up world we live in. God where are you? We need you to show Yourself in the midst of this incredibly evil situation. Taking a break from the live newscasts at the present moment to listen to some Cake. I gotta get my mind off of this. I would feel a lot better if I knew that my friends in NYC are ok. Please pray that they are, and for all of the people there. I know New Yorkers have this reputation as being mean and unfriendly, but my experience with them is that while they are different culturally, they are very cool people once you take the time to get to know them. May God be with all of the people of New York.

2:10 pm

I am still in a state of shock over the terrorist attacks on NYC. As I'm watching the news throughout the day I keep seeing places that I visited this summer. No updates today from Joe Pennant's Itinerant in NY blog. I hope Joe is ok.

Local journalism has been sloppy and irresponsible. I am normally a big fan of the music on KTSW but their live news coverage today is disturbing. The word "cowardly" gets used about ever 3 minutes and the continual stirring of passions of hate and vengeance is shameful.

(2022): I wish I had recording of these broadcasts, but I wasn't much of a radio geek in those days. --- In hindsight, I'm probably little more sympathetic to intemperate things that college radio journalists might have said on that day.

10:22 am

Internet traffic seems to have come to a crawl for many famous news websites... MSNBC, CNN, and NY Times. So far the best source for news that is still up is at The Washington Post

(2022:) The experience of this day with slow internet (especially for news websites) has stuck with me, and I still believe that we would benefit greatly as a society if more websites had low-fi versions that were not so bandwidth heavy.

10:10 am

All hell has broken loose today. What else can you say on a day like this?

I woke up this morning when my father called to tell me to turn on the TV because there had been a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

I know I shouldn't worry, but I can't help but worry about my friends who live in NYC, my friend Aimee who hopefully was in Greenwich Village and not downtown, and my friend Sonia who just moved there. Then I feel selfish to worry about my friends who are probably safe, when there are likely thousands of dead at WTC.

What can you say on a day like this? The only thing I do know is that it is "the end of the world as we know it" or rather, this is one more step in the rapidly accelarating pace of history. The great American empire is collapsing. Our culture of violence that has wreaked havoc on so much of the world is now turning on itself.

May God have mercy on us all.

(2022:) A few notes from my memories of that day, 20+ years ago... I was living at the time in a duplex in San Marcos, Texas (I'm pretty sure it was at 1008B Columbia Drive, 78666 (the devil's zip code!). It was a Tuesday morning and the sun was shining bright and clear. Summer was still around in this part of Texas.

I remember later in the riding my bike to campus to use the internet, but obviously I posted this earlier in the day, so maybe we had slow dial-up internet in the duplex? I don't know.

September 10, 2001

8:58 pm

For Oklahoma legal research, visit www.researchbar.com/...

5:15 pm

Sorry for no posts over the weekend. Life, while good has been busy. OK, here's today's links of interest...

(2022): I could not find the original story linked above that talked about Mother Teresa, but apparently there was a lot of press coverage at the time about this!

September 7, 2001

6:07 pm

Today I've been listening to some kick*** Americana music on 92.1 FM, Radio New Braunfels.

While I'm talking about americana/old-school country music, be sure and check out the Americana Music Association.

(2022): 21 years later and I'm still a fan of KNBT. There are a few more Americana stations out there, but I wish there were more. We definitely need one here in OKC.

6:01 pm

From the Hightower Lowdown in the Austin Chronicle:

The 'Rebate and Switch' Tax Scam

Question: What kind of tax "cut" actually will leave you owing more money to the IRS next April?

Answer: George W. Bush's widely-ballyhooed, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, $300 tax rebate. Bush spent several million of our tax dollars on prenotification letters mailed to eligible households, telling people what a big favor he had done for "America's working families," and that they should expect a check soon. Next he flew around the country at our expense to hold photo-op press conferences where he handed out blown-up mock checks of $300 to people, like he was some sort of big, pink, Easter Bunny delivering free candy to everyone. Then the actual checks were mailed, only the Treasury was short of cash due to the economic downturn we're experiencing under Bush, so George had to borrow $28 billion from the Social Security trust fund to cover his shameless political ploy.

But the biggest surprise for many Americans will be their discovery that Bush's $300 checks are a classic case of what the Libertarian Party has dubbed "rebate and switch." The checks we're now getting from the IRS are not a rebate on taxes we've already paid, but an advance on any refund we expect to get from the IRS after we file our tax returns next April. Let's say, for simplicity's sake, that you're due to get a refund of $300 next year. Instead, though, you'll get zero, since IRS will deduct that $300 Smiling George mailed to you this summer from any refund you're due next year.

This is because Bush's "rebates" are a bookkeeping gimmick. Despite the hoopla, he didn't lower anyone's tax rates this year, so we still owe the same, including the $300 he "advanced" us this summer.

Bush giveth ... then he taketh away.

September 6, 2001

3:43 pm

From today's NY Times:

3:11 pm

On the subject of things happening in Austin, please pray for our city on Sunday. The "Reverend" Fred Phelps and his band of nuts is coming to Austin to picket at University Baptist Church this Sunday. Phelps is the man behind the hate-website www.godhatesfags.com and is an embarrasment to all true followers of Christ. I for one plan on attending University Baptist this Sunday at 11 a.m. as a way of defying the "Reverend Phelps" and encourage you to do the same.

Here is a copy of the flyer from Phelp's group that talks about their Austin protest - WARNING - This flyer is very offensive.

(2022): If I recall correctly, Phelps' band of bigots was a no show. I recall being outside the building but I don't think I went in, which is sadly because I was at this moment still stuck in a transitional point in my life. I was obviously opposed to extreme homophobia and hatred, but not yet at the place of being LGBTQ-affirming, which would take a few more years to happen... and frankly Fred Phelps played a role in that, because it was watching the Laramie Project movie that convinced me that the less aggressively hateful kinds of homophobia (i.e. "love the sinner but hate the sin") are what empowers people like Fred Phelps.

But in 2001, I was still secretly nervous about affimring churches like UBC.

12:36 pm

My friend Brooke Axtell is playing tonight at Momo's (on west 6th above Katz's deli) at 10 p.m. If you're in Austin, come to the show. It should be good. (BTW, I'm working as a pedi-cab driver tonight. If you're downtown and need a lift to or from her show, give me a ring on my cell phone at 576-5620 and I'll pick you up and give you a free ride. (I can carry up to four.)

Brooke Axtell is still doing some awesome work, not only in the world of creativity but also in activism.

September 5, 2001

11:37 pm

PDF file - invitation to join the Society of Iconographers. Also website will be up at www.iconographers.org

(2022): It is funny that I forgot this, but I actually created this website, but I don't remember anything about it. Unfortunately the graphics and the PDF of the archived site are broken.

10:25 pm

Molly Ivins' new column explains some reasons why I'm a social libertarian, but not an economic libertarian.

3:51 pm

More linkslutting!!!

Here's the latest interesting links from blogger.com's "blogs of note" and "recently updated blogs"... (I'll add comments on them later.)

September 4, 2001

10:38 pm

Here are some more links on the relationship between the Christian faith and the arts...

10:27 pm

Attention all bloggers... make your life easier. Download Blogbuddy

If you enjoy art on spiritual themes, check out The Art Concordance

(2022): The art concordance was part of a larger website that is still alive today, Textweek.com, that I've long been a fan of.

5:13 pm

Here's some more links for those of you who choose to not only be media consumers, but rather be media producers:

MediaRights.org: Camcorders in Activists' Hands: Tools for Change

Guardian.co.uk: Good evening, here is the real news by Paul O'Connor

Austinresistance.net: The latest from a group that is trying to free the airwaves of Austin,TX and surrounding areas

(2022): Since the statute of limitations is long up, I can say that this group attempted to build some simple transmitters but were not successful in actually getting up and running, unfortunately.

4:59 pm

Today's articles of note:

MSNBC: Death of a Small Town - Even the mayor is moving on in Bisbee, North Dakota, the next ‘rural ghetto’ victim - I wonder what the answer is, if any. My own roots go back to rural Oklahoma, but I myself can't imagine living like my grandparents did two miles from the nearest neighbors. Maybe telecommuting will change all of this?

(2022): Interestingly enough, only a few months later (in December), I would end up living in that same farm house.

Unfortuantely this is a broken link, as I can't find it archived anywhere.

NY Times: If Oak malady moves east, many trees could die - Another sad story. It sounds like Texas needs to set up road blocks to disenfect all of the yuppies coming here from California so our beautiful Live Oaks won't be destroyed.

NY Times: The map that named America may now call it home

Pirateradio.about.com: The latest news on the Pacifica radio controversy

(2022): broken link, can't find it archived anywhere, but I did find some other content from the website here.

September 3, 2001

5:01 pm

Gino's Live Journal has an amazing rant that is worth reading...


Yeah, so bleeding, inherent inequalities and injustices scream at me to do this. So here it is. If you read my journal, this might seem slightly out of the norm, but hear it all out. I’m very passionate about this entire subject and it sickens me that it all goes on without most of us even knowing it.

Remember: Ignorance and apathy. Those are their power.

Firstly, some of you might not be familiar with a lot of these concepts, so I’m going to try to explain this as simply and painlessly as possible. Capitalism is the economic system we live under. In other words, the system of the mighty DOLLAR. Our lives, for the most part, revolve around it. The United States of America is a world-renown exploiter and force-asserter. Our fingers reaching out into every third world country imaginable. Our tax dollars back everything from providing arms for paramilitary units in Mexico, to releasing devastating fungi in Colombia, my home country, that devastate the ecosystem in the name of $. All of our actions are to ‘protect national interests’. National interests are money... and we will do all necessary to prevent the poor from getting it.

Under Capitalism, a prosperous few (The United States of America) or 6% of the total world population, owns the means of production. (e.g. factories, farms, lands, workers) The capitalists owning these things, are able to exploit the lower class brutally. People, just like you and me, earn as little as $0.10 cents an hour in the third world, sowing clothes for big corporations in the USA. The old cry that 'there will always be poor' tells me that we can make a difference and stop the systematic rape of their labor, because in the current system, these people lead horribly difficult lives. Working 70 hour weeks, not even making enough money to be above the poverty line. They're too poor to be poor. Fathers and mothers, cannot feed the mouths of their children. Were they to ask for a raise, they'd be fired, or worse, killed. Coca Cola murdered many factory workers in Colombia when they tried to organize to demand higher wages. The inherent inequalities, here, (a pair of Nike’s going for well over fifty dollars) begs the question. Where does all the extra money go to? If the workers making it only get a dollar a day, who gets all this extra money? The rich, greedy swine, known as the capitalists here in the US.


Our corporate-sponsored media news and television hides these horrible facts, so do not be desensitized about all this crap! Take action with people who do care, people that have compassion for people, (yes, real people, real families, real children) to fight this infectious sore enveloping the world. The United States of America, is wrong in so many ways, I could type a thousand pages more, BUT I’ll simply address this one area for now.

I’ll leave you with a few hard-hitting injustices.

Disney (yes, our wonderful Disney) pays dirt for young girls in Haiti to sow Pocahontas pajamas.

Starbuck’s (yes, the great place we all hang out at after church) gets in on the exploitation too! 4% of Starbuck’s coffee plantations even have schools for their children. This screams that Starbuck’s pays such low wages, that children are forced to slave away alongside their parents so that Starbuck’s can get their profit!

LASTLY, The USA provided arms, backed with funds, and strategically directed orders through local leaders in East Timor, systematically massacring 200,000. Never hear that in your history books.

2:34 pm

Sorry to not post anything for a couple of days, but I've been working a lot at my job as a pedi-cab driver.

Here's an interesting story from MSNBC.com: Cannabis spray helps pain suffering - It seems so cruel to deny marijuana to those who would be helped by it.

(2022): broken link, can't find it archived anywhere.