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

August 2002

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August 31, 2002

5:59 pm

old version of OCU Law school logo

Another day working at the OCU Law Library computer lab. A few people needed help but overall very slow. Other than a lunch break for Vietnamese Pho noodle soup, I've been mostly talking to upper classmen L-students gleaning from them dirt on my profs (their pet likes and dislikes, and what they look for on exams) and surfing the web. Here are a few sites I found today...

August 30, 2002

10:47 pm

All things Austin:

The World's New Culture Meccas ---- A look at some creative locales on the rise in the new millennium. From Marseilles and Cape Town to Tijuana and Kabul - Austin was city #1 in this story.

1:08 pm

1:07 pm

Highlights from this week's Austin Chronicle:

Starting this week, I'll pick some of my favorite articles from the Austin Chronicle (the best alternative news weekly in the country IMHO... I think it is even better than the often lauded Village Voice of NYC.) to highlight to JMBzine readers.


August 29, 2002

10:59 pm


As you can see I'm posting more than ussual today. All of my L-school reading is done for tomorrow and I got some more time to kill before I get off work as a OCU Law libary computer lab tech, so here are some random and bizarre links:

10:42 pm

Politics and Policies:

Retouching on the Labor Commissioner race, in rereading Jenner's statements to the LOWV I saw one bit that I think is worth highlighting...

Employers are rich and powerful and do not need any help. Employees are poor and powerless and government should protect them from the abuses of the bosses.

That really is a gross generalization. I do think that many (but not all) employers hold too many of the cards in labor matters, but it is not fair to say that all employers are rich and powerful and don't need help; vice-versa employees are not all poor and powerless.

What I do think is critical is this. The Labor commissioner is charged to be a fair advocate for workers' rights. My concern with Fields is that he doesn't seem to speak much about being an advocate for the worker, that said I don't think Jenner's gross-generalizations are better either. My "support" of Jenner was a protest of Fields, not support of Jenner.

My hope though is that Fields will come around, and begin speaking up for real labor issues.

2:39 pm

Recent cases:

AP/NY Times: 3 Justices Push Court to Re-Examine Execution of Teenagers

--- A very positive development in that 3 justices are willing to speak against killing juvenile offenders, but also sad in those 3 justices couldn't convince the rest of the court to stay yesterday's execution of Toronto Patterson in Texas for a crime he committed when he was 17.

Also worth noting is that this was another Black man (9th so far this year, 2 more to go) killed by the racist Texas death machine.

2:07 pm

Well my second week of L-school is almost done. Here are some new observations about the experience...

As far as student organizations go, there are a ton to get involved with. Thankfully almost all meet from 5-5:50 p.m. (after day school and before night school classes), so it easy to attend the meetings. I think right now the ones I'm going to get involved with are:

2022: I ended getting involved for a brief while with ACS but once I discovered the more radical direction of the National Lawyers Guild, I ended up helping to start the local law school student chapter (the story of how that happened is complicated, I'll have to tell that on another occasion) and lost most of my enthusiasm about ACS. --- In hindsight, I can now say that these two groups have not only different politics but different foci --- ACS is more academic/policy driven, while NLG is activism-driven. Both have their place, but my heart was mostly with the Guild's approach.

I unfortuantely did not get active in NALSA, mostly as their focus was primarily on moot court and by my 2L year, I had soured on the high-pressure atmosphere of my most law school moot court teams (but admittedly my then-undiagnosed autism kept me from being a great team player, especially under pressure). But I do recall the NALSA meetings that I attended as being a refreshing contrast with much of the rest of my law school experience, in that I had much more in common culturally with the average NALSA member than I did most other law students (not only because of my indigneous heritage, but also because we came from more similar socio-economic backgrounds).

Other than L-school, my schedule is pretty tight. I am involved some with church and political causes, but mostly I spend my spare time writing for this blog and for Exitzine.com (Ok, I lied. I've been neglecting Exit lately, but I'll kick it in high gear soon.) Also, I'm starting a new job this week as a computer lab tech for the OCU Law library, so if you're an L-student come by and say hi.

2022: I would end up getting much busier, as by November I was serving as a part-time preacher of the congregation I grew up in, Newcastle Heights Church of Christ. I lasted in that position for about a year. It was not a good fit for me (and in hindsight I can say that getting fired from there was one of the best things that had ever happened to me), but there were good aspects of it too. ---- Often in law school I was resentful towards my classsmates (many from much more privlidged backgrounds) who did not have to work, but today I think that I would have been unlikely to graduate if I didn't work and do activism outside of law school.

11:11 am

Reader Comments:

I received an email today from a JMBzine reader (I will post the full text of it unedited once I get permission from the email's author.) concerning my endorsement of Virginia "Blue Jeans" Jenner.

First, let me say that all of the endorsements were qualified. I am not a Democrat but a Green. Democrats sometimes support good things but often are off-base. In all of the races I was picking who I prefer over the other, not who is the ideal candidate.

Secondly, the reader is right. Virginia Jenner is a kook. I don't know if your allegations that she is runnng for offices so she can get a pension for her old age is true or not (I'll have to ask her someday.) but it wouldn't surprise me. Some of her ideas (paying the First Lady a salary) are downright stupid.

But all the same, I preferred the kook over the alternative.

My decision was made after reading the League of Women Voters' Candidate Statements for both candidates and Lloyd Fields' website.

On the LOWV's questionaire Fields gave no specifics on how he would protect workers' rights under the law, while Jenner expressed support the universal living wage proposal, increased unemployment benefits, increased rights for small-firm employees in harrassment cases, and universal health care.

She also said when asked about how she would balance business and labor interests:

Oklahoma is an employer state, not an employee state. I will be a Commish for employees, not employers. Employers are rich and powerful and do not need any help. Employees are poor and powerless and government should protect them from the abuses of the bosses. State minimum wage has not been increased in five years. It is a disgraceful $5.15 an hour and $2.13 an hour for tipped workers. Only 28 per cent of Okie jobless get unemployment compensation, compared to 43 per cent nationally.

I will blow the whistle when employees are mistreated by their bosses. I will set up a 24-hour, toll-free "Bad Boss" OSC hotline for employee complaints and these complaints will be investigated. State Constitution gave us a Labor Commish to protect employees against the excesses of bosses. It is not the job of the Commish to protect bosses. That's for the Chambers of Commerce.

To this same question, Fields only said:

By being Fair to employers and employees in every aspect.

His remarks gave no specifics and are just meaningless platitudes.

Secondly, I checked out the candidates' websites. Jenners had none which I found to be a black mark on her (It's not that hard to create a website these days, and for a low-budget candidate it is stupid not to have one.), but when I viewed Fields' site he might as well have not had one as he discussed no issues other than wanting to reduce the rates for workers' comp insurance (which one would assume would lower the benefits for injured workers) and wanting to bring new industry into the state (a job for the Commerce department not the Labor department).

The mission of the Department of Labor is different than what Mr. Field's seems to believe. Looking at the department's website (www.okdol.state.ok.us), the mission, vision and values of the department are:

The mission of the Oklahoma Department of Labor is to help ensure fairness, equity and safety in Oklahoma workplaces through ethical behavior, conscientious guidance and loyal service to Oklahoma's employers and employees.

The Commissioner of Labor is charged with preserving, protecting and promoting the welfare of the wage earner.

Oklahoma's workers are our state's greatest asset. Each has the right to work in an environment that is fair, equitable, healthy and safe.

This Agency serves as an advocate for employees, employers and the public. We believe in value-added change and we provide a forum where all constituent interests can be heard. We believe in government reform, when necessary, to provide benefits and opportunities for employees.

ODOL employees provide professional guidance and services, supported by education and training. Our services include the necessary relief, regulation and resolution for employees, employers and the public.

We provide consultation, regulation, enforcement and education information for employers, generating opportunities for everyone to work in an environment that is fair, equitable, healthy and safe. Each individual we serve is treated fairly with personal attention.

ODOL employees work in harmony, respectful of others, in an open and honest manner. We are loyal to our mission while performing our duty to serve the public. Our integrity is the cornerstone of our public service and we are good stewards of public trust.

Our continually improving work environment serves as a model workplace.

No where in Mr. Field's website or his LOWV's questionaire response did I see how he would go about "preserving, protecting and promoting the welfare of the wage earner." It looks to me he would instead focus on preserving, protecting and promoting big employers who want to oppress their workers.

I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that the Labor department and the Commerce Department are two seperate agencies. Sometimes they may complement each other, but often they will counterbalance each other. If the Labor Commissioner doesn't look after the rights of the workers, who will?

So, my vote (along with over 100,000 others) for Virginia Jenner was not so much an endorsement for her, but a protest against Fields. I don't think any of us who voted for Jenner (except maybe Ms. Jenner herself) had any real expectations or desire to see her get elected, but rather that we would send a message to Mr. Fields that we want to see him step up to the plate on behalf of the workers of this state.

If you disagree with me, or just want to put in your two cents worth, please email me at jmb@NOSPAMjmbzine.com (remove the "NOSPAM" from the email address before sending). I'll then post it to JMBzine.com under the headline "Reader Comments." Also from now on, unless you say otherwise if you send email sent to me at jmbzine.com, you agree that I can publish your remarks here on this website.

10:47 am

Politics and Policies:

August 28, 2002

3:51 pm

If you've recently been given a traffic ticket, check out Kiplinger: Beat a speeding ticket to keep your rates down. From what I can tell from it (I'm not a lawyer yet so don't this isn't intended to be legal advice.) the advice seems good.

12:50 pm

If you haven't seen the results of yesterday's Oklahoma Primary elections, here are the latest results from Demookie.com.

Some of my picks prevailed or at least made it to the run-off. Others didn't fair so well.

August 27, 2002

5:08 pm

Election Night Special Coverage:

The GI Rights Hotline at 1-877-447-4487.

The hotline and the website are "operated by a network of nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations who provide information to servicemembers about military discharges, grievance and complaint procedures, and other civil rights."

If you have friends or family in the service who don't want to have to go fight in Bush's war in Iraq, pass this number on to them while there is still time.

2022: I would later get very involved in this organization, starting with my last year of law school throught the present. Also the above links (originally to to girights.objector.org and 1-800-394-9544) are changed to what they are today.

2:22 pm


My friend Joel at The Vagrant Cafe has just instituted a very nice redesign. It is worth checking out.

Also, while I'm talking about the cafe, here is something I posted on the Vagrantcafe message boards recently in response to a post by Darin007 which said "so, do all of our towns and cities now resemble one another? are we overrun with corporate america to the extent that our towns and cities are losing their uniqueness. is the idea of place a joke? is the internet tearing down walls to the extent that place is a joke? what do you think?"

Here is my response...

What I find ironic is that the places people love to live in, love to visit, love to work in, are unique places.

But then once they get popular the corporate pigs come in and send in their starbucks and gaps and diesels and before long the uniqueness is gone.

Austin was such a place, but it is now being rapidly ruined by those corporate forces. When I moved away in January, so much had already changed and from what I hear the change is accelerating.

But, strangely enough where I go to school now in the "ghetto/ethinc" part of Oklahoma City (NW 23rd St/Classen/Little Saigon/Paseo neighborhoods) is what Austin once was.. gritty, different, unique, blue collar artsy, and downright beautiful.

Of course, they'll probably try to ruin this place too, but maybe there's still hope. Especially since the economy is tanking, maybe the corporate scourge will stay away for a while longer. (at least I can hope so)

Also, what will make a difference is when we start to learn to be attached to a place, to know its wildflowers, its trees, its birds, when we know what color the dirt is, and what kind of rocks are here.

We need to wake up and recapture a sense of spatial identity. The internet is wonderful, not because it homogenizes everythign but because it has the potential to bring places to life, to let me see how real people live in NYC or Wichita, Kansas, or even Pineridge, OK (www.pineridgoeklahoma.com).

2022: Wowee.. that was pretty spot on with what happened in Oklahoma City.

12:20 pm


If you're in Oklahoma and registered to vote, then get yourselves to the polls. It is your civic duty and the right thing to do.

If you're still trying to make up your mind, here are some resources that give info on the candidates, or if you prefer you can vote straight ticket JMBzine by voting like I did this morning.

August 26, 20002

8:47 pm

Politics and Policies:

8:45 pm


Austin Chronicle: Redemption Song --- Kelly Willis got what she deserved

8:40 pm

Food and Drink:

8:31 pm

Law Blogs:

Here are some blogs I found (thanks to Jurist authored by other 1L law students...

2022:One fun part of blogging in 2002 was that I got to be one of the first law students to blog. There were several of us at the time who were doing this and it was seen as a very new thing, and even a risky thing (with some law students being very nervous about the whole proposition)

8:29 pm

Law School Resources:

2022: I just had to go and use Archive.org's wayback machine to check the link above from the Jurist to see the list and my recollection of those days was confirmed --- there were only 18 law student blogs on their list!

It wouldn't stay way for long of course.

3:43 pm

JMBzine 2002 Democratic Primary Endorsements:

For many of the races, my "endorsement" is a qualified one, in that I am picking the lesser of two evils. (If I am torn, between the choices, I will mention my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, choices, etc.)

Also, I'm giving endosements for the Democratic party primaries since that is the ballot I'll be casting tomorrow. I am actually a member of the SW Oklahoma Green Party, but until we get ballot access I have my Demo registration so I can vote in the primaries.

I would end up getting a lot more involved in the Green Party in the fall of 2002, when we held the official founding/organizing convention. --- I would serve at the state party level, be a national convention delegate and work on some Green party-endorsed local campaigns (including my own in 2006), but over time became less and less engaged.

My last Green Party thing was in 2020 when I participated (virtually in the national convention) as a delegate for Oklahoma. The days and months afterwards, as I saw the GPUS (Green Party of the United States) fail to take a stand in support of public health measures against the pandemic (and at times even given a platform and voice to anti-mask/vaxers) was the last straw for me, and today I'm an independent who votes for progressives when possible in the Democratic primaries.

I'm still sad that the Green Party couldn't step up at this critical time. And I'm still heartbroken about it.

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Rep, Dis. #4

I am not very pleased with any of the candidates. I think the Demos dropped the ball by not fielding a better candidate to take the open seat that is available.

Here's my thoughts on the candidates...


My whole-hearted endorsement is for Jim Dunegan. I like him because he supports rural Oklahomans, wants to increase education funding, is anti-lottery and pro-life. He is not perfect, as he supports the death penalty as do all of the other candidates. However, I am willing to give him a chance as when I spoke to him he seemed to be open to considering options like a temporary moratorium to prevent innousent folks from being executed.)

If Dunegan doesn't make it into the run-off, I hope that either Kelley Hanney (a full-blooded american Indian who created the "The Guardian" statue that is now on top of the Oklahoma State Capitol dome and veteran state legislator) or Brad Henry (veteran state legislator who makes a very good positive impression). I don't like Henry and Haney's support of the lottery, but otherwise agree with them on most issues.

Orza frankly worries me. He'll almost definitely get into the run-off, but he has too much money behind him. I do not like his elitist attitudes, and I do not like his out-spoken advocacy for abortion rights. If he wins the Demo nomination, I will have to give serious thought for voting for the Largent or Richardson.

2022: My views on abortion have changed over the last 20 years.

State Auditor & Inspector

Corp. Commissioner

I'm undecided on this one. I need to do some more research before tomorrow. Here are the candidates...

Labor Commissioner

Don't laugh, but my vote goes to perennial candidate Virginia Blue Jeans Jenner.

Reading her statement to the LOWV, she seems to actually care about labor.

Jenner's primary opponent Lloyd Fields sounds like a puppet for big business interests. His whole website sounds like he's going to be the commissioner of the anti-labor department to me.

Races with no demo primaries are...

Non-Democratic Endorcements

8:11 pm

Politics and Policies:

If you're an Okie, don't forget to vote in tomorrow's primary elections. For more information on the candidates, check out these sites:

12:17 pm


If you're in Austin Guster is playing at the The Backyard tonight. More info at (512) 263-4240. Doors open @ 6, John Butler @ 7, Guster @ 8, and The John Mayer @ 9.

2022: I'm still a big fan of Guster.

11:12 pm

Law School Update:

Late last night (after my trip to the park talked about in the last post) the 2L and 3L classes sponsored a party for 1L law students at Danny's Blues Saloon, with the music provided by some upperclassmen and their friends I forgot the guys' names, but I sure liked the music. They played everything from Robert Earle Keene's "Front Porch Song" to Willie Nelson's "Mamma don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys," along with a little bit of Oklahoma's own Cross Canadian Ragweed thrown in for good measure.

Thanks to the 2L's and 3L's for sponoring the shindig.

2022: I put a positive spin on the evening in this blog post, because my recollection (almost 20 years later) was that is was a fairly awkward evening. I enjoyed the music, but found no one to talk to (and let's be frank, a loud club is not a good place to meet one's classmates)--- but then some random guy claimed I bumped into him and spilled his drink (I did not), and then tried to either make me buy him another drink or to fight him. I told him "no" to both and then I left.

I don't think he was a law student, but the failure of any of my classmates to look out at all for the scared-looking 1L was a sign of things to come. Of course, I also didn't know I was autistic back then, so that is obviously a factor into my reassement of my memories.

August 24, 2002

10:58 pm

Law School Update:

Well the first week of L-school is done! (Woohoo!)

Yesterday evening, I took some time out to go to Will Rogers Park in OKC, a large park that is about 2 miles as the crow flies from OCU. The reason for the trip out there was to smoke a special cigar, an Indian Tabac Super Fuerte Maduro that my friends Kimberly and Jimmy brought back for me a year ago from their honeymoon in Sin City.

I normally don't keep cigars this long... in fact I don't smoke that much these days, just for special occasions, but I thought I would save this cigar for a special occasion.

So, I did smoke it at the park and it was good. One of the best cigars I've had, very strong and rich.

While at the park smoking my cigar, I discovered a very special place. It's a little forest along side a creek that runs in the park. The trees are mixture of species: cypress, Live Oak (yes, I said Live Oak! Those must have been planted since they are native to Central Texas and other southern locations.), cedar, Osage Orange, plus towering elms (I think) and some other trees I wasn't able to identify. Not only that, but there were black tree ants (!) in the forest, just like we have in the Black Jack and Post Oaks forests of Newcastle.

Anyway, while strolling through forest as the sun was setting I found a pink granite plaque down in the ground by the bridge that crossed the creek. This is what it said:

A Forest Built in a Day
in memory of Anton H. Classen
who came to Oklahoma City in 1897
a lover and planter of trees
October 8, 1961 September 30, 1922
This forest planted by Cubs and Boy Scouts
of Oklahoma City, in Will Rogers Park,
this Sequyah Day April 14, 1939

As I stood there at the bridge, hearing the locusts and tree frogs singing and reveling in the greenness of the forest, I couldn't help but feel so good.

I do know this about L-school, if I can take some time out from time to time to spend in nature, I'm going to be a whole lot happier.

2022: Here is a picture I found of this memorial plaque, before it was mounted back in 1939:

B/W picture of a boy scout and a cub scout sitting next to a plaque honoring

And here's a picture of the same plaque that I took in 2011:

photo of Forest in a Day Plaque, as seen on January 3, 2011

I have very distinct memories of this day at Will Rogers Park (and have been there many times since then --- including when I proposed to my now-wife in the fall of 2011), and mostly I remember the sense of nervousness I felt about law school, my desire to fulfill some sense of a vague calling I felt in my life towards both ministry and social justice work of some kind, loneliness, but also appreciation that in the midst of it all, I could be out in nature.

I think after that I had to go back to campus for yet another student orientation event --- which taken as a whole was not a good experience, with the professors and upperclass students sharing completely different and contradictory advice (professors tried to get us to study in a way for classes that seemed and actually was impossible to execute (and warning married folks to fix their marriages now, because they have problems before law school they will be divorced by the end), while the upperclassmen/women were all jaded and cynical, telling us the only way to succeed in law school was to spend money on expensive commercial study prep materials (which unfortuantely, they were mostly right about), or by snaring the all-essential elusive "perfect outline." (which I later learned was bull*** --- someone else's "perfect outline" would be useless if one doesn't already have familiarity with the material).

And then we got other messaging, including a disturbing talk from a campus police officer who tried to get us to be terrified of the neighborhood that OCU was located in --- which I then assumed (and still believe) was mostly about racism. I thankfully ignored the racist advice of the OCUPD officer who spoke to us at orientation and discovered the area around OCU was delightfully diverse and full of old historic buildings --- but also rough in parts. Compared to other major cities, this part of OKC wasn't unreasonably dangerous. But OCU Law was always afraid of the neighborhood and a few years after I graduated, the school moved away from the rest of campus to the downtown, a decision I did not support (but is down now).

11:51 am


11:11 am

Politics and Policies

A member of the Oklahoma Greens Discussion list sent us a copy of a speech by Granny D (more info on this 92-year old h***raiser can be found at: http://www.granny.com) I liked the speech so much that I thought I would reprint it here in its entirety:

Doris "Granny D" Haddock
Advance text of remarks at the Seattle Rolling Thunder Chautauqua,
August 24, 2002

Thank you.

We have come to a time for communal remembering. We will see the images again of 3,000 fine people dying. We will see again in our minds those crematory clouds that overwhelmed the pink-vapored sun and all our sensibilities.

The horror of September 11 was not only the horror of 3,000 deaths: We were all victimized, all dehumanized by seeing our fellow human beings killed in so wholesale a manner, as if we were but ants.

But since that morning, in more than three thousand ways, we have tried to re-humanize the city and our lives. We said "I love you" in public parks. We placed flowers in harsh places. In small cafés by candlelight we rekindled torches of human love and, like resolute townspeople suddenly of one mind, we, for a moment anyway, carried those torches against the monstrously inhumane oppressions and abstractions of modern life.

As a democratic people, we deserved support from our political representatives in that effort --they are supposed to be the agents of our common dreams. We had an opportunity to make those deaths mean something. We had an opportunity to honor those individual hearts by bringing more humanity, more love into the world in vivid and heartmoving forms. We had an opportunity to defeat the forces of hatred--that sick product of the spiritually immature mind that reduces humans to abstractions. For a moment, we looked at life with the same amazement that I'm sure those who died shared from the other side. Do they stand around us yet, hoping that we do not fall back into the hypnosis of exploitation --hoping that we can still imagine love and be conscious and amazed in the world?

Instead, their memories were harshly abused. We got an inhuman response that yet grows --a sickening cloud that yet darkens the American sky and the world's sky. And to Ashcroft's and Rumsfeld's and Cheney's and Bush's false alarm manipulations of the childish news networks and the pushover Daschle Congress, we say, for God's sake, men, if you aren't smart enough to see the positive opportunities for the world at this moment, at least sit on your hands and do no harm. This is no time to repeal the Bill of Rights, or to renounce America's citizenship in the world. Don't do all that because you think we fear a few madmen enough that we will give up America's freedoms.

Yes indeed, there are people intent on killing us who are as dedicated as they are spiritually deformed and immature. What indeed is more childishly selfish or more spiritually immature than to love your religion so much that you would ask someone else to die for it? But there are things in this world worth dying for honorably. And one of those is real political freedom for our loved ones.

I am from New Hampshire and our state motto is, "Live Free or Die." I never thought much about it until recently. But I tell you that we must all now have the courage of our Constitution. I will take the risks of living in a free country. I will risk the danger of terrorists. I often carry a heavy purse and can defend myself, and if that is not enough, so be it. But I will check my own bedroom walls for subversive posters and I will monitor my own email and if I find anything I will type myself up a nice report. But I will NOT stand idly by and allow my government to commit treasons against our Constitutional Bill of Rights.

Get a grip, Mr. Ashcroft, Mr. Cheny, Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Bush: this is America where we live free or die. Go visit a military cemetery to remind yourselves that we are a courageous people and that we mean it when we say LIBERTY or Death.

Whose dark cloud is it that darkens our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, our national soul, our responsible position in the world community? It mustn't be one of our own making.

Would you have thought a year ago that people in America could be arrested and held without charges, without lawyers, without any rights? Would you have imagined that America would be running detention and maybe torture camps, holding people secretly for months or years, and with the corporate media cheering them on?

Would you imagine that the government would reorganize around the idea of becoming something of a police state, and that soldiers would be patrolling like policemen and that your email and that the posters on your bedroom wall would put you at risk of all this achinery of snooping and detention and isolation and perhaps torture, and with the corporate media cheering them on?

Could you possibly imagine that any American could be stripped of all his or her rights by being named, with not proof, an enemy combatant, an enemy of the state? Could you have imagined that permanent war would be declared against nobody in particular and that it would be used to de-fund every social program the radical right ever didn't like? Could you imagine the idea of our elite storm troopers being authorized to go anywhere in the world, without invitation, to kill anyone they please, and with the corporate media cheering them on?

Could you have imagined we could fall so far so fast under this dark cloud? These dark clouds from the towers, if they darken our Constitution, are clouds of darkest opportunism. The corporate elite behind the radical right miss no trick in manipulating our own fears into a mass capitulation of our freedoms. The maneuvering to undermine our Bill of Rights by a fraudulent pursuit of public safety is as un-American as anything that has occurred in my 92 years.

These un-American usurpers do not represent us in the least.

We have the courage of our Constitution to live free on our garden Earth as brothers and sisters --to live free or die. And together as the human community we stand for love. And against death and exploitation and the lie of projected evil we link our arms. We shall not, we shall not be moved. Just like a tree that's standing by the water, we shall not be moved.

The responsible course for America is no secret. Our only real safety lies in crafting an American success story that does not rely upon the repression of the world's people and the destruction of their systems of self-determination for the sake of our industrial needs, but instead upon their rising health and wealth and freedom. Otherwise a state of constant war is indeed inevitable. We know that. We choose against it.

Our only real safety lies in the crafting of an American success story that does not rely upon the trashing of the American and the world environment for the sake of corporate profits, funneled to political careers. Otherwise there is no America the Beautiful for our children or life on earth for our grandchildren. We know that. We choose life and love, and we shall not be moved.

The blue haze that keeps us from seeing our mountains and that is warming the earth and threatening our survival is the product of a domestic political terrorism that harms us far more than any cells of terrorists. In the Northeast alone, where the Hudson River Valley is now blanketed in coal pollution coming from as far away as the Midwest, twice as many Americans die each year from the loosening of environmental standards on coal plants as died in the twin towers. Are we dehumanized when we are killed in so wholesale a manner? To get that coal, a thousand times the explosive might of the Oklahoma City bombing is used each day against the mountains of Appalachia by Mr. Bush's coal friends, who help finance his career. Every four days, the explosive power of the entire Afghanistan campaign is used against Kentucky and West Virginia mountain ranges we once called "almost heaven," --all while Mr. Bush rejects any effort to conserve energy. What kind of patriotism is that? It is none.

And what, then, are we the people to do? Well, there is November coming. Let us work hard so that we have some candidates who recognize a needed regime change when they see one, and who are leaders in fact. Our system is overrun with ego-driven would-be reformers who really just take up valuable space, and with ossified political parties who are more interested in protecting the elite on the right or the elite on the left than the people or the future. We have hard political work to do, and the big parties need transforming or dumping.

We also have a war to stop. We need to organize massive peaceful demonstrations in Washington and in our state capitols. The trumped-up war in Iraq is power madness and pure stupidity. The fact that it is monstrously immoral ought to count for something, too. Lets all set aside the weekend of October 6th as a Peace and Bill of Rights Day. I will put links on my website, GrannyD.com, when there is information to share. Send your plans and I will put them up on the site so others can join you.

But beyond the necessary effort to stop the continuing coup, and beyond the need to use the coming election to box in these power mad frat boys, we must each in our own creative ways give testimony to who we are, that we have the courage of our CAonstitution to live free on our garden Earth as brothers and sisters --to live free or die; That we are members of the human community and that we stand for love; That for the dead we light candles, not fuses; That against death and exploitation and the lie of projected evil, we link our arms; That we shall not, we shall not be moved. Just like a tree that's standing by the water, we shall not be moved.

Thank you.

More info: http://grannyd.com

Sign the petition: http://www.moveon.org/nowar/

2022: Doris "Granny D" Haddock lived until 2010 when she died at age 100, raising hell to the very end.

August 21, 2002

9:50 pm

Law School Resources:

If you're interested in American Indian law, check out the National Native American Law Students Association. Also for info on the OCU chapter click here (info is a bit dated though).

7:50 pm

Law School Update:

Well my first week of L-school is almost half way over. No doubt about it, it is an adventure.

Here are a few observations on the experience thus far:

Most notably, I am beginning to notice a subtle yet significant change in my attitude toward the law.

Before I started L-school I used to say "the best place to throw rocks at the system, is from the inside."

2022: I think I got this idea from the movie SLC Punk.

Now, though I don't see the "system" as the enemy and have dropped my rocks.

For all of the injustices that can and do occur, I am learning that our judiciary is the one thing that has kept and is keeping the forces of oppression at bay.

Our legal system is not perfect (sometimes far from it), but the system (one that is adversarial in nature, yet plays by rules and treats the players with respect and civility) is a beautiful thing. I am excited by the thought of someday playing a small role in that.

But don't take this the wrong way either. Love of the law (and you have to be in love with it to jump into this intense kind of study.") does not mean I love what is done with it sometimes.

I for one think the problem though is not that we have too many lawyers, but rather that the rich have plenty and that the poor needs their fair share to get a fair shake of things.

2022: The cynicism returned later in law school, but thankfully by then I had been properly "disoriented" (in a good way) by the NLG's infamous "disorientation handbook" which gave me a new way to cope --- by seeking to subvert the law school experience.

1:03 pm

Oklahoma Politics

My thoughts on incumbent DA candidate Wes Lane can be read here: DemoOkie.com Discussion Forum (I use the name "Green" on the DemoOkie board.)

1:01 pm


For any Newcastlites out there, here's the schedule for the Newcastle, OK Racer 2002 Football season:


Sept. 6 Blanchard H
Sept. 13 McLoud H
Sept. 20 Tuttle A
Sept. 27 Comanche H
Oct. 4 St. Mary A
Oct. 11 Bridge Creek H
Oct. 17 Hobart A
Oct. 25 Riverside H
Nov. 1 Frederick A
Nov. 8 Lindsay A

August 20, 2002

11:23 am

A press release from KOKF (91 FM in OKC) on why they have suspended their internet feed.

11:13 am


Courtesy of Efax.com I now have a fax #. Regretably it is in Ann Arbor, MI but any faxes you send to me there will be scanned and emailed to me here automatically.

Anyway... my new fax # is 734-573-6877. If you're bored and want to send me a fax, go for it!

10:58 am


Here are the lyrics to "John Walker's Blues", the song I talked about in my previous post...

John Walker's Blues

I'm just an American boy raised on MTV
And I've seen all those kids in the soda pop ads
But none of 'em looked like me
So I started lookin' around for a light out of the dim
And the first thing I heard that made sense was the word
Of Mohammed, peace be upon him

A shadu la ilaha illa Allah
There is no God but God

If my daddy could see me now – chains around my feet
He don't understand that sometimes a man
Has to fight for what he believes
And I believe God is great, all praise to him
And if I should die, I'll rise up in the sky
Just like Jesus, peace be upon him


We came to fight the jihad and our hearts were pure and strong
And when death filled the air, we all offered up prayers
And prepared for our martyrdom
But Allah has some other plan, some secret not revealed
Now they're dragging me back with my head in a sack
To the land of the infidel


(c) Steve Earle (Artemis Records)

Notice the song does not condone or condemn his actions. It simply tells a story.

Also to those who think the song is comparing Walker to Jesus, it is not. The character of Walker in the song does say that if he dies he'll rise up like Jesus, but he is speaking of the Muslim view of Jesus as the greatest prophet next to Mohammed. (This is made clear by Earle who said in the interview on the NBC morning show that Muslims always say "Peace be upon him" after saying Jesus' name.)"

10:52 am


Yesterday morning I heard Steve Earle on NBC's morning show perform his song "John Walker's Blues" and be interviewed on the song. (more info on the controversy over the song can be found at: http://www.steveearle.net/#jwb)

Hearing the song, I really, really like it. Earle's voice and song is hauntingly beautiful, especially when he sings in Arabic. Lyrically, Earle has approached a very difficult subject with a great deal of sensivitiy and has given us the insite into what may have gone through John Walker's head.

I know that the Nashville talking heads, the Toby Keith "kick a** USA" types, etc. will disagree with me here, but frankly I think they need to learn to engage their brains and listen to the song before they engage their mouths. Earle is singing the song from Walker's perspective to tell a story. He is not endorsing Walker's views or actions and in fact I think it is more of a sad lament song.

The difference is that Earle grieves over a young man who made some bad choices, while most folks can't get past their anger to see the man.

Being able to get in someone else's head and walk a mile in their shoes (as Adicus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird might have recommended) is a gift that more of should use. I'm glad Steve Earle had the guts to do it and encourage us to do it as well.

2022: In hindsight, I'm a little surprised that NBC had him perform the song on their morning show, given some of the other press that the story was getting (see CNN:'John Walker's Blues' meets the boos).

Also, sadly lost in the controversy was a broader discussion of the issues raised on the other songs of the Jerusalem album, or later his even more political The Revolution starts now album.

Both albums are among my favorites and I highly recommend them.

10:42 am

Oklahoma Media:

If you're interested in conservative political commentary on Okie politics you might check out The Oklahoma Constitution --- I thought the Daily Disappointment already served this purpose ;-) but hey, I love free speech even if it's folks talking I don't agree with.

August 18, 2022

10:16 pm


NY Times: Pope Says Modern Mankind Is Usurping 'God's Place'

Speaking at an outdoor mass to over 2 million in Poland: "Frequently man lives as if God did not exist, and even puts himself in God's place," the pope said, using his homily during an outdoor Mass of breathtaking dimensions to make the most pointed and topical remarks of his three-day homecoming.

"He claims for himself the Creator's right to interfere in the mystery of human life," he added, speaking in Polish and referring to a range of issues that clearly included abortion, cloning and euthanasia. "Rejecting divine law and moral principles, he openly attacks the family."

The blame for this, he went on to say, lay partly with "the noisy propaganda of liberalism, of freedom without truth or responsibility."

I appreciate the Pope's describing human life as a mystery. It is a mystery and one should not approach it with anything less than awesome reverance at God's most amazing of all creations.

I also appreciate the Pope's condemnation of freedom used without responsibilty. This reminds me some of Spiderman's motto, that with great power comes great responsibility. We in the free world hold such a wonderful but fearful power: our freedom. How we use it, both individually and collectively will determine the future of us all.

2022: My views on some of these subjects have changed a lot in the last 20 years.

10:08 pm

Jurisdictional questions:

NY Times: U.S. Agents Arrest Dozens of Fathers in Support Cases

I was unaware of this provision of Federal law:

Under federal law, a person who willfully does not pay a child support obligation of more than $10,000 for a child living in another state may be fined $250,000 and imprisoned up to two years. In addition, it is a felony to cross state lines to evade child support obligations of more than $5,000.

I think this is good policy but I'm not sure if the Constitution permits this. I'll have to do some reading on this.

8:01 pm

Politics and Policies

I did a Google search for Con-agra (the corporate food concern that I talked about previously on JMBzine.com and guess what I found out. . .

They have created a nifty little site called HomeFoodSafety.org. Isn't this interesting???

The company that sells us e-coli tainted meat and refuses to cooperate with Oklahoma health officials, is going to tell us about food safety?!

This is funny enough to be on The Onion, except that it is as real as a heart attack.

What is even more disturbing is this little trademark that this website went out of their way to register "Home Food Safety, It's in your hands."

What is so bothersome about this you may ask?

Simple.. they are dodging responsibility for selling us tainted meat. Instead of them taking responsibility to those who will get sick or even die because of their products, they want to make it the consumers' fault for not cooking meat properly.

Certainly proper food preparation is important, but it's even more important that the food isn't spoiled to begin with.

I for one, say boycott corporate beef. Buy your beef from a local rancher. (If you're in Oklahoma, check out Oklahomafood.org for information on local suppliers of beef.

7:51 pm

Food and Drink:

August 17, 2002

10:33 pm

Oklahoma History:

Tonight I did a search for articles on my favorite Oklahoma Governor, Alfalfa Bill Murray. Here are a few that I found most interesting:

I'll post more links here later, but I do plan to talk more about him in the future here. Overall, despite some very dark spots which have to seen through the rubrick of his times (his support for racial segregation in early Oklahoma) I think Alfalfa Bill Murray was an incredible governor who had a very good vision, that of Oklahoma as an Agrarian and Populist society that kept the rich fat cats in their place.

I wish we had an Alfalfa Bill in the race this year. We need someone with his vision and charisma who will stand up for the little guy against the Gaylord machine.

2022: My views on Alfalfa Bill Murray changed radically over the years, particularly after I learned more about the full extent of what a vicious, vicous racist he was, as well as the ways he mercilessly attacked Kate Barnard after she took a stand to try to protect exploited indigenous orphan children.

My vague recollection of how the "dark part" of his history was talked about in my high school Oklahoma history class, was that our teacher told antecdotes about the stories of Alfalfa Bill being senile later in life, and was embarassingly talking about his racist books at the state capitol when his son was later governor. The teacher, while I'm sure meaning well, sent a message to me that it wasn't a big deal, almost as if he was saying "haha, listen to the funny racist things that the old man says."

Also, admittedly my views on populism have soured as well, particularly in today's post-Trump context.

10:15 pm

Politics and Policy:

2022: ICQ was the main instant messenging app I used from the late 90's up through the first part of law school. I'm not sure when I quit using it, but according to this story from Techspot.com, ICQ still exists!

10:08 pm

Law School News:

Today's session of orientation was more useful than yesterday's, but I'm still glad it's over. I'm sick of talking about L-school. I want to do it.

That's not to say that I'm not nervous, but I think I'll feel a lot better after the first classes on Monday.

2:11 pm

Politics and Policy:

NY TimesL (Aug 17) Officers Say U.S. Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas

August 16, 2002

10:11 pm


Wierd News: Turn Tombstones Into ATM Machines

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (Wireless Flash) -- A deceased cattle rancher in Bozeman, Montana, is bringing new meaning to the term "cashing out" -- by installing an automatic teller machine in his tombstone.

Thanks to: My so called life for this quote.

10:02 pm

Law School News:

Tonight was the first session of student orientation. Most of it was boring (the information on law review, career services, etc. could have been conveyed in a good email instead of a 3 hour session... but maybe I'm just too impatient and a time hog with the current study schedule.) However, the break-out sessions conducted by 2L and 3L students were very informative.

Tomorrow we get more orientation (all day...bleh! I'm sitting in the back and reading a casebook this time) and then in the evening the Dean's reception.

Then, 36 hours later socratic torture begins. Hahaha! It should be fun!

1:11 pm

New Cases:

MSNBC: Judge: U.S. can keep IDs of 9/11 detainees secret --- Ruling in effect until Justice Department appeal is heard --- This is an update on a story I talked about earlier on JMBzine.com. I'm disappointed that Judge Kessler caved in on this.

1 pm


Blue Corn Comics - publishers of multicultural comic books featuring Native Americans

12:50 pm


Austin Chronicle, Aug 16: Confessions of a Little House lover --- Trekking to the land of Laura

12:47 pm


The Austin Chronicle, Aug. 16: Erin Cone at the Wally Workman Gallery --- I really dig this guy's work. It looks like high quality comic book art. Also, here's some more of his art from The Wally Workman Gallery

2022: This is embarrasing, as I unintentionally misgendered this artist back in 2002.

Erin Cone is still creating interesting photo-realistic pictures today. Her work can be found at ErinCone.com

12:37 pm

Reader Comments:

I got an icq today from a friend and reader of this blog who suggested that my recent remarks concerning President Bush sound more "hateful than well-reasoned."

Re-reading the post in question, I some-what agree with her. I think it is better to argue issues than attack people, and maybe I crossed the line. (Bush certainly is not on the same level of Andrew Jackson. 1)

On the other hand, I do have sincere concerns about President Bush's policies and actions. I do not know his motives (no one can judge hearts but God) but I can't help but be alarmed by what seems to be happening.

Anyway, let me make this clear. I do not hate George Bush. I do think that most of his policies are wrong , but I think he probably means well. If my anger towards his policies have bled over into articulating a hatred to the man, that is not my intent. I have met Dubya two times when I lived in Texas and he was Governor. Both times I was struck with his friendliness. He is the kind of guy you would love to have come over to your Super Bowl party or something. He seems like a nice guy.

But as the old saying goes "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" and Presidents throughout our nation's history have done some attrocious things with good intentions. To name a few:

Lincoln - in the pursuit of the union's preservation suspended one of our most basic rights, habeas corpus

FDR - a great man who helped so many through the depression, but also committed grave injustices to Japanese-Americans during WWII

LBJ - out of a desire to stop the spread of Communism in Southeastern Asia, he ended up entangling the US in the quagmires of Vietnam

Now, there are plenty of other Presidents that in hind-site we know did the wrong things for the wrong reasons: Andrew Jackson's refusal to enforce the Cherokee's win in the Supreme Court, Clinton's wag-the-dog bombings, etc. But I do think those folks are the exception.

Yet, Presidential good intentions are no excuse for wrong policies, especially when they endanger our Constitutional rights. Bush, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, et. al I think mean well but are dead wrong. National security means nothing if we have to sacrifice our freedom to achieve it. I think our founding fathers (especially "Give me liberty or give me death" Patrick Henry) would be on my side here.

Anyway, you can count on me to keep speaking against encroachments on freedom as I see it, but I will strive harder to not let those pronouncements become hateful.

Footnote: In 1831 the Supreme Court of the United States, in a decision rendered by Justice, John Marshall, declared the forced removal of the entire Cherokee Nation from their ancestral homes in the South Eastern United States to be illegal, unconstitutional and against treaties made. President Andrew Jackson, having the executive responsibility for enforcement of the laws had this to say:

"John Marshall has made his decision; let him enforce it now if he can." - Quote taken from: http://www.iwchildren.org/genocide/shame9.htm

12:42 am


MSNBC: Tupelo: A long way from Graceland --- Elvis fans can visit the tiny two-room home where the singer lived as a child

12:34 am

Trademark Law:

Davezilla.com: Goodbye Little Dragon Guy

12:11 am

Corporate America:

NewsOK.com:, Aug 15: State in dispute over shipments of recalled beef --- I got a simple solution for this. Ban Con-Agra from the state. Either they give us the info, or in the interest of Public safety the National Guard stops all shipments of incoming beef from Con-Agra at the state lines.

This is one time when I wish Alfalfa Bill Murray (the greatest governor in Oklahoma history) was alive and still in office. He would stop this corporate abuse in its tracks.

2022: Actually I now think Murray would have only made a big show of doing something, but then would have found a backdoor way to allow the corporate interests to pursue the same policy.

12:01 am

Civil Liberties:

ABC/AP: Bush demands broad homeland powers

The more I hear Bush talk and act, the more I am convinced that he may edge out Andrew Jackson as being the most dangerous President in US history.

Here's one notable quote from the story:

After Bush's speech, Daschle said Bush's economic plan was "a prescription for greater deficits and greater uncertainty." He also questioned the expanded authority Bush seeks under his homeland security program. Daschle said Congress should "not give this president or any president the dictatorial powers that I think compromise the checks and balances that our Founding Fathers recognized."

Dictatorial powers???

Yep, Daschle is right. This is America not a bannana republic or China. It is time that Bush begins to respect the Constitutional safeguards to individual liberties that he has sworn to protect.

August 15, 2002

11:58 pm

Capital Punishment

ABC/AP: Mexico Critcizes Fox Ties to U.S. --- Mexico President Vicente Fox Cancels Texas Trip Which Hurts U.S. Relations, But Helps Home

This is an encouraging update on a previous post to this blog. I'm glad to see President Fox and the nation of Mexico speak up against the illegal actions of Texas and the US with regards to unlawful executions of Mexican nationals.

10:37 am

Public Health:

Lately I've been giving a lot more thought to the idea of publicly funded health care. In the past I was against it because I thought it eliminated choices and would cost too much. Lately, however, two movies have made me rethink that, Bulworth and John Q.

Bulworth (which is one of my favorite political movies, notwithstanding the very offensive language) is like a mental grenade. Watch it once, it'll shake you up. Watch it ten times and it'll turn your paradigm on its head. Anyway, what is relevant to this subject is what Senator Bulworth says in his sleep deprivation induced-rap song/speech at the snooty fundraiser. In the rap/speech he starts going off on health care and says (if I'm not getting the story mixed up --- btw, I'm paraphrasing this quote) that even though the politicians say that private industry is best, the real story is that HMO's make something like 24 cents on the dollar in profit, while Medicare provides health care for only 8 cents on the dollar in admin costs.


Ok, keep that thought in mind while we look at the next movie John Q. When I first heard about the movie via reviews of it, I thought it sounded lame. However, when my brother (who is somewhat conservative) tells me that he now supports universal health care, and credits watching John Q to his conversion experience, I know something is up.

(I don't want to ruin the movie for you if you haven't seen it, so if you haven't skip the next 4 paragraphs.)

OK, in the movie a struggling bluecollar 2-income African American family is faced with an insurmountable obstacle... their young son needs a heart transplant ASAP or he will die. However, the hospital tells the family that their HMO-insurance will only cover $20,000 for catastrophic events and that the heart transplant will cost $250,000!

So, the hospital says the family must pay 30% up front or we won't put your son on the list to get a heart. (And contrary to popular belief, hospitals don't have to do this kind of thing for free. All they have to do for indigent patients in most states is to stabilize them and send the on their way.)

So, the family does everything in their power to get the money (selling their wedding rings, furniture, taking collections at church, etc.) but is only able to raise $20k of the needed $70k.

Then the boy takes a turn for the worst, but the hospital refuses to put his name on the list and instead proceeds to discharge him and send him home to die comfortably.

At this point, John Q. goes off, gets his gun (which we later find out is unloaded) and holds the ER of the hospital hostage until his son gets medical care. Of course, as this is happening the ER is full of sick folks and even has a gun shot wounded guy arrive via ambulance, so John Q announces "This hospital is under new management! All health care is free!"

The story progresses from there, but the point of the story is this. Most families in America wouldn't be able to afford this kind of situation. (Heck, I can't even afford to get sick at all because I don't have insurance.) Yet, if we as a society have the means to save a life through extraordinary means, but we refuse to do so because they don't have enough money, what kind of people are we?

To me, national (or even state or local-based) universal health care is the way to go. Obviously it will cost a lot, but since the pool of folks is bigger, the costs for those with catastrophic problems is spread out more.

Maybe I'm all wet here, but it seems like health care should be a universal civil right in this country.

While I'm talking about this, here's a NY Times story from today that is relevant:

NY Times: Aug 15: Recall Is Ordered at Large Supplier of Implant Tissue - This story is insane. First, why are private companies profiting off of organ donation, and secondly wouldn't it make more sense for the government to do this?

I'm all for free enterprise when it works, but when it doesn't maybe it's time for a change?

August 14, 2002

9:50 pm

Simple Living:

I decided to use the header "Simple Living" for any links or comments related to sustainable living, agriciculture, gardening, etc.

Anyway though, here's the link I want to share: www.stopspendingstopwar.org. If you are committed to a life of peace, then it's time to take it to the next level by analyzing how our lifestyles support the military-industrial complex.

BTW, the tips on the site can be extreme at times (driving at 55 mph instance will get you ran over on in Western Oklahoma), but the gist of it is good. Also, I think the author's emphasis on not letting the perfect stop the good is very worthwhile. It is better to make some positive actions for just living than to give up in the face of unsurmountable obstacles.

9:13 pm

Capital Punishment:

Today, the not-so-great state of Texas executed Javier Suarez Medina, in violation of international law and the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations treaty signed by the United States. (the most recent update can be read at MSNBC

As one might expect, Governor Rick Perry gave a half-hearted response to the cries of clemency from Mexican officals. Amazingly enough, Perry managed to be both insulting (by saying that he respects the sovreignty of Mexico, when in fact his actions say the exact opposite message) and inaccurate (in saying that US law backs this action up, when in fact the US is a signator to the treaty) in his statement.

I for one hopes that President Vicente Fox punishes Texas for this by stopping the planned visit to Texas and refusing to cooperate Texas law enforcement in cross-border activities. Fox should know how little respect Texas has for his nation, why should Mexico show respect for Texas?

By the way, the next time that Dubya or his brother try to tell you that they care about hispanics, don't believe it. This latest action proves once again that the Republican party is not the party of minorities.

Oh and I should add the US Supreme Court shares blame here too. They should have stopped this exection.

3:49 pm


MSNBC: 25 years and counting for Voyagers --- Twin probes boldly go where no spacecraft has gone before

2022: Almost 20 years have passed since I shared that MSNBC story and today Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have now both left our solar system and are making their way through interstellar space. NASA hopes to maintain contact with the probes for a few more years.

Of course it may be centuries or much longer before any other beings get to listen to the famous Voyager Golden Recoreds

August 14, 2002

Church law

KFOR: Pastor dispute costs congregation their church - This is outrageous. The Nazarene church should be ashamed of itself for this kind of action.

3:42 pm

Capital Punishment

AP: Texas Set to Execute Mexico Citizen --- Governor Rick Perry is a chump if he doesn't realize that the treaty that protects the rights of Mexican citizens to have access to Consular help is the same treaty that gives Texans those same rights in Mexico.

I think President Vicente Fox should cancel his coming trip to Texas in protest.

3:36 pm

Law School Resources

Thanks go out to my friend Kimberly for these links...

2022: I said this before starting law school. I quickly learned that the key to success in class is reading (and BS'ing) but they key to grades is just learning the material, even if commercial study tools prove necessary.

3:19 pm


The Village Voice, Aug. 14-20: If We Lost It All --- Cities Die. Should New York Be the First to Clone Itself? - a fascinating story about what makes a city unique and special, including a discussion of NYC's innovative project to replicate the entire city at 1 sq. ft. detail in 3D.

2022: New York City hasn't died yet, but The Village Voice did... and then it came back in online/quarterly print form.

10:39 am

Quotable Quotes

Here are some quotes from a fellow Cherokee Indian and Oklahoman, Will Rogers:

The following quotes were found at: The Official Will Rogers Website

  • I never met a man I didn't like.
  • My ancestors didn't come over in the Mayflower--they met the boat.
  • Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.
  • The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.
  • I have a scheme for stopping war. It's this--no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one.
  • Civilization has taught us to eat with a fork, but even now if nobody is around we use our fingers.
  • The only way to solve the traffic problems of the country is to pass a law that only paid-for cars are allowed to use the highways. That would make traffic so scarce we could use the boulevards for children's playgrounds.

The following quotes were found at: The Quotations Page

  • I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.
  • I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
  • The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that's out always looks the best.
  • There ought to be one day-- just one-- when there is open season on senators.
  • There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
  • You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

10:18 am

Quotable Quotes

"The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet." - Mark Twain (Thanks to John Anderson for the quote.)

10:15 am

Reader Comments:

I thoroughly agree with you about the proposed new bankruptcy laws. The cost of bad debt is built into the business model - esentially, credit companies (and those that offer credit, like department stores) already charge their paying customers enough to cover losses from non-payers. OK, I think it is silly that a Ken Lay can declare bankruptcy and keep a multi-million dollar house, but it also means Joe Sixpack can keep his ninety-grand house - but under the new rules, Joe will have to sell his house to pay for bankruptcy proceedings. - John Anderson

August 12, 2002

10:05 pm

Bankruptcy Law

NY Times: August 13 Preparing Petitions: It Irks the Lawyers, but Is It Lawyering?

This is an interesting story that discusses the issues concerning non-attorney bankruptcy petition preparation and the proposed bankruptcy "reform" law. Here are a couple of excerpts from the story that I want to comment on...

Deborah L. Rhode, a law professor at Stanford who is an expert in legal services, has criticized the legal system for not providing affordable services or allowing others to do so.

"In `poor people's courts' that handle housing, bankruptcy, small claims and family matters, parties without lawyers are less the exception than the rule," Professor Rhode wrote in a law review article. "Almost all the scholarly experts and bar commissions that have studied the issue have recommended increased opportunities for nonlawyer assistance. Almost all the major rulings on the issue have ignored those recommendations."

Hmm... isn't this interesting? Her remarks speak volumes. The legal profession as we know it, does not adequately represents the interests of those at the lowest tier of our society. It's time to allow more room for traineded nonlawyer assistance, similiar to the practice of Physicians Assistants in the Medical field today.

If legislation to overhaul the bankruptcy system becomes law, bankruptcies will most likely become more expensive and less attractive to lawyers. Lawyers will, for instance, have to certify that they have investigated the accuracy of their clients' statements about their assets, debts, income and creditors, and lawyers will face penalties if the submissions turn out to be wrong.

Investigating such things costs money, which would drive legal fees higher. Some lawyers may decide that the consumer bankruptcy practice, which has never been particularly prestigious or lucrative, is not for them.

"People will have trouble finding a bankruptcy lawyer, or one they can afford," Professor Skeel said.

The new bankruptcy laws are garbage, and this quote illustrates this very clearly. The new laws are written for one purpose... to screw the poor for the benefit of credit card companies that contribute money to the political campaigns of those in power. It is not right and it is repugnant that many Republicans who trot out their Christian "faith" to sell themselves to the people of faith in their party, seem to have ignored the teachings of Isaiah, Amos, and Jesus on the issue of social justice.

Think about it. Many consumer BR lawyers will be unable or unwilling to meet the legal requirement to investigate their client's finances enough. The liability will be too high. As a result, some lawyers will stay in the biz, but will charge 5-10 times what they charge today for bankruptcies, while others will get out of the market.

Who will be hurt? Besides debtors' counsel, it will be the little man.

Who will benefit? Creditors' counsel, big credit card companies, mortage companies, predatory lenders who exploit the poor and minorities, and especially our elected officials. (including President Bush who took in more money from MBNA American that from any one else.)

6:06 pm


The Philadelphia Enquirer: The cheesesteak project --- Eat cheesesteaks for class credit? Four high school students joined Craig LaBan on a quest for the best example of Philadelphia's gift to world cuisine.

August 9, 2002

9:00 am


NY Times: Taboo Surfing: Click Here for Iran

For those who have access, the Internet is wildly liberating.

August 6, 2002

2:09 pm

Legal issues:

CNET.com: A legal hack? Only in America --- Could record and music executives who take advantage of the hacking provisions of a proposed U.S. bill face stiff penalties if they travel to countries that outlaw computer break-ins? Possibly. (Aug. 6)

This story raises some interesting jurisdictional questions.

1:37 pm

Oklahoma Politics:

NoLargent.com: A listing of GOP Gubernatorial Candidate, Steve Largent's dismal voting record in Congress

10:51 am

World Politics

Wash Post/MSNBC: Briefing depicted Saudis as enemies --- RAND analyst urges rethinking of Saudi Arabia as U.S. ally (Aug. 6)

I find this story to be very interesting. I think they are right in seeing that Saudi Arabia is not our friend, however they are drawing the conclusions for all of the wrong reasons. No where in the story does it say that Saudi Arabia is a repressive regime that does not respect religious freedom. This is the big issue.

I think the real reason that Saudi Arabia is slowly morphing into an enemy of America, is because America wants an excuse to seize Saudi assets invested in the US, and possibly even to invade Saudi Arabia and take control of their oil fields. Maybe not, but it sure makes you wonder? (Note Rand's recommendations that the US consider moving against Saudi oil fields.)

August 5, 2002

10:42 am


MSNBC/WSJ: Senate bean soup plan goes awry --- Selling famous soup not as simple as it seemed

2022: The above link is broken, but I think this is a more current link to the story that does work: WSJ.com Plan to sell Senate Bean soup became capitol cautionary tale - by Shailagh Murray (Aug. 5, 2002)

This is an interesting story. Reading it makes me want to cook up some of this famous soup. Here's the recipe as given in the article:

Take two pounds of dried navy beans, combine them with four quarts of hot water, 1 ½ pounds of smoked ham hocks, one chopped onion browned in two tablespoons of butter, and salt and pepper to taste (Garlic, carrots, celery, and chicken stock are also sometimes added.)

Here are some links to more information about this famous soup recipe:

August 3, 2002

9:48 pm

US Politics

The Washington Post Online edition has an interesting feature: Watergate Revisited, a retrospective on the scandal on its 30th anniversary.

8:59 pm

New Case Law

NY Times: After Sept. 11, a Legal Battle Over Limits of Civil Liberty (Aug. 4)

8:48 pm

World Politics

NY Times: Defying China, Taiwan's Leader Backs a Vote on Sovereignty (Aug. 4)

1:42 am

Movies and the Law

I watched a great movie today, Gideon's Trumpet. It stars Henry Fonda who plays folk hero Clarence Earl Gideon, an indigient person convicted of a felony in Florida before mandatory public defenders were required by law.

Watching the movie reminded me of the power of the courts to right wrongs (in this case, the Supreme Court granted cert. to Gideon even though his petition was hand-written from prison), but also the importance of quality legal representation for all defendants.

That's the problem though. The system is still messed up. Things are certainly better than it was in the 1960's when the Gideon case took place, but in Oklahoma (and I assume other states as well) folks who are still very poor are denied counsel because they aren't poor enough. This isn't right.

(Ok, I gotta get to bed. I'll talk more on this subject another time.)

1:29 am

New Cases

I am overjoyed to finally see the judiciary step up to the plate in defending the rights of the accused. According to MSNBC, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler has ruled that the government has 15 days to reveal the names of those detained in the investigation of the 9-11 attacks, subject to a few narrow conditions:

  1. If the detainee is a material witness to a terror investigation
  2. If the detainee requested it.

She also said that the names of the attorneys representing those individuals must be released as well. (Click here to find the case in PDF format on the website of the US District Court for D.C.)

What happens next should be interesting. Presumably, AG Ashcroft (past readers of this blog will know how low of an opinion I have of this man) will appeal to the Supremes. If they don't cave into fear, I think they will rule in the detainees favor. But if this happens, will the Justice & Defense departments comply with the ruling? I don't know. I personally think this could turn into a genuine constitutional crisis.

No matter what though, I am so proud that Judge Kessler is doing the right thing here. Maybe her ruling will be shot down, but I am just very thankful that at least one judge had the guts to stand up for the rights of criminal defendants, even when it is extremely unpopular to do so.