Quit The Party?

Lots of people are really upset that the House and Senate voted to censure MoveOn. Me, too. There is a LOT of talk about “quitting the party” to “send a message.”
There is a problem with that thinking. Ralph Nader ran in 2000 to “send a message” to “the Democrats.” It didn’t send a message and got maybe half a million Iraqis killed. Maybe more.
The reason it did not “send a message” was that the Democratic Party is not a top-down organization. It is a bottom-up organization. IT IS US. You don’t “send a message” to yourself, you ACT. The way to act on this is to show up at party meetings, vote, run for office and take over the party. It is also to fund outside organizations like Commonweal Institute so they can reach the public, create popular understanding and appreciation of, and demand for, progressive values and ideas, and turn them around from this nightmare we’re living under.

I Sent The Wrong Man To Jail

by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino
March of 1995 began like any other month for me. The days were filled with chasing soon to be five year-old triplets, washing hundreds of pounds of laundry, kissing skinned knees and picking up toys, until the phone rang. Captain Mike Gauldin, the detective who worked my case after a man broke into my apartment when I was a twenty-two year-old college student and raped me at knifepoint in Burlington, N.C. wanted to come see me with Rob Johnson, then the assistant D.A. of Alamance County.
They arrived before lunch and we sat on the deck enjoying the spring sunshine. We talked about the weather, the kids, current events, and then quickly the topic changed. Ronald Cotton, the man sent away for life for attacking me, wanted a DNA test. They needed new blood drawn because my sample from the eleven year-old rape kit had deteriorated.
I had already sat through two trials and I was furious, but I didn’t hesitate. “Let’s go to the lab right now,” I responded. Within hours Mike Gauldin and Rob Johnson were headed to the SBI labs with my vial of blood. I knew the tests would show what I had known all along: that Ronald Cotton was a monster. It was Ronald Cotton who threatened to kill me, who had chased me through the rain that night while I fled for my life. And it was Ronald Cotton who I saw every night in my nightmares, who I prayed God would have killed, and who I hated each and every day of the last eleven years.

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If you are following the situation in Burma/Myanmar, go see the stories at or, most important, leave a story at the brand-new Burma Newsladder
Try the What’s Up and What’s New tabs.
The newsladder is a new project that I am involved in.

Rush Says Iraq Troops Are “Phony Soldiers”

In recent days the Senate and then the House voted to condemn MoveOn for an ad that questioned General Petraeus’ statistics on improvements in Iraq. Many Democrats joined in the condemnation.
Yesterday Rush Limbaugh said that troops serving in Iraq are “phony soldiers.” From Media Matters – Limbaugh: Service members who support U.S. withdrawal are "phony soldiers"
Where are the Democrats who voted to condemn MoveOn? Why are they not demanding a vote to condemn Limbaugh for this? The Carpetbagger Report also wants to know.
Update – Considering that the Congress JUST voted to condemn MoveOn, there are a LOT of upset people. New additions, Crooks and Liars, Down With Tyranny, Cliff Schecter, TalkLeft, AmericaBlog, Digby (with a list of similar comments from Rush – all as yet not condemned by the Congress)

Today’s Housing Bubble Post – New-Home Sales And Prices Plunge (Again)

New-home sales plunge 8.3% to seven-year low,

Median sales price down 7.5% in past year, biggest drop in 37 years
Sales of new homes dropped 8.3% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 795,000, the slowest sales pace since June 2000, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday.
Sales are now down 21.2% in the past year, with no sign of a bottom in the crippled housing market.
… The median sales price fell 7.5% to $225,700 compared with a year earlier, the largest year-over-year decline in 37 years.

The worst is yet to come. Maybe a year from now is the time to start thinking about loking for a bottom.

Angelina Jolie at CGI

I just attended a press conference where Angelina Jolie announced a significant initiative to help educate children in conflict areas.  This will be discussed at the afternoon plenary session that begins soon.  The project was founded by Jolie and Gene Sperling.
The announcement is the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict.  It brings together eighteen commitments to reach a total of one million "children in conflict, post-conflict refugee and emergency situations."  This includes placing 350,000 out-of-school chindren in schools, and "improving the learning environment, safety, materials and teacher quality for another 650,000 students-including 200,000 Iraqi refugees and 300,000 children affected by the crisis in Darfur." 
The dollar amount of this project is $148 million.  I’ll post more information and links to details as it becomes available.
A couple of photos from the press conference:

Today’s Housing Bubble Post – Biggest Price Drop in 16 Years

Imissed this yesterday because I was traveling… S&P: US Home Price Decline Accelerates,

U.S. Homes Post Steepest Price Drop in 16 Years
The decline in U.S. home prices accelerated nationwide in July, posting the steepest drop in 16 years, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday.

So the situation: a huge wave of “ARM resets” – steep rises in monthly payments for holders of adjustable mortgages – is only beginning. Then it takes several months before they get into enough trouble to be forced into foreclosure. At the same time, it is hard to get a mortgage now, the largest number of homes for sale in history, and everyone aware that prices are falling and it is just stupid to buy a house now. So prices are going to be dropping, maybe a lot, for some time. There is no way around it.
(Feel free to add other “doom and gloom” factors in the comments.)

Governor Schwarzenegger’s Chance to Lead

By John Van de Kamp
Health care reform hasn’t made it to the Governor’s desk this year, but 3 crucial public safety bills have. Governor Schwarzenegger has the opportunity to sign landmark legislation that would help prevent wrongful convictions in California, and make this state a leader in addressing a serious nationwide problem.
How serious is the problem? When the innocent go to prison, the guilty go free. That is a very serious public safety problem. And it happens more often then most people think.
Just recently, Stephen Colbert interviewed the 200th DNA exoneree, Jerry Miller. Colbert gave him a card on behalf of “society” saying “Sorry.” Here in California, Herman Atkins spent 12 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Here is Herman Atkins’ story:

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2007 Clinton Global Initiative

I am in New York where I will be blogging, beginning tomorrow, from the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative. I will be blogging for Social Edge, and you can read my posts there. I have an introductory post up already – and last year’s posts are still up. I’ll be cross-posting some of my posts here, but visit the Social Edge blog for the rest.

Chris Thomas Is Not Silenced

Chris Thomas getting arrested in DC last weekend:

As you can see, Chris wasn’t going to be silenced. I think toward the end there the cops arresting him were chanting too.
Quiz: What does Chris want, and when?
He writes,

There were a lot of arrests in DC last week. By my count there were at least 230 in 4 different actions. I thought my blogging friends might like to hear about them.
As far as my arrest, I actually only decided to cross the police line after I saw Colonel Ann Wright go over the wall and get arrested first (that was after many Vets from Iraq Veterans Against the War first crossed the line).
As you probably know, Colonel Wright was a career military woman (30 years) and was one of three State Department officials who resigned after the Iraq invasion. It actually was really inspiring and humbling to be in a DC “jail” with people who have been arrested many, many times. Probably 70% of the group were women, 15% Veterans (mostly men), and 15% other men. Many of the women were grandmothers. One of them, Maddie, was 84. 90% of the Capitol police were nice. They are on our side, but their superiors seem to be cracking down on activists. (One Codepinker was arrested on Friday for having “No War” pinned to her shirt while walking into the Jefferson Memorial. She was released 24 hours later with paper work that indicated that they “declined to proceed with prosecution” (huh?). They kept us in cuffs on a bus for five hours, then uncuffed us and put us on metal chairs for four more hours. They finally began processing us out at 3 AM (11 hours after our arrest) and finally fed us – get this – bologna, mayo and white bread sandwiches at 5 AM. I got out at 6:30 AM
I went to a teach-in on Thursday where Daniel Ellsberg spoke. He said an action in Iran in the next 15 months is “likely” and stopping that action should be our highest priority. If we take action on this Muslim country, we will do that much more to recruit a generation of people who hate the US.

Another video from last weekend:

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Go Visit MoveOn.org

Have you visited MoveOn’s website lately? MoveOn.org: Democracy in Action
MoveOn is run by its members – you and me. Completely. They only have 17 employees. MoveOn is about what YOU want the organization to do.
From their About page:

With over 3.3 million members across America – from carpenters to stay-at-home moms to business leaders – we work together to realize the progressive promise of our country. MoveOn is a service – a way for busy but concerned citizens to find their political voice in a system dominated by big money and big media.
… Every member has a voice in choosing the direction for both MoveOn.org Political Action and MoveOn.org Civic Action. Using our ActionForum software, you can propose priorities and strategies. Both organizations also take the initiative to organize quick action on other timely issues that our members care about.

If you are not a MoveOn member this is a good time to sign up.