Wednesday, May 30, 2007
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Monday, May 28, 2007
Join a campaign to save the life of Kenneth Foster, Jr. and help shine a light on the injustice of the Texas death penalty system! Join us for an organizing meeting of groups and individuals who want to work together on this campaign.
For more information call 494-0667 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday May 30, at 6:30PM
1161 Angelina Street
(off Rosewood and Angelina. Take 11th Street east from I-35 about 7 blocks At the light, bear left onto Rosewood, then take a left on Angelina)
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Peña had a change of heart and has stopped linking to the toilet sounds website, but not before I was able to make a video of it. Watch the video. You will see Peña's blog. I click on the link to the Edinburg News on his blogroll. Instead of being taken to the Edinburg News, Peña sends me to the toilet sounds site.
Apprarently, Peña did not like the criticism from the Edinburg News, including their reposting of an article from the Rio Grande Guardian that quoted Senfronia Thompson, the house sponsor of the bill,
Thompson told the Guardian she had six votes for Ellis’s bill and told Peña that on Thursday. She said that at different times during Friday’s hearing the votes were there to pass the bill out but Peña would not bring it up for a vote. She said it was clear he was waiting for members to drift away.Retaliating against political critics by redirecting links to a toilet sounds website is really not the type of grown-up behavior we should be seeing from the chair of an important House committee. In fact, it's kind of scary and disgusting to think that the Chair of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence has the time to put links to toilet sounds on his blog, rather than doing his real job and maybe reading the text of the Innocence Commission bill, understanding how important it is and making sure the bill got out of his committee in a timely manner.
“I had enough votes for a significant period of time during the hearing,” Thompson said. “If you look at Chairman Peña’s actions this session, it is clear he sent the Innocent Commission bills on a slow boat to China.”
There has been a lot of speculation in the blogosphere in the past few days about who was responsible for the Innocence Commission bill (SB 263) dying in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The official death was last Friday when four committee members voted for it and two against it, with three members absent. It needed five votes to pass. Peña voted for it, but now it seems that he first waited to take the vote when other members who supported it were not there in order to ensure that it failed.
The San Antonio Express News wrote an editorial putting the blame on Aaron Peña, the chair of the committee: "The committee has had the bill since April 24. It should not have languished as it did, and that is Peña's responsibility."
After he was criticized for sitting on the bill by a post on the Burnt Orange Report last week, he scheduled a vote on the bill for last Friday. Then, writing on his own blog after the vote, Rep. Peña put some of the blame on the netroots for this disaster.
The much talked about Innocence Commission bill was brought to a vote today as I had promised. Although some refused to believe me that the votes were not there, as I represented, the votes were not there today and it failed for lack of a majority. There has been some pretty irresponsible behavior by a number of individuals who have been following SB 263. I am sorry to say that some bloggers are very much in this group.The Burnt Orange Report explained their criticism of Peña for bottling up the bill in another post:
It would have been inappropriate for us to ignore this legislation considering it was referred to a committee packed with Democrats and lead by a Democratic Chair (Peña) and Vice-chair, and supported by Democratic leaders in the Senate. Rep. Peña has decided that he will remove his link to us from his site. That's his choice, but we see no reason to engage in such pettiness.The Edinburg News commented on the deletions by writing:
The Burnt Orange Report has always been loyal to Aaron Peña. Now they're starting to question his Republican ways. So what does Aaron Peña do? He deleted their link from his web site. Another blog named Valley Politics was also deleted.Then Peña took his creepiest step yet. He decided to redirect the Edinburg News link to the Toilet Sounds website.
Expect to see more of this. As time gets closer to run for re-election. More and more blogs will be asking more and more questions. Aaron's theory is just ignore and delete. Lol You can do that on cyber space but reality is going to bite you in the butt.
Even though Rep. Aaron "Toilet Sounds" Peña changed his mind and removed the Toilet Sounds link, he has not fixed the link to the Edinburg News. The Edinburg News is still listed on his blogroll, but the link is blank. He also hasn't replaced the link to the Burnt Orange Report.
What a long, sordid story.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
silent night, holy night
all is calm, all is bright
round young homeless mother and child
hungry infant so tender and mild
sleep on America's streets
sleep on America's streets
Last Wednesday night, Tennessee executed Philip Workman despite his claims of innocence. For his last meal on earth, Philip Workman requested that his final meal be a vegetarian pizza donated to any homeless person located near Tennessee’s Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. The Tennessee Department of Corrections refused saying they were too focused on the execution procedures. But lots of normal people stepped in and hundreds of pizzas were delivered last week to Nashville's homeless community in Philip Workman's.
Not only Tennesseans responded to Philip Workman's request. Texans also took action. Texas Students Against the Death Penalty in collaboration with House the Homeless and Texas Moratorium Network collected donations from Austinites to purchase pizza. The Pizzas were delivered last Wednesday,May 16, at ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless). An act of generosity deserves notice and praise, regardless of who it was performed by and the mistakes they made in the past. Philip Workman used his last request to do something nice for homeless people. I thank him for that.
Homelessness and poverty are directly related to the increase in crime rate and the number of people that end up in our prison systems. Recently the U.S. Conference of Mayors released its latest findings on "hunger and homelessness" in America. Unfortunately, more people were homeless in 2006 than they were in 2005.
Among the many disturbing statistics of this year's report: 25% of the residents in emergency shelters were children. One-third of hungry adults were employed. In 86% of the cities, homeless folks had to be turned away from emergency shelters due to a lack of resources. About 74% of the cities saw a marked increase (7%) in the need for emergency food assistance. Over 23% of the requests for emergency food went completely unfilled. The length of time that someone remained homeless increased in 32% of the cities.
Now was Phillip Workman really innocent? We might never know the answer. But I recommend everybody to watch the following short video on the man who was responsible for feeding hundreds of homeless people around the country.
Friday, May 11, 2007
As TCASK's blog mentions, "last night, the regular citizens of Tennessee stepped up and picked up where the state dropped the ball. And they did it in Philip Workman's name." Not only Tennesseans have followed Philip Workman's request, but Texans are also responding. So far TSADP has collected more than $100 to send Veggie Pizzas to the Austin Homeless community in Workman's name. This could generate some local media coverage and also bring attention to the human side of the death-row inmates. If you are interested please pitch in a few dollars by going to our donation page. You can donate money with your credit card and y sending us a check.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
For bus tickets, call 212-633-6646. Go to www.millions4mumia.org to download May 17 literature. If you cannot go to Philly, join the Abolition Movement on May 17 at the Harris County Courthouse, 1201 Franklin at San Jacinto. Get your organization to endorse and come out on this crucial day to stand up in solidarity with Mumia.
Here are some facts:
* The oral argument in the case of death row, political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, is scheduled on May 17, 9:30 am, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Ceremonial Courtroom, 1st Floor, U.S. Courthouse,
6th and Market Streets. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and the National Lawyers Guild, which have filed amicus curiae (friend of the
court) briefs, are also participating.
* This case concerns Mr. Abu-Jamal’s right to a fair trial, the struggle against
the death penalty, and the political repression of an outspoken journalist.
Racism and politics are threads that have run through this case since his 1981
arrest. The complex issues under consideration, which are of great
constitutional significance, include:
* Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied the right to due process of law and a fair
trial under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments because of the
prosecutor’s “appeal-after- appeal” argument which encouraged the jury to disregard the presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt, and err on the side of guilt.
* Whether the prosecution’s use of peremptory challenges to exclude African
Americans from sitting on the jury violated Mr. Abu-Jamal’s rights to due
process and equal protection of the law under the Sixth and Fourteenth
Amendments, and contravened Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).
* Whether the jury instructions and verdict form that resulted in the death
penalty deprived Mr. Abu-Jamal of rights guaranteed by the Eight and
Fourteenth Amendments to due process of law, equal protection of the law, and
not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, and violated Mills v.
Maryland, 486 U.S. 367 (1988), since the judge
precluded the jurors from considering any mitigating evidence unless they all
agreed on the existence of a particular circumstance.
* Whether Mr. Abu-Jamal was denied due process and equal protection of the law under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments during post-conviction hearings as the result of the bias and racism of Judge Albert F. Sabo, which included the
comment that he was “going to help ‘em fry the ni - - er”.
Mumia has always fought for people’s rights! A united, broad movement can save
Mumia from a legal lynching! Free Mumia, Leonard Peltier, the Cuban 5, the MOVE 9 & all political prisoners!
Monday, May 07, 2007
It just couldn't be done, boys. A Warden can't be a warden and a killer too. The penitentiary is a place to reform a man, not to kill him.
Source: The Rope, the Chair, and the Needle Capitol Punishment in Texas, 1923-1990. By Marquart, James W., Sheldon Ekland-Olsen, and Jonothan R. Sorensen. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994. P14hair The Rope a
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Backed by the resources of Campus Progress and the Center for American Progress, Representatives will strive to build strong and sustainable progressive communities across the nation. Campus Progress Student Reps will receive special access to Center resources, including networking opportunities, funding, experts, and media and political guidance.
As a Campus Progress Representative you will help set up events with progressive speakers, strengthen progressive voices in print and other media, advance progressive causes at the local level, and participate in Campus Progress' national issue campaigns. This year, our Representatives will be working on issues like fighting the death penalty, ending the war in Iraq, making college more affordable, making their campuses more environmentally friendly, protecting the free exchange of ideas on campus, and advancing other key progressive issues, from civil rights to privacy to building a safer world.
Over the past year, our Campus Progress Student Representatives have played a critical role in our ability to spread the message and advance our work with young people all over the country. Here is what some of them had to say about the program:
When I came to DC last summer, I had no idea what Campus Progress had to offer. After attending several summer events and the national conference, I was inspired to take my progressive values to the next level, to take on a leadership role in my community back in Berkeley . As a Campus Progress representative, I had the opportunity to make lasting impacts on my campus as well as lasting friendships that will exceed my time as representative. -- Maytak Chin, UC-Berkeley
I liked having access to the listserv and seeing all the different events and activities that were going on at other campuses, and I liked having access to resources and feeling connected to a wider community of student activists. I also liked the support and encouragement provided by CP staff. -- Stephanie Lee, Miami U. of Ohio
Not to be too cheesy, but I was so happy to find CAP and Campus Progress. I am grateful to be part of an organization that is dedicated to authentic activism, sophisticated issue discussion, and a broad progressive movement. -- Lee Fang, U. of Maryland-College Park
We hope that you will apply to be a Campus Progress student Representative for the 2007-2008 school year. To apply, visit: http://www.campusprogress.org/repapp. Please apply before July 25th.
If you have any questions about the Student Representative program, Campus Progress, or the application process, please email email@example.com.