Archive for

January, 2006



A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . .

Actually, it was two pretty good times, the flip sides of the coin of organizing. It was the driving the length of the state in between the two that was a little less than scintillating.

On Monday evening I was in Chattanooga to facilitate the Chattanooga TCASK meeting, and yesterday I was in Memphis to speak at a wonderful church and begin the process of reactivating Memphis. It’s been a busy couple of days, but all the long driving has certainly given me a chance to reflect on the different sides of the organizing work that we do.

Last night’s talk certainly has more glamour. I was invited and fed and got to stand up in front of about 50 people and discourse on the problems in the capital punishment system, the inhumanity of executions, the Gospel’s call to forgiveness, and the need for a moratorium. It was a great audience, ranging in age from about 13 to probably 60 or 70. I was asked a lot of really insightful questions, and just about everyone signed moratorium petitions. Plenty of people asked how they could become more involved. I got lots of hand shakes and thanks afterwards (not to mention offers to stay the night so I wouldn’t have to drive all the way back to Nashville). We even got one spontaneous $100 donation to TCASK!

On Monday night, on the other hand, I sat in the Chattanooga TCASK meeting with 8 people in it. I didn’t give any big speeches (actually maybe you should check with the others who attended on this, since I do tend to run on). There was nothing so “glamorous” in the setting. But, to tell you the truth, the 8 person meeting may have been even more productive. True, we didn’t get 40 new moratorium resolutions or $100, but we did get a moratorium resolution team formed to go out and actually canvas small businesses to pass moratorium resolutions. We did make concrete plans for our annual write-a-thons on March 1st (International Abolition Day). We did set up a lobby training date, so we can build the skills of the membership in Chattanooga so we can actually move legislators toward support of abolition. We set up some meetings with clergy members to oppose the execution of the mentally ill.

They’re little steps taken individually, but taken together, they form an action plan. It means that when I go and speak at a church in Chattanooga, we’ll have a number of actions that people can immediately plug into and get involved. It means that we have a plan of action. And I think that it’s all about those little actions. Because as we link them together we get a movement.

I love the bigger speaking engagements. they are terrific, and absolutely necessary to expand our base and get our message out. but without our smaller organizational meetings and action plans, they don’t get us anywhere. So really (with my apologies to Dickens) it was the best of times, it was the other best of times. Enjoy it all!

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be so dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile dysfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Gettin’ Folksy

Since arriving in Tennessee, the question I seem to get most often, when people hear that I’m from New York City, is “quite a culture shock, isn’t it?” Now to be honest, it is a little bit of a shock to come from NYC to anywhere, and Nashville isn’t quite around the corner. But there are also a lot things in common. There seems to be some commonality between cities generally, even if my hometown is 16 times the size of Nashville. Tennessee, however, is more than just Nashville.

In fact Tennessee is a very rural state. There is an awful lot of farm land out there. And we, as abolitionists, need to speak to all of it (the Lieutenant Governor’s district is a number of rural counties out in West Tennessee) which brings me to. . . . gettin’ folksy!

I was just on the phone to a farmer I’ve been speaking to in one rural area and found myself using euphemisms like “ya can’t put tooth paste back in the tube” and “we won’t throw into the deep end without swimming lessons.” My silly sounding speech notwithstanding, it is the job of any good organizer to speak the language of the people we’re trying to organize. This means that we need to master the language of the mental illness community when we talk to NAMI chapters, and we have to be able to quote the Bible when we talk to religious groups. So we need to be a little bit country sometimes. Hmmmm, maybe I should learn how to drive a tractor. . .

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying heartiness conditions that can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile malfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Organizational Dilemma

A quick caveat. Nothing in this post should be conceived of as conveying anything other than ecstatic delight at the recent stay of execution received by Greg Thompson (see the previous posts of this week)

Stays of executions are great. This most recent one resulted in a spontaneous Alex dance party around the office (be careful if you ever have “I Will Survive” playing when I’m around). However, they do leave us with a little organizer’s dilemma. We’ve been gearing up to deal with this execution all week. On Monday, I’m going to one of our chapters to talk about the case. We’re trying to bring a lot of people into the meeting to reinvigorate the chapter. What to do now? Invitations and email have been sent out. Calls have been made. A car has even been rented. And we need to have the meeting, because we need to get that city activated. So where do we go from here?

That’s the problem with organizing around executions. They either happen, and people feel like they are failures and drift away, or they don’t and people feel successful and they drop away. Or all of a sudden you don’t have anything to organize around. It’s tough. But with execution dates approaching, no abolition organization can afford to avoid it.

So what do we do with this meeting? We’re going to have it, because we’ve set it up and because we may be able to get people there. What do I talk about? How about the fact that a man so mentally ill came this close to execution and could still be executed? Greg Thompson’s case still demonstrates the ridiculously narrow parameters by which our legal system defines competence. And then what we need to do to ensure that it never happens again. So on Monday I’ll be on the road (to abolition) to talk about why we need to keep working, even though Greg Thompson’s life isn’t in imminent danger (imminent of course being a relative term). There are still 103 people on Tennessee’s death row, and I certainly don’t want to have to gear up for 103 executions.

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as soul trouble. Albeit the erectile malfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be very dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

it’s a bird, it’s a plane …….it’s a stay of execution!

for seven weeks i put it off …. all my other organizing and management tasks were flying through the air – productivity out the yin-yang as we say…

but i kept putting off this most important task … didn’t want to face it … for seven weeks it went on the randy-to-do list at our monday morning staff meetings and while everything else got methodically checked off this one didn’t ….

the greg thompson pre-execution action timeline …. these things suck … no better way to say it … (see yesterday’s blog) – this one looked like it was going to happen, pretty much 4000 pages of documented severe mental illness and all…

so tuesday i faced the demon and put together, along with alex, a pretty darn good action plan, alex drafted a couple of letters to the editor, and we began the planning, action by action leading up to a clemency effort and … 1:00 a.m. february 7th…

and today i spoke with another attorney assigned to his case, we shared the action plan with the legal team, and awaited a response…

and about 3 p.m. we got one … it said, “Judge Edgar granted a stay of execution. We will get past February 7th…”

that’s right – a STAY OF F___KING EXECUTION BABY!

the tennessee (legal team) magic continues —

peace out, there’s a bottle of knob creek with my name on it somewhere…

<3

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual claim among men is the erectile malfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be so dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Dealing with Death

In a lot of ways, we’re very blessed in Tennessee. Reading the execution alerts for January I saw that Texas has three executions scheduled this month alone! We in Tennessee have gotten spoiled. We may have 103 people awaiting execution, but we haven’t had an execution since 2000. Unfortunately, that streak may come to an end soon, because Greg Thompson is scheduled to be killed on February 7th.

Thompson is a severely mentally ill man who has been on Tennessee’s death row for 21 years. He has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, and bi-polar disorder. He experiences hallucinations, hears voices, and holds delusional beliefs such his being a Klingon or that he can survive electrocution because when he touches his TV he gets a shock. Yet the state has still deemed Thompson competent to be executed.

In the office, we’ve really been getting ourselves into gear to challenge the Thompson execution. Last night at the Nashville TCASK meeting we went over plans to oppose it here in Nashville. On Monday, I’ll be traveling to Chattanooga to talk to as many people as possible about Greg’s case and get them ready to fight. We’re drafting sample letters to the editor and talking points for even more. We’re making calls to partner organizations to see how they can be involved. We’re planning actions and vigils and phone calls. We’re asking people particularly to sign the online Greg Thompson clemency petition.

It’s hard to imagine living in Texas, or another high-execution state) and dealing with this on a far more regular basis. The idea that our state is about to murder someone in our names is a revolting and shocking one. My hat is off to those incredible abolitionists who can have the strength to do this month after month.

Randy and I were discussing how to we face the execution. We both admit that the outlook is grim, although we hold out hope that we can stop this horrible thing from happening. But how do you deal with the methodical preparation to kill someone? One approach is to assume that it is going to happen. This allows people to steel themselves against it and be prepared. It probably helps prevent burnout and at least a little of the huge emotional crash that could follow an execution. But it can also lead to despondency and depression even before the execution. So we can remain optimistic and believe that something will change, that there will be a stay, a last minute appeal, that the Governor will find mercy and compassion in his heart. But that leaves us open to crashing if this does happen.

I find myself oscillating between the two, and I’m not sure which I like better. I know that we are doing everything that we can, but I fear that this won’t be enough. And does that make us somehow personally culpable? Because if it happens, we will always wonder, could we have done more? Was there an argument that we could have made that would have swayed more people? If I’d made just a few more phone calls to speeches, would things have turned out differently?

Of course, on some level, we’re all culpable, as residents of a state that executes people. It is our government and our representatives that allow the policy to continue, but individuals can only do so much. In the end, I suppose we’ll brace for the worst but hope for the best. We’ll do all that we can and hope that that is enough to let us sleep at night. I don’t know that it will, but if we don’t have hope, we have nothing.

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile malfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile malfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be very dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Does Innocence Matter?

There are big days coming up in the New Year, but an un-heralded one may be next Wednesday, January 11th. In 9 days, the U.S. Supreme court will hear the appeal of Paul Gregory House, a man who has been on Tennessee’s death row for over 20 years, and has extremely strong claims of innocence; all the physical evidence linking House to the crime has been disproved or called into extreme doubt by the advent of DNA testing, and there are no witnesses to the crime and no confession. No confession by House that is. There are a number of witnesses who state that another man, the victim’s husband, confessed to the murder.


The Supreme Court has not decided an innocence claim in a number of years, and next Wednesday’s decision will offer a chance for the court to state whether or not the habeas process is open to those whoa re innocent or simply to correct procedural errors. The L.A. Times ran a great story on the House case that has more details and can be viewed at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-deathcase2jan02,1,1468579.story?coll=la-headlines-nation

It’s worth a look.

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile dysfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.