Archive for November, 2009

The enthusiasm gap

Digby has a reasonably good piece on this, but still fails to understand how serious the situation is.

This is NOT 1993. Clinton won a plurality in a three way race. Democrats had only the narrowest control of the House and Senate. Obama won in a landslide with overwhelming control in the House and Senate. We could have had another 88th Congress. But the Democratic leadersheep has no interest in that.

The DNC needs to take a survey of local Democratic Committees. Not an opinion survey, something much more basic, a membership survey. For example how many empty seats are there on average? Are committees only at 50% strength? What is attendance at monthly meetings? 20%? 10%? or only 5%?

Every Democratic woman over the age of 40 that I know of has left their local committee. The bad taste left by the primary never went away. These volunteers were too disciplined to walk out after the primary, so they kept their feelings to their selves, campaigned and voted for Obama. And after that they declined to reup their committee membership. There were no drama queen diaries on blogs about Why I will never volunteer for the Democratic Party Again, the women I am acquainted with don’t read blogs. But they knew the kinds of things that were written about Hillary supporters and they wanted no part of a political party where that style of rhetoric is acceptable.

If you don’t volunteer for a political party you have no idea how serious the woman’s walk out is for the party. Every local Democratic committee, each and every one, was dominated by middle aged women. They typically had an encyclopedic knowledge of their community. They know, off the top of their head, the name and phone number of the head of the local civic association, the President of the Sierra Club, the garden club, and every other imaginable community group. They have the sort of knowledge that is not for sale at any price.

All of this has left the Democratic party because of Obama and the misogyny of the Obots. It will not come back in our lifetime.

Action Alert: Public Property Campaign

Empower DC sent out the following email:

Call/Email the Council & Urge Their Support for Bill 18-76


Tuesday, December 1 st – 11: 0 0 AM

Wilson Building – 1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW room 500

Bring ID to Enter – Federal Triangle or Metro Center

Help Us PACK the HEARING ROOM with 100 people!


TAKE ACTION: Call/Email the Council

& Urge Their Support for Bill 18-76!

The Full Council will have a first reading of Bill1 8-76 on Dec 1st. Councilman Harry Thomas will introduce 2 key amendments to restore provisions that were stripped out during the committee process.

We need 7 votes in favor of the bill and Councilman Thomas’ amendments; 9 votes to be able to override a Mayoral veto

PLEASE EMAIL ALL Council Members & CALL Your Ward Councilperson, At-Large Member Kwame Brown & Chair Vincent Gray!


I am writing to urge your support for Bill 18-76 (The Public Land Surplus Standards Amendment Act of 2009) including the amendments that will be introduced by Councilman Thomas to restore key provisions to the bill. 18-76 enhances transparency, fosters community input and mandates facilities planning, developing a process for the city to identify its own facilities needs before declaring property “surplus.” The bill will assist the Council with better oversight of the city’s public assets by instituting a long overdue Master Facilities Plan, and requiring the Executive to hold a community hearing and consider public uses prior to asking the Council to “surplus” a property. I hope that I can count on your support.





Vince Gray, Chair

(202) 724-8032

Phil Mendelson, At Large

(202) 724-8064

Michael Brown, At Large

(202) 724-8105

Kwame Brown, At Large

(202) 724-8174

David Catania, At Large

(202) 724-7772

Jim Graham, Ward 1

(202) 724-8181

Jack Evans, Ward 2

(202) 724-8058

Mary Cheh., Ward 3

(202) 724-8062

Muriel Bowser, Ward 4

(202) 724-8052

Harry Thomas, Ward 5

(202) 724-8028

Tommy Wells, Ward 6

(202) 724-8072

Yvette Alexander, Ward 7

(202) 724-8068

Marion Barry, Ward 8

(202) 724-8045

Bill 18-76 was introduced by Councilman Thomas in December 2008, and signed on to by Michael Brown and Phil Mendelson. It was referred to the Committee on Government Operations (Chaired by Mary Cheh) and a hearing was held on May 29th, 2009 at which 100 residents testified in support. On November 19th, the committee held a second hearing (called a Mark-Up) at which they voted on the Bill. The committee passed the bill unanimously, but only after stripping out key elements. On December 1st the Council Committee of the Whole will hold its first reading of 18-76, at which Councilman Thomas will introduce amendments to restore the Master Facilities Plan and its advisory body (see below for more info). We are almost there! It’s VERY important that the Council hear from you!


Requires the Mayor hold a hearing in the evening/weekend, in the community BEFORE asking the Council to “surplus” a public property

Notifies ANCs 30 days prior to the hearing

Mandates a meaningful Master Facilities Plan for all DC government agencies, to assist with “repurposing” (rather then “disposing”) of public property

Mandates a regular audit of space being leased by DC government from private developers (current cost $140 million/year) and encourages saving taxpayer money by replacing leases with property we own

Create a Master Facilities Planning Committee, to facilitate the creation of the Master Facilities Plan and provide comment to the Council


Examples of Previously Disposed Public Property

Property: Former Use: Is Now/Will Be:

Randall School Homeless Shelter Art Gallery and Luxury Condos

Wormley School School Condos Starting at $1.3 million/unit

Gage School School Parker Flats Condos

Pierce School School Condos

Lovejoy School School Condos

Adams Morgan School Condos

Berret School School Condos

Carbery School School Luxury Lofts

Bryan School School Luxury Lofts

Giddings School School Results Gym

Mather Building UDC Building Condos

Arthur Capper Public Housing Parking Lot for New Baseball Stadium


Vote for Susie

Susie has been nominated for a cruise with Air America.

Could have told you and we did

What were you thinking? Obama was using the Social Security Crisis talking point as long ago as November 2007. He is from the University of Chicago, the epicenter of disaster capitalism. Employees of Golden Sacks were his second highest contributor.

Senator Webb must be very pleased

U.S. Sailor Acquitted of Rape, Despite Admission of Physical Force

What did you expect when you elected a disaster capitalism President?

Vote for University of Chicago disaster capitalism, get University of Chicago disaster capitalism.

What is wrong with these people?

Child molest is not a sex scandal. Child molest is a crime, a heinous crime!

Why we will see more pseudo scandals about Vincent Gray

New Poll: Gray Leads Fenty in Head-to-Head Mayoral Run

Politics of the public option vs single payer


Now, getting back to the thinking pattern of a lot of progressives in the Winter and Spring quarters of 2009, we can see that they decided that a social reality in which Medicare for All was feasible by the Summer or Fall of 2009 would never occur, and as a result of that prediction, they decided not to advocate for it anymore in this round of reform, but to advocate, in just as determined a way, for Public Option-based legislation, because they thought that it was the best that progressives could possibly hope for in the short run, and, many of them, thought, it might lead to single-payer over 5 – 10 years anyway. They set about creating, in other words, a social reality of reform with a robust PO.

They may well have been right about their prediction of the fate of Medicare for All, but I think they made a mistake when they concluded, further, that just because Medicare for All was unlikely to happen in the short run, they ought to give up pushing for it, and instead concentrate their political activity on pushing for a “robust” PO. I think this because, in deciding to take Medicare for All off the table, and working for a PO instead, they have brought forth a world in which the robust PO that was their pre-compromise position proved hard to communicate, became the left wing of the political spectrum of recognized possibilities, and the focus of attacks from the insurance industry, and so gave way in the legislative/lobbying process to what is likely to be at best a reform with a very, very weak PO, or even a “trigger,” that they must really bite their tongues to continue to support.

By committing to tactics of explicit advocacy of a robust PO, aimed at bringing about legislation, they set themselves on a path where the judgment that they needed as robust a PO as possible, always implied continued explicit advocacy of a robust PO at every stage of the legislative/lobbying process, regardless of the degree of defeat suffered at the preceding stage. When the most liberal House and Senate committees came out with disappointing bills that were quite far from the original idea of a robust PO, and had a completely unacceptable band-aid period, during which the majority of the deaths, bankruptcies, and foreclosures due to lack of health insurance would continue, they believed that they had to react with support of the best of those bills, because they offered the best available PO on the continuum of robustness. When the committees merged their bills, and even though the result fell far short of their original pre-compromise, there was nothing to do, they thought, but support and redouble efforts to prevent further erosion in the PO.


i think progressives and rest of citizenry need to declare political war on a Congress (and Prez) that sold us out to the corporations one more time.

re the “robust” option, progressive Congress people promised to vote ONLY for a robust bill. And Kucinich and Massa were the ONLY two who kept that promise. so are public option progressives all right with that? they are the ones who should be railing and rallying to fight for universal health care especially, having just been so profoundly betrayed!

S703 is coming up for a vote. so everyone IGNORES it because it is still not feasible and pragmatic re the bottom feeding corporate puppets? I say we put up a fight!!! I say it is time to share our outrage and rally the citizens, but at the very least, back up the universal health care people still fighting bravely, the single payer Medicare for All folks committing acts of civil disobedience, going to JAIL to help America get universal health care and not feed the profit coffers of the corporations.

Let us take it to the mattresses. I am calling the Senate nightly to vote yes for Sanders’ S703!!!! I am also talking up this bill to the non-choir people in my social network for whom so much of this has been under the wire. Who trust that our new President and our Democrats regard the citizens as their constituency, and not the corporations as those watching more closely truly grasp.

John Merrow, up to his old tricks

This NewsHour report on Rhee’s most recent layoffs deceives viewers in the worst possible way, but omission of crucial informaiton.

At no time does Merrow inform viewers that Rhee violated the law by keeping summer school when it had been expressely cut from the budget. The money from summer school would have been sufficient to pay for all the new hires.

Merrow also fails to inform his viewers of the catastrophic impact of the layoffs, that one elementry school has no third grade because the only third grade teacher was laid off, that one high school lacks both a French teacher and chemistry teacher. If you go to that high school you cannot take French or chemistry because the teachers who taught those subjects were laid off. Rhee is trashing the DC school system and WETA’s failure to insist on quality reporting is shameful. Truly shameful.