I do not need to tell you that this weekend was historic. Late Sunday night, David Hart of Grow the Hope and I watched the vote together from David's living room. It was not lost on me that his living room is where many of us are accustomed to coming together for causes greater than ourselves. As we witnessed the votes being cast, David prepared this response that we broadcasted live right after the House passed health care reform last night. (transcript below the fold):
I have written about the power of personal stories on multipleoccasions. Personal stories make abstract issues like health care reform real. They paint a picture, like a good author detailing the numerous traits of a single brick in a wall. And storytelling creates empathy amongst neighbors. Last night, we heard plenty of personal stories, from one side of the aisle.
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with C-Span, they confirmed our research. Congressman Dreier was incorrect when he claimed that C-Span covered the House Rules Committee meetings when Medicare Part D was "rammed down our throats" at 3:00am. We have reached out to Congressman Dreier's office for a response and await their reply.
Today, I sat in on the Rules Committee hearing. It was a rather arcane meeting today to authorize suspension bills to be brought to the House floor over the next couple days and the weekend. Currently, House rules prohibit suspension bills from being brought to the floor between Thursday and Sunday without the rules committee specifically allowing it. (Why? I am still trying to figure that out.)
Today I dropped in on the health care rally in DC. Everyone who's anyone was there (not literally, but it certainly felt that way when I was there).
Howard Dean was there. We got to ask him if he thinks the Democratic leadership is prepared to move forward without Republicans and if he agrees with the statement that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer made at the health care summit that everyone shares the same goal of covering all Americans:
I really hate having to come back to this over and over again. Let's get our abortion-and-health-care basics down folks. The Senate bill does nothing to change the standard we have lived by that no federal funding shall be used for abortion.
Yesterday, we were humbled when folks from the DC/MD/VA area packed into the living room of David Hart, founder of Grow the Hope, for a fundraiser to help us cover the annual Netroots Nation conference. We could not have been more thrilled with the level of energy in the room.
Our featured speaker, Chris Hayes, the DC Editor of The Nation, gave a rather fantastic speech that we wanted to share with you all right away:
(Footage purchased from Sam Sumner, originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change)
As you may be aware, this weekend (tomorrow to be exact) marks the 37th anniversary of the passage of Roe v Wade, the supreme court decision that effectively legalized abortion nationwide. We have been working on a documentary about clinic escorts for some time now (tomorrow we will be making a big announcement about the film, sign up for our emails and you will be one of first to hear about it), so this weekend is a big chance for us to get some footage.
When I got back home from volunteering at the clinic, I saw an email from Operation Rescue announcing a press conference at the White House today. Luckily, I was able to track down a freelance videographer who sold us some great exclusive footage of Operation Rescue's President, Troy Newman, failing several times to name a single part of the current health care bills that allows for federal funding of abortion (although he knows for a fact it does, he just cannot tell you how):
A while back, we covered a somewhat unique story. Joe Szako, the Executive Director of the Virginia Organizing Project, had been arrested while attempting to contact Anthem Insurance during a demonstration at their headquarters. We were there when Mr. Szako appeared in court, Tuesday September 22nd 2009, in Henrico, VA. You can read more about the arrest and watch video footage of the arrest here.
At the end of November, the case ended with Mr. Szako a free man, for the most part. He will have to stay out of trouble for six months (and yes, that includes any visits to Anthem's headquarters):
Last week, we joined pro-choice activists from all across the country on Capitol Hill. They came to support health care reform and the public option, and they came to fight against the Stupak amendment and any bans on women's reproductive health coverage. The program began with rally, after which, the groups headed to scheduled meetings with their legislators. We tagged along with a group from Sister Song in New Orleans and joined them for the visit with Senator Mary Landrieu's office.
We have extensive coverage of the day's events, with plenty of full speeches.
On Wednesday, just days before the House passed historic health care legislation, I tagged along with the Virginia Organizing Project (VOP) and residents from all over Virginia as they visited Capitol Hill to share their personal health care stories with their Senators and Representatives. You can read more about it in our written report from the day, but today we present you with our video coverage:
Yesterday, I tagged along with the Virginia Organizing Project (VOP) and residents from all over Virginia as they visited Capitol Hill to share their personal health care stories with their Senators and Representatives. As Kevin Simowitz, a VOP organizer, said to the group before their scheduled meetings:
"They [Congress] get lobbied all the time, right? Our estimates show that the insurance lobby spends about $641,000-a-day lobbying Congress. Now, we can pass a plate, but we're probably not gonna come up with that much money. The thing that we can do is you all can bring your personal stories about why we're here and why we need a public health insurance option as part of the bill. And if you're speaking out of your own experiences, speaking in non-partisan language, and speaking about what needs to happen... we're gonna walk out of this meeting a little bit further along the health care road than where we are."
We will have a video report for you on Monday, but for today I will share with you what these meetings were like and what was discussed.
Last week, the Virginia Organizing Project (VOP) and Democracy for America (DFA) took to the metro with Representative Gerry Connelly, well, a cutout of him anyway. Volunteers asked passing metro riders if they would like to take a picture with the cutout for fun, and make a call to Representative Connolly and Senator Warner in support of a public option and a health care reform bill. The event made for some great hangin-with-Connolly interviews (with some unexpected street-side musical accompaniment)...
I present to you, The Doctor's Option (transcript for the video-impaired below the fold):
This is our video for Organizing for America and the Democratic National Committee's Health Reform Video Challenge. Written/Produced/Directed by Will Urquhart and Mitch Malasky. Starring Yvette Lewis and Dr. Joann Urquhart, MD. A special thanks to David Hart for helping to make this video happen.
If you enjoy this, please go to the video, rate it/comment on it/favorite it and share, share, share. The more attention it gets, the more likely OFA/DNC will pick it for the 20 finalists.
Let's consider what happened to our economy without a strategy. Republicans pontificate on the economy and "free markets," but just review President Bush's strategy. Economic strategy, not tactics. Big bold direction, not pandering. Eight years without a rudder left us stranded on rocky shoals. That vacuous policy is documented for posterity in his National Security Strategies (NSS). Bush had two chances to explain his economic vision and he was, shall we say, indifferent:
"Ultimately, the foundation of American strength is at home. It is in the skills of our people, the dynamism of our economy, and the resilience of our institutions. A diverse, modern society has inherent, ambitious, entrepreneurial energy. Our strength comes from what we do with that energy. That is where our national security begins." (From the 2002 NSS)
Well, that's possibly as vague a strategy as you can design and not leave any competent economist bent over laughing. Let's compare that to a portion of President Clinton's strategy:
Our primary economic goal is to strengthen the American economy. The first step toward that goal was reducing the federal deficit and the burden it imposes on the economy and future generations...the federal budget deficit as a percentage of the (GDP) was lowered from 4.9 percent in (FY) 1992 to 2.4 percent in (FY) 1995 -- the lowest since 1979. And (FY) 1995 was the first time that the deficit has been reduced three years in a row since the Truman Administration. We are building on this deficit reduction effort with other steps to improve American competitiveness: investing in science and technology; assisting integration of the commercial and military industrial sectors; improving information networks and other vital infrastructure; and improving education and training programs for America's workforce...
Blue Commonwealth is a community forum for the discussion of political issues of interest to Virginians.
The opinions expressed by users of this website do not necessarily reflect the views of Blue Commonwealth or its editors.