Saturday, March 27, 2010

Coffee Party: Issue Summit

Earlier today, Rob Nelb and I co-hosted a Coffee Party meeting at Bus Boys and Poets (BBP) restaurant in Washington, DC.

However, after two weeks of planning the Issue Summit meeting at BBP's 5th and K Street location, we discovered that at the exact same day and time, at BBP's 14th and V Street location, another Coffee Party Issue Summit meeting was planned with the organization's founder (Annabel Park) attending.

At this meeting CSPAN, FOX, and CNN were present. Needless to say, Rob and I were very discouraged about the fate of our meeting. In fact, in a moment of panic, I called BBP's event planner to cancel. I was informed that we could opt out as co-host but, since they advertised the program, they were going ahead as planned with or without us.

Long story short, we decided to proceed as planned. And no, we did not have a huge turn-out; but to my surprise, the meeting's attendance and intensity exceeded expectation. The group size was perfect for our topic. We substantively, coherently and rigorously discussed the topic of hand - mission accomplished.

What we lacked in glamour, we made up with grit. I am certain the other meeting was a resounding success; however, I re-learned a valuable lesson this morning.

It's not the size, it's the intensity that matters!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Comprehensive Health Care Reform at last!

Congratulations, President Obama for the historic and monumental political victory.

You placed your young presidency on the line and the congress, controlled by Democrats, delivered. With a presidential pen stroke, the USA joined the following countries who have Universal Health Care, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Columbia, Greenland, Mexico, United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales), Italy, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Finland, India, Israel, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the list goes on...

Yet, incredulously, the GOP (hijacked by the far right fringe) are still yelling terms like Armageddon in their continuing efforts to scare middle-America! Such wonton fear has led to death threats aimed at pro-life Democratic Bart Stupak and others.

All of this because we joined all the before mentioned industrial countries in providing our citizens the right to health care.

That sound is me scratching my head...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

2010: Southern Strategy Remix

The following was reported by the this morning:

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock.

Preceding the president's speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.

I do not find this behavior by Tea Party members the least bit surprising because many of us suspected that racism lurked just beneath the surface of their outrage. Many of us were fully cognizant that GOP operatives were covertly and sometimes overtly fanning the flames of hatred.

How else can you explain their lack of indignation at eight years of Bush/Cheney big government, record deficit spending, lack of transparency, no bid contracts, lies to promote war, squandering of our surplus, lack of corporate/Wall Street oversight?

Many of us get it when Rush Limbaugh calls President Obama a Third World president. We know what Sarah Palin means when she calls parts of our country the real America. We understand the coded language of Glen Beck, Sean Hannity and Fox news - they prey on the ignorance and hatred of their audience.

It's called the Southern Strategy - exploiting the racism of white voters in order to obtain power. As stated before, former RNC chief Ken Mehlman acknowledge that the GOP used this strategy and he apologized to the NAACP.

Tough to teach old dogs new tricks; especially when they work so well.