I stayed in Pittsburgh at the home of famed Medical Examiner and Attorney, Cyril Wecht-- a friend of Jerry. And had lunch on Saturday with Jerry, Dr. Wecht, Gov. Don Siegelman, his daughter, director John McTiernan (who directed Die Hard 1 and 3, Predator and Hunt for Red October)Gail Sistrunk, a former college president who gave a powerful presentation on Dept of Justice abuses, and a few others.
I met and chatted with Howard Dean, Markos Moulitsas of Dailykos, John Byrne of Raw Story, and dozens of other bloggers.
Markos and me.
I attended presentations on activism, organizing, feminist blogging, the Judiciary Dept. Attorney scandal, progressive "whip" organizing, twitter (realized I'm ahead of most of the twitterverse) and more.
The conference gave me a lot of ideas we'll be implementing here, some ideas for presentations I'll be proposing for next year, and a good feel for how OEN is doing.
There was a report that when Obama top aide, Valerie Jarrett spoke, there was some booing. Well, Jerry and I didn't boo, but we did speak out a few times, like when she told us to "trust Obama." Or when she told us to take it easy in our ciriticism. Frankly, on the way out to Pittsburgh, while I was packing my trunk for the six+ hour trip, I noticed I had an Obama sticker on my bumper and tore it off. Obama's been a disappointment so far-- his appointees, his health care plan, his signing statements, Guantanamo, refusal to release photos , failure to fire Rove vetted, Bush appointed DOJ attorneys, failure to investigate, all kinds of things Rahm Emanuel does. That's just a short list. I was talking to one of our managing editors last night, Linda Milazzo, and she'd told me she had put a list together too. I think a lot of people have either put one together or could easily reel off a long list of reasons to be disappointed in Obama.
I know it's still early, but there's no excuse for his not firing the Bush appointed attorneys. As both Governor Don Siegelman and Dr. Cyril Wecht said, keeping these Rove vetted people in power is enabling them to continue to harm america and destroy people's lives.
Gov. Siegelman and me.
Eric Holder is at risk of becoming the WORST ATTORNEY GENERAL IN US HISTORY. That's right. If he fails to right the wrongs, investigate the crimes that Gonzales perpetrated and allowed under his watch, and even allows Bush appointees to continue, and allows the prosecutorial misconduct engaged in under Bush to stand, Holder could go down in history as WORSE than Gonzales-- the worst Attorney General in American history. So far, he is on track for that designation. Someone on MSNBC should do a daily count on Holder and Obama, like Keith Olbermann does with the Iraq war, counting how many days Holder and Obama have still allowed the Rove-vetted, Bush appointed DOJ prosecuting attorneys to have their jobs. The counts should include updates on abuses by this batch of partisan abusers of democracy. Cyril Wecht suggested that since the Attorney General usually retains some of the appointees of the past president, Eric Holder should re-hire the 9 attorneys that were involved in the attorney firing scandal, because they refused to engage in partisan political prosecutions. Then Holder could fire ALL of the other Bush appointees. The crowd cheered at that suggestion. In my personal conversations with Wecht and Siegelman, they both repeatedly pointed out Obama's and Holder's failure to fire the Bush prosecutors who had bedeviled them with prosecutorial misconduct. We need to get these truly evil people out of positions of power.
I had a chance to speak with Alaskan blogger Shannyn Moore, who we started reprinting on OEN last summer, who's been on the Olbermann program lately, and she said she'd pitch the idea to him. I'm guessing it would be a great count for Ed Schultz or Rachel Maddow. Feel free to drop them a note and suggest it to them.
Turning up the Heat Under Obama's Feet
We knew, the day Obama was elected, that we would have to really put his feet to the fire to make him keep his promises and to make him do the right thing, in terms of undoing the wrongs of the Bush administration. Obama has repeatedly said that we need to push him. It's becoming clear we have to raise the temperature of the fire.
I haven't given up on Obama, but he MUST be pushed and pushed hard. We need to play hardball, just like his bad cop, Rahm Emanuel has been doing. Never forget that when Emanuel plays mean, nasty, anti-progressive bad guy, he is working for Obama. One of the goals of progressives should be to force the removal of Emanuel from the White house.
I Get Advice on Single Payer from Howard Dean
I spoke with Howard Dean at a reception. I told him how I've been thinking that it would really help single payer health care advocate efforts if the GAO did an accounting estimate on the ten year cost of single payer. Most in the movement believe it would cost less than the Obama plan. He replied that a member of congress can ask the GAO to do a study, and suggested that John Conyers could ask. Conyers is the sponsor of the HR676 single payer bill. I'll be contacting his office tomorrow about this. Anyone else?
At a press conference, OEN writer Jerry Policoff asked Joe Sestak about his position on single payer. Sestak replied that he opposed Kucinich's amendment because of a sentence that ruled out for profit options, but that he supported single payer. Jerry, who's putting in full time working on single payer, tells me that Sestak's answer made it clear that he wasn't yet fully up to speed, Sestak told him to get in touch. We're going to try to get a meeting with Sestak so we can get him up to speed on how single payer works. Not to be uneven handed, Jerry challenged Arlen Specter, at a Town Hall, in July, for using Republican anti- health care reform talking points in his responses and talks. To his credit, Specter changed his tune and has, since that time, talked about keeping single payer on the table. I want to know why, if he says that, he hasn't signed on to the senate bill supporting single payer. The great thing is, both candidates are open to discussion. I told Joe Sestak I wanted to talk to him about single payer and he told me he'd appear as a guest on my radio show. I'm hoping he and his policy aide will have that meeting with Jerry Policoff before my show.
BTW, I'm hoping to have the writer and director of the video; THE POLITICAL PROSECUTIONS OF KARL ROVE on my radio show this wednesday, John McTiernan (director of Die Hard 1 and 3 and Hunt for Red October,) and former college president Gail Sistrunk.
"The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove"
A video by Project Save Justice
If the video doesn't appear above, access it at this link:
It was great to be able to make the drive to netrootsnation, great that I had a free place to stay and had virtually ALL my meals covered, once I got there, so the costs were very low, just sharing the cost of gas and tolls. But I couldn't have made the trip if I'd had to fly and pay for a hotel. Things are tight at OEN. We do an amazing lot with very little. Our funding comes from you. That $25 or $5 or $200 you send in is what keeps us going. If you love what we do and know we're doing important work, if you see that our reach has given us access to not only interview, but engage with people who are making a difference, then please help us to keep up the work.
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