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Talking with Andy Ostroy, of The Ostroy Report

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Headlined to H2 10/20/09
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Andy Ostroy is a New York City-based political analyst and blogger. He writes the Ostroy Report and is a regular contributor at the Huffington Post. Welcome to OpEdNews, Andy. You recently wrote a hard-biting piece about Congressional Democrats' spineless response to Republican attacks The ACORN Vote: House Democrats Just Stuck a Knife in Their President and Party Tell us why this behavior is so egregious.

Thank you Joan. A pleasure, as always. Here's what it boils down to: The Democratic Party fought hard to win back the White House and now, for the first time in decades, controls both houses of Congress, and has an overwhelming majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Yet it still seems afflicted with the abused-wife syndrome after eight eight years of Bush and basically fourteen years under Republican domination. And now that it has all this power it still, somehow, seems powerless. That Democrats are not rallying around this president to help push through his agenda--the agenda of change which Americans elected him to achieve--is embarrassing and shameful.

If you could give the Democratic 'leadership' a pep talk, what would you say? Where would you like them to start?

Democrats need to embrace power. To embrace their majority and accept it whole hog, and not play the apologist role. Americans voted them into power on a message of change. And it's good-old-fashioned liberal change that they should deliver. They shouldn't waste too much time on "Operation: Bi-Partisanship" either, as it's become abundantly clear this year that the GOP has one singular mission: to undermine the Obama administration and Democrats at every turn so that they can win back Congressional majorities in next year's midterm elections.

How long have you been writing the Ostroy Report, Andy? What got you started?

I started the blog four years ago after John Kerry's loss made me realize that what should be happening in America politically is not. That I needed to do something to help raise awareness and support for Democratic candidates and the issues important to the left.

I hear you. That was my own impetus for getting involved. In fact, I think that's true for many of us. Had you done something similar before? Did you have a history of writing?

Journalism degree, Brooklyn College, 1983. Various little stints here and there in small town newspapers and radio, but hadn't really done much writing until the blog.

What kind of traction have you gotten with the Ostroy Report?

Now, with my stuff appearing almost daily on Huffington Post, the audience is much greater and my voice is starting to be heard. My personal little claim to fame? Being quoted earlier this year in the NY Times' front page lead story on Obama's derailed effort to appoint Tom Daschle Secretary of Health and Human Services. Damn-near choked on my morning bagel when I saw that.....

What a great feeling! But back to spineless Democrats. What's your take on health care legislation and the whole health care debate?

Spineless Democrats? Is there any other kind?! Oh yeah, Rahm Emmanuel. There's one who's not. And FDR, but he's dead. The Kennedys too. Jeez, we really need some fully-spined living Democrats, don't we? Here's the thing about heath-care reform that I don't get: how is that over 65% of Americans, according to a recent CBS/NY Times poll, want reform and a public option, but Democrats--who own the White House, the Senate and the House--can't seem to get it through? And why is it that the very people who this bill is designed to greatly help are the primary group behind the opposition? It's because Republicans do a very good job of creating smokescreens and spreading misinformation and lies. "Death Panels" is a perfect example of how the GOP succeeds in brainwashing the little guy against his own self-interest.

Let's not forget the power of those health care industry lobbying dollars - in the millions to every member of Congress, including all those Democrats who are avoiding listening to their constituents. There is at least o ne ray of sunshine - Florida Rep. Grayson who caused a stir recently when he said that Republicans' health care policy is "don't get sick" or if you do, "die quietly." Maybe because he's only a first-termer, he hasn't been bought off yet.[ Here he put up a great fight on CNN's The Situation Room, where they tried to get him to apologize or back down.]

Let's segue to the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. Can you tell our readers a bit about it?

Thank you for asking. The Foundation was established in December 2006 just one month after my late wife, the actor/writer/director Adrienne Shelly ("Waitress") was murdered. I had been asked by so many people to what charity they could donate money in her honor. After a few weeks, when I was able to have a few moments where I could think somewhat clearly, I wanted people to remember her for what she stood for and for the passion she had has a female artist.

I had not know about any existing filmmaking organizations, so I decided to start one of my own. Our mission is simple: to support women filmmakers. I'm proud to say we've since awarded 19 grants, scholarships, finishing funds and living stipends to very talented women, one of whom won an Academy Award in 2008 for the film we helped fund. We partner with some of the most prestigious academic and filmmaking institutions in the country: Columbia University, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, AFI, IFP, Women in Film and the Nantucket Film Festival.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
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