Independent grassroots organization of progressives, liberals and moderates promoting an activist democratic agenda in the state of Illinois.

Howard Dean for Health Care Czar

We haven't heard much about a 'Health Care Czar' since Senator Dashle got into trouble because of his tax returns. But listening to Howard Dean debate the issue on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, I think I'd like to nominate him for the job. I loved the comment about health care reform helping small businesses.

[h/t ThinkProgress]

Obama: 'This is the Moment' (Health Care)

Abridged email from Barack Obama (Organizing for America):

This is the moment our movement was built for.

For one month, the fight for health insurance reform leaves the backrooms of Washington, D.C., and returns to communities across America. Throughout August, members of Congress are back home, where the hands they shake and the voices they hear will not belong to lobbyists, but to people like you.

That's why Organizing for America is putting together thousands of events this month where you can reach out to neighbors, show your support, and make certain your members of Congress know that you're counting on them to act.

But these canvasses, town halls, and gatherings only make a difference if you turn up to knock on doors, share your views, and show your support. So here's what I need from you:

Can you commit to join at least one event in your community this month?

http://my.barackobama.com/CommitAugust

This is one of those times. And moments like this are what this movement was built for. So, are you ready?

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

They've Got the Kooks, We've Got the People!

If there's anything you can take away from yesterday's wildly successful rally, it's this: 'They've Got the Kooks, We've Got the People!'

HCAN Rally for Health Care at the Federal Plaza in Chicago

I'll have some pictures to add once I get home [added!] but I just wanted to say that the HCAN people put together a great rally with several hundred people in the Federal Plaza.

William McNary led off with his usual rousing style. First Gov. Pat Quinn then Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Congressman Danny Davis spoke passionately about the need for health care now and what to do to make sure it passes. A number of other people spoke -- everyone from Lou Lang (who was in wonderful form) to Alexi Giannoulias, Julie Hamos, Toni Preckwinkle, Lou Harris and David Orr.

Boy, is this town blue -- progressive as well. It's something to be proud of.

The contingent of "tea baggers" was pathetically small -- maybe a dozen or so. It looked like the same crowd that comes with pictures of fetuses and 'God-hates-fags' signs at other events. To put their number in perspective, there was maybe five times as many supporters of single-payer on our side -- just the single-payer people -- though the likelihood of single-payer getting proportionate coverage from our media (if only for this reason) is just about nil. I wonder why that is.

Anyway, the rally as a whole marks an important step in the campaign to bring universal health care to our country. It's going to be a campaign requiring all our help.

UPDATE: HCAN has a couple of pictures on their site...

Health Care Reform Week of Action

From Mitch Stewart, Organizing for America:

Congress is moving rapidly toward finalizing health care reform legislation, with crucial votes expected in both the House and the Senate within days. With so much at stake -- and the D.C. lobbyists going into overdrive -- we have to take our grassroots campaign to the next level.

So we're announcing the Health Care Reform Week of Action. All this week, OFA volunteers like you will be knocking on doors, making calls to neighbors, and attending public events to build the local support for health care reform we need to pass a strong final bill. If you can spare an hour or two for health care reform, this is the week to do it.

Find and sign up for a Health Care Reform Week of Action event near you:

http://my.barackobama.com/WeekAttend

Turn Up the Screws on the Blue Dogs

There's an important difference between Blue Dogs and the rest of us: Universal Health Care isn't necessarily part of their agenda; it's most definitely part of ours.

Blue Dogs can afford to wait around hoping for something less earthshaking to come up. They can even afford to risk not getting anything at all.

It's the rest of us who are going to get screwed.

So turning up the heat on them makes a whole lot of sense. Here's what Mark Kleiman recommends:

This bill is make or break for the Democratic Party, and Harry Reid ought to enforce party discipline on the cloture vote. No on cloture should mean no subcommittee chair, no pork, and no money from the DSCC.

'Gang of Six' Trying to Hijack Health Care Reform

From TPM:

Six key Senate Centrists--Ben Nelson (D-NE), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Ron Wyden (D-OR)--are asking Democratic and Republican leaders to slow down the pace of health care reform efforts.

From the same crowd, Wyden excepted, who gave us Sam Alito.

AP: 'Obama shifts into campaign mode on health care'

From the AP:

Obama wants the House and Senate to act on health care this summer so lawmakers can reconcile differences in their respective bills after Labor Day and put final legislation on his desk this fall.

Obama's all-out effort since he returned from his overseas trip last week has "galvanized things," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

Yahoo! It's time we made the same shift. It's time to bring universal health care to America.

NPR: Obama is the new Slick Willy

Why do I feel like we've been here before? Fox News correspondent Mara Liasson just had a segment on NPR's Morning Edition that essentially did nothing but complain that the Democratic Administration no longer uses right-wing catch phrases, many of them the product of paranoia and fanaticism, such as 'Axis of Evil', 'War on Terrorism', 'Death Tax' and 'Right to Life'.

She then brings on Joe Queenan who praises expressions like 'War on Terror' because it's "very specific" and "everyone knows what it means" -- while trying to recast Obama as 'Slick Willy' because according to Queenan, "it's kind of hard to pin this guy down on anything".

Liasson calls this use of language 'Orwellian' and it is -- just not in the way she imagines.

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