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Mar 232011

One year ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (or as the Republicans call it “the Job-Killing Health Care Bill) into law.  Unfortunately, a year later, the most helpful aspects of the law have yet to take effect.

In fact, it’ll be another three years before the exchange – which would allow us all, regardless of pre-existing condition, to buy insurance – is up and running.

This dubious anniversary comes as I’m still reeling from a tooth extraction and its costs, both physically and financially.

As someone with a few of those pesky pre-existing conditions, I pay an inconceivable amount for insurance that doesn’t cover my current ills, and has a $2000 deductible before it pays out one cent.  A “high-risk pool” has been set up for those of us with these pre-existing conditions (btw, is there anyone over 50 who doesn’t have one? I didn’t think so…), but unfortunately, you have to be uninsured for six months before you’re eligible. Some of us are too responsible to consider going without insurance for six months, so we pay out the ass, and are shit out of luck.

To mark the anniversary, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is tweeting “a benefit every hour” today. Oh goodie. I can’t wait to hear how it’s working out for me today.  Many of us can’t really wait another three years to get help!

I have to leave the show a few minutes early today – ironically enough – to go to a doctor’s appointment. So, during the last half-hour of the show, we’ll flash back to one year ago today, when then-Congressman Alan Grayson called in to talk about the new law.

But we started today’s show with some current news.  Greg Mitchell of The Nation has been live-blogging wikileaks for 116 days now. Somewhere in there, he’s also had time to pen a few books!  His newest, Bradley Manning: Truth & Consequences, was released yesterday as an e-book. The print version will be very soon.

I spoke with attorney Ed Blizzard, a trial lawyer talking the company who manufactured  and kept selling defective hip replacements – even after they knew they were defective and were effectively poisoning recipients!  Should you be walking around with one of these DePuy hips, you might want to contact Ed Blizzard at 713-844-3750 or though

And finally, we need more Congressmen like Dennis Kucinich.  I reached out to him to talk about our involvement in Libya, and his intention to introduce legislation to defund the operation.  Dennis Kucinich is always worth listening to!

Apr 272010

What a difference a day makes! Although I’m not 100% yet, I am feeling much better today.  And it’s a good thing, because it was a very busy show tonight…

We started with comedian Jamie Kilstein who, along with Allison Kilkenny hosts Citizen Radio. Jamie has a new CD out, called Zombie Jesus

It had been a while since I last spoke with Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He joined me tonight to talk about the wars and what it’ll take to end them, health care reform and why he voted the way he did, financial reform, and more… If you happen to be in Washington DC on Thursday, join him for a “Teach In on Capital Hill: What Congress Must Do to End US Wars and Help Secure a Peaceful Middle East“  (More about the Teach In tomorrow, with activist David Swanson.)

Environmentalist/Activist/Author Bill McKibben, founder of, has a new book out… Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.  We talked about the book, the crazy weather we’ve been experiencing lately and how it’s all connected to climate change.

Ellen Ratner checked in with a news update from the Talk Radio News Service.

But there’s more…. My boyfriend sent me this column about Pat Tillman, written by Bill Dwyre, sports columnist for the LA Times. I was so impressed with what he wrote so I emailed him and asked him to join me to discuss it…

And finally, I checked in with investigative journalist Greg Palast to talk about his latest piece for “Behind the Arizona Immigration Law: The GOP Game to Swipe the November Election” — another way to look at the insanity from the most unwelcoming state in the nation…

And one more thing… Senator Carl Levin is my hero of the week, thanks to this line of questioning from today’s hearing on Goldman Sachs…

Mar 232010

You’ve got to love Joe Biden. On the day that President Obama signs health care legislation, Joe Biden steals the headlines by proclaiming to the president, just barely off-mic, that “it’s a big fucking deal.” Talk about an understatement!

It’s far from perfect, but it’s the first step in what will be an ongoing fight for the rest of our lives to make sure that affordable, quality health care is a basic human right in the USA. And those first baby steps are supposed to be celebrated!

I was honored to start tonight’s show with Congressman Alan Grayson, who injected some much-needed testosterone into the Democratic Party many months ago, when he displayed the courage to take to the floor of the House to expose the Republican’s Health Care Plan: “Don’t Get Sick… and if you do get sick, Die Quickly!”  Then, when the GOP shouted their demands for an apology, he apologized…to all the people who’ve died because they couldn’t get health insurance!

Congressman Grayson has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people on the issue of health care reform, and continues the effort to make it better. He’s introduced the Medicare You Can Buy Into Act, which you can (and should) sign on to at

You can further support Congressman Grayson by going to and contributing to the Money Bomb! Grayson is focusing on small donations from people, instead of sucking up to lobbyists and special interests. Let’s keep this great Congressman working hard for all of us!

The show continued with a visit from Ryan Grim of Huffington Post, who brought us up to date on the behind the scenes stuff from today’s historic signing by President Obama of health care legislation, and info on what happens next as the Senate takes up the Reconciliation bill.

Geoff Holtzman checked in with a news update from the Talk Radio News Service.

My final guest of the evening was Brad Friedman of BradBlog, who’s done amazing work uncovering the truth behind the offensive and despicable targeting and final demise of a truly fine organization — ACORN.   ACORN has spent the better part of the past 40 years helping low-income communities and was vilified by the right for their efforts. The final nail in their coffin came by way of a Breitbart flunky named James O’Keefe who videotaped his visits to ACORN offices, and edited them to make it appear as if he was dressed as a 70′s era pimp with a hooker at his side asking for “business advice.”

The doctored videos were shown, seemingly non stop, on TV and online. Eventually, thanks to the work of Brad Friedman, the truth was exposed… that O’Keefe was dressed as a preppy college student, and was asking the ACORN workers how to help his hooker-girlfriend escape her evil pimp!  The correction was, somehow, NOT broadcast far and wide.

The result? Just what the right wing smear machine wanted. ACORN was smeared beyond the point of redemption. Yesterday, they released this statement:

The ACORN Association Board met on Sunday March 21 and approved a set of steps to responsibly manage the process of bringing its operations to a close over the coming months. These include:

  • Closing ACORN’s remaining state affiliates and field offices by April 1st; and
  • Developing a plan to resolve all outstanding debts, obligations and other issues.
  • ACORN’s members have a great deal to be proud of–from promoting home ownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participation—ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger communities, a more inclusive democracy, and a more just nation.

    Brad Friedman has done tireless work on the story, especially the fact that the “paper of record,” The New York Times, has refused to print a correction on the story… until this Sunday, when it was too late for ACORN.

    I hope you’ll visit and read the entire sordid story, and then reach out!  Write to the executive editor ( and the managing editor  ( of the New York Times, and let them know how egregious their coverage (or lack thereof) was. We must speak out.

    Mar 222010

    The sweeping health care reform bill already passed by the Senate passed the House last night. Funny, though, I haven’t noticed a slide into the Fascist-Socialist-Communist state the right has been warning us about.

    Tomorrow morning, President Obama will sign this bill into law, and then the Senate will (hopefully) quickly pass the fixes in the reconciliation bill. And then, with our urging, they’ll get to work on making it better. (Public Option/Medicare for All, anyone?)

    On tonight’s show, we talked about the bill that passed last night, and what it means to us in the immediate future, as well as the reconciliation bill and how soon it might go through the Senate.

    I was joined by Crooks & Liars founder John Amato, blogger/tweeter @Karoli ( and, and David Waldman (aka @KagroX), contributing editor of DailyKos and

    And in case you were wondering what some of your favorite progressive talk radio hosts looked like, a few of us were together at the New Media Seminar in NYC last week…

    Back tomorrow night, 6-8pm EDT… radio or not…

    Mar 132010

    It was a stormy Friday here in South Florida yesterday. Thunderstorms and tornado warnings in March in Miami. Not your usual weather fare. But, no, this won’t be a tirade on the fact that the right is still denying climate change.  We’ll save that for another day.

    The podcast that shows up at the top of this post is Thursday’s Radio or Not episode. I didn’t post it immediately after the show as I usually do because I ran out the door to see Eric Clapton perform a stellar concert at the Bank Atlantic Center in Ft. Lauderdale! I arrived just in time for the house lights to go down and the music to begin. My first sign that it was going to be a great night.

    Actually, my first sign came earlier with my guests on the aforementioned Nicole Sandler/Radio or Not show. I spoke with John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies. I had invited him earlier in the week to join me on the show to talk about his involvement in Monday’s march on the AHIP meeting in DC, and when he told me of the work he does for IPS, I asked him on for a wider-ranging conversation.

    My former Air America colleague Jack Rice joined in for a news update, courtesy of the Talk Radio News Service.

    And we wrapped up the week’s shows with an always-fun visit from the always-funny John Fugelsang, who regaled us with a spot-on impression of Chris Matthews hosting a panel on Massa Madness!

    So, here it is Saturday morning afternoon, and I’m just getting around to post the recap of Thursday night’s show. Sorry about that. But yesterday’s stormy weather made me just want to stay in bed with the covers pulled up over my head and sleep most of the day away… which I did. Storms and unemployment will do that to you!

    But I did post the podcast audio on the Radio or Not podcast page, which I just realized does not have a place of prominence on this blog. I’ll change that shortly. But in the meantime, should you like to peruse the archives, click here and download away. There’s a few years worth of shows and interviews, still free for the listening…

    A quick heads-up on next week’s schedule! I’m heading to NY on Wednesday to participate in the New Media Seminar. I fly out of Ft. Lauderdale Wednesday morning and upon landing in NY will immediately head over to the Premiere Radio studios to guest-host the Randi Rhodes Show Wednesday afternoon.

    I will not be doing my show Wednesday or Thursday… but will post highlights from my fill-in stint on Randi’s show as soon as possible. And, of course, will be back here as usual this Monday and Tuesday before leaving town. Talk to you then… Radio or Not!

    Mar 102010

    For once, I didn’t think “Flori-DUH”. Today, I was actually proud of a couple of our elected officials. First, kudos to Senator Bill Nelson (something I never imagined I’d write on this blog!) for being the 41st Senator to state publicly that he’d back the public insurance option as part of a health care bill moved through reconciliation.  He told Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim that today, and Ryan told us all about it on tonight’s show!

    I also spoke with Ryan about the other member of Florida’s Congressional delegation of whom I’m especially proud this evening, Alan Grayson, who today introduced the “Public Option Act,” also known as the “Medicare You Can Buy Into Act.”

    As she does every Wednesday, Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress and the wonderfully informative kicked off the show with me, telling us about some stories we might otherwise have missed.

    The Massa madness continued today, and hopefully we spoke about him for the last time on tonight’s show. But, as I admitted yesterday, I watched the Glenn Beck Show–for the first and last time, to see what Massa had to say– and paid special attention to the commercials.  There has been a very successful movement to get advertisers to quit supporting his show ever since he proclaimed that President Obama was a racists who has a deep hatred for all white people (I paraphrased it, but that was the gist of what he said).  I laughed at the commercial for survival seeds and expected all of  the buy gold commercials, but was a bit surprised to see Turbo Tax as an advertisers.  Apparently, last night was their first and last time advertising with them!  Today, Angelo aka @stopbeck tweeted that they’ve pulled their advertising.  So, I invited him on the show to talk about his blog and his work in helping to convince advertisers not to support that offensive excuse for a TV show.

    And, since March is Women’s History Month, I invited my friend and HERstorian Amy Simon back on the show to give us some of the juicy stories about the women who paved the way for us to do what we do…

    I’ll  be back again tomorrow, 6-8pm ET… Radio or Not!

    Mar 092010

    I spent the morning following the tweets from protesters in DC who tried to place the extortionists masquerading as health insurers under citizens arrest, and an hour this afternoon (that I’ll never get back) watching two clowns each trying to get something out of the other on Faux News.  I only hope that Eric Massa’s VA healthcare has good mental health coverage, because he’s having a massive meltdown.

    But the show started with a conversation with Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty law Center about their new report “Rage on the Right,” issued last week, that that details an explosion in the number of extremist groups in the US in 2009.

    Jacki Schechner of Health Care for America Now joined me with a follow-up on today’s march in DC, that saw over 5000 people coming out to protest the big insurance companies at the Ritz Carlton.

    And I spent most of the last hour speaking with Karoli, who works with MOMocrats, blogs at and, and tweets regularly about health care reform.

    As always, thanks for listening to the show. I hope you’ll share it with anyone else who might be interested!

    Mar 082010

    What a difference a weekend makes. Last week we believed that Eric Massa was retiring because he had a recurrence of cancer. Today, he’s either been smeared or shot himself in the foot, or a combination of both. Massa took to the radio yesterday, as he apparently does did every Sunday to speak with his constituents. This time, it was WTMI (Way too much information!).  If you have an extra 90 minutes or so, click here and listen to a politician unravel publicly.  Otherwise, listen to the podcast of today’s show, as I shared some highlights and some of my thoughts on a fallen Congressman.

    Massa now contends that Rahm Emanuel and Democratic leadership took him down because of his no vote on health care reform. Whether that’s true or not, the fight over health care continues.  Tomorrow, while Massa spends an hour on Glenn Beck‘s show (proving that he really has lost his mind), the health insurance lobbying organization AHIP will hold their national policy forum meeting at the Ritz Carlton in Washington DC.

    Health Care for America Now is behind a Citizen’s Posse to Stop Big Insurance with a mass citizens arrest of these insurance execs.  I spoke with HCAN National Communcations Director Jacki Schechner about tomorrow’s planned activities.

    Victoria Jones checked in with a news update from the Talk Radio News Service.

    And the big highlight of tonight’s show was my conversation with Jason Leopold, deputy managing editor at and editor-at-large at The Public Record, about his latest piece, “A Campaign Promise Dies: Obama and Military Commissions.

    How interesting that Rahm Emanuel is integral to this story too. Perhaps instead of giving me whiplash from flipping on his campaign promises, Obama should just rid us of the Rahm.

    Mar 042010

    At the end of tonight’s show, I read a portion of my all-time favorite book. The thing is, Horton Hears a Who wasn’t my favorite book until I became politically aware! That’s when I realized what an activist Dr. Seuss was, and the fact that this supposed children’s book is all about exhorting each and every one of us to speak out, loudly and strongly, for the things in which we believe. You’ll hear the context if you listen through to the end of the podcast.

    It shouldn’t be that difficult. Tonight’s show was a particularly good one, even if I do say so myself!

    It started with a rehash of last night’s let down of a smack-down between Alan Grayson and Michelle Bachmann on the (years past retirement time) Larry King Show.

    Progressive strategist Mike Lux joined me. I wanted to talk with him after reading his Open Left blog today “A Different Kind of Dancing in the Streets.” (That piece, and the fact that it was Dr. Seuss’s birthday Tuesday, inspired tonight’s special reading!)

    My favorite activist and author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, David Swanson, spoke with us about health care reform, John Yoo and torture accountability, and lots more.  (And if my reading makes you want to get more involved, David Swanson’s blog is a great place to find info about actions and protests!)

    Victoria Jones checked in with a report from the Talk Radio News Service, including a very odd story about the American Family Association’s claim that Tilikum, the killer whale, should have been stoned to death after it first killed a trainer.

    And my week was completed with a visit from comedienne/co-founder of Air America/co-creator of The Daily Show, Lizz Winstead!

    I’ll be back with another new show Monday, 6-8pm ET…. Have a great weekend.

    Mar 032010

    **Podcast audio fixed.  Somehow, Tuesday’s show was originally re-posted. Click on the player to hear the correct audio.  Sorry for the inconvenience!  NS**

    Today, I watched President Obama’s final speech on Health Care Reform. And he said nothing. Nothing new, anyway.

    It was the same old shit. Same old pandering to the right. Same old sidestepping the public option — the one fix that could get much of his former base back on board, but that, for reasons still completely obscured, he ignores.

    The same old Obama, trying to please everyone and, by doing that, pleasing no one… except the for-profit insurance extortionist industry who will reap even bigger, more obscene profits on the backs of our health care.

    He said, though in not so many words, that it was time to use reconciliation to push reform through. But he certainly didn’t give me any new confidence that he’d do the right thing. It just made me wonder why he didn’t do this a year ago.

    I know that many people didn’t get to see or hear the speech live, so I played it in its entirety tonight, albeit made it go a bit faster. The speech ran about 20 minutes this afternoon, but through the magic of editing, it only takes about 14 minutes of your time (plus whatever time used by the snarkiness I injected with my comments).  Amazing what one can do by editing the pregnant pause and applause from an Obama speech!

    We also had a visit from the always insightful Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress, who also oversees the wonderfully informative MicCheckRadio.  We discussed the meaning of the hot new Capitol Hill term “Bunning,”  Roger Ebert’s tweeting prowess, last night’s late night Palin vs. Romney show down and more.

    Ellen Ratner checked in with a report from the Talk Radio News Service.

    And we had an edition of Crooks & Liars Radio with its founder John Amato.  In addition to a discussion about Mitt Romney’s chances of becoming president as a Mormon in a country where the religious right and many others believe that this is a “Christian nation,” here are some of the stories we talked about:

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