Monday, August 31, 2009

I Love LA....

This week, I'm broadcasting live from Los Angeles. I was a bit worried about flying in after hearing about the massive fires threatening so much of Los Angeles. But even with the smoke hanging over the city and hugging the clouds, it's still a beautiful day here.

Tonight, I'm honored to be joined by one of my radio mentors, Thom Hartmann. We'll discuss his latest book, Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture. I always learn something when I speak with Thom, and this book is truly scary....

In the second hour, I'll be joined by Thomas Frank of the Wall Street Journal. It must be tough being a liberal at the Rupert Murdoch-owned WSJ, but Thomas certainly holds his own with a column every Wednesday. He touched a nerve of mine with his piece from last week, Health Care and the Democratic Soul.

After that conversation, I want to hear from you. I'm worried that Barack Obama isn't the agent of change he sold himself to us as. I fear for the future of this country if he doesn't deliver on what he promised during the campaign. I'll expound on that, and look forward to hearing what you have to say tonight from 11pm-1am ET... or here on the west coast, 8-10pm PT.

Click here to listen live, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in the live chat here....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Music and Memories

**Updated to include links to the interviews with Billy Bragg and Kerry Candaele ***

Both of those things are happening right now, as I'm writing this. Ted Kennedy's memorial is being shown live on TV as I'm getting ready for tonight's radio program.

Although Teddy is in all of our hearts and thoughts tonight, his life is not the subject of tonight's show.

Instead, the remembrance will be for those who suffered four years ago today, as Katrina struck New Orleans.

I'll be joined in the first hour of tonight's show by investigative journalist Greg Palast, author of the New York Times bestsellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. His film, Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans, is released this week only, in a free download version at where you can read his investigative reports, including today's post, Economic Hit Men and the Next Drowning of New Orleans -Hurricane Bush Four Years Later.

The celebration comes in the second hour, as we take a look at one of the most amazing pieces of music in history: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. We'll start the hour with a conversation with Kerry Candaele, producer/director/writer of the film Following the Ninth, and the producer of a concert taking place tomorrow night in Santa Monica, CA... Beethoven Bragg.

That will be followed by a conversation with Billy Bragg himself, in which he'll talk about what led him to rework the lyrics to "Ode to Joy" along with his earlier foray into working on another legend's music.

It's a special interview... I hope you'll listen.

Listen live here, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in the live chat here

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Happened to the Dog Days of August?

The summer of 2009 will always be known as the year the dog days of August never arrived. August is the month during which nothing is supposed to happen. It's when people go on vacation, and Washington rolls up the sidewalks.

But not this year.

As we do on most Thursday nights, I'll be joined by Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress for a look at some of the big stories of the week, as well as some that we might otherwise have not heard about.

And John Fugelsang will be with me during hour 2. Our conversations are among my most enjoyable of the week, as I never know where we'll go. But we talk about the news and have fun while doing it.

Tonight, we'll start the show with a visit from a man I had not heard of before yesterday. But, like many Americans did yesterday, I read a lot of tributes to Teddy Kennedy. One in Huffington Post stood out to me.

So I reached out to Robert Creamer, who wrote "Greatest Tribute to Kennedy: Pass Health Care for All." As I put on my producer hat to try to find him (HuffPo just says that he's a political organizer, strategist and author), I learned that he's married to one of my favorite members of Congress, Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.

Join us tonight from 11pm-1am ET.... listen live by clicking here, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in the live chat by clicking here....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RIP Teddy.. and Ellie too...

**Updated to include interview audio links***
Click here to listen to Robert Reich talk about his friend Ted Kennedy

Click here to listen to the discussion about ERISA ****

About an hour after wrapping up last night's show, I was still working. Actually, I was working on a video project that I have to have finished in time for my trip to Los Angeles next week... So, I was editing video and had the TV sound on in the background. It was probably shortly after 2am when they broke in with a special bulletin to tell us that Teddy Kennedy had died.

Even though we knew it was coming, it didn't soften the blow. Tonight, we'll pay tribute to the last Kennedy brother, and I'll speak with his friend, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, who paid his own tribute to him today on Huffington Post.

One of America's most amazing songwriters also died today. Ellie Greenwich died today in NYC. She was 68. She earned 25 gold and platinum records, as a songwriter, producer and artist. I put together a montage of some of her biggest hits and we'll listen to that tonight too...

Dominick Dunne was the third famous person to die today. Although I was a fan of some of this writings, I had mixed emotions about his form of celebrity crime journalism... I do, however, love his son Griffin Dunne...

In the first hour of tonight's show, we'll deal with a topic I had already been planning. It's a follow up to a show I did a few weeks ago dealing with ERISA (The Employee Retirement Income Security Act). I had never heard the term until a listener wrote me an email about it.
Jeff Metzger is an attorney who represents clients against insurance companies, and he joined me to talk about the problem that is ERISA. I then heard from another attorney who has a similar practice, Richard Johnston... who also writes a blog entitled "The Problem Is ERISA!"

Listened to the interview with Jeff Metzger. Seems like equal time is in order to set some of the record straight.
I contacted the sender, Mike Reilly, and invited him to elaborate.... It turns out he is also an attorney, who deals with the other side. I invited him on the show, but he's on the road this week. He did however, offer his partner Jeff Knapp, in his stead. So, we'll have our own courtroom battle at the top of the show tonight.. and you and I will likely learn a lot more about how health insurance works... or not!

Listen live from 11pm-1am ET by clicking here
, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in the live chat here!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pot, Protests and Peace

***Updated to include audio links to the interviews.. just click to listen:

Robert Plantshorn

Cindy Sheehan

Mark Rosenthal ****

Those are the three P's for tonight! Yes, we'll deal with all three subjects between 11pm and 1am ET on Air America radio!

Pot... Last week, I interviewed Jack Cole, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). The following day, I noticed this comment on my facebook page:

Excellent interview. It is amazing that LEAP hasn't garnered more authority and attention for their point of view. I'm a fan of LEAP despite having spent 29 yrs in federal prison for a non-violent marijuana offense.
Intrigued, I contacted Robert Platshorn, learned of his history as America's longest-serving non-violent prisoner of the War on Weed. He spent a ridiculous 29 years in prison, just released in April of 2008. His account of everything that happened is coming out in the book "Black Tuna Diaries"

Protests... On August 12, Bob Mackey - CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods Market -- wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall St. Journal in which he suggested that health care is a commodity that only the rich, like him, deserve. The following day, a boycott was born!

Tonight, I'll speak with Mark Rosenthal, the guy who organized the boycott (which today is closing in on 29,000 members in its facebook group alone).

Peace... Unfortunately, we're still at war. For no good reason. So, tonight, we'll be joined by the Peace Mom herself.

Cindy Sheehan
arrived on Martha's Vineyard today, where she hopes to confront President Obama on his engagement in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. She will issue a challenge to President Obama on his escalation of troop presence in the Middle East and his continuation of war policies around the globe.

In addition, Cindy and others who join her on SS Camp Casey will hammer out the details of an International People's Declaration of Peace.

Some of their early ideas include:
* We will not send our children to kill other people's children.

* We will not fund our disparate country's penchants for violence with our tax dollars.

* We will recognize the intrinsic value of each human. We will proclaim that no
person is better than any other person irrespective of: race, religion, gender, gender
preference, age, or national origin.

* We will remove ourselves as far as ideologically possible from our governments when war is proposed, or promulgated.

* We will demonstrate or protest war, violence or economic oppression no matter
who, or what governs our nations.

It sounds like they're off to a great start...

Listen live from 11pm-1am ET by clicking here; call in at 866-303-2270; join in the live chat by clicking here...

Monday, August 24, 2009

The diagram of all the Karl Rove crap

Courtesy of Larisa Alexandrovna!

Another Day, Another Scandal

It seems like the more we learn about the previous administration, the more the wingnuts scream about Obama. To paraphrase Barney Frank, what planet do these people live on?

We'll hit the ground running for the week with a busy show tonight...

Larisa Alexandrova is managing editor for investigative news for RawStory, and she published a doozy about Karl Rove on Friday, entitled "Rove op-ed reveals he had inside info on probe." Larisa will join me live tonight, for the entire first hour of the show (11pm-12 mid ET) to give the background on this story that's got enough intrigue for a major motion picture, though we'd probably deem it too implausible to actually happen if it hadn't actually happened.

It involves the former administration, the politically appointed US attorneys, many of whom are still on the job (wtf?!?!), political prisoners, lies, leaks and more. Larisa will tell the story from the beginning, and let us know what might be in the future for Bush's brain.

You can call in with questions for Larisa too, at 866-303-2270.

In the second hour, I'll speak with Max Blumenthal, who wrote in today's Daily Beast, Behind the Obama-Hitler Slur that Lyndon LaRouche is to blame!

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) is Chairwoman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, and she'll weigh in during the final half hour of tonight's show on the new CIA Inspector General's report about torture and the special prosecutor appointed by AG Eric Holder and, of course, health care reform!

Listen live by clicking here, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in the live chat here!

Friday, August 21, 2009

One More Show Before It's The Weekend!

The first hour of the final show of the week will be spent talking with Jack Cole, executive director of LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, about the big news today that Mexico was legalizing drug possession for personal use. The law goes into effect today!

In the second hour, I'll be joined by Mark Karlin, editor and publisher of BuzzFlash, for a wrap-up of the week's news.

And we'll close out the week with a look at how the progressive community has finally engaged in the health care fight. I'll be joined by Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future, who's been at the forefront of the battle. In addition to their website, Roger suggests everyone interested in getting involved visit, which has become the headquarters for around a thousand different groups working for reform.

Listen live by clicking here, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in the live chat here!

Finally Friday...

and I've finally gotten around to uploading my interviews from the past couple of nights. Just click on the links to listen (or right click and "save as" to save to your computer):

John Fugelsang, making me laugh about things that are not funny!

Dr. Aaron Carroll, a single payer advocate who makes a whole lot of sense

From Thursday night:

Food activist and author Jill Richardson

Media Matters' Eric Boehlert talking about the crazy media coverage of the right wing crazies...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Maybe Fugelsang Can Talk Me Down!

I haven't seen Rachel Maddow ask anyone to talk her down recently. But I'm going to need it tonight. I am not a happy camper today.

Congressman Robert Wexler held a "town hall meeting" today (as far as I can tell, the only one that will be held down here during this August recess), and I'm blown away by what I saw.

The actual meeting was subdued, even dull. That's because the tickets were distributed by a group who obviously controlled who got them, and questions were submitted on 3x5 cards and read by a man who shouldn't have been on the microphone.

Congressman Wexler was joined by his colleague, Congressman Alcee Hastings, and both of them spoke beautifully in support of true reform, including a public option.

Outside the hall were probably a thousand people who couldn't get in, and I'd say they were about evenly split between those in favor of reform and those against it. It was those who were against it that I had the problem with.

For instance, watch this exchange with a cretin. Unfortunately, our talk was cut short by a police officer because I wasn't wearing a press badge...

Then there was this exchange with a few poor, misguided souls who had no clue what they were talking about. I really liked the sign that read "Turn off the lecturn and step away from the White House." I guess he didn't pay much attention in school either.

As we were leaving, I shot this footage of lots of people and signs. People with differing points of view standing side by side, yet on opposite sides of the fence. I guess that should give me hope.

Unfortunately, I'm so dismayed by the actions (or inactions) of this administration, that I'm just about all hoped out...

I'll talk about all the things that are bothering me tonight, and hope that John Fugelsang can talk me down. If anyone can make me laugh, it's certainly him. We'll spend the second hour of tonight's show together, talking about all the stories in the news today, and there's plenty to talk about!

I'll also be joined by Dr. Aaron Carrol, single payer advocate and Director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research, who is also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Fellowship Director, Children's Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine. CHPPR just released the results of a survey that finds a majority of Americans believe "myths" about health care reform. We've still got our work cut out for us...

Listen live (from 11pm-1am ET) by clicking here
, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in the live chat by clicking here.

Ask President Obama to Commit to a Public Option

I just got this note from listener Marilyn, and it's a great idea. I hope you'll do as she suggests. I just did...

Tomorrow President Obama is holding a 2:30 PM conference call to talk about HCR. Millions of Americans from Organizing for America have signed on to receive the call. There will also be a question and answer segment, even for people not participating on the call. We get to submit a question. I'm sending you the link in the hopes you can ask your listeners to submit a question. Thousands of us have submitted the same question in the hopes that President Obama will answer it based on the fact that so many people are asking the same question.

The question we want asked of him is ......

Mr President, are you willing to commit to all Americans, especially the 46 million uninsured, that you will NOT sign a bill without a strong and robust public option?

We're are hoping it will be like the pot question he got several months ago that he answered because he said it was the most popular question.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why We're Sick

This is a nation of sick people. The fact that our system of health care is broken only accentuates the problem.

A few weeks ago, the film Food Inc. opened, and one of the stunning facts presented in the film proclaimed that one-third of all people born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes. That's an astounding number.

The lack of preventive care is obviously a contributing factor, but even worse than that is the food we eat.

Have you tried "eating healthy"? It's not only difficult to do in this fast-food world, but also exorbitantly expensive. If you're trying to feed a family on a limited budget, it's much cheaper to buy the way-too-convenient and inexpensive meals pushed by the fast food places on just about every corner than to seek out the much more expensive stuff that's actually good for you.

In comes Jill Richardson, one of the leading grassroots food activists in America, who's been blogging about food issues at Daily Kos and her own blog, La Vida Locavore. Jill's first book, Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It has just been released, and she'll join us tonight in the first hour of the show.

In the second hour tonight, I'll be joined by Eric Boehlert, senior fellow at Media Matters for America, who wrote a piece yesterday that nails one of the big problems we're facing in the fight over health care reform... the media! It's called Health Care Mobs = Swift Boat Vets. And the press plays dumb, again.

I'll also congratulate Barney Frank for showing his colleagues how to deal with the wing nuts who show up at their town hall meetings...

Listen live from 11pm-1am by clicking here, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in the live chat here!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sick for Profit

***Updated to include links to the interviews detailed below--
Click here to listen to Robert Greenwald
Click here to listen to Jeff Metzger ***

That's the perfect way to describe our for-profit system of health insurance and health care in this country.

Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films will be my guest tonight on Air America radio. Watch this video from his Sick for Profit series, and prepare to be even more enraged than you already are!

I'll also be joined by a listener, Jeff Metzger, who happens to be an attorney who represents clients who've been screwed over by their health insurance companies! If you've got a question for him, you're welcome to call in during the first hour of tonight's show at 866-303-2270.

And if you want to get really sick, have a look at this video. Last week, Las Vegas radio station KDWN AM720 sponsored a “contentious” town hall, emceed by conservative morning show host Heidi Harris. At the event, local news stations were interviewing an Israeli man who was praising the “fantastic” “national health care” in Israel. During his remarks, a woman yelled out, “Heil Hitler!” The man stopped, became visibly upset, and exclaimed, “Did you hear this? She say to a Jew, ‘Heil Hitler’! Hear? I’m a Jew! You’re telling me, ‘Heil Hitler’? Shame of you!” After he angrily confronts her, the woman mocks him by making a crying sound to imply he is a whining baby.

I guess I have to day it again... un-fucking-believable.

Listen as we talk about all of this tonight by clicking here from 11pm-1am, and join in the live chat by clicking here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Whither The Public Option?

***Updated to include links to the interview audio***

If you're a facebook friend of mine, you likely saw my comment of "Un-Fucking-Believable" which went on to question the testicular fortitude of our "change" President. Yes, I posted that after reading the story with the headline "White House appears ready to drop 'public option'".

Un-fucking-believable is right.

Tonight on my Air America radio program, where I can't use that word, I'll speak with a couple of people about this latest development in our quest for a fair system of health care in this country.

First up, Howie Klein, who blogs at He had a few choice words yesterday as well, in a post entitled "Is It Too Late To Rescue Health Insurance Reform From The Corporate Shills In Washington?" ***Listen to my conversation with Howie Klein by clicking here***

He'll answer the question for us, and talk about the few, the brave, the Progressive members of Congress who will stand up for us. In fact, Howie's DownWithTyranny blog and its affiliated sites, FireDogLake, Digby's Hullabaloo, and Crooks and Liars, all work together as Blue America to support these members of Congress who actually do what we put them there to do!

They've set up a page to support the men and women who've pledged to vote against any bill without a robust public option. Please visit by clicking here, and then help out however you can!

In the second hour of tonight's show, I'll be joined by Robert Reich, who has served in three administrations-- most recently as our 22nd Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. Secretary Reich also served on President Obama's transition advisory board, and is currently a professor at the University of California Berkeley. His most recent book Supercapitalism is now out in paperback.

Professor Reich has been blogging a lot about the fight over health care, which is what motivated me to call him and invite him on the show. Today's blog entry, The Public Option's Last Stand, and the Public's, was spot on, and we'll discuss it tonight. ***Hear my interview with Robert Reich by clicking here****

Listen live by clicking here, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in our live chat here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

No Commentary Necessary, Just Watch!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Blogger and a Congressman from Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh Call in to a Radio Show....

**Updated to include links to the interviews**

It sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it? But it isn't... They're two of the guests who'll join me tonight on my show on Air America radio.

The blogger is Lisa Derrick, who writes the La Figa blog at FireDogLake. We'll kick off the show with her report on what it's been like thus far. (Listen by clicking here)

The politician happens to be my Congressman, Kendrick Meek, who is also a candidate for the US Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez (who's pulling a Palin and resigning 17 months before his term is up!). I figured I'd use this opportunity to question Congressman Meek as a constituent. (Hear the interview by clicking here)

When I guest hosted the Ron Reagan show on Wednesday night, I spoke with Vincent Bugliosi about his book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. Yesterday, I got an email from a listener, Jude Morford, who told me of her work with Bob and Arlinda Alexander. The three of them, with some financial contributions from listeners of Mike Malloy's radio show, mailed out 2,200 copies of the book to District Attorneys who had someone from his or her county killed in Iraq. Tonight, Bob Alexander will join us to talk about what they did, why they did it, and what has come of it. They've set up a website at
(Listen to my conversation with Bob by clicking here)

And we've been hearing much about the insane rantings of Glenn Beck. Well, I guess we're not the only ones taking notice. Tonight, I'll be joined by James Rucker of, who's been keeping track of all the advertisers who've pulled out of his show! (Hear my interview with James Rucker here)

All that, and lots more, packed into our final two hours together this week. Listen live here, call in at 866-303-2270, and join us in the live chat room by clicking here!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Night News and Comedy

We'll kick off tonight's show on Air America with a bit of news... Huffington Post's Ryan Grim joins us with the latest on the deal between the White House and Big Pharma. I spoke with him Monday night (click here to listen to that conversation), but his piece today, Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways In the White House Deal With Big Pharma, brings more info to light.

Tonight, Ryan will join us from Pittsburgh, where he's attending Netroots Nation, to give us an update on this story.

As she does every Thursday night, Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress will tell us about some of the stories that we might not have yet heard.

And the always funny John Fugelsang will join me in the second hour for a conversation about all that's happening in our world. I'm sure he'll have plenty to say about the birthers, the deathers, and even the late breaking news that John Edwards will finally admit that he's the baby's daddy! (Click here to listen to that conversation)

Listen live by clicking here, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in the live chat by clicking here!

Last night's audio, back to Nic@Night tonight

I had a blast guest-hosting the Ron Reagan show last night...

Please click on the links below to hear the interviews....

Stan Brock, founder of Remote Area Medical (RAM), who this week is conducting one of his "medical expeditions" in Los Angeles. They're at the LA Forum all week, giving free medical services to around 1500 people a day!

Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God, who told us about the likelihood of violence breaking out at the town hall meetings being held ostensibly to talk about health care reform, and the connection between the disruptors at these meetings with the evangelical right movement.

Vincent Bugliosi, the famed prosecutor, spoke with us about the Mason murders during this, the week of the 40th anniversary of the slayings, and about his book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

Tonight, between 11pm and 1am ET, we'll get our regular Thursday night update from Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress with a look at some of the top news stories of the week and some of the stories we might otherwise have missed... And comedian John Fugelsang will be with us in the second hour....

Listen live here, and call in at 866-303-2270!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In For Ron Reagan Tonight

Tonight, I'll be guest hosting the Ron Reagan Program on Air America radio, from 6-9pm PT. In my usual slot (11pm-1am) will be a "best of" program, featuring my interviews with insurance industry whistleblower Wendell Potter, and Russ Baker, author of "Family of Secrets" about the Bush family.

I hope you'll be able to join me a little earlier than usual this evening, as we continue the dialog on health care/insurance reform.

Throughout the course of our three hours together this evening, I'll be joined by Frank Schaffer, author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back, who has written a couple of pieces for over the past few days on the nastiness we're witnessing at the Town Hall Meetings... From Friday: Right Wing Turncoat Gives the Inside Scoop on Why Conservatives are Rampaging Town Halls; From Today: The Threat is Real: Why Right Wing Rage At Townhall Meetings Could Quickly Turn Deadly.

And Vincent Bugliosi will join us in the last hour of the show tonight. Bugliosi, of course, famously and successfully prosecuted the Manson family for their murderous rampage forty years ago this week of Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles, and detailed the story in the best selling crime book of all time, Helter Skelter.

We'll talk a bit about that, and also delve into his other book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, and see if there's been any progress!

I hope you'll join in! Listen live here, and call in at 866-303-2270!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Racism In The Age Of Obama

***Updated to include links to the interview audio****

I tried to ignore the birthers, as I figured they were just the fringe of the right wing crazies. But they're being seemingly legitimized by CNN and Lou Dobbs.

I tried to just laugh at the antics of Sarah Palin, as I figured she'd be a lingering joke, and nothing more.

I really thought that when we elected President Obama, we were ushering in a new beginning of peace, love and happiness and, perhaps, we'd see a return --40 years later-- of the summer of love.

Boy was I wrong!

Tonight on Air America radio, we'll be talking about racism, because it's rearing it head, uglier than I can remember seeing it in my almost 50 years on the planet.

At 11pm ET, we'll start the show with a conversation with Tim Wise, who is recognized as one of the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. His fourth, and most recent book, Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama was published in January, just around the time our first African-American President took the oath of office. ***Hear our conversation by clicking here***

At midnight, I'll be joined by Mark Karlin, editor and publisher of, one of my favorite news sites on the web. In addition to talking about the top stories of the day, we'll talk about his editorial today "Let's Get to the Heart of the Matter: Racism." ***Hear our interview here****

Mark posted a link to a letter sent to Congressman David Scott of GA, the same Congressman whose office door was adorned with a swastika last night. This letter was sent by one John R. Meyers of Grand Rapids, MI and, according to the page where the letter is posted, it was accompanied by a swastika.
The letter so enraged me that, when I noticed a phone number at the bottom of the letter, I decided to call the guy. He gave me permission to record our phone call to play back on my show. I won't play the whole thing because it's not worth the airtime. You'll get the gist after a few minutes, but I will post the whole thing tomorrow. ***If you can stand to listen to it, click here for the entire call***

I also have a couple of interviews that I taped earlier today that, if I don't get to tonight, I will play back tomorrow or Thursday... with NY Congressman Eric Massa, talking about the town hall meetings he's held over the past week, and with Dr. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Plan.

Listen live by clicking here, call in at 866-303-2270, and join us in the chat room here!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Liars And Cheaters And Thugs, Oh My!

***Updated to include interview links***

They're all one and the same, and it takes one to know one. Even if that one is a former one.

Frank Schaeffer is the author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back and, on Friday, wrote a brilliant piece for, entitled "Right-Wing Turncoat Gives the Inside Scoop on Why Conservatives Are Rampaging Town Halls"

Frank makes his third appearance to get things started on my show tonight by talking about how the Dick Armey (tm pending) is using the old intimidation tactics that the evangelical movement used against so-called abortion clinics back when he helped found the movement.

***After a long day, Frank couldn't make the show. He will join us Wednesday night at 11pm ET on Air America radio instead***

Ryan Grim is the senior congressional correspondent for Huffington Post, who also recently authored the book, This is Your Country on Drugs. Ryan had a piece on HuffPo Friday, "White House Confirms: Deal With Big Pharma Bars Price Negotiations" but today, his colleague Sam Stein had a story with a different headline: White House Insists It Didn't Give Away The Store To Big Pharma. So, which is it? Ryan will join us in the second half-hour to try to explain wtf is going on. ***Click here to listen to our conversation about this complicated issue****

Last Wednesday, I found a great website that purported to "deconstruct the right wing lies about the health care bill. When I wandered over to, I found that it did just that, and more.

I located the author of the blog, Milt Shook, and invited him on the show. As you'd guess from the website, he was a font of information... real information, debunking the misinformation!

Today, I received an email from him, informing me that part three - the finale of his Deconstructing tome was online. So, I invited him back. ***Click here to listen to my interview with Milt***

Milt will be live with me, so you can call in and chime in at 866-303-2270. You can also hang in my loaner chat room by clicking here..... Listen live here!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Ticking Time Bombs

**This post updated to include links to the audio of the interviews... just scroll down***

They're all over the country. Ticking time bombs ready to go off and cause great harm to those who possess them. People like me.

I told you the story a couple of weeks ago how my daughter's insurance company informed me that they had canceled her policy on Dec. 31, but never bothered to tell me. They kept sending me bills, so I figured it was OK that I had gotten a bit behind in my payments. In March, I sent a $300 check to bring us almost current, and in June, another $300.

It was only then, when I got a letter from the insurance company saying the check had the wrong account number, so they couldn't credit it to my account, that I got my first hint that something was wrong.

After spending a couple of hours on the phone with the brain surgeons who work for Vista Healthcare (oh, that's right, they're not doctors deciding who gets treatment and who doesn't... I forgot), they finally told me that the reason they couldn't find the account was because it had been terminated at the end of December!

"Then why," I asked her, "did you continue sending me invoices, and why did you cash my check in March? And why, after cashing the check in March, did the invoices continue to come? And why was I never told that the policy was canceled?"

I never did get a real answer. And I'm still waiting for my $600 back.

Six hundred dollars, by the way, that would have come in very handy today, when my ticking time bomb went off. Thankfully, it was only a stink bomb this time.

My 10-year old daughter Alison attends a very cool nature camp. They were on a big canoe trip today, when her canoe got stuck. So, Alison jumped out to push the vessel, and fell backward, putting out her hand to break her fall. Unfortunately, her hand came down on a sharp oyster bed, and got cut pretty badly, along with her left leg.

The cut on her hand was deep, and when they got back to camp, I got a call telling me she'd likely need stitches. I picked her up, and off we went to the emergency room.

Lucky for me, the doctor was afraid of the bacteria from the oysters, so decided against stitching the wound. A Betadine soak, bandages and one tetanus shot later, we went to check out.

Bracing myself for the worst, I was surprised to find that Memorial Regional Hospital has a "flat rate" for those without insurance. A discounted ER fee, if you pay within 10 days, and no more bills coming your way.

Yes, I got lucky today. We walked away with only a $300 charge on my credit card, and the dreaded advice to follow up with her primary care physician on Monday or Tuesday. Do you think I'll be able to get her enrolled in SCHIP by then?

Me neither...

Tonight on Air America radio (11pm-1am ET), I'll speak with an America ex-pat living in Paris about their health care. France is rated the world's best, so we'll ask Beth Arnold to compare the two systems for us. Beth writes the Letter from Paris blog for Huffington Post, and on her own page at **Listen to our conversation here**

I'll share with you my question during yesterday's health care conference call with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown. And I'll be joined by Democracy for America Miami president Franco Caliz, who'll tell us about a peaceful protest they waged today at Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart's office. (He wrote about it today on Daily Kos, in a piece entitled "Memo to the right wing nutjobs: This is how you fight")

And in the first hour, my interview with Ric O'Barry, the man who started the dolphin craze and now does everything he can to stop what he started! O'Barry was the guy who captured and trained the dolphins for the Flipper tv show. He's also, along with the dolphins he's trying to save, the subject of the powerful film The Cove, that opens today nationwide. He'd like you to visit and, after seeing the film, so would I.
***Listen to our interview here***

Listen live from 11pm-1am by clicking here, call in at 866-303-2270, and join in the live chat here!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Supreme Sotomayor, Christy's News and the Bush Blues

All those things are on tap tonight on my Air America radio program, from 11pm -1am ET.

Yes, Judge Sonia Sotomayor is now Justice Sotomayor to you... so we'll have a Supreme Salute to our newest member of the high court.

Christy Harvey, director of Strategic Communications for the Center for American Progress will join us for our usual Thursday evening get together, during which we'll dish on the dirt of the day.

We'll even have some fun with music. Today, I received a song from an album that will be out on Sept. 1 from a true music legend. On this song, a remake of an old classic, he's joined by another legend. I'll play some of it and the first person to call in and correctly guess both artists will win a prize... I'll email them the mp3 of the song. Hey, it's something....

In the second hour of the show tonight, I'll speak with Russ Baker, an award-winning journalist (the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Nation, the New York Times, Washington Post...), about his book Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces that Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America. Russ is also the founder of WhoWhatWhy/the Real News Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news operation.

Listen live (11pm-1am ET) by clicking here, call in at 866-303-2270, and/or join me and a bunch of cool listeners in our loaner chat room here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Blowing Whistles And Cutting Crap

We'll attempt to both tonight on my Air America radio program. (Listen by clicking here as it streams live from 11pm-1am ET)

Let's start with the cutting of the crap, please. It comes courtesy of Milt Shook, proprietor of the straight-shooting blog, Although Milt has been at it for a while, with common-sense musings on important issues of the day, his recent writings that take on the gargantuan job of "Deconstructing the Right Wing Lies on the Health Insurance Bill."

Seriously, Milt started this task after coming across this article by Alan Caruba (who Wikipedia describes as " is a public relations counselor and freelance writer who is a frequent critic of environmentalism, Islam and global warming," entitled "Page After Page of Reasons to Hate ObamaCare." So, he systematically refutes each and every one of the "reasons"....

And this just in. Literally... This email from Milt just arrived in my inbox:

I've had to put up a new installment of my now infamous deconstruction of the right wing's lies about the health care. As you'll recall, the first installment was from a memo from folks who seemed to run out of steam at about page 500. Then a reader turned me on to a memo posted by Liberty Counsel; a bunch of so-called "Christian Lawyers," who passed on a new list, containing most of the originals, but expanding on the list, and including the rest of the bill. Lots more lies; it makes you wonder what Jesus might say if he came down here and saw followers of his lying in order to deny people the ability to see a doctor...

We have to keep putting the pressure on Congress, and to do that, we have to be able to counter the right's lies. Please pass this post on to everyone you can think of; I don't write this stuff for me... Traffic to my blog soared when I posted this, but let's be real; I still don't make any money from this, and I don't expect to.

And yes, there WILL be a part III...

Milt will join us tonight in our first hour.

I'm thrilled to welcome Wendell Potter to the show in the second hour tonight. Wendell Potter served as the head of corporate communications at Cigna for 15 years, following a similar stint at Humana, another big for-profit health insurance company. He came to my attention last month, after testifying before the Senate and sitting for a compelling interview with Bill Moyers that everyone should watch!

Potter now serves as The Center for Media and Democracy's Senior Fellow on Health Care, and is now known as one of the insurance industry's toughest whistleblowers! Read his blog here.

Listen live here, call in at 866-303-2270, and/or join in the live chat here!

Talk to you soon, radio or not...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tuesday Night Healthcare Reform Club

We had the birthers, the deathers, and now the teabaggers bring us the disruptors... but those of us on the front lines of the battle for true health care reform will not let them have their way!

All Hail the Democratic Alliance of Northwest Indiana, who successfully deflected the disruptors at last night's town hall meeting with Congressman Pete Visclosky. In his DailyKos diary, one Don Briggs wrote "Tea Baggers FAIL to Disrupt Town Hall Meeting, Lessons Shared".
Tonight, we'll get a lesson from the organizers of that meeting. Don Briggs and Karen Kroczek will join us from Indiana!

I'll take some of the advice given tomorrow night, when I'm the guest speaker at the Democracy for America Miami meeting on health care reform! Click here for all the info... if you're in South Florida, I hope you'll come out and join us!

For the past few weeks, I've been reading a lot about health care reform, and one of the best sources I've found is Timothy Noah from

In addition to the definitive online guide to health care reform, Tim has written quite a few pieces jam-packed with info, including:

"Why You Can't Trust Your Health Insurer Private insurance companies dump very sick claimants based on stupid technicalities. That's reason enough to support health reform,"

"Hold the Mayo Making doctors salaried employees is a great goal. Health care reform won't achieve it,"

"Why Isn't Single-Payer "Uniquely American"? Congress says Canada's health care system is at odds with American values. What if that's wrong?,"

and today's column, Can Obama Make You Buy Health Insurance? An inquiry into health reform's constitutionality," among a plethora of others!

It makes for great reading and, I hope, an interesting guest, as Tim Noah will join me tonight at 11pm ET to start tonight's show on Air America radio.

We'll have some time to talk about the rest of the news of the day. And in the second hour, I'll be joined by Lisa Derrick, who writes the La Figa blog at FireDogLake. Always the multi-tasker, she'll be hosting FDL's live chat while chatting with me on the air.

Join in the fun by clicking here to listen live, calling in at 866-303-2270, chatting in my loaner chat room here, or with Lisa at FireDogLake.

Last night's Late Night Radio....

In case you didn't stay awake last night, here are some highlights from my Air America Radio program... I hope these clips entice you to stay awake or to remember to listen if you are up between 11pm and 1am ET!

Tim Karr of and joined me to explain the concept of Net Neutrality and tell us about The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009, which was just introduced on Friday! Listen to our interview here.

Kevin Zeese, executive director of ProsperityAgenda.US joined me to talk about what we need to do if we're serious about pushing for single payer health care in the US. Hear our conversation by clicking here.

And finally, I attempted to interview Bob MacGuffie yesterday. He's the guy who wrote the memo entitled "Rocking the Town Halls -- Best Practices" under the auspices of an organization called Right Principles. If you click on the link to the memo, and scroll down to the bottom of page 9, you'll find the phone number and email address for Bob MacGuffie.

I called him... I didn't ask for permission to record the first call, so I transcribed our comversation. I did say I was recording when I called him back, and he kept talking... Listen to the segment from last night's show in which I talked about the experience and played the tape of the second call by clicking here.

Monday, August 03, 2009

He's Back...

Keith Olbermann, I mean, who gets way too much vacation! What, does he think he's living in Europe, where people get six weeks a year and health care?

Whatever, it was worth the wait, as Keith delivered a knock out Special Comment tonight. I'll play excerpts from in on my Air America show tonight (11pm-1am ET), but you can watch the whole thing here...

In our second hour of tonight's show, we'll not only talk about healthcare reform and the obstructionist measures put in place by the Rethuglicans and their lemming followers, but I'll share with you the fruits of my attempt to obtain an interview with the Townhall disruptor memo, Bob MacGuffie himself. (By the way, if you scroll down to the bottom of the 9th out of 10 pages, you'll find his phone number, should you care to try calling him yourself!)

(**UPDATE** we were also joined by Kevin Zeese, Executive Director of ProsperityAgenda.US. Kevin was one of the "Baucus 8" who was arrested for protesting the fact that no single payer advocates were given seats at the table when they were discussing health care reform. Visit ProsperityAgenda.US for real constructive actions you can take during the August recess.

In the first hour, I'll be joined by Timothy Karr, Communications Director of, who'll tell us about Net Neutrality and a new bill that's being hailed as the First Amendment for the internet! Read his piece from Huffington Post today, entitled Seven Reasons Why We Need Net Neutrality Now!

Don't forget, listen live here, your calls are welcome at 866-303-2270, comments here and on the Nicole Sandler Show page at, and you can join in the live chat by clicking here.