Marc Stier's blog

You are not invited to a hearing on the Affordable Care Act

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is coming Harrisburg on March 23, the anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, to take testimony about why it should be repealed.

Governor Corbett is scheduled to testify. Some corporate CEOs are scheduled to testify. Some Republican state legislators are scheduled to testify.

You haven’t been invited to testify.

Nor have any of the people of Pennsylvania who will benefit so much from health care reform.

But we intend to be heard.


The Capitol Harrisburg PA,
March 23, 2011 10:30 am
From Wisconsin to Washington, DC, right wing extremists are trying to roll back the programs, policies, and protections that support working people and the middle class in America. The attack on the Affordable Care Act is just one more example.

Thursday 11:30 am---Stand up for women's health care!!

Please join Raising Women's Voices and Health Care for America Now on Feb. 17 in Philadelphia to stand up against right wing sattack on women and health care.

Click HERE to RSVP.

And please sign our petition against the attack on Womens' Health Care at now!We'll be delivering signatures to lawmakers.

Newly elected lawmakers were sent to Washington and Harrisburg to create jobs. But since taking office, they have instead been appeasing right wing extremists who want to roll back the advances women made in the last forty years.

It’s not about D or R, it’s about democracy

Pennsylvania’s democracy needs the help of political activists like you today.

Most people don’t pay much attention to the rules under which our legislatures operate. But you have seen what undemocratic procedures like the filibuster can do to our democracy.

That’s why I writing to urge you to contact your State Representative to tell him or her to vote down the rules proposed by the House Republican leadership last week click here:

The new rules are deeply disturbing, not just for Democrats with a big D but for those of us who are democrats with a small d. They would further centralize power in the already too centralized PA House of Representatives and undermine the ability of rank and file Representatives of both parties to influence legislation. And when the power of our representatives is limited, so is the power of the people of this commonwealth.

Tell Senator Casey to lead the way on filibuster reform!

The first political action I ask you to take this year may be the most important one of the year.

Please sign a petion to Senator Casey to ask him to lead the effort to reform the Senate filibuster .

In the last few years, two features of our political system have done more to stand in the way of progressive public policy than any other. The first is the role of corporate money in our politics. The second is the filibuster—which requires supporters of legislation to find not a majority of 51 but a super majority of 60 to pass legislation in the Senate.
Given the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, fixing the first problem is difficult. It is made much more difficult by the second problem.

An opportunity to reform the filibuster is like Brigadoon--it appears for a day once every two years and then is gone again. On Wednesday, January 5, a group of Senate Democrats will step forward and try to reform the filibuster. The vote on filibuster reform will be the most important vote the Senate takes in the next two years.

That’s why it is critical for you to sign a petition, today, to tell Senator Casey to support efforts to reform the filibuster.

Dear Mr. President, Find Some Concrete

Dear Mr. President,

We’ve met briefly, at a fundraiser in Philadelphia and at a health care event I organized. But, as the year ends, I think it’s time we had a real chat.

I’m one of those “sanctimonious folks” who made health care reform possible

I’m one of those progressives disappointed by the deal you cut with the Republicans a few weeks ago on taxes. And, I’m not happy that called me and your other critics “sanctimonious” folks who want to “feel good about how pure we are” rather than get things done.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics" attributed to Benjamin Disraeli by Mark Twain

Having made the transition myself, I know well that moving from academia to advocacy often requires some compromise with the standard of the academy.

Academic rectitude requires one to point out the possible weaknesses in one’s views, for to qualify statements about which one is uncertain and to There is little room for uncertainty, for qualification, for hesitation, for on the one hand, on the other hand caution in advocacy.

But becoming an advocate shouldn’t mean that one gives up standards of intellectual honesty entirely. An advocate, especially one who trades on his standing as an academic, shouldn’t put forward reach conclusions when he has no good reason to do so.

That, however, is what Robert Inman did in his op-ed piece in the Inquirer opposing the BPT proposal put forward by Bill Green and Maria Quinones-Sanchez.

A small victory: Blues will support AdultBasic for six more months

We had a small victory for AdultBasic today. But there is still more to be done to insure that the program continues until it is no longer necessary.

The Adult Basic Program

Health Care For America Now joined five events around the state led by the Pennsylvania Health Access Network in support of Adult Basic, Pennsylvania’s health insurance program for 47,000 people who cannot afford health insurance but whose incomes are not low enough to qualify for Medicaid. AdultBasic is inadequate insurance, but it provides a lifeline for many people. And over 350,000 are on a waiting list for the program.

Rape, domination, and sexuality

Matt Ruben wrote a good op-ed in the Daily News today that points out that rape is a crime of violence against women and that calls for making the hate crimes law apply to such violence.

I agree with this conclusion.

But in the course of making the argument, Matt repeats a staple of feminist thought when he says that “research has demolished the myth that rape is a crime of lust or passion. It's a crime of power: Men rape women because they seek to dominate and brutalize them.”

The standard feminist argument about rape and sex

That claim is well intentioned in two respects. First it shows us that the fundamental source of rape is that men seek to dominate and control (and I would add direct their anger at) women. This is important to know because, if we want to make rape less common, we have to address the psychological source of rape.

Take action now to stop a PA budget crisis!

After asking people, again and again, to help us enact the most important legislation in forty years, I almost feel a little funny asking people to help pass something that is as close to a no-brainer as they come.

But Washington being Washington, and this being an election year, sometimes a no-brainer is harder than it should be.

So please use our click to call tool to tell Senators Casey and Specter and your Representative to extend FMAP, the enhanced Medicaid match, and COBRA benefits now.

Important parts of the stimulus package enacted in 2009 are expiring. Last week, the House passed legislation that extended unemployment benefits. But it eliminated an extension of FMAP and COBRA subsidies.

FMAP provides extra federal dollars to match state Medicaid spending. During this awful recession, FMAP has allowed Pennsylvania and other states to continue to provide critical services even while their tax revenues have been declining.

Montco and Delco residents tell Tom Corbett to resign!

Yesterday, on the steps of the Montgomery and Delaware County Court Houses health care advocates from Health Care for America Now, the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change and Penn Action calling on Attorney General Tom Corbett to resign his office.

Montgomery County Times-Herald coverage of the action, including video footage, can be found here:

We took this action because Corbett has politicized an office that should be entirely above politics.

It's what's in the heart that counts: Lou Agre for State Representative in the 194th

I went to a 194th state representative district candidate event last week at Roxborough Memorial Hospital. It made clear to me why, when we decide which candidate to support, we progressives have to get out of the habit of looking at the elaborate questionnaires candidates produce and focus on what their history tells us about where their heart is.

Sometime in the next two years, the person who wins this election is going to have to make a decision about a new piece of legislation before him or her. It might be late at night and there won’t be time to call some advisor to find out what is the right thing to do. There won’t be time to determine whether the legislation violates a core ideal of Democrats or progressives. The next representative for the 194th district is just going to have to use his or her judgment and experience to come to a quick decision.

Everything I saw last week convinces me that I want Lou Agre making those decisions, not the other leading candidate, Pam DeLissio.

We're not quite done with health care reform until we tell off AG Corbett Tuesday at Noon

Please join us for a rally in support of health care reform and in opposition to Attorney General Tom Corbett's lawsuit against the legislation that recently passed the US Congress.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
12:00 Noon
Thomas Paine Plaza (in front of the Municipal Services Building)
Arch Street between Broad and 15th Street

We will be joined, among others, by Congressmen Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady, Mayor Michael Nutter, and State Representative Dwight Evans.

You might wonder why we are rallying again for health care reform so soon after the legislation passed.

Last Chance to Help Move Health Care Reform

Phone banking 10 to 8 today and 10 until the vote tomorrow at the offices of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project. 112 Broad Street 11th floor

or from your home: for instructions email or call Athena Ford at or 267-257-6968.

This is it: Health Care For America Right NOW!

After 20 months, this part of our campaign for quality, affordable health care for all is coming to an end. We are fairly sure the critical vote in the House of Representatives will take place by Saturday.

The vote will be very close, and health care reform won't be enacted without an outpouring of grassroots energy that can overcome the powerful insurance company interests that are trying to block it.

So many of you in Pennsylvania have been doing so much for so long. Over the last three weeks, Pennsylvanians have led the way at two events in Washington. Hundreds of you joined us for the end of Melanie's March and for the exciting anti- health insurance company rally last week.

But whether you have been an active participant in the campaign or not, I must ask you to do everything you can in this crucial last week to make our dream a reality. Most importantly, I need you to do some

Phone banking

Health care activists are planning a rally near Arcadia

where President Obama is speaking. Meet at 443 Rices Mill Road at 9 am and walk to Arcadia.

We are pretty sure the room will be filled with activists. But we need some help to overwhelm the right wingers expected to be outside the room. Come join us if you can.

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