City Desk

Our Morning Roundup: Angry Townsfolk Edition

Good Morning, City Desk readers!  It's the second week in August, which usually means that most people are on vacation and not doing anything news-worthy.  But when he was elected, President Obama promised change and he has followed through on that.  Congressional town meetings, once sedate opportunities for schmoozing with your elected officials, have suddenly become centers of lunacy, where anyone will get up and scream their opinions at members of Congress.  Let's take a closer look at two of yesterday's meetings:

  • Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) held a town-hall meeting in Hillsboro, MO yesterday.  Or rather, she tried to hold a town-hall meeting and was met with so much anger about health care reform that she took to disciplining the audience.  Video of her questioning the audience's rudeness is here, but McCaskill also tweeted her feelings about this great day in America.
  • At another town-hall meeting in New Hampshire, President Obama spent time addressing the concerns of citizens who are wary of the new health care plan.  Unfortunately, this guy couldn't be assuaged, so he decided to show up with a (legal) gun strapped to his leg. Chris Matthews is ready to tear William Kostric a new one but apparently the gun was more for show than actual use and according to Kostric, no one from New Hampshire was alarmed.
  • With the death of Eunice Kennedy Shriver yesterday morning, newspapers are reporting that the Kennedy era is really over.  A year ago, the same newspapers reported this news when Senator Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer, which they also reported ten years ago after the death of JFK Jr. The Post attempts to clarify what is meant by the end of the Kennedy era but the more pressing question is which Kennedy will carry on the legacy.
  • The staff of DCist has officially jumped on board the DC Voting Rights bus. Literally. Editor Martin Austermuhle is not a US citizen, so he can't vote anyway, but he lent his image to a new bus campaign sponsored by I-Am-DC.  Look for his poster on your favorite Metrobus and then consider joining the cause, so that maybe a person who can vote in the District can be the next spokes-model.
  • And finally, after the death of John Hughes on Friday, the supposed inspiration for Ferris Beuller is coming out of the woodwork. Edward McNally went to high school with Hughes in the suburbs of Chicago and apparently caused some trouble with his friends as a teenager, but that's less important.  In this essay, McNally pays tribute to a friend and encourages everyone to live just one day as Ferris did.  Apparently, this is a tactic used by many trial attorneys.

Enjoy the day and bring an umbrella, City Deskers!

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  • dufs

    DCvote couldnt find someone who could actually vote in DC? Fail.

  • Martin


    I've been writing about voting rights for five years, so it's not like DCist just suddenly jumped in on the voting rights bandwagon or something!

    Also, I volunteered for the ad campaign because at the end of the day, voting representation is a universal right. As a non-U.S. citizen, I feel it's fair for me to advocate on behalf of the residents of a city I have lived in for eight years and who are denied a right that many people in the other countries I lived in gained with the support of the U.S.

    Finally, the campaign isn't limited to me -- there are many other spokespeople, all of which can vote here! Check out to see all the posters.

    Martin Austermuhle

  • huh?

    DC Vote is a joke. The Executive Director doesn't even live in DC! It's nice to pretend like it doesn't matter whether you can actually vote in DC or not when it comes to this issue, but it does matter. It's nice to have your support Martin, but quite honestly, there are plenty of people who actually vote in the city who can speak on our behalf.

  • Martin

    Huh - I agree with you. DC Vote made the call, and they chose people that in someway reflected the city and the struggle for voting rights. They have a mix of normal residents and activists, and I suppose I fell into the latter category. I guess that's the benefit of being a loud-mouthed blogger who has been writing about this for way too long, huh?

    I think DC Vote is a valuable organization, whether or not we all agree with their tactics and approach. They spend every day working for a cause that doesn't seem to go anywhere, and they are stuck with the unenviable task of balancing competing interests within the movement and city. It can't be easy to try to appeal to people who demand immediate statehood and those that favor an incremental approach towards it. Sure, the organization has its faults, but their heads and hearts are in the right place.

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    If people want full rights, shut down the bridges - you'll win in a few days. If not, go stare at your navels or go sit in the shade of massah's tree. You're just wasting time & money.

    Bus ads? What a joke.

    As for the birthers/deathers/psychotic shouters at town hall meetings, they should be bounced from the meeting. Until the Dems learn to fight - & physically fight when necessary - they only deserve scorn.

    As for the Kennedys, good riddance. America is not supposed to have aristocracies, but the peasants who live here are too ignorant to know better.

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    Fuck the DC Vote pussies - let's secede & start our own nation. The USA is a rotten capitalist corpse, so who needs it.

    "Writing for five years" - nice waste of time. How far did that get ya? Let's sit around in a circle jerk & write & blog & piss & moan for fifty years, & call it a good effort.

    Shut down the bridges = full rights within a week. Writing & complaining = full rights never achieved.

  • beatbox

    DCVote had their chance and dropped the ball. I suspect they didn't spend enough time lobbying DC officials as they should have Congress. Hoyer said it the legislation was dropped because of "lack of consensus" among DC leadership, but no one has given details on what was being discussed, what alternatives there were. Where did our "leaders" stand? To have this die because we could not get our own house in order is a shame. DCVote should call out whomever it was who said no.

  • blogo

    Why run a campaign right when Congress goes on break?