Saturday, February 13, 2010

Where Were You 6 Months Ago? [VIDEO]

I know where we were. Six months ago today, we showed up in Pittsburgh for Netroots Nation '09.

We were here, @FDR Is There A New Deal?:

And here, From Prop 8 to Full Equality in All 50 States: Fighting for Marriage Equality and LGBT Rights Across America:

And we were here, The Myth of Post-Racial America:

Oh, and we were here, also, too, How to Get The Most Out Of The Polling Data You Read About:

And here, Bloggers and Blue-Collar Workers Unite: You have Nothing to Lose but Wall Street Domination:

We also plotted, The Secret Plan to Defeat the Right Forever:

It was an exciting first day. Hopefully you will join us next summer at Netroots Nation in Las Vegas! And check back tomorrow when we will relive Netroots Nation '09 Day 2.

Next Sunday, February 21st, we are beginning our fundraising for our efforts to cover Netroots Nation 2010. Chris Hayes, Nolan Treadway, and local grassroots organizers from inside and around the beltway will join us at a house party in Bethesda, MD. You can also join us online at Sum Live Change (we'll be running a live camera feed of the event), at 2:00pm on the 21st.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Green Thoughts: Sealing & Insulating Your Attic

Once you have had an energy audit and know where your building shell is leaking and where your insulation is lacking, the next step is to fill those gaps and properly insulate your home. Fully isolating and insulating your living space from storage space and the outside will keep the clean and conditioned air inside your home and prevent the dirty exterior air from entering the space where you live and breathe. Though many homeowners initially think that their windows are responsible for their building shell issues, the attic is more likely to be the culprit.

Sealing the attic is not a simple challenge- it takes a lot more than simply blowing insulation. Insulation is important, but if gaps leaking air underneath the insulation, then your insulation is worthless. Worse, if you have fiberglass insulation, unhealthy particles will seep into your breathable air. Properly sealing your attic is more complicated than that and, as you'll find out in the video, it is a multi step process. But getting it done is a major step in the retrofit process.

Full Disclosure: EDGE Energy hired us, as Sum of Change not individuals, to produce several videos for them including the ones in this post. We have not been hired to distribute, recommend, or advertise for EDGE Energy, rather we are using these videos to explain a vital service and we appreciate them letting us do so.

Please come back to next Thursday for more videos explaining the energy audit and retrofit process.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

'The Morrill Plan' for a Heathy Progressive Future

In continuing our coverage of the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit (,  I'd like to bring to you excerpts of a one of the speeches by Michael Morrill, the executive director of Keystone Progress, the main organizers of the conference (  Here, Mr Morrill outlines his 4 points for a permanent progressive minority in Pennsylvania (and in the US) in, as he says, his humbly named "Morrill Plan".  In continuing of a vertebrae related theme from William McNary's speech we released last week, his fist point is to GROW A SPINE.  Democrats have a huge majority, even if it is no longer a super majority, and they have to start acting like it by taking control.

Secondly, progressives must remember that NOT ALL DEMOCRATS ARE PROGRESSIVE.  Several democrats aren't going to vote for progressive values and it may be easier to engage and work with a moderate Republican or Independent than a moderate Democrat.  Thirdly, the opposite is also true: NOT ALL PROGRESSIVES ARE DEMOCRATS.  Even if people don't identify themselves as progressives, many common American values are progressive and there is a lot more support for progressive issues from people who don't identify themselves as progressive than we may think.

Finally, to expand upon and paraphrase Bill Clinton's mantra from the early 90s, IT'S ABOUT JOBS, STUPID.  There are a lot of important issues in America that have to be addressed, but until we can create jobs, people are going to be more concerned about fighting for their own survival than fighting for what is best for America.

-- Grow A Spine

-- Not All Democrats Are Progressives

-- Not All Progressives Are Democrats

-- It's About Jobs Stupid

For more videos from the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit, go to

For more info on the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit and it's organizer, Keystone progress, please go to and

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Training Tuesday: Organizational Change and the Adoption of Online Tools

Today's Training Tuesday comes to us from the Organizing 2.0 conference on December 5th, 2009. We are joined by Kenyon Farrow, of Queers For Economic Justice, Calvin Williams, of the Generational Alliance, and Althea Erickson, from the Freelancers Union.

This week, they are going to share with us how they have adopted online tools in their unique organizations. Next week, we will go into more depth about how these changes took place and what challenges they found.

Kenyon Farrow:

Calvin Williams:

Althea Erickson:

That's all for this week. Check back next Tuesday for part 2 of this training.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Best When Boring Trailer Release



CONTACT: Will Urquhart, 202.587.4145,

Today, Monday February 8th, we are pleased to release the website and first preview for a documentary we have been working on for some time now, Best When Boring.

Best When Boring is a deep look at the history and current state of clinic defense in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. We have collected video, audio, pictures, newspapers and organizational documents dating back to 1989. We have conducted interviews with clinic escorts. We have also had an individual embedded with the escorts, volunteering approximately every other week since the summer of 2009 at various clinics.

We still have a ways to go before the scheduled release of the documentary next fall, but we are excited to be releasing the first glimpse into the project.

Will Urquhart
Managing Partner, Sum of Change

MUSIC MONDAY: Jazz & The Birth of Television - Part 2 - Jimmy Rushing, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cannonball Adderley

To follow up on last week's article about early Jazz Television, I'd like to give you some more examples of some what jazz you could expect to see and hear on 1960s TV. The first clip is from the special "The Subject is Jazz". The show is most famous for the song performance of the song 'Fine and Mellow' by Billie Holiday and Lester Young, as described in Ken Burns' Jazz series. I would like to steer your attention to a song that happened earlier in the show performed by Jimmy Rushing and the Count Basie Band called 'I Left My Baby'. Rushing was a magnificent blues singer (and piano player) from Kansas City who made it is most known for being Basie's long time singer. He was a terrific blues man and I love his smooth yet powerful voice. The second clip is from a show called 'The Subject is Jazz'. Each week, the show focused on a particular aspect of jazz, be it a genre of jazz, like the blues or swing, or an aspect of jazz culture, like the international significance of jazz or jazz and other arts, and breaks it down into simple terms so that a non-jazz audience could understand and be interested in the music. The host, Gilbert Seldes, introduced and explained the topic in an academic (and usually pretty boring) manner and the great Dr Billy Taylor with backing band and special guest would play examples of Seldes' discussion points. This episode is on 'bop' and features special guest Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley who is was a terrific jazz educator and quite a good sax player to boot. This clip also features some reminiscences by Dr Taylor on the program. The last clip is from a special called 'Swing into Spring', which was more or less a showcase of Benny Goodman and some of the most popular artists of the day. This show was a bit corny, fortunately this clip misses the dance interludes aimed designed for 1950s college students, but catches songs featuring Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Lionel Hampton, and, of course, Benny Goodman, including a solo by Goodman on a personal favorite of mine, 'Sweet Loraine'. Please Enjoy...

-- The Sound of Jazz

-- The Subject is Jazz

-- Swing Into Spring

For more Music Monday articles, please go to: