Thursday, May 13, 2010

Celebrating One Year Of Grassroots Video

Today, Thursday May 13th 2010, marks one year since we signed the paperwork to register Sum of Change. We did not know what to expect when we started but we are proud of what we have accomplished so far. We feel privileged to be able to do this work and wake up every day more appreciative of this opportunity.

Below we have compiled links to many of our best projects for you to enjoy. Below that, we present our plans for the coming year, of which you are a major part. Please take some time this weekend to watch and digest as much as possible, then let us know what you think and what you would like to see in the future.

Sum of Change In Year One

Soon after Dr George Tiller was assassinated, we filmed and released our first video from the vigil that took place outside the White House in his honor and felt compelled to take our website live, before we had originally intended. Before long we were covering important events around town, such as the election in Iran. That event captivated many Americans and we captured their feelings of solidarity as they took to the streets of Washington DC.

From there, our work has blossomed. We shed light on the struggles of former felons in Virginia to restore their rights, well before the national media took notice. We covered labor issues like EFCA and union busting. We heard from inspiring voices for change, like William McNarry, Stewart Acuff, Richard Trumka, Michelle Singletary, Darcy Burner, Howard Dean, and our good friends from Grow the Hope.

We started production on our first feature documentary, titled Best When Boring, about pro-choice clinic escorts and the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force. Not long ago, we released the first preview.

We delved into the world of music, beginning with an interview with Tim Westergren from Pandora Internet Radio. From there were inspired to explore further and have highlighted talent from today like Nicky Egan, Petworth, and Dub FX, and talent from yesteryear like Elvis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Louis Armstrong. We also covered local cultural events like FlavorTripDC and Obscura Day.

Besides for these DC based events, we traveled to some fantastic conferences, including Netroots Nation, Organizing 2.0, the PA Progressive Summit, Democracy for America's Campaign Academy, and the Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference.

Out of all of this, however, health care reform was our primary focus. When our nation re-initiated the health care fight, we were there. We were there for the town halls. We were there with experts to educate the public about the facts of reform, including this simple explanation of the public option. We were there to see people sharing their personal stories with neighbors and legislators. We were there to challenge misinformation. When they said reform would fund abortion, we pressed the President of Operation Rescue and the folks at the March for Life in a fruitless search for someone who could explain how.

And we were there as reconciliation went through the final steps of the process. After reform passed, we were still there reaching out to grassroots folks, including David Waldman of Congress Matters, Dr. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program, and Jim Lindsay of the Virginia Organizing Project, to discuss what lessons were learned.

Throughout all of these events this past year, we worked aggressively on the front lines of the new media movement. We magnified the power of our work using cutting-edge web, video, and social networking technologies. Hand-in-hand with bloggers and other progressive video groups, we took steps to combat the forces of Status-Quo™ that dominate mainstream news outlet, as perfectly explained by our friend Chris Hayes at a Sum of Change housemeeting.

Moving Forward In Year Two

After the passage of health care reform, we knew we had to establish a new platform of issues upon which to provide in depth coverage. Health care dominated the headlines at Sum of Change, as it dominated political discussion across the country.

We deliberated, researched, and sought advice from viewers, and over the last couple months we explored a variety topics to see what the response would be. We continue to strive to cover all relevant stories, but it is important to have a core set of issues so that we can focus our efforts in the most productive way.

Therefore, we have decided upon 5 issues where we feel our focus is most needed: Green Energy, Immigration, Reproductive Justice, LGBT Rights, and The 2010 Elections. Over the next year (and beyond) you can expect a focused stream of in depth material on these topics.

Please continue to send us your input on these and any other topics that you find important. Without viewers like yourself, none of this would be possible and our work is based on interactive communication, not one-way dissemination.

We expect year two to be even more exciting than year one. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to sharing a brighter future together.

Thank you,
Mitch Malasky and Will Urquhart

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

[UPDATED @ noon] National Nurses United Rally for Nursing-Ratio Limits

cross-posted from Sum of Change

About 1,000 nurses, with a handful of doctors mixed in, rallied today on Capitol Hill for National Nurses Week to "press the case for moving beyond insurance reform to improving the quality of care in U.S. hospitals and other healthcare settings."

One of the big topics of discussion, S 1031/HR 2273, The National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act (pdf). The focus of this legislation is to establish a minimum nursing-ratio, much like the law in California. We were able to grab Senator Boxer for a very quick explanation of the California law everyone was talking about:

We also got a minute to speak with Congressman Anthony Weiner to get his thoughts on the days events:

Senator Boxer's remarks on the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act (pdf):

Senator Al Franken's opening remarks:

Congressman Weiner's opening remarks:

We've got lots more video from this event. Check Sum of Change for updates.

Monday, May 10, 2010

UPDATE: Permeable Cone Stocking (Oil Corral): Oil Spill Solution?

cross-posted from Sum of Change

UPDATE: Eric Lewis put together a more detailed drawing of the proposed permeable cone stocking, and there is a good discussion about it taking place over at Daily Kos.


UPDATE2: Just got an email from the Coast Guard, they have received 4,800 proposals to stop/contain the spill from all across the world.

bp oil spill concept 1

Last night, I came across this picture on Daily Kos. With the failure of the containment dome, BP and the US government are now scrambling for a solution. We are joined today by Eric Lewis who came up with the permeable cone stocking idea.

Mr Lewis received a reply from Deep Water Horizon Response (DWHR), nothing significant most likely a stock response. We reached out to DWHR this morning and will update this post with any response.

The following inquiry was submitted to Deepwater Horizon Response on
05/10/10 10:27 (259571):
From : Joint Information Center
Date : 05/10/10 10:49

Dear Mr Lewis,

Thank you for your comments and suggestions. Unified Command is considering all options for mitigating both the response and clean-up efforts.

A telephone number has been set up to receive calls - 281 366 5511, and also an email account:

For the most current information on the Deepwater Horizon Response, visit

Sincerely, Joint Information Center Team
From : Eric Lewis
Date : 05/10/10 10:27

I think I may have come up with an idea that will help contain the Gulf spill and can be manufactured relatively quickly. I am not an engineer, but I do have a Master of Industrial Design degree from The Rhode Island School of Design, where I received the Rachel Carson
Environmental award for ecologically responsible design.

Please find the attached jpeg sketch of a "Permeable Cone Stocking" concept.

The thought behind this is that it would avoid the complicated chemistry involved in deep sea high-pressure capture efforts, by making the tube between the leak and the surface PERMEABLE. As a result, this method allows some oil to escape, but more or less contains it within
the cone.

The drawing shows the bottom of the cone nailed to the ocean floor, but upon further consideration, it could simply be attached to a rigid steel hoop and positioned less precisely over the leak - so long as the majority of the spewing was going into the cone.

I very much hope you are able to find a solution soon. Thank you very much, and good luck!


Eric Lewis