Stephen Colbert in death match with black Barbie

A few weeks ago, Stephen Colbert had me on his show. He was trying to get me to confess the numerous ways that ACORN is working to undermine the principles of capitalism. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Now, you know I'd love to tell you everything about the interview, but I don't know what the editors are going to allow on the air, so how about I just share a few bits and pieces from the interview?

Right when I sat down and shook his hand he asked me if I'd helped any poor people that day, and I said, "Of course!" Then he took out his Purell, squirted it into his hands and told me that it was nothing personal, but "poor" seemed to be going around these days and he had a family to think about.

Then he tried to take down my information for the "census." His first question was "how many sexual partners have you had!" Now it seemed only fair that I got to take down his embarrassing information as well, so I took one of the forms from his lap and asked him just how many sexual partners he had had.  You gotta tune in tonight to find out how we answered!  

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Sick and Tired's Turn to Stand and Fight

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.

How many times have you said or thought that? Plenty, I'll bet. If you are like ACORN member Tamecka Pierce from Florida who suffers from lupus and serious gaps in her health care coverage, it's a regular thing.

If you are like the ACORN members I speak with regularly, the mother who worries about her son's asthma medicine, the partners who worry if their uninsured husbands get injured on the job, the families who face discrimination in the ambulances on the way to the hospital where a lack of insurance can take us 20 minutes farther away to a hospital that will provide care, then you know.

You are also sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Well, you aren't alone.

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Stopping the 13 Second Clock: ACORN and Leading Mayors Join Together in Fighting Foreclosures

Yesterday I was honored to be on a call with America's leading mayors and the US Conference of Mayors to talk about a huge problem affecting cities from coast to coast: the foreclosure crisis.

I've been talking about how a family is losing their home every 13 seconds for awhile now and the recent failure by Congress to enact bankruptcy reform to protect homeowners because of industry pressure was a real blow to stopping that clock.  

But the failure in Washington isn't going to stand in the way of ACORN's push to address the crisis at the heart of the economic meltdown and teaming up with some of the leading mayors in the United States is a major way we're moving forward to help families stay in their homes.

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"Lupus Isn't the Only Thing Eating Me Up About Health Care"

When Florida ACORN member Tamecka Pierce first got her employer-provided health insurance, she was ecstatic. No more dealing with the limitations and bureaucracy of the Medicaid system, which had been her sole option as an unemployed single mother with three children.

That joy was short lived. Just after she was accepted into the Blue Cross/Blue Shield program, she was diagnosed with lupus, an auto-immune disease in which the body slowly eats away at itself. The treatment is complex, ever-shifting, and life-long as there is no cure.

Predictably, Blue Cross/Blue Shield spent months fighting not to cover Tamecka. When she finally won, her problems didn’t end. As the sole breadwinner, money is always an issue. On a monthly basis, Tamecka found herself choosing between medications and visits to specialist, or between health care and other bills.  

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Follow me over the flip to find out the solution.

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A 21st Century Civil Rights Movement

Today, Friday May 1, 2009, thousands of people across this magnificent and gorgeous country of ours are taking to the streets to rally for comprehensive changes to our immigration policies - changes that promote family unity, promote public health and safety, and end the police-state approach to patrolling communities of color exemplified by abusive tactics practiced by law enforcement officials like Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Arizona, where Phoenix is located.  

From Seattle to Miami, we are coming out in a show of multi-ethnic solidarity with immigrant workers and the communities in which they live. This show of support represents a new moment in American history - the emergence of a civil rights movement for the 21st century. One that brings together the component parts of the American future to demand fairness and equity for all communities of color in the vibrant mosaic that makes up this great country.

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Stopping The Every-13-Second Foreclosure Clock

In America, a family is losing its home every 13 seconds.  

This appalling statistic brings home the punishment working families are taking from the foreclosure crisis, a crisis acting like a cancer on the economic recovery.  We at ACORN applauded President Obama's "Making Home Affordable" plan to stop 3 to 4 million of the expected 9 million foreclosures over the next four years, but more needs to be done - much more.  

As documented in a new report that ACORN released Wednesday, "Road to Rescue", strong community organizing resulted in Philadelphia pioneering the most successful anti-foreclosure program in the country.  

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Lies and the Lying Liars Exposed

Yesterday Media Matter for America released a well-researched report showing that conservatives have repeatedly resorted to blaming ACORN in place of substantive discussions of causes and solutions, even where the organization has little or nothing to do with the issue.

For us at ACORN, the findings in this report come as no surprise. Since the 2008 election, when ACORN became the focus of a coordinated series of attacks from partisan operatives seeking to derail then-candidate Obama's presidential campaign, we've become something of a beast of mythic proportions, casting magic spells, mesmerizing elected officials and the traditional media, all the while destroying the fabric of democracy one strand at a time.

Specifically we've been accused of everything from causing the global financial meltdown to getting billions in Federal payouts to voter fraud to manipulation of the US Census. As I said back in January, this is all just a big bag of overheated partisan fever dreams. Media Matters took the time to cut through the right-wing bamboozlement chorus with some cold hard facts. Here are a couple of examples from the report.

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ACTION: 21st Century Bull Connor: Shameless Intransigence

This is from the "Have They No Shame?" department. For the past couple of months I've been talking about the abuses going on in Maricopa County, Arizona  (that's where the fine city of Phoenix is located) at the hands of the local sheriff there, Joe Arpaio.  

Arpaio's officers have arrested people who disagree with his policies just for clapping. In the face of Sheriff Arpaio's abuses, including police brutality, forced family separation, racial profiling, slow emergency response times, unjustified arrests, inmate abuses and more, ACORN members and allied community groups recently delivered a petition to Congress asking for an investigation of Arpaio, and then we sent petitions to the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

Find out Arpaio's response on the flip.

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ACTION: Thank You Jon Stewart!

I'm sure that many of you reading this have been reveling in Jon Stewart's take-down of banks, speculators, and financial commentators this week on The Daily Show. I have too. I think my favorite part was from last night's floor-wiping spectacular with Jim Cramer.

"Listen, you knew what the banks were doing, yet were touting it for months and months, the entire network was. For now to pretend that this was some sort of crazy, once-in-a-lifetime tsunami that nobody could have seen coming is disingenuous at best and criminal at worst."

Exactly. You go, Jon!

Of course, he's taking a lot of flak about this from various sides - even the New York Times was a bit of a scold in their article today. So we at ACORN are taking a minute to thank Jon Stewart and The Daily Show for actually staying on this story and taking some of the biggest culprits to task.

And we'd like you to join with us and send him a thank you message as well. In a few days, we're going to deliver a big "Thank You" directly to The Daily Show's HQ in New York with all the messages.

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The Future Starts Now: President Obama's First Budget

Someone once told me that budgets are moral documents. I think they said that while I was trying to balance my checkbook and the only thing that came to mind was distinctly immoral. But, of course, they didn't mean it that way. Or rather, they didn't mean it related to my opinion of the phone company.

They meant that budgets are a reflection of one's priorities. Is keeping the heat on more important than keeping the cable? (Yes, now that The Wire is off the air.) Is buying fresh vegetables as pressing as getting that good bottle of wine? (This week I think I can do both.) Budgets say what we care enough about to spend money on and the amount of money we spend reflects the magnitude of that priority.

Which brings me to President Barack Obama's first budget. It has been a long time since I have felt good about the choices that our national budget reflects. Not only does it treat the American people as adults by its lack of gimmicks and realistic assumptions, but it emphasizes long-term investments, rather than short-term fixes.

More below the fold on why this budget is so important and what you can do to help get it passed.

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