As President Obama and Vice President Biden host a National Conference on Mental Health as part of their Administration's launch of a national conversation to increase understanding and awareness of mental health, I wanted to share about a “Community Living Room Conversation” that I observed in March. This Community LRC focused on improving Contra Costa CA’s public health system.  The conversation invited care providers, patients and patient’s families to participate in structured conversations Read More...

Mark Meckler, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, and I, co-founder of MoveOn, had the opportunity to describe our Living Room Conversation about crony capitalism on stage with at Citizen University last month. The audience welcomed a story about friendship and agreement growing across partisan lines. Honestly we're pretty excited about it too. I'm told that our conversation was on the front page of the S.F. Chronicle in January because when Mark and I co-hosted a conversation with our friends it Read More...

By: Rodney Ferguson Tuesday night I drove up to Concord, CA to participate in a Living Room Conversation http://www.lrsandbox.com/ hosted by Mental Health Consumer Concerns . Having participated in some rather livelypolitical Living Room Conversations, I didn’t know what to expect. This was not going to be a different kind of  Living Room Conversation. The groups would be larger; there would be people who were mental health clients, providers, and doctors as well as people who have been Read More...

by Claude E. Welch The following is the text of my regular monthly column in the Lufkin (Texas) Daily News that appeared last Friday. The goals of two political organizations, MoveOn.org on the left and the Tea Party on the right, are as divided as political goals can possibly get. They are “natural born” political rivals. However, recent news is their divide is narrowing and, if so, it is not encouraging for some politicians and their major financial backers. First, the news out of San Read More...

By Marty Sorensen Over the years I have learned that getting things done requires intelligent discussion and, probably, most important the art of listening.  As a retired civil engineer/meteorologist/project manager, I had to develop a better sense of communication.  And being a good listener is at the core of civil discourse.  I have had the luxury of having a very diverse group of friends and colleagues from the quite liberal to the very conservative.  Those friendships have endured many Read More...

Tea party and MoveOn activists joining voices to reinstate Glass-Steagal ?  That's not far-fetched..... this is common ground. I admit that I had butterflies in my stomach last week when I thought  about co-hosting a Living Room Conversation about crony capitalism with my friend Mark Meckler who is a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.  Talking to Mark on the phone over the last couple of years I've learned that I really like Mark personally and that we have remarkably different views on many Read More...

By: Rodney Ferguson Before everyone gets too drunk, in most college dorms, lively political discussions erupt sometimes after dinner. This is bound to happen when you get a bunch of young people from all of the country and world crammed into a dorm. The problem is that even in this diverse group, there is an incredible amount of homogeneity in thinking. Everyone thinks like a college student. The problem with co-eds is that they are all in the process of becoming who they truly are. Now they don’t Read More...

By: Joan Blades Some people say that Richard Lugar lost his Senate seat because he worked with Democrats. No wonder Congressional approval is at an all time low. Winning for politicians too often means failing the citizens they are employed to serve. Think budget crisis. Think immigration reform. Even judicial nominations have been radically politicized. Most of us agree that D.C. dynamics have got to change for the U.S. to solve the real challenges we confront and to retain our leadership role Read More...

By: Craig Paterson We all have a place and a role in the ‘public.’ This appreciation of an all-inclusive participation in a shared, human environment goes back at least to the Greeks as they pondered their common good and civic purpose. The Greeks had already recognized that an awareness of a ‘public’ as an entity in its own right…larger and more significant than just the accumulation of disparate individuals. Those of us who seek to hear the voice of the ‘public’ today are challenged Read More...

By Joan Blades - My family figured out how to be out of sight Saturday afternoon while I co-hosted my second living room conversation. I was both anxious about and looking forward to our conversation about immigration. Our first conversation about money in politics allowed us to get to know each other sufficiently to realize that we like each other, as well as to appreciate what different perspectives we bring to our conversation. We used a tested structured format for our first Living Room Conversation. Read More...