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I just came back from the Michigan Policy Summit, and boy am I excited! The summit included keynotes by Amy Goodman of Democracy NOW! and the legendary Jim Hightower.  Also, Jeffrey Feldman and Marcy Wheeler, who have Michigan ties, were also there (check out Feldman's liveblog).

In addition, breakout sessions were held dealing with issues surrounding the environment, healthcare, and education.

I arrived part of the way through Amy Goodman's speech, so I didn't catch as much of what she said. She did talk about the role media must play in our society. "We need media that covers power, not media that covers for power," she declared.

She added that though the 'oil-igarchy' is powerful, there is a more powerful force out there: all of us, together.

After Goodman's speech, she and Hightower arrived for a press conference with a few of us Michigan bloggers.

Hightower said that he thought a single-payer system would be the best way of ensuring universal health coverage. Any such system would have to be adapted for the US (i.e. we can't just copy Canada's model detail-for-detail), but this type of plan has been known to work for everyone in other countries - doctors, patients, etc.

When asked about the role bloggers have to play in taking back our country, Goodman said that we need to be the ones who get important information out to the people. An uneducated populace  will not always yearn for change.

Then came lunch and Hightower's speech, and if you haven't seen Hightower speak, today I learned why you have to - at least once. Here are just some of the many Hightower-isms I caught (not exact quotes):

"Nothing makes a former agriculture commissioner happy than seeing people shove food in their mouths."

The first job of a citizen is to keep your mouth open.

If not for agitators, we'd be... singing God Save the Queen.

Martin Luther King didn't say, "I have a position paper."

Noting that "we live in a remarkably progressive country," he cited a poll that showed overwhelming support for universal healthcare (even if it means an increase in taxes!), drug-price negotiation by the government, lessening the power of huge corporations, and stronger environmental policies.

But the best laugh of the day came when Hightower spoke the following:

Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.

Feldman and Wheeler didn't speak, but they did autograph their books.

More complete coverage of today's summit can be found on Michigan Liberal, Blogging for Michigan, and Michigan Messenger.

Special thanks to the Michigan Prospect for putting on this summit, and also to the many volunteers!

Originally posted to Live from Kentwood, It's... ScottyUrb! on Sat May 10, 2008 at 07:14 PM PDT.

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