HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Can You Hear Me Now?

Posted August 12, 2009 at 10:57am

Does Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee need a lesson in cell phone etiquette? The Texas Democrat appeared to be taking a phone call on her cell in the middle of a town-hall meeting in Houston earlier this week.[IMGCAP(1)]In a video making the rounds on YouTube, a cancer survivor is seen holding a microphone asking a question about health care. She is quickly interrupted by a man yelling, “She’s not even listening!— The camera then cuts to Jackson Lee, standing next to the podium where she appears to be whispering into her cell phone. The crowd erupts into groans, and people can be heard shouting “Seriously?— and “What the hell?— Eventually the Congresswoman puts her phone away and congratulates the woman on beating cancer. An angry Jackson Lee explained to HOH that she wasn’t talking on the phone but was simply dialing into the health care hotline set up by President Barack Obama.“I was trying to hear the answer of the person of the hotline so I could give the constituent in the room a better answer,— Jackson Lee says. “The only thing I did not do is stop the audience and say, Let me put him on speaker phone.’—Jackson Lee says she wasn’t whispering into the phone but was simply listening to the answer so that she could better help her constituents.“Every single question was answered, every single person that stayed till the end had their question answered,— she says.Jackson Lee added that she anticipates having Republican operatives disrupt the town-hall meeting that she has planned for Wednesday night. Here’s hoping it’s in a dead zone.They Shall Overcome. Protesters plan to gather outside the White House on Wednesday in an effort to pressure President Barack Obama into giving the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority money. The protest is spurred by the June Metro crash that killed nine and injured 80. The protest is being organized by the No More Metro Deaths Crusade and will feature Protesters singing, “We shall have a safer Metro— to the tune of the traditional civil rights song, “We Shall Overcome.— The group was spurred to action by Obama’s comments on racial profiling in the recent Henry Louis Gates incident. In a press release the Protesters argue that more lives are at risk from riding the Metro than from racial profiling.The protest is slated to run until 2 p.m. on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, near Lafayette Park. Those who don’t have lunch plans are encouraged to stop by and join in, although we suspect the protest is BYO bagged lunch. Emily Heil and Elizabeth Brotherton are hiking the Appalachian Trail this week. They will return Aug. 17.