Over at Twitter, snarky newsman Roland Hedley is hot on the story of health-care forums gone bad.
"Hope town hall isn't called off over some death threat," the Doonesbury character recently tweeted. "Democracy doesn't work when our leaders are cowardly."
But to thousands of Americans with questions about health insurance, the ugly mood at public meetings around the country is no laughing matter.
In St. Louis, police arrested six people outside one event. In Tampa, a shouting match turned violent and left one man hoping his health insurance covered bloody scratches.
In Hampton Roads, at least one congressman plans to hold his own town hall meetings.
Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland, who represents the sprawling 1st District, will have one Aug. 31 at Christopher Newport University's Ferguson Center for the Arts.
The second will be Sept. 1 at Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg. Both are 6-8 p.m.
Rep. Glenn Nye, D- Norfolk, is hearing about health care as he travels the 2nd District — which includes a portion of Hampton — even though he has not scheduled an official town hall meeting, said spokesman Clark Pettig.
Meeting last week with business leaders in Virginia Beach, questions quickly moved to health-care reform, Pettig said. In another event with the Virginia Beach Fire Department, a neighborhood resident heard that Nye would be there and showed up to ask about the issue.
3rd District Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, D- Newport News, could not be reached for comment, although he has devoted a substantial portion of his Web site to health care, including background information.
Electronic outreach has proven popular. With an unpredictable vote timetable and Congress trapped in Washington last month, members used the telephone and Internet to gauge voter opinion.
Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R- Chesapeake, has not scheduled any town hall meetings over the August recess, but last month he held a telephone town hall that lasted two hours and resulted in about 1,000 voice mails, said spokeswoman Jessica Mancari.
The meeting was open to constituents in his 4th District for whom he had a working phone number. He invited other constituents via e-mail.
Forbes has used the telephone format for years — not just for this current debate — and he finds it useful because "it allows so many constituents the opportunity to talk, and you don't have to travel outside of your home," Mancari said.
Forbes has also held conference calls with hospital administrators, doctors and nurses. His official Web page contains his own three-part series on health care, and he continues to take comments via e-mail and his blog.
Nye and Wittman also report good success with telephone town halls. Nye invited more than 2,400 constituents to one such event and had around 600 callers on the line at any one time. Wittman hosted a telephone town hall on July 30.
Contact information Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" ScottPhone: 757-380-1000Web: bobbyscott.house.govRep. Rob WittmanPhone: 757-874-6687Web: wittman.house.govRep. Glenn Nye Phone: 757-326-6201Web: nye.house.govRep. J. Randy ForbesPhone: 757-382-0080Web: forbes.house.govThe Tampa Tribune and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch contributed to this story. Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times