Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hillary doesn't want your vote

Via Booman Tribune

“If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to chose from,” Mrs. Clinton told an audience in Dover, N.H., a veiled reference to two rivals for the nomination, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.
Thanks, Hills. I wasn't having a hard time deciding against voting for you, but that statement should help those who were still hoping for that apology make up their minds.

Click here for information about the March on the Pentagon (March 17)

Meanwhile we have this: Gore rules out bid for US White House in 2008

Demetrius was saying that Gore is still being vague with his response, despite what the headline says. What do you think?

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When bloggers hook up

I need to go to work right now, so I don't have time to formulate a full post on this. Weekends are short, so I don't know how soon I'll be able to get back to it. But I wanted to point out a couple more posts in addition to the one I linked last night. (Please check that one out, as there's been a lot more discussion.)

What Edwards and the bloggers might teach us

The author said this in the comments:

kingmakers like to get paid. they may not know it when they start, but learn soon enough. witness kos' support of a dlc candidate after railing against the dlc for a year. the difference -- money.

the problem, i think, is that bloggers begin to self-censor the closer they get to the party and to candidates -- and their money. in fact, it's the same ordeal that statehouse reporters face. if they write the real story, their sources dry up. if they don't, their credibility dries up.

that's why i think the kingmaker role is antithetical to the partisan audience of most blogs.

what does work, however, is the blog as executioner meme. taking out pols that stray too far from the party line.

there's an old saying that i'm gonna mangle here, but it holds -- 99% of the evil in the world is done for a paycheck.

And another post, from Writes Like She Talks: When Bloggers hookup: getting hired, getting sponsored, getting snookered, getting lost

Hope this can spur some futher discussion. Remember Howard Dean discussing the problems with media consolidation? I *really* get wary about consolidation in the "tubes".

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Open Thread

I stopped in Target today on my lunch break, and the Easter candy dispays were out.

Kind of an odd sight in our currently iced-over city.

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They're attacking Charlie again

I just received an email from GrapskiDefense. It pretty much speaks for itself. Let's get together and stand behind Charlie.

On February 12th 2007 Charlie Grapski was arrested for his presence at a meeting of the Alachua City Commission.

Grapski has been investigating and exposing corruption in the City of Alachua by the City's political and law enforcement officials.

Grapski refused to cooperate in his unlawful arrest and detention by going limp.

Alachua Police Chief Robert Jernigan ordered an officer to Taser Grapski because of his passive resistance.

This use of "extreme and lethal force" has been heavily criticized in the U.S. by Amnesty International. The threat to use such force in this instance is clearly inappropriate and excessive.

The Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Charlie Grapski and Alachua is calling on all concerned citizens to contact the newly elected Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, and call for the immediate suspension of Robert Jernigan and the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the numerous allega tions of criminal wrongdoing within the City of Alachua's Police Department.

Speaker's Office Blog

Just found out about this via

Just got word that Speaker Pelosi's office has launched its official blog, "The Gavel".


Update: Charlie checks in here.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Gate crashing" as a business

As I note in the disclaimer/description I recently added to my Blogroll Amnesty Day blog, I never was linked by blogs that took part in "Blogroll Amnesty Day". I never asked to be. I do remember reading what Markos had on his "so you want me to link to you" page, and it was stuff about what your blog needs in order to have "the right stuff" so that it was worthy of linkage. I found that offputting, so I never asked. I don't know if that was the first thing that rubbed me the wrong way about Markos, but it's something that stands out. I'm really inclined to stroke someone's ego, especially when that person already has way more people willing to do that job than I think is merited.

But while I was not willing to suck up and ask to be blogrolled, there were a lot of other people at that site that I enjoyed reading, and the sheer volume of the place allowed for a wide audience if you wanted to draw attention to a particular issue. So, in the wake of the 2004 election where there were plenty of "irregularities", and knowing that the man responsible for many of those irregularities would be running for governor of my state in 2006, damn right I wanted those irregularities fully investigated. I wanted Ken Blackwell himself fully investigated. Imprisoned? In an ideal world, sure. But I'd have been happy with a full investigation.

And there were a lot of people at Daily Kos who shared that interest, so I was able to get diaries on the recommended list on a fairly regular basis. It felt good to be able to actually *do* something, even if it was just ensuring that a wider audience knew about what was going on--knew the extent of our then Secretary of State's treachery. It was a real effort trying to keep on top of that, since I was also teaching a few classes at the time. I'd often write a quick diary in between classes if I had found an article that no one had posted about yet. But the effort was worthwhile for the sake of a larger cause.

And speaking of effort, at the time of the 2004 election, I was working a temp job during the day and teaching a class in the evening, so I really did have to make a concerted effort to get to the polls on a Tuesday. I point out these facts about my life for a couple of reasons. First of all, I have some insight into why it can be so difficult for ordinary people to take an interest in politics--even tune in to what is going on, let alone get involved. But the great thing about the internet was that, as an ordinary person, I *could* make my voice heard.

Anyway, at some point he had his little front page pissy fit about those he called the "fraudsters". Some time after that it was the "pie wars". There were other things too, but I always managed to tell myself that I didn't have to like the man or agree with his politics to post diaries on that community blog. And there were plenty of other people there who made the blog worth visiting and posting on.

But the blogroll purge which, as I have already stated, does not affect me personally, has been the catalyst that prompted me to revisit some of these issues. Also an overarching issue that I have noticed over time: the man really tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, he's been quoted as saying that he is "not a leader" or that he's "just a guy with a blog". But on the other hand, he has often behaved like a very *autocratic* guy who just "happens" to have one of the most widely read blogs on the Democratic side of the aisle. And he has a great degree of power over what issues can see the light of day in front page posts.

This was starting to remind me of the situation with the mainstream media. *They* were controlled by interests *other* than "we the people", and they were too willing to play along with Bush during the buildup to the war in Iraq. They were also silent for far too long about the election integrity issues that many of us saw a mile away.

So, thank goodness for the internet! Here, the "unwashed masses" could speak the truth and have our voices heard. Of course, over time I realized that some voices had an easier time being heard than others. And much has been written over the past week or so about the fact that some blog voices have a much greater chance of being heard than others.

For one measure of the reach of the various blogs, you can check out this page which lists the blogs that participate in the Liberal Blog Advertising Network, how much ads on each of those blogs costs, per week, and the number of "estimated ad impressions". It costs $9000 a week to advertize on the premium spot on Daily Kos.

Back to my comment about "having it both ways", yesterday I saw the ad at for the first time. It is very short, so I can convey the main gist of it in a few screen captures.

Markos is strolling along, apparently listening to some tunes (young, hip guy that he is) and sees all these people pulling as hard as they can on a rope.

At the other end of the rope, there is a stubborn donkey, refusing to move.

From the look on our hero's face, we can see that he has a plan.

He walks up to the animal, and gives it a swift kick in the, er, "donkey".

Then there's some line about buying the book, and learning how to "get the Democratic party moving again".

Riiight. He's "not a leader", but he appears in an ad depicting *himself* as the only one who knows what to do, while all these other pathetic people are pulling on the rope with all their might, accomplishing *nothing*. Excuse me while I gag. And there's also the impression the ad give of him being "just this guy" bopping along, until he sees some obvious thing that needs to be done, and immediately, effortlessly, just *does* it.

Here's where I want to remind you that the "Mr. Everyman" you see above has ad space that can be bought for $9000 a week. I, obviously, don't. I don't make money from my political blogging.

So, to recap. We have this guy who runs a blog and co-wrote a book, who in the process has aquired some celebrity. He uses phrases like "people powered" and "crashing the gate" as his *branding*. In the meantime, whether he has indeed "crashed a gate", or merely procured, for himself, a seat at the table, he's made it clear that he is not so interested in helping anyone else get in.

But even beyond that, he's in our f***ing way! He's become yet *another* moneyed arbiter of what news is "fit to print", as it were, and which voices will have a harder time being heard. And I *don't* make a living by blogging, but somehow squeeze it in around work and family, in what I ironically refer to as my "spare time"--because it's *that important* to me to make a positive difference.

And given the time and energy I, along with countless others, have invested in the project of taking our country back, I simply can't stand idly by while the tools of the revolution are co-opted by would-be kings.

I don't have a plan, I don't have a big soapbox, or an army ready to charge into battle with me. But I heard somewhere that it's possible for a "small group of thoughtful people" to change the world. And I'm counting on that.

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Wednesday link roundup

Senator Dodd will be blogging at Booman Tribune between 3:30 and 4:00. Click here for a PDF of the bill he is proposing, which...

  • Restores Habeas Corpus protections to detainees
  • Narrows the definition of unlawful enemy combatant to individuals who directly participate in hostilities against the United States who are not lawful combatants
  • Bars information gained through coercion from being introduced as evidence in trials
  • Empowers military judges to exclude hearsay evidence they deem to be unreliable
  • Authorizes the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to review decisions by the Military commissions
  • Limits the authority of the President to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions and makes that authority subject to congressional and judicial oversight
  • Provides for expedited judicial review of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to determine the constitutionally of its provisions

See also

From clammyc at Booman: Everyone is calling bullsh*t on Iran "evidence"

liberalamerican at My Left Wing writes Rick, Amanda and Melissa: Defending Free Speech

From Christy at Firedoglake: No Crony Left Behind

And of course, keep checking Firedoglake for updates on the Scooter Libby trial.

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Happy Valentine's Day

Didn't mean to still be awake this late, but here I am, and it's officially February 14. So Happy Valentine's Day, all you great Howard-Empowered People!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"Shakespeare's Sister" resigns from Edwards' blog

I guess we probably saw this coming. Here's the announcement by Shakespeare's Sister

There will be some who clamor to claim victory for my resignation, but I caution them that in doing so, they are tacitly accepting responsibility for those who have deluged my blog and my inbox with vitriol and veiled threats. It is not right-wing bloggers, nor people like Bill Donohue or Bill O'Reilly, who prompted nor deserve credit for my resignation, no matter how much they want it, but individuals who used public criticisms of me as an excuse to unleash frightening ugliness, the likes of which anyone with a modicum of respect for responsible discourse would denounce without hesitation.

This is a win for no one.
Click here for the rest.

And check out this diary... Jesus Did Not Say: "Shut Your Pie Hole" UPDATE

In a comment in the previous thread, Connie in Alachua pointed us to the latest Charlie update.

And Mataliandy has this diary at My Left Wing: Vermont Passes Iraq Withdrawal Resolution

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"Observe the snow"

This is something Demetrius and I say to each other on those occasions when there is a whole lot of snow that we're going to have to shovel, drive through, or whatever. It comes from a Straight Dope article from 1979. I'm thinking "Eskimo" is one of those words that has fallen out of favor to some extent, so I'm mentioning that this is from 1979 for context.

Dear Cecil:

In view of the blizzards we frequently have here in the Great White Midwest, how about a vocabulary lesson? I've heard the Eskimos have nine words for snow. What are they? --Karen, Chicago

Dear Karen:

I've got a lot more than nine words for snow, and I don't even need to resort to Eskimo. This is because I have a powerful descriptive vocabulary.

It goes on from there to list some of the words for snow, but here's where we got our semi-inside joke:

In my spare time I have been attempting to construct an Eskimo sentence in my basement, such as will be suitable for the season. I have not get it perfected yet, but it is coming along pretty well, and with a little work it might pass for the genuine article. So far I have: kaniktshaq moritlkatsio atsuniartoq.

When completed, this sentence will proclaim: "Look at all this f**king snow." At present it means: "Observe the snow. It fornicates." This is not poetic, but it is serviceable, and I intend to employ it at the next opportunity. Anyone who feels it would alleviate his or her tension is invited to do likewise. Should it be felt that this is too burdensome a load of verbiage to be hauling around all the time, one may avail oneself of the timeless Eskimo interjection anaq, sh*t. This is appropriate to a wide variety of situations.

By the way, I recommend checking out these diaries at My Left Wing.
I've been banned at Daily Kos
I've been warned
And my own diary there, Thinking About Linking.

I know a lot of people (most recently Alan in the comments) say yawn or ho hum when the subject of the behemoth orange blog comes up, which is why I didn't devote the whole post to the issue. But I feel like there are some important developments that need to be documented, and that they should be findable via the front page.

Off to shovel a path to the car.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Amanda Marcotte resigns from Edwards' blog

Via Pandagon

Regardless, it was creating a situation where I felt that every time I coughed, I was risking the Edwards campaign. No matter what you think about the campaign, I signed on to be a supporter and a tireless employee for them, and if I can’t do the job I was hired to do because Bill Donohue doesn’t have anything better to do with his time than harass me, then I won’t do it. I resigned my position today and they accepted.

There is good news. The main good news is that I don’t have a conflict of interest issue anymore that was preventing me from defending myself against these baseless accusations. So it’s on. The other good news is that the blogosphere has risen as one and protested, loudly, the influence a handful of well-financed right wing shills have on the public discourse.
Click here for the rest.

By the way, I heard of this when someone posted a link to a Kos diary on the subject. So I checked the Edwards blog and found that someone had linked to Pandagon. Required going a bit "out of my way", but as I note at the end of this post, it's something I feel like I have to do.

On a related note, check out this post by lorraine at My Left Wing, entitled "Jesus did not say "Shut your pie hole."
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Blogging as a business

There really is a wealth of information, both in the essay and in the comments, in liberalamerican's Blogdom as high school. I may actually need to come back to it a few times to focus on different points.

The essay links to a profile of Atrios/Duncan Black which appeared in the Philadelphia Enquirer.

Black makes a living at this. He takes ads and since January has grossed about $5,000 a month, he says. He has few costs.
Earlier this week, peeder, who used to work as a contractor for Daily Kos, implementing Ajax code for the web site, wrote an essay entitled "Blogging as a business". Here are some excerpts:

Mr. Moulitsas has simultaneously increased his payroll from one to six (so far), gone into book publishing, conventioneering, and large-scale software development (and in the latter case, with only himself as the predicted customer). He succeeded in all of those areas to a very limited extent during the perfect storm and doesn't understand quite how risky they all are and how thin the margins are to mutually cover the risk. He needs to be a big bank to sustain any of these fragile, hits-based enterprises, but only has a little lifestyle venture going.
I wish I had better news about all this for him and his now several dependents. And of course he could pull it all (or enough of it) off. But if I were betting, I would say he's got about a 10% chance. Not of success. But of keeping that nice new house 24-36 months from now. The ante in any of these ventures is easily high enough to be ruinous. I've seen it all before.

And as he wakes up to realize his compounding risk level, he won't be able to bet enough on any of these risks to ensure any of them succeed enough to cover the others. He's a blogger, not a businessman.
Peeder's statement notwithstanding--even if Markos is "no businessman", Daily Kos is a business. He owns the brand, and his decisions are made in the interests of *his* bottom line. An excerpt from liberalamerican's diary...

The final piece of this may be the most interesting. Given that kos is a business, this latest move is what public relations people call repositioning. Daily Kos is repositioning itself as the central place for local blogs supporting political candidates. It is a brilliant business move with an election coming up. If the local bloggers buy into this, kos becomes in one stroke a major voice in the Democratic Party.

The $64 question is how much ideological control will kos exercise? His post gives a clue. He said, "Those are sites focused on the races that will determine whether we lose control of Congress, or whether we expand our numbers to Lieberman-proof majorities." In shorthand, kos had gone from Dean to Emanuel. Gone is the 50 state strategy. Gone are the progressive ideas. Instead he will publicize sites for candidates that can win.
Doesn't sound very "people powered" to me, except in that he's tried to use that as his branding. Kinda reminds me of the way Fox News tried to claim the words "fair and balanced" as a sort of trademark. I know all the arguments about how convenient it is to go to Daily Kos--how people don't go to the site for *him* but for the wide variety of offerings that can be found all under one roof. In a way, that keeps reminding me of WalMart. Even as I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the way Markos runs things over the past couple years, I hadn't stopped going there and was reluctant to stop posting there because of the convenience. And because of the chance, albeit small, of being "heard" by a larger audience.

One final point from liberalamerican's essay:
The more diaries you have, the chances are most of those diaries will be read only by a few people, friends, the few who stumble across them, and others. BUT every one of those diaries read reads gets counted as a read for the kos site. So let's assume kos has 500 diaries and each has ten readers--all of a sudden HIS SITE has 5,000 readers.

I'll be damned if I'm going to contribute to the success of his *business*, especially since it is becoming very clear that he does *not* share Howard Dean's belief in fighting in every state for every seat. So at minimun, "No link for you!" Markos. But I want to look at what can be done beyond that, because my own efforts will not be able to make a dent. All I do know is that, a lot of us stopped shopping at WalMart once we realized the cumulative effect of lots of individuals rationalizing that the convenience and prices were worth it. I hope more bloggers can start to consider the way their links to that site support a model of leadership that many of us find anathema--especially those of us who were inspired by Howard telling us "You have the power!"

By the way, I know this post is already kind of long, but while I'm on the topic, I highly recommend checking out this post at If I Ran the Zoo, addressing how "What's at stake here is the egalitarian and democratic nature of the blogosphere."

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Introducing Miss Delilah Rose

See the details in Kimmy's comment here.

Welcome to the family, Delilah Rose &hearts!

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday Book Salon at Firedoglake

Elizabeth de la Vega will be at FireDogLake to discuss her book, "U.S. v. Bush," which outlines a whole lot of the machinations that led up to the Iraq mess. (Starting at 5. p.m. Eastern, but the thread will be available to read if you're not available in time to live blog.)

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Sunday post from Subway

Our dear friend Oscar is very good with words that express his Love of his personal Lord. His Sunday "Word for the Day" and his Saturday Toons are missed in this space, I'm sure.

When I perform in the subway, people often approach me and ask, "Why don't you sing about Jesus?" So I turn them around and have them look at the people on the platform. There's a beautiful Muslim family passing by. A few yards away, a Hasidic man is talking to his wife. A lesbian couple I know walks past and waves and their young son says he saw me on tv. Each time a train leaves, the platform fills again with all different kinds of people who quite frankly don't need to be preached at by the likes of me, The Worlds Best Sinner.

What could I possibly say to a Muslim or Jew or B'hai that would turn them to Jesus anyway? How could I possibly say it in the space between trains? Why would I want to intrude on such personal matters in public?

But I have a secret.

My work over the past 20 odd years has been a ministry. You see, I'm not kidding when I say that Love Is God. Christians I say this to call it a syntax error, but I know better. Ever since I touched the Love that Knows no Comprehension (or when the Radiant Is touched me) it occasionally pours itself into me like a waterfall and I'm forced to give it away in tiny thimbles called "songs." It's a maddening task that seems to be never ending, but it seems if I stop I'll drown in Love. So I pour a thimble or two on a few hundred hearts, knowing that in most cases, folks won't realize what I did to them until after they've left the station. Over time, I've built an underground Cathedral where music helps to heal the investment banker, the school teacher, the immigrant laborer, the Christian, the Muslim, the old Spanish Catholic lady who loves Julio Iglesias...

Today I'd like to present some beautiful music written by Sri Chinmoy, performed by musicians from Russia. Folks who think like Pat Robertson think Sri Chinmoy is going to hell for not accepting Christ as his personal savior, so I figured I'd give him some props while he's still around. You can download the entire album here, or if you dialup, you can download individual tracks here.

Music reaches into places in the heart where words cannot reach.



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