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Happy New Year from DCW

by: DocJess

Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 06:14:03 AM EST

Happy New Year!

And good bye and good luck to 2013. I thought of writing a review of last year, but Dave Barry did it, and he didn't miss a trick. Read it here, and ENJOY! 

So it's now 2014 and you know what that means -- House, Senate and Gubernatorial elections. It's also time for projections. Remember, Matt asked me last summer if we hold the Senate in 2014, and I said yes. There are some updates, and some interesting races that weren't in play last July, and I'll have a piece out this Sunday.

In addition, I'm committing to framing the gubernatorial races, and taking a look at what's going to happen in the House.

Which brings me to New Year's resolutions. I personally have two. One of which is to make the time to post. Last year was REALLY TOUGH - there was not a lot of joy to write about, nor even good snark. But the year on the snark front is starting out well, as Vito Fossella is thinking about running for his old seat again. (OH JOY!) and Mitt Romney is being sued for racketeering in Federal court. That sort of stuff is red meat to this vegetarian, if you know what I mean! 

My other resolution is a personal one, but may involve you if you're interested. My sister-in-law gave me a copy of the Vedge cookbook, and I'm going to work my way through it by holding small Saturday night dinner parties to share the bounty. The recipes are seasonal (ramps! white asparagus! figs!) so if you're interested in coming for dinner and some good political conversation, drop me a note, and let me know when you'll be in town (if you aren't a local) and I'll make it happen.

So that's what I've got for now -- from all of us to all of you, may 2014 bring you joy and health, and awe and wonder.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Remembering 9/11

by: DocJess

Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 05:46:14 AM EDT

On this 11th anniversary of the fall of the towers, the attack on the Pentagon and the downing of the plane in Western Pennsylvania, we are ALL Americans attacked. The DCW team bows its collective head in remembrance of those lost and injured, and of the brave men and women who did all they could in the aftermath.

While this should not be a day for politics, there is new information that the Bush neo-cons were apprised not just in August, but also in May of 2001 that Bin Laden was planning an attack on American soil. Rumsfeld and company chose to believe that Saddam Hussein was the greater threat. Read here. Think of everything that went wrong AFTER 9/11, the unnecessary war in Iraq, the ineptitude in chasing down Bin Laden by the Bushies, the intolerance directed against innocents. Remember it today, act on it November 6th.

Matt and I are Native New Yorkers, and Oreo is originally from the 'burbs. We grew up with the Towers being part of everyday life. Huge, a giant shadow, but just part of what we knew. I personally remember being a kid and going on school trips to see its construction. To those memories, there is this from Dan Meth.

We wish you peace on this sad anniversary. 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

The Bar Story

by: DocJess

Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 06:28:10 AM EDT

Last night my brother and I went to our favourite dive bar to discuss the Senate races, Dodd-Frank, the presidential polls, and Todd Akin. There was never a question that Akin wouldn't bow out. For him, there's no up side to doing so. He's not running for his House seat, he has no other job, and he believes his position is in line with what the Republican platform says. (Oh wait -- he's correct on that last point. In spades.) The GOP, which worked against him in the primaries, would have to offer him something really special to get him to voluntarily withdraw. 

So anyway, when we got there, the bar was relatively quiet, but after a few hours passed, there was a lot of chatter fighting with the sounds of some ball game. He asked me to not get involved with the conversation across the bar. I hadn't been listening, and we left quickly, but the people were discussing (I kid you not) that they believed that Todd Akin was correct in his biological assessment.

I always wonder why people vote against their own self-interest. But I guess if you never passed 8th grade science, you don't know what your own self-interest actually IS. I cannot understand how anyone would seriously believe that women's reproductive systems had some sort of magic feature that allowed them to turn off cycles to meet a bad situation. Objectively, it makes no sense. But here was a bar full of people, none of whom had been drinking that long, agreeing with Akin. 

This all makes me even MORE committed to making sure everyone is registered, and that they know the facts and get to the polls on 6 November. I've had many discussions over the years about what constitutes intelligence, and whether being smart matters. I would like to believe, I would VERY MUCH like to believe, that when people vote, they choose the smarter candidate. I know better....face it, when people support the current crop of teabag Republican co-opters, they are supporting people who not only don't know science, but have a world view that disdains education and looks for ways to deny funding so children will never learn science. It's shameful and shocking. Please - get out there and speak truth.

I leave you with this link of who famous people are endorsing this cycle. You can either scroll through, or hide the captions and guess for each one. An interesting array. 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

A Brief Announcement...

by: DocJess

Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 06:08:47 AM EDT

Just wanted to let y'all know that DCW WILL be in Charlotte covering the convention. I have booked my flights and booked my room. Both the flight and the hotel are non-refundable, so that's a pretty strong commitment.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, I will be posting videos and blog posts live and in-person. Special shout-out to the memory of Steve Jobs who's making that possible.

As we get more information on which sessions are going to be held when, you'll have the opportunity to let me know what you're interested in seeing me cover. For now, please use the comments to let me know what you want to see. Committee meetings? Pictures of the best hats? The press room? Is there anyone you especially want me to try to interview? Let me know, I'll be keeping a list!

So there you have it...tradition endures.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Noontime Quizzes

by: DocJess

Thu May 17, 2012 at 11:58:00 AM EDT

I spend a lot of time reading, mostly about politics, and it's becoming a grind. I get especially angry every time I see a poll related to whether the country is on the right track or the wrong track. For some reason, the outcome always is that OBAMA is on the wrong track, and that's what's derailing America. I believe Obama is on the right track, and it's the Republicans in Congress and the states that are screwing everything up. At such times, I go looking for something fun to distract myself. I came across this quiz. It's about US presidents, and while I thought I knew something, I honestly didn't know the majority of questions, although I learned a lot from it. There is a related list of quizzes, including one on health care reform, which is much easier than the presidential quiz.

Maybe take a break from what you're doing and try you're hand at some of the quizzes. 

Then go back to what you were reading...like how Common Cause has sued to end the Senate filibuster. The filing is here.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

A Call to Arms: 2008 v 2012

by: DocJess

Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 05:55:47 AM EDT

Today is the Pennsylvania primary. Outside, it's 39 degrees with real feel of 27. And that's Fahrenheit. West of where I sit, it's actually snowing. What a change from 2008, when the day dawned warm and sunny. The day of the 2008 primary, I was so excited I couldn't sleep. By 4 a.m. I was out running in the park, my dog Olivia by my side. I was at the polls more than an hour before they opened, setting up, working the line which formed early. For a lot of people in Pennsylvania, that primary was the first time they'd seen the optical scan ballots, and I walked up and down with a copy, explaining the similarities to an SAT: only mark one choice, colour the little circles completely, no stray marks. I stopped home around 11 a.m. to change clothes as I was working for the county in the afternoon, and no politics allowed inside the polls. I took Olivia outside and there was some tall stranger, replete with a McCain hat and a clipboard coming down the street. Olivia growled and snarled: a true Democratic dog. I was able to look around the cul-de-sac and point out the 3 houses that belonged to him, the two where people would not be voting, and assuredly point out that the rest of the court belonged to me. Even in a primary, MY voters were turning out.

2008 had such promise. My then boss had a countdown clock to "the end of an error." The Republicans would be vanquished, normalcy would return. The wars would end. In April of 2008, the issues related to polling numbers and speeches, post-election plans. No one really understood that the economy had already tanked. Until Lehman imploded and the House voted down the first bailout, it was all an abstraction. We were going to get through the primary, go on to the convention, heal the party rifts and move forward. Heady times.

The world has changed. In certain ways, we won the battle, but are currently losing the war. It's time to say enough is enough.

I'm voting today, and taking people with me to the polls. I'm politicking daily, and registering voters. With help, I plan to launch voter drives right after Memorial Day, and use those drives to educate and inspire (as always). Will you join me? I'm spewing facts about what the Obama administration has accomplished. Such as:

  • Passed Health Care Reform
  • Passed the Stimulus
  • Ended the war in Iraq
  • Killed Osama Bin Laden
  • Repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell
  • Passed and signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act
  • Expanded Pell Grants
  • Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards
  • Tightened Iran Sanctions
  • Killed the F-22 and saved $4 billion doing so
  • Expanded Hate Crime protections
  • Expanded SChip
  • Expanded Stem Cell Research

Those are just a few. There would have been more had more of us worked harder in 2010 to keep the teabaggers out of Congress and the statehouses. I can't speak for you, but this little blonde girl is going to work heart and soul to reverse that. I look at what the GOP is doing, and I am APPALLED. They want nothing short of returning America to the 1850's. Those 25 people who have each, individually, given over $1,000,000 to the Romney PACS: what do you think they want? A roll back of legislation that regulates their ability to pollute, kill, and destroy our country and its citizens. Why do you think they all are so anti-education, anti-voting and anti-women? Because they want a nation of uneducated people who lack the ability to stand up in the voting booths and change anything. 

It's time to stand up and be counted by taking one action every day from now until the General Election in November. Register a voter. Politick a voter. Educate a non-voter and make them a voter. Make a donation to a candidate in whom you believe. Post to Facebook. Tweet. Phone bank. Door knock. Sign a petition. Get an ally. Raise $25 from 5 people. One thing a day, every day. A month from now, it will be as daily an occurrence to you as brushing your teeth every morning. (If you brush twice a day, do TWO political things a day!)

Stand with me. Get angry and then remember that while somebody should do something, YOU ARE SOMEBODY.  If we start now, we will hold the White House, hold the Senate, recapture the House, win the recall elections and begin the march to returning our country towards moving forward and not back in time.

Stand with me. Work with me. Plant your feet today and say this is the line. Get up, get active, and bring everyone you know. Together, we can win.

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

With Baited Breath....

by: DocJess

Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 06:05:22 AM EDT

While there is discussion about whether it's "bated" or "baited", we all know the feeling. Holding your breath while still breathing, hoping that the moment will pass and life can move forward. There is so much going on, and it's moving too slowly. Or perhaps it's caught in a time warp where the blackness opens and the scene repeats like in a sci-fi picture back when they relied on plots and not special effects.

Theoretically, the 2012 general election has started, but not quite. I'm waiting for someone to drop the flag and let it all begin in earnest. Instead, there's that same time warp over taxes in DC. I feel like Phil Connors, waking up on February 2nd. Again. And again. While the Democrats hold the nominal majority in the Senate, the GOP is in control in that they can stop discussion because the goal posts have been moved from 51 to 60. And so the Buffett rule goes down. Over in the Republican House, Eric Cantor has put forth a small business tax bill that will benefit sports team owners, certain celebrities, financial houses and very few legitimate small businesses. Even if it passes, Obama has vowed veto.

It goes around and around NOT because this is what Congress does, but because the American people are so intellectually stunted that they re-elect Republicans. And likely they'll do that again for a lot of positions this November. People complain that they wanted the Buffett rule, they want taxes raised on the rich, but cannot seem to make the connection that the ONLY people stopping that from happening are the Republicans in Congress. By overwhelming poll numbers, they disdain Congress, yet still historically re-elect their village idiots. My breath catches. Again. 

In about 6 weeks the Wisconsin recall elections will be held. Here you've got a state that has been locked in constant electoral battle for more than a year. The Democratic delegation walking out, the passage of horrible anti-union, anti-women and overall anti-human bills over and over, and they have a chance at truly rectifying the situation. What a sigh of relief if the Walker regime is vanquished. I sit. I wait. I want so much for that recall to serve as the first salvo in what could be the American version of the Arab Spring: throwing out the dictators and their corporate benefactors. And then on to Michigan, which is in many ways in worse shape than Wisconsin, but which has flown under the radar everywhere but on Rachel Maddow's show. Likely because the people who have lost their local governments, school boards and even radio stations are poor blacks. And to Ohio. I try to hold hope at bay to prevent being too let down. 

I guess I just keep waiting for people to start screaming, à la Network, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." I keep waiting for the anger against corporatism, money in politics and entrenched elected officials working directly against their constituents to boil over. Instead, there are distractions. Do we really care that Secret Service agents hired hookers? Really? Or that Ted Nugent was a third-rate talent (at best) and that he deserves to be arrested for making threats against a sitting president? Please, arrest him and make him be quiet. Are we surprised that Nikki Haley misappropriated state funds? Did you expect anything less? 80 communists in the House? Quit trying to be the McCarthy for the 2010's, Allen. 

Please, let's get to the root of the problem. Where I live, Jim Gerlach is going to get re-elected to Congress in November. I know this, I accept this, but I cannot understand it. That's repeated in districts all across America. Yesterday, a guy was screaming at me that a lack of term limits is the problem. I told him that there are elections every year, a continual opportunity for the voters to create operational term limits. Yeah, he said, but then I'd have to vote for a Democrat. It knocked me speechless. How do people NOT understand that Republicans are the problem, and voting them out is the solution? That's not a rhetorical question, by the way. I honestly want to know.

That's my rant for today. After the jump, 100 things you can say to a Republican to upset them. 

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 957 words in story)

Friday Feel Good Issue

by: DocJess

Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 05:10:13 AM EDT

Happy Friday, DCW. There's a lot to feel good about today.

First, take this quiz from Pew. If you're a regular DCW reader, you are going to get every question correct. The quiz is "What do you know about political parties?" Cake! 

Second, Sunday is April 15th, tax day, and your taxes are not due until Tuesday. That's because Monday is Emancipation Day, which celebrates Abraham Lincoln's freeing of the slaves in DC on that date in 1862. While the rest of the country was waiting for the end of the Civil War and the Constitutional codification, this was a great day for DC. If you're in the DC area, here is a list of the events that will be taking place to mark the occasion. And yes, there will be fireworks, as there should be, to mark this auspicious anniversary.

Next, I learned something this morning about the convention that I didn't know. I received a link to this survey about the convention. It asks some questions about potential speakers, and it actually is a survey to see what it would take to get you to donate, but what I hadn't known is that the convention won't be taking any corporate or PAC money to fund the convention, and the convention will be free and open to the public. If the DNC actually pulls off a convention with no corporate sponsorship and no PAC money, it will be in stark contrast to the GOP (its convention and hey, everything about it) which is completely beholden to corporate interests, with their presidential candidate being the poster boy for the über rich. 

And then there's Nicholas Merrill and his Calyx Institute. Here's his description:

The Calyx Institute is named after my former Internet Service Provider (Calyx Internet Access) which I started in NYC in 1994, and which became the plaintiff in the original challenge against the constitutionality of National Security Letters in the USA Patriot Act beginning in 2004, known as Doe v. Ashcroft, Doe v. Mukasey, Doe v. Gonzales and finally Doe v. Holder.

It all started when I received a National Security Letter from the FBI demanding a long list of information about one of my ISPs clients. With the ACLU’s help, I fought the FBI and DOJ in federal court for six years, under gag order. I was forbidden, under threat of imprisonment, from telling anyone that I had received the letter or that I was the plaintiff in the case.    It was only in 2010 that I was finally able to identify myself. 

He's looking to start a new nationwide ISP with complete privacy protections. You can read more here.  In the past couple days, since he launched his fund raising drive, Merrill has raised $40,000 of the million he needs to get started. Imagine: a way to surf the internet without fear of subpoena.

Vermont is considering a bill which if enacted would make GMO labeling mandatory. GMO foods are banned in a lot of the world, and all of Europe, because of the health threat they pose to humans and animals. Vermont is the first state in America to even attempt this sort of action. Monsanto has threatened to sue the state, which has stalled the bill. Still, it's a positive that Vermont is even trying. You can sign the "Hey Monsanto leave Vermont alone" petition here. If you're already seeking non-GMO food, you can get great information on what to buy where here. (Also available as a phone app.) If you don't know why GMO foods are bad for you, click here for info, or here to see that in some of their own cafeterias, even Monsanto won't feed GMO food to their employees. Note from your doctor: you'll feel better once you stop eating GMO food.

And finally, yesterday George Zimmerman stood up in court for the first time (on the Trayvon Martin murder, George has been to court for violence before in other cases). He will be arraigned next month. If you heard Angela Corey's press conference on Wednesday, or have seen the affidavit (here), you know that this is a step towards justice in the horrible, racially-motivated murder of a young boy. 

So have a great Friday. I'll be back on Sunday with the latest edition of Sunday with the Senators.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Why I am STILL a Proud, Liberal Democrat

by: DocJess

Fri Mar 23, 2012 at 05:30:52 AM EDT

Yesterday, I received an email that began "Get used to the idea of Obama not winning." This email came not from some Republican, but from a Democrat who supported Obama in 2008. The writer echoed the thoughts of some of my friends with whom I worked directly on the campaign four years ago. And a year ago, I shared those thoughts.

But this is 2012, and I'm voting for my president, and my party. I've given some money and I'm going to give more. I've been to my first meeting, going to my second next week, and working hard to get off crutches before voter registration season begins in earnest. (Turns out my left knee is 27 years older than the rest of me.)

This is as good a time as any to explain my turnaround, and why I am IN.

Like many on the far left, I spent 2011 incredibly disappointed that President Obama was nowhere near as liberal as Candidate Obama had been. Stunned and mortified by the outcome of the 2010 elections. Appalled at the rise of a right wing that was increasingly hostile. Saddened by the lack of fight from the left beyond petitions. Floored by the lack of speeches and action on the part of our progressive elected officials beyond and excluding Bernie Sanders.

First, there is the basic set of reasons that caused me to choose to be a Democrat. Back in 2007, at the dawn of blogs and before social media, I had an article published in a magazine entitled "Why I am a Proud, Liberal Democrat." I have posted it in its entirety after the jump, in case you missed its previous publication. I read it again, and everything in the article still rings true for me. My party may be imperfect, but I am imperfect, as are we all. 

Second is the issue of how I define myself and my beliefs in rank order. I am an American, but also a citizen of the world. I am a woman, but also a human being. I believe in civil rights, gay rights, religious freedom, saving the environment, and on and on, it's a pretty long list. So which, I ask myself, are the most important facets to me? Today, in America, my most important are being a Baby Boomer female member of the 99% who enjoys religious freedom. As such, the war on women, the evisceration of women's reproductive rights, the importance of taxing the rich, the ability to NOT be a Christian, and of keeping the economy on its path back from red to black are my issues. 

Finally, there is the decision of who to vote for: I do not consider "not voting" an option. 

In all three areas, there are stark differences between President Obama and whichever one of the remaining clown car riders runs against him. Those four candidates lie with impunity and cling tenaciously to a set of values I consider heinous. I am not an Etch-a-Sketch person, I read and remember, Mittens. I do not believe in Jesus, so Rick, when I saw you cheering the pastor saying we must all worship Jesus, I came to the conclusion that you believe Jews have no place in America. I believe in government as a force of good, and therefore, I can't let you shut it down, AGAIN, Newt. Dr. Paul, you're the kind of doctor that makes me slightly shamed that we passed the same medical boards. Support my president? You Betcha! I put our chances at getting the House back at about 60/40 against, and holding the Senate at 60/40 for. Take a chance on the White House? No way.

As a liberal, I hope that being in his second term, President Obama will act more like Candidate Obama. I hope that he will push back much harder against the wacko right. I will stand with him on women's rights, on education, on climate change and a host of other things. I will swallow his support for Keystone. I will tolerate that he's not yet on board on gay marriage. I have come to the conclusion that no single candidate will mesh 100% with every belief that I have, and I prefer having a candidate who matches me 90% to one representing less than 1% of things in which I believe.

And so I will NOT "get used to the idea of Obama not winning." I will work, I will spend, and I will remember that elections are won one voter at a time, issues are won one heart at a time....and I will be out there finding my voters.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 896 words in story)

Friday Fun and Games: How American Are You?

by: DocJess

Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 06:08:50 AM EST

There's a new book out which talks about how "White America" is coming apart at the seams, and how there is now an upper 20% and a lower 30% separated not by income and assets but by culture. Gawker has an interesting take on the whole situation. You can take the quiz by clicking here, and find out how culturally involved (lower 30%) or culturally isloated (upper 20%) you are. The Gawker piece goes a step further and takes the test on behalf of the current crop of GOP candidates and President Obama.

It's an interesting set of considerations: that there is now a "real" "white" America and the rest of us are unengaged...then again, I have some questions about their questions. So go take the test, and see how you do. Then come back and answer my questions...

  • For Quiz Question 2: does "mind" count as a body part?
  • For Quiz Question 4: is NASCAR really the only American "sport"? Is driving a car really a sport? Does driving as if one were a NASCAR driver on the West Side Highway count?
  • For Quiz Question 13: does John Molloy's original "Dress for Success" count as a uniform?

If those answers are no, yes, no, no and no, this is my certificate --->

Yes, it's true, I ate at the Outback, but since it was with a group, I didn't choose the restaurant, and I only ordered broccoli and salad, I'm not sure it really counts. Most importantly, based on what Gawker wrote, does this affect my ability to vote for Obama, since he's SO MUCH MORE American than I? 

Seriously, I believe that Charles Murray and David Brooks are correct: there is a divide in America. But it's insulting for them to say that all white people are fat and stupid. Remember, Murray is the guy who wrote The Bell Curve, and contended that genetics dictated intelligence and thus whites were more intelligent than others. (Racism, AGAIN on the part of the wacko right.)  I'm unclear what made him "stupify" white people a couple decades post-Bell Curve.

Anyway, I got a kick out of the whole thing, and thought you might, too. For the third weekend in a row, the local power company will be turning off all the electricity in my neighborhood. Each time they do, I think about HOW DEPENDENT I AM ON ELECTRICITY. How much I take it for granted. And how aligned I am with the rest of my racially, ethnically and religiously integrated neighborhood, where most everyone over 18 either has a college degree or is in college, and no one has a truck, no one works in a factory (since they all closed) and at the end of the day, all our heads hurt because there is no electricity. Again. 

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

Working the Election: Are You In?

by: DocJess

Tue Jan 10, 2012 at 11:00:00 AM EST

Yesterday, I had a nice conversation with the OFA guy in charge of my county. I remember him from four years ago when he was barely out of high school and still getting his sea legs. He's now blossomed and I'm so glad to be on the team. Later today, I'll be sending him several lists of people who were volunteer leadership and boots on the ground and newly recruited. Believe it or not, petitions needs to be signed so that Obama is on the ballot.

Matt wrote earlier today of one of his convention memories. The memory I'd like to share is the joy I felt in March of 2008 when the campaign came to Pennsylvania. That first meeting, seeing all those people from former campaigns, the sense of electricity in the air. That crisp afternoon, the filled parking lot. I remember it as if it were yesterday. 

It may seem odd to some of you long time readers who know I've been disappointed in some of the things Obama has reneged on, and not accomplished, but still I've signed up to work. There are a few things at play here: first, while Obama may be imperfect, I sleep better with him in the White House then Shrub, and certainly better than had it been McCain. And I don't want to spend the next four years with Mittens running around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, looking for people to fire. Second, Obama will have a lot more freedom as a second term president: he can be bolder as there is no looming "next election."

I want him there for the 2014 rollout of the next crop of health care legislation. I want the president he's becoming through the recent recess appointments, standing up to Boehner, and bringing the troops home. He is my president, and he's our best choice going forward. 

In 2008, the map was a little different then it is today. Back then, I said a thousand times if I said it once: "To win Pennsylvania, McCain has to win Chester County, to win Chester County, he's got to win W-5, and to win that, he's got to get past me. This is the little blonde girl saying he won't." And he didn't. And be it Mittens or Newt or whoever the GOP runs, he's not getting past me this time, either. I'm IN. Are you? No? Click here, and come join me. 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Congratulations Democratic Convention Watch

by: DocJess

Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 11:58:00 AM EST

Last week, DCW attained 5 million visits. We're proud, and we thank you for visiting, for reading, for contributing, for being part of our community. 

Since 2005, when Matt created this site, we've endeavored to be THE source for information on the Democratic Convention. In 2008, we were incredibly successful as the sole source for superdelegates by name. We also broke the story that the acceptance speech would be at Invesco Field. 

When there was no direct convention news (off years are slow in that regard...) we've tried to put issues and information in front of you, concentrating on issues that were dear to our hearts. 

This year, we'll keep you apprised of everything related to the DNC Convention (Labour Day week, in Charlotte, in case it's not already on your personal calendar.) We'll also keep up with the Republican race, the Senate, and some of the more interesting House races. We'll continue with our issues reporting, and, of course, snark. We love snark.

DCW is a labour of love: we're independent, and have never taken a dime of corporate money. We actually only asked for money once, which was to help fund Oreo's trip to the 2008 convention after we won one of the blogger spots. During the convention, we were joined in our coverage by various delegates. 

Blogging on a daily, or close to daily, basis is harder then it might seem. To do so requires ideas, sources, research, writing, and working with a platform that isn't always technically perfect. We invite you to join us with your information on races and issues in your area, in addition to more general and national pieces. The more voices, the better. 

So, again, thank you for being part of our community. 2012 is an important year: normally, it's about the candidates and the issues. This year, it's about money and voices. Newt was destroyed because of Citizens United. There's a case to be made that he got what he deserved because he is the father of non-partisanship, and a poster child for corporatism. But the point is, money crushed him. His message, disingenuous as it was, could not be heard. Voices matter: especially when they translate to votes.

In 2008, the blogosphere was filled with voices on the left: many of those sites are either gone or part of the corporate establishment. But we have soldiered on, and are proud of our 5 millionth visit, and those that came before. We love your voices: raised in posts, comments, and emails. Keep 'em coming! There's a lot of work to be done this year.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Could DCW Face Closure?

by: DocJess

Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 06:08:07 AM EST

Oreo thinks we might have to shut down if SOPA passes, as he wrote here. When you look at his post, you'll see that he reprinted two things: part of a blog post, and a press release. Under SOPA in its current form, it's possible that we would be in violation of the law for reposting the blog post. Press releases, as a rule, are rarely copyrighted, as the writers want their material to be disseminated. So, if TechDirt wanted to, under SOPA, its owners could take action against DCW.

In the past, we have abided by the Fair Use Doctrine, which allows us to quote, without prior permission, a small amount of published material under the doctrine: (source here)

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.” 

In fact, back in 2009, we posted on the fair use doctrine, added it to our FAQs,  have stuck to it, and have deleted comments and posts (from commenters) that violated the doctrine. It's likely, though, that we missed a post from a commenter which looked like original material but was really reposted. 

There is also the issue of photographs and graphics, which may not always be legit to use. The beauty of the internet: someone posts a great graphic, and it gets passed around. 

The point is, we have always worked to stay within the law. We have provided straight news and commentary, and striven mightily to make this a place where people can come and give their opinions, and discussion is fostered. 

We, the DCW team, look forward to getting into high gear in January and making this election year something special through our reporting, our projections, and our insights. We are hoping that you, community members we adore, join the conversation. 

SOPA could change all that by placing us in a position where if someone came after us, we could face court and the huge amount of dollars it would cost to fight any charges. It appears that once charged, shutting down wouldn't be the solution: we would be forced to go to court based on the specific charges. Further, we would be liable for anything in any of the comments, although potentially if we removed something in violation within an hour or two of its posting, we might be in the clear. Remember, when something is posted, even if we remove it, it still exists in a cached copy somewhere. We don't have the manpower to go all the way back to our start in 2005, and check everything. Someone from the wacko right, however, certainly would have the manpower, the time, and the money, to do so. 

It's looking more and more like there will be delays to keep SOPA at bay for most of next year. It's also possible that it gets squelched because of many technical details which will be investigated by the House Judicial Committee. Virtually every organization that represents the internet, the technical people, and civil rights groups all oppose this legislation. But it's not a certainty.

If SOPA passes, we'll look at it, consider the legal opinions, and most likely shut it all down. We'd hate that, and we'd like to think you'd hate it, too. And it wouldn't just be us: there is a likelihood that the only left wing internet sources that would survive are those with deep pockets, like Kos, HuffPost, and FDL. 

So, PLEASE, because Freedom of Speech is worth fighting for, do two things:

  1. Write (don't call, WRITE) your Congressmen and Senators and tell them that you're opposed to SOPA.
  2. Forward this post to everyone you know and ask them to write, too. 

On behalf of the team, I'm asking you to take action. We love what we do, and even when "real life" cuts the amount of time we have for posting, we are committed to doing what we can. Please help DCW keep its voice. 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Remembrances of 9/11

by: DocJess

Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 06:00:00 AM EDT

I don't know why we mark things in 1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 year increments. But we do, and it's time to think back. This has all been running through my head the past few weeks, so maybe there is something inherent in a 10 year look back.

September 11th is a Sunday this year. I don't recall what day of the week it was 10 years ago, but I know it was a work day. What I recall most about that morning was how bright and perfect the weather was. Olivia was almost 5, and we spent a lot of time then on this field, running and playing. It was a glorious hike to get there as the sun was rising, and full sunshine when we arrived home. It was all so normal.  Two computers going, Livingston Taylor playing from the computer (on CD). And then the phone rang and a friend asked if my brother still worked in the World Trade Center. She told me to turn on the TV, and then she hung up. 

The rest of the morning was spent on phones and via email trying to find my brother, my sister-in-law, my best friend, hearing about people less close to me. I remember very little else about that day: the TV images, the internet news, gathering outside with neighbors in the evening. It was as if time had stopped. One long day that went on until sometime the next week. 

There will be a lot of discussion about whether we are safer now, but I think the salient point is that whether we were safe or not on 10 September, we were innocent. We didn't know one way or the other. Our home grown terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, was executed earlier in the year. We hadn't ever thought of anthrax.

On the first day that planes began flying again, I was at BWI at 3:30 for a 6 a.m. flight, lead time at the airline's request. There were only about 35 of us on that flight. We were all patted down, our luggage gone through with a fine tooth comb. We were all headed for a military installation about 30 miles from the destination airport, and none of us would talk about what we were going for. But we all knew: something related to a country gearing up for war. Each with our role at the request of our government.

I did a lot of that over the next two years: out early Monday morning, home late Friday night. Switch clothes, kiss the dog, do it again. What I remember most about that time was how crowded the airport bars were: smoky, TVs playing, lots of loud conversation. And the kids. First in uniform, and then in street clothes, but still identifiable by their hair cuts, their posture, their politeness. Every week, I painted my nails red, white and blue, and applied decals of military emblems and flags and the like: a silent thank you.

From the start, it always appeared that we'd go to Iraq, and I used to argue with officers about it. They'd say no, the mission was Afghanistan, and I was nuts. Time will tell, I'd say. There was no thought then about two wars with no rise in taxes, a first in the history of the US, and one of our problems today. 

Mostly though, I've been thinking about how different life was in 2001. How different that day would have been had their been Facebook and Twitter, not to mention smart phones and tablets. A friend lived in California, when he awoke to the radio, the talk was all about the attacks, and because his radio station had one of those morning crews that was always playing pranks, he thought it was a joke. Radio, there used to be radio.

There was so much more food in 2001: replaced now by bars, drinks, and other "meal replacement options." Music came on media, it was years from being virtual. People still read newspapers. Faux Noise had no real influence. "Reality" television beyond Jerry Springer had yet to take hold. Life was slower, in a good way. 

I remember being a little kid and visiting the Towers as part of a school trip. Once it got high enough, I could see the top floors from the classroom where I had math class. That's what I want to remember. Please put your remembrances of the day, the aftermath, and earlier memories in the comments. I leave you with this montage: it's worth maximizing and listening to the music. 

Twin Tower Cameos from Dan Meth on Vimeo.

 

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

DCW Maintenance/Upgrade

by: DocJess

Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 09:01:14 AM EDT

Our platform, Soapblox, will be performing maintenance and upgrade tech stuff later today and into tomorrow morning. They have told us that we should be up and running by 9 a.m. (ET) Monday morning.

They're sorry for the inconvenience this causes us, and have assured us no data will be lost.  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)
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