Yeah, so I'm not one of your big, well-known Daily Kos diarists or anything. In Firefly speak, "I'm known by some."
So I'm just one more voice, not the loudest, not the quietest, adding to the one-week boycott. Others have said it all much better than I could, so I'll be brief. The initial call came from Robinswing, a Kossack I respect far too much to leave the call unheeded. bubbanomics said it funniest. Brit said it the most analytically, and spoke for many of us on many aspects of this: we don't think Markos is a racist. We do think there's a stark disparity of impact in the bannings and NRs, and that this has not been addressed at all, let alone adequately. Julie Gulden gave the best single, short, pithy reason for it: "You do what you can't not do." And Empty Vessel said it with numbers, in particular 3% and 30%.
Disparate and disproportionate impact. Mull that over for a sec and join me below the squiggle.
I suppose when all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. And before the ever-increasing death toll from the horror unfolding in Oslo and on Utoya had worked its way up out of single digits, the usual suspects (warning: Malkin and Geller links) wasted no time in politicizing the massacre, and pulled out their trusty "jihadi terrorist" hammer. Even by evening, as evidence continued to mount that this was an act of domestic right-wing terrorism, Laura Ingraham, guest hosting The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, was glibly describing the attack as "the work, once again, of Muslim extremists." (h/t to Cullen Milligan's diary)
But as facts about Anders Behring Breivik, the man Norwegian police had taken into custody on Utoya, began to emerge, did the glaring falseness of their initial assumptions, coupled with Breivik's anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-multicultural views, inspire even the slightest moment of sober reflection at the rightward end of the blogosphere at indications that Breivik might be, at least in some key ways, one of their own?
Instead, some began to pick up another favorite hammer, one well-worn at times of incomprehensible gun violence: their unshakable assumption that the world would be a much safer place if everybody, everywhere, was packing heat.
Musings on such whackery follow below the fold.
Tonight at 4:00 pm PDT at Netroots Arena in the 3D virtual world of Second Life, Netroots Nation in Second Life is proud to present a screening of Michael O'Connell's 2006 documentary Mountain Top Removal. Following the film, I'll be interviewing Mike in a voice stream that SL'ers can listen to. (I'll post it as a podcast to http://www.nninsl.org later.)
The film is produced by Haw River Films, organizers of this summer's Mountain Aid benefit that featured Kathy Mattea, Ben Sollee , Donna the Buffalo, and many others. From the Haw River page on MTR:
Throughout southern Appalachia Mountain Top Removal coal mining is on the rise blasting and leveling highland forests and streams. The process literally changes the geology of the region. Citizens negatively impacted by the resulting flooding, pollution, and destruction of their homes are fighting back to oppose big coals impact on their lives and communities.
More below the fold.
It began two months ago, tomorrow.
In the wake of a June 12 election in which the Iranian government carried election-rigging to surreal new heights, the Iranian people did not quietly stand down. With creativity, with passion, with determination, and in staggering numbers, they took to the streets with the color green, and one powerful question:
Where is my vote?
Tomorrow, August 13, it is my distinct pleasure to moderate an "in-world" Second Life panel that reflects on what has happened over the last two months, and looks to the future of online and in-world activism for nonviolent change.
More below the fold.
Netroots Nation in Second Life and Virtually Speaking had originally scheduled the "in-world" Second Life premiere of peace activist Marshall Thompson's remarkable film A Soldier's Peace on June 20, but due to a series of technical roadblocks culminating in a hard drive crash on the system from which we had planned to host the film, we were unable to premiere the film that day.
However, we went ahead with our scheduled interview with Marshall, and are we ever glad we did. Marshall, an Iraq War veteran, is a passionate, warm, and kindly advocate for peace with a terrific sense of humor. It is a distinct pleasure for all of us involved from NNSL and VS to host Marshall a second time, and we are proud to announce the Second Life premiere of A Soldier's Peace at 5 PM PDT on Saturday, July 11.
We've moved the film onto a new streaming server, and are tested and ready to proceed with our screening tonight. The only thing we lack...is you.
More below the fold.
To date 4,311 men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have perished in a 6-year war on foreign soil in Iraq.
For many of us, the ever-increasing count of American and Iraqi dead has been a central fact driving our political lives since it became clear that Bush was intent against all reason on pursuing a preemptive misadventure in Iraq. It is what drove us to the blogs, to march and to protest, to speak out.
For those in Red States, where opportunities to voice opposition with any real effect have seemed too few and far between, few examples of principled dissent have been more inspiring than that of Sgt. Marshall Thompson, who--on his return to Utah from a year in Iraq as an Army journalist--undertook to walk the state's length to talk with everyday Utahns about war and peace. The award-winning 2007 documentary A Soldier's Peace by Kristen and Marshall Thompson chronicles his remarkable 500-mile journey into activism.
Netroots Nation in Second Life and Virtually Speaking are very proud to announce the Second Life premiere of this simple yet powerful film.
More below the fold.
Strange memories on this nervous night in South Dakota. (And a nervous night it still is, here. We're still hoping to gain a majority in the State Senate for the first time in decades.) Four years after the heartbreaking election night of 2004, each passing state running up the total in the Obama column (and each near-miss) elicits all manner of memories and emotions.
And for some time now, in anticipation of Nevada rolling Blue this year, my mind has turned again and again to one of the most poignantly elegiac moments in 20th century American literature, from Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. There comes a moment about a third of the way through Fear and Loathing when Hunter's antagonistic and autobiographical protagonist, Raoul Duke, pauses to contemplate the receding waters of the tide he remembers emanating from somewhere around the Haight--although there a came a point when the epicenter could be detected everywhere. And if any seawall reared up to stem that flow, it was 1968, with our loss of Martin, and then Bobby.
Strange memories, indeed. More mnemenic oddity in Lower Foldistan.
With our mighty three (3), count 'em three (3) Electoral votes, we South Dakotans have grown accustomed to the constant hue and cry of pundits and voters alike this political season, "what, oh whatever what, will South Dakota do?"
Okay, so maybe not.
But as a lifelong Dakota Democrat and Progressive, it's a question that is actually of some interest for the first time since I was in diapers, LBJ's mammoth 1964 landslide over Barry Goldwater. For the first time since then, South Dakota is in play. Pollster only has it as "leaning McCain," and the Cook Political Report has it as a tossup. The latest polls have us as a single-digit race.
I'll be the first to admit it's an outside chance. I think Nate Silver's 99:1 odds at 538 are overly pessimistic, but I'm looking at it with the cockeyed optimism of someone who wants their vote to actually be reflected in the Electoral Collage for the first time. But if it does start to look closer than the current polls as the returns stack up in South Dakota, look to Shannon County if the margin narrows to a few thousand.
Join me below the fold in the nation's second poorest county.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that, having been fairly well Obamacized since 2004, I was one of those who had...one...or two...heated things to say regarding the Clinton primary campaign in the earlier months of the year. It's not being untrue to a real sense of unity in purpose now to acknowledge that our differences then were not without substance.
But then something like Bill Clinton's convention speech happens, and I remember why, despite my non-DLC-ish tendencies, I supported Bill Clinton not once, but twice, and volunteered in 1992 when he came within 3.5% of George H. W. Bush here in South Dakota. Neither our side nor the other side has seen many orators in the last century better at galvanizing a crowd, managing to deftly frame the policy-wonk complexity of his ideas in a way that is accessible and simple without being simplistic.
In short, nobody can convince folks to get out to vote (and organize) for the Democrat like the Big Dawg, and he proved that amply at his joint appearance with Barack Obama in Kissimmee, Florida Thursday night, where he neatly laid out the sheer, insane immensity of the task that lies between us and the other side of November 4 into a straightforward and memorable to-do list we can all carry out.
We'll break it down, below the fold.
Well, the erstwhile binary elves of Netroots Nation in Second Life have kicked it into overdrive to make sure that Netroots Island, home of most of the venues for the in-world component of Netroots Nation, is properly gussied up for the impending festivities.
And I'm here to report that their efforts have paid off, in spades. The place looks absolutely fantastic.
They don't have Lower Foldistan in Second Life...yet. So let's go there together now....
A nonpartisan (and, at least theoretically, apolitical) event, by request.
My essay in Tuesday night's Top Comments: Little Katrinas was a brief sketch of Shannon County, South Dakota, which is part of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Nation. To recap: Shannon County is frequently the poorest county in the nation, and is currently the second poorest, and is still in many ways recovering from the impact of a 1999 series of tornadoes.
I also mentioned Loneman School in Oglala, where Nikki Pipe On Head estimates as many as half of their students qualify as homeless due to the dilapidated state of their homes.
In that diary and comments, I hinted at the topic for tonight, the efforts of one group of South Dakotans (and friends from around the country) to make a difference for Loneman School: the simple, but ever-worthwhile book drive.
Below the fold there's more, just like it says on the tin.
We're so accustomed to brief frenzies of wall-to-wall national media coverage of all of the little Katrinas that happen around us from year to year--tornadoes, flash floods, bridge collapses, all the usual suspects--that we forget to notice, I think, whether we're told, later on, what ever became of all those miniature 9th Wards in small towns and forgotten rural corners.
Places like Shannon County, South Dakota.
More on this, and nifty things said today by Kossacks, in the Land Below the Fold.