This is worth the 155 seconds it takes to watch, if for no other reason than it will bring a smile to your face.
A friend once told me that the secret of Monty Python's success was that the actors all played their roles 100% straight serious. That is, instead of trying to be comic, they were instead just trying to be the characters their lines demanded, no matter how absurd that made them sound.
Now imagine a movie trailer taking that same approach to the Monty Python's best-loved film. What you get is this wonderful little ditty, described by its creator as a "fake trailer who sells a tragic and epic blockbuster with sounds effects who goes POOOOOWWWW !"
If only we had gone into even more debt to have even more troops train even more Iraqi religious extremists how to use even bigger guns, and just kept doing that for years and years and years without ever leaving Iraq, then and only then would everything be OK.
Hi Kossacks! This is Chris Bowers, director of the email and activism programs at Daily Kos.
Today we have a special edition of Ask Me Anything, featuring the entire Daily Kos Campaigns Team. So if you don't like anything about our emails or activism campaigns, you can take it up with all of us at once.
Here is the team, who will all be joining in the comments.
Hi Kossacks! You probably don’t recognize my name here, but you may recognize it from your inbox. I’m Campaign Director here at Daily Kos, which means that I write you a LOT of emails. Often those emails are asking for money. I joined the Daily Kos team last year to help build a community fundraising program to offset decreasing ad revenue, which has been a big hit. So, feel free to ask me anything at all about that -- or about comic books, Madonna, or my new puppy, Zeke.
I am an Associate Campaign Director, having joined the activism team in May 2013. I create “organic” petitions, based on what topical news stories are generating the most interest on the website and on Facebook.
I really like working on state actions, from expanding Medicaid in the red states to stopping food stamp cuts in the blue states.
I run our MoveOn page, where we test Daily Kos petitions with a different audience to further expand our reach. I also help set up “splashes” on the site, and keep the Editorial team up to speed with which petitions we are promoting—so they can embed them in blog posts.
Oregon joins New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania in shielding its residents from food stamp cuts:
Gov. John Kitzhaber decided this week that Oregon will be the fourth state to avoid food stamp cuts included in the federal farm bill.
The decision, made public Wednesday, means some 100,000 Oregon households won’t see their food stamp benefits decline after all. They were expected to lose benefits averaging $58 a month.
Well done, Governor Kitzhaber, well done. And well done to the 6,285 Oregonian members of the Daily Kos community who sent emails directly to Kitzhaber's office, urging him to take this action. Oregon Kossacks rock!
About one-third of the cuts to food stamp that passed in the farm bill have now been restored. At Daily Kos, we are going to keep piling on until all of the funding is restored.
For those of you with your images turned off, that’s President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act into law. Martin Luther King, Jr. stands immediately behind him.
It is taken as virtual gospel among progressives that Democrats once had a lock on white working class voters, but that position quickly eroded in the 1990s and later as party leaders pursued cuts to social programs, Wall Street deregulation, and anti-union trade agreements.
But what if the Democratic position among the white working class hasn’t eroded at all outside the south? What if, even as Democratic Party economic policies undeniably became more obsequious to the one percent, the entire Democratic decline among the white working class can be attributed to Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”?
In a paper (PDF) published on the eve of the 2012 election, political scientist Elisabeth Jacobs presented compelling data pointing to that exact conclusion:
On average, Democratic presidential candidates prospects with self-identified white working class voters have diminished somewhat over time. ... Yet, the downward trend in Democratic presidential vote choice between 1956 and 2008 is concentrated amongst the Southern white working class. ... White working class presidential party vote choice for non-Southerners is remarkably stable over time; if anything, the period between 1984 and 2008 has been one of improvement for the Democrats amongst this group. The opposite is true in the South. Prior to the 1960s rights revolutions (including, most notably for the South, the major upheavals of the Civil Rights Movement), a strong majority of the Southern white working class voted for Democratic candidates. Southern white working class voting appears to have settled into a basic equilibrium with Reagan’s 1984 election, with the notable exception of an uptick for Clinton’s first election in 1992, and again for Obama’s 2008 election gambit.
Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Hi Kossacks! It's Chris Bowers, Senior Campaign Director here at Daily Kos.
I work with the brilliant Daily Kos Campaigns team of Rachel Colyer, Michael Langenmayr and Paul Hogarth to manage Daily Kos activism campaigns and our email list.
I am here this afternoon to answer any questions you have about our activism campaigns and / or our email program. To get things started, here is my broad overview of where I see us as a community right now.
With our blog (6.3 million unique readers and 16.4 million visits last month), email list (1.07 million active subscribers and over 3 million monthly clicks) and Facebook page (284,000 fans, usually many "talking about this" at any given moment) we have now scaled up to a point where the grassroots activism of the Daily Kos community can consistently make an impact in the national political scene. We aren't always winning, but we are making our presence is felt.
Consider just some of our recent major campaigns: Larry Summers, the Colorado recalls, repealing the Monsanto Protection Act, fighting against food stamp cuts, reforming the filibuster, taking back the Virginia State Senate, and stopping a new Iran sanctions bill from passing.
We were heavily involved in all six of those campaigns, notching four victories and receiving public credit for doing so. In the two where we lost, Colorado and food stamps, we functioned as by far the primary source of small-dollar donations ($371,178 from 15,669 donors in Colorado) and by far the biggest driver of constituents contacting their members of Congress (544,975 emails directly from constituents to their representatives in opposition to any food stamp cuts).
In short, we are starting to really come into our own, and as we continue to grow our future looks even brighter.
So please, I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments and questions about how you think we are doing when it comes to activism and email here at Daily Kos. I'll be around to answer the rest of the afternoon to respond as best I can.
Democrats are becoming more liberal, and it isn't hurting them at all. This is objectively true, and I have two charts to prove it.
First, as shown in the chart at the top of this post, long-term polling trends from Gallup clearly show that an increasing percentage of Americans who self-identify as Democrats also self-identify as liberals.
In 2002—the year Daily Kos was founded—there were almost as many conservative Democrats as liberal Democrats, and moderate Democrats far outnumbered either liberals or conservatives. Now, there are actually more liberal Democrats than moderate Democrats, and conservative Democrats have become a small minority.
What's more, as Democrats have become more liberal, they have not lost any ground to Republicans, as this next chart from Gallup shows:
Over the past decade as Democrats have become more liberal, if anything they have improved their position relative to Republicans. They certainly have not lost ground.
The polls used in this chart have enormous numbers of participants, making even small, one percent changes statistically significant.
So there you have it. Objective proof that becoming more liberal doesn't hurt Democrats, not even a little bit.
The night Joe Lieberman lost the 2006 Democratic senatorial primary in Connecticut, I was in the audience at Ned Lamont headquarters, loudly chanting "bring them home!"
Thursday, with over 100,000 supportive signatures from the Daily Kos community in hand, I was in the audience at the U.S. Capitol while Sen. Harry Reid gave his victory speech following the successful nuking of the filibuster.
As epic as it was to defeat Joe Lieberman seven years ago, Thursday's gutting of the filibuster was a much bigger victory for the progressive netroots. Here's why:
The key similarity
What makes primarying Joe Lieberman over his support for the Iraq war and nuking the filibuster both epic netroots victories is that both campaigns were conceived and incubated entirely within the progressive blogosphere and netroots.
When they started in 2005 and 2009 respectively, no one in traditional media, establishment progressive advocacy, or the Democratic leadership considered these campaigns to be in the realm of the possible (often, not even within the bounds of polite conversation). It was just a bunch of cheeto-munching bloggers and professional left types who embraced the ideas and slowly pushed them into the mainstream.
The key difference
In 2006, when Joe Lieberman returned to the Senate following his defeat in the primary, he was famously given a standing ovation by his Democratic colleagues.
Yesterday, the entire national Democratic congressional leadership, the heads of several major progressive advocacy organizations, and numerous big-time center-left media types were on hand to give Harry Reid a standing ovation for nuking the filibuster. Here is the video I took of that ovation with my phone:
This time, despite suffering repeated setbacks over several years, we eventually brought everyone in the Democratic - progressive ecosystem with us.
The result will be thoroughgoing, long-lasting change as the doors to the judicial branch of government are finally unlocked and thrown open to progressives. All the destructive court decisions we have recently suffered through on reproductive rights, on rights at work, on Citizens United, on the Voting Rights Act, on making the expansion of Medicaid optional to states and so much more—we now finally have a path to reverse all of that damage.
You did this, all 271,514 member of the Daily Kos community who collectively took nearly 1,000,000 actions relentlessly urging Senate Democrats to reform the filibuster. This is your victory. You were the pebbles that started this avalanche. You have made change happen.
Now please, take a bow, and never again doubt if the actions you take really make a difference.
The Daily Kos community has passed another major milestone. This morning, our email list surpassed 1,000,000 current subscribers:
Last year at this time, the Daily Kos email list stood at roughly 400,000 subscribers. So even though this is a post-election year, our community is growing at a phenomenal rate.
Here is our list growth by month, since the email list launched in August 2010, counting only current subscribers:
These are not just empty signups, as our list is extremely active. Since Oct. 1, over 700,000 of the 1,000,000+ subscribers either took at least one action or opened at least one email. In that time, the average list member opened 8 emails, and clicked 3.6.
There is a new progressive majority in America, and as time goes on it will only get bigger. In order to make sure that demographic majority becomes a governing majority, our primary job as progressive activists is to mobilize that majority and make sure that it retains the right the vote.
The Daily Kos community plays a key role in that mass mobilization. By bringing together millions of people in one place through creating and highlighting some of the best progressive content anywhere, we are able to channel those people into political action.
This action includes not just petitions, contacting public officials, and financial contributions to key electoral campaigns, but also the simple act of sharing our community's first-rate analysis of the news of the day.
In an era of corporate dominance both in the news media and on Capitol Hill, it is because of Daily Kos that voices of the progressive grassroots are still heard far and wide. We are an engine for growth and change, and this first 1,000,000 is only the beginning.
Republicans hurt a lot of people tonight. Workers will get furloughed. Community health centers will shutter their doors. Veterans will have their benefits disrupted. Toxic waste will stop being cleared from Superfund sites.
Make no mistake, the shutdown will cause real pain to millions of real Americans. But here is what makes this different from 2011, different from 1995-1996.
No one believes that conservatism is on the ascendency in this country. There is on tea party uprising this time. Everyone knows Republicans are in a demographic death spiral, and that tantrums like this shutdown are just part of the rattle.
No Democratic leader, or really any Democrat of any notoriety, is saying that Democrats should stop being such extremists and just cave already. On the contrary, Democrats are united behind not negotiating, while droves of prominent Republicans and saying the GOP should and will fold.
The flaccid legacy media, which normally considers matters such as whether humans are causing global climate change purely a matter of “he said, she said” opinion on which they dare not take sides, blames you overwhelmingly for this shutdown.
That's because you are to blame for all this, and you even admit it. Of course, even if you didn't admit it, that doesn't matter. Everyone knows that you take shutting down the government, or destroying our national credit system, or impeaching presidents you can't defeat at the ballot box, as your standard “negotiating” posture. You simply can't operate without extreme confrontation and bullying dramatics. It's just who you are, which goes a long way toward explaining why no one wants to be like you anymore.
This time, we know you can still hurt people, but we also know that we have outgrown you. We are the majority now, and you are the minority. We are not afraid of you anymore.
Welcome to this week's edition of Ask Me Anything About Daily Kos!
This week your host is me, Chris Bowers. I am the Senior Campaign Director at Daily Kos. What that means is that I manage the Daily Kos email list and all of our advocacy campaigns.
We have had an eventful time lately with our campaigns:
The defeat in the Colorado recall was definitely tough to swallow, but the Daily Kos community has a lot to be proud of. We matched the NRA dollar for dollar, raising well north of $350,000 for the fight. We will go on fighting them anywhere and everywhere.
In a big victory, Larry Summers withdrew his name from consideration to be next chair of the Federal Reserve. This happened because opposition mounted to his nomination from Democrats on the Banking Committee, and you guys were crucial in that regard. Over 165,000 Kossacks let Sens. Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley Jon Tester and Elizabeth Warren know you would have their backs if they opposed Summers. That type of grassroots support is extremely helpful to anyone who is preparing to stand up to the leader of their own party.
Now, obviously there is a lot more going on in campaigns than just those three fights. So, to help you keep track of them all, we have just launched a new page listing most of the active petitions we have at any given time.
This doesn't have all of the actions we are running right now, but it does have most of them. Further, as the campaigns we are running change, so will the page. And here is something really cool: now there is code that allows you to embed our the petitions into your diaries.
Finally, I wanted to let you know about a new email we launch three times every week that gives much greater exposure to Daily Kos diaries. We call it the “share email.”
Three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays, we send 12 of our highest sharing diaries on Facebook to about 475,000 of our most active emails. This is easily the best performing type of email we send, because through your sharing and recommending you guys have already let us know what content online progressives want to read. The result is typically about 200,000 additional pageviews for our highest sharing content—sometimes a lot more.
What this all means is that now your diaries have a good chance to be seen by tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people. It helps gives the content of our amazing community the greater exposure it deserves. You can sign up to receive the share email here.
Anyway, I will stop talking now and turn it over to you. What questions do you guys have about Daily Kos actions and emails?
After party leaders negotiated a deal that would allow for a vote on a trade enforcement bill, the Senate took a cloture vote to proceed with debate on the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), or "fast-...