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Being a contributing editor at Daily Kos since 2003, I've occasionally been asked which of my posts am I most proud. I usually don't answer by referring to something I wrote. Instead, I say that the best thing I've contributed to blogging was when I was starting up the blog The Next Hurrah that I asked Marcy Wheeler to be one of our regular contributors.

I had gotten to "know" emptywheel on Daily Kos back in the early days, before we switched over to Scoop, when other than Markos and what were then called the guest bloggers, the only contributions anyone could make were comments. I lived in Ann Arbor MI at the time, and we figured out after a while that we lived within a few miles of each other. We became friends, and 2005, when I started The Next Hurrah with Jake McIntyre and Meteor Blades, Marcy was one of the first people we asked to join us.

Marcy has always been a bit of a blogging polymath. She writes on a remarkably wide range of subjects. For part of the time we were doing The Next Hurrah she was doing consulting for the auto industry, working with their dealers overseas (and thus not contributing the loss of manufacturing jobs in the US). She wrote several great pieces about globalization, she also had good insights in to security policy, and exhibited her good political instincts on numerous facets of domestic politics.

Over the course of 2005, however, she really dug in to a specific subject: the matter of who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame. It was in figuring out what happened, who did what, how things were covered up, and where the investigation was headed that we all finally saw that Marcy Wheeler, then still writing pseudonymously as emptywheel, was a freak.

When I say that Marcy is a freak, I mean it not as a pejorative or to dismiss or tease her. Rather, I mean it to convey just how extraordinary she is. Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Wayne Gretzky are freaks. Many great mathematicians are freaks. People with full recall of everything they experience are freaks. They're people with some extraordinary gift.

There is probably nobody who writes about American government and politics who is a more prodigiously talented and devoted reader than Marcy. Her ability to read voluminous amounts of material and "connect the dots" to come up with an explanation and a narrative of what happened is beyond compare.  It's a gift, but one that she's refined.  She's a virtuoso of reading.

If you know much about what Marcy's written in the last few years, you probably know that long before it became public, she had essentially figure out almost the entire chronology of the Plame outing. To read her pieces at The Next Hurrah was to read the future, as almost everything she figured out by reading the public documents—government documents and news releases and trial transcripts and newspaper articles and interviews, all of which were available not only to the general public, but to the legions of reporters who she routinely scooped without recourse to a single unnamed source—came out later in the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy's ability to burrow down and concentrate and make connections is extraordinary. But she's also excellent at thinking on her feet, as was seen by her live blogging of that trial. She went on TV and repeatedly made cogent points, without recourse to much arcanum—not that she can't bring the arcanum—and in a manner that was understandable to casual followers of the case.

Marcy also has sound instincts about people, works like a dog, and possesses something too few political reporters have—a sense of progressive purpose behind what she's doing. She's committed to the truth, but also to a progressive view of politics.

She's a friend for a lot of reasons; she's funny, I respect the vigor and practicality she showed when she dove in to local Democratic politics a few years ago and became an officer in her county Democratic party, she knows way more about football than I'll ever care about, and it's amusing how quickly her short-term memory goes on hiatus after two stouts.

But more importantly, I respect and value what she's done for the blogosphere, and the country in general. Just last week, she made the discovery that Khalid Sheik Mohammed had been waterboarded 183 times. It's the kind of discovery she's made before, and given the resources, will make again and again.

Times are tough for a lot of people these days. Many don't have jobs, or are working less than they'd like, and many others are feeling anxious they might lose their jobs sometime soon. But there's still a need for financial support to help bring you reporting, commentary and analysis on blogs like Daily Kos and Marcy's home over at firedoglake. We'd love your support for the Daily Kos Fellows program, described here. Another way you can help grow the influence of the netroots and nurture more great analysis and reporting is to go over to firedoglake, where they're trying to raise money to hire Marcy, another blogger and a researcher under her guidance, and turn the team loose. The goal is to raise $150,000, which frankly, to cover the expenses of Marcy and two others is a bargain.

Marcy may blog primarily at firedoglake, but from way back she's been an integral member of this community. She doesn't use the diaries here for self-aggrandizement, and she still comments in threads by other writers. She's one of the most impressive writers, investigators and analysts to come out of the blogosphere. And you have an opportunity to provide her the resources so she can have a greater influence than she already has. So, stop by FDL and support Marcy Wheeler.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 06:32 PM PDT.

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