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Alright, well, it isn't an epic smackdown of MMA proportions, or anything even close, but...  it was illegal and if I had done it to him, I would have been forcibly sprawled upon the floor with guns trained on me, handcuffed and arrested.  AndI'd probably end up going to jail.

Flip for more (including links to video)

This week, over at, I've been interviewing every Republican Senator I can find that voted "nay" on Al Franken's anti-rape amendment.  For the most part, the conversations have been exactly what I expected - Rachel Maddowish exchanges in which I speak the truth and Senators Thune, Burr, and Cochran do their best to obfuscate. (video at links, video on Burr coming soon)

Today, things were different.  Senator Cornyn didn't like being filmed and must have believed that he was above the law. (video at link)  He attempted to slap the camera out of my hand and then, when that was unsuccessful, made a second attempt, only this time he tried to seize the camera.

Both "touches" were clearly unwanted and illegal.

Even David Vitter knew better than to act so thuggishly. (video at link)

I've decided that in Senator Cornyn's case, I'm going to leave the ball in his court.  I will call (and probably visit) his office tomorrow.  If he allows me to film an apology and a statement about why a vigorous 4th Estate is absolutely critical to a healthy and well-functioning democracy, I will let the incident pass.  If, on the other hand, the Senator declines, I will file charges with the Capitol Police.  There are video cameras that capture everything that happens in the Capitol; I'm certain there is plenty of evidence to sustain prosecution.

And after all, if I would be arrested for such behavior, why not the Senator?

So you want a better media?

A few nights ago, I posted a diary about being repeatedly detained by Capitol Police at the behest of Virginia Foxx and other Republican lawmakers.  In the comments of that diary, someone asked me how law school was going.  I mentioned that I graduated, tried to give activism a shot, but couldn't find any institutional support for my work, so I plan on taking the bar and becoming (probably) a divorce lawyer.

The response was unexpected and extraordinary.  Over the next 24 hours, I received over $300 in direct donations through the paypal form at my website.  Moreover, TheCrookedDope was visited by several thousand people.

You will notice that I did not embed the YouTubes in this diary.  The reason for that is that I'm holding out hope that between donations and advertising, I may yet be able to continue working as an activist/journalist.

Look - this isn't intended to be a sobbing GBCW diary, and I hope you don't take it as such.  The simple fact is that I've got 2 kids, a wife and over $180K in student loan debt.  I think my work in the George Allenand Virgil Goode races was productive, I was proud to glom onto Spocko's coattails when the KSFO story made headlines, "Hannity Sucks Ass" was fun

and so was inciting Bill O'Reilly to call out the Fox News Police.  Forming the largest group on GetFISARight group) ended up in disappointment for us all, but it had to be done.  And the birther videosBrett Vaughn and I conceived and produced were useful in terms of exposing exactly how crazy a place the Republican Party is in right now.  

So, anyway...  I think it is only natural for anyone that has had the fun and success that I have had fighting the good fight against dishonest "conservatives" to want to be able continue doing this kind of work...  But life is what it is.  As long as the folks that run our esteemed left-leaning organizations remain risk-averse and unwilling to fund bloggers, activists, social engineers and culture-jammers...  well...  unless we develop a different model, those of us that do this kind of stuff will come and go as life permits.

Ah...  Did you catch the key words?  "Unless we develop a different model"...  Well, some folks have.  Like Kos.  Atrios.  Jane Hamsher.  They are all funded by a contributions from the netroots and/or advertising.  Sooooo...  That's why I did not embed the videos.  I want to earn your eyeballs.  I want you to start visiting TheCrookedDope.  While you are there, I hope you will consider dropping a coin or two into my PayPal hat located on the side bar.  I really, really, really hope a few of you will consider "subscribing" and choosing to make recurring donations.  

In return, I promise that I will do my best to cover the Hill like no other reporter (except maybe Rachel Maddow).  If you have questions you want asked of certain people, I'll do my best to do that for you.  I know many of you would like to see an improved product from me.  I promise to listen to your criticisms and strive every day to do a better job than I did the day before.  In short, with your traffic and/or support, I'll work my ass off to be YOUR reporter on the Hill.

Finally, there is this:  I want you to know that I know that to the extent I've been successful, success has come in no small part because of this community.  CallingAllWingnuts would never have been born without y'all...  This blog - this community - on several occasions launched my effort into the larger press; whatever I was working on got noticed here first.  And notwithstanding certain disagreements (the trip to O'Reilly's home comes to mind), I've always known the people that hang out here share my core values and play on the same team I do.  When my leg starts trembling and a tremor creeps into my voice as I go toe to toe with a bad guy, I've always known who I'm working for.  So however this works out...  whether or not I can make a go of this...  Thank You, DailyKos.

Originally posted to Mike Stark on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 07:54 PM PDT.

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