Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
We've come a long way, baby. I guess. The world o' blogging, I mean. At least since I was accidentally sucked into the vortex back in early 2004.
Apparently, we now even rate our own "trade show," as the very first "Blog World & New Media Expo" is scheduled for this week at the Convention Center in Las Vegas, where I've been invited to speak.
So what do we have to trade exactly? I'm not entirely sure, but I suppose I'll find out this Thursday and Friday, when I'll likely be trading barbs, at least, on several panels in the show's "Political Track," along with such exemplary wingnuts as Hugh Hewitt, John Hindraker, and oh, so many more that the cat will no doubt be dragging in.
On the other hand, I'm happily looking forward to meeting many of the fine not-wingnut bloggers out there that I've known as little more than email addresses for many years. This from BlogWorld's blog item by the expo's director, Rick Calvert...
Now I know what you are thinking. You normally wouldn't find half of these folks hanging out with the other half and that is exactly what makes it such a great line up! One thing they can all agree on is blogging beats the MSM any day of the week.
Register Now and join us for some some great discussion, some great debate and a few fireworks.
Panels I'll be participating in (if I can get there in time) and at which I hope you'll stop by if interested:
Thursday 11/8, 10:15am-11:45am The Power of the Political Blogosphere - Professor David Perlmutter, Hugh Hewitt, Dave Nalle, Pam Spaulding, Taylor Marsh, Brad Friedman
Thursday 11/8, 2:45pm-3:45pm Blogging to Effect Non-Partisan Grass Roots Change - Rob Neppell (N.Z. Bear), Brad Friedman
Friday 11/9, 3:00pm-4:00pm Political Blogs and the Political Press: From Antagonists to Co-Players? - Professor David Perlmutter, John Hinderaker, Mary Katharine Ham, Brad Friedman
Well, this is interesting. It seems our Monday Exclusive on "gagged" FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has disappeared from Google News. Sort of.
A simple news search for "Sibel Edmonds" at Google no longer offers the rather blockbuster story, in which it's announced that she is now challenging American mainstream media television outlets to allow her to tell her story, uncensored and in violation of the ridiculous years-long "State Secrets Privilege" that the DoJ has been using to keep her quiet.
The story can be found via Google News, but it requires a search for both "Sibel Edmonds" and "Brad Blog," or drilling by date, etc. We've got no idea why the story fails to show up otherwise.
That's particularly odd since it's been incredibly popular since we first blogged it, having made it's way to #3 at Digg.com and #4 at Reddit.com, as well as becoming the #1 "recommended" diary at DailyKos.com for most of the day it first ran. (Those rankings alone translate to big traffic on the Internets, for those not familiar with how these things work.) We also ran a version of the report over at Huffington Post. That one doesn't show up either.
Oddly, our much older story from two weeks ago, in which we referred to and quoted Edmonds --- in relation to the recent House resolution declaring "genocide" in Turkey, and her damning allegations concerning former Speaker Dennis Hastert's corrupt bargain while pushing the same legislation in 2000 --- does show up via the Google News search for "Sibel Edmonds." Even though that one, unlike this week's, doesn't even have her name in the headline and was far less popular and infrequently linked to.
No idea what all of that is about, of course, but it seems noteworthy.
In related news, we'll have an exclusive follow-up soon on Edmonds, and the interesting response (or lack thereof), she's so-far received from the American mainstream media in the wake of the blockbuster Monday report. Here's a hint, she's called it "disgusting."
In the meantime, the blogger who pointed out the above anomaly suggests the "Stephen Colbert Effect" might be useful in Edmonds' matter as well.
UPDATE 11/1/07 12:02pm PT: The original story that wouldn't appear via simple Google News search for "Sibel Edmonds" now does show up as a result of that search. We have no idea what, if anything, has changed, but since we ran this report (which also shows up on the same search) 24 hours ago or so, the story now shows up as expected, when it did not previously. No clue what to make of it all still, of course, but noting it nonetheless.
(DISCLOSURE: Yes, I was interviewed for and appear a number of times in this film, but we recommend you watch it anyway!)
Earnhardt began the project in early 2005 at the Nashville Election Reform Summit, and has been trekking the country every since to highlight the story of the 2004 disaster, the 2006 meltdown, and --- far more importantly --- what is happening, and what can be done to protect our democracy in 2008.
"This is not about the past. It's not about '04, or even 2006, it's about 2008," Earnhardt told me today. "The film is meant as a major call to action." And on that level, in every version that I've been able to see (a very early version was released as Eternal Vigilance prior to the '06 Election), the film does exactly that. I believe you will want to stand up and cheer at the end of this thing...before getting to work and taking action.
Check out the two minute trailer at left to get a taste!
Uncounted is an absolute must see for anyone interested in saving American democracy and, I might add, a perfect film for use at screenings, fundraisers, and house parties to get folks fired up and hitting the streets before 2008.
The film features segments on and original interviews with citizen heroes of all sorts, including election whistleblowers Stephen Heller and Clint Curtis, Election Reformer champions such as the heroic Emery County, Utah, (and now former) Registrar of Voters, Bruce Funk, Rep. John Conyers, and many many more of the patriots taking action in the EI movement.
If you'd like your own copy of the DVD, signed by Earnhardt (it officially goes on sale the second week of November), please click to donate $50 or more to The BRAD BLOG online or sign up for a monthly subscription of $20 or more via the blue form on the right side of this page.
You may also or send a donation via snail mail. Just include "UNCOUNTED" on the check or on a note sent with it to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
SPECIAL SPECIAL OFFER!: I will be sending a signed copy of Lloyd Dangle's hilarious new TroubleTown toon collection, TroubleTown Told Ya So, out to monthly BRAD BLOG subscribers of $20 or more shortly, as a thank you gift. So sign up for a subscription now and consider it a twofer as long as I have enough copies to send!!
As ever, your support is greatly appreciated, and the only thing that allows us to pay the rent, have a sandwich each day, and keep the work we do here going...and going...and going...
Just a quick note in response to those who have queried. The entire "staff" and resources at The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters are just fine, even as fires continue to rage across the state. The closest burn to us, at this time, would be out in Malibu, as things back here closer to Hollywood remain quiet for the moment.
It continues to be incredibly dry and hot out here though, and the winds, at times, have been extraordinary. While some of the cable news channels have picked up much more today in their coverage, things have been largely wall-to-wall on local stations since yesterday. Rightly so.
Given the pictures we're seeing, it's really bad out there --- an utter conflagration --- and like nothing we've seen in the 10-plus years that we've been in the Golden State. But we are safe and sound at the moment. And our thanks to those who have asked.
I'll speaking tonight at 7:00pm down in Orange County, for the Laguna Beach Democratic Club, on matters of Election Reform and whether or not your vote will count in upcoming elections.
If you're in, or near, the hood, please stop by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laguna Beach, 429 Cypress St., N. Laguna, CA, and say hello! Or show up and give me some tough questions for a change! More info here or via 949-497-8240.
Note to the Laguna Beach Republican Club: I'll be happy to come speak to you guys too, if you ever care to invite me!
We haven't had much luck in raising donations, so I've been going out of my way to try and find premiums in order to offer some incentives to help encourage folks to support our work here at The BRAD BLOG.
The folks at DK publishing have been kind enough to offer a very limited number of copies of Chuck Wills' gorgeous new hardback, LINCOLN: THE PRESIDENTIAL ARCHIVES, to us for use as a premium.
This one is really cool. I suspect that folks here may really appreciate this particular item. As the publishers describe it, the book is an "interactive 'museum-in-a-box' including removable documents and replicas of Lincoln's personal correspondence, landmark speeches and more. Accessible text and photography throughout brings Lincoln's childhood, political ride, presidency, the Civil War era, and untimely assassination to life on the page."
The brand new book --- with literally hundreds of cool pull-outs --- has a suggested retail price of $40, so we're offering it as a premium to folks who make a donation to BRAD BLOG of $100 or more. It's more pricey than our usual offerings, but we hope there are enough folks out there who may be interested in the topic, and in supporting our work, to jump on this one.
We've got just a few of them, but will ship them out ASAP to folks who donate $100 or more online right away. For those who prefer snail mail donations, our address is...
As we could all use something to lighten things up around here, and it's so amusingly off-base, and it's a slowish posting day, and clearly someone needs some attention, why not...
Some pseudonymous blogger named "Vigilis" with some blog named "Molten Eagle" has called me out. I am so wounded to the core by his stinging and ingeniously well-supported critiques and barbs that I just must respond in desperate defense of my once-good name.
In his item called "Confronting Brads Baloney Blog", our man (I presume) "Viligis" instructs his readers (reader?) that "today's leftist propagandists...refuse to stand and debate" before alluding to me (presumably) as "con artists and their ilk [who] shift topics as rapidly as possible by disparaging opponents with both charges of falsehoods and rancorous name-calling."
"Of course," our friend "Vigilis" ironically charges: "this is done without citation of the slightest facts." (More on that in a minute.)
But it's not just me of whom the anonymous blogger is critical. It's you! You commenters! Especially you female commenters, whom "Vigilis" calls out not once, but twice in his amusing post:
Their meek, poorly educated (although most have been highly brainwashed) followers are incapable of critical thinking or even logic. Mostly female, they are steeped in swift emotional response...
Vigilis has taken Brad's frontmen to task for positions that, rather than fostering voters rights, foster voting fraud. Yes, I have been called a liar and worse by their legions of female followers.
I have "frontmen"?! Cool!
But wait, it gets more tickling!
"Vigilis" then asks, "How can serious people behave so irresponsibly?" before dropping the most absolutely, amusingly ironic (read: immeasurably foolish) graf, particularly in light of his earlier charge that "propagandists" and "con artists" like us ply our trade "without citation of the slightest facts."...
Finally catching my breath, and beginning to get back up to speed here at home after three months on the road. Given that I'd hoped to find a few much needed days off over the summer --- and largely failed, but for a few days snuck in here and there --- it seemed a worthy effort at reviewing some of what we were able to do here, even while on the road.
All of this by way of reminding folks that my work here at The BRAD BLOG is supported almost solely by the generosity of you readers. We sell a few ads occasionally, but it is your donations that give me a shot at paying my bills on time(ish) and covering the various expenses here. The rest I try to cover by an occasional freelance article where I can get one, and otherwise I continue to pray to the democracy gods that I'll be able to pay for food, rent, gas, and credit card bills. Somehow.
So your help is appreciated --- and relied upon! Online donations can be made at this link, or, preferably, you can use the blue form on the right side of every page to create a monthly "subscription" for any amount you like, or use the snail mail address there to send a paper-based contribution.
Having made that pitch, if you're still not convinced that you are needed to keep this place going --- and that keeping this place going is worth while --- here are just some of the highlights of both our reporting and other missions (the public ones anyway) that we were able to pull off even while on the road this past summer...
During last Wednesday's televised address from the Oval Office, George W. Bush said, "We thank the 36 nations who have troops on the ground in Iraq."
As it turns out, you'll be stunned to learn that his number was a lie. But it wouldn't be the first time the Administration has lied about who is, and isn't, a part of the so-called "Multinational Coalition" in Iraq, as The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively as far back as October of 2004, prior to the Presidential Election.
Concerning Bush's "36 nations" mentioned last week, Spencer Ackerman reports, in an exclusive over at TPM, that the number is fudged at best, and just another unsupportable, outright lie by the administration at worst. The White House's fuzzy math used to comprise the "36 nations" with "troops on the ground in Iraq" apparently includes several nations which "aren't in Iraq in any capacity anymore," according to Ackerman.
The number also includes Canada's one soldier who had been serving at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), who has since been withdrawn; New Zealand's single troop (yes, like Canada, just one!) commitment to UNAMI; Tonga's now-withdrawn force; a single press aide from Iceland; and an unknown number from Hungary which may, or may not, have anybody still in Iraq at all as part of a tiny NATO contingent.
Bush's prepared statement lie on national television last week, however, simply continues the pattern set years ago, prior to the 2004 Presidential Election, by Dick Cheney, as The BRAD BLOG exposed in a series of reports back then in what would become our first breakthrough story to be picked up by both national and international media alike...
Home again. Finally. After three months on the road, I wish I could say it's good to be back. But for the moment, I'll remember how incredibly difficult it's been to keep up with everything while on the constant move for so long, and will just be glad that I'm back in one place. For at least a few weeks.
Though the gods seem to laugh and the news seems to conspire to keep me blogging even more frequently from the road at times than when I'm at home...Nonetheless, for those long hours when I was barreling down the highway from coast-to-coast over the past months, guest-hosting radio shows, engaged in some super-secret mission or another, or otherwise sneaking in a few hours off the grid, on a mountain, or both, there are a bunch of folks who are owed much thanks.
To all of the tremendous BRAD BLOG guest contributors who kept the joint lively and up-to-date with important news and commentary while I was otherwise occupado, I thank you. The talented list of folks who contributed here over the past few months, in case you hadn't noticed, includes the following impressive list (in no particular order):
We've emerged safely from the woods after three glorious days off the grid up at 10,200 feet. No net. No cell. No bears. No mountain lions. Though we did have a few close encounters with a bald eagle and some moose (even if we avoided being trampled by the two who stampeded through our campsite at dawn one morning.)
Starting slowly this morning and catching up on some of the bear stories you guys posted in the the Open Thread I left on my way out the door. Thanks for those. Was only able to read a few of them before we set out, but CharlieL's amusing story provided a good laugh or two around the campfire.
From the real mountains to the mountain of email that has come in while we were gone, it may take some time to get cranked back up to full speed. So for the moment, here's a look at what I've been looking at over the past few days...
More photos later, perhaps, unless I learn I'm needed elsewhere after discovering what's really going on out here.
Oh, and btw, you folks in San Diego were in our hearts and on our minds even in the wilds over the past few days!
Glad to see it looks like Progressive Talk AM 1360 KLSD is still on the air at this hour! If you haven't already, please take the time to sign the petition to register your support for some semblance of both fairness and balance on the public's airwaves in the country's 6th largest city!