By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2014, 12:15pm PT  

On January 24, 2004, the Mars rover named Opportunity landed on the red planet and began its mission. According to NASA, the mission "was to last only three months." In the ten years since then, Opportunity has "has driven 24 miles" and has offered thousands of extraordinary close-up pictures of a never-before-seen world, all while having "contributed valuable information about the diverse watery environments of ancient Mars."

On the very same day that Opportunity began its mission on Mars in 2004, The BRAD BLOG began its exploration of Planet Earth. Our mission, at the time, wasn't even necessarily slated to last three months. But, like Opportunity, as of this week, we have also defied the odds by sending out extraordinary close-up pictures from our unlikely and continuing investigations ten years after we began.

While pondering over the past month how best to celebrate our one decade milestone, I had considered a series of posts on "Our Top 10 Stories of the Past 10 Years." Once I started digging back into the archive, however, I quickly realized that would be impossible. Not only because so many of those stories span over several, sometimes dozens, sometimes scores of articles published over a number of years, but also because there have been so many that I would consider to be "highlights". Limiting that number to just ten quickly became an impossible task, and one that would only succeed at marginalizing too many noteworthy stories, events and moments simply because they didn't make that arbitrary cut.

Instead then, in the coming days and weeks as we celebrate our milestone, I hope to find time to publish a series of articles reflecting on various aspects of our first decade, even as I continue to try and figure out how to afford the next.

Until then, I hope you'll help us celebrate with a generous birthday gift to The BRAD BLOG or at least as much as you can comfortably afford. We have survived all of these years (barely) thanks almost entirely to reader support, rather than corporate or foundational support. Please help us to continue to do so as long as possible.

While I plan to talk a bit about more about it in one of the upcoming pieces that I hope to publish to mark our 10th Anniversary, I'd be very happy to send a signed DVD copy of the award-winning documentary Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story by Patty Sharaf to supporters who either donate $50 or more below or, preferably, sign up for "Monthly Sustaining Support" at $20 or more. The film (which I'm in, but it's good anyway) tells the remarkable, funny and, yes, terrifying story of a Republican software programmer-turned-whistleblower's allegations of vote-rigging software said to have been requested at a very high level. It's based on the startling story we originally broke in late 2004 (our first year!) and continued reporting on for years thereafter. (See LinkTV's promotional short trailer for the film that they created when they first ran the doc there some years ago, at the bottom of this post.)

Finally, for now, my brief thanks (with more to hopefully come later) to all of those who have helped produce The BRAD BLOG in various ways over our 10 extraordinary years of independent investigative journalism, blogging, trouble-making and muckraking. And, mostly, my thanks to you, our readers, for helping to allow us to do so through your generous support, comments, donations, tips, kind words and critiques. What a long, strange trip it continues to be... --- Brad

P.S. Holy crap?! TEN years?! Seriously?!!! GTFO!!!

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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)

Check out LinkTV's 60-second promo trailer for Murder, Spies & Voting Lies below. (The actual film is hi-def and looks and sounds awesome!)...