BEST OF THE BLOGS: SEND THEM MONEY
BLOGGING COSTS MONEY. YOU OWE THESE PEOPLE. NO, REALLY.
TIME IS MONEY. WRITING IS WORK. PEOPLE DESERVE TO GET PAID FOR THEIR LABORS. GET IT?
You're A Liberal, Right? OK, A Progressive! So, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, HIPPY!
You don't mind paying an extra X% for the advertising & marketing of everything you eat, wear, or otherwise use, right? Well, of course you MIND, but you're used to it, so you pay it without thinking. It's a hidden cost. Involuntary. Automatic. Almost painless. Anyway, TV and radio are free, right? So, you really never think about what TV & radio might be costing you. But those media are advertising-supported. So all that stuff you buy includes money to pay for that advertising. So, unless you NEVER buy ANYTHING, you're paying for advertising, and the money goes to the radio & TV people.
The Internet is free, though, right? But there's some advertising on some of the websites. So you must be paying to support those websites, if you buy any of the products advertised. In fact, you're paying to support every website, radio & TV station in the world, every time you buy something, whether you watch, read or listen to them or not. It's a passive kind of support, but it works, if only because we've almost ceased to be aware of it. It's just built into the price of everything, and there's nothing you can do about it. When you buy a product that is advertised on Rachel Maddow's show and Bill O'Reilly's show, you're supporting Bill as well as Rachel. And you're supporting Rush Limbaugh and Ron Reagan when you buy stuff that's advertised on both of those shows. You really don't have any choice, unless you want to go to the trouble of boycotting one of these products. And then you're boycotting both Ron & Rush, O'Reilly & Maddow. It's frustrating, but that's the system they've established in the electronic media.
Newspapers and magazines, of course, you actually have to pay for. You have to make a conscious choice and physically give them actual cash on the spot in order to read them. It's not a passive thing at all. You have to make a decision and take action. So, that's better, right? Well, then why are passively-supported no-choice electronic media killing actively-supported choice-required print media? Are we cheap? Lazy? Stupid? Would we rather just stand there and be passively milked like cows? Or would we prefer to use our money to assert our own agendas like human beings, to uphold our own beliefs, express our own tastes and judgements? Hm?
It may be too late for print. The overwhelming expense of real estate, infrastructure, personnel and raw materials, combined with the limits inherent in physically reaching a market, as compared with electronic production & delivery, have drained print media nearly dry. If they cannot reinvent themselves or their business model, they may not survive in their present form, or at all. And that's a bad thing. It means the end of choice in media. It means further limitation of your freedom to express yourself in the marketplace of ideas. It means more corporate consolidation and more power to those corporations. That's a very bad thing.
We have a new model that's popped up. In fact, before the corps ever figured out how to exploit the Internet, we were all just using it to reach out and touch each other, to create and communicate free and freely, to express ourselves and change our world for the better. The corps are horning in on this now, sucking up bandwidth, threatening us with lawsuits against fair use of copyrighted materials, "monetizing" something that used to be money-free, grabbing all the eyeballs. We can't take this lying down. We're going to have to fight it. But that means working together, making choices and taking action to support the websites that are important to us.
You pay for your coffee and cigarettes, newspapers and candy, chips and soda, water and energy bars, food and booze, books and records, movies and concerts, cable TV and DVD rentals, cell phone and music services, satellite radio and wireless Internet. You don't expect to get any of that for free. And all that money goes to corporations and people who are already rich, for the most part. You never really think about it, but you are supporting them, even though they use your money to support things you oppose, things that hurt you or hurt others. Things that the blogs listed below are actively fighting, and keeping you informed of every single day. Very bad things, things that you are paying for, things like racial profiling, discrimination against gays, lower pay for women, and trashing the American economy.
There are things you can do about the way your money is used. Maybe you could choose to spend your money at Starbucks or Ben & Jerry's, and to avoid Exxon and WalMart. You could be also be helping to build entirely new models of human interaction, designed around common interests and positive goals, and not just mega-profits for mega-corporations. You could help change the world right here on the World-Wide Web. You could be making the same kinds of small contributions to the work of a few good bloggers as you are now making every day to companies and people you really don't support, politically, socially, philosophically, or spiritually. You know, the bad guys? You could be supporting the good guys instead, before they are starved out of existence.
So, long story short, stop being such a blind weasel, and take some of that Exxon or Marlboro or WalMart or FoxNews money, and send it to your favorite bloggers, instead. Even just a buck or two would help, once a day, once a week, once a month. If nothing else, it would be a way to show your support and feel good about it. Complimentary comments are always nice. But talk is cheap. Blogging isn't. Kick in a little something, and vote for your own future. It's not mandatory or passive, hidden or automatic, built-in or invisible. It's totally voluntary. It's up to you to support good blogs, or not. And that's a good thing.
Here's some of my favorites. Send 'em a buck or two or twenty by PayPal. Please. Thank you:
1. THE IMPOLITIC
"Pentagon spending the real deficit driver"
Libby Spencer is one of the best, and she REALLY needs your help right now. Just Do It!
' In all the debates about the deficit, the sacred cow in the budget has always been 'defense spending' by the Pentagon. This estimate puts the base budget alone for the period FY'09 through FY'13 at $2.6 trillion. That doesn't include expenses for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't include "supplemental appropriations" which are regulary requested whenever the political climate is ripe. As nearly as I can figure, that would add at least another couple of trillion onto the total. The Pentagon's procurement and weapons development is badly broken. The GAO just released a report that shows just the cost over-runs on cost plus contracts ran $300 billion last year. The contractors have no incentive to fulfill the terms or contain costs and much of the money is spent on technology that doesn't work and programs developing weapons for wars that are unlikely to ever be fought. The 'fiscal hawks' are always at the ready to take a scalpel to social safety net programs but will protect Pentagon payola at any cost. I understand that some communites depend on this spending, but it needs to be redirected to more productive uses. Cutting their budget in half, and I believe it could be safely done, would pay for a lot of health care and take Social Security out of whatever danger it's supposed to be in. '
2. CAB DROLLERY
Ruth & Diane provide high-quality content every single day of the week. Read it & weep. Or laugh. Or donate.
' What a treat it is to hear the Party of Nope waxing eloquent over the disaster they have created in this country's economy. Now I am waiting to hear them admit that it was their wars and their tax cuts that were the cause. I am watching Diane's state's congressman Dreier. Sorry, he's on par with my own congressman Hall, who totally supports oil interests over his constituents. These disgraces to their country have done more damage than any foreign enemy could have done. Now they are arguing that more of the same is going to bring prosperity after eight years of bringing economic damage. '
3. SOUTHERN BEALE
"Is It Still Obama’s Economy?"
Southern Beale is, well, Southern, and a Beale. If Beale Street could talk, this is what it would say. Support it, yawl.
' Wow. Hey wingnuts, does that mean it’s still "Obama’s economy?” Or are we now going to hear about how Bush’s tax cuts are finally showing results? I’m just curious as to which talking point now applies, that’s all. Of course, roller coaster rides in the stock market never portend good economic news. It’s a sign of instability. We’ll still have some big up days and we’ll have some big downers. But as any good FA knows, the stock market looks forward. A strong month is a positive statement about the future. We’ll be pulling out of this thing a lot sooner than many expected, I think. Great Depression? Nah. '
Digby provides one of THE places where everybody goes to catch up on the latest outrages by the Outrageous. Drop a dime.
' So, Alan Grayson's bill passed the House today, after a hilariously incoherent debate by the Republicans. They are determined to stand up for the right for wealthy people to loot the public treasury. I realize that it is a fundamental tenet of their philosophy -- they really believe that wealthy people are morally superior and that when the economy sputters due to their ineptitude and greed, average working people should step up and dedicate a portion of their income to ensuring that the rich don't suffer the loss of their well deserved compensation. That's what serfs are for. Still, it just strikes me as being a tad politically impractical, all things considered: '
5. THE MUDFLATS
"ConvicTed No More."
Way up there in our sister-non-contiguous-State of Alaska, our fellow pseudonymous blogger was recently outed by Alaska State legislator Representative Mike Doogan, a real lowlife. She could use a little support, right now.
' No doubt there are celebrations in Alaska today. Even when Stevens was convicted, most Alaskans weren’t happy about it. Nobody wanted to believe it, and nobody wanted the meme of “Uncle Ted” to have been a lie. Alaskans love their heroes, sometimes warts and all. And, on the other side of the coin, there are those who will never believe that Stevens was innocent on all seven of the felony counts of filing false statements on his Senate Financial Disclosure Forms. But as far as this chapter in the life and times of Ted Stevens, it looks like it’s closed. And an Obama appointee closed it. Interesting. Let’s file that information away in case we need it later. And what exactly are the “totality of the circumstances in this particular case?” Other prosecutorial misconduct? Stevens age? (He’s 85) We may never know, but in light of the fact that Stevens’ attorneys have issued a statement calling Holder, the new prosecution team and Judge Emmett Sullivan “heroes” it’s obvious that the administration has built some good will with Stevens, many Alaskans, and Republicans in general. It will be difficult to cry “Partisanship!” if Holder goes after other Republican corruption. '
6. RISING HEGEMON
"Past Notre Dame Speakers "
Attaturk provides amusing & insightful commentary every day, so check him out, and send a check, or a Paypal donation.
' Well, well, well, as another Cardinal's hat gets red with rage over the very idea that the President and his plan on using embryonic cells for research instead of tossing them into the garbage -- just like a real person. But let us remember Notre Dame's rich history of commencement speakers. Not just eight prior Presidents. But pro-choice Democrats like Patrick Moynihan. And I'm sure the right-wing would now be aghast to learn Chief Justice Earl Warren spoke at Notre Dame in 1957. And then there is the holiest of men in act and deed, J. Edgar Hoover, who in 1942 was free to -- for once -- wear a gown in public. Yes, though the Tears of Touchdown Jesus fill the quad now, somehow all these worthies were allowed to speak at Notre Dame University. '
It's whiskey, and it's on fire. What more do you need to know? Give.
' One can't help but note that, for Maureen Dowd, hummers were the problem in the nineties, and Hummers in the oughts. Let's just hope that she doesn't decide to find some new kind of hummer to symbolize the problems of Barack Obama. A kazoo, maybe? Dowd has been struggling to find her stride with Obama. The situation is so serious, and he himself taking it so seriously, that her particular brand of dismissive Freudian snark is having a hard time finding a hook. (She even had to impute the fear of Michelle Obama's mighty biceps to her weasely colleague Bobo, who no doubt has to check his penis several times a day to make sure it's still attached. At least, I assume that's why he's playing pocket pool.) She's tried stiff and mannered (he needs a teleprompter to get angry!) and sneery (he exercises!), but you can tell her heart really isn't in it. '
8. THINK PROGRESS
"Rep. Ellison: ‘I Am Skeptical Of The Troop Escalation In Afghanistan’ "
A lively review of the days news & views. Don't miss it. Make a contribution, if you can.
' Roll Call reports today that “anti-war Democrats have been largely mum on President Barack Obama’s recently unveiled policy for Afghanistan — partly because leading liberals don’t yet know where they stand.” But Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim member of Congress, is clear about his position on the issue. Yesterday, Thinkprogress interviewed Ellison and asked where he stands on President Obama’s plan to send 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. Afghans have “seen a lot of foreign powers come to their country — whether it’s the Soviets, the Brits, and now the Americans — and I think they want to see their country finally have peace,” Ellison replied. Ellison told ThinkProgress that he is “skeptical” of the troop increase: "I am skeptical of the troop escalation in Afghanistan. I have my doubts about whether that’s what’s needed. But if troop escalations is what’s going to happen, and if it may in fact be the right thing, the real question is, what are they going to be doing? If they’re just going to be taking it to the “enemy,” I am confident that it will be a failed effort. And I don’t say that with any relish. … The best course of action, I think, is to have an increase in civilian efforts to improve the lot of the average Afghan, with a clear goal to move things into the Afghans as fast as possible. We should be trying to exit Afghanistan, too,” he emphasized. “I don’t think we should have any long term plans there either.” Ellison said the U.S. should work to develop agriculture and provide basic security in the area. '
9. BALLOON JUICE
"Shades of Florida"
John Cole & Company betray the secrets of their former conservative comrades. Tip them.
' So there’s certain to be a recanvas (same thing as a recount but they call it a recanvas in NYS) in NY-20. This sort of thing is usually quite orderly in NYS because of the fact that each county has two election commissioners, one Democrat and one Republican. But this one could be so close that things get a little crazy. Here’s where things may get entertaining. The guy who held this seat before getting beat by Kirsten Gillibrand is John Sweeney, who led the famed Brooks Brothers riot in the 2000 election. If things get tough in this recount, Republicans may bring in a lawyer named Tom Spargo, who reportedly helped Sweeney with the Brooks Brother riot and other stuff in Florida. Spargo is also a former judge who got indicted for bribery a few months ago. If this gets really tight—and it probably won’t, this stuff is usually orderly in NYS —we could see a whole cast of NYS crazies come out of the woodwork. But I’m probably hoping for too much. '
10. WASHINGTON MONTHLY
The print magazine's blog, a liberal stalwart. Right in the belly of the beast: Pay up.
' A WHOLE LOT OF CRAZY.... This chart was put together by the Republican staff of the House Budget Committee, to help promote Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) piece on the GOP's alternative budget. You'll notice, of course, that it shows those wacky Democrats with spending projections that fly right off the map several decades from now -- before some of the lawmakers of 2050 are even born -- while those nice, responsible Republicans take a more modest approach. Conor Clarke calls this "crazy," and "pretty stupid," before explaining, "As near as I can tell, Paul Ryan and his staff just took the CBO projections that ended in 2019 and drew a random line, extending upward at about a 45 degree angle, until 2080. There's no real attempt to make it look scientific." And if it were just one silly chart, it would be easier to ignore. But the problem with today's budget blueprint from the House Republican caucus is that it takes a similarly ridiculous approach to just about everything. It's one thing to offer bad ideas. It's another to offer bad ideas without doing your homework. But House GOP lawmakers are offering proposals that are just insane. Reading through the party's new report, one notices that we'd get just as serious a proposal from a group of children with crayons. '
The Cosie Awards
All the Cosie winners, so far.
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