Tag Archives: Technophobia

Admin Note

So. Updates have been sparse of late. Why? Because my lovely, less-than-a-year-old Vaio laptop decided to kick the bucket this week.

And it has been a painful death, taking ten days to slowly crash and burn. So while I am trying to get the hard drive fixed or replaced (and recover whatever files I can-please, iTunes, pleaaassssseeee) I have to update this blog via my blackberry.

That, if you don’t know, is highly frustrating. So I’ll post some smallish things, but until my computer is computing again, I won’t be able to go on my more detailed rants.

Much love (and Viva Wisconsin!)

Cate

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Guardian: Eyewitness account from activist

Ahdaf Soueif:

This is the scene that took place in every district of every city in Egypt today. The one I saw: we started off as about 20 activists, after Friday prayers in a small mosque in the interior of the popular Cairo district of Imbaba. “The people – demand – the fall of this regime!” Again and again the call went out. We started to walk: “Your security. Your policekilled our brothers in Suez.”

The numbers grew. Every balcony was full of people: women smiling, waving, dangling babies to the tune of the chants: “Bread! Freedom! Social justice!” Old women called: “God give you victory.”

For more than an hour the protest wound through the narrow lanes. Kids ran alongside. A woman picking through garbage and loading scraps into plastic bags paused and raised her hand in a salute. By the time we wound on to a flyover to head for downtown we were easily 3,000 people.

The government had closed the internet down in the whole country at 2am. By 9am, half the mobile phones were down. By 11, not a single mobile was working. Post offices said the international lines had been taken down. This is a regime fighting for its life. And fighting for its ability to carry on looting this country. As the protesters walk through Imbaba, we note the new emergency hospital where building has been stopped because of a government decision to turn it into a luxury block of flats. The latest scandal of this kind is the Madinti project. The chant goes up: “A pound of lentils for ten pounds – a Madinti share for 50p.”

Now, as I write, the president has announced a curfew from an hour ago. And the army has started to deploy. If I were not writing this, I would still be out on the street. Every single person I know is out there; people who have never been on protests are wrapping scarves round their faces and learning that sniffing vinegar helps you get through teargas. Teargas! This is a gas that makes you feel the skin is peeling off your face. For several minutes I could not even open my eyes to see what was going on. And when I did, I saw that one of my nieces had stopped in the middle of the road, her eyes streaming. One of her shoes lost, she was holding out her arms: “I can’t, I can’t.”

“You have to. Run.” We all held arms and ran. This was on 6 October Bridge, just under the Rameses Hilton, and the air was thick with smoke. The thud of the guns was unceasing. We were trying to get to Tahrir Square, the main square of Cairo, the traditional destination of protests. But ahead of us was a wall of teargas. We ran down the slope of the bridge and straight into a line of central security soldiers. They were meant to block the way. We were three women, dishevelled, eyes streaming. We came right up to them and they made way. “Run,” they urged us, “Run!”

“How can you do this?” I reproached them, eye to eye.

“What can we do? We want to take off this uniform and join you!”

We jumped into a boat and asked the boatman to take us closer to Qasr el-Nil bridge, which would bring us near Tahrir. From the river, you could see people running across the bridges. Some young men caught the gas canisters and threw them into the river, where they burned and fizzed on the water.

We scrambled on shore under Qasr el-Nil bridge and joined the massive protest that had broken the security cordon and was heading to Tahrir. I cannot tell how many thousands were there. People were handing out tissues to soak in vinegar for your nose, Pepsi to bathe your eyes. Water to drink. People were helping others who were hurt. The way ahead of us was invisible behind the smoke – except for bursts of flame. The great hotels had darkened their ground floors and locked their doors. The guns thudded continuously and there was a new rattling sound. The people would pause and then a great cry would go up and they would press on. We sang the national anthem.

Once, a long time ago, my then young son, watching a young man run to help an old man who had dropped a bag in the middle of the street, said: “The thing about Egypt is that everyone is very individual, but also part of a great co-operative project.” Today, we are doing what we do best, and what this regime has tried to destroy: we have come together, as individuals, in a great co-operative effort to reclaim our country.

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Filed under Activism, Guest Bloggers, Human Rights, War and Peace

Forgive me if I appear too smug, but…

How the hell is anyone surprised about Keith Olbermann’s firing from MSNBC?

I wasn’t watching last night because, well… I had shit to do, but I have this lovely little thing on my phone called Twitter and that helps keep me in the know. So when I found out that Keith got fired, I was like… well, duh. After all, it was only Monday that the FCC ok’d the Comcastic merger between NBC Universal and telecommunications conglomerfuck Comcast. The same Comcast that has been a vehement opponent of net neutrality, one of the issues about which Keith has been vocal about in the past. The same Comcast that has been attacking its competitor Netflix. The same Comcast that called Keith “a loose cannon that could not be controlled.”

Yeah, I don’t mean to pull the “guilty before proven innocent” thing, but seriously. The writing was on the wall, and Keith knew it. TMZ reports that both sides knew the end was nigh and began negotiating an exit. Apparently, they finalized the agreement late on Friday.

Under the deal, sources say Olbermann will get money but cannot appear on television for a certain period time — we don’t know how long.

Our sources say Olbermann will, however, reappear soon with a presence on the Internet.

I certainly hope so. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t want Keith Olbermann back on MSNBC. I want him somewhere safe and uncensored and ACCESSIBLE. You know, like the Internet? On MSNBC, he flourished and in turn saved the dying network when he spoke out against the Bush administration. And obviously he had a hell of a lot of pull at the network, but with the success of Rachel Maddow, it seems like his exit looked less than devastating for execs at NBC and Comcast.

So, who is left? Lawrence O’Donnell is just a Democratic pragmatist. Blegh. And Ed Schultz is a little too Bill O’Reilly for my taste. I like Ratigan, he’s a good, populist voice, but he’s probably the only one left. Save Rachel.

A lot of people are saying that Rachel is next, and whereas with Keith I fully believed he would be chucked out, I don’t quite think the same for Rachel. First of all, Rachel doesn’t talk about net neutrality like Keith did. She’s very much focused on social issues, which is lovely, but she’s still a bit hawkish enough to be friendly with the corporate execs. She’s a safe liberal, so I’m pretty sure she’ll keep her job. Unless she takes a leftward turn (which would be fucking great, honestly. I’d love to see her cover net neutrality and contractors and prison reform, on which she is sort of an expert.)

One interesting development is that Cenk Uygur, of the Young Turks, will be temporarily hosting the 6 pm slot. Now, Cenk is extremely progressive and covers exactly the issues that Comcast doesn’t want touched on MSNBC. I can’t see him staying there for very long, but it’s possible that he would get censored severely if he does stay.

Finally, why is this a news story at all? It’s important to note that Keith Olbermann is a big enough star for progressives and liberals that he’ll be fine. He’s not about to be silenced. However, this incident should forever put the rest the little sparks of doubt in the liberal community that MSNBC is the liberal network. Because there are a lot of people who buy into the narrative that MSNBC is the liberal alternative, and it’s totally liberal and progressive and everything on that network is acceptable and true.

And that… well, that’s bullshit.

I’ve made my disdain for Chuck Todd quite known. But he’s just one symptom of the problem. Most of the anchors, especially during the daytime, are just corporate media establishment fuckers. But because MSNBC is the “liberal network,” their coverage is considered liberal. And that moves the whole discourse sharply to the right.

So let’s drop MSNBC once and for all. Let’s not give in to Comcast. And let’s shift our FULL attention to the Internet, while we still have it.

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Well, that’s not good.

Just… gah. From Free Press:

The Federal Communications Commission announced its decision, by a vote of 4-1, to approve the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, one of the largest media mergers in history. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Meredith Attwell Baker and Robert McDowell voted for the merger, while Commissioner Michael Copps dissented.Tuesday’s vote will allow Comcast, the nation’s largest cable and residential broadband provider, to take control of NBC Universal, a major content provider and the owner of national English- and Spanish-language broadcast networks, more than two dozen local TV stations, numerous cable news and entertainment channels, and movie studios. With the FCC’s blessing, Comcast-NBC will now control one in every five television viewing hours.

I can’t stress how monumentally devastating this is for our democratic process. If Comcast controls one in ever five television viewing hours, that means they will be controlling a fifth of all of the information we receive through the TV. Now, maybe we are informed enough to generally avoid corporate media, but a great majority of the country is not. That means that a great majority of the country will be getting the information Comcast wants them to get.

It boils down to our definition of democracy. Thomas Jefferson believed that the “only security of all is in a free press.” He explained that a free press enables the public to keep the government in check, that “the force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed.” Free information, he said, “is necessary to keep the waters pure.”

Now, I’m of the opinion that media conglomeration is inherently dangerous to democracy. We trust the smiling faces we see on the screen. And when there is trust, when there is perceived, mutual loyalty, it’s hard for us to question the things those faces say. Without creative, critical thought and debate, even amongst our own “sides,” we are easily manipulated. And suddenly we have no control.

We believe what the people at the top want us to believe, and we don’t have a clue.

The FCC released a statement, suggesting “that granting the application, with certain conditions and contingent upon enforceable commitments, is in the public interest.” Because it’s in the public interest to allow a corporation to monopolize, to kill media diversity and competition, and limits our choices as consumers of media. Yeah, that makes a lot of fucking sense.

President and CEO of Free Press Josh Silver argued that the decision to allow this merger “represents a failure of the agency to live up to its own public interest mandate,” in addition to ignoring the President’s promise to “promote media diversity” and “prevent excessive media concentration.”

But the approval of this merger represents yet another failure of the Obama administration to live up to the president’s promises to protect against media consolidation and ensure access to a broad range of diverse sources of news and information. Apparently, such promises aren’t worth much in the face of Comcast’s army of lobbyists, PR shops and generous campaign contributions.

The dissenting voice of the FCC decision, Commissioner Michael Copps, expressed concern that “the public interest requires more — much more — than it is receiving.”

And what’s next? The Internet.

Back in December, Senator Al Franken penned an op-ed for the Huffington Post, calling net neutrality “the most important free speech issue of our time.” I’m going to share most of it here because he did a great job taking a complicated issue and making it easy to understand.

As a source of innovation, an engine of our economy, and a forum for our political discourse, the Internet can only work if it’s a truly level playing field. Small businesses should have the same ability to reach customers as powerful corporations. A blogger should have the same ability to find an audience as a media conglomerate.

This principle is called “net neutrality” — and it’s under attack. Internet service giants like Comcast and Verizon want to offer premium and privileged access to the Internet for corporations who can afford to pay for it.

The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to issue regulations that protect net neutrality. The bad news is that draft regulations written by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski don’t do that at all. They’re worse than nothing.

Well, that’s decidedly troubling.

For many Americans — particularly those who live in rural areas — the future of the Internet lies in mobile services. But the draft Order would effectively permit Internet providers to block lawful content, applications, and devices on mobile Internet connections.

Mobile networks like AT&T and Verizon Wireless would be able to shut off your access to content or applications for any reason. For instance, Verizon could prevent you from accessing Google Maps on your phone, forcing you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it costs money to use and isn’t nearly as good. Or a mobile provider with a political agenda could prevent you from downloading an app that connects you with the Obama campaign (or, for that matter, a Tea Party group in your area).

That’s right. This really isn’t just a progressive issue. This is a democratic issue. Republicans like Ron Paul are for net neutrality, but they make up a small percentage of congressional Republicans. And honestly, a lot of “moderate” Democrats are sketchy on net neutrality as well, so it’s not a partisan thing. It’s a principle thing, and either you’ve got principle or you haven’t.

The FCC has never before explicitly allowed discrimination on the Internet — but the draft Order takes a step backwards, merely stating that so-called “paid prioritization” (the creation of a “fast lane” for big corporations who can afford to pay for it) is cause for concern.It sure is — but that’s exactly why the FCC should ban it. Instead, the draft Order would have the effect of actually relaxing restrictions on this kind of discrimination.

And that’s how we know that maybe, just maybe, the federal agency created to protect our airwaves might be bought. If there is any doubt left…

Here’s what’s most troubling of all. Chairman Genachowski and President Obama — who nominated him — have argued convincingly that they support net neutrality.

But grassroots supporters of net neutrality are beginning to wonder if we’ve been had. Instead of proposing regulations that would truly protect net neutrality, reports indicate that Chairman Genachowski has been calling the CEOs of major Internet corporations seeking their public endorsement of this draft proposal, which would destroy it.

Um.

After all, just look at Comcast — this Internet monolith has reportedly imposed a new, recurring fee on Level 3 Communications, the company slated to be the primary online delivery provider for Netflix. That’s the same Netflix that represents Comcast’s biggest competition in video services.

Imagine if Comcast customers couldn’t watch Netflix, but were limited only to Comcast’s Video On Demand service. Imagine if a cable news network could get its website to load faster on your computer than your favorite local political blog. Imagine if big corporations with their own agenda could decide who wins or loses online. The Internet as we know it would cease to exist.

When we lose net neutrality, we lose our last haven for free speech. For progressives and for the poor and disenfranchised peoples of this world, that is a devastating prospect.

 

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Filed under Activism, Civil Liberties, Media, US Politics

Why the polls aren’t close to reliable.

Senator Russ Feingold. Photo courtesy of NYT, I think.

 

PvtJarHead over at Daily Kos posted an article about Russ Feingold that made me change my mind about the way I view his race.

Almost every pundit and prognosticator out there except for The Great Sage and Eminent Guru of Madison, Wisconsin Ben Masel appears to accept the conventional wisdom that Ron Johnson has all but won this election.

What none of these polls can possibly take into acount is that in Wisconsin voters can register at the polls on election day. Ben Masel argues that this year looks a lot like 1998 and those voters turned the tide for Senator Feingold then.  I agree with him.  Senator Feingold (as Jud Lounsbury points out) is The ONLY Statewide Candidate to Receive Endorsements from ALL of WI’s Largest Papers! and just this week received the endorsement of prominent Libertarian Bob Barr.

That’s really important. Not only because it makes Feingold seem more likely to win, but because it suggests that polls… may not be necessarily representative of reality. Why?

Because polls are NOT, and have never been, representative of reality. They try to create an artificial reality, and that reality drives Beltway narratives and general political atmospheres. But while an artificial reality might give the edge to Republicans this season, it is still artificial and therefore prone to being debased by actual reality. As Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight wrote, “quite a bit of room to critique” various polls, especially Gallup’s likely voter model.

The Gallup poll and the Gallup poll alone is probably responsible for much of the sense of impending doom that Democrats feel and the (premature for at least 24 more hours) sense of triumphalism that Republicans are experiencing.

But there is quite a bit of room to critique the poll. The basic potential issue is that Gallup uses fixed turnout targets. For instance, they estimate that 40 percent of the electorate will vote, and then let their respondents fight it out to see who the 40 percent most likely to vote are.

So, for instance, if you have a lot of Democrats whose likelihood of voting is a 9 on a 10-point scale — people who might ordinarily be quite likely to vote — they’ll be excluded from Gallup’s likely voter sample if too many slots are occupied by perfect 10’s (who in this cycle, no doubt, tend to be Republicans). This is why, when Gallup digs just a little bit deeper into its voter universe — for instance, with its “higher turnout” model, which assumes that turnout is 50 percent rather than 40 percent — its results quickly shift from being something of an outlier to being fairly consistent with the other generic ballot polls. There are a lot of Democratic 9’s just beneath the surface of those Republican 10’s.

The definition of artificial reality.

Also, cell phones may actually affect the accuracy of polls.

Silver explains:

A lot of American adults (now about one-quarter of them) have ditched landlines and rely exclusively on mobile phones, and a lot of pollsters don’t call mobile phones. Cellphone-only voters tend to be younger, more urban, and less white.

That is SUPER important. All the young people I know exclusively use cell phones. I don’t have a land-line in my dorm, and I don’t think I’d ever invest in a land-line. Now, Democratic demographics are… young. Urban. Less white. In fact, Pew Research conducted a study that suggests a 4 point margin between poll results of only land-line voters and those of both land-line voters and cell phone-only users.

In the Pew Research Center’s latest poll, conducted Aug. 25 to Sept. 6 among 2,816 registered voters, including 786 reached by cell phone, 44% said that if the election were held today that they would vote for the Republican candidate for Congress in their district or leaned Republican, while 47% would vote for the Democratic candidate or leaned Democratic. Among the landline respondents, 46% preferred the GOP candidate and 45% the Democratic candidate.

This means that pollsters who only survey people with land-lines are probably 4 points off. However, this doesn’t mean that Democrats will gain 4 points, Silver adds.

A fair number of polls do include cellphones, so at best it might be half that. And the effects probably aren’t so uniform from company to company.

Remember, polls are helpful but not definitive. Don’t let them stop you from voting for whom you choose on the basis of pragmatism.

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Snarkterm Elections

Aloha, snarks! Tomorrow, November 2nd, I’ll be live-blogging from 6:30PM to 12PM with some appearances from my friend Linda, the smartest girl I know. It’ll be exciting and politastic! Feel free to tell me what candidates are the most important to you, and I’ll add them to my special coverage.

Senate:

  • Russ Feingold
  • Scott McAdams
  • Joe Sestak
  • Barbara Boxer
  • Patrick Leahy

House:

  • Alan Grayson
  • Raúl Grijalva
  • Dennis Kucinich
  • Tammy Baldwin
  • Tarryl Clark
  • Tom Perriello

It’ll be lots of fun. Except at the end of the night.

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#Rally4Sanity: You’re missing the point.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert drew an estimated 215,000 attendees to the rally. (AirPhotosLive.com)

Here’s a rule of satire: if the people who are being satirized don’t get the joke, you’re doing it right.

I’m going to get some hate for this, but that’s never stopped me before. I feel obliged as a progressive to call out my brethren when they’re wrong, just as I call out (all of the time) conservatives when they’re being crazy. Here’s a sampling of the criticism for the Rally to Restore Sanity that I’ve read from all over the Internets:

From Slate’s Troy Patterson:

The climax was Stewart’s sermon, a critique of impure reasoning. Typical sentiment: “If we amplify everything, then we hear nothing” It was a call to action, sort of—a call against overreaction. It had the rousing ring of a stump speech, but he didn’t pull his punch lines either. Is he running for something?

Suzy Khim, of Mother Jones, in a piece entitled Jon Stewart’s Liberal Purgatory:

But it won’t be easy for Obama—or anyone else, for that matter—to pull his center-left supporters out of their current purgatory of disillusionment and smirking apathy. As one sign at the rally put it: “My arms are tired.”

You know what? I’m starting to get frustrated with Mother Jones. From David Corn, the “journalist” about whom my opinion changes nearly every day:

Think of all the people who will be coming—and the time and money it will take them to plan the trip and to travel to and from the nation’s capital. These folks are likely to be more sympathetic to Democrats than Republicans, despite Stewart’s skewer-’em-all approach. So if the pro-sanity crowd is packing bags and heading to Washington on the last weekend prior to the elections, these people won’t be knocking on doors or making phone calls to get out the vote for Democratic candidates.

And finally, surprisingly, Keith Olbermann, who spent a while tweeting about how much Jon made him cry.

It wasn’t a big shark but Jon Stewart jumped one just now with the “everybody on Thr cable is the same” naiveté

The America before today’s cable wasn’t reasonable discussion.It was the 1-sided lockstep of Fox and people afraid of Fox.That got us Iraq.

Last comment then I’ll drop this:Whatever the losses are Tuesday,will they be because Liberals were too LOUD or because they were too timid?

Okay. So first I’ll say this: there are legitimate criticisms of the rally (not loud enough, unnecessary pre-taped skits, moments of false equivalency etc), but the comments I quoted aren’t those.

I’m never really impressed with Slate, but they do some good work. However, that article was… stale and idiotic. And totally emblematic of EVERY STUPID THING the mainstream media says about Jon Stewart. If the establishment media actually understood Stewart, they would understand that, um, NO, he’s not going to run for office. No. As awesome as that would be, Jon is and has always been very much a commentator, a tiny check on the government, but mostly the media.

He explained at the beginning of his closing remarks something important that I guess the media missed.

And now I thought we might have a moment, however brief, for some sincerity. Uh, if that’s okay, I know there are boundaries for a comedian-pundit-talker-guy, and I’m sure I’ll find out tomorrow… how I have violated them.

The jab is subtle. He’s saying, “What the fuck is the difference between what I do, and what you do, mainstream media shills?” The man wants to go into a speech that demolishes the Beltway narrative surrounding this political season, so he’s gonna do it. But of course, that means… he’s running for President or King or Emperor. He’s suddenly arrogant and bombastic and “overstepping his boundaries.”

No. He’s a comedian, but darlings, he is a fucking man. He’s a person. He has a genuine side, you know. In fact, I would argue that most of his comedy is genuine, that there is always a true concern for his country behind the snark. I certainly can relate.

Continue, Mr. Stewart:

I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith. Or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

This was NOT a comment on being centrist. No, it certainly wasn’t. That defeats the purpose of being able to respectfully disagree. I am a progressive, but I can accept and appreciate sincere opinions on the right. I might not agree with them, in fact, I might fight against them, but I am not going to label all of the people on the right racists or homophobes or xenophobes. That’s counterproductive and a waste of my time.

Sing it, Stewart:

Unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24 hour politico pundit panic conflict-onator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems and illuminate problems heretofore unseen, or it can use its magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and tea partiers, or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rich Sanchez is an insult — not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put forth the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish between terrorists and Muslims makes us less safe, not more.

The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything we eventually get sicker. And perhaps eczema. Yet, with that being said, I feel good. Strangely, calmly good, because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us through a funhouse mirror, and not the good kind that makes you slim and taller — but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass like a pumpkin and one eyeball.

So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no ones humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day. The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV. Americans don’t live here or on cable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.

Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats or Republicans or conservatives or liberals. Most Americans live their lives that our just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often its something they do not want to do, but they do it. Impossible things get done every day that are only made possible by the little, reasonable compromises.

Now, there’s a lot of excellent points made in these paragraphs, but I’m not going to reiterate them. The most important idea that Jon explains is the meme of the Media as a Distorter rather than a Reflector of any actual realities. Of course this is the case! Our media serves to sell, sell, sell, and it is in their best interest to create grandiose, scary images and stories that will hook audiences. Money corrupts even the most public of media outlets (see: NPR, PBS).

The truth is, we don’t need to be centrist to be moderate. Moderation is not a political ideology. It is the way in which one can exhibit such political ideology. Moderation doesn’t mean timidity, Keith Olbermann; nor does loudness mean strength. That’s logically inept. After all, I am a fairly rational, peaceful person. I like to stir up shit on Twitter and in political events that are presented as SUPER SERIOUS (ie: DoucheBeckistan) but does that mean I’m not a moderate? No. I’m irreverent and snarky. I get a kick out of challenging people on their views, and having my views challenged as well. But at the end of the day, I am no less progressive than the loud people. I am no less a feminist. I am no less a vegetarian. I am no less a bisexual. I am no less a human rights activist.

Activism isn’t necessarily jumping around screaming. It can be letter writing. Or petitioning. Or boycotting. Or volunteering. I love Codepink, and what they do is spectacular, but that’s not the end all, be all of activism. And, unfortunately, they aren’t taken seriously because the media has this fetish with SERIOUSNESS that makes it dislike Jon Stewart as well.

Not all Tea Party people are racists. True, they are more conservative, but a lot of them are more libertarian than authoritarian. Now, the movement is mostly a sham created by the Koch brothers, et al. But that doesn’t negate the feelings and frustrations that the people feel. Sure, there are racists and homophobes and xenophobes, but there are also fair-minded people WHO I HAVE MET.

Okay, another criticism. David Corn, if I may:

Shut the fuck up about how terrible this rally is for the Democrats. Or at least consider this before you criticize. The DNC and OFA and DCCC (the group I’m working with) are doing their thing, but they really didn’t bother keeping the base energized. That’s not Jon Stewart’s fault. The GOTV effort will be okay. Republicans will win on Tuesday because that is what happens EVERY DAMN ELECTION AFTER A NEW PRESIDENT IS ELECTED.

In fact, the “moment of sincerity” was basically overlooked in favor of getting angry that he didn’t tell people to vote or whatever. I agree, people need to vote, but that’s not Jon Stewart’s job. That’s the DNC’s job, and I don’t care if even my favorite political junkies Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein (Citizen Radio, you should totally go download the podcast at WeAreCitizenRadio.com. I’m a member, and it’s really great) were offended by that; guess what-you missed the point while you were bitching. Speaking of the bitching:

@jamiekilstein: Fucking Disgusting. RT @mikemadden: Me: “Do you guys think people should vote?” Stewart: “I think people should do what moves them.”

@allisonkilkenny: Voting implies you care about issues. Uncool. #Rally4Sanity RT @AdamSerwer: has anyone heard the word “vote” at this rally yet?

OH. MY. GOD. HOW horrible, that he would want people to make up their minds on their own instead of demagoguery to them. JESUS CHRIST. WHAT A TERRIBLE THING. And seriously, I think people should vote. People need to vote. But if they don’t, that’s their own fucking problem. They don’t get to complain if they don’t vote.

I don’t think my progressive media loves actually wanted to enjoy this. See, I went into the rally having a basic understanding of the point Jon was trying to make. Because I’m not an ideologue. I’m fair-minded enough to see that not all equivalency is FALSE. Sure, I agree, it wasn’t right to compare Codepink to some of the right-wing sillies, but hey. You know what? Superficially, they are the same. Doesn’t mean their principals are equal. On the surface, they can be hard to take. And pundits on both sides generalize. That is not FALSE EQUIVALENCY, that is reality.

And just because you agree with a group, doesn’t mean you can’t say, “Well, maybe there are more efficient ways of getting a message across.” That’s just looking at something with an open-mind. And, you know what? Jon Stewart made you all look like narrow minded assholes. You look judgmental. You look shortsighted. And, quite frankly, that makes me respect you a little bit less. Not much, but a little.

Why do I always end up ranting about the media after these events?

Tomorrow, I will write about my experiences. Because… I learned about the dark side of the Metro today. And I learned about how much music adds to a rally.

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