Sunday Night Thread

Here are some items that caught my eye this evening:
  • Women make up only 23% of elected officials in state legislatures, but women make up 30% of elected Democrats in state legislatures. All policy positions aside, that fact alone should explain why there is a gender gap in the electorate. The Democratic Party is more favorable to women not only in terms of policy, but also in the manner of its operation.

  • In the still undecided Pennsylvania House, look for a preliminary result in the last outstanding election tomorrow. If the provisional votes are counted in that election, it seems likely that Democrats will win the Pennsylvania House. Expect this one to go all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

    Unless I am mistaken, in Pennsylvania, you only need the House and the Governor in order to redraw electoral maps. It would not be hard to draw new maps that would make Democratic pickups in PA-04, PA-07 and PA-08 more so less permanent, and that would make PA-06 and PA-15 much more inviting targets. In other words, a lot hinges on the outcome of this one state legislature race in Chester County. I do not think it is difficult to argue that it is more important than any of the recounts taking place for U.S. House of Representatives seat.

  • According to a new study, paid political advertising is about all of the election coverage people get these days:Television viewers in crucial Midwest states got more political information in the weeks leading up to the midterm elections from campaign advertisements than from news coverage, according to a new study.

    In the seven markets studied, newscasts aired almost 4 1/2 minutes of paid political ads during a 30-minute broadcast, while only offering 1 minute 43 seconds of election news coverage. News organizations are supposed to cover stories that factor into the public interest, aren't they? Maybe I'm just an overly dedicated citizen, but I would image that elections are in the public interest. In my mind, there is only one way to deal with this irresponsible lapse in political coverage by news organizations: convene a blogger ethics panel.

  • Mystery Pollster looks at the aftermath of generic poll polls versus the actual House popular vote.

  • Meta-note: Don't expect me to back at full blogging strength until around mid-Tuesday. I am traveling back to Philadelphia tomorrow, for one thing. However, the real reason is that blogging, especially at the high standards MyDD has established, is actually very hard. While juicy news stoires or poll numbers can provide good quicker hitters for the front-page, most good articles with original content take a few hours of prep time. This includes extensive news and blogosphere surfing, thinking up new ideas, researching and outlining the idea, and then actually writing the post. (Given my high number of typos, you might notice that I rush through the editing portion of this process). The piece I wrote this morning on the netroots and 2008, for example, took about five hours of prep time before it was ready to post. Usually, a full day of blogging includes not only posting three or four articles, including at least one entirely original piece, but also preparing articles for the following day. Thus, when I go on vacation, it takes some time to get over the vacation and back into the full blogging cycle. That is why I am currently posting a round-up thread instead of a full original piece
Anyway, this is a Sunday night open thread. How was your Thanksgiving?

What the lefty sphere really needs for 07

My fuzzy thoughts on the subject would be: this year, the test for the Dems was whether they could win back control of Congress.

So naturally matters electoral took center stage.

In 2007, the concentration is bound to be on what the Dems actually do with their control - and what the GOP do to make life difficult for them.

There's more...

How To Become A Full-Time Blogger

Here is some advice I have for aspiring bloggers out there:

In addition to what I said in the video, I should have also added "if you don't care about having a social life,""if you don't mind being viciously attacked dozens of times every day,""if you don't have a wide range of interests in life,""if you don't mind paying for your own health insurance,""if you don't like taking vacations," and "if a one-bedroom apartment In West Philly is your idea of high living," then you definitely meet the qualifications for being a successful, full-time progressive blogger.

So many bloggers are writing books these days that quite a few people have asked me when I will write my book. I always tell them the same thing: I don't want to write yet another book on how to fix the Democratic Party, and / or describing the rise of the netroots and the progressive movement. There are a lot of good books like that out there already, and I can't possibly imagine what one more book by me would accomplish. Much of what we have needed to write on those topics has been written. The book I want to write would be more literary--more of a memoir. I would like to write about the personal side of being a full-time blogger and progressive movement activist, because it has resulted in some very strange changes in my life.

The personal side of being a full-time blogger and activist is a story that I think needs to be told, and one that we do not tell often enough in our movement. Maybe, since we are still in the early stages of the movement, that is a good thing, as we don't want to become too inward looking, self-reflexive, and meta at this stage in the game. But there really is some strange, personal, and interesting stuff that needs to be told. For example, when I started blogging on MyDD, I slept in the office where I was working every other night so I had solid periods of regular, uninterrupted Internet access. On Election Eve, 2004, my Internet went down, and it was only restored in time for the election when I paid $145 in late fees to my service provider (money that I didn't have until the previous Friday). Blogging has given me front row seats to Live 8, and created a sort of weird, quasi-celebrity status for me in certain circles, even though no one on the street would ever recognize me. My friends and my family always know what I am doing because of the blog, and if I don't post for a day, or even eight hours, they get worried. I have started to develop something approaching a nervous shake when I do not have the ability to get online for more than a two hours at a time. I have given interviews to the New York Times and NPR in my pajamas. I get both really mean hate-mail, and really wonderful fan mail. And the list of powerful people I have met and personally talked with--people who never would have given me the time of day just two and a half years ago--is astounding.

It is just a very weird, truly unexpected turn in my life, and I would like to talk about the personal side of being a full-time blogger, rather than write a book that is an extension of my blogging content. The thing is, I don't know if anyone would be interested in publishing a book like that, since the shift in content would not necessarily appeal to my built-in audience. Further, I don't even know how well I could write that sort of book anymore, since I haven't turned my hand to something truly literary since I began blogging, and since my focus was always on avant-garde poetry anyway. But it is a nice dream to think about.

As for my advice on how to become a successful blogger, I can only speak for myself. I don't know if it will work for other people. I bet every full-time blogger without institutional support--you know, all fifteen of us--has his or her own advice and his or her own story. I do know this: as much as I complain, there is no way I would keep doing it without the constant, positive feedback I receive from readers. I get much more positive stuff than negative stuff, and it helps me know that I am making a difference.

So, I just wanted to say thank you, to all of you, for making the last two and a half years of my life the best I have ever had. I can't wait for what comes next. Hell, today we entered the Technorati top 100 for the first time, I think, since 2003. That is certianly a good sign.

This is an open thread.

MyDD: Still Carrying the Load

Ellen O. Tauscher (CA-10) decided to do a preemptive counterattack against the left-wing of the Democratic Party the week before the elections. Maybe she is trying to reassure Boeing, Wal-Mart, and Pfizer that the new wave of Democrats will be every bit the lap-dogs of their industries that Tom DeLay and the K Street project have been. Maybe she is just a stupid person. But we don't need this fight right now. Here Is what she said.

Representative Ellen O. Tauscher of California, a co-chairwoman of the 47-member New Democrat Coalition, said that 27 of the top 40 contested House seats were being pursued by Democrats who have pledged to become members of the group, which says its chief issues are national security and fiscal responsibility.

"I think there's tremendous agreement and awareness that getting the majority and running over the left cliff is what our Republican opponents would dearly love," Ms. Tauscher said, adding that this was something "we've got to fight."

That set Matt Stoller off here. And then Chris Bowers went off here and here.

They are not so much overreacting as they are stepping on this week's message. I am reminded of a Buddhist aphorism. A young monk and an old monk come to a stream where an attractive young lady is crying. Her leg has been badly injured and she cannot forge across the stream. The young monk says that they are prohibited from touching a woman and that he is sorry but they cannot help her. The old monk says, "Get on my back", and helps her across the stream. After the woman goes on her way, the young monk is outraged and asks the old monk how he could have done such a thing. The old monk turns to the young monk and says, "I have already put her down and you are still carrying her."

There's more...

20,000,000 Thread

As a remarkable day draws to a close, I wanted to note that on Tuesday morning, MyDD received its 20,000,000th visitor, according to Site Meter. We reached 10,000,000 visitors 354 days before that, making this by far the best year MyDD has ever had in terms of traffic (although Jerome breaking the exit polls was almost a year unto itself).

I feel this is important to point out now that I am getting a lot of press. The reason MyDD had such a successful year is because Matt and Jonathan came on board. Period. I spent eighteen months of my life blogging every day, of every week, all the time. I drank, ate, breathed, and slept MyDD. It was killing me, and I had to quit. I never wanted to hire anyone else to help share the blogging load because I did not want to give up control of MyDD to anyone else. However, finally relenting to two excellent bloggers--and two excellent people--was the best decision I ever made. I know that my blogging over the past year has been, on average, of a far higher quality than the year before it. The reason is because I had help. That credit goes to Matt and Jonathan, entirely.

Even though blogging is a form of diary, it is actually at its best when it is a group activity. And that goes beyond me, Matt, Jonathan, Jerome, Scott, Kombiz, and the many others who have helped us out on the front page over the years. Blogging is meaningless without a community of readers, commenters, and activists. What we write on the front-page means nothing if you guys aren't reading it. That isn't an exaggeration or false praise--it is just the truth. You make us relevant. Three years ago, no one cared what I said about politics. The only reason people care now is because you read what I write. If you stop reading, once again no one will care.

Everything that comes my way is because of the people around me. On this day, which featured both our 20,000,000th visitor and the most press I have ever received in my life, I am not merely being humble when I say "thank you" to others. I am just being honest. Anything I do, you make possible. Thank you for coming to MyDD, and being a part of my life.

This is an open thread.


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