Our Obama story

We came in touch with something special over the last few months, something that had already been happening for many months before that. People came together to work on something big, something much bigger than themselves. People came together in the spirit of community and leaving America a better place than we found it. People came together to not only support a candidate, but to also support the idea that there's nothing - no problem we face - that can't be solved when determined individuals join hands and get to work. So many of you have a story just like this. And that's what makes what happened so special, so important, so vital to the future of this country. This is our story.

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A stunning look back. An inspiring push forward.

I'm a sucker for a lot of things: Personal journalism. Progressive politics. Behind-the-scenes reporting. Media criticism. Strong, intelligent women. In Connie Schultz's new book, "... and His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man", we're treated to all of these things, and more. In case you didn't know, Schultz is the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The "Man", in this case, is Congressman-turned-Senator Sherrod Brown. And the book is Schultz's very personal chronicle of Brown's race for U.S. Senate, a year-plus spent in the maelstrom of a campaign, and the efforts Schultz and Brown undertook to make their young, enthusiastic marriage work. He won, they survived, and their love - portrayed beautifully in the book - endures. The importance of this book will, too, making it a no-doubt-about-it addition to your must-read list.

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Beltway Derangement Syndrome

One of the biggest - and yet largely undiscussed - problems facing progressive activism (blogging in particular) is burnout. Every so often, the blogosphere loses one of its brightest lights to the grind, either temporarily or, worse, permanently. Delivering fresh content, day after day, is, even for the best, a difficult proposition. Balancing a blog with one's personal life and, more often than not, day job is an even more difficult task. Toss in the daily frustration one typically feels with the administration or the spectacularly slow grind of progress and the joys of trying to make a difference can become hardships. This is less a complaint than a reality. Also, let's not forget that a healthy dose of perspective is always important. That said, I've finally put my finger on one of the most persistent causes of my periodic burnout - and maybe yours, too: Beltway Derangement Syndrome.

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Don Imus and what's ailing the media

Looking back at the exchange of ideas that started with this story and now continues with this one, I'd like to further engage in the discussion of the Don Imus saga, specifically as it relates to the free-speech issues so important in today's society. To that end, I'd also like to dive into the issues Matt, a journalism graduate school friend, brought up in his latest comments.

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Don Imus and free speech

In response to something I wrote about the Don Imus saga Friday, Matt, a journalism graduate school friend of mine, replied and made his case quite succinctly. Another friend, Karl, weighed in, as did I. With our back-and-forth in mind, I'd like to add some detail to my point-of-view. If I may make so bold, Matt's entire argument can be summarized in his own words: "By calling for (and ultimately causing) the firing of Don Imus, it sets a bad precedent for free speech." I disagree, and, though I am as firm a defender of free speech as he, I would like to take this argument in a different direction, speaking to both the issues of our freedoms and the role of the people-powered movement in the debate.

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Why the right will always be wrong on the Edwardses

You know, there's a very easy-to-understand, very concise, reason why so many right-wingers fail to grasp why John Edwards wouldchoose to stay in the presidential race despite the recurrence of Elizabeth's cancer. And that is this:
Sacrifice, be it personal or shared, isn't a Republican value. Nor is service.
I could expand upon that in much greater detail, and I still might, but that, in a nutshell, says it all. Since Republicans don't understand sacrifice or service, don't respect or honor either, they will never understand what John and Elizabeth are doing. And that fact says as much about their lack of character as it does the Edwardses' abundance of it.

This is for you, Katie Couric, Pt. 2

Seeing as my thoughts Sunday about Katie Couric's interview of John and Elizabeth Edwards have sparked muchdebate, I thought I would add to what I said. Look, there's little doubt that Couric - whatever her motivation - turned a great opportunity into another slanted interrogation. That said, there's even less doubt that the Edwardses took what little Couric offered them and used the interview to craft a portrait of a family that exudes character, class and determination. A careful examination of several suspect questions reveals both assertions, while an overall examination of the interview - and everyone's response - reveals other worthwhile thinking points entirely. And with that in mind, let's go to the interview:

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This is for you, Katie Couric

Dear Katie,

Some people just saw you interview John and Elizabeth Edwards on "60 Minutes". Others did not. Even those who did see you interview the Edwardses are of two minds about it. Some people who did see the interview thought it was a moving profile of two courageous individuals. Others who saw it thought that, while the last statement is true, you, on the other hand, did a terrible job and did journalism a disservice. Some people will surely come away thinking you legitimized the shameful opinions of the far-right fringe by couching them in relative anonymity. Other people will come away thinking you did that because you agree with them. So, some people will think you're simply a hack, while others will think you're a partisan joke. A third group will think both. What would you say to those people?

Annoying, isn't it, Katie?

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The hidden scandal within the prosecutor purge

Written and researched by Joseph Hughes of Hughes for America and Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister

Between the thousand-page document dumps, somewhat rejuvenated press corps and always up-to-the-second reporting from the progressive blogosphere, the prosecutor purge scandal is exploding at a seemingly exponential rate. Every hour, the story grows in new and different directions, and now clearly threatens the job security of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and others in the Department of Justice. Further, it now appears as though the scandal's tentacles reach into the uppermost echelons of the Bush White House, including, as recent administration controversies almost always do, Karl Rove. While the endgame of this saga is far from decided, what is already apparent is that a vital facet of the story - the administration's seeming unwillingness to comply with both the law and a fundamental cornerstone of our American system - is in danger of being lost in the shuffle of the overarching stampede. And, if we can no longer expect our government's top officials - including the top official, the president - to obey the law and adhere to the bedrock standard of open government, then the questions about whether or not we still live in a democracy are no longer so far-fetched.

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Consultant class bozos and the FOX "debate"

It's people like Rich Masters who lose elections for Democrats.

Hosting, as he frequently has in the past, "The Bill Press Show", Masters, billed as a Democratic consultant, chose to weigh in - and take calls - on the recent decision by the Nevada Democratic Party to pull out of an announced debate that was to be co-hosted by FOX News. This sensible move, brought about in large measure by the progressive netroots, signals the willingness by the party and its candidates to discuss openly the fact that FOX News is the house organ of the Republican Party and the readiness to challenge the legitimacy of FOX as a news operation. Right-wingers of every pay grade criticized the decision, as did FOX itself in a statement that says more about its obvious partisanship than it does the challenge its "fair and balanced" brand now faces. And this challenge, make no mistake, has the potential to marginalize the network to fringe status, something that, if you're FOX, just can't happen. And one of the only things preventing this from occurring is the cover some mealy-mouthed "Democrats" have been giving FOX. People like Masters.

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