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DNC Convention, Day one recap (Part II): The scene under The Big Tent, PUMA gossip

The Big Tent was a hip and happening place. Lotsa people in the bloggers lounge today. I met up with some of the shakers and movers of the blogosphere: Markos, MissLaura, BarbinMD, Plutonium Planet, Kagro X, and others. Daily Kos has their own couch reserved for them. Everybody there is cool. I also ran into Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis and Matt Stoller of MyDD.

Lots of people made their appearances. Arianna Huffington, my wonderful Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont, Paul Krugman, and more.

Photobucket Paul Krugman of The New York Times

Photobucket Arianna Huffington

There was lots of media covering The Big Tent. Eat your heart out MSM. You loathe us yet we’re the ones getting tons of press. It’s great.

Not much more to report. The rest is just a blur. I think that was when the Fat Tire Ales kicked in. However….

More below the fold.  

DNC Convention, Day One Recap (Part I): Falun Gong, Joe & Mika, CNN Grill, and Andrea Mitchell

Michelle Obama spoke tonight but I was too damn exhausted to cover it. I was one of many bloggers getting bombed with all the free beer they’re giving us under The Big Tent. So I guess I’ll just give you some random observations throughout the day along with some pictures to boot. The good news is Docudharma got some press in the Las Vegas Sun-Times. Look for it tomorrow….. I hope. So here’s the recap:

*Spent most of the day trying to get to the place to pick up my creds. Luckily I caught a Falun Gong parade. They marched all the way around the Pepsi Center. Check it out.




Lots more below the fold.

Reporting from Denver for Docudharma

DENVER, CO-Hey everyone. I told some of you I was going to Denver. As they say here at Docudharma, “Here I am.”

It was a pretty long trip and I had to figure out the whole public transportation thing. After no sleep and an empty stomach (Midwest Airlines charges for lunches on their flights!!!!) trying figure out how to get into Denver got a helluva lot harder. But I made it. The cool thing about the flight was sitting behind Rich, editor of Michigan Liberal. Great guy.

Denver’s definitely clamped down to the max. Police are in riot gear all over the city. Helicopters are flying overhead. When I got into town I went straight over to The Big Tent. It’s interesting. It’s like a Oscar party of some sorts with Entertainment Tonight-esque MTV-like reporters outside the entrance. There’s also lotsa security. Why, I don’t know. Picked up my creds five minutes before they closed and that was that.

I checked out The Tattered Covered Bookstore. It’s a big and beautiful independent bookstore right next door to the Big Tent. I only bring this up because as I was sitting oustide, going through my Big Tent “goodie bag,” I saw George Stephanopolous. We made eye-contact, nodded to each other, and he went in the bookstore. Didn’t get to talk to him (or grill him).

It kinda feels like all the locals have evacuated the city and the only people around are conventioneers, media folks, and cops. There are all these people walking around on cellphones, wearing credentials around around their necks, and all the men are wearing navy blue blazers and the women look all chi-chi’ed up. It’s like being in Boston on Newbury Street… if you know what that means.

The Kos And The System: “Blogfather” Markos Moulitsas On Digital-Era Activism And His New Book

Look forward to meeting some of you in Denver next week! – ctrenta, aka “vtfinest” on DKos

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Photo by Bart Nagel

Crossposted at Off the Bus.

“I am progressive, I am liberal. I make no apologies.”

Those were the first ten words written by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga when the Web log Daily Kos was launched in 2002. At the time the Bush Administration was hellbent on invading Iraq. Daily Kos gave people an outlet to vent their frustrations. Then the blog took on a life of its own. It became the medium through which bloggers could organize, take on “the gatekeepers,” and work for political change.

More below the fold.


H/t to TPM Election Central.

Right-wing attacks on the Democrats policies in Iraq have just sunk to a new level.

At a debate in New Mexico for the open GOP-held Second District late last week, Republican nominee Ed Tinsley accused his Dem opponent Harry Teague of wanting to cut the throats of American troops in Iraq. Thankfully he was booed. Tinsely may have sealed his fate in New Mexico-02. Take a look:

Abhorent. That’s all I can say.  

Re-engage! International Journalist Helena Cobban On Post-Bush Foreign Policy

Crossposted at Huffington Post’s Off the Bus.

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The presidential election is turning again on a choice between conversation and confrontation. How will we choose to approach our neighbors, allies and adversaries — domestic and foreign? Helena Cobban is a veteran journalist who has traveled extensively around the world. She writes for the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Review, and blogs at Her most recent book is Re-engage! America and the World after Bush, in which she suggests ways citizens can help shape a more inclusive, less confrontational, foreign policy. Off The Bus caught up with Cobban this week and asked her about her book and what she thinks the “post-Decider”-era might hold in store for us and the world.

Interview below the fold.

Matt Yglesias: A Case for Liberal Internationalism

Crossposted at Huff Post’s Off the Bus.

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His colleagues call him “Big Media Matt.” That’s because Matthew Yglesias is a respected voice of the liberal blogosphere. The 28 year-old Yglesias has accomplished much. He graduated magna cum laude, from Harvard, served as editor-in-chief at The Harvard Independent, and upon graduating, he became a writing fellow at The American Prospect. Yglesias began blogging in 2002, focusing on American politics, public policy, and foreign policy. Yglesias now writes for The Atlantic Monthly and blogs at the Atlantic blog.

His new book, Heads in the Sand: How Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats has just been released by Wiley Press. In the book, Yglesias offers a new approach for the Democrats, an outline of how they might restore America’s integrity in conducting international affairs. He talked to OffTheBus last week.

More below the fold.

Snapshots from Unity

Just got back from Unity, NH. I’m so friggin sunburnt, tired, and I’m not in the mood to submit to Huffington Post. But I will.

Here are some snapshots from today’s event. It actually wasn’t all that bad… from a logisitics POV. Sometimes these events can be a nightmare to cover, other times they’re good. This time they went all right. Hope you enjoy the photos and look for my stories tomorrow AM…. just before I leave for the Green Mountain Daily/Vermont Daily Briefing hamburger summit. That’s the Vermont blogosphere’s annual get together. Don’t worry. I’ll be wearing my Docudharma t-shirt there!

– ctrenta



Barack and Hillary take the stage


Lots more below the fold

Muslims barred from picture at Obama event

Crossposted at Green Mountain Daily.

I’ve got a lot of grace for Barack Obama. He impresses me one moment and pisses me off the next (his AIPAC speech is a prime example). Then there are his staffers who treated me poorly including Suzanne Goldberg of The Guardian U.K. This time however was low. Really low.

It’s from Politico so hopefully they have their facts straight. They’re known for getting their stories wrong.

Ben Smith writes:

“Two Muslim women at Barack Obama’s rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women’s headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

The campaign has apologized to the women, both Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.

“This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama’s commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers.”

Heeba Asef, a 25 year-old lawyer who came to see Obama.

“I was coming to support him, and I felt like I was discriminated against by the very person who was supposed to be bringing this change, who I could really relate to,” said Hebba Aref, a 25-year-old lawyer who lives in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills. “The message that I thought was delivered to us was that they do not want him associated with Muslims or Muslim supporters.”

The story continues below the fold.

SPLC investigates Vermont secessionist group

Crossposted at iBrattleboro, Green Mountain Daily and Five Before Chaos.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a well-known organization known for tracking hate groups and/or hate crimes around America. Many of you may remember the recent controversy regarding the Second Vermont Republic (SVR), Vermont’s secessionist movement. John Odum of Green Mountain Daily pointed out SVR’s ties to groups and individuals being tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center and as a result, SVR came under greater scrutiny. Now the SPLC released their much anticipated report on the Second Vermont Republic and the report includes a revealing anecdote on former SVR board member and Vermont impeachment hero, Dan DeWalt.

Well past time Memorial Day honor veterans against war

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone. All weekend, I saw veterans honored on television, the newspapers, parades, etc. I saw more than my share of yellow ribbons, American flags, 21-gun salutes and more. But something was missing, something I wish would be covered every Memorial Day, voices of dissent, especially from those who served our country.  

Don’t get me wrong. I support the troops. I support them just as much as those who support war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also support veterans in past conflicts. For many of them, Memorial Day means everything. However there are other veterans that never get heard. They are silenced, ignored and misunderstood because they have something vastly different to share. I’m talking about those veterans who served their country, survived the horrors of war and heal their wounds through advocacy efforts.

It pains me veterans organizations advocating for peace are always overlooked on Memorial Day. For many of these organizations, getting into a Memorial Day parade can be a controversial ordeal. In Bremerton, Washington, Veterans for Peace were told to stay away from this year’s festivities. Why? Why should we honor one idea of veterans and not the other? Why is it controversial to honor veterans who want their service be remembered differently? It seems that every Memorial Day, we miss another opportunity to honor veterans in a different and meaningful context. It’s time we open our minds to what does a Veteran mean. It’s well past time we honor those who speak out against war.  

War is traumatic and many veterans who speak out against their actions (or their government’s policies) want their experiences to be validated, understood, and accepted. Anti-war veterans organizations must honored the same way that many of us honor Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion or Disabled American Veterans, every Memorial Day. All veterans must be honored, even those who speak out against war.  

I honor those who want to be remembered for their service. I honor those who lost their lives fighting for what they believed in but I also honor those who experienced the other side of war and want to make our country and our communities, a more humane place. This Memorial Day I also honor the Veterans for Peace, Courage to Resist, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out , Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Veterans Against the Iraq War. I’m sure there are many more. They served America and they love their country. It’s well past time we honor them every Memorial Day.

FOX News flunkie gets pwned by Rev. Wright’s friend

Crossposted at Big Orange.

This is a good video…. albeit it’s from April 3. Did any of you catch this? Here’s an unedited exchange between a FOX News producer flunkie Porter Berry and Father Pfleger, friend of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.


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